Top Ten Car Maintenance Tips
The word “Maintenance” comes from the word “Maintain”, which means “to keep in an appropriate condition”. Unfortunately, your car won't take care of itself - it requires us to do things to it in order to keep it in top running condition. These are the top ten things you can do, in our opinion, to keep your car running properly and last longer.
- Change the oil! Why does every mechanic tell you to change your oil regularly? Because it's the single most important thing to keeping your engine clean (inside where it counts) and running smoothly. It really does make a difference. We recommend changing the oil every 4000 miles.
- Tire Pressure. Most tires are underinflated. Even many we see that just came from a “service” at some other shop. Proper tire inflation is paramount in maximizing your tire wear and fuel economy. Fuel and tires are the two biggest expenses in your car budget.
- Rotate the Tires. Every car or truck out there wears tires differently on the front or rear. They need to be rotated in order to maximize your tire life. Tires are expensive. We recommend every 8000 miles – that's every other oil change.
- Check it all over. Many problems can be visually detected before they become big problems. It pays to have a qualified mechanic check over your car periodically to look for these issues. When we do a service (oil change) we look at lots of stuff, including the brakes, exhaust, belts, hoses, battery, tires, suspension, steering, drive train, wipers, and more. Many times we can find issues before they become problems and either leave you stranded, or break and cause a more costly repair.
- Change the fuel filter. This is often overlooked, but every gallon of fuel you put in your tank goes through the fuel filter. Dirt in the fuel filter causes the fuel pump (usually in the fuel tank) to work harder and fail prematurely. Fuel filters are cheap. Fuel pump replacement is not.
- Change the transmission fluid and filter. This is another neglected area, even in people who routinely change their engine oil. When the transmission fluid gets dirty, and the filter gets plugged, it caused additional strain on your transmission. A transmission service every 50,000 miles is cheap insurance against premature transmission failure.
- Grease it. Most moving parts work better with lubrication. It pays to take a few minutes during a routine service or when doing a job to clean and lubricate parts. When we service a vehicle (oil change) we try to take extra time to make sure the moving stuff – door hinges, hood latch, tail gate, etc. - gets lubricated. When we make repairs we take extra time to clean and lube parts – bolts, nuts, sliders, cables, etc. It makes them go together easier, and even more it makes them come apart a lot easier the next time. Many times a repair costs more than it would have to because of rusty, frozen, stuck parts that have to be replaced. A little grease from the factory or the previous repair facility would do wonders...
- Check engine light. If the check engine light is on, it's trying to tell you something. It might be a minor problem that won't cause you any major issues, but it could be a problem that is causing your fuel economy to suffer, or it could let you down in the future. Get it diagnosed, and then choose to fix it or not fix it.
- Keep it clean. Dirt, and especially road salt causes corrosion everywhere. Your car will last longer if it's kept clean and waxed once in a while.
- Take care of minor problems. Little noises have a way of turning into big expensive problems in short order if they're not taken care of. Many times a small problem, which may be inexpensive to repair, can quickly turn into a big problem. These cost more money and might leave you stranded. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone neglect a $50 repair, that soon turns into a $500 repair bill.