What is Preventative Maintenance?
Preventative Maintenance is regular maintenance of your vehicle that helps keep your automobile running efficiently and eliminating potential problems that may leave you stranded. Manufacturers know that a properly maintained car will be more dependable, safer, last longer, and increase your satisfaction with their product. Preventative maintenance includes:
Servicing Windshield Wipers
Tune-up or servicing/replacing spark plugs, ignition wires, distributor cap and rotor.
Replacing air filters
Engine oil change
Differential(s) gear oil change
Trans-axle oil change
Routine hose inspection
Exterior drive belt replacement
Servicing/replacing transmission oil and filter
Timing belt replacement
Brake fluid flush
Power steering flush
Inspect exhaust system for leaks
Inspect brake linings brake rotor hydraulic lines calipers and wheel cylinders
Replace cabin air filter
Used car safety inspection
How should I prepare my car for winter?
Prior to winter weather setting in, you should:
Check your antifreeze level and condition. Rust colored antifreeze means you may need to flush and refill the cooling system.
Check the level of you motor oil. If its been 3 months to 3000 miles since you last oil change, it should be replaced.
Check you battery. Batteries that are weak can fail on cold morning and your car won’t start.
Change your wiper blades to winter wiper-blades. These prevent ice build-up that can obstruct your view during operation in snow and ice conditions.
Check the condition of your tires. Tires that have warn tread can mean hydroplaning on road water and can lead to accidents.
Check your A/C operation. Your air condition will function in the defrost mode and is used to help defrost or remove moister from the windshields, fogged up windows can be hazardous during driving.
Perform a brake inspection. A well operating brake system help stop your car, especially during wet or snowy and icy conditions.
How should I prepare my car for a road trip?
Prior to going on a trip, you should:
Check all lights. Check your headlights (high and low-beam), brake lights, turn signals, parking lamps and (if you have them) fog lights to make sure they are all operational. You should clean your headlights using glass cleaner to improve night visibility.
Check wiper blades. Inspect them for cracks or tears, and make sure they’re operational. If they’re in good shape, it’s still a good idea to clean the rubber blade with little glass cleaner.
Check all hoses. Look for any cracks or holes in hoses, and replace any that are not in good shape.
Check all belts. Inspect all belts to ensure that none are worn, loose or frayed.
Inspect the battery. If there is corrosion on the terminals, you can clean it away with a toothbrush and a pasty solution of water and baking soda.
Check all fluids. Check the reservoirs to ensure that your coolant and wiper fluids are at the proper levels. Check your oil using the dipstick. Check transmission fluid, power-steering fluid and brake fluid. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for advice on checking all the fluids.
It is also a good idea to have a good set of basic tools and a emergency kit on hand, these can be purchased from most auto parts stores.
Remove any unwanted items from your truck and check tire pressures to save on gas mileage.
What Maintenance Should I be doing and when?
These are generic service recommendations based solely on time or mileage not on visual appearance or measurement. Their purpose is to extend the life of your vehicle and help prevent breakdown. Your vehicle’s requirements may differ depending on driving habits and/or owner’s manual recommendations. Check your owner’s manual and with your service advisor for specifics.
OIL – LUBE – FILTER: 3,000 miles to 5,000 miles
TIRE ROTATION: 3,000 to 5,000 Miles depending on tire style
PCV VALVE: Yearly, replace and service PCV system
WHOLE CAR DIAGNOSIS: Yearly and before purchase or sale
FUEL FILTER: Yearly or as needed
BATTERY SERVICE: Yearly or as needed
AIR CONDITIONING: Check every spring or as needed
RADIATOR COOLANT: Every two years, flush
BRAKE SYSTEM FLUSH: Every year
CLUTCH SYSTEM FLUSH: Every year
RADIATOR CAP: Replace every two years
ENGINE OIL FLUSH: 2 Years or 30,000 Miles
AUTOMATIC TRANS FLUSH: 2 Years or 24,000 miles
POWER STEERING FLUSH: 2 Years or 24,000 miles
EGR SYSTEM SERVICE: 2 Years or 24,000 miles
4X4 TRANSFER CASE: 15,000 to 50,000 miles
CARBON CLEANING: 2 Years or 30,000 miles or as needed
THROTTLE-BODY SERVICE: 2 Years or 30,000 miles or as needed
RADIATOR & HEATER HOSES: 4 Years or 60,000 miles
DRIVE BELTS: 4 Years or 60,000 miles
TIMING BELT: 4 Years or 60,000 miles
DIFFERENTIAL FLUID: 15,000 to 50,000 miles
MANUAL TRANS SERVICE: 15,000 to 50,000 miles
VALVES: Adjust per owner’s manual
SCAN FOR COMPUTER CODES: When amber “CHECK ENGINE” Light is on
OXYGEN SENSOR: Per owner’s manual or as needed
Why do my brakes squeak?
Brakes can squeak for a variety of reasons, but continuous squeals and grinding sounds may mean it’s time for new brake pads and shoes. Work brakes can mean longer stopping distances and difficulty stopping in emergency situations. Rotors and drums that are too thin may even become over-stressed and break. Remember, if you notice any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to get your brakes checked.
A brake job includes replacement of worn parts in order to restore the vehicle’s braking performance to new condition.
Brake components that should be replaced will obviously depend upon the age, mileage and wear. During a brake job, all components should be checked and the replacement requirements will change form vehicle to vehicle. A brake inspection should include inspection of the brake lining, rotors and drums, calipers and wheel cylinders, brake hardware, hoses, lines, and master cylinder. Any hoses that are found to be age cracked, chaffed, swollen, or leaking must be replaced. Replacement hoses should have the same type of end fittings (double-flared or ISO) as the original. Steel lines that are leaking, kinked, badly corroded, or damaged must also be replaced. For steel brake lines, use only approved steel tubing with double-flared or ISO flare ends’ leaking caliper or wheel cylinder needs to be rebuilt or replaced. The same applies to a caliper that is frozen (look for uneven pad wear), damaged, or badly corroded. A leak at the master cylinder or a brake pedal that gradually sinks to the floor tells you that the master cylinder needs replacing. The rotors and drums need to be inspected for wear, heat cracks, warpage, or other damage. Unless they are in perfect condition, they should always be resurfaced before new linings are installed. If worn too thin, they should be replaced. Rust, heat, and age have a detrimental effect on many hardware components. It’s a good idea to replace some of these parts when the brakes are relined. On disc brakes, new mounting pins and bushings are recommended for floating-style calipers. High temperature synthetic or silicone brake grease (never ordinary chassis grease) should be used to lubricate caliper pins and caliper contact points. On drum brakes: shoe retaining clips and return springs should be replaced. Self-adjusters should be replaced if they are corroded or frozen. Use brake grease to lubricate self-adjusters and raised points on brake backing plates where shoes make contact. Wheel bearings should be part of a complete brake job on most rear-wheel drive vehicles and some front-wheel drive cars. Unless bearings are sealed, they need to be cleaned, inspected, repacked with wheel bearing grease (new grease seals are a must), and properly adjusted. As a rule, tapered roller bearings are not preloaded. Finger tight is usually recommended. Ball wheel bearings usually require pre-loading. Lastly, old brake fluid should always be replaced with fresh fluid as it can be contamination with water which can corrode brake lines and decrease braking capacity.
What is the primary cause of tire damage?
Although there are many things that can cause tire damage, improper inflation is the main problem we see. Always keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle and frequently check the pressure of all tires.
How do I know when my car needs a tune up?
You may see your gas mileage decrease. Your vehicle may start running rough. If your check engine light comes on that could also be an indicator that your vehicle needs a tune up. The owner’s manual that came with your vehicle may suggest a tune up at a certain mileage.
When I should I have my timing belt changed?
Depending on the vehicle a timing belt needs to be replaced between 60,000 and 120,000 miles.
When do I need to replace my belts and hoses?
If you can see cracks in your belts, it is time to have them replaced. We recommend replacing your belts and hoses at least every three to four years. If your hoses look swollen or soft that could be an indicator that they need to be replaced. However, hoses can deteriorate on the inside and if this happens there is no visual evidence that the hose needs to be changed.
Why do I need to have my engine oil changed every 3,000 miles?
The additive in the oil starts to break down as soon as it heats up to high temperatures. The engine in your vehicle will reach over 200 degrees almost every time you drive it. History has proven that the 3,000 mile mark is a good interval to have your engine oil replaced. You never want to just drain your engine oil out and put new oil in without changing the oil filter. The oil filter will hold about a quart of oil. If you do not change the oil filter when changing the engine oil in your vehicle you are combining your clean engine oil with deteriorated engine oil and this will lessen the effectiveness of the new engine oil you just put in your vehicle.
How often should I rotate my tires?
Your tires should be rotated every other oil change, or every 6000 miles. Neglecting to rotate tires is a major cause of premature tire wear.
Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?
YES. The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.
What does it mean if my check engine light or service engine soon light comes on?
There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle’s engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails, the “check engine” light is illuminated. Although your car may seem to run fine, it is important to have the issue addressed to prevent long-term problems.
Why is my engine oil milky brown?
Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. This can be caused by a blown head gasket (or other gasket), a failed transmission cooler, or cracked casings. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician immediately.