Importance of Scheduled Auto Maintenance
We all know that scheduled vehicle maintenance
is important for our vehicles, but not necessarily
why this is so, or what the benefits are. We are
going to take a look at just a few maintenance
points on your vehicle and point out why the maintenance
is so important.
Tire Inspection and Inflation - At least once a month check the pressure of
your tires. A tire can lose 1 PSI of pressure
under normal circumstances, plus a drop of 10
degrees can lower pressure by another 1 PSI. Properly
inflated tires will wear more evenly providing
longer life, and your fuel economy will be improved.
Under inflated tires put a lot of stress on the
tire and makes them more prone to blowout. Keeping
tires properly inflated will save you money and
provide a safer ride.
Inspect the tread of your tires
to ensure they will provide adequate traction
on water and snow. Click
here for tips on how to evaluate the tread
on your tires.
Exterior Cleaning – Not only will the car look better, a clean
car will resist rust, fading, and other blemishes
longer. Accumulated dirt will hold moisture, extending
the time it can do damage. After prolonged contact
with some dirt, or even bird droppings, staining
or fading may occur as the substance reacts with
the paint or finish. A power wash of the underside
and wheel wells will remove dirt and salt that
can accelerate corrosion.
Interior Cleaning – Cleaning of carpets and upholstery can
keep dirt and spills from being ground in or setting
in to become permanent stains. Washing of the
interior windows will provide a nicer view, but
is also a serious safety concern. As many interior
materials age or get super-heated in the sun,
vapors are released and then deposit on the interior
of windows as a cloudy haze. Direct sunlight can
then cause that haze “light up” as
it reflects the bright light, severely inhibiting
visibility while driving.
Oil Changes –
The oil change is the most familiar element of
routine scheduled maintenance, but why is it important?
Oil is needed in the engine to reduce friction
between the moving parts and keeping the temperature
down. Oil eventually breaks down, however, in
a process of “carbonization” which
leaves deposits of “sludge” inside
the engine, and tend to block the free flow of
oil through the system. As sludge takes its toll,
and friction and temperature rises, wear on engine
parts dramatically increases, significantly lowering
the lifespan of the engine. Check your owner’s
manual to find the proper intervals at which
your engine oil should be changed.
Air Filter –
Replacement of the air filter ensures that the
proper amount of clean air is flowing through
the system. Old filters become restricted, and
an insufficient flow of air will significantly
impact your engine’s performance and fuel
economy. Fuel economy can suffer up to 10% due
to a clogged air filter.
Tire Rotation – Tire rotation involves moving the wheels
from one position to another such that over time
every tire will have had equal service in each
of the four wheel wells. This ensures that the
tires will wear evenly, maximizing their life.
Coolant Levels – Insufficient coolant may lead to engine
overheating which can cause significant damage.
Radiator Drain – Antifreeze coolants have a corrosion inhibitor
quality that degrades over time. If the system
is not drained and filled with fresh antifreeze
at periodic intervals the interior of the radiator
and engine will begin to rust, creating rust particles,
free to circulate and eventually, leaks in the
Exhaust System – A properly functioning exhaust system
is important for engine performance and fuel economy.
It is also a critical safety factor as it ensures
that dangerous fumes are carried safely to the
rear of the vehicle and do not enter the interior
of the vehicle.
First and foremost, this is a safety concern.
In addition, however, periodic brake inspections
and repair (if necessary) will head off more costly
repairs. The brakes endure a great deal of wear
by design, because they use friction to slow or
stop the vehicle. Parts need to be replaced regularly,
and if worn parts are not replaced, the repair
job will require more parts, more labor, and that
means more money.
Timing Belt Replacement – If your vehicle has a timing belt, it
may suffer serious permanent damage if it breaks,
because moving parts may collide inside the engine.
Check your owners
manual to see when it should be changed.
We recommend you consult your owner’s
manual to see what service is applicable to
your vehicle and when maintenance should be performed,
as this is just a sampling of maintenance items.
In general, adhering to the recommended
maintenance schedule will yield the following benefits:
- Longer vehicle life.
- Overall lower cost of repairs because problems avoided or caught early are often much less expensive.
- Increased travel safety due to fewer failures on the road.
- Saved time, money, and aggravation by avoiding unexpected breakdowns.
- Better vehicle performance.
- Better fuel economy.
- Higher vehicle resale value. (Tip: Keep all receipts of maintenance performed for when you do sell the vehicle.)