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GENERAL AUTO MAINTENANCE
Q: What Exactly is Preventative Maintenance, and why is it important?
When it comes to the service and repair of your vehicle, it is better to take a proactive approach. Depending on your vehicle’s make and model, it will require certain services at different intervals. These services are designed to prolong the longevity, driveability, and safety of your vehicle, along with preventing potentially expensive and dangerous repairs. If you decide to miss your vehicle’s next appointment for preventative maintenance, you might find yourself paying for it later.
Q: Why is Regular Car Maintenance SO Important?
The short answer is to keep your vehicle running newer, longer. By bringing your car in for routine maintenance, you help prevent bigger, more expensive car trouble later.
Your vehicle manufacturer has designed a maintenance schedule for your vehicles specific needs. This schedule can be found in your owner’s manual. If you stick to this schedule, the better your chances are your vehicle will deliver optimal performance even as the miles rack up. Regular maintenance will help the parts last longer and save you money on expensive parts replacement. For example, lapsing maintenance on simple parts like fluid changes, dirty filters, old spark plugs and fussy belts can lead to larger problems like broken radiators, slipping gear shifts, and even engine failure.
Q: Does the Expense of Car Maintenance Really “Pay Off” in the long Run?
Absolutely. Regular maintenance is the best decision you can make for your vehicle for both longevity and cost. Regular maintenance will help protect you from the need of having to replace more expensive parts. Think of it like a routine doctor visit for your vehicle. People exercise, eat healthy, vaccinate and have regular check-ups with their doctor to prevent serious illness- routine maintenance is your vehicles equivalent.
One example is this. Consider you have an average sedan with around 100,000 miles. During those miles you would have your oil changed around 25 times (at an oil change every 4,000 miles). Assuming the average cost of an oil change is around $40 you’ll spend $1000 on oil changes overall. If you neglected to have an oil change during that period, your engine could flood with contaminates and eventually seize. Dirty, thick oil cannot properly lubricate vital engine parts, causing metal-on-metal friction. This could cause damage that leads to an engine replacement costing somewhere around $4000 give or take.
Check your owner’s manual for service intervals specific to your vehicle.
Q: What Maintenance Items are most Commonly Recommended by the manufacturer?
They usually vary, but the following list is a good starting point:
- Axle fluid exchange
- Coolant fluid exchange
- Filter (air, cabin air, fuel) replacement
- Routine parts and fluid inspections
- Spark plug replacement
- Timing belt replacement
- Tire rotations and alignments
- Transmission fluid exchange
As all inspections and recommended service intervals vary by your vehicle make and model, be sure to check your owner’s manual for the specific needs of your vehicle.
Q: How Often Should I Check My Vehicle’s Fluid Levels?
Aside from engine oil, there are many other fluids that are vital to the health of your vehicle. Some examples include the transmission fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant, and power-steering fluid. Their levels are not only affected by how frequently you drive but extreme temperatures as well. As such, specialists advise checking them at the same time as your oil change or every month or two.
Q: How Often Should I Get an Oil Change?
The consensus agrees that a driver should get an oil change every 3,000 to 7,000 miles or every three months. However, you can always refer to your owner’s manual which covers the recommended oil change interval for your specific make and model. Many of today’s newer vehicles will actually tell you when they are due for service. Remember: an oil change is essential because it acts as a lubricant for the internal cogs and gears under the hood. Without it, oil can turn into sludge and prohibit your vehicle from operating correctly.
Q: When Should I Get a Tire Rotation?
As the main point of contact with the pavement, tires are subject to the most wear and tear. This is especially true if you utilize your vehicle for off-roading or have a two-wheel drive system which puts most of the labor on a specific set of wheels. That being the case, having your tires rotated every six months or around 6,000 to 8,000 miles is a good rule to uphold. Doing so will ensure your tires wear evenly.
Q: How Much Air Pressure Should I Put into My Tires?
The amount of pressure a tire requires depends on its type and the vehicle. You can find out the optimum air pressure either printed on the door jamb, the side-wall of the tires, or in your owner’s manual. Too much pressure can make it difficult for you to maneuver your vehicle while too little pressure can result in a blow-out. You can always speak with a product expert to determine what pressure levels are most appropriate.
Q: When Should I Replace My Car Battery?
The standard battery is projected to last three to five years, but variables like hot and cold weather can influence its longevity, so it is best to keep an eye out for signs your battery power is declining. If your headlights and dashboard lights are starting to dim or if your vehicle has difficulty starting, these are clues that your vehicle may be due for a battery replacement.
Q: When Should I Replace My Brake Pads?
On average, brake pads begin to wear out around the 20,000- to 30,000-mile mark, but there are many factors that may impact this figure. Knowing what signs to look out for will therefore prove instrumental in detecting when your brake pads need to be replaced. If you feel your vehicle taking longer to come to a stop or notice a high-pitch screeching or grinding noise when braking, scheduling a checkup is integral. Running with worn brake pads will eventually affect the rotors, which can be a costly repair, so taking a proactive approach will not only keep you safe but save you money as well.
Q: How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?
Typically, there are two filters in a vehicle. One is for the engine and the other is for the cabin. A dirty filter can prevent airflow, limiting the engine’s ability to expend hot air and inhibiting clean air to pass through. How often you need to change it varies, though the conventional timeframe is about 30,000 miles, which is why the best way to determine that it needs a replacement is to check it periodically. Fortunately, replacing a filter is a quick and easy process.
Q: Does it Matter Where I Bring My Vehicle to be Serviced?
It matters greatly. Think of what could go wrong on the road if you bring your vehicle to a less-than-qualified facility. First, your vehicle requires a qualified technician to inspect, troubleshoot, and repair your vehicle. This technician must possess the experience, education, and equipment to get the job done right the first time. However, excellent auto repair and preventative maintenance is only one piece of the puzzle — you need to find a facility that you can trust. At Prestige Auto works, we work hard to earn your trust. We are honest and upfront about which services your vehicle requires.
Q: What makes Certified Service Technicians Different?
From oil changes to engine replacements, our automotive experts build upon their meticulous skill by undergoing annual training to care for your vehicle’s special and ever-evolving needs. Building upon that meticulous skill, our technicians leverage your vehicle’s advanced diagnostic data and connected technology capabilities. Here at Prestige Auto Works, we can handle routine service maintenance to engine replacement and everything in between. We are Dodge Viper and SRT certified. We specialize in Mopar, GM, and Ford performance modifications, engine and transmission tuning.
Q: My Check Engine Light is Flashing! What should I Do?
You may see that light illuminating on your dashboard and start to panic. The flashing light means it needs your immediate attention. We recommend you do not drive the vehicle because you could do severe damage to the engine and catalytic converters. If the check engine light is on and not flashing, you may continue to drive the vehicle, but you should have it diagnosed as soon as possible by a qualified technician.