General Vehicle Maintenance
General Vehicle Maintenance
The long-established centerpiece of the automobile sector, known as the "tune-up," has experienced significant transformations over the years. Despite certain misconceptions, contemporary vehicles still necessitate tune-ups for optimal functioning.
With the swift advancement of technology, the methods involved in conducting a traditional tune-up have undergone a considerable evolution. Sophisticated ignition and fuel systems have become standard, integrating one or more onboard computers to regulate critical engine and transmission functions.
Neglecting proper vehicle maintenance can impede your ability to reach your intended destination. For modern vehicles, a thorough inspection of various systems is essential during the 21st Century Tune-up, including the battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.
To ensure peak performance, fuel efficiency, and reduced emissions, the Car Care Council recommends that drivers invest time in familiarizing themselves with their vehicles. Study the owner's manual meticulously to grasp the operation of all systems, paying special attention to indicator lights and instruments.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter
Some of the ensuing advice can be managed by any do-it-yourselfer, while others necessitate the expertise of a professional auto technician.
An inconvenience at any time, mechanical failure can be perilous during winter. Preemptive maintenance is imperative. A well-maintained vehicle not only offers a more enjoyable driving experience but also has a longer lifespan and may command a higher resale value.
Resolve any engine drivability issues (like hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) at a reputable repair shop. Replace clogged filters, such as air and fuel filters.
Add fuel de-icer to your tank monthly to prevent moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Maintaining a full gas tank also deters moisture build-up.
Follow the manual and change the oil and oil filter as directed, especially if your driving primarily consists of frequent short trips or stop-and-go traffic.
Regularly check the coolant level, condition, and concentration, and ensure a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water. Refrain from removing the radiator cap until the engine has cooled down. Have a professional examine the drive belts, clamps, and hoses.
Replace worn wiper blades with rubber-clad (winter) ones to combat ice build-up. Always keep a sufficient amount of windshield washer solvent, and carry an ice-scraper.
Ensure that the heater and defroster are functioning correctly for passenger comfort and optimal driver visibility. Remember to replace the cabin air filter periodically.
Detect a weak battery accurately with professional equipment. Routinely remove corrosion from posts and cable connections and check the fluid level if the battery caps are removable.
Regularly inspect all lights and bulbs, replacing any burnt-out bulbs and cleaning lenses as needed.
Elevate your vehicle and examine the exhaust system for leaks. Inspect the trunk and floorboards for small holes as exhaust fumes can be dangerous.
Worn tires are ineffective in winter weather. Check tire pressure monthly, examine tread life and for uneven wear, and rotate tires as recommended. Also, ensure the spare tire and jack are in good condition.
Stock up on essential emergency gear such as gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flashlight. Keep some high-energy snacks in the glove box as well.
Preparing Your Vehicle For Summer
The heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic of summer can take a toll on your vehicle. Combine that with the wear from the previous winter, and you might be at risk of a breakdown. However, regular maintenance can reduce the chances of mechanical failure, ensuring that your vehicle lasts longer and retains a higher resale value. Some of the following tips can be easily implemented, while others may require the expertise of a skilled auto technician.
Have your air conditioning system examined by a qualified technician, especially if it's showing signs of marginal operation. Check and replace cabin air filters as directed in the owner's manual.
The primary cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. Ensure that the cooling system is flushed and refilled regularly, with a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water. Check the condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses.
Adhere to the manual and change the oil and oil filter as recommended, especially if you frequently make short trips, travel with heavy luggage, or tow a trailer.
Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended, and address any engine drivability issues promptly.
Keep a clear windshield by replacing worn wiper blades and ensuring an adequate supply of windshield washer solvent.
Routinely check all lights and bulbs, replacing any that are burnt out and cleaning lenses as needed.
Rotate your tires regularly, check tire pressure monthly, and inspect them for tread life, uneven wear, and cuts. Have your alignment checked if there's any uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
Regularly inspect your brakes as per the owner's manual, and address any minor issues promptly to avoid major problems.
Battery failure can occur at any time. Use professional equipment to accurately detect a weak battery. Maintain your battery by cleaning corrosion and ensuring the proper fluid level if the battery caps are removable.
Carry essential tools and a first-aid kit. Include flares and a flashlight, and consider having a cellular phone on hand.
Also being able to maintain your vehicle in harmony with the environment is a mutually beneficial strategy. A well-maintained and efficiently operated vehicle is safer, lasts longer, and according to ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians, can have a 50% longer lifespan.
The following tips can guide you toward wallet-friendly car care practices:
- Ensure your engine is well-tuned, as a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30%.
- Adhere to the service schedules outlined in your owner's manual, replacing filters and fluids as recommended.
- Regularly check your tire inflation, as underinflated tires lead to wasted fuel and increased engine workload.
- Address any issues with wheels that are out-of-line, as uneven tread wear and vehicle pulling can cause unnecessary strain on the engine.
- Observe speed limits, as mileage drastically decreases above 60 mph.
- Adopt a smooth driving style, avoiding sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go movements. Use cruise control on open highways to maintain a steady speed.
- Avoid excessive idling, shutting off the engine while waiting for extended periods.
- Modern vehicles warm up quickly, so avoid prolonged warm-ups on cold winter mornings.
- Remove unnecessary items from your vehicle to reduce weight and enhance fuel efficiency.
- Store luggage and cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to minimize air drag.
- Plan your trips efficiently, consolidating errands to reduce unnecessary driving. Opt for travel during lighter traffic times to avoid stop-and-go conditions.
- Consider participating in a carpool to further reduce car costs.
Remember that how your car runs, how you drive it, and how you handle its fluids, old parts, and tires all have significant implications on your finances.
This was my first time having my vehicle serviced at Epic Automotive... The service was superb... and very professional.. If my vehicle is in need of service in the future I will be returning to Epic Automotive.