We know that when something seems wrong with our vehicle, it’s time to book service. However, there are numerous services and inspections that can be performed on a vehicle when nothing is wrong that will go a long way in increasing the vehicle’s life. These services are known as tune ups and regular car maintenance. In your vehicle’s service manual, you will likely have an exact schedule of when you should get various components checked. At Gary’s Automotive, we know it’s easier to perform routine car maintenance than it is to complete an entire engine overhaul, so here is a basic guideline for successful vehicle ownership.
Car Maintenance – Every Drive
When you drive, your car isn’t working to magically repair itself. Each time you drive your vehicle it’s subjected to dirt, wear, bumps, dings and all sorts of other dangers. There are a few areas of your car it doesn’t hurt to check every time you plan on driving. Click on the topics below for more detailed car maintenance information.
Tires – Something as simple as taking a quick look at your tires can help prevent a catastrophic failure. No matter your wheels, over time the amount of air in your tires will decrease. There are numerous disadvantages to both underinflated and overinflated tires. An underinflated tire can cost you steering precision, fuel economy, and cornering stability. An overinflated tire reduces the amount of tire contact with the road, and creates a rougher ride. Taking a moment to check you tire treads can also be beneficial. Worn out tires can be dangerous as they wont provide the needed stopping power or acceleration to avoid danger. Treads wearing out unevenly can be symptoms of a greater problem.
Lights – If something should light up and it doesn’t, or if something shouldn’t light up and it does, then you may have a problem. Checking to see that your exterior lights are both on and functioning is a good habit to get in to. Taking a moment to make sure there are no warning lights lit up on your dash is also a good idea. There are many problems that can trigger the vague check engine light, and understanding some symptoms of this light could be the difference between tightening the gas cap and buying a new engine. As for your exterior lights, making sure your brake lights are functioning is an important part of vehicle safety.
Fluid Levels – All fluid in your vehicle is important for the proper function of moving parts or to keep components the correct temperature. It isn’t crucial to check every fluid level in your car every time you drive, but you should have a basic idea of where some of them sit fairly frequently. The most important being your oil. Oil keeps all the moving parts in your engine running smooth, and without it your engine would seize and be inoperable. Regardless of season, having an adequate amount of washer fluid is important as well. It helps keep dirt and pollen off your windshield in the summer, and keeps salt and ice off in the winter.
Car Maintenance – Every 5000 KM
Every 5000 KM or so you should check in with your car. Whether it’s brand new or a classic, there are wear parts that need to be checked regularly to ensure proper function and performance:
Oil Change – While the exact time of a needed oil change can vary, a safe assumption is every 5000 KM. As your engine operates, tiny pieces of metal flake off into the oil. While your filter catches most of these, the oil itself retains some of the metals, decreasing its viscosity and performance. When you change your oil, its also a clear choice to change your oil filter. Doing so ensures the lubrication system in your vehicle is fresh and clean for a smooth ride.
Belt Inspections – As robust as a metal engine containing thousands of tiny explosions is, it would all be for nothing (in most vehicles) if it wasn’t for some belts under the hood. Your timing belt ensures that the right valves in your engine open at the right time. If this belt were to break, the engine would fall out of sync and essentially destroy itself. The serpentine belt is responsible for powering a number of systems under the hood, including the alternator, air conditioning, power steering, and on some models the water pump (responsible for engine cooling) A broken timing belt can lead to serious engine damage or worse, and a broken serpentine belt can render a car inoperable.
Wipers – Many people neglect their wipers, but the fact is you can’t drive a well maintained vehicle if you can’t see. Wipers are more important than many people give them credit for, a fact that many people realize only when they get caught in a heavy rain or snow storm. When you think it’s time for an oil change, take a look at your wipers. If they look like they are in rough shape, or if it looks like they could be replaced, do so. You won’t be sorry.
Car Maintenance – Every 10,000 KM
In addition to re-checking the list above, it’s also a good a idea to consider some of these car maintenance ideas:
Tire Rotation – Around here, a tire rotation will come in the form of taking the summers off and putting the winters on. The important concept to remember is to rotate the summer tires when you get them put back on. If you are using the same winter tires the following year, rotating them is a good idea as well. The type of tires you’re using, your wheel size, and your vehicle all determine what kind of tire rotation you will need. Some vehicles will have all 4 tires rotated, some will only swap the front and rear tires, while some vehicles may not require a tire rotation at all (a very rare instance). Keeping your tires rotated allows for a more even wear, enhancing tread life.
Brake Inspection – As you’re driving, you may begin to hear a squealing coming from your brakes. This is a symptom of brake wear, and a sign that they need to be changed. Depending on how often you drive, it’s suggested to have your brakes inspected while getting your tires rotated. Brakes and tires form the most important aspects of your vehicle when it comes to safety, so it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your brakes.
Car Maintenance – Every 15,000 KM
15,000 KM per year is an average amount for someone to drive. Remember to check everything from the 5,000 KM car maintenance list, as well as some other important areas:
Cabin Air Filter – The air that you breathe inside your car comes from wherever you are driving. Its safe to say that if you drive down a lot of dirt roads you’ll have a fairly dirty cabin air filter. Getting your cabin air filter replaced is a simple job that can make your overall driving experience better and more enjoyable for everyone inside.
Fuel Systems Check – Your fuel system isn’t impervious to the same stresses and wear that other systems in your vehicle are put through. While it may take longer for these issues to present themselves, this is still an important system to check. Having an inspection of your fuel lines done as well as assessing or replacing your fuel filter can increase your engine life and make sure you’re getting the most out of every tank of gas. This step is important if you drive a diesel vehicle, as the fuel lines and system varies from a gasoline engine.
Test Your Battery – While a vehicle battery will last much longer than 15,000 KM, when other regular inspections are taking place it doesn’t hurt to have your battery checked. A battery is crucial for vehicle function, and extreme weather or frequent driving can affect your overall battery life, sometimes by as much as 2 years.
Car Maintenance – Continuing The Schedule
At the 20,000 KM mark, you’ll want to repeat the tasks from both the 5,000 KM and the 10,000 KM list. Once you get into the routine of scheduling these car maintenance services at regular intervals it will be easy to keep your car running its absolute best. Keeping a lookout for issues with your vehicle’s exhaust, suspension, and steering systems at regular intervals will also keep you on the road longer. As always, the service experts at Gary’s Automotive are here to keep your car in the best condition possible. Whether you’ve had your car for a half kilometer or half a million, The experts at Gary’s are here for you. Get a free quote from our experts or make an appointment today!