Automotive Maintenance Tips From Certified Technicians
Auto Service Experts San Antonio Mechanic Shop
- Familiarize yourself with, and follow the manufacturer recommended service schedule. You can locate this in your owner's manual, or call and ask an Auto Service Experts mechanic. The components & automotive systems within your vehicle were designed to be serviced at regular intervals to keep them operating at peak performance and avoid internal damage. Keeping up with regular car maintenance is the best way to avoid expensive auto repair in the future.
- Check all fluids frequently, especially during hot weather. Remember to use the proper coolant.
- Keep all moving parts well lubricated. Lubrication protects vehicle components from wearing on one another which causes friction and can lead to overheating.
Engine Oil - Ensure oil is at the proper level and avoid over-contamination by having the oil and filter changed every 3,000 miles. This is the most important vehicle maintenance measure you can take. Failure to regularly change oil causes engine damage, as well as many other auto mechanical problems.
Synthetic oil changes allow you to change your oil less often. Synthetic oil can last up to 15,000 miles, but depending on the make and model of the vehicle it usually needs to be changed sooner. This is due to varied oil filtration systems. For example, some oil filters must be changed every 5,000 miles regardless of the type of oil used.
Windshield Washer Fluid - While this seems minor, being unable to clear your windshield after being sprayed with mud, for example, can lead to an accident.
Maintain proper tire inflation according to the PSI rating recommendations for your tires & vehicle. This can be found on the wall of your tire. If you do not have a pressure gauge in your glove box (which you should), many gas station air hoses have them attached to the nozzle. Improperly inflated tires decrease driver safety, fuel economy, steering performance & emergency maneuvering ability.
Under inflated tires - While you may notice a tire with low pressure before it goes completely flat, even imperceptible air loss can lead to a blowout.p
Over inflated tires - This also causes performance and maneuverability issues due to less rubber maintaining contact with the ground, therefore less traction.
Tire inflation inconsistencies - All four tires should be inflated to the same PSI. Mismatched tires change the weight distribution of the vehicle. This causes the tires to wear unevenly and can lead to having to change them much sooner, or an unexpected blowout on tires which appear to be in good condition.
Tire Tread - Monitor the amount of tread on your tires, and look for signs of uneven wear, or cracks in the walls. Have your tires rotate regularly to ensure even wear. Tread should be at least 2/32 inch. You can check this by placing a penny in the tread groove with the head upside down. If you can see the top of the head, it is time for new tires. Tires eventually wear out or get "tire-rot", so they must be changed sometimes even if they have not been in use.
- Keep your vehicle properly aligned. This will prevent your tires from wearing unevenly and will increase steering performance.
- Have an ASE mechanic change brake pads as soon as they get low (or start to squeal) to avoid damaging the brake rotors.
- Periodically check all lights and signals to ensure they are operating correctly.
Turn Indicators (Blinkers) - If one blinker is clicking more rapidly than the other, you need to have that bulb replaced. On some cars or trucks changing the blinker bulbs is an easy do-it-yourself task, however, others are more difficult to get to and may require some disassembly or special tools. Rear turn signals must legally be amber or red in color, so be sure to observe this law in order to avoid being pulled over!
Headlights - Check not only that your car headlights work, but that they are not clouded, yellowed, or scratched to the point that they do not provide sufficient illumination. There are various auto headlight restoration kits you can purchase and try yourself, and many places (such as SAM'S) which offer this service. Sometimes these can dramatically increase the clarity of the headlamp cover, but those in very bad condition must be replaced.
Dashboard Indicators - Ensure that these light up and function properly. Car dashboard warning indicators signal automotive problems such as low brake fluid or engine oil which can lead to dangerous situations.
- Check the air filter and replace it when dirty. Clogged or dirty air filters can substantially reduce gas mileage and acceleration time.
- To maintain your vehicle's paint job, apply a quality wax coat a minimum of twice a year and quickly clean off any bird droppings or insect remains.
- Remember to periodically hose off the undercarriage of your car to prevent corrosive buildup.