Vehicle Maintenance and National Car Care Month
It seems everything has a day, week, or month nowadays. From National Tortilla Chip Day on February 24 to National Map Reading Week at the end of October and Family Reunion Month in July. If you’re looking for a reason to celebrate, it’s not hard to find one. Here at Ashland Automotive, we aren’t so cynical as to ignore the importance of these national months. Well, maybe there is a hint of sarcasm in there, but still…it’s never a bad time to talk about the importance of vehicle maintenance.
During this National Car Care Month, we sat down with Zach Edwards, our owner and noted stickler for proper preventive maintenance, to learn more about the musts when it comes to making sure your ride is ready for the road.
Here are Zach’s non-negotiables when it comes to maintenance:
DIY Vehicle Maintenance
On a regular basis, you should test your exterior and interior lights and have bulbs that are not working checked immediately. It is a good idea to replace windshield wiper blades every six months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking, or chattering for optimum wiping performance and safety. You can easily do these things on your own without a trip to your mechanic.
Check the pressure of all tires monthly—including the spare. Additionally, you should check the tread for uneven or irregular wear and cuts and bruises along the sidewalls.
Trust Vehicle Maintenance to Your Mechanic
Check the oil, filters, and fluids on the appropriate schedule for your car. In the olden days, it was simple – you changed your oil every three months or 3,000 miles. Nowadays, there are an array of options for different types of cars. Establishing a relationship with a shop like Ashland Automotive will help you keep on schedule. This also gives your mechanic an opportunity to ensure your brake, transmission, power steering, coolant, and windshield washer fluids are good to go. They can also check on the shape of filters for the transmission, fuel system, and interior ventilation.
Ensure hoses are inspected regularly and replace belts on a regular schedule. You should have your mechanic Inspect hoses and clamps at each oil change. They should be replaced when they are leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen, or restricted. V-belts and serpentine belts should also be checked regularly for looseness and condition. These should be replaced when showing signs of excessive wear and/or cracked or frayed. For most cars, the timing belt will need to be replaced between 90,000 and 120,000 miles. This is one you don’t want to miss. You could run into a full breakdown and serious engine damage if your belt blows on the go.
When it comes to brakes, the linings, rotors, and drums should be inspected at each oil change. Additionally, you should have the braking system inspected at least annually.
Be on the Lookout
You should maintain a battery connection that is tight, clean, and free of corrosion. This is one you can check yourself, but a good mechanic will also keep an eye on it. You should also ensure your battery is securely mounted. After about 3-4 years, it is a good idea to have your battery tested or to just go ahead and replace it preventatively.
Your exhaust system should be examined for leaks, damage, and broken supports or hangers if you begin to notice an unusual noise or vibration. Please note that exhaust leaks can be extremely dangerous and should be addressed immediately.
Recommended Maintenance Intervals
It is vital to maintain your automobile in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer. You should schedule maintenance at recommended intervals to:
- Ensure the engine is delivering an efficient balance of power and fuel economy that produces the lowest level of emissions.
- Ensure the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is functioning properly for your comfort and safety—to include ensuring the defroster is working properly.
- Ensure the steering and suspension system—including shock absorbers and struts, and chassis parts, such as ball joints, tie rod ends, and other related components—is in proper working order. This should include a check of your alignment to help reduce tire wear and improve fuel economy and handling.
At Ashland Automotive, we have earned a reputation as Ashland’s Premier Auto Repair Shop. To learn more about how we can help you keep your ride rolling right, visit ashlandautomotiveinc.com or give us a call at 541-482-4042.