Vehicle Maintenance Checklist
Like any mechanical device, your vehicle needs regular maintenance to ensure it works properly. More importantly, regular maintenance ensures your vehicle is as safe as possible to drive on public roads. With literally thousands of moving parts and mechanical systems that need to work together to make your car run and drive safely, preventive maintenance is critically important. The following is a maintenance checklist that helps to keep your vehicle running well.
Brakes are possibly the most important system on vehicles because, without them, you cannot stop safely or maintain vehicular control. Virtually all modern hydraulic brake systems use disc brakes with calipers and thick pads that provide friction and stopping power. A master cylinder distributes the hydraulic pressure that you apply with the brake pedal.
It always is a good idea to have the brakes maintained at least once per year with a change of brake fluid and brake pads at least every two years. An annual brake inspection and service will ensure the brake fluid is clean, the calipers are bled to remove air or moisture, and the pads and rotors are in good shape.
If the pads are nearing their maximum wear, new ones go onto both wheels on the same axle. If the rotors are warped but still in reasonably good shape, a quick rotor turning can restore a smooth surface. Otherwise, one or more new rotors help to restore full braking power.
Change Oil and Filters
Your engine needs good oil to keep things lubricated and reduce internal friction. A regular oil and oil filter change helps to ensure your vehicle’s engine has the best possible protection with the proper viscosity and type of oil that gives your engine the best possible protection.
We also remove the old oil filter and inspect it for signs that it trapped metallic pieces that could indicate internal engine damage is happening. A new oil filter helps to give the best flow of good oil throughout the engine. While we are underneath the vehicle, we also check the fuel filter and replace it if needed.
Our technicians also check and replace the air filter and can check and replace cabin filters as needed. A clean air filter ensures the combustion chamber gets the oxygen it needs for optimal performance. Checking and replacing one or more cabin air filters helps to ensure you breathe good, clean air and do not have mold or mildew causing foul odors inside the passenger cabin.
Regular Tune-Up Services
All combustion engines have spark plugs, wires and a means to distribute the power to the correct cylinder for the best possible motor efficiency. The plugs need to be checked and changed about every 10,000 miles or as needed to make sure they give you the best spark and cleanest burn in the combustion chamber.
The wires connecting the plugs to the distributor also wear out over time and need to be checked and replaced before they start losing power. When the wires are dry rotted, the spark plugs do not get enough power to burn the fuel properly.
Coolant, Belts, and Hoses
Hot summer days and cold winter nights will test your engine and its ability to stay in good running condition. If you run coolant that has lost its viscosity and cannot keep your engine cool, you could suffer an overheating issue and permanently damage the motor. The same could happen if the antifreeze does not protect the engine block against freeing up and possibly cracking.
Regular coolant flush-and-fill service makes sure your vehicle has the proper coolant and antifreeze to make it through the summertime and wintertime temperature extremes. While the radiator and coolant reservoir are empty, we check the hoses and replace them if we find any signs of dry rot or cracking that could spring a leak. We also check and replace the alternator belt and serpentine belt if they also show signs of excessive wear and tear that might make them especially prone to breaking.
Tires and Wheels
Regular tire rotation and wheel balancing is a simple and easy way to help maximize tire life while ensuring you get the best traction and handling from the tires and wheels. Rotating tires about every 5,000 miles helps to even out the wear and tear and ensures they stay perfectly balanced after thousands of miles of bumps and possible curb-hopping in narrow drives.
Either a two- or four-wheel alignment will help to straighten out the steering if one or more drive wheels are out of alignment. Alignments help to maintain correct travel lanes and enable the tires to get the longest service life.
Suspension and Steering
Ball joints, tie rod ends and other suspension and steering components all affect vehicle handling and safety. Regular maintenance ensures your vehicle has the proper suspension parts to maintain proper handling and traction. When shocks and struts start to go bad, vehicles wallow more in turns and become harder to handle. Bad shocks or struts combined with worn suspension and steering parts are a recipe for a potential road-going disaster that regular maintenance and occasional repairs could prevent.
Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid
When the rain or snow falls and you need to see clearly, you want good windshield wiper blades and the correct type of washer fluid for the season. Those who drive in cold climates greatly benefit from washer fluid that contains deicer and wiper blades with two or more edges to move the maximum among snow, slush, and icy accumulation.
And when you are driving on long summer days and especially at night with the lights on, bugs like to zero in on your lights. That means lots of them wind up on your windshield and can make it impossible to see clearly. Good wiper blades and fresh fluid help to clear the way while debugging your windscreen.