Can we talk preventative maintenance? Fram famously said “You can pay me now or pay me later,” and it remains true to this day - nothing will prolong the life of your vehicle better than a good preventative maintenance regimen.
Everybody knows that regular oil changes are critical to keeping a car running, but today there’s much more that can be done - and many more benefits to be enjoyed - for those wishing to properly maintain a vehicle.
Industry standards for preventative maintenance practices have changed. Engine oil, for example, is far better today than in the past. Synthetic engine oil, now required in many new cars, provides an even higher level of protection for your engine while safely allowing extra time or miles between changes.
Because vehicles are lasting longer, manufacturers have adopted additional preventative maintenance practices that will help maximize the reliability and safety of your car or light truck.
Brake fluid, coolant (antifreeze), transmission fluid, and power steering fluid all need to be changed: we are fully equipped to do each job properly, with the proper fluids for your vehicle. While this may seem like a lot of maintenance, none of the services is due more than once every couple of years, and they will significantly prolong the life of your vehicle and minimize breakdowns.
Changing the brake fluid is a recommended service mainly because of moisture contamination. Moisture in the brake fluid doubly concerning because it will negatively affect the efficiency of your braking system, and it can have a corrosive effect on the internal components, shortening their life. Here at Haglin Automotive, we test the moisture content of the brake fluid in the cars we service so you can make an informed decision as to when a brake fluid service should be done.
The engine cooling system is responsible for dissipating the incredible heat generated by your engine, and a failure can do significant damage up to complete engine failure. Though manufacturers differ in their recommended coolant change intervals, the service is necessary to prevent the corrosion that will occur when the fluid turns acidic, to ensure the efficiency of the heat exchange properties of the fluid itself, and to keep the freezing point near -35 degrees Fahrenheit. Just as pipes can burst when water freezes inside them, your engine block or other components can rupture if the coolant freezes.
Your power steering has hydraulic fluid (although there are a few cars with electric power steering) that also should be changed regularly to guard against contamination and corrosion that could damage the seals, causing leaks. Low fluid levels can damage the power steering pump causing an expensive repair.
Automatic transmissions are more complicated and efficient than ever. While changing the fluid regularly on automatic transmissions has always been good practice, newer transmissions absolutely need regular maintenance to ensure continued proper operation and prolong their life. We have seen an increase in transmission failures of late, and the majority of them could have been prevented with a solid preventative maintenance plan.
If you need a little nudge toward performing routine transmission services, consider that many of the early warning symptoms are subtle enough that many people dismiss them as “just a quirk.” By the time they get severe enough to really get your attention, it may be too late. Here are a few warning signs that can indicate trouble with your transmission.
1. Low fluid, whether or not accompanied by a leak.
2. Gears slipping. Your vehicle shouldn’t surge when moving forward or in reverse.
3. Burning smell. That’s a warning sign that’s not limited to transmission, of course.
4. Makes noise. Whirring, clunking, or humming? Not normal.
5. Slow to go into drive or reverse from park or neutral. The gears should engage quickly and quietly.
6. Check engine light is on. The check engine light is an alert for more than just your engine. Ignoring a check engine light isn’t recommended - many times the issue is minor, and you don’t want to ignore a more serious problem. It’s better to know, and repairs are almost always much less expensive the earlier a problem is detected.