Today’s vehicles are light-years better than the cars of old. There is much less maintenance needed now to drive our cars than before, and they almost seem maintenance free. But therein lies the problem. No matter how well made our cars are now compared to even just 20 years ago, the fact remains that cars require regular maintenance to avert expensive repairs down the road.
Today we will explore the concept of automobile maintenance. We will present some facts versus the fables that impact on the costs of operating a vehicle. The goal of this presentation is to generate some thoughts about what has worked well and not so well regarding your experiences with car ownership.
Let’s relive a little of the “good ol’ days” shall we? Remember the nostalgia of automobile guidance handed down by your grandfather to your dad!
“Son, here is how to check the oil and coolant, I will check your sister’s”.
“When you stop down at the gas station for gas, ask them to check your battery electrolyte, freeze protection and brake fluid. Also, have them check the tire air pressure.” Where did these full service gas station go anyway?
Back in the “good ol’ days”:
Tires lasted 20,000 miles maybe
Gas was .29 cents a gallon
Batteries lasted a couple years at most
A tune-up was due every 10,000 miles and was prone to frequent failure
Brakes didn’t last 25,000 miles
Oil changes were due every 2,500 miles
What is a grease job?
Where did the transmission dipstick go?
Are we left with the impression that our cars are truly maintenance free?
Then what the heck are the warning lights on my dash?
- CHECK ENGINE SOON LIGHT
- SERVICE VEHICLE SOON LIGHT
- TIRE PRESSURE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM LIGHT
- ABS LIGHT
- TRACTION CONTROL LIGHT
- HIGH TEMPERATURE LIGHT AND OR GAUGE
- LOW OIL PRESSURE LIGHT AND OR GAUGE
- LOW OIL LEVEL LIGHT
- WHAT THE MESSAGES OUT OF THE MESSAGE CENTER?
Responding to The Check Engine Light coming on:
# Purchase parts predicated solely on a scan of the codes. This is very common with free scanning at the local parts store, as they are in the business of selling parts!
# Clear the codes because some causation data will be lost. A technician may need the data to properly troubleshoot your car.
# Drive your car far until you fully understand why the light is on. You, then may elect to defer the repair to a future date.
# Have the check engine light diagnosed ASAP if the car now runs poorly, differently, misfiring, or no power Pull.
# Get a firm price for diagnostic charges. Also get a written estimate for the proposed repairs.
# Look on the internet for cars similar to yours and see if they are having the same problem and what may have caused it.
# If you’re not comfortable with the estimate, get a second opinion.
# Ask to see the old defective parts.
# Pay by credit card, if this a new shop to you.
What are today’s RECOMMENDATIONS for an operator’s checklist?
- Check the oil level weekly or with gas fill up.
- Glance at the brake, coolant, and power steering fluid levels.
- Know what each warning light on the dash means. Information is in the owner’s manual, or ask your mechanic.
Here’s our version of what “Grandpa Chuck” would tell your grand-kid getting his first car.
Establish your monthly under the hood and walk around the car checklist:
- Check Headlights
- Check Brake Lights
- Check Turn Signals and Side Lights
- Check Tire Air Pressure
- Check Tire Condition
- Listen for Exhaust Leaks
- Look at Accessory Belts
- Look for Coolant Leaks
- Look for Oil Leaks
- Listen for Strange Noises
- Check Air Filter
- Check Battery Cables and Battery
- Check Coolant (Cold)
- Look at Hoses
- Check Brake Fluid Level
- Check Oil Level
- Fill Washer Fluid
- Check Wiper Blades
CLARK AUTOMOTIVE CLINIC – Is a full service automotive maintenance and service provider located in Blaine, MN. We specialize in diagnostics, vehicle performance, brake repair, general suspension, and electrical repairs.
What can Clark Automotive Provide to you, which you may not currently have?
“We keep your work car working!” We are a one stop shop for your reasonably priced automotive maintenance needs, auto repairs, with car talk and advice. If you’re like most people, you probably tend to drive around until something goes wrong and then incur the expense of replacing worn-out parts or replace the whole vehicle. Our goal is to offer a more balanced approach to keeping your work and family cars running properly at a lower expenditure of funds.
What value added can Clark Automotive provide for your automotive ownership expenditures?
With Clark taking care of your car, you get a peace of mind that your car has been repaired in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner, using high quality original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts where required.