Vehicle Maintenance

The Importance of Vehicle Maintenance

Tips for Better Mileage:

  1. Replace your air filter.
  2. Keep your tires properly inflated.
  3. Use the recommended grade of oil.

Source: http://epa.gov

AC1For most people, a vehicle is a major investment, second only to buying a house. A National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) study found that at least half of consumers neglect routine maintenance, with young people being the least likely to keep up with service schedules. Almost two-thirds of automotive technicians believe that consumers can take care of their vehicles’ maintenance and repair needs for less than $500 annually. Considering the average cost and complexity of a new vehicle, you may be penny-wise and dollar-foolish if you neglect routine maintenance.

What do we mean by “vehicle maintenance”?
Vehicle maintenance means keeping all the systems and features functioning as closely as possible to the manufacturer’s original design intentions. Routine maintenance should be an ongoing process that begins when the vehicle is new, because any machine that receives use will also accumulate wear. Proactively tending to your vehicle’s maintenance needs is likely to help your vehicle start, run, and stop as the manufacturer intended, so you get the maximum amount of performance, reliability, and service life. Periodic inspections of the vehicle’s systems are the easiest way to monitor its health.

Vehicle Maintanence Tips

Here are ten of the most common systems and components that should be regularly maintained on your vehicle:

How to Make Your Tires Last

How to Make Your Tires Last

Your tires are an investment, and like any investment, you want it to last. Extending the life of your tires isn’t just a good idea for saving you money, it can also keep you safer on the road. Whether they’re winter tires, all-season tires or summer tires, we recommend that you follow these tips and help extend the life of your tires:

1. Check Your Tire Pressure

How often do you check your tire pressure? Most people do not check often enough. Many car owners only check their tire pressure when they notice the tires are looking more deflated than usual, but if you want to extend the life of your tires, you should be checking the pressure every month. Low tire pressure can cause improper handling and can even increase wear. Low tire pressure will also dramatically increase fuel consumption. It’s especially important to check in the winter and summer months, as the cold and hot temperatures can have a big impact on your tire pressure.  

2. Get Your Tires Rotated

Tire rotation is often overlooked, but it’s an important part of keeping your tires in great shape. If you have front-wheel drive, more pressure is being placed on your front tires, causing them to wear more quickly, while all-wheel drive vehicles are also subject to uneven wear. Rotating your tires ensures that your tires wear at a similar rate, rather than having one or two wear more quickly than the others. We recommend getting your tires rotated every 10,000 - 13,000 kilometres.  

3. Have Your Wheels Balanced

While you’re having your tires rotated we advise getting your wheels balanced as well. No matter how new your tires are, they all have a heavy spot which can cause vibrations and uneven tire wear. While this heavy spot is hardly noticeable to the naked eye, it can have a huge impact on how your tires wear. Your trained tire technician will add weights to your wheels to balance them out, and will adjust them as necessary as your tires wear.  

4. Check Your Alignment

Wheel alignment is essential for your safety. Wheel alignment can be thrown off in a variety of situations, for example, if you hit a curb, bump a parking lot barrier, or hit a pothole. While it can be obvious that your alignment is off, because your car will pull to the left or right, your wheel alignment could be off without you even knowing. We recommend that you have your wheel alignment checked once every year or so, or if you’ve recently had a small bump that could have affected your alignment. An experienced tire technician can also alert you of an alignment issue by observing the wear patterns on your tires.  

5. Avoid Sudden Stops and Starts

As a matter of safety, for you and others on the road, you should drive calmly and try to avoid any sudden stops or starts. Aside from making you a hazard to other drivers, driving erratically can also contribute to your tires’ premature wear. Avoid excessive acceleration, hard braking and quick cornering whenever possible to help extend the life of your tires.  

Brakes

Often, brakes have wear indicators that produce noise when it’s time to change the pads. Or your brakes may “feel” different when you press on them. If you think there may be a problem with your vehicle’s brakes, have them inspected .Proper servicing maximizes performance and service life of your brakes.

Oil and Oil Filters

Having your oil and oil filter changed, at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer, is likely to generate the single biggest return on your routine-maintenance investment. Replacing the dirty oil and filter will help protect the internal parts of the engine from premature wear. It’s important to use the recommended grade of oil for your vehicle for the best protection and fuel mileage. See your vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended oil change interval, or follow the oil-life monitoring system, if equipped. If you are unsure, the industry guideline is 5000km or 3 months or for regular oils. Remember you cannot damage your engine by changing your oil too often.

Charging / Battery

Extreme heat and cold are hard on automotive batteries. Heat from the summer increases the internal battery temperatures allowing the lead plates to corrode and deteriorate. The higher the internal battery temperature plus the number of times the battery reaches a high internal temperature affects and reduces battery service life. BAM! in comes Cooler Weather . The cooler the ambient temperature (below 26 C) the more energy is required from the battery in order to start a vehicles engine. Cooler temperatures also result in a reduction of the battery's recharge efficiency, and increasing the risk of failure. Don't get stuck out in the Cold - Have your Battery and charging system tested spring and fall.

Air Filters

A dirty air filter prevents the engine from breathing properly, which can decrease fuel mileage and performance and make the engine work harder than it needs to. Let your vehicle breathe! Change the air filter once a year or when recommended in your owner’s manual. Change it more often if you drive in dirty or dusty conditions. If your vehicle is equipped with a cabin air filter, change that too. A dirty cabin air filter reduces the airflow through the vehicle’s ventilation system. Cabin air filters help keep pollens, fumes, smoke, and other materials from reaching the inside of a vehicle. See the owner’s manual to determine if your vehicle is equipped with a cabin air filter.

Belts

Drive belts are essential for keeping your vehicle’s electrical (alternator), engine cooling (water pump), and air-conditioning systems running. Having them inspected periodically and replaced when necessary means you’re less likely to experience a broken belt and the resulting vehicle breakdown.

Cooling

A cooling system that is clogged or low on fluid can cause serious damage to the engine and other components. Get into the habit of checking the fluid level regularly, and have the fluid changed or flushed when recommended.

Wipers

Don’t wait for a rainy day to discover that your windshield wipers are worn and need replacement. Worn wipers can hinder visibility in rainy or snowy conditions.

Ignition

Though many spark plugs are designed to last 160,000 kilometres, they can still get dirty or fail prematurely. Ignition wires lose insulating ability over time, and the connection to the plug or ignition coil can degrade as well. Having your service technician regularly inspect your ignition system can help you avoid conditions that may result in poor performance or reduced fuel economy.

Shocks / Struts

The suspension system affects your vehicle’s steering, braking power, and stability, so it’s important to have these functions inspected regularly and to replace parts when they become worn — and dangerous!. It’s also important to have other chassis items, such as tie-rod ends, control arms, and ball joints, checked periodically.

Transmission

Automatic transmissions have become more sophisticated with additional gears and computerized electronic controls and are designed to work with the engine controls for best operation. Have the transmission inspected and serviced as recommended in the owner’s manual.