Maintenance Checks that Keep your Car Going
Owning a car is quite different nowadays compared with much of the 20th century, when they were still a relatively new invention. These days however, cars are commonplace in most households, and are a commonly used method of transportation. As a provider of a towing services in Woodstock VA, we believe in maintaining your car to avoid having to call upon us unnecessarily.
Most people will take their car for a ‘service’ annually, which usually involves checking the rudimentary functions of the car such as the brakes and headlights. Although depending on the age of the car and amount of use it’s getting, you may need to check it in between, if specific repairs or upgraded need to occur.
Here is a look at the less obvious maintenance checks which can keep your car going.
The Routine Checkup
As previously mentioned, most people will take their car for an annual checkup with their local mechanic. The following is what mechanics will evaluate when looking at your vehicle:
- Engine Oil and Filter – These usually need to be changed every 5,000 miles
- Coolant / Antifreeze – These need to be replaced annually
- Brakes – All elements of the brake system need to be checked annually, including brake fluid, brake lining, rotors and pads
- Tires – The pressure and condition should be checked regularly, with a tire rotation occurring every 5,000 miles
- Battery – Check that it’s mounted securely and not corroded
Many of the people who contact us about our towing service in Woodstock VA failed to check or maintain one or more of the above features. While ensuring these parts are functioning correctly can rule out a huge variety of problems, there are other parts which benefit from regular checking and maintenance.
What to Check Immediately
Modern cars have many lights and dials which can indicate to drivers the types of issues that are taking place. The two most common indicators are the ‘Check Engine Light’ and ‘Tire Pressure Light’.
Check Engine Light
This light indicates that the electronic control system in your car has run into a problem which it can’t fix. There are a variety of issues which could cause this light to turn on, including:
- Loose cap on the fuel tank – a common reason for the light to turn on which may occur immediately after filling up
- Catalytic Converter failure – this plays a critical role in the exhaust of your car and while it isn’t a complicated fix, it can be expensive
- Oxygen (O2) sensor fault – this can cause problems with the catalytic converter and should be fixed asap
- Ignition coil or spark plug failure – only a problem in cars which run on gasoline (not diesel), these problems can be mistaken for one another
- Airflow sensor failure – this checks how much air is entering the engine and tells the car’s computer how much fuel should go in. Problems with this are usually caused by the air filter
Tire Pressure Light
Unlike the check engine light, the tire pressure light indicates exactly what the problem is, namely that the tires are losing air. This could be due to a variety of reasons, and regularly checking and changing your tires can mitigate this problem.
Faulty Headlights or Indicators
If one of your lights goes out, check the fuse immediately as often that is the cause. If that doesn’t fix it make sure to replace the bulb as soon as possible, otherwise you may risk getting a ticket.
Broken or Noisy Wiper Blades
A relatively common problem in older cars or those used heavily, the wiper blades are prone to malfunction and can cause a cacophony when left unaddressed. Thankfully, replacing wiper blades is generally affordable and easy, with most car part shops offering the service for a small fee.
Other Types Of Maintenance Checks
After all of the above checks, the final few are either specific to certain vehicles or certain circumstances. These can include:
- Automatic Transmission Fluid – only relevant to automatics, this needs be done while the engine is running and more information can be found in the owner’s manual
- V Belts and Serpentine Belts – these should be tight, if they’re frayed or worn then replace them
- Hoses – the various hoses underneath your car should be in good condition, any cracks and tears will require the hoses to be replaced
- Power Steering Fluid – check while the car is warm and top up if necessary, if top ups become frequent check for leaks
- Exhaust – inspect for leaks and damage and listen for any strange sounds it may be making, repair immediately if any faults are identified
- Chassis Lubrication – unless your car is “lubed for life” (check owner’s manual or online) then you may need to get the chassis, steering and suspension systems lubed.
For information about whether our auto repair facility can help with any of the above maintenance checks, or to find out more about our towing service in Woodstock VA, get in touch with Shenandoah Towing, today!