What’s the key to keeping your car running for a long time? Following the recommended maintenance intervals outlined in your owner’s manual and checking for potential problems before they happen are essential to overall vehicle maintenance
Follow the car care tips below to keep your vehicle running reliably and Clean:
Change the oil within the suggested service intervals.
Checking and changing your oil and oil filter will help your engine and vehicle run smoothly. While changing your oil as required is important, using the manufacturer’s recommended oil for your vehicle can improve gas mileage by 1-2%.
Moving components require regular lubrication and should be checked as often as the oil is changed. Driveline components, like CV and u-joints, are flexible components that, if not properly lubricated, can break down and cause other major components to go with them.
Transmission and differential fluid are other important fluids to check during service intervals. Unusual noises, sluggish shifting, or abrupt gear changes are all signs that your transmission service interval is quickly approaching or has passed. For fluid specifications, be sure to consult your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommended transmission fluid type and viscosity.
Pay attention to battery life. Battery connections should be kept tight, clean, and free of corrosion. Batteries rarely provide warnings before failing, so be sure to seek battery replacements as necessary.
Brake fluid can attract moisture, which will corrode components. Brake fluid should be replaced once a year to keep calipers, hoses, and other components in top operating condition. Other important fluids to consider changing on a regular basis include power steering fluid and coolant. Each fluid has its own service interval, so be sure to check with the manufacturer.
Fully functioning climate control systems are important to your comfort and your overall safety. A complete flush and fill of the coolant system is necessary for ridding the system of dirt and rust collected from the engine, radiator, and various hoses. Refrigerant may also be checked prior to the onset of warmer seasons.
Wheel alignments can realign your wheels to your manufacturer’s specifications. Wheel alignments improve straight-line tracking and reduce tire wear. If you feel unusual pulling to one side, it is time for a wheel alignment.
Avoid stop-and-go driving. This wastes fuel and adds unnecessary wear and premature age to crucial components.
Stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance and visit us today or contact us online when your vehicle needs to be serviced by International Auto Repair today
Five do’s and don’ts of car washing
Washing a car isn’t too complicated, but there are definitely a few best practices to take into consideration. Some traditional ways of cleaning cars – perhaps even what mom and dad taught you
(No, it’s not ok to use dish soap! Ever!) – can actually damage your car’s exterior.
Follow this list to clean your car and help boost its value:
Don’t wait until your car is visibly dirty.
Bugs, bird droppings, acid rain and pollutants can dull your car’s finish and, in extreme cases, strip the paint. Don’t think of the weekly car wash advice as all or nothing. Monthly washes are likely sufficient to maintain your car’s appearance. The exception is in areas where there is acid rain. Always rinse your car after acid rain or the paint could be permanently scarred.
Don’t wash a hot car.
High temperatures can make cleaning more difficult and cause deposits that eventually damage paint. Park your car in the shade or wait until the heat of the day passes before getting started.
Do invest in the proper supplies.
A cleaning product created specifically for cars, a large sponge or wash mitt and a hose with running water are must-have items for car washing. Cleaners designated for cars are essential. They are gentle enough for paint, though you may need a specialty product, such as tar remover, for trouble spots. And a clean sponge or wash mitt is important to help avoid scratches. But, most importantly, you need water. If you don’t have access to a hose with running water, Ed Kriston, a longtime industry expert of Westminster, Maryland, recommends against washing the car yourself. If you rely on water in a bucket for rinsing, you may work grit into the surface and scratch the paint. Working with only a bucket of water also makes it impossible to properly rinse grit from the car.
Do wash the car in sections.
Work on one area at a time: washing, rinsing and drying. But don’t move the sponge or mitt in circles; circular motions can create swirl marks. Instead, move the sponge in straight lines.
Do wax your car twice a year.
Although some people believe waxing damages a car’s finish, We tend to disagree. Waxing your car preserves the finish and proves to be a beneficial maintenance effort, particularly if you own your vehicle and want to sell it or trade it in someday. The best times to wax your car include: in the fall, before the first snow falls and in the spring before hot weather moves in.
The battery stores energy in chemical form that is released on demand as electricity. The energy is used by the vehicle's ignition system to crank the engine, as well as power the lights or other accessories. If your alternator fails, your vehicle can run on the battery alone, at least for a short period of time. Normally, however, as long as your engine is running, the alternator keeps the battery recharged. If you operate any electrical items with the engine off – such as power windows, the audio system or headlights – the battery will slowly drain.
Because automotive batteries contain hydrogen-oxygen gases and sulfuric acid that can cause serious burns, you need to observe some precautions before you handle the battery. The American National Standards Institute recommends wearing safety glasses or goggles and a face shield. Other precautions include never leaning over the battery, working in a well-ventilated area and keeping all ignition sources like cigarettes away from the battery. Now, on to car battery care:
First, if your battery is an older type that's not sealed, it's important to make sure the water level is adequate. It's easy to tell which type you have: unsealed batteries have small vent caps on top that can be easily unscrewed. If the water level is not up to the bottom of the cap, replenish it. For areas where the tap water is hard (with a high mineral content), use distilled water. If you're really not sure if the local water is hard or soft, distilled water is your best and safest bet. Check the water levels often during hot summer months, as heat tends to evaporate water more quickly. If the battery water level is allowed to get too low, the heat generated within the battery will destroy the battery cells.
Next, visually check the car battery terminals (one is marked positive "+" and the other is marked negative "-"). Before cleaning the connections or removing the battery, disconnect the negative terminal first whenever you disconnect the battery cables from the terminals. Removing the positive connector can cause a spark, especially if you're using a metal tool that comes in contact with any piece of metal on the car. The spark can create an ignition source that could cause the battery to explode.
If the terminals are encrusted with deposits, clean them with a wire brush dipped in baking soda and water. These deposits can block the flow of electricity. Make sure not to splash any of the baking soda/water solution on the vehicle's paint surfaces. Now, check the battery cable ends. A loose battery cable does an excellent impersonation of a totally dead battery. If there is any movement of the battery cable end that is attached to the terminal, it is too loose and needs tightening.
Make sure the brackets that hold your battery in place are tight. Loose brackets will cause the battery to vibrate when the car is running and this constant vibration will shorten the life of the battery. It's also wise to check the condition of the battery tray for corrosion. The function of the battery tray can be undermined if corrosion is apparent and isn’t stopped. If there's minor corrosion, brush it off and apply an acid-resistant paint to the tray. If the tray has been weakened by corrosion, replace it. The condition of the tray and brackets is vital to keeping the battery from tipping over under the hood – a rare, but not unheard of mishap. A secure tray can also prevent excessive vibrations from damaging the battery.
If you need to recharge your car battery, the best equipment is a trickle charger, preferably left on for eight to 10 hours or overnight. If your battery is unsealed, remove the vent caps and place a damp rag across the openings. Attach the alligator clips on the charger to your battery. The red clip should be attached to the positive terminal and the green or black clip should be attached to the negative terminal. If your battery is sealed, there should be a charge indicator window on top. The battery needs charging if the window is green or dark. Your battery needs to be replaced if the window is clear or yellow.
Unless the battery manufacturer indicates otherwise, the average life of a battery is about four years. So, if you want to enjoy several years of confident vehicle starts, follow these simple maintenance tips and check your battery water levels, terminal, bracket and tray condition about every two months.