There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and for most of us, we fill each and every one of them as fully as possible. We schedule meetings close together. We double up on errands, trying to fit everything in. Why do one thing when you can multitask?
It’s no wonder we overlook the most obvious things.
Take your vehicle, for example. You know there are certain car repair services you should perform on a regular basis. There are certain things you should watch out for, and act fast to save yourself from higher service repair bills and the risk of being stranded without a car. Yet most of us push forward, ignoring situations until we no longer can.
General maintenance is important to keep your car working well. If you put a little time and money into basic services along the way, you’re more likely to catch car problems long before they materialize into something bigger.
What does that include? What should you watch for?
While you might understand how important regular oil changes are for your car, differential fluid replacement is something a little more vague.
Your vehicle uses differential fluid to deliver power from your engine to each axel that turns each wheel. A four-wheel-drive vehicle will have four differentials – one at each wheel.
Consider for a moment how your wheels move as you drive. As you drive straight, all four wheels move at the same speed and distance. But if you take a turn, the outside wheels will experience more revolutions than the inside wheels to get you safely through the turn. The gears and fluid that allows that to happen is the differential.
Over time, differential fluid can break down. Yet it’s one of the important lubrication fluids that keeps your car running smoothly in all conditions. If you start to hear a whir as you pick up speed, or a banging sound when rounding a corner, it could be a sign you have a problem with the differential gears or fluid. Even if you don’t experience anything out of the ordinary, it’s important to have it checked according to your manufacturer’s guidelines, to ensure your driving experience is safe year round.
Tire check and wheel alignment
One of the scariest experiences you can have is a tire blow out as you’re traveling at high speeds. Rarely does this happen without a little advanced warning.
While newer vehicles often have automatic tire pressure checks built in, alerting you to when your tire is under or over inflated, older models require self checks as you drive. Test your tire pressure regularly. Also, do a walk around periodically to check the condition of your tires. If you notice a problem, stop by and have us evaluate it before you drive on it further.
Tire bulges, for example, can occur if your tire is overinflated, or if you hit certain debris in the road. A bulge forms when air bubbles move through the inner lining, causing a weak spot in the casing. The more you drive on it, the weaker it becomes. This is when it has the opportunity to burst unexpectedly.
If your tires don’t connect well with the road, it can allow jarring and bumps to impact and wear down the wheel alignment too. If wheels aren’t properly aligned, it can cause your car to pull to one side. If you continue to drive on it, the situation worsens, and will start to impact other components of your steering system. Not only can this wear down your tires faster, but it can also increase the cost of repair work, taking a bigger bite out of your budget.
All of those noises your vehicle makes are designed to warn you of potential problems. Your drive, serpentine, and timing belts all control various parts on your car, from keeping the engine running to powering the electrical systems inside your vehicle. And because they are only designed for so much resistance, they wear down over time.
If they break or snap, it can hit other parts of your car, costing you much more in repair bills. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule a maintenance visit periodically to have a mechanic evaluate every system underneath the hood. They can keep you advised on how many miles you have left on certain systems, and give you easy ways to head off issues that may happen without replacement.
The timing belt, for instance, should be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. They don’t give you a lot of warning, but can do irreparable harm, depending on how they break.
While the engine is designed to create energy, the transmission is needed to actually get your car to move. It:
- Transfers power into the wheels
- Allows the engine to move the vehicle forwards and backward
- Enables the car to shift gears
Without a proper level of maintenance, each of these processes could fail, bringing your vehicle to a halt.
To avoid damage, and the possibility of needing a tow, a regular checkup can determine it the transmission system is working correctly. Check with your manufacturer’s guidelines to determine how frequently you should change the transmission fluid. Also, check with your vehicle’s warranty, as some extended warranties offer transmission coverage and could prevent a costly repair.
Is it time for car service repair?
These are just a few of the car repair services that a quality service shop will offer, to help keep you on the road.
Putting off services like these could cost you in the long run, and lead to dangerous, potentially deadly driving situations.
If it’s been a while since your car has had a maintenance check, even if it’s been sitting in your garage for weeks at a time, now is the time to check it and be sure it’s ready for winter driving.
We’re here to help you keep your car on the road.