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Find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding your cars maintenance.

When do I need an oil change?

When does my vehicle need a tune-up?

Are there other things besides oil changes that need to be done regularly?

What is an automotive safety inspection?

How will I know that my tires need rotation or alignment?

What should the air pressure in my tires be?

What other types of things do I need to know about my tires?

 

When do I need an oil change?

There are many ideas about this routine maintenance. The truth is that many factors go into the necessity of an oil change. When you take a lot of short trips (under 5 miles) or drive in stop and go traffic (which does not allow the engine to fully warm up), your oil gets dirty faster. The dirt level can also increase when driving on dusty and dirty roads. It is always better to err on the side of caution and plan your oil changes between 3,500 to 4,000 miles. And remember to have your oil filter changed each time as well.

When does my vehicle need a tune-up?

A tune-up is preventive maintenance and involves checking your vehicles performance and changing spark plugs, PCV valve, air and fuel filters. Many other items are added to this list on a “need” basis. Most of your newer vehicles don’t require a tune-up for 100,000 miles. But cars built in the early 80’s up until the late 90’s should get a tune-up every 30,000 miles.

Are there other things besides oil changes that need to be done regularly?

The answer is yes. Your car has many different fluids under the hood, not just the oil. It is important to have these fluids checked. Low fluid levels can affect your safety. When you have your car in for an oil change, ask the repair shop to check all fluids. Many companies make this a standard practice. Things like dirty or low power steering fluid and low brake fluid is not just dangerous but can damage your cars internal parts. You should also have your cars belts and hoses checked for wear, cracks, and breaks. Drivers should also pay attention to the condition of their car's battery, air filter and vehicles lighting (such as brake lights, tail lights, headlights and turn signals).

What is an automotive safety inspection?

A safety inspection is just that, an over-all check on the proper functioning of your auto. So much goes into your car in order for you to take a drive, and many things can go wrong without you even knowing. With a safety inspection you can catch many of these problems before they turn serious, or cause an accident. Since many drivers today can’t check their own brake systems or automotive electrical panels it is important to have a professional make sure they are in running order. Safety inspections vary from shop to shop, and can range from a visual overhaul to an intense computerized read out.

How will I know that my tires need rotation or alignment?

It is safe to say a good rotation is appropriate every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, or every other oil change. Sometimes irregular wear on your tires tread can be corrected by a tire rotation. Misalignment can really wear out your tires. Having your vehicles alignment checked periodically is a good practice. If you notice any vibration or pulling to the side, bring it into a tire dealer right away. Try to avoid pot holes and hitting curbs, this can cause a misalignment.

What should the air pressure in my tires be?

The best way for you to find the “proper pressure” for your tire is to look in your vehicles owners’ manual. It can also be found on the sticker inside the door edge, fuel box or glove box. Remember that air pressure can fluctuate 1 to 2 pounds up or down for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Low air pressure results in bad gas mileage.

What other types of things do I need to know about my tires?

Believe it or not tires are the most overlooked safety feature on a vehicle. It isn’t until a driver has a problem with their tires that they realize they could have done things to prevent it. Here are a couple more things to keep in mind: 1. A tire needs to be replaced when the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch in order to prevent skidding and hydroplaning. 2. Under inflation of your tires can lead to tire stress, irregular wear, loss of control, and accidents, not to mention bad gas mileage. Spend a few minutes each month to look over your tires.

 

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