This page provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about vehicle maintenance and service. We’ve thrown in some of our favorite tips and recommendations, too. Please call us or consult our “Contact Us” page for answers to your specific questions. We are happy to assist you!
What are the consequences of postponing maintenance?
Many parts on your vehicle are interrelated. Ignoring maintenance can lead to trouble: specific parts, or an entire system, can fail. Neglecting even simple routine maintenance, such as changing the oil or checking the coolant, can lead to poor fuel economy, unreliability, or costly breakdowns. It also may invalidate your warranty. Properly maintaining your vehicle is less expensive than repairs from negligence.
If I don’t take my car to my car dealer for maintenance or repair will I void my warranty?
As a vehicle owner you should know about the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In 1975 the US Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law that governs consumer product warranties. Among other things Congress wanted to ensure that consumers could get complete and straight forward information about warranty terms and conditions. In short the Magnuson-Moss Act gives you these rights. Generally your vehicle manufacturer’s warranty cannot require you to return to your auto dealer for vehicle maintenance or to use only the brand of replacement parts offered by that dealer. By law your vehicle’s manufacturer’s warranty will stay in effect when you have regularly
My check engine or service engine soon light comes on. What should I do?
When you first start your car all the dashboard lights come on as a safety test. These lights will go off when the test is complete. If your light comes on later you need to have it checked by a competent technician familiar with modern diagnostic procedures. This could be a simple problem, but left alone it may result in an expensive repair. Don’t ignore this warning.
Why does my vehicle’s maintenance schedule recommend so many fuel system services?
Modern engines have long abandoned carburation with its many parts destined for failure in favor of simple and direct electronic injection of fuel. No longer are we shackled with the necessity of constant adjustment or repair. A properly maintained fuel delivery system today offers much improved reliability and efficiency than those systems of old. Millions of cars today run at a level of efficiency considerably reduced, due to the high concentration of carbon deposits accumulated in the fuel injection system, intake valves, combustion chambers, oxygen sensor and catalytic converter. Carbon build-up clogs fuel filters, reduces fuel flow, distorts fuel spray patterns, limits fuel automation and decreases combustion efficiency. Carbon build-up gradually robs your vehicle of performance and fuel economy, and may cause numerous problems such as engine malfunction, high emissions, excessive fuel consumption, loss of performance, rough idling and hard starts. Simply infusing an additive into a gas tank will not adequately decarbonizes injectors, cylinder heads, valves, intake plenums, exhaust emission sensors, and other critical components.
I have 100,000 mile spark plugs in my car. When will I need a tune-up?
In the traditional sense there is no such thing as a tune-up anymore. Carburetors and distributors with their myriad of parts destined to failure have been replaced with electronic injectors and electronic ignition systems. There is virtually little to wear out. Aging Ignition wires and spark plugs may continue to function for 100,000 miles but not optimally. The car manufacturer’s boastful claim of 100,000 between tune-ups has little grounding in common sense, and is mostly a marketing ploy. At the price of gasoline these days even a three percent decrease in fuel efficiency is expensive, not to mention ecologically unfriendly. A fresh set of spark plugs any time over 50,000 miles will normally make a noticeable difference.
What are all of the chemicals and fluid flushes for? Are they really necessary?
Protecting the vital wear points of your vehicle with quality lubricants will vastly improve service life and will provide optimum efficiency. Today’s properly maintained vehicles with 100,000 miles no longer consume oil and break with high frequency. Chemistry has played an important role and BG is one company who stands tall. The right chemicals can restore the ph balance in radiators so that acidity will not degrade hoses and internal metals in radiators and coolers. Other chemicals such as the BG transmission flush chemicals along with pulse flush equipment rinse the oxidation from the valves and other internal workings of transmissions. Fluid flushes without chemicals are wallet flushes.
Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?
YES. The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.
What does it mean if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light comes on?
There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle’s engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails, the “check engine” light is illuminated. Although your car may seem to run fine, it is important to have the issue addressed to prevent long-term problems.
When should I change my spark plugs?
For maximum fuel economy and peak engine performance, your spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles, unless your vehicle is equipped with 100,000-mile platinum tipped spark plugs.
What is the difference between maintenance and safety?
Maintenance is done to prevent any future problems from occurring to the vehicle. Safety is to prevent any incident that would cause damage to the vehicle, to you or to the driver who is driving next to you.
With the change of the season and the temperatures, do I need to have my car checked?
It is a good idea to have your coolant checked to determine its freezing and boiling points to verify whether it needs to be changed. Have your air conditioner tested before the summer heats up, it is cheaper to fix before the season gets started.
I see a fluid leak under my car, what is it?
You can identify fluids by their color and consistency: Yellowish green, pastel blue or florescent orange colors indicate an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak caused by a bad hose, water pump or leaking radiator. A dark brown or black oily fluid means the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could cause the leak. â€¢ A red oily spot indicates a transmission or power-steering fluid leak. A puddle of clear water usually is no problem. It may be normal condensation from your vehicle’s air conditioner.
I have a leak under my car. How can I tell what is leaking?
The coloring of the liquid identifies the type of liquid. Coolant Fluid is orange or green, Engine fluid is Brown or Black, Transmission Fluid is Red or Pink, Power Steering Fluid is Light Brown, Differential Fluid- Brown. depending on the leak it could mean trouble, don’t wait until it’s too late!
How often should I change my oil?
Most car manufacturers say to change your oil every 7,500 miles unless you drive in severe conditions. Severe conditions are defined as dirty or dusty roads, extremely hot or cold climates, a lot of stop and go driving, taking long trips or if you tow a trailer. If you answer yes to any of the severe driving conditions, your vehicle falls into the severe conditions category, or the 3,000 mile oil change interval.
When should I get my oil changed?
You should get your oil changed every 3000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
What is that milky brown engine oil?
Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. This can be caused by a blown head gasket (other gasket), a failed transmission cooler, or cracked casings. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician quickly.
What is synthetic motor oil?
Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines, vehicles that are used for towing (especially during hot weather), or vehicles that are operated in extremely cold or hot climates. Synthetic motor oils, though several times more expensive than mineral-based motor oils, can improve fuel economy and provide longer intervals between changes. They also provide instant lubrication on start-up.