What do you know about your vehicle? You probably know the make and model and that it needs gas to run… but what else do you know? Cars are, for most people, one of the top five most expensive things they will buy in their lifetime, but most of us don’t know a ton about upkeep. But it might be a good idea to check into maintaining that investment. Skipping something as simple as your oil changes can be death to ol’ chitty-chitty bang-bang!
I’m a service writer in a repair shop. That means that I am the person who gets to tell you that your beloved automobile is no longer safe to drive — possibly because you forgot to take your car in for service. Many little knocks and bangs could be safety issues that need to be addressed sooner than later. Your car has a lot of moving parts which could go wrong, and while there are tons of specifics that you don’t necessarily need to know, there are a few Very Important Basics.
Your car’s engine is a metal object with many other metal objects inside moving VERY FAST! Have you ever rubbed two pennies together? They get warm. Imagine doing that for hours on end. Engine oil is the only thing keeping those parts from fusing together from the heat created by friction, so CHANGE THAT OIL! As tough as the oil is, it can break down, too. AND! Is your car one of those that leaves little drip marks every time it parks? You can also just LOSE oil.
Oil changes are recommended every 3,000 miles or 3 months (whatever comes first). Some newer cars and synthetic oils can go longer than that. Ask a professional what is best for your specific vehicle.
Even when your oil is good, your engine still produces HEAT! The air around your engine heats up. Cool water runs around your engine to cool that hot air space under the hood… BUT in cold climates, that water can freeze — and coolant does not freeze when mixed properly. It will cool that air space like water would but it doesn’t freeze and snap all those hoses.
Your brakes stop your car. A brake is a disc that has a clamp on it which, when squeezed, stops the car using friction. Hydraulics operate that clamp. Those hydraulic lines can rust and cause pressure in the line and eventually a leak and OH NO! You have no brakes. GET THESE LINES CHECKED IF YOU EVER HAVE A SOFT BRAKE PEDAL!
Vibrations are another common source of brake complaints. Vibrations are usually caused when the disc (rotor) and or the clamp (caliper and pads) have a rough surface. That can happen because of rust or wear, especially in urban areas where people use brakes a lot more often. The rotor and pad are wearable items that need to be replaced periodically.
There are a lot more things that make up your car but those are the MOST IMPORTANT to get you down the road and keep you safe. If you haven’t gotten these looked at recently, make a plan now!