Your car is an investment. Regular preventative maintenance is one of the best ways that drivers can keep their vehicle running smoothly and prolong its longevity. This will help save you time and money in the long-run, since you will be able to identify and prevent costly damage before it occurs.
However, keeping up with regular tune-ups is easier said than done. If you’re not a natural-born mechanic, here is a list of the most common car maintenance mistakes to avoid.
1. Skipping Oil Change
Having regular oil changes in Longmont is one of the most crucial car maintenance tasks. Oil keeps your engine lubricated and helps siphon away heat, reducing the likelihood of damage or overheating. While the general rule of thumb used to be having a replacement done every 3,000 miles, drivers can now go anywhere from 5,000 to 7,500 miles before needing to have an oil change done.
2. Skipping Brake Checks
Are your brakes making an annoying squeaking or grinding sound? Don’t just raise the radio volume and hope it goes away. Your brakes are an important part of your vehicle’s safety features, and these strange sounds are often a sign that your brake pads are worn. Another common sign is a brake pedal that feels spongy or takes too long to engage when you press down.
3. Ignoring the Check Engine Light
Even if the sign of trouble isn’t immediately obvious, there’s a reason why your check engine light is on. While this can sometimes be due to a bad sensor, there might be something else amiss with your vehicle. Having your light checked is quick and easy, but waiting can result in expensive issues down the road that could have been avoided.
4. Using Home Glass Cleaner On Windshields
Though it might seem convenient, never use home glass cleaner on your vehicle’s rear windshield. These products often contain ammonia, which can deteriorate the thin red wires that are responsible for defrosting your glass. Instead, use a product specifically formulated for auto glass.
5. Not Checking Your Fluids
Though motor oil is the lifeline of your vehicle, it’s not the only fluid that needs to be checked and replaced regularly. Your engine coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid all need to be checked, replaced, and/or topped off regularly. Each fluid has its own respective reservoir under your engine hood that will let you see where your current levels are.
When your tires are worn or past their prime, accidents are more likely to occur. While they might not seem like pressing matters at the moment, even low tire pressure can cause a blowout or pricey damage if left unaddressed. This is why you should inspect your vehicle’s tires regularly to make sure they are still performing as they should. If you notice the following signs, you should plan on replacing your tires as soon as possible.
1. Worn Tread
Tire tread is the rubber of your tire that makes contact with the road. You are likely familiar with a tread pattern, which is made up of the grooves that are molded into the surface. As you drive your car, the tread will naturally wear down. This reduces its ability to provide traction and grip the road, increasing the likelihood of a collision.
Your tread depth should never fall below 1/16 of an inch. You can measure this with measuring tape or use the penny test. Stick a penny upside down in one of the grooves with the head facing you. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, then your tread is too low. Plan on replacing your tires right away.
2. Uneven Wear
While inspecting your tire tread, also take note of its uniformity. Do all tires show the same amount of wear, or are the front tires significantly more bare than the back set? While poor tire pressure or a bad alignment is often to blame, you should also consider how often you rotate your tires.
For front-wheel drive vehicles, the front tires are more likely to wear first. This is because they’re responsible for accelerating, steering, and braking, receiving most of the force of these normal driving functions. To encourage even wear, it’s smart to have your tires rotated on a regular basis—preferably every six months or 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
3. Bulging At Sides
Are your tires misshapen and appear to be bulging at the sides? This is a common sign of deflation. You might be dealing with something as simple as low air pressure or more pressing like a puncture that is causing air to leak.
Inspect your tire for damaged areas that might be allowing air to escape—there is a chance you might have run over a nail or cracked your sidewall. A technician might be able to patch up minor damage or suggest that you replace the entire tire.
4. Making Strange Noises
While a certain amount of road noise can be expected while driving, your ride should be relatively quiet. If you are hearing strange sounds coming from the areas where your tires are positioned, that’s often a sign of impending auto repair in Longmont.
A probable cause is that your tires are out of balance, especially if you hear a thumping sound coming from under the seats. However, if your steering wheel is also vibrating, you might be dealing with suspension issues.
Now that summer is here, you’re likely running your car’s air conditioning more often than usual. Not only do you need to stay cool as you’re driving, but you also need to remove the heat that collected if your car was parked in direct sunlight.
If your A/C system stops working suddenly, it won’t take long for your everyday work commute or a weekend road trip to become extremely uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are some warning signs to watch out for that will clue you in to your air conditioner’s health.
Along with regular tire rotations and oil changes in Longmont, CO, periodic A/C checks should be at the top of your car maintenance to-do list. Beat the heat by looking out for these common symptoms of a faulty A/C system.
Hot Air Coming Through Vents
When you turn on your A/C, do you notice that only warm or hot air is making its way through the vents? You might be dealing with a refrigerant leak. Since A/C systems are pressurized, they must be completely sealed in order to function correctly.
As a result, when a leak occurs, your refrigerant levels cannot simply be topped off. Your system must be recharged with pressurized refrigerant before it will begin blowing cold air again.
Strange Noises from Car AC
As with any other car issue, you should be concerned if you hear unusual sounds coming from your air conditioner system. When functioning properly, you should only be able to hear your fan running quietly in the background as it blows out cool air.
If you hear a banging or rattling sound, there might be sticks, trash, or other debris stuck in your blower motor. There is also a chance that your condenser or compressor belt might be worn and in need of replacement.
Humid Inside Car
In addition to keeping you cool, your A/C is also responsible for pulling moisture from the cabin air. This water is siphoned away and deposited outside your vehicle in the form of water—on a hot day, you might notice this as a puddle underneath your car.
However, if you notice condensation inside of your vehicle, your air conditioner system might not be functioning as it should. This could be due to a clogged drain or hose that is causing water to back up and drain directly into your vehicle instead of the ground outside.
Driving with faulty brakes is dangerous, and it can lead to a fatal accident. Therefore, it is important to check your brakes all the time to make sure that they are working properly. When you bring in your car for maintenance or for auto repair in Longmont, make sure that your brakes aren’t forgotten. They should be checked if they have gone through wear and tear and might need replacing. They should also be checked to see if they need tightening.
Your brakes should be checked at least once a year. They should be checked more frequently if you drive a lot. All components of your brake system should be verified to be in the best condition to ensure a safe drive.
Your brake fluid should also be checked. The brake fluid requires regular changing as well, similar to an oil change. Doing so helps in preventing any damage to your car. If this isn’t done regularly, there can be a blockage in the brake system, which can cause more problems that are more expensive to fix.
To avoid any untoward incidents with your brakes, you should listen to any warning signs. Your brakes might be telling you something you shouldn’t neglect. Here are some warning signs from your brakes. If you experience any of these, it is best to bring your vehicle to a car repair shop.
1. Screeching, grinding, and other noises when you step on the brakes
2. The car pulls on one side when driving
3. The brake pedal almost hits the floor before it engages
4. The brake pedal requires extreme force to engage
5. The brake engages with the slightest touch
6. The brake pulses or vibrates even when just normally driving
7. The brake light is turned on on the dashboard
The brakes experience normal wear and tear with regular use. To ensure that they are in top condition, you should always have them checked. If they are already worn out, you should get them replaced immediately to avoid accidents that can be caused by it. Moreover, don’t let the brake pads be thin enough that they hit metal to metal. If this happens then it can be more costly to replace the rotor or the drum. In some cases, when the brake pads are still thick then the brakes might just need tightening.
The brakes can be easily checked by your trusted mechanic. They can be checked during regular maintenance check-ups so you don’t need to take additional time off for this. When you bring in your car for maintenance, make sure to have the brakes checked too.
Therefore, always listen to your brakes because they might be hinting at something.
Wheel alignment is one of the crucial maintenance steps that should be done to your car. Doing this regularly can help ensure that your car is performing at its best. Moreover, it can help guarantee better fuel economy and improved handling. There are lots of reasons why a car would need a wheel alignment. For instance, if you’re driving in Longmont and hit a pothole, chances are your wheels will need an alignment after that. There is nothing to worry though because this is easy to do. Just bring in the car to a maintenance service facility and they’ll do the trick for you.
Benefits of Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment has an important role in ensuring that your car performs at its best. Here are the benefits of getting wheel alignment:
- Extends tire life
Properly aligned tires have a longer lifespan. Since the suspension system is in the right orientation, the tires are also in the right orientation. If not, this can lead to uneven wear and tear of the tires, which can lead to a shorter lifespan. With a longer tire lifespan, you can save on getting new tires in short periods of time because your old tires can serve you longer.
- Promotes safety
If your tires aren’t aligned, it can result in difficulty in steering and handling. If this happens and you’re driving fast on the road, it can lead to an accident. You might find it difficult to steer your wheels if they aren’t aligned, which can either cause you to panic or simply be unable to steer them. Hence, an accident is imminent if this is the case
- Adds comfort Aligned wheels are easier to drive. If you are a long-distance driver, you would appreciate the comfort of having aligned wheels. You won’t have to spend extra effort to turn and maneuver your car. Even if you’re a city driver, you would definitely appreciate the comfort that aligned wheels provide.
When to Get Wheel Alignment?
There are signs that tell it’s time to go to a maintenance service facility and get your wheels aligned. Some of the tell-tale signs include:
- An uneven orientation of your car
- The car gets easily pulled on one side
- Your ride gets too bumpy even on smooth roads
- You have a hard time steering your car and maneuvering it
- Your tires show uneven wear and tear
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, you should immediately seek help to align your wheels. Neglecting it can lead to more serious and more expensive problems. It doesn’t take a lot to do this so it is best to get it done immediately.
Unlike in the past, cars nowadays aren’t just there as a piece of luxurious gear. Since people travel a lot today, cars have become an integral part of people’s day to day activities. They allow us to move faster and go farther. Therefore, it is important to care for them as well. Some people skip regular car maintenance without realizing how important it is. To help you understand why you should bring in your ride to a reputable car service shop in Longmont regularly, here are the top reasons regular car maintenance can help you.
1. Provides enhanced safety
Regular car maintenance allows you to see if there are underlying issues in your vehicle. Doing it can easily pinpoint any problems especially regarding critical components in your car. This can help you avoid getting into accidents due to car trouble. Even before an important car component fails, you can already get it repaired or replaced to avoid getting into accidents. Some of the common car problems that can lead to accidents include a faulty brake system, worn out drive belts, and worn out tires. With regular maintenance, your mind is always at ease even when taking your car for long distance travels.
2. Helps avoid expensive repair or replacement costs
If there is anything faulty in the car, it can create a domino effect of problems. Therefore, with regular car maintenance, you can already identify the key problem and get it fixed before it affects the car’s ecosystem. For instance, worn out tires can blow up and can force you to drive on a flat. This can damage the rims of the tires, which are a lot more expensive to replace. Therefore, with regular car maintenance, you can see minor problems and get them fixed before they cascade into bigger problems that are costly to solve.
3. Better resale value
A well-maintained car has a better resale value. If you plan on selling your car someday to get a new one or just because you should invest in it with regular car maintenance. Second-hand car buyers can be meticulous, and if you want to jack up the price of your car, make sure that it is taken care of regularly by trusted mechanics.
4. Improves car’s performance
There are components of a car that are susceptible to faster wear and tear. If not addressed quickly, they can affect the overall performance of the car. They can make it inefficient and more costly to use. When you bring in your car for a regular check-up, these components are checked to see if they are performing optimally. Hence, if they are, you can be sure that you’re getting the most from your car without overspending for it.
If you love your car, you will bring it in regularly for maintenance checks. This ensures that your vehicle is healthy and that you’re driving a car that is in top condition. If you aren’t familiar with what things to check in your car to make sure that it is performing at its best then you should go to a dependable car service facility and let them do the checkup. For starters, here are some of the important aspects they check.
There are different things a car service facility checks with your tires. They check the tire pressure to ensure that you’re driving it in the best fuel economy that it can offer. This also helps ensure that you are given utmost comfort and handling when driving.
They also check the tread depth for safety. Tires that have shallow tread depth tend to be slippery when driven on the highway, especially if it’s raining. Therefore, old and worn out tires should be immediately replaced.
They also check the alignment of the tires to avoid having a bumpy ride. When needed, they will rotate and re-align the tires to make sure you get a smooth drive every time.
When you bring in your car for maintenance, it is crucial for the facility to check your engine. They make sure that your drive belts are still in the best condition and are tight enough to ensure an efficient drive.
They also check the oil levels in your car. If necessary and if you’ve driven a lot in Longmont, they will do an oil change. This guarantees the best engine performance. Regular oil change is needed to make sure that the engine is always in top condition.
Like the oil levels, they will also check the engine coolant level. This helps prevent overheating of your car. They also see to it that all filters are still in good condition. They will recommend replacements if there are any worn out engine filters.
To ensure safety during night driving, the lights on your car should always be functioning at 100%. During maintenance, they can already spot busted lights, which most owners overlook. Of course, no one wants to drive at night with broken lights and not see the road.
Your car needs battery power to start. Oftentimes, the battery is neglected until you can’t start your car. To avoid this from happening, bring your car for a maintenance checkup and have your battery replaced before it gives out. It is tedious to have to jumpstart your car because your battery died. It is worse if your car stops in the middle of nowhere with no one to jumpstart it.
One of the best measures to prolong the lifespan of your car and its engine is to perform regular oil changes. Keep in mind that the oil in your car is like the lifeblood of the vehicle. If it isn’t changed regularly, there can be debris in the oil that can block several parts of the engine and cause it to fail. The great thing is, a regular oil change is easy to do, especially with the assistance of a trusted car service facility in Longmont, Co.
The oil change can be done as part of regular maintenance. Therefore, you don’t need to take extra time off to do this because it can be done alongside other maintenance checks. Experienced mechanics will recommend getting your oil changed when you have driven about 3,000 miles or when three months have passed, whichever comes first. Still, with the use of high-performance oil, this can be prolonged and timing can be extended.
To further appreciate why you should do regular oil changes, here are the benefits of doing so.
1. It provides better engine performance
Clean oil guarantees that your engine is in top shape. When you change the oil regularly, it guarantees that there is no debris in the oil that goes around the engine. The debris can cause blockage in the engine, which can lead to it performing poorly. Worse, the engine can fail when oil is not changed immediately.
When your car’s engine is in top shape, it allows you to drive optimally with the best fuel economy. Hence, you don’t waste any fuel and get your money’s worth every time you top up.
2. Avoid debris build-up
Pristine oil is debris-free, which means there is no debris build-up inside the engine. Imagine the engine is like the heart: if there is debris or plaque in the arteries, it can be fatal. This is the same with the car; if the engine is blocked, the car will fail. It will be costly to repair it if there is even still a chance to revive it. It will be more expensive to buy a new one when this could have been avoided with a regular oil change.
3. Better fuel economy
As mentioned before, if the oil is clean, the engine performs at its best. Hence, you get the best fuel economy. You get a lot of drive with every gallon of fuel.
4. Reduced emissions
With clean oil, your car doesn’t produce any harmful emissions. In a way, you don’t contribute in polluting the air around simply by changing your oil regularly.
5. Prolongs the life of your car
It is expensive to buy a new car so as much as possible you want to extend the life of your existing vehicle. With just a simple regular oil change, you can do this and add more years to your car’s life.
In a perfect world, everyone takes care of their vehicles in a timely manner. However, there are times that individuals fall behind on their car maintenance. When a vehicle is overdue for an oil change in Longmont, there are several signs a person should look for including:
Warning Light Comes On
Almost every feature on a vehicle has a warning light to let the driver know that something has gone wrong, and the amount of lubrication in the engine is no different. If the warning light for this comes on, it’s crucial to stop the vehicle as soon as possible and check the level. If necessary, add as a low level can be extremely dangerous for the moving parts of the engine. Running the car with a low lubrication level can put an individual at risk of seizing up the entire engine block, so it’s important to take these warning lights seriously.
Lubricant Looks Dirty and Brown
When checking the lubrication levels, if one finds that the liquid looks dirty, brown, and is difficult to see through, it is definitely time for swapping out the old for new. This can be done in a home garage if an individual knows how, and if not, one can make an appointment to have the vehicle serviced at a quick lube station. The visual appearance of the liquid is an easy way to tell that it’s time to make an overdue service appointment.
Engine Makes More Noise Than Usual
When one gets to the point that the levels of lubrication are actually lower than they should be in the engine, the parts may begin to rattle or make extra noise as the vehicle runs. If an individual hears the engine making more noise than it usually does when they drive it, it’s likely a sign that the vehicle is badly in need of servicing. These appointments are extremely important and neglecting them can cause the vehicle to completely stop running, so it’s crucial to not miss them or put them off. Doing so for too long can actually be quite dangerous.
Exhaust is Smoking
When a vehicle’s exhaust begins smoking, it can be quite alarming. However, it’s often simply a sign that the oil in the vehicle desperately needs to be changed and that one needs to make an appointment as soon as possible. Instead of panicking, a driver should call the service station that they usually use and make an appointment to have their vehicle fully serviced.
It’s fairly easy to get an oil change in Longmont, even if the vehicle is overdue. All a person needs to do is to call a service provider and schedule an appointment, although they may want to let the mechanics know that it’s been a while since the car was last serviced.
Leaving a vehicle for car service in Longmont doesn’t have to be overwhelming. While it’s frustrating that it needs worked on, the process itself is relatively simple. However, it is important to discuss numerous details with the professionals at the shop before you leave it there for work, including the following:
Before leaving a vehicle for repairs, it’s important to take the time to fully discuss the repairs that one is requesting. The scope of the repairs is very important, as it will help show the mechanic where they need to be looking for issues with the vehicle, as well as what repairs an individual is willing to sign off on. This clear document helps keep everyone on the same page so that no one is accidentally confused by verbal requests or descriptions of strange noises that the vehicle is making. Often, a customer will provide a mechanic or writer with a description of what is going on with the vehicle, and then they will summarize it on a ticket. Read over the required repairs before leaving the car, truck, or SUV to be sure the summary is accurate.
There should also be an estimated cost for leaving a vehicle for repairs. While the mechanic may not know the full amount that it will cost for all repairs, they should be able to give the owner a decent estimate for the price. This information is extremely important for the owner and may help them determine which automotive shop to work with.
The vehicle owner can also add a full authorized amount to the paperwork before leaving it for repairs. This allows them to make sure that the individuals who are working on it don’t go over a specific amount, even if the repairs become more in-depth than their original scope. With a pre-authorized amount, the mechanics will know exactly how much they are allowed to work and how much money they can bill to a client’s account as they make repairs.
How Updates will Proceed
Another important thing to discuss before leaving it for repairs is how updates about the process itself will be handled. Will the mechanic update the client each step of the way, or only when there is a major milestone? How will the client be contacted — by phone, email, or by text? Discussing these updates will help clarify these details before anyone is left in the lurch, so it is an important conversation to have.
Car service in Longmont doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or be overwhelming. Instead, work through this process to take care of the repairs carefully.