Eight Auto Repairs / Maintenance Tasks That Can't Be Ignored

CarPartKings believes strongly that automotive maintenance and repairs should be performed at the recommended intervals, hopefully before warning symptoms appear indicating something is wrong. Vehicle maintenance is all about keeping on top of things and if you simply do that, your car or truck will be on the road for a long time.

Brake Pads and Brake Shoes

Brake Pads are perhaps the most important part that need to be replaced at regular intervals. Your front brakes typically provide 70% of your vehicles stopping power, while the rear brakes provide the remaining 30%. Driving around with worn out brakes is easily the most dangerous thing you could possibly do in your vehicle. If you are unable to sufficiently stop in all situations, you are putting the lives of yourself and everyone else on the road at serious risk. Most cars, trucks, and SUVs have brake pads on the front, with either brake pads or brake shoes on the rear. Neglecting to replace your brake pads could also result in damage to your Brake Rotors, since if they are worn down enough, metal will be grinding against metal causing them to become warped. With brake shoes, if they are neglected and wear down enough, the rivets on the shoes will wear grooves into the drums causing them to become scored. You will also hear a grinding noise as this is happening. Driving style will dictate how often you need to replace your brake pads and brake shoes, as well as what pads and shoes you are running.

Wiper Blades

Wiper Blades are extremely important for keeping your windshield free and clear of rain, snow, and anything else that happens to come your way. We suggest that you replace your wiper blades every 6 to 12 months to maintain the best possible performance. Regardless of your ability to check the local forecast on your television, cell phone, or computer, the weather is unpredicatable at times and it would not be the first time heavy snow or rain seemingly came out of nowhere. So you want to have high quality wiper blades installed that will have you coverd and keep your windshield clear when the forecast suddenly turns cloudy.

Tire Pressure and Tire Rotation

Tire pressure should go without saying, but it's important to maintain the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle at all times. Driving around with underinflated tires will not only cause you to burn more fuel, which will increase your cost of driving, but it will also cause your tires to wear faster and boost emissions produced by your Exhaust System. If spending more money and harming the environment wasn't bad enough, the safety of you and your passengers will be compromised. With underinflated tires, your stopping distance will be increased and you will skid on wet roads. This is a dangerous combination is you are driving in the rain or snow. Underinflated tires are also more likely to blowout at highway speeds, which could result in complete loss of the vehicle and a serious crash. Therefore, it's important to know the PSI rating for your tires and maintain it at all times. You can easily check your tire pressure monitor TPMS sensors to make sure that the tires are inflated to a proper level. If you have a leak, don't put off getting it repaired. Driving around with overinflated tires can also be dangerous, as it will reduce the tires grip on the road, and since your tires heat up while driving, the PSI will increase more, which could potentially result in a blowout. To ensure even tire wear, it is also good practice to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. By doing this, you will always get the most out of your tire purchase.

Air Filters

Your vehicle's Air Filter should be changed every 12 months or 15,000 miles, whichever happens to come first. This particular filter is responsible for removing the dirt and particles from the air that would otherwise get sucked into the engine. Before air can enter your engine, it must pass through this filter to ensure that air and nothing else can make it into the engine. Over time though, your air filter will catch enough dirt and particles that the airflow can become resricted if you neglect to change it. So if you are not already, get into a regular routine of changing the air filter at a pre-determined interval. We also stock Cabin Air Filter's which clean the air that is coming into your vehicle which you are then breathing into your lungs.

Cooling System

The Cooling System is another very important system in every vehicle. If you have ever come out to your car in the morning, only to notice a green puddle underneath it, you probably made the connection that it's antifreeze/coolant. While the color of the coolant can be green, orange, or yellow, the most common is typically green. Leaks can stem from a variety of places, including the Water Pump, Radiator, Radiator HosesRadiator Hoses, freeze plugs, heater core, or intake manifold gasket. If you can visually see the coolant leaking, it's coming from one of these places. While most coolant leaks are external and can be seen and fixed by replacing one or more parts, it's also possible for coolant to leak within the engine which is more serious. If you have an internal coolant leak, the repair will be more costly, time consuming, and might even require replacing the engine. Good preventative maintenance will greatly limit the possibility of you ever having to deal with internal repairs. Using a high quality 50/50 mixture of antifreeze/coolant, draining and refilling the system with fresh antifreeze/coolant once a year, and replacing the Thermostat as necessary is good practice. Bad thermostats are a leading cause of overheating, and if you neglect replacing it, you will probably end up blowing your Head Gasket. Since thermostats are cheap and only take 45 to 60 minutes on average to replace, there is no reason to put off this simple but essential repair.

Motor Oil and Oil Filter

When it comes to our cars, trucks, and SUVs, most of us are on top of some maintenance tasks such as changing the motor oil and Oil Filter. Mechanics, automobile enthusiasts, and even the owners manual tell us to do it. So whenever the odometer gains some weight, usually 3,000 miles, we rush to the auto parts store to pickup 5 or 6 quarts of motor oil with a new oil filter. This is just good practice for most drivers, and the peace of mind it provides makes the whole process worth it for most folks. If you consider that for as little as $25.00, and another 20 or 30 minutes of your time, you can avoid paying thousands to replace the engine, it goes against common sense to avoid doing it. It is also important to make sure the oil level is between the upper and lower marks on the dipstick. This will ensure that while your driving around town, the motor oil is sufficiently lubricating, cooling, and sealing the critical components located within your engine.

Transmission Fluid and Filter

Outside of the engine, another essential part is your vehicles transmission. But it's important to note from the top that your transmission has a close relationship with the engine. Since every engine has a narrow range of speeds, if it weren't for the transmission, you would be limited to one single gear ratio. So you would have to choose between having first gear, second gear, or third gear for highway driving. Your automatic or manual transmission is what expands this narrow range of output speeds by the use of gears. But to do this, it depends on fluid to keep the moving parts cool and lubricated. Over time, like your motor oil, transmission fluid will breakdown. If neglected, damage to the transmission and even transmission failure could result. Replacing your transmission would come in second to the engine, but it would still be very expensive. To avoid costly repairs, it is good practice to replace the fluid every 30,000 miles. Keep tabs on the fluid level as well since low fluid level can result in gear slippage, while too much fluid can cause air to mix in with the fluid resulting in damage to the transmission. In addition to changing the fluid, it is also a good idea to change the transmission filter which requires dropping the transmission fan. The entire process should take 60 to 90 minutes on average.

Light Bulbs

When other drivers can't see you coming or going on the road, you are putting yourself and everyone else at serious risk. This is also true if other drivers can see you, but don't have a clue as to what you are about to do. Light Bulbs are installed to take a big part of the guesswork out of driving. Think about it, when you are coming up on a driver that is about to back out of their parking space, you are given advance notice by ther back-up lamps. When a driver is about to come to a stop, their brake lights will give you enough warning to keep you from slamming into the back of them. Turn signal lamps tell you when another driver is about to turn left or right and the headlights let you know that other drivers are on the road in dark or inclement weather. We haven't even mentioned the interior lights including the dome lights that will let you read a map at night, or the instrument cluster lamps that will let you see your speed and more in the dark. We rely on light bulbs and a sufficient amount of lighting for a safe driving experience. If a bulb happens to go out, promptly replace it!

If you found this article about essential maintenance tasks and repairs useful, then you might also be interested in learning more about your: Brake System, Fuel System and Emissions System.