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Diamond Certified Experts: Vehicle Maintenance for Staying Safe on the Road
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Oil change intervals depend on the type of driving the vehicle is subjected to. Short-distance driving is the worst. The oil never gets hot enough long enough to evaporate the contaminants that build up in the oil. You notice we are talking about oil temperature here, not coolant temperature. It takes longer for the oil to get to normal temperature than coolant. Under these conditions sludge is formed. Sludge is heavy, gritty deposits that form in the crankcase and restrict oil passages and cause increased engine wear. Vehicles subjected to these conditions should change oil by time rather than miles driven. We suggest MINIMUM of three oil changes a year to protect the internally lubricated parts of your engine from the ravages of sludge. Oil is cheap, major repairs on your engine are not. three oil changes will set you back less than $100.00 For Vehicles driven long distances regularly, we recommend oil changes at intervals not to exceed 5,000 miles-3,000 miles is even better. Synthetic oils last longer than conventional oils, but cost more. We recommend using a good quality synthetic such as Castrol Syntec, Mobil 1 turbo oil, or Amsoil. These oils resist thremal breakdown better than the best petroleum oil, allowing extended drain intervals beyond those listed above.
We suggest changing your engine antifreeze/coolant every 2 years or 30,000 miles, whichever occurs first. The most comonly used coolant is ethylene glycol based product. It carries many brand names, but is basically the same product. Antifreeze/coolant has additives in it just like oil does. These additivies wear out while doing their job, and need to be drained and replaced regularly, or damage will occur. Modern engines are using more aluminum components than ever before. Aluminum is easily corroded in the presence of water. If engine coolant is not changed regularly corrosion/erosion of aluminum components will occur. Components such as water pumps, timing covers, cylinder heads, radiators, heater cores and others can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to repair. If neglected for longer periods, severe rusting of coolant passages in cast-iron engine blocks can require complete engine replacement. By replacing coolant on a preventative maintenance basis, costly repairs and unexpected breakdowns can be avoided.
We suggest rotating tires at 5,000 to 7,500 mile intervals. Of course sooner is always better. Tire wear patterns should be closely inspected at this time to see if an alignment or tire balance is called for. This can greatly increase tire life.
Scheduled maintenance is a list of services or procedures performed at specified intervals based upon time/mileage. The goal of a good preventive maintenance program is to eliminate any breakdown of your vehicle by performing services to extend the life of your vehicle, and identifying necessary repairs before component failure. This way repairs can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for both of us rather than after failure has occurred. The worst case would be a breakdown far from home, where you don't know who to trust, and may have to stay ovenight. Preventive maintenance can greatly extend the life of your vehicle, maximizing your return on the investment you made at the time of purchase
The definition between "normal" and "severe service" is difficult to define here. Manufacturers seem to make minor changes every year. Further, not all manufacturer's definitions are the same. It is best to consult your owner's manual to see what they say. Basically, you will find "Normal service" to be very narrow segment of the driving public. This is the absolute "bare-minimum" level of service required to maintain the warranty of your vehicle. Keep in mind; if you follow this schedule and a failure occurs just out of warranty, most manufactures won't cover the repair. Why should they? The question you should ask yourself is-Is this the best way to take care of my car? If you study the charts in your owner's manual carefully you will realize that it is not. By following the severe service schedule you will make your car last longer. We have found that some schedules have some services a little to frequent for most types of driving, so we hve designed a preventive maintenance program of our own. It can easily be adjusted to fit your particular needs. We have the ability with our Alldata computer program to print out the factory suggested maintenance schedule for all vehicles since 1982. If you don't have your owners manual, Just give us a call.
In most cases it is not necessary to stop driving your vehicle if the "check engine" or "service engine soon" light comes on while driving. However, if you notice a change in the way the engine runs, such as a hesitation, surging/jerking, or stalling, you should stop as soon as it is safe to do so, and get the problem checked out. The check engine light is controlled by the engine control computer, which controlled the carburetor in the late '70's-late '80's era vehicles, and fuel injection and emissions control systems on newer cars. The computer monitors many sensors and controls. It has stored parameters for each component, and if it sees a value from a component outside of the stored parameters, it sees this as a problem, and turns on the light. It can be something as simple as a loose gas cap, to a problem that allows to much fuel into the engine, causing the catalytic converter to overheat. In ONE CASE ONLY in my 34-year career I did see a case where a car caught fire because of this condition. Just give us a call.