Monthly Archives: August 2013

Scheduled maintenance to keep your car new

Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a brand new vehicle. Whether it is your first new purchase or the upgrade you’ve been saving for, you want to keep that fresh ride vibe as long as possible.

Here are some tips to keep you cruising safely, avoid unexpected repairs, and maintain the look you love.

Slippery subject

Nothing has greater potential to put your engine at risk than neglected oil. Don’t wait for a warning light or chime. Check oil regularly. See your dealer if you are losing oil – it could be a problem that needs immediate attention. New vehicles and improved oils don’t require changes as frequently as in the past, but schedule yours as recommended. Be sure to use a fresh filter, too.

That’s cool, dude

Your vehicle’s cooling system should be flushed annually. A fresh dose of high-quality coolant and distilled water in a 50/50 mix prevents corrosion and build up of deposits that lead to problems.

Transmissions like clean fluids

This is an often-neglected maintenance aspect. Most owners don’t think about their car’s transmission until it fails and the garage discovers foamy fluid. Service intervals vary, so check your owners manual to determine when to schedule a change of transmission fluid and differential oil, using correct type and viscosity.

Avoid early part retirement with lubrication

Moving parts need grease to survive. Keep important driveline components like ball and u-joints; chassis; and mechanical fittings such as door hinges, window tracks, hood latch, seat tracks, and locks well-greased. It allows them to move freely and quietly. Usually once a year is enough, but check your owners manual for suggested frequency.

Free wheelin’

Wheel bearings need inspected, cleaned, and repacked with grease at regular service intervals. It’s a grimy but doable job for the shade-tree mechanic; efficient and economical at the shop. Either way, it will eventually save you the hazard of a liberated wheel or the cost of spindle and hub replacement.

Whoa, there!

Brake fluid has an innate capacity to attract moisture, which causes brakes to corrode and fail. Sensors, hoses, and calipers are expensive. And there’s no good time for a brake failure. None. Avoid it by bleeding the system and replacing fluid annually.

Keep it clean

Wash the outside of your vehicle with mild automotive detergent and rinse with soft water. Wax painted surfaces and polish chrome trim at least twice each year for environmental protection. A quick run through the autowash every week or so removes salt and grime that can harm your new car’s finish. Clean interior spills as soon as possible. Shake mats and vacuum frequently to remove grit that causes carpet to wear.

Made in the shade

SPF isn’t just for skin. UV rays deteriorate the interior plastic parts in your car. Keep them looking new by parking in the shade whenever possible, using a windshield screen, and applying a UV protectant to interior vinyl and plastic several times a year.

It’s not difficult to maintain new car owner pride well beyond your last payment. A maintenance calendar, a trusted mechanic, and a little elbow grease will keep you rolling safely and turning heads for years.