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Steer Clear of Unnecessary Car Problems with Routine Maintenance

auto service Ann Arbor

Photo by C Joyful on Unsplash

We drive our cars (or trucks) almost daily. They take us to work, school, and fun and save us hundreds of hours a year—imagine having to rely on Uber or public transportation to do your chores! It’s too easy to become distracted and put off what we must do to keep our essential transportation healthy, which means steering clear of unnecessary car problems with routine maintenance.   

But I’m Too Busy for Routine Maintenance

Proper routine maintenance tasks take time from things we’d rather be doing, but the benefits are significant. Keeping up with these duties can extend your car’s life by reducing wear on critical parts and improving its performance. It also helps save money (because repairs almost always cost more, especially in an emergency), increases the safety of your passengers and yourself, and improves your peace of mind.

If you talk to Baby Boomers, you’ll find they remember the days when families bought a new car every year. Of course, some prided themselves on making their cars last forever. Did your dad wash the car every week and check the oil level, battery water, belts, and so on? Those were the days when routine maintenance was performed in the driveway, because there was no such thing as hooking the car up to a computer to diagnose problems.

Although vehicles have changed over the years, one thing that has remained the same is the need for routine maintenance.

So, What’s Included in Routine Maintenance?

The first maintenance task is to read your owner’s manual and become familiar with your vehicle. How old is it? How often should you change the oil? Where is the dipstick, so you can check the oil level? Is your battery sealed, or must you add water? Tap water or distilled water? How often should you align the wheels?

The second task is continual: pay attention. That “Check Engine” light is there for a reason, and it’s best to find out why it’s on. Strange noises from your wheels are telling you something. Is your engine temperature higher than it was a few months ago? Is your car’s engine grumbling? 

Maintenance Matters: Tips for Keeping Your Car Running Smoothly

Consistent upkeep is key to keeping your car in excellent condition and ensuring its longevity.

  • Oil changes: Changing the oil is part of a crucial maintenance routine. Without regular oil changes, your car’s engine becomes sluggish, chugs fuel like a thirsty camel, and risks serious damage. Watch your mileage and check your engine oil level once a month. Following a schedule for oil changes enables you to inspect various car systems. 
  • Tire Rotation: Rotating tires ensures even wear and extends their lifespan. 
  • Brake Inspection: Checking brake pads, rotors, and fluid levels ensures safe braking—and we all know how important that is! 
  • Fluid Checks: This requires assessing the fluid levels of your brakes, transmission, and power steering.
  • Air Filter Replacement: Dirty air filters affect engine performance and fuel efficiency. In some instances, air filter containers can be storage space for squirrel nuts, and you don’t want that!

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Postpone Your Maintenance Check

You know how it is: “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Then tomorrow comes and you get sidetracked, so you reschedule. Tomorrow never comes. But let’s be honest: you can only put off your maintenance for so long before it catches up with you.

  • Battery Check: Testing the battery charge and connections helps prevent unexpected breakdowns. Some older batteries still need water added at specific points and levels. You also need to ensure that the top and terminals are clean.

But There’s So Much More to Maintenance

  • Spark Plug Replacement: Worn-out spark plugs can affect engine performance and fuel efficiency. You may not do this task yourself, but you need to know when they need to be replaced. (Your vehicle may tell you it has a problem by stalling or not running well.)
  • Belt and Hose Inspection: Checking for wear and tear helps prevent breakdowns due to belt or hose failure.
  • Wheel Alignment: Proper alignment ensures even tire wear and optimal vehicle handling. You may notice that the car pulls to one side while you’re on a straight and smooth road. Your tires will wear unevenly, and your vehicle may go in the wrong direction when you brake. If you notice any problems, get the wheels aligned.
  • Wiper Blade Replacement: Replacing worn wiper blades improves visibility during inclement weather. This problem is easy to spot when it’s raining. Your windshield smears or streaks, and you can’t see well.

What If I Can’t Do All This Maintenance Myself?

Listen, the importance of checking your car’s condition cannot be overstated. But what if you don’t have the time, knowledge, or equipment to do all these tasks? Where can you go? Who can you trust to know your car, do the work, and charge you a fair price? What you need is a trustworthy repair shop to help you maintain your vehicle and make it last. 

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Or, you can bring your car straight to Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor. For thorough service you can rely on the first time, and every time, you want the best of the best. When you drive off our lot, you can rest assured your car is roadworthy. Don’t let another minute go by wondering about the condition of your vehicle. Call us today.