Car Care Tips
Make Your Car Last Over 10 Years
Modern cars can last well over a decade with proper maintenance. Compared with the cost of purchasing a new vehicle, it pays to make car care a priority. At B & L Quality Repair LLC, our mission is to keep your car dependable, so you get the best value and mileage.
Prepare for the Future - Car Maintenance Benefits
Regular maintenance costs a little in the short run but helps you retain your car's condition longer than motorists who don't practice automotive care. This comes in handy in the future when major automotive systems continue to operate. It also helps you prevent unexpected automotive repairs.
Regular maintenance is also great if you ever plan to sell your car, netting you a better sale price than a vehicle with little maintenance.
Follow the car maintenance tips below to keep your vehicle around longer.
Oil Change & Automotive Fluids
Change Motor Oil
An oil change is an easy maintenance procedure that keeps engine parts lubricated and maintains fuel economy. Changing oil at recommended maintenance intervals prevents sludge build up and overheating.
Motor oil becomes abrasive and harms metal components if never changed. This costs you money and overall vehicle longevity. Stick to the maintenance schedule and your vehicle will thank you with better mileage.
Change Brake Fluid
Change brake fluid as directed in your owner's manual. Whenever you step on the brake pedal, brake fluid transfers the force to the brakes to slow or stop your vehicle. Recommended service intervals vary by manufacturer from every few years to once or twice during the life of the vehicle.
It's possible for brake fluid to lose its effectiveness or for leaks to occur. If you experience abnormal brake performance, make sure to have your car checked.
Coolant or antifreeze prevents overheating and freezing of the engine's cooling system. Like brake fluid, recommended service intervals vary by manufacturer and can range from roughly a few years to a recommended check during every scheduled maintenance service.
Keep an eye on your coolant level to ensure there aren't any leaks. If you ever see the engine temperature warning light turn on, there might be something wrong with your coolant or the amount of coolant remaining.
Automotive Part Replacement
Brake pads and rotors need to be replaced during the life of your vehicle. The timing for this depends on several factors, including how often you stop while driving and how thin or thick the rotors and pads are initially.
If you live in town and do a lot of stop-and-go driving, your brakes wear faster than someone who drives mostly on highway or country roads with few stops. Brake pads should be replaced when the pad has 1/4"or less remaining.
Check Car Battery
On average, car batteries last between 2-6 years depending on outdoor temperature, driving frequency, and overall use among other influences. While you can't control some factors, like the environment, there are ways to maximize battery life for your area.
A few tips to maximize battery life: keep your battery clean; don't leave your car unused for an extended period of time; and don't forget to shut off the interior lights and headlights when your car isn't in use.
Manufacturers install plastic headlights with a protective film on most modern vehicles. This protective film fades over time due to oxidation, turning headlights foggy and decreasing nighttime visibility. Oxidation is caused by heat, sunlight, pollution, and harsh chemicals. You can slow oxidation by parking in a garage when possible.
It's recommended that you replace headlights in pairs. Assuming they were installed at the same time, the failure or dimness of one light means the other is close behind. In addition, it can be distracting having a new, bright headlight with an old, dimmer headlight.
Change Air Filters
The engine air filter should be changed to prevent buildup of debris that reduces engine efficiency. Recommended air filter replacement intervals depend on the environment, with most lasting between 15,000 and 30,000 miles (24,140-48280 km).
Make sure to check the condition of your engine air filter every so often, especially if you drive in cities or dusty areas.
Change the cabin air filter as recommended. The cabin air filter keeps ventilation air clean creating a better breathing environment for you and your passengers. Like the engine air filter, replacement intervals depend how many factors. It's worth having it checked during an engine air filter service.
Change Oil Filters
For an oil filter, check your owner's manual for recommended replacement times. Some manufacturers recommend you replace the oil filter during an oil change while others recommend every other oil change or other interval.
Tires & Wheels
Check Wheel Alignment
Check your vehicle alignment to ensure you're getting the best life and performance out of your tires. You can throw a car out of alignment when you hit a pot hole or curb. If you notice irregular treadwear or experience your vehicle pulling to the left or right when you're trying to stay straight in a lane, you might need a wheel alignment to fix the camber, toe, and caster angles.
A tire rotation maximizes tire life by swapping the position of each tire on your vehicle. This is done because your vehicle doesn't distribute an equal amount of stress on each tire. By switching front and rear tires, you keep treadwear even.
Rotation patterns vary depending on your vehicle and tires. Rotating tires regularly means you won't have to worry about finding replacements at different intervals or contending with a performance decrease because your tires don't match in treadwear.
Limit Stop-and-Go Driving
Short trips waste fuel and add unnecessary wear and to automotive components. When possible, take longer routes.
Take Care of Your Car So It Takes Care of You
Follow these tips and the service intervals listed inside your owner’s manual to guard against major repairs and unexpected failures. Proper vehicle maintenance:
- Saves you money in the long run
- Improves your safety and the safety of your passengers.
- Retains manufacturer warranties
- Increases vehicle life
- Decreases the likelihood of an unexpected automotive repair
Stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance and make sure to visit B & L Quality Repair LLC if you experience an automotive problem. We provide a variety of automotive services to Bozeman, MT, Belgrade, MT, Big Sky, MT, and surrounding areas.