Twice a year, October and April are slated by the Car Care Council as National Car Care Months. So what does that mean to the automobile owner/consumer? I believe it should help remind automobile owners to be mindful of their vehicle service needs and have a safety inspection done to prevent potential expensive repairs that may be avoidable or possible breakdowns.
Without a doubt today’s vehicles have become much more reliable, have reduced maintenance but are much more technically advanced. As I spoke about in lasts months blog regarding what is involved with today’s transmissions and service requirements there are many other systems with increasing complexity and different service or repair requirements. Manufacturers are constantly pushing the technology envelope from competitor competition with infotainment and creature comforts to meeting government requirements for safety, emission and fuel economy standards. That said, it seems like not a week goes by without some type of safety recall being announced involving one manufacturer or another. With all the fast paced changes, it is more important than ever to keep your vehicle maintained by a service professional.
In Georgia, October is a good month to get your vehicle ready for the colder winter months ahead. Having your battery checked especially if it’s 4 years or older, should be on your list as batteries in our part of the country have an average lifespan of 51 months. Better to have it replaced on your terms than being stranded and in need of a tow. Please, be careful when jump starting! Many manufacturers are denouncing the practice and I believe with good reason. There are so many electronic circuits and modules today in our vehicles that can be damaged by voltage surges when jumper cables are attached and even worse yet if they are installed backwards. Batteries that are weak also are hard on an alternator causing them to overwork and overheat. This is the main cause of alternator failure. Coolant is also a good item to have inspected as well. Many vehicles have an extended life coolant which varies from each manufacturer. Most of these coolants cannot be mixed and are chemically different in their make-up. Some last better than others and even though they may protect to a certain temperature level, their corrosion protection may be reduced over time. Make sure the correct coolant is installed and not a universal variety to try to reduce costs. There are over 25 different coolant formulations with some over $50 a gallon for the correct application. Belts and hoses are good to be inspected as well. With the winter months also comes shorter daylight hours and the likelihood of more nighttime driving is assured, It’s important that all lights, headlamps and headlamp lens clarity should also be inspected. That good ole Georgia sun does a number on the plastic headlamp lenses. People are shocked how much better they can see at night after the oxidation removal and polishing is performed on these style of lenses. Also, the winter months in Georgia and on into the early spring bring our rainy season. Wipers, tire tread depth and wear should be inspected along with alignment if needed.
The items listed above are just some of the things to be considered in readying your vehicle for the months ahead. Also, available as a resource to you from the Car Care Council is an updated 75 page PDF guide that is available as a free download on their website: www.carcare.org This guide has tips and information regarding what should be inspected and maintained along with pictures of certain components and systems to help you better understand your vehicle. We also have available on our website, The NAPA Service Assistant. This is an interactive system with video and animations to help you understand the workings of commonly serviced systems or components.
As always, if you have any questions regarding your vehicle or the service it requires we are always available to discuss it with you.
Kevin Hough, Pres. ASE Master Certified. Advanced Level Specialist