Most car owners know to change their oil and rotate tires, but there is a whole lot more to properly maintaining a car than just that. In order to keep your car at it’s best you need to keep up on maintenance. Here are 10 items we bet you are forgetting:
10. Differential and Transfer Case Service
Most cars on the road these days are front-wheel drive, so the differential is built into the transmission. However, rear wheel drive cars, and all-wheel drive cars have a differential in the rear axle that requires fluid changes and adjustments. 4-wheel-drive trucks and SUV’s also have a component called a transfer case that enables the 4×4 system to operate all four wheels. Most drivers forget these components need service and neglect them.
9. Brake Fluid Change
Did you know that brake fluid absorbs water like crazy? When that happens, brake components can begin to corrode from the inside-out. In addition, that water can cause your brake fluid to boil under hard use like mountain driving or when towing, and can cause a loss of brakes. Neglecting to change the brake fluid happens way too often for something so critical.
8. Coolant Flush
Years ago, coolant or antifreeze was changed out every year before winter. Modern cars use coolant that is good for anywhere from 30,000-100,000 miles. Because of these long service intervals, people forget it eventually needs changed. When coolant doesn’t get changed, it can start to cause corrosion and other problems. If you can’t remember the last time you changed it, you probably need to.
7. Timing Belt
They are becoming less common now that chains are getting lighter, stronger, and quieter, but a ton of vehicles on the road have timing belts. These are supposed to be changed between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, but are covered and out-of-sight, out-of-mind. If one of these fails, it can destroy the engine. Forgetting a timing belt service can end up being quite costly. When it doubt, change it out.
6. Power Steering Flush
Every time you get into your car you turn the steering wheel. Thanks to power steering, it doesn’t take Hulk arms to do it. That magic happens through hydraulic power steering fluid, which needs to be changed from time to time. Service intervals vary from 1-3 years depending on the car, but we would venture to say your car is due.
5. Cabin Air Filter
So you remembered to change out that engine air filter, but did you know you are missing another important air filter? Most cars made in the last 10 years have a cabin air filter, that, like your furnace filter at home, filters the air that comes through your heat and air conditioning. This filter helps keep dust out of your interior, and filters out allergens. The replacement is quick and inexpensive, and we would be happy to change it out for you once a year.
4. Valve Adjustments
Modern engines are being designed in such a way that valve adjustments are becoming a thing of the past. That said, there are a ton of cars still on the road that need this service once every few years to keep everything in good working order. The procedure is usually quick, and we would be more than happy to take care of it for you.
3. Shocks and Struts
Most people don’t realize they are driving around on bad shocks and struts. Why? Because in most cases they don’t just fail. They wear out slowly over time, so you don’t realize how poorly they are performing. Most manufacturers recommend shocks and struts be changed out every 50,000 miles or 5 years to keep your ride-quality and handling at their best. We can check and replace them for you. You will be amazed at how nice your car used to ride.
2. Belts and Hoses
The majority of drivers don’t think about their belts and hoses until they make noise or spring a leak. These rubber components dry out and crack over time, and should be replaced when they are worn to prevent failure and breakdown. We will inspect your hoses and belts on your next visit, and change out anything that is worn or damaged.
1. Spare Tire
The #1 most forgotten maintenance item is your spare tire. Last road trip, I’m sure you fueled up, checked the oil, and aired up the tires. Did you check the air in the spare? Our guess is no. These spares get stashed out of the way and are forgotten until you need it to get home. That is the wrong time to find out the spare tire is flat. Check the air in your spare a few times a year. Like your primary tires, the rubber is prone to dry rot and degrading with age. Good tread or not, all tires, including the spare, should be changed at 5-7 years old for safety sake. We will check your spare and make sure you have a safe backup plan.