Automobile Maintenance Advantages 101

HOW WELL DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR CAR? 

Ok, so you keep your car shiny and clean inside and out, congratulations you’re doing a great job! How about your car’s mechanical maintenance? Looks can be deceiving… You know the great looking car with the new tires, wheels, and shiny paint? The one that smokes and rattles like the engine is falling out lol? That scenario is more common than you think! I mean let’s face it, soap and water is cheaper than the parts and services associated with regularly scheduled maintenance, especially on newer cars. As a result, some folks just let it go until they’re driving junk! We have to assume most of them have no idea the benefits that keeping their car in shape offers. Think of your car as a living breathing form of transportation, like say around the 19th century. If you didn’t maintain your horse and keep it in good shape, you were walking. Things haven’t changed a bit, neglect your car and well, get to stepping!  

 

DOING MAINTENANCE

If you’re one of the discerning car owners who don’t wish to take a college course on automobile maintenance, join the crowd! Many car owners just don’t care about how it’s done as long as it gets done. That’s why we have professionals that do care and wan’t the best for your car just like you. Find one in your area with great reviews and give them a shout. Text or call me for a recommendation if you’re not sure, glad to help. 

For those hybrid greasers out there who don’t mind getting their hands dirty to save some cash, check out my article on maintenance schedules Secret To Max Car Performance and Life. 

 

“Whether you’re a DIY owner or reliant on your favorite service department, you should know the following benefits of regular car maintenance.” ~ Mike Love 

 

BENEFITS OF CAR MAINTENANCE 

Why is keeping your car mechanically on it’s game so important? The list is long and there are some benefits more important than others, but here are six good ones to begin with. 

 

01. Dependability

One of the major advantages of car maintenance is the reliability of the car to go from any place to another with the utmost convenience. The performance of the car is assured with regular maintenance and occasionally a checkup from a seasoned pro even if you’re a DIY car owner.

02. Resale 

For all vehicles, resale value is a major consideration. After a while, people want to replace their existing vehicle with a new one, they just do. One of the key aspects of a good resale is a vehicle’s overall performance. The properly maintained car has 20 to 30 percent more value than an average vehicle. Worth it…

03. Low repair costs

For any kind of vehicle, maintenance cost is a very important aspect. Keeping in mind that the replacement cost of an important car part is high. Parts replacement costs can be dramatically reduced by performing proper maintenance. It’s a simple fact that if it doesn’t wear out, it doesn’t need replacing. Keeping everything in good repair wins every time. 

04. Better fuel efficiency

With proper maintenance, you can boost your fuel performance to a new level. Maintaining correct air pressure in tires equates to fuel savings. For every 10 psi of under-inflation, a 10% reduction in fuel economy can result, according to NACFE. 

Too little or too much engine oil can create more friction and rob power. Clean oil lubricates better than dirty oil, so pay attention to oil change intervals. Explore the use of lower-viscosity oils to improve fuel economy.

A restricted air intake system (air filter, air cooler, and tubing) or exhaust system will decrease engine power output. Check components at regular PMs and fix any leaks. These leaks can be particularly hard to find, as leaking air is not as noticeable as fuel or oil, but their repair will improve engine operation and fuel efficiency. I could dedicate an entire blog to just this maintenance advantage! 

05. Safety

Because our lives may depend on car performance, don’t take unnecessary chances. System failure can be avoided largely through maintenance. Rear brake lights, brakes, brake warning lights on your dashboard, lack of brake fluid are all extremely dangerous system failures that can be life threatening. 

Over-inflated tires, Under-inflated tires, Punctured or damaged tires, valve stem damage, and Worn down or bald tires are all capable of causing an accident. 

Headlights, taillights, and turn signals are all essential to your safety while driving. 

06. Longevity 

In many cases, it may be too late for your engine when it starts to overheat or begins leaking coolant on a hot summer day. It’s best to have your coolant system serviced by the pros. Frequent fluid top-ups will help keep your engine cool and reduce stress on your car’s heater and air conditioner. A belt check along with replacing coolant fluids will help improve the life of the vehicle’s engine and will give you a heads-up should there be an underlying problem with the vehicle’s radiator or thermostat.

 

While tire suspension and care are the main priority, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment for an auto transmission servicing and a front and rear differential inspection. A good service should provide:

 

  • A complete tire inspection including rotation and balancing
  • Replacement of a dirty air and fuel filter
  • Power steering fluid exchange
  • Inspection of the transfer case
  • Differential and trans-axle servicing
  • A transmission fluid exchange

 

The advantages of keeping your vehicle well maintained are too many to mention, but if they were only those above it would be well worth it! Let me know if you have any questions, always happy to help. 

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. 

TM Auto Wholesalers, Chesapeake Va

 

 

Sources:

Lockridge, Deborah “8 steps to better MPG through maintenance” TRUCKINGINFO.COM June 20th, 2016 Web. Retrieved from:

https://www.truckinginfo.com/156794/8-steps-to-better-mpg-through-maintenance#:~:text=Maintaining%20correct%20air%20pressure%20in,can%20result%2C%20according%20to%20NACFE.&text=%E2%80%9CThe%20biggest%20thing%20we%20do,3. 

 

Staff “How Routine Maintenance Improves Vehicle Longevity” MRCLEANCARWASH.COM Retrieved from:

https://www.mrcleancarwash.com/blog/how-routine-maintenance-improves-vehicle-longevity

 

Beckman, Viles “Does Vehicle Maintenance Affect Road Safety” VILESANDBECKMAN.COM February 20th, 2019 Web. Retrieved from:

https://www.vilesandbeckman.com/does-vehicle-maintenance-affect-road-safety/#:~:text=Brake%20Failure%20Can%20Cause%20Accidents,car%20before%20a%20collision%20occurs.&text=Brake%20warning%20lights%20on%20the%20dashboard

Memoirs of a Clean Car

 

WHAT WOULD YOUR CAR SAY ABOUT YOU IN IT’S MEMOIRS?

You love your shiny new car with all it’s cool features and it’s exactly what you want… for now.  Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, that’s just the life of a car. One day your eyes will start to wander and BAM, you’re shopping for another, newer, shinier, one with cooler features. That for sale sign hits the windshield and well, you know the rest. 

So what would your car say about you to its new owner? “The years have been kind to me, haven’t they!” or “I’ve definitely seen better days” Guess what, it tells others all about you every day with its appearance! Your car’s condition is a reflection of you whether you like it or not. The dude in the beater with the bald tires… sketchy. Hey, the dude could be a prince but THAT CAR, the car didn’t give him a chance. Love your car and it will love you back! It’s all up to you which way this goes. If you’re hoping for a good return on your investment, best keep that car looking young!

That’s right, there are some sweet benefits to keeping your car young. Besides resale, though it’s certainly at the top, did you know that a clean car can make you happier? You might, but did you also know that a dirty car can get less gas mileage? Maybe not and there’s more, read on! 

 

  1. LONGER VEHICLE LIFE

By waxing your car, you are keeping the paint job in good shape. The natural deposits of dirt and salt that you gather from driving will corrode the body of your vehicle over time. The benefits of cleanliness extend to the engine, where a regular wipe down can prevent damage from buildup of debris. Check out how to wash and polish your car for tips on how to do it right.

 

  1. BETTER MENTAL HEALTH

You spend a lot of hours inside your car. If that environment is clean, you can feel more focused and organized. Most people are happier if they keep neat living areas in their houses; the same is true for that vehicle where you may meditate or contemplate your days to and from work.

 

  1. SAFER DRIVING

Visibility is a key to accident prevention. What detracts from your visibility? Dirty windows and rear-view mirrors. If you keep them clean, you can better evaluate what’s going on around you. Plus, clean headlights lead to maximum illumination, a must for driving at night or in inclement weather.

 

  1. BETTER PHYSICAL HEALTH

Think of the dirt that’s probably built up inside your car. Even if you are a tidy person, there’s probably bacteria on the hard surfaces. That’s not to mention dust and residue on the seats and flooring. It can lead to poor air quality, aggravating people with allergies or breathing problems.

 

  1. IMPROVED FUEL ECONOMY

A layer of dirt actually makes your engine work harder. That’s because it increases drag on the vehicle. Your fuel economy goes down, therefore, if you don’t regularly wash the exterior of your vehicle. Reduced fuel economy means that a dirty car is money out of your pocket.

 

  1. PERSONAL PRIDE

Your car may or may not be a status symbol, but it is an accessory with which you are regularly associated. You want your car to reflect the same pride you feel with your personal appearance. After all, you probably spent quite a bit of time thinking about the make, model and color of the vehicle before you bought it — why not keep it looking its best?

 

  1. SPARKING JOY

You may have heard this phrase as connected with organizer Marie Kondo. You can certainly use the KonMari method to declutter your car, but instead of joy, look at it as utility. Ask yourself, of all the things you keep in your vehicle, “is this necessary?” Removing some of the extra weight will not only improve your sense of well being, but reduce the number of pounds your car’s engine has to work to drag around.

 

IT WORKS

 

I’ve personally experienced some of the benefits on that list by keeping my cars clean, and that’s no easy task with a large family like mine! Each of my in-stock vehicles is detailed prior to delivery for one final inspection. Hearing “Wow, the years have been good to this one” is the best 🙂

Keeping Your Car Young part 2 “Advantages of keeping your car mechanically in its prime!” on July 31st

 

Have questions? Call or text Mike Love (757) 560-4252, I have answers! 

TM Auto Wholesalers, Chesapeake Va

 

 

Sources: Staff “Hidden benefits of a clean car” www.goldeagle.com July 14, 2020 Web. Retrieved from:  https://www.goldeagle.com/tips-tools/hidden-benefits-clean-car/

The Secret to Maximum Car Life & Performance?

 

Vehicle maintenance is the single most important factor in your car’s life

As far as value is concerned, the old adage rings true: A car loses value as soon as you drive it off the dealership lot—up to 15% depending on the vehicle. It doesn’t stop there; by the time it’s four years old, the typical car retains only about half of its value. After that, however, the depreciation curve is much less steep. So buying a three or four-year-old car, which should still have years of dependability, makes plenty of sense. It’s even possible to buy a car of this age, drive it for a year and resell it with little or no loss in equity. In fact, the most cost effective way to own a car is to buy a used car that’s about 3- or 4-years old and drive it until it’s no longer driveable or worth the cost to maintain. Wait… maintain? Yes, all of the above hinges on your vehicle’s maintenance history. When properly maintained, a vehicle should easily last another six to eight years without needing any major repairs… emphasis on properly maintained.  Sticking to a car maintenance schedule, and keeping good records of what you’ve done can help extend the life of your vehicle and protect you against breakdowns, expensive repairs, and other unwelcome surprises.

 

What is Your Car’s Maintenance History

 

With used cars, each has led a different life. Some may have been pampered, others abused. The best bet is often one owned by a trusted friend, family member, or original owner who can share details of the car’s history. Still, it’s smart to carefully look the car over inside and out, top to bottom and during daylight hours when paint flaws that may indicate repairs or other troubles can be readily spotted. Essentially, you’re looking to ensure the car is in the condition claimed by the seller. So what if you don’t know the owner? 

Firestone in Chesapeake Va keeps an ongoing record of your car’s service and can provide you with a detailed print out for the year anytime you need it. This is especially helpful when it’s time to sell. Firestone will also begin reporting your car’s maintenance records to Carfax in the future, making it possible for potential buyers to order it online. Carfax vehicle history reports are one of the most reliable ways to search a car’s maintenance records. Many dealerships provide them free to customers but they can also be purchased for $39.99. Not all maintenance shops report your car’s repairs and maintenance to Carfax however. Carfax Shop Locator will give you a list of Carfax affiliated shops in your area. Carfax won’t list unreported accidents and repairs but will show you a history of the items listed below.

 

  • Major Accidents

  • Multiple Owners

  • Vehicle Service

  • Structural Damage

  • Open Recalls

  • Registration History

  • Mileage Rollback

  • State Owned

  • Total Loss

  • Rebuilt

  • Warranty Information

  • Flood Damage

  • Airbag Deployment

  • Mileage Rollover

  • Not Actual Mileage

  • Salvage Titles

  • Service History

  • Hail Damage

  • Branded a Lemon

  • Junked

  • Estimated Miles Driven Per Year

  • Last Reported Mileage

  • Length of Ownership

  • Commercial or Personal Use

 

A Regular Maintenance Schedule like this one is a great way to start!  

SHORT TERM CHECK-UPS

OIL AND COOLANT LEVELS

Every month, or every few gas fill-ups and especially before any longer road trips, it’s a good idea to get under the hood of your car and inspect both the oil and coolant levels while the engine is cool. Low levels of either can lead to engine problems if left unchecked. Refer to your owner’s manual to locate both on your specific vehicle.

AIR FILTER

Your engine’s air filter is what regulates the air that flows into your engine and helps keep out debris and particulate. By making certain that your air filter is flowing properly, you can improve your fuel efficiency, decrease your emissions, and help ensure the life of your engine. This can be done easily at home, so check your owner’s manual for instructions and how often it needs to be changed.

TIRE PRESSURE AND TREAD DEPTH

Since well-maintained tires are integral to a safe, fuel-efficient ride, make it a habit to visually inspect your tires often. Check the pressure in your tires every month, and before long trips or carrying extra load.  Don’t forget the spare.  A tire pressure gauge will be needed to check your tire pressure. Also, during the colder months, note that tire pressure drops one pound with every 10 degree decrease in pressure. Your owner’s manual will tell you how much air pressure your tire needs. You can check your tread depth using the simple penny method.

HEADLIGHTS, TURN SIGNALS, BRAKE, AND PARKING LIGHTS

It’s important that the lights on your vehicle are properly functioning, but oftentimes it can be easy item to overlook. Once a month, turn on your headlights when you’re parked in front of a flat surface and check that both headlights are working properly and well-positioned. Walk around your car and visually inspect both turn signals and your parking lights. Have a friend stand behind the car while you engage the brakes to be certain that your brake lights are functional.

OIL & FILTER

The motor oil in your vehicle’s engine serves a whole slew of functions: it lubricates the moving parts, helps act as a sealant against debris, cools the engine, reduces wear and tear, and helps prevent engine corrosion. Keeping it clean is vital for good engine health. Depending on your car and what kind of oil you’re using, you may need to change both the oil & oil filter as much as every 3 months or 3000 miles. Many newer vehicles’ owners’ manuals will recommend changing your oil less frequently – often in-between 5,000 and 10,000 miles. Check your vehicle owner’s manual and consult with a professional to be certain what is appropriate for your vehicle.

ROTATE TIRES

Depending on your vehicle alignment, usage, and many other factors, the tread wear patterns on your tires may vary between the front and back tires, or even from one side of the tread to the other. Rotating your tires will help to extend the service life of your tires by more evenly balancing the tread wear, and helping prevent noise and vibration problems.

WAX VEHICLE

Making certain to wax your vehicle every six months after washing it won’t just keep it shiny, it’ll also help to keep both the paint in good shape and reduce the chance of rust. Many irritants such as dust, sand, and salt can build up and environmental factors like ozone and ultraviolet light can cause microscopic damage, but waxing can help minimize this by forming a protective seal to extend your paint’s life.

 

LONG TERM CHECK-UPS

 

TRANSMISSION FLUID

Much like the oil in your engine, transmission fluid is a lubricant that helps keep all of the moving parts inside of your transmission functioning properly. Whether you’re driving an automatic or manual transmission vehicle, it is essential that you have your transmission fluid checked and changed when needed to avoid costly transmission damage or replacement. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

TRANSFER CASE FLUID

In four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles, the transfer case is what shifts power from the transmission to the axles. You’ll need to have the transfer case fluid checked according to the vehicle manufacturer recommendations to make certain that it is properly filled and leak-free. This will require you getting under the vehicle, so bringing it into a professional is recommended.

INSPECT SHOCKS AND STRUTS

The shocks and struts on your car function to control the impact and rebound as your vehicle passes over bumps in the road and are an essential part of your auto’s steering system. They should be inspected by a professional every 50,000 miles or bring your car to the shop if you notice a decrease in smoothness or loss of control when driving.

COOLANT FLUID EXCHANGE

The radiator in your car is a vital component that helps keep your engine cool and functioning properly. Having your coolant system flushed regularly will help get rid of contaminants that can build up inside as well as ensure that your radiator is filled to a proper level. Check your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation to find out how often your coolant should be exchanged,

SPARK PLUGS

The spark plugs in your engine ignite the gas and air mixture that ultimately powers your vehicle . If your spark plugs aren’t functioning properly, your engine will lose power and won’t run at optimal capacity. Have a professional check and replace any faulty spark plugs depending on vehicle mfr recommendations or when you feel a decrease in your engine’s power.

SERPENTINE BELT

Although may seem like a simple piece of rubber, your vehicle’s serpentine belt is essential to keeping your car running by powering peripheral devices such as your alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioner compressor. Visually inspect the belt to ensure that it is free of cracks or other wear and tear.  Replace id damaged or according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.

FRONT AND/OR REAR DIFFERENTIAL

The differentials are devices that split the torque—or power—from the engine and allow it to send power to the tires. In front or rear-wheel drive vehicles, there is only one differential, but in 4-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles, there is both a front and rear differential, and possibly even a center differential. Like many parts of your vehicle, the differentials need to be kept lubricated to ensure proper functionality. Have a professional check and change fluid whenever your vehicle manufacturer recommends it.

 

SEASONAL CHECK-UPS

 

The needs of your vehicle can vary by season and driving conditions. Following are a few suggestions to add to the notes section of your vehicle maintenance checklist:

REPLACE WINDSHIELD WIPERS

Windshield wipers need to be replaced about once every year, or whenever the effectiveness is compromised. In winter months, it could also be a good idea to install winter wiper blades for optimum performance. You should also pull your wipers away from the window when parked during the winter to prevent ice buildup.

BATTERY PERFORMANCE CHECK

Your car battery is one of the most important components for your vehicle to run. A car battery supplies large amounts of electrical current for the starter, engine and other electronic accessories in the vehicle. Extreme temperatures affect the performance of the battery so regular battery testing will ensure that battery will perform when you need it to.

CHANGE TIRES

Depending on where you live and the winter driving conditions you might encounter, you might want to switch your tires in cold, snowy months to a winter/snow tire. When the temperature hovers at or below freezing consistently, the tire compounds in non-winter tires hardens, decreasing traction and handling performance while increasing braking distance. Winter tires have tread patterns and compounds designed to remain soft in the cold and provide grip in snow, slush, and icy driving conditions.

CHECK COOLANT LEVELS

It’s also important to check your antifreeze levels in your radiator in winter months to keep your radiator or engine components from freezing. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze to water is generally recommended, but check your owner’s manual or with a professional to be certain.

 

Overall, car dependability has improved considerably over the past decade. A five-year-old vehicle is likely to have about a third fewer problems than one would have had a decade back. Engine, transmission and exhaust problems, which once plagued older cars, have decreased dramatically, according to automotive research groups. Do your homework when buying used and request a Carfax. It’s invaluable when it comes to confirming background information on any used car, truck, or SUV. If the dealer can’t or won’t provide a Carfax, keep looking. Once you’re in the driver’s seat, do your monthly maintenance and drive it until the wheels fall off.  

Have questions? Call or text Mike Love at (757) 560-4252, I have answers!

TM Auto Wholesalers, Chesapeake Va

 

 

Sources:

 

Staff “The Ultimate Car Maintenance Checklist” www.bridgestonetire.com Web. Retrieved from: https://www.bridgestonetire.com/tread-and-trend/drivers-ed/ultimate-car-maintenance-checklist

 

Staff “service shops” www.carfax.com Web. Retrieved from https://www.carfax.com/Service-Shops

 

Is your car ready for the holidays?

Car Ready for the Holidays?

Around this time each year, I begin to wonder… Should we drive or fly? Let me see, a thirteen hour drive or airfare for five? Road trip wins again! We all know that November 25th is historically the busiest day for Thanksgiving travel, and yet there we are with thousands of other families making the annual trek. It’s crazy, stressful, exhausting, and a wonderful American tradition that has forged family ties for generations. I love it, but don’t tell my kids; my grumpy dad reputation would be ruined!

Whether it’s an epic journey or a short jaunt, it’s important to prepare your vehicle for holiday traveling. Your car has just endured a summer’s worth of beach trips, sporting events, and taxiing everyone everywhere! For your car’s sake as well as your families, don’t risk it – winterize it! The basics will ensure safe passage through stormy weather, traffic jams, freezing temps, snow, equipment failure, and the unexpected. Most of the items on your winterizing checklist are DIY, minus a couple that I’d leave to the pros.

Battery: Have mechanic run a battery load test to make sure your battery will go the distance. In extreme cold, a fully charged battery has just half its rated amp-hour capacity.

Windshield: Change your wiper blades, fill the windshield washer reservoir with a lower freezing temperature washer fluid, and I suggest applying rain-x to your windshield for the best possible visibility.

Tires: Have your tires professionally checked if the tread depth is less than 3/16 inch. Your tire’s air pressure drops an estimated 6psi from summer to winter so properly inflate them to ensure best possible traction (see your owner’s manual). If snow is in the plan, consider swapping your tires out with snow tires for the trip.  

Fluids: Have your oil and filter changed. Cold thickens your oil so a lower viscosity rated oil may be a good idea (See your owner’s manual). Check all fluids to ensure they are at the correct levels and there are no leaks. Now is also the time to check your 4WD to ensure it’s operating properly. Slippery roads, mud, or snow may call for heavy-duty traction!

Antifreeze: Your car’s radiator should contain a 50/50 antifreeze and water mix. I recommend purchasing an antifreeze tester from your local parts supply. A simple test will confirm that your car’s antifreeze is suitable for winter temperatures.

Belts & Hoses: They can weaken with cold weather. Check them for any signs of wear and tear and if in doubt, have them changed.

Emergencies: I suggest a first aid kit, tool bag with basic tools for making minor repairs, portable charger for cell phones and other accessories, warm clothing for everyone, and plenty of bottled and backup munchies.  

So maybe you fly, maybe you drive… Either way, hope for the best, prepare for the worst this holiday season by completing a smart checklist before heading out. Text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’m always happy to answer your questions and assist you in finding the vehicle you want. Safe travels!