JK Automotive wants to help you keep your car running at it’s optimal best and there are several things you can do to keep it running like new, make your car last longer, and keep you off the side of the road!
- Having your oil changed every 3,000 miles or according to your vehicle’s owner’s manual is mandatory for keeping your engine working like it should. Some newer cars seem to allow more miles between oil changes but be sure to check your owners manual for specific instructions and your car’s maintenance schedule. If you use synthetic oil it is believed to lubricate the engine more efficiently because it breaks down at a slower rate. Synthetic oil made by Castrol, Chevron, Mobil, Havoline, etc can be found easily at your local auto parts or even super-mart store.
- Be sure to change your oil filter every time you change your oil. Having fresh oil and a gummed up filter won’t do you or your car any good.
- Before driving your car off the lot, it’s important to know the location of your oil dipstick. If you don’t know, have them show you. You’ll need to check the oil level in between oil changes. To check the oil, pull out the dipstick and wipe it off with a clean lint free cloth. Put the dipstick back in and pull it out again. Look at the markings on the end of the dipstick to see the oil level to make sure it is close to the full line. If it’s not, you can add oil but be sure not to overfill. It’s best to add just a little oil at a time.
- If your oil is completely black and the oil level is low, you should suspect your car is experiencing excessive oil consumption. The exception to this rule is if the car has a diesel engine. Oil is known then to be blacker in these engines. Also, look for signs of poor maintenance by checking for dark stains or carbon deposits on the dipstick. A well maintained engine will have oil that looks cleaner, and a clearer golden yellow tone.
- Have the vehicle checked regularly for possible leaks. To inspect for leaks yourself, use a flashlight and check completely underneath the vehicle’s engine compartment. Everything around the engine and transmission should be dry. You might find some light moisture however excessive moisture may be a sign of a problem that needs to be diagnosed. The one exception to this is the air conditioner drain tube. It may have water drips on it and this is normal condensation and nothing to worry about. Be diligent in checking for pools of fluid when you back out of your parking place as seeing a pool of any kind of fluid needs attention by your auto repair shop.
- Keep an eye on the coolant level in your engine compartment. In most makes, there is a clear plastic overflow tank that you can check your car’s coolant level. Check this regularly enough so that the coolant level doesn’t’ fall below the minimum level. The coolant itself should be clean and transparent. Many manufactures color the coolant but you should be able to be see through the coolant and note that it is not thick or heavy. Another thing to watch for is seeing any engine oil in the coolant area. Should you experience any of these problems, this is probably an indication of either an engine or radiator problem, especially if the vehicle is overheating as a result of the leak. The problem could be anything from a leaky hose, a blown head gasket, or a radiator leak. Have it checked by your auto repair shop immediately.
- Pay attention to the idle of your car. If it seems to be idling too high or too low, have it looked at.
- You can tell a lot about your car by simply listening to the engine when the car is running. Hearing noises or knocks coming from the engine compartment is a sign that there is something wrong. Knocking, rattling, tapping, whistling, or any other unusual sound usually indicates some kind of potential problem. Noises such as these can indicate anything from excessive wear on your internal engine parts or a loose belt to serious engine problems. Again, have this kind of problem checked out as soon as possible.
- Don’t overlook your hoses and belts. Check belts and hoses every 50,000 to 75,000 miles and change them if necessary. Watch for worn belts or hoses and brittleness of rubber hoses. Even if you don’t see signs of the rubber degeneration, after 50 to 75 thousand miles you should expect to have your hoses changed as a precautionary measure. Hoses are prone to small pinprick holes that might not be visible to the eye but none the less can cause a problems when you least expect it. Plain and simple, rubber parts get brittle. Save yourself some trouble and have them checked regularly.
Taking care of your car will give you many more years of reliable service and help protect your car’s resale value. Closely following your car’s manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is the easiest and most cost effective way to keep your in top shape and help you avoid potential problems. Remember, addressing problems when you are first aware of the first signs of them can save you time and trouble, and potential serious damage in the long run.
If you need an auto repair shop you can trust, give us a call. We have many satisfied customers and references are available upon request. We are a fully licenced auto repair shop located in Summerville, SC
In Summerville, call us today at 843-851-0028