FAQs About Automotive Repairs

Vehicles of today are so much more complex in computer electronics and vehicle design that preventive maintenance items have changed drastically in the last 25 years. My job as an owner of A-Automotive, Inc. is to educate my customers, as well as the public, about preventive maintenance changes.

Did you know that good maintenance will:
  1. Help your vehicle will last approximately 25% longer
  2. Allow you to get about 50,000 more miles out of your vehicle
  3. Your vehicle will be worth approximately 25% more in value
  4. Fewer breakdowns, less chance of being stranded
  5. Good maintenance records make it easier to sell!

A Automotive Tire Pros Exterior
A Automotive Tire Pros Interior

Did you know?
Tiny Example: Can anyone change out a battery?  Answer: NO!

The 96 and newer cars have OBD II electronics and memory.

You need to have voltage all the time to the computer, or it will loose its memory. The only way to properly get it back is to go through a drivability re-learn process for the computer. So you need to hook-up ahead of time an auxiliary voltage supply.

In the long run keeping up your preventive maintenance will save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars in major vehicle repairs.

Here is a condensed version of preventive maintenance recommendations for 1990 and newer vehicles covering most makes and models.

Every 3,000 to 5,000 miles get a lube, oil, and filter change with a 30-point inspection, as well as check the battery condition and clean when needed.

Every 6,000 to 8,000 miles you should rotate your tires.

Every 24,000 to 30,000 get transmission service, fuel filter change, throttle body cleaning, and wheel bearing pack.

Every 60,000 to 100,000 miles get a timing belt (when applicable), inspect/replace front and rear brakes, replace serpentine belt  and V-belts, cooling system flush, O2 (oxygen) sensor (when applicable), and spark plugs (when applicable).

At 100,000+ miles get a gear oil in differential gear boxes and transfer case,  hoses and belts, brake fluid flush, and power steering fluid flush.

Regardless of miles, hoses should be changed every 7 years due to the break down on the inside of the heater/coolant hoses. Every 4,000 miles or every oil change you should add Techron fuel injector cleaner in the fuel tank to keep the fuel system clean along with the emission systems so critical on newer cars.

Here are the reasons why we do maintenance service at scheduled mileage and time:

Lube, Oil, and Filter:  The reason behind doing an oil change is not just to change the oil. Every make and model has certain items that need to be checked over during the service procedure. A good example of this is a front wheel drive car compared to a 4X4 truck. We here at A-Automotive, Inc. have a 30-point check list we perform on each vehicle.

Battery Condition:  Clean terminals and making a battery last longer is only one reason for a good clean battery. One of the most important reasons in the newer cars is proper voltage for the computer. It can cause computer failure as well as sensors malfunctioning.

Tire Rotation:  Tire rotations will make your tires last 20% longer especially on 4WD and AWD vehicles. It is also a time for catching premature tire wear, could be an indication of worn parts or maybe just a need to check and adjust your vehicles alignment. Some vehicles are equipped with TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors).

Transmission Service:  This is an area that is so important and so neglected. If a transmission is serviced regularly with moderate driving conditions, it could easily last over 200,000 miles for many makes and models. When service is neglected, when it’s had hard use or been abused is when a transmission fails. Also when we service your transmission, we check for any fluid leaks, which is a contributing factor to transmission failure.

Fuel Filter Change:  Fuel injection vehicles have a very complex fuel system. Fuel quality is very important. The filter removes the smallest of impurities. If it isn’t changed regularly it can cause premature fuel pump failure causing you to become stranded. Fuel pumps are forced to work harder as the filter plugs shortening the pumps life.

Throttle Body Cleaning:  Throttle bodies, when dirty, can cause computers to set a code. Also, poor fuel economy, rough running and stalling symptoms.

Timing Belt:  When the timing belt fails, it will leave you stranded, may damage your engine (some models) or make engine run very poorly. After so many miles the belt can be fatigued or oil soaked causing failure.

Serpentine Belt or Fan Belts:  Belts need to be replaced when glazed, cracked or weather checked. Can cause over heating of engine or leave you stranded.

Coolant/Heater Hoses:   Hoses need to be changed every 7 years or 100,000 miles. An over heated cooling system can ruin engines in a short time causing blown head gaskets as well as damaging sensors.

Cooling System Flush:  Cooling system flushes are a must for keeping radiators in good condition. Bad pH in old coolant will cause electrolysis and will eat up and wear out aluminum components.

Oxygen Sensors (O2 Sensors):  Malfunctioning O2 sensors will cause engine soon lights to come on. When they go bad or become weak they will cause poor fuel economy, even though the engine seems to be running smooth. O2 sensors monitor the exhaust gas to help maintain maximum economy and the lowest emissions.

Spark Plugs:  Worn spark plugs can cause hard starting and poor fuel economy, damage or over work your ignition system and cause premature failure.

Brake Fluid Flushes:  On an ABS brake system, the ABS controller will prematurely wear out with poor quality brake fluid. Brake fluids chemistry will cause it to draw moisture out of the air, into the brake fluid contaminating it. ABS units are expensive to repair or may need to be replaced!

Power Steering Flushes:  When power steering fluid becomes dark or has grayish tint, it should be flushed and an additive put in to lubricate steering racks or steering gears to prevent premature failure.

Gear Box Oils:  Changing the transfer case oil and the front and rear differential oils are very important. The lubricating qualities break down after a period of time. Changing the gear oil will make gear boxes run cooler and quieter, and last longer.