So you got a new set of wheels – congratulations! You’re going to want to hang onto it as long as possible, so you’ll want to keep it maintained as well as you can. Here are some suggestions:
First, read the owner’s manual carefully and stick to manufacturer’s recommendations for service intervals. There are certain things that are critical enough that failure to adhere to recommendations can void a new car warranty. Don’t let that happen!
For instance, just about every manufacturer recommends synthetic oil for their engines; it provides better protection in just about every respect, and it’s more stable at high and low temperatures. If your owner’s manual prescribes a 10,000-mile oil change, stick with that and be sure to use the bra ...[more]
So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.
What does it mean?
Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.
The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]
You know that winter and bad weather are coming. Is your car ready? Here’s a quick checklist of things to get up to speed on:
Motor oil: Motor oil has a tendency to thicken in cold weather, making it harder to circulate to upper engine parts at startup. If you haven’t ever used synthetic oil before, this might be a good time to start. The flow properties of synthetic oil are a lot more consistent, meaning it doesn’t thicken in sub-freezing temperatures or thin out when it’s hot outside.
Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers only last about a year. If your wipers are showing cracks or chips or losing strips of rubber, go ahead and replace them. Don’t forget to refill your washer fluid reservoir…you’ ...[more]
- Thermostatic expansion valve
At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn't been for quite some time. Here's a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it's time for an oil change:
- Viscosity: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner's manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many are designed to work a ...[more]
- Lubricate engine to reduce wear and friction
- Reduce engine temperatures
- Maintaining proper engine function
The temperatures are inching upward, the days are getting longer and the first buds are starting to appear on the trees. Spring is on its way, and soon it’s going to be time to do a little preventive maintenance on your ride. No need to dread it -- it’s all pretty routine stuff!
- Air filter - If you haven’t changed your air filter since last year (or can’t remember when you changed it at all), it might be time. It’s an easy and cheap fix, and it pays off in your vehicle’s performance and fuel economy.
- Cabin filter - Older vehicles often don’t have a cabin filter, but it can make a lot of difference in how pleasant your vehicle is to drive. Stale, smelly air? Change it!
- Wipers -- Get a good look at them. Are they showing signs ...[more]
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