If you want your vehicle to have a long life without any major breakdowns, then the best way to prepare is to invest in preventative maintenance. By addressing problems before they get out of hand, you ensure that important issues don’t sneak up and catch you off guard. No matter the type of maintenance, you can trust the expert mechanics at All County Auto Repair & Tire to give your car the care it deserves, all at an affordable price. Don’t put off an inspection that could catch a major issue--call to request a quote and schedule a diagnostic today!
Common Maintenance Procedures
The following procedures should be performed on a regular basis to keep your car safe and running smoothly
Cabin filter replacement
Most modern vehicles have a cabin filter that catches external contaminants in the air you breathe when you are in your vehicle. As a general rule, this filter should be replaced once a year.
Fluid change services
While most everyone remembers to get routine oil changes, motor oil isn’t the only automotive liquid that needs to be monitored. Consult your manufacturer’s maintenance guide for a thorough list of fluids and when to check and replace them.
Fuel system services
Removing deposits that have built up in combustion chambers, intake manifolds, valves, and ports is a great way to restore fuel injector flow while cleaning the entire fuel system. This will help prevent new deposits from forming, which in turn will increase drive-ability, fuel economy, and overall vehicle efficiency.
Factory scheduled maintenance
The factory maintenance guide created by the car manufacturer should be used as a minimum guide for routine maintenance. Not maintaining your vehicle to specific factory standards could lead to denied warranty repairs. It is important to note, however, that all vehicles will need different maintenance at different times depending on how often and how harshly they are driven.
Scheduled maintenance intervals
Factory maintenance schedules list specific procedures that should be performed at a certain mileage or time interval, whichever comes first. For example, if a guide says that the car’s motor oil should be changed every 5,000 miles or 6 months, it means to change it at whichever of those two scenarios happens first. To help you keep track of your scheduled maintenance, we put a sticker in the inside upper left corner of the windshield that reminds you just when the next service should be performed.
Normal or severe duty operation
Most factory maintenance schedules will have two separate sets of intervals: one for normal operation, and one for severe, heavy-duty operation. Normal operation is when the car is driven at standard highway speeds more often than stop-and-go city driving. In contrast, severe duty operations occur when a vehicle is
- Consistently driven in stop-and-go traffic
- Routinely operated while on idle
- Driven in dusty areas
- Used in extremely hot ambient temperatures
- Pulling a trailer
Every vehicle has numerous fluids that need to be checked, maintained, and changed, including:
Automatic transmission fluid
Also called ATF, this fluid lubricates and cools the automatic transmission in your car, meaning that replacing it is essential to preventing major transmission problems. Transmission fluid is usually red or green when clean and either dark or completely black when it needs to be replaced. Dirty transmission fluid can ruin your transmission, so it should be replaced routinely.
Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that provides the brakes with the pressure and power needed to stop a vehicle. Brake fluid collects moisture over time and should be replaced when the moisture content is too high, usually every year or two. Low brake fluid is a common sign that there is a much bigger problem within the vehicle.
Your vehicle can get extremely hot, oftentimes well over 300 degrees. This heat can cause serious damage, so the engine must be cooled. Modern automobile engines are technically cooled by water, but plain water can damage a vehicle over time. To counteract this, automotive coolant is made from water and several additives designed to give it a low freezing point and a high boiling point, which in turn prevents ice and steam from damaging the system. Coolant also helps prevent corrosion and lubricates the coolant pump.
Motor oil lubricates, protects, and cools the engine, making it one of the most critical components of a working car. As oil is used, it breaks down and collects soot and other particles leftover from engine combustion. These particles then wear down the engine parts so cars have oil filters to drain out these harmful elements. However, as the filter fills with sludge, it gradually becomes less effective. To counteract this, most vehicles should have their oil and oil filter changed every 3,000 or so miles.
Power steering fluid
Power steering fluid gives you the power to easily turn your car’s steering wheel. Eventually, the internal parts of the steering system begin to wear down, causing the fluid to become contaminated with dirt or other particles. If you notice a change in the way your vehicle turns, or if you hear unfamiliar noises while turning, then it is time to have your power steering fluid inspected and possibly changed.
Flushing and refilling your coolant system
Ignoring your car’s cooling system can eventually lead to the failure of multiple systems, including freeze plugs, water pumps, and internal engine gaskets. Worse still, it can sometimes cause heater core and radiator leaks that can leave you stranded if they occur while on the road.
The lubricants and additives in antifreeze begin to lose their effectiveness after roughly two years of constant changes in engine temperature. Additionally, a chemical reaction will occur as coolant flows over different metals, causing the antifreeze to react with the electricity from the numerous electrical components. This can change in the overall pH balance of the coolant and eventually convert it to an acid that will corrode the cooling system and even the engine.
With a cooling system flush and refill from All County Auto Repair & Tire, your vehicle will run cooler and more efficiently than ever before!
Every time you drive, dirt, carbon deposits, and varnishes form on the fuel injectors, valves, combustion chamber, throttle housing, and the air induction intake. Over time, these can build up to the point that they affect your vehicle’s performance, eventually resulting in major repairs.
Common symptoms of carbon build up include:
- A pinging noise coming from the engine
- Engine hesitation
- Bad fuel economy
- Lack of proper acceleration
- Lack of power
- Rough or uneven ride
- Hard starting and stalling
At All County Auto Repair & Tire, our fuel injection system will flush out your vehicle's fuel system in order to remove carbon deposits. Our system employs a detergent that softens the carbon, allowing it to be easily flushed out without damaging the engine. After you’re fuel system has been completely cleaned, you will see noticeably improved performance, acceleration, and fuel economy. It is recommended to clean out a car’s fuel system every 15,000 to 18,000 miles, so if you can’t remember the last time it was done, then it’s probably time to schedule an appointment.
Understanding your fuel system
Though an automotive fuel system contains several complex parts, understanding the basics of how each component works is the best way to know when something is in need of repair. An outline of major fuel system elements is provided below.
The fuel system provides the fuel that allows the engine to operate. While older vehicles used to use mechanical fuel pumps and carburetors, electronic fuel injection systems have long since risen to popularity in order to reduce emissions. In today’s vehicles, an electric pump provides fuel under the command of computer-controlled fuel injectors.
The fuel tank stores the fuel and is the component that is filled while at a gas station. A float inside the tank lets the computer systems and/or fuel gauge know how much fuel is in the tank, which in turn signals the fuel gauge on the dashboard. Newer vehicles may even keep the fuel pump, fuel, filter, and fuel pressure regulator inside the fuel tank.
Built as a nozzle-and-valve assembly, the fuel injector sprays an exact amount of fuel from the pressurized fuel system into the engine in order to help combustion.
The fuel filter removes contaminants from the fuel and helps to prevent system damage. However, these filter will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Symptoms of failing fuel filter include the check engine light coming on, the engine lacking normal power, or fuel leaking from the vehicle. Due to its importance, it is recommended to replace the fuel filter every 30,000 miles, especially if you have a newer vehicle with an in-tank filter that isn’t serviced during routine maintenance.
Fuel System Cleaning Benefits
So what exactly is the benefit to cleaning out a car’s fuel system?
The dirtier the fuel system is, the worse the fuel economy. Even before your system is running poorly, flushing out the system can save hundreds of dollars in gasoline and prevent costly damage to your fuel injectors and catalytic converter.
Over time, gasoline will leave residue, gum, and varnish as it flows through your vehicle’s systems. This can eventually clog up your fuel injectors, which spray a very precise amount of fuel at an exact time and pressure. If this systems becomes blocked up, the fuel injector will not be able to use the proper precision and the performance of the car will suffer. Additionally, an unclean fuel system allows excess unburned fuel to pass through the exhaust and accumulate in the catalytic converter, which in turn can lead to overheating, failing, and massive repairs.If you have been experiencing a rough idle, poor acceleration, or noticeably decreased fuel economy, then call All County Auto Repair & Service today and make an appointment with one of our certified technicians! With two convenient Jupiter-area locations in Tequesta (561-747-8320) and Stuart (772-266-8685), we have the tools and the experience to give your car the care it both needs and deserves!