Vehicle Maintenance Checklist: Spring Edition

Vehicle Maintenance Checklist: Spring Edition

If you were holding off on performing some much-needed vehicle maintenance because it was just too cold, dark, snowy, windy or wet, there’s good news headed your way. Winter is officially over, temperatures are rising, and there’s noticeably more daylight every day as part of the annual march toward spring.

This also means now is the time to plan your spring vehicle maintenance strategy, first by identifying which projects you want to tackle, and then developing a checklist of exactly what you’ll need to complete the job and ensure your vehicle remains a reliable, peak performer.

Here are some suggestions to get the wheels turning.

PERFORM AN OIL CHANGE

As the engine’s lifeblood, oil has to be at the top of every list when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Checking the oil level regularly and changing both the oil and oil filter at vehicle manufacturer-recommended intervals is a great start, but is that enough?

If you’re still using conventional oil, it might be time to look at the benefits that come with using full synthetic or full synthetic high mileage motor oil. Full synthetic oil lasts longer because it doesn’t break down as fast as conventional oil, and the interval between oil changes is longer. It also flows easier at start-up in cold temperatures for improved protection against engine component wear and does better at high temperatures without a loss in performance or protection.

Older vehicles with 75,000 miles or more can benefit specifically from full synthetic high mileage oil because it contains special additives that help recondition hardened gaskets and seals, preventing or stopping oil leaks that occur as a result of the rubber shrinking and becoming brittle as it ages.

WASH AND WAX

Winter can be tough on vehicles — not just because of harder starts and weakened parts that are more likely to break in cold temperatures, but also because of the toll that accumulated dirt, grit, tar, salt and other road-treatment chemicals exact on a vehicle’s exterior. Vehicles also tend to be washed less frequently during winter, compounding potential damage to the paint and underbody. Stop the damage and protect the vehicle’s finish first by cleaning it with a high-quality exterior car wash solution. Follow that up by using a clay bar and/or a bug and tar remover to eliminate any stubborn, stuck-on materials that will eventually eat away at the clear coat before moving on to waxing all painted and chromed surfaces.

Whether you’re using good old-fashioned elbow grease or an orbital polisher for applying and removing wax, know that today’s modern waxes are easier to remove and offer better protection than traditional automotive waxes from 20-plus years ago. Helping make the job easier are ceramic waxes as a solid choice because of the ease of use, protection and durability they offer.

PRO TIP: KEEP THE PB B’LASTER HANDY

Time, moisture and road salt are the perfect trifecta for producing rusted nuts, bolts and other metal parts that simply won’t budge no matter how much force is applied. Give them some encouragement, save your knuckles and prevent broken parts by first reaching for a can of PB B’laster penetrant. It quickly frees rusted, frozen, corroded parts, acts as a lubricant, and also helps prevent future rust and corrosion.

REPLACE THE WIPERS

Wiper blades should last a minimum of six months, unless it’s winter and you accidentally tear them away from a frozen windshield — leaving pieces of rubber still stuck there — or repeatedly pass the wipers over an ice and snow-covered window, instead of first using the defroster. While rubber’s pretty hardy, it’s no match for the wear-and-tear that often occurs over the winter months.

Be prepared for spring showers and have the wiper blades replaced if they’re six months or older, if they’re showing signs of the rubber cracking or wearing, or if they’re just not wiping effectively — chattering and leaving streaks of water with each pass instead of a clear windshield.

CHANGE THE SPARK PLUGS

Ask three different people how often spark plugs should be changed, and you’ll likely receive three widely differing answers. While the general rule of thumb often is a 30,000-mile interval, some vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing the plugs only every 100,000 miles, with many service professionals specifying somewhere in between. This range is going to be dependent on the type of plug (and there are several), including copper, single and double platinum, and iridium. But more importantly, you should stick with the same type of plug recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

What’s most important to remember is that spark plugs are a maintenance item because they wear out and need to be replaced, just like your vehicle’s belts, hoses, filters and fluids. Rough idling, lack of power, trouble starting the engine or an engine that knocks or misfires are all signs that one or more spark plugs could be bad. These symptoms will often also be accompanied by a check engine light, which can be diagnosed for free by having the codes read curbside at most Advance Auto Parts stores.

REMEMBER THE CABIN AIR FILTER

Many owners know their vehicles have air, oil, transmission and fuel filters that need to be changed or cleaned regularly. There’s a fifth filter though that’s often overlooked and kind of like the distant, forgotten cousin of the filter family. It’s the cabin air filter. This filter, frequently located behind the glove compartment door, under the dash, or even in the engine compartment, traps outside contaminants — leaves, bugs, dirt, dust, pollen, mold and exhaust gases — and prevents them from entering the passenger compartment and the air that occupants must breathe. For top-of-the-line performance and the cleanest air possible, choose a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) cabin air filter as it removes nearly 100 percent of contaminants

The cabin air filter should be changed around the 15,000-mile mark or at least annually. A clean filter makes the job easier for a vehicle’s heating, air-conditioning and blower-motor system, and helps prevent a foul-smelling interior.

CHECK THE BRAKES AND ROTORS

On many vehicles, you can gauge the condition of the brake pads simply by looking at them. Just grab a flashlight and look to see how much of the pad material remains. If it’s a quarter inch or less, it’s time for new pads. Some pads also have a wear indicator running down the pad’s center. If this indentation is almost gone or barely visible, it’s another indicator that new pads are needed. A good strategy is to keep track of the number of miles driven since both the front and rear brakes were serviced, and also to know the warning signs that new brake pads and/or rotors are needed.

Longer stopping distances, a grinding noise or squealing when pressing the brake pedal, and vibrations or the vehicle pulling to one side when braking are all signs that the brakes need attention. And remember to also track how long it’s been since the brake fluid was replaced. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water. Over time, water that’s accumulated in the braking system can damage metal parts and lower the brake fluid’s boiling point, both of which hurt braking performance.

Plan and perform your spring vehicle maintenance now, because instead of it being too cold outside to get under the hood, you might soon be saying it’s just too hot!

What’s on your spring maintenance to-do list? Let us know in the comments.

5 PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR THE CHANGING SEASONS

Maintaining your car is a year-round practice, but it becomes especially important when the seasons change and the conditions of the roads change along with them. At Exotic Auto Services, our top priority is to provide high-quality service to our customers on each visit, and in this way, ensure the safety of our clients and their families on the road. To help keep you and your vehicle safe as the seasons change, we’ve compiles this list of 5 preventative maintenance tips you should consider as the temperature cools down.

  1. Tires: This is a crucial part of seasonal preventive maintenance, because your tires will change as the seasons do. Whether you choose to roll on all-seasons until the snow and ice hits, or you rotate between a pair of summer and winter tires depending on the weather, you’ll need help switching back and forth, and making sure that everything lines up evenly for smooth and safe driving.

It isn’t just a change of tire that’s necessary as summer eases into fall and fall brings the ice and snow of winter. Your tires also require regular maintenance in the form of alignment and rotation. Over time, the tread on your tires wear down, usually on one side more than the other. This can cause uneven driving, and even make it difficult to steer properly over time. By rotating your tires regularly, you provide an even wear on the tread, which makes your vehicle run more smoothly and extends the life of your tires.

  1. Oil Change: Not surprisingly, spring and summer can be cause for a buildup of additional debris and dust in your vehicle. Dry dusty roads, rain, insects, and other environmental factors which affect the wellbeing of your car are more intense during these warm seasons, which makes it a good point to get an oil change. Not only can your oil end up dirty over time, but the heat from the long summer months can also cause a faster depletion of fluids in your vehicle. Over time, your car’s oil will become clumpy and sticky, rendering it useless. You should get an oil change every 6 months or 10,000 miles.
  2. Brake Inspection: Stopping power lessens on ice and snow, which makes any seasonal change a good time to have a brake inspection. Your mechanic will check out the caliper, rotor, drum, and pads to make sure everything is in working order. If you haven’t had your brake pads changed in a while, this is the best time to do so. Get those fresh pads in place, and give your car its best chance at a clean stop when it comes time to break. When the roads get slick, you’ll be thankful you did.
  3. Heating and Air Conditioning: When the weather changes, you’re going to want a vehicle that can regulate temperature properly. So, whether you’re leaving the comfortable spring months and heading into a blasting summer heat, or you’re fading from crisp fall days into the cold winter wind, seasonal changes are a good time to have your heating and AC system checked. Your mechanic will do a visual inspection, check for any leaks or problems with fluids and vents, and make minor repairs to make sure your vehicle is warm and toasty for the winter, and cool and comfortable in the summer.
  4. Tune-Up: Not sure which part of your vehicle requires the most work? A tune-up is a great way to put your mind at ease before the seasons and weather changes. Your mechanic will take note of any problems with the ignition, battery, engine, and scan for default codes to make sure that your vehicle will get you where you need to go safely. There’s no set standard for a tune-up in terms of what gets checked and what doesn’t, it varies from shop to shop. However, at Exotic Auto Services, we work hard to catch any problem and fix it right away during your tune up process so you don’t have to worry about it later.

For more information on preventative maintenance, or to learn more about the available auto services offered at Exotic Auto Services, contact us today. Our friendly staff is always happy to answer any questions you might have, and we look forward to meeting new and returning clients at the shop. Book your appointment with one of our certified mechanics at your convenience, and see the difference than working with Exotic auto Services makes.

THE POWER OF A PROPER TUNE UP

At Exotic Auto Services, we often get asked what’s included in a standard tune-up. The answer will vary from garage to garage, but generally this is a type of preventative and proactive maintenance which targets problem areas and resolves small issues so they don’t increase in size. Most tune ups include a thorough engine check, […]

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Your car does more than drive you from point A to point B; it keeps you safe on the road. It creates a protective shell around your family during travel, keeping them safe from surrounding traffic and road hazards. Your vehicle is an important part of the way you travel, and when it is neglected, or fixed improperly by a non-certified mechanic, it can mean big problems down the road.

Choosing a mechanic for your preventative maintenance is important. At Exotic Auto Services, we understand the responsibility that comes into our care each time a client leaves their vehicle at our garage. As a family operated business, we also understand what it means to have a safe and reliable vehicle to transport your family. For this reason, we’ve compiled a helpful list of things to seek out when shopping for a preventative mechanic.

  1. License and Certification: Lots of people love cars, are passionate about engines, and will offer to fix your vehicle for a bargain price. Unfortunately, not all these individuals are certified mechanics. When somebody other than a certified mechanic works on your vehicle, not only can it void your warranty, it can also lead to more problems later. Before you hand over your mode of transportation to a stranger, ask about his or her credentials. How long have they been in the business? Where did they go to school, or who did they train under? And do they have certification as a mechanic.
  2. Meet the Staff in Person: It’s so easy these days to book an appointment over the phone, or over the internet. Many individuals leave their vehicles without ever speaking to the company that will be working on it. Try to stop by a potential garage in person. Discuss any issues your vehicle has been having, and get a feel for whether the team seems genuine in their hopes to help you out. Any mechanic can fix a vehicle, but are they going to put in the dedication and high-quality work that guarantees you a safe vehicle when they’re finished? At Exotic Auto Services, our team of experienced mechanics work hard to provide the best possible service every time they work on a vehicle.
  3. What Are Others Saying? Before there were advertising companies and park benches covered in business logos, there was word of mouth, and this method of advertising still stands today. Fortunately, the age of the internet has made it easier than ever before to see what others are saying about a business and their practices. At Exotic Auto Services, we encourage our clients to check out what past clients have said about us. We’re also happy to discuss previous types of work we have done, and how we can help you improve your vehicle. Don’t just take our word for how much care we put into our work, see what others are saying for yourself.
  4. Price Check: There’s an industry standard for many types of repairs, especially if it’s going through your insurance, but some services range in price from mechanic to mechanic. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price, rather than taking the first quote you are given. Of course, it isn’t always best to go with the lowest bidder, over a high-quality shop, but sometimes you can get both. At Exotic Auto Services, we aim to provide our customers with outstanding service on every job without breaking the bank. Our preventative repair work is very affordable, and we are happy to work with you to figure out a way to get your car in tip top shape without making it feel like a financial nightmare. Our end goal is a satisfied client, which is why we’ve tailored our preventative services to fit your schedule and budget.

For more information on preventative repair, why preventative maintenance is so important, and the various types of auto services offered through Exotic Auto Services, check out our other blog posts, or contact us today. We are always happy to hear from new and returning clients, and will help you make an appointment with one of our experienced mechanics at your convenience. Come meet the family at Exotic Auto Services today!

 

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EXOTIC AUTO SERVICES ANSWERS QUESTIONS ON PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE

Preventative maintenance includes several services which help to keep your vehicle from requiring more invasive work in the future. The term “preventative” speaks for itself, indicating that these services are made to prevent additional spending or accidents due to improperly maintained machinery.

Because there are so many types of preventative maintenance, there’s no set timeframe to have this type of work completed. Each component in your vehicle has its own shelf life and should be maintained on a regular schedule. For example, you should change your spark plugs every 30,000 miles to keep your engine from breaking down. Your oil should be changed every 3,000 to 10,000 miles to prevent a buildup of debris in the fluid.

Why Is Preventative Maintenance So Important?

Preventative maintenance isn’t just about saving money down the road, it’s also about keeping you safe on the road. Your vehicle is made up of so many moving parts, and all it takes is one part to go to cause a huge problem. At Exotic Auto Services, we think of our clients as part of the family, so we want to make sure you get safely from point A to point B every time.

Sometimes something as minor as an unevenly worn tread on your tire can be the cause of an accident if a tire blows out on the freeway.

What’s Included in Preventative Maintenance?

There’s no one service fits all when it comes to preventative maintenance. Most garages have their own package which covers a variety of checks and repairs, from replacing your air filters to changing the spark plugs. Minor replacements such as new windshield wipers, and major replacements, such as new batteries may be required during preventative maintenance. What you can count on is that your mechanic will help you make the best decision for your vehicle based on the problem areas they see, and the greater issues these could cause in the future.

Most preventative maintenance services will include an engine and fluid check, an oil change, and possibly a diagnostic on warning lights, if your dash is looking a little more lit up than it should be.

How Often Should Preventative Maintenance Be Performed?

As we briefly touched on above, there’s no set time for preventative maintenance as a whole, but Exotic Auto Services suggests that you should bring your vehicle in at least once a year to have preventative maintenance services. At the very least, a yearly tune-up will keep your vehicle running more smoothly, help with fuel consumption, and hopefully save you the trouble of many future visits due to minor and major repair needs.

Can I Do DIY Preventative Maintenance at Home?

There are small portions of the preventative maintenance process that you can do safely at home without the help of a mechanic. Checking your own oil levels, for example, is a great example of something you can do without risking harm to your vehicle. Changing your oil, however, is better left to the professionals. Similarly, cleaning the exterior of your engine with the right degreasers and brushes is something you can do at home. Changing your air filters, on the other hand, should be done by a mechanic.

DIY might seem like a good idea in terms of money spent on labor, but it can have some disastrous results if you’re not a trained mechanic. Changing a brake pad, as an example, seems like an easy enough task to perform at home. Unfortunately, if the pad isn’t placed right, or your caliper is damaged in the process, it could mean replacing the entire braking system, which is much costlier than pads alone.

For more information on preventative maintenance, or to schedule an appointment with one of our certified mechanics contact us today. At Exotic Auto Services, we are always happy to speak with new and existing customers, and look forward to getting to know you. As a small family owned business, we know how important it is to be part of the community and give back when we can. We take great pride in the high-quality workmanship of our mechanics, and hope you will too. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have regarding the various types of preventative maintenance and how they can help improve your vehicle.

IS YOUR CAR’S CHECK ENGINE LIGHT FLASHING?

IS YOUR CAR’S CHECK ENGINE LIGHT FLASHING? CONTACT ABSOLUTE CAR CARE FOR COMPREHENSIVE CAR SERVICE SOLUTIONS

Apart from serving as a convenient means of transportation, the car that you drive is also a statement of style. Authorities and auto maintenance experts recommend that you take your car for servicing at a reputable auto repair shop like our Absolute Car Care Center in Framingham for several reasons including:

– With a properly serviced vehicle, you will lower your chances of getting involved in an accident caused by malfunctioning/damaged car components
– You will be enhancing the safety of other road users
– You will be reducing the possibility of getting stranded while driving
– A properly serviced and well-maintained car is more aesthetically appealing
– By properly maintaining your vehicle, you are usually preventing its value from dropping

Note that auto repair shops usually differ from each other. Here are several key questions to ask your prospective car maintenance experts if you are looking to find a quality vehicle repair and maintenance center in Framingham, MA …
1. Is the technician who will be in charge of servicing my vehicle trained and what is their level of experience?
2. Do the replacement parts that you sell come with a warranty?
3. How long will it take for the technicians who will be servicing my vehicle to get the job done?
4. Can you provide me with a list of verifiable references?
5. How much will you charge me for the services you intend to provide?

Here at Absolute Car Care, we have built a strong and indelible reputation across United Arab Emirates and the rest of the State for offering affordable yet highly professional car repair and maintenance services for close to three decades. Some of the services that we offer include:

– Car battery servicing
– Oil change
– Air conditioning system repairs
– Maintenance of different internal components such as brakes, mufflers, radiator, fuel system
– Engine maintenance and repairs
– Wheel alignment
– Repairs/maintenance of suspension system

The best part about dealing with our company is that we can carry out servicing or repairs on any type of vehicle (including imported models). Over the years, we have won many accolades for our professional service delivery with the most recent being the

Should you notice the check engine sign in your vehicle blinking, contact us immediately. Not only will we help diagnose the exact malfunctions with your car, we will also carry out a complete examination of all internal and external car systems to help you identify potential problems with your vehicle. Here at Exotic Auto Services, we believe in offering comprehensive help to drivers who visit our auto repair center – and, this is the reason why we are renowned as the top “Check Engine Light” solution providers in United Arab Emirates

 

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