The Importance of a Vehicle Alignment in San Diego CA

Top 10 Vehicle Care Tips

Check Your Oil

The easiest thing you can do to increase the longevity of your car is to maintain the proper amount of oil in the engine. Changing the oil and filter at a San Diego auto repair shop at the intervals provided in the owner’s manual helps maintain your car’s health. Oil lubricates the components of your engine. Oil is also a fluid that emits heat. Some of the oil is burned off by the engine, so it must be replenished when the level decreases. Be sure that the proper oil needed for your engine. An engine will run hotter when it has less oil. The hotter it runs, the more strain and stress that will be placed on the engine components. You could risk blowing the engine over time, meaning it will have to be rebuilt or replaced. This can be extremely expensive. It will not blow up if the engine is a quart of oil down, but when it is missing a couple of quarts, you can run into issues. 

Fight Sludge

There are significant downsides to short trips, congested traffic, and long trips when there is a heavy load on the engine, like when you pull a trailer. The enemy of your engine is sludge. Sludge is a petroleum byproduct and gooey substance that builds up in the engine. It is a significant contributor to engine issues. Changing the oil as prescribed in your owner’s manual, or more frequently, will reduce the risk of sludge buildup and ultimately increase the lifetime of the engine. Certain driving conditions are prone to cause sludge. It can be from solidified oil after a long trip at engine temperatures exceeding 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Other causes are short trips that prevent the engine from reaching its proper operating temperature and water in the oil due to condensation. Sludge can accumulate everywhere in the engine. Sludge drops to the bottom of the oil pan, but when the engine heats up, the oil mixes with the goo which is then pumped throughout the engine. Sludge will not just burn away. In order to avoid sludge, you should follow the owner’s manual for oil and filter changes or switch to synthetic oil, which is not petroleum-based. Many fleets opt to use synthetic oil to avoid issues related to sludge.

Replace the Timing Belt

Top 10 Vehicle Care TipsYour vehicle’s engine will have either a rubber composite timing belt or a timing chain. The device connects the crankshaft to the camshaft, which is synchronized with the opening and closing of the engine valves. If your vehicle has a timing belt, adhere to the owner’s manual to see how it should be replaced. Rubber belts can break, and when they do, your engine will no longer work. In order to avoid this disaster, the timing belt must be replaced at the intervals recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. The cost to replace the timing belt is not cheap, but it is significantly less than rebuilding the entire engine. 

Check Your Power Steering Fluid

Older cars, and even some newer models, have a hydraulic power steering pump that is lubricated by power steering fluid. The pump’s reservoir has a screw-type cap that lifts off, allowing the fluid level to be checked. If the pump becomes dry, it can fail and may need a replacement, which costs thousands of dollars. One way to avoid this is to check your steering fluid every time you check the other fluids in your engine. There are some key signs of a power steering issue, such as squealing noises when turning the steering wheel or heavy or stiff steering. Newer cars have electronic power steering and do not use fluids. 

Transmission Fluid Replacement

Having the right level of fluid is important because it cools the transmission, lubricates moving parts, and smooths the shift between gears, but the fluid will deteriorate over time. Frequent stop-and-go driving or pulling a trailer can accelerate this deterioration. Under those conditions, the transmission’s operating temperature rises, placing a greater strain on the components and fluid of the transmission. Vehicle manufacturers recommend more frequent fluid replacement under those conditions. Reference your owner’s manual for details. 

Flush Your Coolant

Coolant can rust inhibitors that break down. Rust and corrosion can build up and damage the engine, plug a thermostat, or damage a water pump. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend a coolant change around every 30,000 miles and others over 100,000 miles. 

Top Off the Brake Fluid

While you are checking under the hood, it is the perfect time to check the brake fluid level. Place the car on a level surface and unscrew the reservoir cap. The brake fluid level needs to be between the minimum and maximum marks in the reservoir. Reference the vehicle manufacturer-s recommended fluid and adjust to the proper level. Replacing the brake fluid will not lengthen the life of the brake system, but it could end up saving your life. Brake fluid absorbs water over time which degrades its capability and stopping power. 

Transfer Case Maintenance

This is a very costly repair. The fluid inside the transfer case on all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles must be replaced at the recommended intervals. Reference the recommendations provided in your owner’s manual

Rotate Your Tires

Tires can be expensive, and you want them to last. The owner’s manual will let you know when your tires should be rotated and the vehicle alignment checked. Just as important is maintaining the proper air pressure in order to get the most out of each tire. A sticker on the driver’s door frame lists the tire pressure for the front and rear tires. 

Have a Clean Engine Air Filter

A dirty air filter can reduce your gas mileage, impact engine performance, and contribute to higher engine emissions. 

Auto Repair Shops in San Diego

Automobile Repair Shop San Diego is a family-owned and operated business that has been providing San Diego’s best auto repair experiences. We will offer you hassle-free auto repairs in San Diego starting with a precise damage assessment or estimate. We will tow your vehicle for FREE to our shop, organize for a rental car, and work directly with the insurance company to streamline the repair process. We will even pay up to $500 of your deductible. Contact us today to see how we can help.