We think that well-informed customers are the best kind. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) about automotive maintenance and service:
How often should I change my oil?Regular oil should be changed every 3,000 miles, synthetic oil every 5,000 miles. Be proactive about checking your oil; once a month is good maintenance practice.
What is the primary cause of tire damage?Although there are many things that can cause tire damage, improper inflation is the main problem we see. Always keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle and frequently check the pressure of all tires.
What should the tire pressure be on my car?The tire pressure should always be set to the tire manufacturer's suggest PSI (pounds per square inch) pressure specs. The specs can be found on the side of your tire.
Properly inflated tires will give you better gas mileage, tire wear, and overall handling of your vehicle.
Will it hurt my engine if I drive my car when the check engine light is on?
It is possible but not too likely, unless the light is flashing. However, you do need to get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. Your may see a decrease in performance.
What can I do if my car overheats?
If you are driving at normal highway speed and the vehicle starts to overheat, turn off the air conditioner, turn on the heater and immediately pull over to the shoulder. The odds are if the vehicle starts to overheat at highway speed, there is a problem in the cooling system such as low coolant, a clogged radiator or a broken drive belt or burst hose.
Once at the shoulder, shut off the engine, open the hood and let the engine cool down for a minimum of 20 minutes. Once any overboiling stops and the engine has cooled, look for obvious signs of trouble. DO NOT attempt to open the radiator cap unless the engine is off and the top of the radiator is cold. If there is no noticeable problem such as a broken drive belt or burst hose, you can then add a coolant/water mixture to the radiator or overflow reservoir, then start the vehicle and drive slowly to a service facility.
Why are my brakes making noise?
If you hear a grinding or squealing sound when the pedal is applied, you probably need new brake shoes or pads. Brakes shouldn't make any noise as they operate. Even if the actual problem turns out to be something minor, the only save assumption is this one; noisy brakes are unsafe brakes. Postponing service is unsafe and could raise the cost of repairs later. If your brakes are making nose, get them inspected or serviced right away.
How often should l check my anti-freeze?
Checking the anti-freeze as well as all other fluids is very important for proper vehicle maintenance. Once a month is good practice.
How long do spark plugs last?
That really depends upon the type of spark plugs that are in your vehicle. Vehicles 15 years old or older are more likely to have standard plugs with approximate life expectancy of 12.000 - 15,000 miles. Newer vehicles up to model year 2000 are usually platinum-tipped, lasting approximately 30,000 miles. Lastly, some 2001 and newer models come with iridium-tipped plugs which could last up to 90,000 miles.
How often should I change the timing belt on my car?
It's best to refer to the owner's manual for exact mileage details regarding timing belt maintenance. Timing belts are made of rubber and should be considered a regularly scheduled maintenance item. If you are unsure of the need to replace the timing belt, we recommend consulting the mechanic for a diagnosis.
Additionally, some vehicles have timing chains instead of timing belts. They are not considered a maintenance item like the timing belt (as they are made of metals) and may last up to 200,000 miles before needed replacement.
How often should I change my wiper blades?
For vehicles that are parked inside, car care experts recommend that the wiper blades be replaced at least once a year or when the wiper blades start streaking, whichever comes first. On vehicles kept outside or in areas where the wipers received excessive use, change the blades tow or even three times a year is recommended for clearer vision.
Do I need to take my car to the dealer for regular maintenance work in order to maintain my warranty?
No, you don't. However, it is important to keep a record of all maintenance work performed.
When should I take my car to the dealer for work?
Warranty-covered repairs as well as recalls should be done at the dealer.