Spring is here and for many Americans that means the time is now to either spend a Saturday morning with your car or to take it into the shop to have proper annual maintenance performed.
I’ll go ahead and confess that I use long life fluids wherever possible in my vehicles. Because of that, my maintenance intervals might be different than yours. However, the general principles of the article will remain the same even if the maintenance intervals you need to follow are different than the ones that we follow.
Oil is something that should be checked continually in every vehicle. I typically checked my oil every 5 to 10 days to make sure that my engine is properly lubricated. Since I use long life Amsoil in all my vehicles, I typically change my oil in the spring. Amsoil makes 15,000, 25,000, and 35,000 mile oil and oil filters. In my Camry, I use the 15,000 mile oil filter which was recently improved by Amsoil. There are some other great synthetic oils and filters on the market that offer anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 mile oil change intervals and spring is a great time to change your oil if you use such an oil but never have to change based on mileage.
Coolant is also incredibly important. We sell used engines and as such are very familiar with common points of failure in the engines. I’ll share a secret with you: very few engine failures are actually caused by engines. Over 50% of engine failures are caused by a failure at some point in the vehicles cooling system. Coolant is corrosive over time and should be changed after a complete cooling system flush. I have mine flushed annually. It is my experience that even the long life coolants should be changed frequently, especially in older vehicles that have a higher likelihood of some type of break in the system. It doesn’t take much oxygen in the cooling system to rapidly accelerate corrosion damage everything from water pumps to various seals in the engine.
Go ahead and have your tires rotated and balanced and have a good shop check out your alignment. There are two secrets to saving money on your tire rotation and balancing and on your alignment. The first is to purchase your tires from the shop that will sell you an agreement to do so as long as you own the tires. Such an agreement lets you take your vehicle to the shop at a predetermined mileage interval for a “free” balance and rotation. The second secret is to find a shop to perform the alignment which will sell you a lifetime alignment agreement. With such an agreement you can take your vehicle in for a “free” alignment if the vehicle goes out of alignment. This typically will cost what two separately purchased alignments would run. If you keep your vehicles for a long time and buy this early in your relationship with your car, a lifetime alignment agreement can save you a lot of money.
The last specific thing that I’ll recommend for spring maintenance is a good transmission flush. Transmissions today run incredibly hot. Heat is an enemy to fluid and mechanical parts of all kinds. I personally recommend changing your transmission fluid once a year or every 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Make sure that your mechanic either replaces or cleans your transmissions filter.
I’ll close by asking you to consider the cost of preventative maintenance over preparing catastrophic failures. Several years ago, AutoZone did a study in which they found that lack of preventative maintenance caused Americans to spend five times as much money on repairs as they would have spent following a good preventive maintenance program for their vehicles. Every spring, either look over my vehicle thoroughly myself or have a good mechanic look at over to see what needs to be done. This is how I drive 200,000 mile plus vehicles without worry. Damaged parts damage good parts, so a good preventative maintenance program allows you to drive with confidence and keep your repair costs low.
Good luck in your spring driving! We hope your season is trouble-free and enjoyable. As always, if you need an engine for your car or truck, please feel free to call us at 800-709-9233. We are here to help!
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