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Car servicing is the regular maintenance of your vehicle to ensure it is safe to drive and reliable as long as you own it. Jeff White, Managing Director at JW Auto Centers Calgary, sheds light on car servicing 101 and how you can maximize your vehicle’s life, through scheduled mechanic visits.
Below you will find important reasons why spending that dough on a car service will always be worth the investment…
Car servicing is preventative care for your vehicle. When you take your car in, mechanics can identify and replace deteriorating components before they become an (expensive) issue. Vehicles that don’t get serviced regularly reduce your vehicle’s lifespan and become a road hazard. Ensuring car parts are in good condition, ensures a healthy vehicle lifespan and removes the stress of unexpected breakdowns or accidents. Additionally, a car service maintains your car’s warranty and keeps its value up.
Refer to your owner’s manual and follow the maintenance schedule outlined there. Since every car manufacturer’s specifications vary, the frequency for every model varies as well. However, as a general rule of thumb, a car should be serviced every 12 months, or sooner if you do a lot of driving.
A regular car service includes an oil change and an inspection aimed at finding defective parts. During this time, a mechanic looks for components that have failed or are about to fail. They also have the ability to identify premature wear and tear and inform you of any part that needs to be replaced. This is important as it helps you prevent costly future repairs.
The average cost for basic car services ranges anywhere from $500 - $1,000 depending on the outlet. This number will be higher if your car needs repairs or replacements.
Brakes need the most care and maintenance because they’re one of the most frequently utilized parts of a vehicle. This means both brake pads and rotors, wear out quicker and need regular maintenance.
Noticeably decreased braking, squeaking or squealing that persists beyond a couple of days, or fluid leaking around the inside of your tires, are all signs your brake system might need professional servicing.
This depends on your vehicle. However, on average, brake replacements typically range from $350-$1,200 for basic pad and rotor change per axle (this amount is similar if the vehicle incorporates rear drums brakes instead).
The two most common problems mechanics see when a car comes in for servicing are worn-out brakes (see explanation above) and engine oil leaks. An engine oil leak, no matter how minor, needs to be addressed by a professional mechanic as it poses the threat of being a fire hazard; additionally, failure to fix this will lead to permanent engine failure. The easiest way to recognize an engine oil leak is to look for oil drops where your car is parked. The presence of oil drops means your engine is definitely leaking oil and a mechanic can identify the cause of it. Causes vary and include a broken or loose oil filler cap, a worn-out oil filter, or a broken gasket among others.
Inspect your car for simple things. Does it vibrate when you are driving? This is a sign of brake, suspension, or tire issues. Vibrations will lead to premature failure of one or more components in your car. Is fluid leaking? You can tell what type of fluid it is by the colour and convey it to your mechanic to speed up the repair process. Check for any loose bits by listening to the noises your car makes.
This can be done in two quick and easy steps. First, conduct an overall visual check: is the battery bulging from the sides, is there corrosion on the terminals, etc. And secondly, conduct a quick hands-on inspection to ensure your battery cables are tightly fastened to the battery itself - poorly connected cables can cause a lot of problems such as not being able to start the car, service engine, or check engine lights turning on.
The final step is slightly advanced and requires the skills of a mechanic. They will use battery load test equipment, which can be found at any tool supplier. Battery cables are then disconnected from the battery to isolate it from the car at which point the load tester is installed and a load put on the battery. Many testers will get a clear indication of whether the battery is good or not. It's important to point out that a battery must be fully charged prior to performing this test and safety glasses should be worn at all times when servicing batteries. Ensure that a trained professional is testing your battery, especially if you have never conducted such a test or operated such tools.
The two easiest ways of checking your car’s engine are by the way it sounds and the lights that come on, on your dashboard. If you hear any squealing, banging, or experience that it is driving running, stumbling, or has poor acceleration, that’s your sign to get a technician to inspect your engine as soon as possible.
Another way to inspect engine health is by checking your engine oil for any foreign material like coolant, fuel bits, metal, or debris that may have entered while performing an oil change. Check for blow-by: which is the compressed air pressure that is built up by your pistons under normal operation, and passes by your piston rings. Older or worn-out engines will have more blow-by and often use more oil. Check your oil and other engine fluid levels, and if you find their levels are changing up or down, it is a sign of engine troubles.
As your car ages, your engine belt shows signs of cracking simply due to the nature of the job it does and the environment it works in; think extreme heat, cold in the winter, and general stresses that is put on it by your engine. Some cracking is okay but it's a sign you need to change the belt soon. A cracked belt eventually leads to a broken belt which causes issues such as overheating, no power steering, and no power coming from your alternator to power your car and charge your battery. In addition, a broken belt can get caught up in pullies and other engine components causing hundreds or even thousands of dollars of collateral damage. Belts should be inspected at every oil change.
Vibrations in your car can mean many things, however, the most common causes are
And there you have it, the benefits to getting your car serviced. Comment below and tell us how often you take your car in for servicing.
Boost your car-knowledge game, with our “Under the Hood” series - a series of short fun articles that provides information about small, yet often overlooked, facts about your car.
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