Vehicles have become one of the biggest parts of the American experience—especially living in Texas—and one of our most significant investments. Because we rely on them so much the last thing that we need is to be broke down on the side of the road. That is why it very important for us to make sure that we are properly maintaining our cars, trucks, and SUVs with regularly scheduled maintenance and service to avoid the break down syndrome.
• No Start – A no start can be a quick start to a bad day. There are many reasons why this happens; it can be anything from a fuel issue—to an electronic failure. However, more often than not one of the top reasons we see a no start is because the battery has died.
• Cooling System Failure – During the hotter months, your vehicle’s cooling system has to work harder than normal to prevent the engine from overheating. Because of the strain that is put on the system it is possible for the rubber components to deteriorate leading to a leak of coolant, and engine overheating.
• Engine Running Badly – There are a myriad of complicated reasons that an engine can run bad, and sometimes there is nothing that you can do to prevent them. However, sometimes keeping an engine running smoothly is as simple as keeping a clean air filter in your vehicle. Like your lungs, your vehicle always needs to have an appropriate amount of clean air going into it in order to keep it from working harder than it should.
• Fuel Related Issues – Fuel related issues that cause a vehicle to break down are at times cannot be prevented through maintenance, but in order to do what you can it is important to always make sure that the fuel injectors and the throttle body are kept clean from carbon build up. By doing this you can also regulate the vehicle’s fuel economy to that of the manufacture’s standards.
What Can You Do?
It is always important to recognize what type of fluid is to be used in each of the individual systems of your vehicle. By referring to the owner’s manual, you can properly discern the exact specifications that are required.
The trick to keeping up the health of your fluids is to change them while they’re still healthy, and before they begin to degrade. Once fluid has a burned odor or is dirty, damage may have already begun to take place.
That is why is recommended to keep your fluids changed on a regular basis. Standard engine oil should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, while other fluids like transmission, brake, coolant, power steering, and differential should be replaced every 30,000 miles.
o Belts – It is not uncommon find at least two to three belts on a standard vehicle. The most easily recognized belt is the one that is referred to as your drive belt. As the belt ages it can develop cracks and fraying that can lead it to breaking.
Another very important belt is the one that is out of sight behind the timing cover. This belt that controls the timing between the top and bottom of the motor, and is appropriately called the “timing belt”. Consequently in the event of this belt braking more significant damage can be done to the motor. It is standard that this belt is changed every 100,000 mile.
o Hoses – The hoses that carry the coolant throughout your engine can often be the culprit involved with overheating issues. As these simple parts begin to fail it is not always visible through observation. Hoses tend to break down from the inside out. When a technician is inspecting your vehicle he may also find that an aged hose is swollen or is crunchy whenever it is squeezed. It is best to always have fresh hoses; if your vehicle is older than six years and still has the original hoses from the manufacturer it is suggested to have them replaced.
o Tires – Tires tend to be a big investment to put into a vehicle. It is inevitable that they will wear out, but by making sure that they maintain the proper air pressure, are rotated every other oil change, and balanced every other rotation you will be sure to get the most out of your tires.
o Wipers – This is one of the few components on a vehicle that upon failure will not leave you stranded on the side of the road. However like all the rubber on your vehicle it is important to keep a good set of wiper blades. You will thank yourself on that rainy day.
Keeping the terminals clean is another ways to insure the battery’s life. If they are corroded it could lead the battery to running hot, shortening its life.