When it comes to Fort Collins auto repair, the best advice your auto technician can give you is to stay on top of maintenance. Regular scheduled maintenance service may only come once or twice a year, thanks to better mechanical technology and cars that tend to purr along without needing a lot of adjustment and tweaking. However, in between your scheduled maintenance check ups, there are several things any car owner can do themselves, or at least be aware of, to keep the machine running well. Additionally, if you find something amiss while checking out your vehicle, you can get it to your Fort Collins auto repair shop before it gets out of control.
Car CC Photo Courtesy of Nimish Gogri
Even the newest most technologically advanced cars require maintenance. First, check out your owners manual for recommendations on when to do certain things like change the oil, check the recommended tire pressure, and other care schedules. If you don’t have an owners manual, you can always ask for one from a dealer, or order one online.
If you want to put another app on your phone (and who doesn’t want more apps?) there are several available at iTunes, Amazon and at Apple as well as from Samsung. Most will be free. These apps will keep track of your maintenance schedule, how many miles your car is accumulating, and other data. The best car apps will interface with your car’s computer, and help you make sense of things like a flashing warning light on the dash, as well as alert you to maintenance or service needs your car is in need of. Regardless of which method you choose to document your car’s maintenance schedule, by simply following it, you will prolong the health and viability of your vehicle.
Now we will start with the basic things anyone can do, regardless of mechanical aptitude in between service calls to keep your car well maintained:
Tire Inflation And Rotation
Even when temperatures are stable year round (and for those of us in Fort Collins they are not,) tires do leak small amounts of air on their own. Tires that are under inflated, or even over inflated will wear out faster than properly inflated tires. Improperly inflated tires will require more use of the engine, and gas. Check your tires at least every time the season changes for appropriate inflation. Check your tires not only for their inflation level, but also the tread depth or quality.
If you observe your tires, or a tire is cracking, bulging, and exhibiting uneven it is time for a replacement.
Tires wear out, but they also time out, just like food in the refrigerator. The tire industry puts a lifespan of around 5 years on any tire. This lifespan varies by conditions and usage. If you’re not sure how old your tires are, any tire shop can read the date code stamped into the sidewall.
When it comes to rotating tires, your front tires and rear tires will not wear evenly. This is generally why it is recommended to undergo a tire rotation, to balance out the wear that the different tires receive. Your manual or app should have a recommended tire rotation schedule. As seasons change, we often swap out all purpose tires for snow tires when winter is coming. If this is the case, again check your manual for a rotation schedule when you don’t use the same tires year round.
If you feel your vehicle pulling to one side, this indicates a need for an alignment. Bring it into your Fort Collins Auto repair shop, or to a tire shop, and get it taken care of. Bad alignment can seriously trash your tires.
Repair CC Photo Courtesy of Expert InfantryBrakes
If you notice a squeal when applying pressure to your brake pedal, or anything else that seems different, such as the way they feel or their response time, you need to get your car to your auto technician as soon as possible.
Maintaining your brakes is important. Brake pads and shoes need inspection to insure they contain adequate material to allow you to safely stop your vehicle. For disc brakes, the rotors need to be examined for pitting, warping, or uneven wear. Any of these symptoms can be corrected with an easy fix, that is of simply having your auto technician turn the rotors. Generally, it is best to replace the brake pads when having your rotors turned.
By simply being aware of tire pressure need, as well as when to replace a tire, and taking in your car for maintenance when the brakes indicate they are stressed, you will prolong the life of your car, and insure a safer more efficient driving experience for yourself. These simple maintenance issues will go a long way towards car health, and you didn’t even have to pop the hood!