Air conditioning refrigerant commonly known as “Freon” should be checked for proper pressures and level of refrigerant oil periodically. Low Freon and refrigerant oil levels can cause premature wear on air compressors, and decrease overall performance of the a/c system. Although the a/c system is a sealed unit, it is not uncommon to have to add small amounts of “Freon” periodically due to small leaks and seepage. Freon is a gas that is under high pressure and should only be service by a trained professional.
Replace the air filter every 15,000 miles for normal driving conditions. A dirty air filter will not cause the engine to run bad, stall or misfire. A dirty air filter can cause reduced fuel economy and higher exhaust gas emissions.
The front end components of a vehicle can be out of alignment, but not give any indication or warning signs. Shimmying and shakes in the front end are usually not caused by the car being out of alignment. But will be caused by tires being out of balance, lack of rotation or the tires being separated. The vehicle pulling to one side or unusual tire wear are the two most common warning signs for the alignment being “out”. The alignment should be checked every 15,000 miles or yearly depending on your driving habits. ALWAYS have the front end aligned when replacing tires. Some adjustments to the rear alignment are available on most new model vehicles.
Over time and with temperature extreme’s your coolant’s protective additives are depleted and begin to break down. This allows corrosion, scale and rust to permeate the system. Signs of aging are: brown, dark or off-colored fluid in the radiator or overflow tank, overheating or poor starting on cold mornings, temperature gauge fluctuation. Accumulated scale and corrosion are removed along with the old contaminated fluid and replaced with new coolant and a conditioner is added for ultimate and longer life.
Check terminals and cables—loose or dirty battery cables are a common “no start” condition. The most common cause of road side breakdowns is battery failure. Cable ends and battery terminals should be cleaned periodically to remove corrosion and build up. Battery terminal protective coatings can be helpful in reducing corrosion. Battery load is how much load or drain can be placed on the electrical system before the battery begins to discharge itself. Think of is as how much electricity the battery can store before having to be recharged. It is not uncommon for batteries to go completely “flat” or discharged without ever giving a warning signal to the operator. The technician will load test the battery every oil change to ensure the battery will not leave you unexpectedly stranded. A weak battery that is not storing enough power will cause the alternator to work harder and possibly cause premature alternator failure. The replacement battery should be the same size, having the same electrical capacity as the original battery.
Check for worn or loose belts. Belts should be replaced if they are worn on the edges, frayed, or cracked. DO NOT spray silicone or WD-40 type chemicals on a noisy belt-it will usually just make the noise worse. Check the tension on each belt, and see if anything is rubbing or coming into contact with it. Use a groove gauge to check the depth of the groove.
Brake fluid retains moisture and should be flushed and re-bled to keep brakes working effectively. We use test strips to measure moisture and copper ppm. Brake fluid should be replaced when the ppm gets over 200. Don’t wait until you hear grinding noises to have the brakes inspected. Have brakes checked periodically for wear. We use a brake grading system12-8mm’s condition green =good, 5-6mm’s yellow=good ½ worn, 4mm’s last yellow=start thinking about replacing brake pads, 2-3mm’s red=replace now. Some warning signs of brake problems are: noises when brakes are applied,the steering wheel shakes when brakes are applied, needing to add more than 2 oz. of brake fluid to the brake reservoir, a soft or squishy brake pedal, or the pedal goes to the floor slowly while brakes are applied. Brake fluid should be replaced every 30,000 mile or every other year.
Many imported vehicles have utilized a ventilation filter for the passenger compartment for over ten years. Now most domestic vehicles have followed suit. The cabin air filter removes dust, pollen, mold spores and other particles. The triple layer filter media will capture airborne particles down to one micron in size (human hair is seventy microns). The middle layer is electro statically charged to hold the smaller, ultra fine particles. This electrostatic charge depletes with time. Specifically after twelve months this charge is gone. The other layers will mechanically filter out larger sized particles until the filter becomes clogged. Certain driving conditions, city driving, dusty roads, industrial areas, will cause the cabin filter to clog up sooner than normal driving conditions. Failure to replace this filter will cause reduced airflow into the passenger compartment. If not replaced eventually the evaporator and heater cores could be damaged by corrosion.
Used mostly on front wheel drive cars, Constant velocity (CV) joints are shafts that connect the transmission to the wheels with knuckle joints on either end of the shafts. The shafts provide power to turn the wheels by linking the transmission to the wheel. There are two shafts and four joints on most front wheel drive cars. CV boots are made of pliable rubber to cover the CV joint. Torn CV boots allow grease meant to lubricate the joint to escape, and allows dirt and debris to enter inside the joint. A worn CV joint usually produces a clicking noise from the wheel area on hard turns.
Rear wheel drive cars and trucks have drive shafts in place of CV joints that are found on front wheel drive cars. The drive shaft links the transmission to the rear differential to provide power to turn the wheels. Most drive shafts have two or three u-joints connecting the shaft to the transmission and rear differential. Some u-joints can and should be greased during oil change services.
The rear differential should be checked during each routine oil change and topped off as needed with the fluid prescribed in the owner’s manual. REPLACING THE FLUID: The rear end should be drained and filled periodically to remove any metal fillings that have accumulated in the differential housing.
These items should be inspected and replaced when replacing spark plugs and or spark plug wires or when a major tune up is called for. The distributor cap is where the other end of the spark plug wires connect and the ignition rotor is underneath the cap. Most new vehicles do not have a distributor at all and therefore do not have these parts.
Fuel filters become clogged with dirt and debris during normal operation and should be replaced to increase performance, extend fuel pump life and aid in fuel economy.
Without your realizing it, the response and performance that made your new car so much fun has slowly drained away. Deposits that build up in the fuel and air induction systems of the engine have robbed your car of its agility and excitement. Modern engines are finely tuned and extremely sensitive to deposits that accumulate on intake valves, intake ports, fuel injectors and combustion chambers. These deposits can also cause drivability problems such as hesitation, surge, stall, hard starting, rough idle and loss of power. These deposits will interrupt proper fuel atomization. This leads to increased exhaust emissions and drivability problems such as hesitation, surging, misfire and loss of power. The air throttle body assembly controls the air flow into the intake ports where the air mixes with atomized fuel and swirls into the combustion chamber. Heavy deposits build-up on the back side of the throttle plate, around and behind the plate and in the idle air control.
Check for fluid leaks around the shock. Some shocks are filled with oil and a visible fluid leak can be detected. Excessive bumpy ride, leaning, or swaying in one direction more than normal on brake application or around turns can also indicate worn or damaged shocks. Replace all four shocks/struts at the same time to get maximum benefit and drivability. In some cases a wheel alignment should be performed after new struts are installed. The shock/strut has gone up and down a million times at 50K miles.
Worn or faulty spark plugs can cause misfire, poor fuel mileage, loss of power, and slow or extended starting times. Spark plug wires should be replaced when replacing spark plugs to get maximum performance and life expectancy out of your plugs. A fuel induction service is also recommended at this time.
Replace as scheduled if applicable for your vehicle. Timing belts are commonly used on import cars. The timing belt is a rubber belt that drives the engine’s internal components. The timing belt is not easily visible and should be replaced at the indicated mileage and time not on visual wear like normal drive belt. If the timing belt breaks, the engine stops and costly internal engine damage can occur. The water pump on some vehicles is driven by the timing belt and should be replaced when replacing the timing belt. Consult owner’s manual or ask us if this is the case on you car.