Talking Shop: Helpful Car-Auto Maintenance Tips

A little preventative car maintenance goes a long way, so Aarrow Transmission has posted a couple dozen car care tips to help save you a trip to the shop. You can rely on these quick and simple tips to help keep your car or truck running at its best at all times. Most of the car care tips, checks and auto services described below can be done at little or no cost.  Not only are they quick and easy to do, but they can save you money and help eliminate future inconvenience.  Just be sure to always refer to your owner’s manual when performing any scheduled maintenance tasks on your vehicle and it wall work at its peak.

Automatic Transmission Fluid
Check fluid level with engine running and transmission in park.  If level is low, add the type of automatic transmission fluid specified in your owner’s manual.  For maximum performance, change the automatic transmission fluid every 2 years or 24,000 miles.

Battery and Cables
Battery connections should be clean, tight and corrosion free.  If your battery is 3 or more years old, it should be tested and replaced if necessary.

Belts Check
V-belts and serpentine belts for looseness and condition.  Replace loose or cracked belts, as well as those that are glazed, frayed or showing wear.  Replace the timing belt as specified in your owner’s manual, usually 60,000-90,000 miles.  Not replacing belts could cause a breakdown or serious engine damage.

Have the braking system checked every year, including brake linings, rotors and drums.  For maximum performance, change the brake fluid every 2 years or 24,000 miles.

Cabin Air Filter
Replace this filter annually, or more often in areas with heavy airborne contaminants or whenever heating or cooling efficiency is reduced.

Chassis Lubrication
Many newer cars are “lubed-for-life”, but some still require this service.  Check the owner’s manual for its recommendation.  Replacement steering and suspension components may require periodic lubrication.

Check Engine Light On
It the Check Engine Light comes on while driving or remains on, your vehicle may have an emissions or sensor problem and should be analyzed.  If the light flashes, the condition is more serious and should be checked immediately to prevent catalytic converter damage.

Cleaning and Polishing
To prevent stripping your vehicle’s was finish, use only automotive car wash products, not dishwashing liquids.  Polish at least twice a year to maintain and protect the finish.

Coolant (Antifreeze)
Check the antifreeze level at the reservoir.  Never open a hot radiator cap.  If the level is low, add 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water.  Change the coolant annually.

Engine Air Filter
Inspect the air filter at each oil change.  Replace annually or when leaking torn, water or oil soaked, dirty or showing other signs of wear.

Engine Oil and Filter
Check the oil level with the engine off at every fill up.  For maximum engine life, change the oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles or as directed in your owner’s manual.  Use the oil grade and weight specified in your owner’s manual.

Inspect for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise.  Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.

Fuel Filter
Inspect the fuel filter at each oil change.  Replace if restricted or water contaminated.   Replace once a year in cars with carburetors.  On cars with fuel injection, replace the fuel filter every two years or 24,000 miles.

Fuel/Air Induction Service
Maintaining your fuel/air induction system will improve fuel economy, reduce environmentally damaging exhaust emissions and keeps your engine running better, longer and more efficiently.  Aarrow proudly carries BG Products for fuel/air induction service.

Inspect hoses at each oil change and replace them when leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen or restricted.

Replace bulbs immediately when lights go out.  Check fuses as well.

Oxygen Sensor
Replace the oxygen sensor as recommended in your owner’s manual or when other conditions dictate, such as failing an emissions test.  Some cars have an oxygen sensor replacement light that appears when replacement is necessary.

Power Steering Fluid
Check the power steering fluid with the car warmed up.  Add the correct type of fluid if the level is low.  If frequent topping off is required, check for leaks and replace if contaminated.  For maximum performance, change the power steering fluid every 2 years or 24,000 miles.

Spark Plugs
Typical spark plug replacement ranges from 30,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on the vehicle and type of spark plug.  Always consult the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

Steering and Suspension
Inspect the steering and suspension system annually, including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts, such as ball joint, tie rod ends and other related components.  Replace if leaks or damaged and loose mounting hardware are found.  Symptoms of a worn suspension includes uneven tire wear and excessive bouncing after bumps.

Tire Inflation and Condition
Check the pressure of all tires, including the spare, at every oil change.  Check the tread for uneven wear and cuts and bruises along the sidewalls.  Inflate tires and maintain at the recommended pressure.  Replace tires if worn or damaged.  Have your tires rotated at every other oil change.

Wiper Blades
Replace wiper blades every 6 months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering.

Windshield Washer Fluid
Check the windshield washer fluid level monthly.  Some vehicles have two reservoirs.  Do not use water.  Use washer fluid only.

With these helpful car maintenance tips, your car is sure to stay on the road longer while you spend less money on car repair over time. When you do decide to have auto repair or auto maintenance done, you can trust Aarrow Transmissions and Automotive. We are your full service auto repair shop in Richmond VA. Call and schedule a maintenance appointment at one of our conveniently located auto service shops in Glen Allen and in Midlothian Virginia.