Let’s talk about auto maintenance service schedules. And mainly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.
We have a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked. They’re all essential and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no order.
Power Steering Service
Be honest – have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds up moisture over time. Performing regular auto maintenance and cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed, and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Ask your service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.
When your wheels are out of alignment your car pulls to one side. It’s annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out fast – which is expensive! Most owners’ manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.
Okay, did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do. One, two, or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from the engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t just ignore them. Check with your service advisor.
Cabin Air Filter
More and more cars these days have cabin air filters to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies. If you want to learn more about cabin air filters and how important they are, check out this article on Car And Driver’s website.
Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. Check your owner’s manual or with your service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles – absolutely investigate it right away.
Transmission service is very basic, but it’s often forgotten. Your transmission needs clean fluid occasionally to keep running efficiently and avoid costly repairs. And it can improve your fuel economy too.
Air Conditioning Service
When we consider auto maintenance for our vehicle, most of us don’t think about our car’s air conditioning until it doesn’t work. Then if you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Those components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.
No, we’re not talking about squealing or grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your service advisor for recommendations.
Another thing that’s so easy to forget about. When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the ph balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded.
Fuel System Cleaning
In times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is so important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors get corrosive build-up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule will really help your fuel economy.
And there we have it – 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90% of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Based on our busy lives, we’re not surprised.