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Auto Preventative Maintenance

For most individuals, an automobile is a huge investment. However, more than that, you trust your automobile to run safely and efficiently. It is for these reasons preventive auto maintenance is an absolute necessity! It is easy to believe that unless there appears to be an obvious problem, all is well. Yet, stress, wear and tear happens to your automobile every time you turn the ignition. Small issues may easily go unnoticed until something fails and leads to major repairs. Regularly scheduled auto maintenance can save you money by maintaining fuel efficiency, catching those small issues that could lead to big repair bills if left unchecked, and extend the life of your automobile. The better regular maintenance is carried out and records kept, the more money you may be able to recover if you decide to sell or trade in your car at any time. With a little knowledge and planning, you can learn to handle routine maintenance and understand when to call for experienced help with more complicated tasks. Take advantage of information available online to learn what is involved in preventative maintenance, protecting your auto repair investment, and troubleshooting tips to help identify repair issues that may require expert assistance.

Preventive Maintenance

Do not risk your safety and that of your family by neglecting preventative maintenance! Many small parts and connections work together to keep your automobile running smoothly and safely. Many parts such as hoses, belts, pumps and so on wear down over time and can fail without warning. While this can be a simple inconvenience, some preventable failures can lead to larger repairs or make operating your vehicle dangerous. By following a few simple guidelines, you can keep your car running safely and efficiently.

  • Consult your car owner’s manual for recommended maintenance schedules.

  • Keep records of when maintenance was done, type of oil used, parts replaced, and costs.

  • For shop maintenance, always be sure to read your service order before signing for service as well as after the service has been done.

Protecting your Auto Repair Investment

When approving routine auto maintenance or repairs, remember, there are no two warranties alike. There is not a standard warranty for parts or services so it is essential to read all service contracts carefully. Most warranties specify authorized dealers, limit mileage, deductibles, time limits, or special procedures for reimbursement. Warranty rights also vary from state or location. Be sure to know what your warranty rights are in your area. To protect your repair investments further, keep these points in mind.

  • Deal with professional service shops.

  • For reimbursement, always make sure to understand procedures you need to follow such as proper paperwork and whether prior authorization are required.

  • For any disputes always attempt settling with the repair shop first. Keep all documentation and make notes as to how you attempt to resolve the dispute.

  • If attempts fail, contact the Better Business Bureau, local Consumer Protection services, or your Attorney General. Small claims court is another option and does not require a lawyer.

Troubleshooting Tips

Staying alert to any differences in the way your car sounds when running, how it feels or handles, as well as making note of any new odors or emissions from the exhaust or engine are your first line of defense to safe auto maintenance. Not all repairs are obvious. If something doesn’t work as expected, often taking time to do a bit of investigation and troubleshooting will reveal that what appeared to be the need for major repair or parts replacement is a minor issue and easy to fix. Engine and transmission issues can be a reason for major concern but before calling for a mechanic or technician check to see if some simple item can be fixed first. A few minutes of investigation can save you time and money by avoiding a trip to a repair shop. If you do not see anything obvious, always ask your mechanic or technician to check the simple issues before automatically replacing parts that are more expensive. Some tips to consider in troubleshooting include,

  • Check for loose wires, connections, or corroded terminals. Leaks may be as simple as a loose hose clamp.

  • Power steering, brake, or transmission issues may be as simple as checking fluids and adding fluid if levels are low.

  • No Power when you turn the key? Have your battery tested.

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