How to maintain a car for life

Jul 13 2010

No vehicle can ever be immune from the need for car repair. At various periods of a vehicle’s service life it will invariably need auto AC repair, brakes repair, transmission repair and engine repair. Adding up all those car repair needs can bring you to quite a huge sum. In this time of financial crisis, all vehicle owners would appreciate any possible way of lessening the need for, or frequency of, car repairs. The implementation of proper automotive diagnostic and maintenance procedures at the right schedules would be one effective way to achieve this. Vehicle owners can save even more if they can do some of these procedures on their own rather than always paying an auto service mechanic for even the simplest task. This does not mean discarding one’s trusted auto service mechanic, though, because he will still be very much needed for the more complicated automotive diagnostic and maintenance procedures and, of course, for car repair. Following are some steps to remember on automotive diagnostic and maintenance procedures and car repair.

Foremost on the list is learning what is written in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. The vehicle owner should know the contents of this document from cover to cover. Of course, it does not have to be memorized. It should, however, be kept in a safe place that is easily accessible. This is important because the owner’s manual contains all of the necessary automotive maintenance procedures for the vehicle based on its manufacturer’s recommendations, as well as the schedule of frequency for such procedures. This has to be complied with to the letter.

The vehicle owner is the best person to do certain automotive diagnostic procedures because he or she knows how the vehicle performs in normal circumstances. He or she will therefore be the first to notice even the slightest change in the vehicle’s behavior, including handling, acceleration, deceleration, steering and braking.

The vehicle owner should take gauge readings daily in order to track changes in fluid levels and gas mileage. He or she can then spot abnormal spikes in usage or depletion. Regular inspection of the vehicle’s tires, hoses and belts should be done to monitor wear and tear and damage.

Any strange noise, weird odor, leaks or vibration of the vehicle should be seen as signals of trouble. In fact, certain signs mean there is an emergency that should immediately be attended to. Smoke is one of these signs. Upon seeing smoke from the vehicle, it should promptly be pulled over and it should not be restarted before it is seen to by an auto service mechanic.

All of the vehicle owner’s findings should be documented in a logbook every day. This will ensure that nothing is forgotten and everything is reported accurately. The logbook should be submitted to the auto service mechanic periodically. If there are signs of an emergency, the logbook should also be submitted immediately. It will be used as an important reference as the auto service mechanic makes a diagnosis.

Ask for an official written copy of the mechanic’s diagnosis and repair recommendations from the auto service shop. Also ask the auto service shop to provide an official written quotation with details of the services to be done, parts that need replacement and the time schedule for the job.

A vehicle owner who faithfully complies with all the recommended automotive diagnostic and maintenance procedures and schedules based on the manufacturer’s instructions will surely be rewarded with much less need for car repair. This means less frequent auto AC repair, brakes repair, transmission repair and engine repair from the auto service shop, resulting in overall cost cutting and savings.

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