Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vehicle maintenance, schedule, recommendations

Asking several car service facilities the question of what services should be performed on a particular vehicle, will probably heed several different answers. Vehicle service shops are in the business to make money, the more services they recommend the more profits they can make.

If the honesty of the service shop is in question, where’s the best place to find out what services should be performed on the vehicle?

Manufacturers Scheduled Maintenance

The best source of information about scheduled maintenance is from the vehicle manufacturer. The owner’s portfolio that came with the vehicle when it was new should include a scheduled maintenance booklet that may be incorporated in with the owner’s manual or it may be a separate booklet.

If the maintenance schedule booklet cannot be found, most manufacturers will have that information on their website. Simply do a search for the manufacturer on the Internet. When the manufacturer’s site is located, look for a tab for owner information and the maintenance schedule should be found there.

Many manufacturers also allow owners to set up an account for a particular vehicle on their web page. The vehicle owner can keep track of their performed services and they will alert the owner when routine services are needed. The manufacturer will also notify car owners of any pending recalls through their website.

The Minimum Maintenance Required

When reviewing the manufacturers scheduled maintenance, keep in mind that the routine services listed are the bare minimum that should be performed. If the vehicle is driven in a lot of stop and go traffic or in harsh driving conditions like off-road, some maintenance services may need to be performed more often.
How Often Should Maintenance be Performed?

The maintenance schedule shows at what miles a particular service should be performed. It may also list a time frame that a particular service should be performed. For example it may show an oil change to be performed at 5,000 miles or every 6 months.

If a vehicle isn’t driven much, has less than 5,000 miles since the last service and it’s been over 6 months since the last oil change, an oil changed should be performed. It’s basically whatever comes first, time or mileage.
Types of Maintenance Services

There are all types of routine maintenance services that must be performed. The different type of services various widely from on vehicle to another. The major services are usually performed at 30,000 miles intervals, but this can also vary widely depending on the vehicle. The newer vehicle models coming out in recent years require less and less services than previous vehicles.

Many newer models don’t require coolant change or transmission service for 100,000 miles. Here a few typical routine maintenance services:

* Engine oil and filter change
* Tire rotation
* Chassis lube
* Air filter change
* Cabin filter change (if equipped)
* Fuel filter replacement
* Coolant replacement
* Transmission service
* Axle service
* Battery service
* Timing belt

The one service that’s usually required the most is an engine oil and filter change. Normally every time a vehicle is scheduled for service an oil change is performed. The service facility should also perform a comprehensive inspection of the vehicle and recommend any other repairs that may be needed.
Tires and Brakes – Wear Items

Tires and brakes are considered wear items and are not routine maintenance services. When a vehicle is brought in for routine maintenance, the tires and brakes are important safety wear items that should be checked and replaced if necessary. Wiper blades, alignments, coolant hoses and engine drive belts are also some examples of wear items that should be checked every time a vehicle’s brought in for service.

If brakes are neglected, the brake pads could cut into the brake rotors and the rotors may need to be replaced, adding additional expense to the repair. Wore out brakes and tires will also impeded the vehicles ability to stop efficiently. Besides worn out tires affecting braking, worn tires will also reduce the vehicles handling abilities while corning, especially in wet weather.
Before the Vehicle is Serviced

Before the vehicle is taken to a service facility, the maintenance schedule should be reviewed. Some dishonest service facilities may suggest a service and claim the manufacturer recommends it. Knowing what maintenance should be performed will help let the car owner know if their service facility is on the up and up

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