Every vehicle has a manufacturer's suggested service schedule but unfortunately, many drivers or car owners often choose to only perform the most basic of car maintenance services like oil changes. Either they don’t want to be bothered because of time constraints or expenses one thing is for sure: overlooked car maintenance items could eventually mean more expensive car issues when issues could have been prevented. In this article, we will discuss in-depth the common overlooked car maintenance items.
What common vehicle maintenance is often overlooked?
- Flushing the Brake Fluid
Hygroscopic means that brake fluid attracts and absorbs moisture. Even in a sealed brake system, the brake fluid can absorb moisture from the environment, lowering the boiling temperature of the brake fluid and exposing the hydraulic braking system to the risk of rust and corrosion. Most brake fluid flushing intervals are specified by the manufacturer. If your manufacturer doesn't specify, or if they do, we recommend getting it done every three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
One of the overlooked car maintenance items is the transmission in your vehicle. This important car component helps get the engine to “get in gear” while you're driving. Regardless of whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, you must follow the manufacturer's guidelines and get the transmission repaired as needed. Routine maintenance on most vehicles entails disassembling the transmission, changing or cleaning the filter, inspecting and cleaning the pan, and refilling the fluid.
Routine maintenance can occasionally reveal signs of deeper issues that, if addressed promptly, can save you money in the long run. The manufacturer's recommended frequency for service, specifically when it comes to transmission fluid cleanse, will be listed in your vehicle's manual.
Your vehicle's engine gets all the credit for the power, but you wouldn't be able to move without your transmission. Whether your car has an automatic, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), or a manual transmission, it has fluid that has to be replaced on a regular basis.
Car makers began marketing automobiles with “lifetime transmission fluid” that never needed to be changed in order to make their vehicles appear low-maintenance. If anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Modern transmissions work harder and in tighter engine compartments with less ventilation than their predecessors, thus their fluid degrades over time. After 100,000 miles, cars using “lifetime transmission fluid” had a higher rate of transmission failure. It's recommended that you change the transmission fluid every 60,000 miles, give or take a few thousand miles, if you want your transmission to last.
- Flushing the coolant
Coolant, like automatic transmission fluid, is frequently marketed as a “lifetime fluid.” Again, this isn't totally accurate. With routine use, the coolant degrades and the pH balance becomes less than optimal, causing the coolant to damage sections of the cooling system or the engine. Changing or flushing the coolant every 40,000-60,000 miles is a decent period. This should assist maintain a normal ph balance in the coolant, which will keep your cooling system healthy.
- Brake System Maintenance
Another one of the most overlooked car maintenance items is brake system maintenance. The brakes are the most crucial safety feature on any vehicle. Consider what would happen if the brakes didn't respond when you pressed the horizontal pedal to the floor to avoid an accident. Request a check from your mechanic during routine auto maintenance if you want this important component to continue braking (rather than breaking). When the brake pads become too worn, they must be replaced, and the calipers and rotors (the parts that squeeze and the portions that are squeezed) must be serviced on a regular basis.
- Air conditioning
Some may believe that vehicle air conditioning is an “optional” feature.” Those individuals clearly do not live in areas with high temperatures, where the interior temperature of a car parked in the sun can reach above 150 degrees in just 15 minutes. Like in Arizona, you wouldn’t be surprised when residents start to drive while wearing oven mitts. A/C isn't a luxury for drivers in hot regions; it's a necessity. Having your air conditioning system inspected by a trained mechanic once or twice a year will assist ensure that your cooling is always in good working order.
Sitting and doing nothing is one of the worst things your cooling system can do. As a result, most manufacturers recommend running your air conditioner for brief periods of time at least once a month, even in the winter. Simply set the temperature to HEAT and turn the system on. This will assist maintain the internal parts lubricated and guarantee that your air conditioner is ready to use when summer arrives. On a hot day, if the A/C takes a long time to cool your car's interior, or if it doesn't cool at all, you should have it examined by a skilled mechanic.
- Alignment of the wheels
Keeping your automobile or truck's wheels aligned might make it easier to drive. Furthermore, good alignment will extend the life of your tires, enhance the effectiveness of your brakes, and improve overall safety. It's a good idea to examine your vehicle's manufacturer's recommended auto maintenance schedule, but most automobile manufacturers recommend having wheel alignment checked every 20,000 to 30,000 miles.
The cost depends on the vehicle's size and whether you need a two-wheel or four-wheel alignment. It's worth noting that getting your vehicle aligned can reveal other difficulties, like issues with the steering or braking systems. As a result, paying attention to the signs of bad alignment is crucial to your vehicle's overall safety and roadworthiness.
- Cabin air filter
Cabin air filters are in charge of filtering the air that enters the vehicle's passenger compartment from the outside. Some vehicles have a simple particle filter that eliminates dust and pollen from the air, while others have an activated charcoal filter that not only removes dust and pollen, but also odours and pollutants. The cost of replacing these filters is typically low, and they can significantly enhance the quality of the air you breathe in your car, making them a valuable investment.
- Valve adjustments
Lastly, valve adjustments are included in the overlooked car maintenance items list. Despite the fact that most current automobiles have hydraulic valve lifters that automatically adjust, there are still a substantial number of vehicles on the road that have mechanical valve lifters. These lifters require periodic clearance inspections and, if necessary, modifications. In the best-case situation, running valves too tight or too slack can result in a loss of power and efficiency. And at worst it can have serious damage to the engine, like a burned valve.
- Changing Axle Gear Lubricant
What use will the engine and the transmission have without the axle’s moving power to the wheels? Another one of the overlooked car maintenance items are the axles. Your axles, gears, and bearings all need to be greased, especially if you use your vehicle to pull, haul, or drive at high interstate speeds.
Because your axles don't have a filter to change, emptying the fluid is simple. You can either remove the differential cover to inspect it or use vacuum equipment to remove all of the oil from the differential. Get as much fluid out as possible in any scenario.
- Cleaning Fuel Injectors
Since the mid-1980s, fuel injection has been standard on vehicles, and fuel injectors have begun to clog. Carburetors are more forgiving of debris in the fuel system, but even a small quantity of material will jam the spray nozzles in fuel injectors. As technology advances, fuel pressure, combustion pressure, and direct injection, your fuel system must remain clean to maintain maximum efficiency while preventing deposits from forming. Allow no compromises in terms of power, throttle response, fuel economy, or drivability.
- Replacing Spark Plugs
To run, an engine just requires fuel, air, and spark, all in the proper proportions. The spark plugs, or glow plugs in the case of a diesel engine, are what ignite the fuel/air mixture inside the combustion chambers of the engine. The plugs degrade with typical use, regardless of the engine type. Extreme work, such as hauling or racing, might hasten the process. Your owner's manual or original service manual should also specify when or how often they should be replaced.
- Cleaning Battery Terminals
Your battery terminals become unclean or corroded over time as a result of dirt and sludge beneath the hood. They frequently lose the ability to transfer electricity from the battery to the starter, and it always happens when you least expect it. You get in your car, turn the key, and hear that exhausted whir whir buzz of a starter that can't seem to get going. It's possible that the problem isn't a dead battery, but rather unclean connections. Simple tools can be obtained from a local car parts store or an online supplier to clean the terminals fast.
What are the 10 basic car repairs that everyone should know?
- Changing a flat tire – getting or noticing a flat tire mid drive is something almost every driver will experience. And what use is a spare tire if you do not know how to change a flat tire yourself.
- Changing your spark plugs – a very critical car component that helps ignite the gasoline to power your vehicle. This car repair is easy to do. Simply locate your spark plug, disconnect the spark plug wire, remove the old spark plug, replace it, and reconnect the wire.
- Changing your car battery – While your options may be restricted if your car dies on the road, you can get a jumpstart on a replacement at home. To begin, remove any protective covering from the dead or dying battery, detach the negative cables, slide the clamp away from the battery post, disconnect the positive cable clamp, remove all screws, replace the old battery, and reconnect all cable clamps.
- Replacing your head or tail light – This car repair should be completed as soon as possible because driving with a busted tail light or headlight is illegal. So you must really know how to do this car repair yourself. The level of difficulty in changing your head or tail light varies depending on the car model.
- Changing your wiper blades – Wiper blades are constructed of rubber, so after a few months of wiping snow, rain, and dust off your windshield, they will gradually wear out. You could get them replaced at a mechanic's shop, but it's just as simple to do it yourself. For the vast majority of cars on the road, the installation procedure is the same.
- Replacing your air filters – Once every 30,000 miles, this is a mandatory responsibility. Simply open the hood, locate the air filter unit, remove the air filter cover, remove the spent filter and clean the housing, replace the cover, and insert the new filter.
- Replacing brake pads – a lifesaving maintenance move that will require patience and precision.
- Jumpstarting a car – when your battery appears to be dying and your car breaks down in the middle of a trip, you'll need to know how to jump your automobile. Jumper cables and a second vehicle are required.
- Checking oil level and oil change – Do it yourself instead of going to the technician for your next oil change. Changing your oil at home may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's just routine car maintenance that saves you money.
- Checking tire tread depth – buy yourself a tread depth gauge. It only costs a few dollars and is completely reliable. Measure the tread depth 1 inch from each edge and the center tread depth. All of them should be the same. Your car may be out of alignment if they aren't.
While there are some aspects of your car that don't need much attention on a regular basis, these key systems, which have the tendency to become overlooked car maintenance items, respond to wear in a progressive manner, causing significant changes in your car over time if they aren't corrected.