Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our vans.
Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Chesapeake car owners maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.
Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of vital automotive performance for Chesapeake auto owners: protection of the vehicle itself, fuel efficiency, and safety.
Your vehicle’s components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by products. Protective components include filters and fluids.
Most of the fluids in your van are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your van.
For example, motor oil lubricates your engine, when keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle’s engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Chesapeake motorists should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.
Over time, the essential additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.
Over time, your vehicle’s systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of gas mileage and power output.
For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine’s efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore fuel economy and improve gas mileage.
Some of your van’s systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents for Chesapeake motorists.
Your owner’s manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your van. Of course, you can consult with a your West Service Center, Inc. service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.
Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like fifteen or twenty thousand miles. The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your van. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.
The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better gas mileage and fewer expensive repairs. It may even save your life.
There are a lot of things in life that Chesapeake residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Chesapeake dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don’t stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.
Scheduled maintenance is also part of good car care. Chesapeake drivers should take their vans in regularly for a good check-up. But many Chesapeake folks struggle to remember, or actually even ignore, this auto advice. When it comes to our cars, we’re more likely to listen to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.
Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze, for example, vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?
One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting; we can smell how dirty our clothes are; but we don’t notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our vans is like trouble in our bodies—ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can’t know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake.
Another reason us Chesapeake car owners put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Chesapeake car owners don’t know.
Of course, our vans come with owner’s manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Chesapeake motorists actually read them?
The good news is that all Chesapeake motorists have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake. Like a good doctor, your honest West Service Center, Inc. tech will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your car needs and when. The service center can track your car’s maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.
Here are some guidelines to help Chesapeake drivers understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it’s a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner’s manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.
Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.
Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There’s no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.
Fuel. Obviously your van needs gas on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.
These are the basics of car maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don’t need to be replaced as often.
If you are taking your van in for the basics, then your Chesapeake service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you’ll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.
If you’re not convinced yet that your van needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased MPG, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to pricey repair bills and costly accidents.
Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.
A recent report stated that over 80 percent of the vehicles on our Chesapeake Virginia roads have one or more service or repair that’s needed, but hasn’t been taken care of. Now that’s a lot of undone service. That translates into something over 160 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. Some of the neglected items are minor. Others are serious safety concerns.
There are several reasons why we hesitate to take care of recommended services; especially services that our Chesapeake Virginia automotive advisor recommends when we’re in for something else, like an oil change.
The first issue boils down to comfort with car care. We don’t always feel we know enough to make good decisions. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that vehicles are so reliable these days. They almost become an appliance. Of course you love your van, but if you don’t have to worry about it breaking down all the time, you’re not forced to think as much about preventive maintenance.
Perhaps your dad knew a lot about cars and always made sure they were taken care of. He was very comfortable dealing with his local Chesapeake Virginia service advisor. People who don’t know as much about cars hesitate to ask questions because they don’t want to look ignorant.
It’s human nature. But, there’s so much to know in this world, we can’t all be experts in everything. So we specialize. It’s very important to ask questions of any specialist, whether it’s your doctor, financial advisor or your automotive technician in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Your auto technician at West Service Center, Inc. wants your questions. We want you to understand the recommendation and why it needs to be done.
That brings us to the next issue; people say that they don’t always know if they really need the service or if they are just being sold something.
At the heart, it speaks to trust. Do you trust your Chesapeake service center and your service advisor? Trust has to be earned and that takes time and experience. But you can shortcut the process when you realize that most of the recommendations are based on manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.
In other words, “you don’t have to trust me, you can trust your owner’s manual”.
Your Chesapeake service center has computer databases that contain the manufacturer’s recommendations for almost all vehicles, so they don’t need to rummage through your glove box to look for your owner’s manual to know what to do.
Basically, the engineers who designed the car say “here’s when you need to have it serviced”. That’s who makes the recommendation, not the technician. He’s just reminding you.
Now you do need to trust your Chesapeake technician’s experience and judgment from time to time. When he inspects your vehicle, he may find problems or concerns. He will explain things so that you can prioritize the concern and make a good decision about whether or not to have something done.
That brings us to the third issue; money. Often the concern is about spending the money to take care of a recommended service. Our money has many places it needs to go. And we have another list of places we want it to go. Auto maintenance isn’t usually on either of those lists.
Look, everyone who works at West Service Center, Inc. has a family budget, too. They can relate. Maybe a little look behind the scenes would be helpful.
Service centers like West Service Center, Inc. invest heavily in training, diagnostic equipment and tools so that they can make repairs and perform services as efficiently as possible. And like any other business, they have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, shop and office supplies, taxes and so on.
We work hard to make sure that we diagnose the problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That’s the only way we can maintain our reputation and remain in business. If we’re not satisfying our customers and providing a good value, you won’t come back and the service center won’t be around for long.
When there is a real budget concern, your Chesapeake service center can help you prioritize the work that needs to be done and come up with a plan for taking care of it that works within your budget.
Let’s say you have a serious problem with your brakes. That’s a safety concern so a technician can’t ethically say, well, let’s put that off for a couple of months. What they can do is take care of the brakes now and address the cabin air filter or transmission service next month.