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It is necessary to carryout preventive maintenance to keep your car in good running order. Basic checks every month such as checking fluid levels and frequent servicing will minimize the risk of a breakdown and prolong the life of your car. The following is only a guide and brief overview of commonly serviced items, please refer to your manufacturer’s handbook for your specific vehicle and service requirements if you are unsure.

ENGINE OIL

Why

When it comes to engine oil, they are considered to be the blood of the engine. Not only does it lubricate moving parts it also prevents overheating and has cleaning properties too. You can never change your engine oil too often. Renewing the engine oil at or before the specified intervals prevents sludge build-up which ensures the oil can flow freely through the passageways in the engine to lubricate the various components. Every time an engine is started from cold it produces moisture which is transferred to the oil in the sump.

When

We recommend changing the oil & filter every 6,000 miles. For turbocharged cars, it is recommended to change the oil every 3,000 miles. Driving in the city or built-up areas is a harsh environment for any car. Lots of cold starts and short journeys not allowing the engine to reach operating temperature along with frequent gear changes and stop/start driving requires a car to have regular maintenance.

AIR FILTER

Why

Where they would cause mechanical wear and oil contamination, air filters prevent abrasive particles from entering the engine. A clean air filter would also have a positive effect on engine performance and emissions.

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When

An engine air filter should be changed at least once a year. If the car is being driven in harsh or dusty conditions it should be changed more often. A quick visual inspection will reveal if the air filter requires changing or not.

SPARK PLUGS

Why

Spark plugs supply a spark in the combustion chamber to ignite the fuel/air mix in a petrol engine. A worn spark plug can cause incomplete burning of the fuel/air mix and have a negative effect on engine performance and emissions test. Spark plugs in bad conditions are also related to problems such as hard starting and misfiring.  It improves fuel economy too as with a new set of spark plugs will not only help emissions and performance.

When

To maintain peak engine performance, the standard spark plugs (Copper) will need to be changed once a year. Some more modern cars come with long-life spark plugs (Iridium) fitted which can last up to 100,000 miles. The downside to Iridium plugs is that they are more expensive to replace. On some cars access to spark plugs may be a problem, in this case it is a good idea to use long-life spark plugs.

FUEL FILTER

Why

The job of the fuel filter is to stop dirt particles entering the fuel system and engine. Fuel filters are often overlooked when servicing and if left for too long the filter element can collapse causing a drop in fuel pressure and eventually a breakdown.

When

On modern petrol cars, some fuel filters have a long life span compared to older cars. Some do not require renewal until as high as 100,000 miles. Diesel engines, however, require changing every one to two years and the water trap (if equipped) should be emptied every oil change.

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COOLANT

Why

The coolant has a number of different functions. It removes heat from the engine preventing overheating, prevents freezing in the winter and also protects/lubricates parts of the cooling system such as the water pump. Over time the coolant can become diluted from topping up with water causing the mixture to weaken leading to corrosion of the cooling system and overheating of the engine. If the coolant has not been changed for a long time or is very dirty we recommend flushing the cooling system with a detergent.

When

It is recommended to change the coolant every two to three years with the help of the professionals. If you are unsure when it was last changed we can do a simple test to check the antifreeze/water mix is sufficient.

BRAKE FLUID

Why

Brake fluid requires changing as it is hydroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture. Over time this will lessen the effectiveness of the brake fluid. Moisture in the brake system will cause brake lines to rot from the inside out and will also damage brake callipers. Water contamination will also lower the boiling point of the brake fluid which is very dangerous as vapor pockets can form leading to brake failure.

When

We recommend changing the brake fluid every two years. A brake fluid change is often overlooked, so much so that many of the cars we service for the first time we recommend a fluid change. Some more modern cars will have a reminder on the dash. We also have a simple test to check the moisture content.

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AUXILIARY BELTS

Why

Auxiliary belts drive components such as the power steering pump, alternator, air con and water pump. Over time the belt can start to glaze, crack and/or squeal. The squealing noise is most noticeable on a damp morning or when the steering wheel is turned to full lock. Quite often these belts if left unserviced will fray and eventually snap causing loss of water pump or alternator and a breakdown. In some case it is not the belt that is causing the problem but the belt tensioner that has become weak allowing the belt to slip and not drive the component pulley.

When

Auxiliary belts last 4-6 years or more. The belt condition and tension should be inspected every oil changes St George Utah. If the belt is noisy but operates as it should it is possible to lubricate the belt with an aerosol dressing however the noise will soon return, the only permanent fix is to replace it. If there is engine oil or fluids leaking onto the belt this will shorten its lifespan considerably.

Shabbir Ahmad

Shabbir Ahmad is a freelance enthusiastic blogger & SEO expert. He is the founder of Shifted Magazine & Shifted News. He contributes to many authority blogs including porch, hackernoon & techcrunch.

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