Most Important Car Maintenance

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If you drive a car, it is important to keep it properly maintained and serviced. By doing so, you won't run the risk of having your vehicle break down, leaving you stranded by the side of the road. You'll also save money on expensive repairs. It's all about servicing your car. Your Owner's Manual spells out your vehicle service schedule and we'll go over the basics in this article. What is the most important maintenance? Let's find out.

Oil & Filter Changes

The number one most important service to your car is to change the engine oil and oil filter at recommended intervals. Most Owner's Manuals suggest changing the engine oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Many of today's cars use synthetic motor oil that only needs to be changed every 10,000 miles.
Engine oil is the lifeblood of your car. It lubricates and protects all the moving parts of your engine. When you put off changing the oil, it eventually wears down, gets filled with impurities, and causes poor engine performance and lousy gas mileage.
Oil keeps your engine clean. Detergents and additives in your oil move dirt and debris into the filter. Once that filter gets clogged, those impurities circulate in your engine and becomes sludge and sludge can be an engine killer. Keep driving without an oil change and the oil becomes neutralized. Moving metal parts begin grinding against each other and that can cause the engine to seize up. When the engine seizes, you'll have to replace the entire engine and that is a very expensive proposition costing thousands of dollars.
The first sign that you need to change your engine oil is the Check Engine light which lets you know your engine needs to be serviced. You'll notice a loss in performance and poor gas mileage. The engine might heat up, even blow a gasket. Blowing a head gasket is also a costly repair, and all this will void your vehicle manufacturer's warranty… all for not changing the oil. But that's never going to happen to you because you are not that guy or gal who is going to put off a simple oil change at your friendly neighborhood Lithia Motors Service Department.

What is a Multi-point Inspection?

When you schedule an appointment with our ASE-certified, factory-trained technicians at Lithia Motors, we go above and beyond to service your vehicle and will get you back on the road quick and easy. We don't just change the oil and filter; we go through your car and perform a multi-point inspection to let you know if we find anything that could cause you trouble down the road. This comprehensive courtesy check evaluation is our way of helping you maintain your vehicle in order to provide many trouble-free, worry-free miles of driving.

Your Car's Maintenance Schedule

Besides having a regular oil and filter change every three to six months as suggested by the maintenance schedule in your Owner's Manual, follow the schedule for all your vehicle's service needs. These include:
Technicians will use an OBDII code scanner to find any error codes from the vehicle's computer system. This will evaluate idle speed, ignition, airflow, and exhaust for best performance and fuel efficiency. The spark plugs, spark wires, fuel pump and fuel filter will be checked for wear. The vehicle's oxygen sensor, and catalytic converter will be checked for wear and the transmission will be inspected for fluid level and wear. The differential or transfer case will be checked for seal leaks. Likewise, your driveshaft, U-joints, and CV joints will be checked for wear and your exhaust system will be checked for leaks or damage.
Your vehicle's suspension system makes sure you glide over bumps and potholes and keeps you safe while cornering. Your maintenance schedule will let you know when the following suspension components need to be checked and serviced: shocks, struts, and springs will be checked for leaks, cracks, and signs of wear. Ball joints and bushings wear out over time and can lead to shaky steering.
Your tires should be checked for proper inflation and to see if they are wearing properly. If they are not, you may need an alignment. A computerized alignment machine checks all four wheels and tires to make sure they are set at the correct angles for maximum tire wear. Improper alignment will wear out your tires quicker and can cause steering vibration and make your car pull to one side or another. Also remember that your tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles to assure consistent traction and maximum tread life.
Every make and model of vehicle requires a different and specific preventative maintenance schedule. Find your car's schedule in your Owner's Manual and follow it. Keeping your car properly serviced and maintained will make sure you don't void your warranty, keep you and your family safe on the road, save you money from expensive breakdowns, and even help you get the most for your car when you trade it in.
There are certain times when your car will need to be taken in for service immediately. For instance, don't fool around when the check engine light comes on. This warning light switches on when it is time for an oil change, but it could also trigger any number of warning codes for problems with engine performance. Your service technician will run a diagnostic to find out what triggered the light to come on. If you have an older car that is using a bit of motor oil between services, check the oil dipstick once a week and keep the oil level full. Also keep an eye on your tire pressure between scheduled services. Proper tire inflation will get you better fuel economy, make your tires last longer, and keep you safe while driving. Also keep watch for headlights or taillights that burn out. Check for blown fuses if a light goes out. If that's not the problem, replace the bulb as soon as possible for your own safety and the safety of others
Let Lithia Help!
With over 75 years of experience in solving our customers' personal transportation needs, Lithia Motors has a service center near you to perform all your vehicle maintenance to keep your car in tip-top shape and keep you safe on the road. Your safety is important to us because we want to keep you as a customer for life! Find the Lithia Motors service center near you right here.