Having a car is like having another member of the family at times! Servicing and general maintenance of a car is just as important as the type of food (fuel) it gets each week. If not done correctly and frequently enough, it can cause great inconvenience to us and our hip pockets. In this difficult time, we’re now offering a pick-up and drop-off service for your vehicle, so you can get it looked after without having to leave the house.
The purpose of a regular service is to have your vehicle checked over to see if there are any concerns or upcoming repairs that may be needed. When a car is serviced regularly, we’re able to maintain the engine’s optimum performance and spot potential problems. Things moving differently or sounds that shouldn’t be there are what qualified mechanics like Frank and Sarah are trained to see, hear and know how to fix. As a driver, you may become accustomed to the use of your own vehicle, and may miss things not performing the way they should. We’ve broken down some of the key things we check regularly and why:
Most of us know how to check our engine oil, but do we really know what part it plays? The main purpose of engine oil is to lubricate the various parts of the combustion engine, to reduce wear and tear on all the moving parts.
When an engine does not get the proper care it needs, it can begin to consume the oil or evaporate the oil inside it. Deteriorated oil can then block the filter, reducing the filter’s ability to remove impurities from the engine oil prior to circulation. This then stops the oil lubricating the important parts of the engine effectively, especially if they rely heavily on oil lubrication to function.
In order for engine oil to perform optimally, it needs to get to a certain temperature to boil out all the impurities. Frequent low kilometers and short distances can reduce the effectiveness of this process, as the oil doesn’t reach a warm enough operating temperature to do what it needs to do – meaning the properties in the oil at a cooler temperature can’t do their job. It’s similar to reheating your lunch for the day when you’ve put the timer on too short – only some parts of the meal are warm and the others cold, and you need more heat through the meal in order for it to be ready to eat.
On the flip side, travelling too long a distance without getting your engine checked can also harm your engine. As an engine runs, it creates ‘minute soot’ particles (or carbon particles) in which the engine oil will clean and hold onto until it is changed. While it’s ultimately better for an engine to travel longer distances daily than short, it’s important to have the oil and filter changed before it deteriorates and becomes corrosive. This is why it’s recommended to have your car serviced every 10,000kms – you might cover this distance in 2 months, whilst some cover it in 8 months – but remember in either instance your engine, suspension, brakes and wheels have all run and turned this distance.
As a driver the wheel alignment on your car can feel fine, but what doesn’t immediately stand out is the angle and wear on your tyres. Typically mechanics look at the angle of your tyres from a range of views – from the front of the vehicle (camber), side on (caster) and birds eye views (toe). This is to see whether they are sitting at the optimum angle, and how your wheels are making contact with the road. If left unattended for too long, the wear can be uneven and premature, resulting in the need to replace the tyres which can be expensive. Brakes are also another expensive item that may feel fine until they have worn out – it’s important to service regularly to make sure these things have been looked over.
Another good practice to implement when servicing, is to ask your mechanic how your car drives. Having a mechanic drive your car can reveal many things you may be unaware of, or may have adjusted to over time as they’ve occurred. A mechanic wouldn’t be used to these occurrences and will notice any differences straight away. It’s also recommended to find a regular mechanical workshop like ours and stick to servicing with them – like you would with a doctor. Over time, your mechanic will get to know your car and history better and any issues can be resolved quickly, making it easier to ask questions and a more comfortable experience for all.
So there you have it – why it’s important to service your car regularly and what we look for during these checks. Of course, we look at many other things as well! We think it’s key for drivers to know more about their cars and at least understand the basics of how they operate, so keep an eye out for more articles like this one.
We also offer free ‘Know Your Car’ workshops, where we take drivers through the basics of the car – how to check your oil and water, changing a tyre, jump starting a car and much more. Keep an eye out for when these next run and in the mean time though if you need your car serviced be sure to give us the store a call (5332 2277) and we’ll look after you. We’ll come pick up the car from your house and drop off it off once we’re done!