The Importance of Regular Maintenance
By: Tim Edgecomb
Keeping up with preventative car maintenance can be overwhelming. Edgecomb’s mostly recommends following the manufacturer service schedule to help keep these items spread out in a reasonable manner. A regularly maintained vehicle is less likely to break down. While manufacturers, oil companies, and various repair shops have a variety of recommendations on the interval between oil changes, Edgecomb’s recommends every 3,000 miles for regular oil and every 5,000 for synthetic oil.
Some of the common items included in scheduled maintenance are: air filter, cabin filter, spark plugs and timing belt. Depending on the manufacturer, services will include various fluids such as brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid. Since fluid changes are manufacturer dependent, we can discuss them in a post of their own..
Air filters keep dirt and debris from entering your engine. They can sometimes cause running issues (especially if a critter has built a nest in the housing) but it’s usually rare. More often dirty air filters lower the efficiency of the air/fuel system, which means lower gas mileage per gallon. They are commonly changed every 15,000 miles and should be checked at every oil change.
Cabin filters clean the air conditioning and heating system for the interior. This item is not related to reliable driving but everything to do with being comfortable to drive. The most common failure point seen at Edgecomb’s is clogged cowl drains. Cowl drains are located right below the windshield, allowing water to drain below the car. In many cars this causes water to overflow and penetrate and soak the cabin filter. A wet cabin filter becomes a breeding ground for mold and bad smells. Most services call for changing filters every 15,000 miles.
The recommended replacement interval for spark plugs can be anywhere from every 30,000 miles (Subaru) to 120,000 miles (Toyota). That’s not to say spark plugs can’t or won’t last past that interval, but the longer you go past an interval recommendation, the more likely issues will occur. Spark plugs most often cause misfires and all misfires have the potential to damage the catalytic converter.
For cars witha timing belt, most maintenance intervals fall between 90,000 to 120,000 miles or go by time interval as well. It’s whichever you reach first. Out of preventative replacement items, the timing belt is the one you shouldn’t put off. The timing belt keeps the upper and lower portions of the engine in sync. If the timing belt breaks or jumps time on an interference engine then internal damage to the engine is likely.
Timing belts are becoming less common as more manufacturers move to using timing chains. Timing chain systems are long lasting and rarely have issues. They also aren’t serviced unless there is a problem, which is great news for the pocket book. If you’re not sure whether your car has a timing belt or chain, doing a google search or calling Edgecomb’s with the VIN number of your vehicle will clear it up quickly. We happily review maintenance requirements for vehicles free of charge..
A general check over is the last significant part of the manufacturer recommended service. EVERY manufacturer service that Edgecomb’s performs includes this general check over. Some services include items that are above and beyond the basic general check over list. Hard to reach items requiring extra effort are not typically checked during basic oil changes.. These comprehensive checks help keep owners informed of upcoming replacements of wear and tear items (like the brakes) and can catch problems before they reach a critical level, allowing you to budget for repairs that are coming in the future. Surprise maintenance can be financially burdensome.
In the next post I’ll cover the various fluid changes/flushes, oil change intervals, and basic tire maintenance. I hope everyone found at least one thing helpful in this blog post and we all look forward to seeing you at your next service interval here at Edgecomb’s!
Service contracts are a great way to save money on services.