Avoiding performing recommended maintenance service can come with a hefty price tag. Here are four important steps you can take to protect your vehicle.
1) Change the Oil Regularly
First up is the simple oil change. Bottom line – if you change your oil on schedule, your engine will be properly protected. Go past the recommended mileage interval, typically every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on driving conditions, and sludge begins to build up in your engine. This sludge can clog small oil passages that keep important parts of the engine from being cooled and lubricated. That is never good for your engine. If your engine has variable valve timing, as most do nowadays, or a turbocharger, then these expensive components are at high risk for failure and expensive replacement. If you’re not sure how often you should change your vehicle’s oil, ask your Service Advisor.
2) Change Timing Belts and Chains Timely
Many vehicles come equipped with a timing belt. These belts wear out over time and must be replaced, along with the belt tensioner and other system components. If this belt breaks, you could end up with extensive engine damage that can cost thousands in repairs. Most manufacturers recommend changing the belt or chain every 60,000 to 100,00 miles, depending on the make, model and age of the vehicle. If you don’t know if your engine has a timing belt, as opposed to a timing chain, or when it should be replaced, ask your Service Advisor.
3) Clean Fuel Systems Regularly
More than half of all new vehicles sold have Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines, which can be susceptible to extensive hard carbon buildup on the intake valves. Regular fuel system cleaning can keep the deposits in check, and improve fuel economy, performance, and emissions at the same time. Neglecting this important service for too long may require an engine teardown to media blast, or “sandblast,” the carbon deposits from the valves and cylinder head. And yep, that costs a lot.
4) Trust Your Check Engine Light
This last item may seem harmless, but it could have serious consequences: your vehicle’s Check Engine Light. Many of the troubles that can trigger a Check Engine Light are related to emissions. The light warns you when the engine is not running efficiently, due to unburned fuel and oil vapors accumulating in the exhaust system’s catalytic converter. When these accumulations get hot enough, they can burn up and damage the catalytic converter. The initial problem may be something as simple as a failed oxygen sensor or even an extremely dirty engine air filter. Ignoring that Check Engine Light could lead to some very expensive repairs.