Auto maintenance services for your vehicle are more than just a good idea. It’s essential if you want to get the most reliable service from your car, truck or SUV. But how do you know which scheduled maintenance services are essential for reliable transportation and which ones are a luxury for car owners who can afford them? Helping you answer that question is the goal of this article.
While each vehicle’s manufacturer provides a schedule for recommended auto maintenance to be done at either a time or mileage interval, this schedule isn’t designed to identify services as essential or optional. Because the Engine and Transmission systems work together to power and move your vehicle down the road, this article will focus on servicing these two systems as critical for consistent and reliable vehicle operation.
Essential Engine system service
The oil change service is vital to protecting your vehicle’s engine components, whether that engine is relatively new or aging from years of service. The lubrication provided by engine oil protects the engine’s working parts from damage caused by the intense heat and friction of normal engine function. Over time with normal operation, engine oil is degraded by exposure to heat, contaminated with dirt and metal fragments, and no longer able to lubricate effectively.
As a maintenance service, an oil change replaces the dirty oil with clean to ensure the engine’s components remain protected from unnecessary wear. The oil filter is also replaced and the fluid/oil levels in a variety of other components are checked and topped off as necessary, making this service even more valuable to keep your vehicle running well.
How often you should have an oil change service is determined by:
- The year/make/model of your vehicle
- The time elapsed or mileage traveled since your previous service
- Use and environmental conditions since your previous service
Your trusted auto repair professional can use the above variables to help set a reasonable schedule that ensures your engine oil maintenance stays up-to-date.
Essential Transmission System Service
Transmission maintenance service also involves changing the oil or fluid that lubricates the components contained within this system. Because this service interval is usually not as frequent as the schedule for engine oil, it’s easy to overlook. This can lead to unnecessary wear and tear that will reduce the life expectancy of your vehicle’s transmission.
There are two methods commonly used when performing a transmission service:
- Transmission flush – uses a machine to push out all of the old fluid so none remains to contaminate the new fluid installed
- Fluid change – uses gravity to drain as much of the old fluid as possible before new fluid is installed (sometimes this involves an initial drain and fill; then driving the vehicle; then drain and fill again)
Your vehicle manufacturer will usually recommend one method over the other and many auto repair professionals have a preference based on his/her training and experience. Some repair shops stress the importance of replacing the filter as well as the fluid. While this requires removal of the bottom part of the transmission (called the pan) to access the filter and is an additional step that adds to the cost of the service, it will help to extend the life of your transmission.
No matter which type of transmission service is recommended, the goal is to improve the quality of fluid circulating in your vehicle’s transmission to ensure you get the most years of reliable service possible.
Both of these essential auto maintenance services are designed to keep your vehicle operating at an optimum level of efficiency for the optimum number of years. Even though maintaining your vehicle costs you time and money, most car owners would rather choose to spend a little money now than be forced to spend more when faced with an unexpected and more expensive breakdown.
AutoTranz repair in Boise provides general auto repair and maintenance services on import and domestic vehicles. Request an appointment online to schedule maintenance service or give us a call at (208) 722-7429 if you have questions.