The Importance of Lancaster Drivers Following Service Intervals
Sep 24, 2013
Today in our The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley blog, we're going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your vehicle isn't the only aspect of your life in Lancaster with recommended intervals: Let's start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?
Now, what would happen if you didn't follow these intervals? Well, you'd get more cavities. You may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you'd have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.
Clearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don't, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Lancaster takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.
So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our vehicles?Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don't seem that urgent. All our Lancaster neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It's easy to put off. The other reason is that we're just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it's a bit intimidating.
From a practical standpoint, people in Lancaster don't need to memorize their vehicle owner's manuals. You can let your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley advisor remind you of the guidelines established by the vehicle manufacturer; he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your vehicle. You really can rely on The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.
For Lancaster drivers who want to be more proactive with their vehicle care, here are some simple ways for you to remember what has a maintenance interval.
First: Fluids. If it's liquid, it's got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.
Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing and alignment. And while you're thinking tires, don't forget brakes and shock absorbers.
And what makes your vehicle go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Lancaster car owners remember to take their vehicle in to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.
And if you don't follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy fuel economy, your vehicle doesn't run as well, your safety is compromised and you'll spend more money in the long run. So it's the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.
Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.
Working up a sweat is a great thing to do in a gym around Lancaster, but not in your vehicle. When Lancaster residents' vehicle AC Systems have a problem, they'll often feel it right away. The question is, how long do you put up with it? You know, the old comfort versus cost dilemma. But a more comfortable drive around California has a lot of benefits, and keeping the AC System well maintained can help prevent repairs.
A common cause of AC failure is water and air in the system. The system does not work as well with air in it. And water can cause rust that leads to damage of the A/C components. Also refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system and making it work harder to try to cool the air. That is why periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system for Lancaster residents, so it cools better and lasts longer.
Lancaster drivers should also run the air conditioner regularly, even in the winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out. The seals can crack and that leads to leaks. Your vehicle's owner's manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Some service centers also have this information as part of their computer databases. Your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can give you more information.
It's important for Lancaster drivers to know battery basics. First, let's talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold California weather. Most Lancaster area drivers think it's cold weather because that's when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold vehicle engine.
However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Lancaster trips because the alternator doesn't have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Lancaster drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the summer and every three months during the winter.
As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren't capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your vehicle alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.
If you're pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service assistant for a battery test to see if it's recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery on a California road, but you'll save unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle alternator.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wheel Bearings
Sep 05, 2013
Why are wheel bearings for Lancaster vehicles important? It's simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today's The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley post, we'll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very job while you drive around Lancaster, California.
Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They're made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles (160,000) or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two jobs: First, they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds (1600 kilogram), each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds (400 kilograms). That's a lot of heavy lifting over those long distances.
Even though wheel bearings are pretty straightforward, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job for Lancaster vehicles. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It's when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated, causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.
The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.
Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren't sealed can be serviced on schedule at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they're re-installed – if not, they're replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.
If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty costly – but they usually last about 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers) as long as the seals hold up.
Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that's exerting pressure on the seal. So if you've driven through hub-deep water, your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they're serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure. If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your manufacturer's owner's manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers).
If you have any sort of trailer, don't forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don't have the opportunity to rust all winter.
So what happens to Lancaster vehicles if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don't need to tell you how that could be. So check with your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley and see if your vehicle's wheel bearings can be serviced and when it's recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you've been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.
Visit the automotive professionals at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for a wheel bearing inspection.