Every one of us has a little procrastinator inside us. Some put off getting our teeth cleaned. Others put off answering our emails. Yet others put off calling friends and family (sorry, Uncle Joe). And there are those of us who put off getting our vehicle's service done, whether it's a repair or regular maintenance. You may make the excuse that you don't have time, it can wait until tomorrow, you have other things to do.
Well, there are some things you should NEVER put off when it comes to your vehicle because that procrastination could have dire consequences down the road.
The biggest one is changing your oil. Yes, it's one of those things you may hear somebody nag you about, but changing your vehicle's oil regularly is probably the one thing that will do the most to keep things running smoothly… and well. It's the lubricant that keeps metal engine parts from wearing out. Oil doesn't last forever and it gets dirty, so you have to swap it out for fresh every so often. How often? Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can tell you, and your owner's manual has the manufacturer's recommendations, too.
You have to keep the right amount of air in your tires. They don't inflate themselves! You may have a newer vehicle that has a tire pressure monitor built in and lets you know when a tire is over- or under-inflated. Don't ignore those warning lights! If your vehicle doesn't have those electronic monitors, have our pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley check your pressure every so often. If your tires have the right amount of air in them, they'll last longer, save you money and keep you much safer on the road.
Make sure you have the right amount of vital fluids in your vehicle. The important ones (besides oil) are brake fluid, transmission fluid and coolant. Without the right amount of brake fluid, your vehicle may be hard to stop. Without the right level of transmission fluid, gear shifting may be erratic. And without the right amount of coolant, your engine may overheat.
Ok, so if you put off calling your Uncle Joe today, he probably will be ok with that. But when it comes to these important vehicle maintenance points, prevent procrastination… and prevent problems down the road.
We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions.
Isn't it amazing how much of our stuff is disposable these days? Clothes, electronics, housewares, furniture.
Remember the days when Lancaster families mended their clothes, polished their shoes and neatly put away their toys every night? If something was lost or ruined through neglect, your parents just told you to do without, that you should have taken better care of it. They considered the loss a “life lesson.”
But today many Lancaster drivers tend to neglect one of the more expensive and important purchases we make: our vehicles. Vehicles are a lot more reliable today than back when we polished our shoes, and that reliability can sometimes make us take them for granted. Drivers in Lancaster neglect good vehicle care practices and procrastinate when it comes to preventive maintenance. What we're really doing is heading straight for one of those dreaded “life lessons.” Eventually we'll pay for our neglect in repair bills and a shorter life for our vehicle.
Is procrastinating on routine maintenance really so terrible? Consider what happens when you procrastinate on brushing your teeth, washing your clothes or getting the dishes done. Gunk builds up, makes the job harder and ultimately damages your teeth, clothing or dishes. It's the same with your vehicle. Some of the best auto advice out there for Lancaster drivers is to stay on top of routine oil changes by bringing their car into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Even a little extra interval between oil changes can result in oil sludge, which can clog passages in your engine. This means oil can't get to some of the engine components, and they'll wear out faster without lubrication. Every time you put off an oil change, the problem gets worse, eventually cutting years off the life of your engine.
The same is true if you skip cooling system service. Corrosion inhibitors in the fluid become depleted over time, opening the system up to damage. Consistent neglect will lead to holes in your radiator. Talk to your friendly service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for suggestions and feedback.
Neglect of other fluids can also result in engine damage. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid—all of these need to be serviced on a regular basis. In addition, your fuel system needs periodic cleaning or it can start to break down and cause permanent damage to your engine.
The good news is that it's never too late to get on track and start getting good, regular preventive maintenance for your vehicle at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. You may not be able to reverse damage that's already been done, but you can prevent further damage.
It really does all start with an oil change. With a full-service oil change at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, your fluids will be checked and your car inspected for wear and tear. Our pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can also advise you of other inspections and maintenance items that are coming due. If you're on top of oil changes, your service advisor will keep track of your maintenance schedule and remind you what needs to be done.
Older vehicles are going to need repairs. But with good maintenance, those repairs will involve fairly routine stuff like alternators, water pumps, belts and batteries. The cost of these replacement parts at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is much cheaper than the repair bills that come with serious engine damage, and they're certainly less than the cost of a new car.
We may not need to polish our shoes anymore, and tossing out that outdated cell phone may not be such a loss. But when it comes to our vehicles, they're just too valuable to be treated as disposable. Let's take a step back, listen to our parents and take care of our stuff. If we don't, we could be on our way to a “life lesson” involving our bank account and a bus pass.
Do I keep my old vehicle or buy a new one? It's a question most Lancaster drivers ask themselves at some time or another.
Generally, what it comes down to is the choice between a car payment and the possibility of repair bills. Most of the time, we want to choose the car payment because we don't like the inconvenience and uncertainty of vehicle repairs. But that payment has a detrimental effect on our budget and bank account.
Edmunds.com is a great website to help you with your decision. This site uses repair histories to calculate the average repair bills for specific makes and models of cars. You can plug in the information for your vehicle and get an estimate on what it will probably cost you to continue owning that vehicle.
Now, Edmunds.com isn't a crystal ball. It can't know what will happen to your specific vehicle. But it can guide you in knowing how much money to budget for the repair and maintenance of your vehicle. Ultimately, that can help you in your decision to buy a new vehicle or wait a few years.
For example, a five-year-old Camry V-6 is projected by Edmunds.com to cost about $96 a month, on average, to repair and maintain (at the time of this writing). Remember, maintenance costs are part of vehicle ownership, whether it's a new vehicle or an old one, so the projected cost for repairs on your five-year-old Camry average out to only about $50 a month. That's a whopping lot lessthan a new car payment.
If your vehicle is older than five years, you should also talk to your friendly and knowledgeable professional at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley about its future. They are more familiar with the average cost of repairs for vehicles in your area and of specific problems they commonly see in particular vehicles. More importantly, they know you and they know your car. They can give you a heads-up on what repairs you may be facing in the near future.
Remember, the older your vehicle gets, the more important preventive auto maintenance becomes. Over time, vehicles accumulate wear and debris, and we just have to give them a little more attention. Getting to know your vehicle and its peculiarities is also good auto advice for Lancaster drivers.
If you decide to keep your older vehicle, you may want to talk with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor about fluids specially formulated for older engines. These motor oils, transmission and other fluids are designed to clean older engines and automotive systems and recondition their seals and gaskets.
Good care at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster will keep your older vehicle on the road in California. And that may be just the boost you need in this uncertain economy. It may even save you enough to be able to afford that new vehicle you've been dreaming about.
Let The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Help You Extend the Life of Your Car
Nov 13, 2016
If you haven't shopped in the Lancaster area for a new vehicle recently, you're likely to experience some sticker shock. It seems everything is costing more these days. And when you consider the price of auto financing in Lancaster, and insurance, the idea of hanging on to your old vehicle for a few more years gets even more attractive.
On the plus side, vehicles these days are engineered to last for 150,000 miles (250,000 km) or more. So why don't they? Usually it's because Lancaster drivers don't stay on top of preventive maintenance. Good vehicle care at professional automotive service centers like The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster is the key to getting the most mileage out of your vehicle.
Too often, Lancaster vehicle owners are inclined to wait until their vehicles develop an obvious problem and take them in for repairs instead of maintenance. Repairs can be expensive, but allowing routine vehicle maintenance to slide also has the invisible cost in shorter life expectancy for a vehicle.
For example, the fluid in your coolant system becomes corrosive over time and should be replaced periodically. If not, it can damage the radiator and other engine parts. Talk to our pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Over time, this damage can build up until these parts have to be replaced.
The same goes for the power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning refrigerant, differential fluid and transmission fluid. All of these fluids need to be replaced on schedule or you risk causing serious damage to your vehicle and shortening its life span.
If oil is not replaced on schedule, your engine can build up oil sludge, which can also lead to serious engine damage. Insufficient oil can also eventually cause your engine to seize. Brake pads should be replaced before they are completely worn down. This prevents expensive damage to rotors and/or drums. Again, your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley pros can advise you.
Belts and hoses should all be inspected regularly. If they are showing signs of wear, they need to be replaced. If belts break or hoses begin to leak, the results can be repair bills. Again, this can significantly reduce the life expectancy of your vehicle.
Most Lancaster drivers recognize the wisdom of keeping up with preventive maintenance. But we also have a lot of other responsibilities on our plate. Vehicle care just doesn't get to the top of our list until it becomes an emergency. Unfortunately, that emergency usually means repair bills, which always seem to add up to more than the preventive maintenance at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley would have cost us.
So take some good auto advice and develop a relationship with a certified service center located near your Lancaster area neighborhood. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we value the relationships we have established with our clients. We keep track of our customers' vehicle needs and help them keep its maintenance on schedule. We know you have a lot of other things to keep track of.
As far as car care goes, the old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” holds true. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we rephrase it as “a dollar now saves $10 later.” Or $20. Or $100. Or more.
Servicing High Mileage Vehicles at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Mar 06, 2015
The price of gas and the uncertain economy are both causing California residents to review their finances. More and more Lancaster drivers are opting to keep their vehicles longer and put off purchasing a newer car. It is estimated that two-thirds of the vehicles on the roads of North America today have over 75,000 miles/120,000 km on them. And the average age of vehicles is now over eleven years. That translates to some car care issues that many Lancaster men and women haven't dealt with in the past.
Older vehicles simply have different maintenance requirements than newer ones. Learning those requirements presents a challenge for people in Lancaster because many owner's manuals only publish maintenance schedules up to 60,000 or 90,000 miles (96,000 or 145,000 km). Vehicle owners have to keep good records and be more involved in planning preventive maintenance if they want to keep their vehicles on the road. First of all, any service in your owner's manual that comes with a recommended mileage interval should be continued at that interval.
For example, if it is recommended that you change your oil every 5,000 miles/8,000 km, you should continue to change your oil every 5,000 miles/8,000 km. The owner of an older vehicle has to recognize that his engine is operating under higher stress than a new one. It's just starting to show its age. So many experts suggest that the “severe service schedule” should be followed once a vehicle has racked up some serious road distance. On this schedule, the mileage interval for many services is shortened or should be performed more often. Check with your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley.
Lancaster drivers who own older vehicles should also be careful not to neglect or postpone oil changes. A full-service oil change is more critical for an older vehicle than for a new one. Older engines have had a lot of time to build up sludge in their oil compartment, so changing the oil at regular intervals is a must. Skipping an oil change compounds the sludge problem. With a full-service oil change, the vehicle's fluids are also checked and topped off. Your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will also let you know if these fluids need to be replaced. Older vehicles have older seals and gaskets, which often develop tiny leaks. Regularly checking fluids will compensate for these leaks and offer a heads-up about any serious ones. So, again, it is important to stay on schedule and not skip or procrastinate a fluid check.
Older seals and gaskets begin to dry out and show their age by becoming brittle. High-mileage formulation oils and fluids can help extend the lives of these gaskets and seals. These products contain additives that recondition seals and gaskets and keep them from leaking. High-mileage formulas cost more than standard products, but in the long run they can pay for themselves by preventing more costly repair bills.
If a vehicle is getting on in years or mileage, its parts are as well. High-mileage car maintenance requires necessary repairs and replacements. Timing belts, radiator hoses, parts of the suspension system, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries will not last forever and will wear out in higher-mileage vehicles. They need to be inspected regularly by your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor and replaced as necessary.
But don't go running for the new car lot just yet. These repairs may sound like a lot, but in total, they're still cheaper for Lancaster drivers than new car payments. And if you stay on top of them and budget for them, they aren't as burdensome as it may appear.
If you plan on driving your vehicle into its high-mileage years, there are two relationships you need to develop. The first is with your Lancaster service center. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can offer you invaluable auto advice and help you develop a service plan that is right for you and your vehicle. Second, you need to develop a relationship with your vehicle itself. You don't need to name it, but you should become familiar with its noises and idiosyncrasies. Pay attention to changes in its habits such as new or unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Taking note of such things and sharing them with your service advisor can help stave off a lot of big-ticket repair issues.
As we get older, keeping up with a diet and exercise plan becomes more and more critical to maintaining good health. It's the same with our vehicles. A preventive maintenance plan and smart vehicle care will keep them on the road and keep them safe for a good many years to come.