By: Randy Grady | Category: Automotive | Issue: January 2007
New Service Manager, Randy Grady, brings a large market perspective to his role.
“Vehicle manufacturers spend Billions of dollars designing, engineering, conducting performance and durability studies and tests before sending their vehicles to the final production assembly line. In addition to producing the vehicle, they also spend millions of dollars training and certifying technicians to keep their vehicles performing at their maximum performance level”.
When you are considering your vehicles maintenance needs, ask yourself this question; Who would know better than the design and engineering team that produces the vehicle, which systems and what items need to be inspected and when they need to be inspected?
To prove this, review your vehicles owners or maintenance manual and you will find when maintaining them is required and WHY it is so important to do so. You will find many of the following items listed:
Manufacturer Scheduled Systems Inspections
WHY? Periodic inspection intervals on these systems, is extremely important to keep your vehicle’s operating systems performing safely and at their maximum performance level. Unlike visual “by eye-sight” inspections that are performed on the obvious areas of your vehicle (ex: leaks, wear and condition of certain parts), specific operating system inspections are designed to not only inspect but to test these operating systems to insure proper operation and safety of the systems at all times. Due to the complex operating systems that have been added to vehicles in the last 8 – 10 years, it is best to have these inspections performed by the vehicle manufacturer certified technicians only. They will have the training and experience to know what to look for and repair these systems, in advance, should there be an existing or developing problem.
WHY? Batteries are obviously designed to assist with vehicle start up and to furnish electrical power through on-board computers to the vehicle’s operating systems. Over time due to the amount of discharging and recharging of the battery, corrosion will begin to form on the battery cables and connections. When corrosion becomes excessive, electrical current will not flow efficiently or not at all. This will lead to the vehicle operating systems performing poorly and to the complete loss of electrical power resulting in a no-start condition. Battery cables and connections should be serviced every fall and/or spring and batteries should be tested annually.
WHY? Brake pads and shoes wear under normal conditions and can become glazed, cracked or contaminated and even damaged in certain stopping conditions. The brake system is controlled by hydraulic and electronic (ABS) parts and should be inspected as recommended by the manufacturer. Brake system inspections are vital to your safety.
Tire Rotation – Balance and Alignment
WHY? Tires wear differently at every wheel position. When you consider the cost of tire replacement today, maintaining your tires is a cheap investment when compared to replacement. Tires should be inspected at every oil change, rotated at every other oil change, balanced at every other rotation and the front end alignment checked and adjusted if necessary annually. Tire inspection and care is also vital to your safety.
In-Cabin Air Filters
WHY? This filter is designed to remove dirty air before entering the vehicles passenger compartment. Also, it will assist in pollen removal. Dirty air is caused by everyday vehicle traffic, driving on dusty roads and changing conditions in the atmosphere. Like filters in your home A/C – Heater units, this filter will become clogged and will restrict air flow. A completely clogged filter could cause the blower motor to burn out. This filter should be inspected and/or replaced annually to get the benefits of the designed use.
Power Train Components (Engine - Transmission – Differential – Cooling System)
WHY? These components are some of the most important and expensive on your vehicle, and should require most of your attention when maintaining your vehicle. All of these components are exposed to moisture in the air, extreme hot and cold conditions, contamination, normal wear and corrosion. They contain fiber clutches, roller and ball bearings, gears, check valves, small port holes and filters. It is extremely important these components are maintained according to your vehicles manufacturer recommendations, and is just as important to use the recommended fluids and replacement parts. There are products available in the market that are specifically designed to enhance conditioning and increase the life of these components and in most cases offers extended warranty protection of the component with their use.
In closing, the days of using “just any mechanic” to repair and maintain your vehicle is quiet possibly coming to an end. This would be a result of the complex operating systems found in today’s vehicles. These systems require not only the necessary knowledge and experience of a trained technician to repair them, but they also require special diagnostic equipment costing thousands of dollars to diagnose them. It is just not possible to know all there is to know about all of the different operating systems in all of the different makes and models of today’s vehicles, like it used to be. Just to jump start most all new vehicles requires knowledge of the battery and its operating systems, how they may be affected during jumping the battery and what caused the battery to go dead? The good news for customers is the partnership between the manufacturer and its franchised dealers is closer and more demanding on the dealership now than ever before. This stronger partnership allows you the customer to become more informed and receive the benefits of maintaining your vehicle investment better than at any other time before.