Services » General Maintenance » Auto Maintenance

Your Maintenance Guide

Oil Changes

One of the least expensive and best maintenance procedures for your car is to regularly change the oil. We’ll send you a reminder every 3 months. We include a 29 point inspection with our oil change service to help find potential problems and keep your car on the road and out of trouble. We also offer a 36 point inspection to include your car’s braking , charging, and starting systems.

Tune-up

Did you know that cars today have more technology than our first manned rocket to the moon? With that said, it’s important to note that when you think a “tune-up” will solve a problem, it is likely that it will be solved in some other way. Virtually every part of your car is controlled with computers, actuators, solenoids and sensors. Many times a faulty sensor will be the cause of performance problems.

Spark Plugs

If used beyond the recommended service interval for your vehicle, spark plugs can be a cause of losing gas mileage. With today’s gasoline getting more expensive, replacing the spark plugs could be a good investment and it’s easy for you to check to see if your vehicle has begun to lose gas mileage. If the miles per gallon go down by just one that costs you, on average, an extra $138 a year. A single misfiring spark plug will cause much more than a one gallon loss in gas mileage. Be sure to keep an eye on those “miles per gallon”, it is another “service signal” to let us know about.

Transmission Service

Like changing the oil in your vehicle’s engine, replacing the transmission fluid in an automatic transmission will extend the life of the transmission. Today’s automatic transmissions often contain more than 3,000 parts. Rebuilding will cost anywhere between $1500 to $3,000+. At those prices, you can’t afford not to change transmission fluid once every 30,000 miles. We see well maintained transmissions last over 200,000 miles. We also see others that break down at 60,000 miles. Now, if you start our transmission fluid exchange program before 36,000 miles and you have it done every 30,000 or sooner thereafter, you will qualify for up to a $2,000 credit for a rebuilt transmission if it fails while you own the car! If you start our transmission fluid exchange program before 75,000 miles and you have it done every 30,000 or sooner thereafter, you will qualify for up to a $1,000 credit for a rebuilt transmission! Ask for details the next time you come in for service.

Cooling System Flush

The manufacturers have different interval periods for changing your coolant (otherwise known as anti-freeze). Most coolants in today’s vehicles are what they call “Extended Life Coolant” and have life expectancies of up to 5 years or 100,000 miles. Here in lies the dilemma. If you wait to change the fluid and something goes wrong, it would not make a difference to the manufacturer because the car is well out of warranty by this time. This is where we can help. We have a program that will pay up to $2000 for water pump, radiator, and heater core failures so long as you first change the fluid before reaching 75,000 miles and then change the fluid every 30,000 miles or less thereafter for as long as you own the car. When we perform the service, we pressure flush the engine and heater core, clean the overflow bottle, test the radiator cap, and refill with a 50/50 mixture of coolant. Then we pressure test the system to insure that there are no leaks.

Alignment

We recommend having the alignment checked once a year or when you purchase new tires. Other than this, your signal to bring it in for an alignment problem would be when you experience a drifting or pulling to the right or left, or experience irregular tire wear. (Note: if you are experiencing a pull to the left or right it could be a tire related problem too.)

Tires

Proper inflation is imperative if you want to get the most out of your vehicles tires. If uneven tire wear begins to develop and the wear is down the center of the tire, the problem in over-inflation — if it is on both sides of the tire the problem is under inflation. If it is on one side of a tire, the problem is most likely alignment. If you are in need of tires, we sell American-owned Cooper Tires and other brands like Michelin at great prices — be sure to give us a call.

Belts and Hoses

Belts and hoses should be inspected every 60,000. If your hoses are excessively soft or brittle they should be replaced and if your belts have 20 cracks or more per inch or are squealing they should be replaced. A neat idea we’ve read about and would like to pass on: Ask for the return of your old belts and radiator hoses, keep them in your trunk. If you should get stuck in a small town on a week end with a bad fan belt or a blown radiator hose, you’ll be really happy you have these spare parts that fit just right!

Come visit us at Dakota K Auto Repair and Tire Center for all of your automobile maintenance needs.