Join Date: Jan 2011
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My maintainence RANT
Alright I have just recently been exposed to groups of people who dont choose their cars wisely. Here are a few good guidelines to making cars last and choosing wisely.
1. Choose a car based on its maintainence schedule. Some cars require special maintainence. Research this and make sure that this fits in with your budget, schedule and automotive skills.
2. Plan for the worse. Always have some money set aside for an unexpected repair or cost for your vehicle. If you dont fix the problem now most likely it is going to compound or cause other issues which will snowball into something you cant manage.
3. Follow proper service procedures. Fix the problem the right way not the easy way.
4. Dont ignore your auto tranny. This is one of the biggest misconceptions I hear. The thought is that servicing the tranny fluid can cause roque metal floating around in the tranny and decrease the life of the tranny. This is absolutely FALSE if you service it PROPERLY. If you arent comfortable doing this yourself make sure the shop you hire does it the right way. Most shops vacuum the fuild out through the dipstick and fill it up the same way. This is WRONG. The PROPER way involves dropping the pan, replacing the filter, cleaning the magnet in the pan, then properly torquing the pan back up with a NEW gasket then replacing the fluid.
5. Make sure the shop you use is honest and follows the proper procedures. I have alot of maintainence experience, but somethings are over my head.
6. Make sure you dont get double charged for labor. For instance if the engine has to be pulled for an oil pan gasket, Make sure you have them service everything at once. Its not a bad idea to replace motor mounts and have the entire bottom end resealed with good gaskets.
7. Dont cheap out on parts. ESPECIALLY if its something that is a pain in the ass to do. Of course that paper gasket is 99 cents, but if it takes 4 hours to replace, maybe its wort the extra 5-10 bucks for the higher quality seal.
8. If the repair is new to you, read read read. Sometimes one source isnt good enough. Make sure the source is viable. Sometimes youll get a bunch of hotshot mechanics not informed a bout your particular product chiming in. The best sources are based on a tear down of your PARTICULAR car. Haynes, Chiltons, Alldata, Mitchells, there are tons to choose from choose wisely.
A wonderful example of this is my Lincoln Continental 98 DOHC 4.6L. I unwittingly bought a Chiltons that SUPOSEDLY covers this car, but when I got it home and opened it. There is NOT one proper procedure for the 98 with the DOHC 4.6. It covers the 2 and 3 valve 4.6 modular v8s quite well, but those werent even offered in my body style.
9. Dont cheap out on fluids. and again research. This doesnt mean you need Royal Purple everything in a car. Moreso some fluids are indeed better than others, although a better fluid, filter or seal does NOT mean you should neglect service intervals.
10. Follow the MANAFACTURERS service intervals. Of course your MOBIL1 bottle says the oil is good for 7500 miles, and it PROBABLY IS, However, that doesnt mean the filter is rated for that extended service interval. Your factory oil filter is probably loaded to the brim with contaminants at 3-5k miles.
11. When in doubt use FACTORY REPLACEMENT PARTS. They arent necessarily the end all BEST replacements, but alot of chinese knockoff parts are made quite inferior to a good factory replacement.
12. Check everything regularly. How are you gonna know about an oil leak if you have no idea how much is in your car at a given time.
13. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Do YOU know if that brown patch on the engine is dirt or a fluid leak?
14. ALWAYS get a second opinion. I know alot of "honest" shops that will exaggerate problems to make a buck. You dont need to replace a serpentine belt everytime you get your oil change. Nor do CV shafts go out every month.
15. Dont forget about the suspension and steering. Some cars have sealed joints and bearing hubs now, but if YOU DONT and oil change is the perfect opportunity to repack your bearings and inspect for wear. and pack all greasable joints with some high quality grease.
16. Work smarter not harder. If you have the tires off inspect the brakes. Grease everything. Rotate the tires. Save yourself some headaches don the road by going that extra mile for your baby.
Enjoy your ride. She may not be perfect, but if you maintain a mutual respect shell get you down the road for many years to come.