Timing is Everything...
Timing is everything, especially when it pertains to your vehicle's timing belt. If this belt fails, the engine will stop and your car will need to be towed to a facility for a timing belt replacement. In some cases, timing belt failure can also cause damage to the valves, pistons, cylinder head and cylinder walls, resulting in a very costly repair.
Timing belts are usually protected by a cover, making visual inspection impossible. The best way, therefore, to avoid timing belt failure is to replace it according to your owner's manual maintenance schedule, which is typically every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.
Keep It Cool:
The engine of your vehicle generates an enormous amount of heat. This heat could destroy the engine if the cooling system, which works to protect against damage, isn't checked and properly maintainted. The cooling system's main job is to keep the engine operating within the correct temperature range. Here's what's involved in proper cooling system maintenance:
- Check the condition of the water pump.
- Inspect the radiator for leaks and corrosion.
- Be sure to have plenty of coolant. As a caution, never open or remove the pressure cap when the engine is hot.
- Look for leaking hoses and connections. Tighten loose clamps.
- Check the condition of the radiator pressure cap and replace if rubber gasket is damaged.
- If the engine runs too cool, the thermostat is probably at fault and should be replaced.
- Inspect the condition of hoses (cracked, mushy or otherwise). Deteriorated hoses should be replaced.
- Heater hoses demand attention, too. Look for leaks, cracks, or rotted rubber. Replace faulty clamps.
- Check belts for wear and tension. Replace when cracked or frayed. The usual life is approximately four years.
A properly maintained cooling system will go a long way toward protecting your vehicle's engine. To schedule a cooling system checkup today, call 817-275-0653.
On Your Own: A Vehicle Safety Checklist
Starting college or moving away from home is often a very exciting time. It's also a time when many drivers become solely responsible for the care of their vehicle. This task may seem daunting, so here's a helpful checklist:
How to Extend the Life of Your Vehicle
- Check the engine oil on a regular basis and have it changed by a professional every 3,000 miles. Do the same for transmission fluid and have it changed every 25,000 miles. Follow your owner's manual for information about when to change the engine coolant.
- Check your brake fluid for level and color. Brake fluid should be at the proper level; a low level could mean a leak or worn brake linings or pads. It should be clear in color; a dark color is an indication of contamination.
- Check the power steering fluid for level and color. The color should be either clear or red. A dark brown or black color is an indication of wear in the system.
- Check the windshield wipers and washer fluid. It never hurts to carry extra washer fluid in your car.
- Check your tire pressures on a regular basis. Improperly inflated tires are a hazard and reduce the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
- Check your jack and make sure you know how to use it. Also check that your spare tire is properly inflated and in good condition.
- Check that you have an emergency roadside kit. A basic kit should include flares, a pair of jumper cables, a first-aid kit, a flashlight and a blanket.
For the average vehicle, typically with over 100,000 miles on the odometer, the term preventive maintenance takes on a new meaning. According to the Be Car Care Aware campaign, proper care of your vehicle can result in it providing dependable transportation for another 10 years and beyond!