Whether it’s because of the economy, the environment or convenience, the American people are keeping their cars longer. This means motorists need to diligently keep track of vehicle maintenance. In addition to the transmission, other car parts are neglected simply because people don’t know they need to be checked, and they’re surprised when their cars “suddenly” break down.
To keep you from sitting stranded on the side of the freeway with smoke billowing from under your hood, ATRA has developed a convenient auto maintenance log just for you! It’s packed with monthly to-dos, schedules and log space to keep track of dates and mileage before a checkup is needed. These logs are now available at any ATRA location absolutely free!
There are two key differences between do-it-yourself jobs and the ones that require professional care: knowledge level and the ability to dispose of hazardous materials (you can’t just pour them down your sink or gutter). If you’re a generally automotive-savvy individual and you have a safe way to get rid of toxic, old fluids, grab your toolbox. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling these duties, the dollars you spend to have your vehicle examined will seem like nothing compared to the big bucks you’ll fork over if something breaks when you least expect it.
Do it Yourself
1. Serpentine Belt: It should be replaced after every 100,000 miles. If your belt makes it over that hump, don’t think it doesn’t need replacing. It won’t give you any clues until it breaks and leaves you stranded on the side of the road.
2. Radiator Coolant: This serves as a lubricant, but can become acidic if left alone for too long. The acidic coolant can eat through the metal of your cooling system. Replace the coolant every couple of years, but dispose of the old stuff properly.
3. Power Steering Fluid: Old dirty fluid can cause premature pump failure and leaks as dirty fluid wears at the seals in the power steering system. Make sure to bring your used fluid to a parts store for disposal.
4. Fuel Filter: Change this annually or every 15,000 miles. A dirty fuel filter will cause engine performance problems and affect your fuel mileage. The best part of doing this yourself: little to no hazardous materials to deal with!
See a Professional
1. Timing Belt: These are found in most front-wheel drive, four-cylinder cars and need to be replaced every 100,000 miles. When it breaks, it knocks your entire engine out of commission. Only professionals have the knowledge to take care of this for you.
2. Brake Fluid: When people get their brakes replaced, they often forget to also change the brake fluid. Sludge builds up inside the system and causes components to stick. Have the fluid replaced every 50,000 miles.
Using the ATRA Maintenance Log works to eliminate malfunction surprises. By consulting the maintenance schedule, you’ll never be in the dark about when to have your parts checked again, especially when you keep track of all the work you have done in the log section.