Five Things Your Car Needs You to Stop Doing Now
1. Ignoring that Check Engine Light
We have a few customers who have brought in vehicles with the check engine light on. When we point out the fact that the light is on, they say “Oh, that’s just the way the car is. There’s nothing wrong, the light is just always on”. That’s actually not the case almost ever. The check engine light is there for a reason, to let you know there’s a problem with the car that is causing it to put out more emissions that it was designed to. The reason the light is on might not be an emergency, but it definitely means there is something wrong. The problem with not repairing the problem even if it isn’t vital is that if something more serious does happen, you won’t know because the light was already on. So if you have a car with a minor evap leak that you aren’t too worried about so you let it go, you won’t have any idea if you have a spark plug going bad and causing an intermittent misfire. That intermittent misfire can lead to a more serious misfire and a bad catalytic converter, potentially costing thousands of dollars.
2. Holding Off On Oil Changes
Changing your oil helps maintain lubrication of all the moving parts in the engine, it keeps the engine from overheating (friction equals heat), it removes particles and sludge that ordinarily accumulates in an engine, it can help improve fuel mileage and increase the longevity of your vehicle. Is the dealer telling you that your car can go 10 or 12,000 miles between oil changes? Ask yourself if the manufacturer wants you to be able to keep your car well past 100,000 miles or if they want you to trade it in after a couple of years for a new one. Additionally, that oil filter that is catching the particulate matter in the oil? It is not designed to go that long and can only hold so much debris. Four oil changes a year (figuring the use of synthetic oil and that 20,000 miles were put on the car) would cost about $200 total. A new engine costs about $4,000 just for the part. You do the math.
3. Not Taking Care of Routine Maintenance
What can happen if you ignore that recommended coolant flush? Head gasket failure among other things, leading to a repair that can cost thousands of dollars. It’s important to keep the pH of the coolant correct or it eats away at the material they use to make head gaskets. How about spark plugs? Ignoring spark plug replacement recommendations can lead to a bad ignition coil (we see this fairly frequently now), adding several hundred dollars to an already expensive job in some cases. We recommend flushing the power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and engine coolant every 30,000 miles. Check out the BG Maintenance Services to learn more about what we offer. https://www.bgprod.com/services/
4. Not Taking Your Car to a Qualified Technician
Your car is probably second only to your house in terms of cost, why would you take it to be worked on by someone who isn’t qualified. The days of taking your car to some dude working out of a barn are over. Your car is a sophisticated piece of equipment that requires a technician who is properly trained and has the proper tools. On some cars you can’t even replace the brakes without having a scan tool to release the calipers to start the job. Having a shop today requires literally hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, not just a tool box. You can’t even top off fluids now without access to information showing you which type of fluid to use, because each manufacturer has a different requirement. When looking for a garage, start by looking for ASE certifications. ASE certification is not exactly easy to get, but anyone who is a half decent mechanic should be able to pass at least one of the tests. Certification is offered in a variety of topics, each one requiring a written test of your mechanical knowledge. Attaining Master Certified status is difficult and can take years, but every mechanic should have at least one certification or be working towards it. Check out the ASE website for more information about what they do https://www.bgprod.com/services/
5. Not Changing Your Cabin Air Filter
“Is that even a thing?” one customer asked when I told her she needed her cabin air filter replaced. We are all used to having to replace our engine air filter, but the cabin air filter is usually a harder sell. It shouldn’t be though, because it has an important job. It keeps dust, pollen, allergens and mold from getting into the vehicle cabin, helping with allergies and preventing health problems. A plugged cabin air filter can also restrict air flow over the evaporator core leading to A/C compressor failure. If your car has one you can find the recommended replacement schedule in your owner’s manual, or any good shop should be able to look up the schedule for you. Keep track of when you replaced it last and then follow the schedule. The cabin air filter is not something that every tech will check with an oil change because they can be hard to get to, some of them taking 30-45 minutes to remove.