The Problem with Waiting Until the Last Minute

Owning a vehicle is so much more than making car payments, carrying the correct amount of insurance, and filling up the gas tank regularly. Vehicle ownership should include frequent maintenance and paying attention to any warning signs communicated on the dashboard. Some drivers may put off certain maintenance or repairs, however, the problem with waiting until the last minute or ignoring your check engine light, is that it could cause more harm than good. Waiting too long to complete a repair as a result of a lack of time or money could actually cost you more in the end. Vehicle problems do not simply go away, nor should they be ignored. In this article, you’ll find out why it’s important to address any troubles your car may be experiencing sooner rather than later.

Check Engine Light

check engine light came onWhen it comes to vehicle care, this is probably the most important indicator light to pay attention to. You see, the check engine light is your vehicle’s way of communicating that something is wrong and needs attention. Though, the light may indicate something as simple as a loose gas cap, it could also warn you of engine misfires or a lack of oil in the engine. The check engine light is responsible for alerting you to one or more of the more than a hundred different issues related to the vehicle’s operation. When the amber colored check engine light illuminates, this is your forewarning to seek help from an experienced technician without delay. If the check engine light begins flashing, it is imperative you pull the vehicle over immediately and avoid driving until the issue can be resolved to avoid further damage to the engine.

Though a loose or missing gas cap may seem unimportant, this is still something that should be replaced right away. The gas cap’s responsibility is to seal the fuel system and prevent dirt and debris from entering the fuel tank as well as contribute to the detection of leaks in the emissions system. Moreover, the gas cap helps prevent evaporation of fuels that may be harmful to the atmosphere.

Vehicles are equipped with oxygen sensors that determine how much oxygen is present in the exhaust system and adjusts the amount of fuel to oxygen ratio within the engine. If this component fails or is not producing the correct ratio, this will trigger the check engine light to come on.

There are many reasons the check engine light should not be ignored. If your check engine light suddenly activates, be sure to have your vehicle looked at by a trusted technician.

Alignment

Does it feel as if your vehicle is pulling to one side or wandering? These are indicators of poor vehicle alignment or failure of other steering components. Avoiding alignment will result in uneven tire wear requiring premature replacement and can even pose a risk to your safety. Uneven tire wear increases the risk of tire blowouts and can also reduce the ability to brake properly due to the loss of traction. Because the wheels are attached to part of the suspension system, an alignment should be performed by qualified technicians utilizing the proper tools and equipment.

Oil Changes & Other Fluids

The fluid in your vehicle is used to lubricate moving parts, act as a hydraulic, a cleanser, and much more. That’s why it’s important to ensure your fluids are clean and replaced often to avoid damage and extend the life of your transmission, engine, cooling, brake, fuel, and other systems.

No matter what kind of oil your vehicle’s engine requires, changing the oil regularly is vital to the health of your engine. Though many new vehicles utilize full synthetic oil which allows for a greater duration between oil changes, it’s still important in our climate to change the oil every 3,000 – 6,000 miles. An engine with fresh, clean oil performs better, and engine oil can never be “over changed.” It’s especially important that older engines receive frequent oil changes, as they have performed for many miles and fresh oil keeps them operating at their maximum potential.

Windshield Wipers

Although not an integral part of the vehicle’s operation, checking the windshield wipers on a regular basis is important. Often forgotten until it rains, windshield wipers are critical to the driver so that they may have a clear view of the road, vehicles in front of them, and any other obstacles along the way. Ensuring the windshield wipers are replaced as needed, is essential to everyone’s safety on the road. Lastly, a torn and worn out wiper blade can damage your windshield to the point that it requires replacement.

Lights

It’s imperative your lights are working properly, especially your headlights! Driving without headlights impedes the driver’s ability to see the road or make themselves visible to other drivers. Similarly, brake lights and turn signal indicator lights are equally important, providing indications to other drivers of your intentions. Additionally, driving without properly functioning headlights or taillights puts you at risk for being cited by local law enforcement.

Cabin Air Filter

Cabin air filters are often overlooked when it comes to auto care. However, this small but mighty filter removes impurities in the air and prevents them from coming into the vehicle’s cabin through your air conditioning vents. This includes pollens and other pollutants that may be harmful to vehicle occupants. Just like the air conditioning filter in your home, this filter should be changed at regular intervals – every 15,000 – 30,000 miles. A clogged air filter may cause your air conditioning system to work harder, which could spell trouble later on. In comparison, cabin air filters cost less to replace than replacing air conditioner components.

At Sun Auto Service, our comprehensive vehicle inspection, as part of the Sun Auto Service oil change, includes inspection of all items above. At Sun Auto Service, we strongly promote a proactive approach when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Frequent maintenance prevents the likelihood of costly and extensive repairs down the road. Our friendly and knowledgeable Service Consultants can help develop a maintenance plan for your specific vehicle. To get started, stop into any of our many service centers or make an appointment today!