Basic Vehicle Maintenance
Your car's starting and charging system is essentially the life source of your engine. It supplies the energy to start the engine and maintain all the electrical elements of the car - from the headlights to the stereo. You need to be aware of telltale signs that may spell trouble.
- Does the car start slowly or have trouble cranking when you turn the key?
- Do you experience trouble starting the engine in cold weather?
- Do your headlights dim when the car is idling?
These symptoms may mean there is trouble with the battery or another area of the system.
One of the most important things you can do to keep your car maintained is take it in for scheduled engine service. This is generally referred to as tune-ups. Different service centers define tune-ups differently. So make sure you find out what your mechanic provides as part of a "tune-up." As a rule, such service will include:
- spark plug replacement
- a precise series of tests and adjustments to regain maximum engine performance.
In addition, have your mechanic inspect your car's spark plug wires, distributor and fuel injector during your engine service visit. A tune-up typically does not include an oil change, chassis lubrication, inspection of or work on your brakes, transmission or suspension system, or tire rotation, alignment or balancing. You have to ask for those.
You car's owner's manual includes a detailed service schedule that names exactly what needs to be done and when. Follow it. And when you call around for tune-ups, make sure you ask what you're getting for your money and that these are the services your car really needs.