Fall is the perfect time to give your car a good look over, as summer is past and winter is soon to follow. Summer and winter are the toughest seasons on any car as extreme temperature variations can test your car. Cooler fall weather means you're in the mood to work on your car any way, something you'll want to accomplish before the first cold snap hits and winter settles in and your car is tested once again.
Let's take a look at some "must do" checks as you inspect your car this fall.
1. Tires. When was the last time your rotated your tires? As a matter of fact, when was the last time you checked them for wear and tear? If your tires are showing signs of wear, they may need replacing or at least a full rotation. Rotate your tires and adjust the air pressure to the required level.
2. Battery. Car batteries can last for as little as two or three years, or for five years or longer. Much depends on the condition of your battery, its quality and how often you drive. Check the battery connections, removing gunk build up on the terminals and securing the cables back in place. If the battery is old or low on charge, replace it before winter.
3. Fluids. If you haven't had an oil change in six months or 5,000 miles get it done now. Replace the oil and oil filter, and check other fluids including power steering, brake and transmissions fluids. Top off the washer solvent and inspect your coolant system.
4. Belts and hoses. Following a hot summer, your car's belts and hoses may be frayed or worn. Check for signs of wear and replace immediately. Cracks can soon turn into breaks, leaving you stranded if a belt gives way or a hose splits.
5. Wipers. Heat can damage wipers and your wipers should be replaced twice annually -- in spring and again in the fall. Streaking wipers or a clouded windshield are signs that your wipers need to be replaced.
6. HVAC. You ran the air-conditioner all summer and will soon be running the heater all winter. Replace the a/c filter and if heating or cooling is not adequate, it may be time for a freon replacement or heating coil change.
7. Suspension. Wear and tear on your car's suspension system can result in a rough ride. Shocks, struts and various chassis parts such as your tie rods and ball joints may need to be replaced. Check your brakes too -- pads, linings and rotors wear out.
If your car hasn't had a tune up, check the owner's manual to see when one is due. Today's cars can go much further between tune ups, but an air filter may need to be replaced or your emissions system checked.
The drive axle of a vehicle is the shaft responsible for turning a vehicle's tires. The engine delivers rotational force to the wheels through the shaft. Because of this, any sort of problem you might have will need to be addressed quickly, otherwise the problem could become much worse. Typically, drive shafts do not suddenly fail, but instead, they gradually worsen. Catching a problem early can prevent costly repairs in the future. Before your car becomes inoperable, there are some telltale signs that you might be in need of axle repair.
1. Clicking or Crunching
You will hear this sign around your wheels when you are cornering. The sound will be something like a clicking until you straighten up the wheel. More specifically, this is likely a sign of a bad CV joint. That is much cheaper and easier to fix than the axle itself. There is no way of knowing the difference until you go to a mechanic. If it is a CV joint, you might not notice any symptoms while driving other than the noise. If it is a bad axle, driving problems are sure to follow, so it is important to see a mechanic as soon as possible. 2. Shaking
This can consist of shaking throughout the entire car or just in the steering wheel. It will be much more noticeable than the clicking noise and will likely follow it. This means that if you are experiencing vibrations in your steering wheel, the problem is likely worsening.
Much like the clicking noise, this could be an indicator of a CV joint problem as well. If it only happens while cornering, that is probably the case. Driving when in need of axle repair feels like driving with wheels that are no longer round.
This is more common at lower speeds. At highway speeds, this often turns into full-blown shaking. With a minor bend in your axle, the brake rotors will likely rub against the brake pads with every rotation. This often sounds like a whining or a squeaking.
4. Visible Wobble
This will require a second party. You might not notice any driving symptoms, but someone who is watching you drive might notice the tires wobbling. 5. Brake Trouble
When your axle is bent, your tires and brake rotors will likely be misaligned. This means that they will not be making strong, consistent contact with the brake pads for steady braking. If you notice new inconsistency or sensitivity with your brakes, you might need axle repair.
6. Problems Turning
These are slightly different from the clicking sound you might hear. As the problem progresses, you might notice that you are actually having problems physically turning your vehicle. The tires might hesitate after you turn the wheel. You might feel resistance when you try to make tight turns such as U-turns or navigating into a parking space.
The average age of cars on American roads is nearly 11 years, according to Polk Research. Plenty of drivers own vehicles with well over 200,000 miles. The long-term savings of keeping a car for 200,000 miles, or about 15 years, can be $30,000 or more. Clearly, learning to keep a car well maintained and healthy is worth the effort.
1) Your Owner's Manual and Regular Mechanic Checks
a) Read and follow the owner's manual for your vehicle.
b) Find out the recommended maintenance schedule and stick to it.
c) Follow the "severe duty" maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
2) Look, Listen and Smell
a) Know how to check your car's oil and transmission fluid, and how to inflate your tires to the correct levels.
b) Pay attention to how your car runs. Any time it makes odd sounds, has trouble starting, overheats, or does not brake or handle correctly, get the car checked by your mechanic.
c) Heed warning indicator lights on the dashboard.
d) Do a walk-around of your car regularly, including checking brake lights and turn signals.
e) If you see fluid spots in your garage or parking space, park on some cardboard to check the exact source of the leak. Get the leak repaired as soon as possible.
f) Listen for out of the ordinary sounds. Note when these happen and at what speed and give this information to your mechanic. This saves them hours of trying to recreate the issue, and saves you money in labor costs.
g) When you check your oil, notice if it smells burnt. If it does, get repairs quickly and avoid needing your engine rebuilt.
h) Burnt or bad-smelling transmission fluid is a bad sign that needs mechanic attention immediately.
3) Oil Changes and Fluid Checks
a) Never skip recommended oil and filter change. Missing oil changes results in clogged oil filters and sludge that wrecks engines.
b) Use the "severe use" oil change schedule listed in the owner's manual.
c) Use synthetic oil.
d) Your mechanic will check the other fluids during oil changes. They will inspect the fluid itself and top off fluid levels. If there is a big fluid loss, mechanics can find the cause and repair it before it gets worse.
a) Get your transmission fluid and filter changed according to your car's maintenance schedule.
b) Replace the fluid at least every 100,000 miles or sooner.
Regardless of how well you care for your car, accidents happen, and parts fail. However, proper maintenance keeps your car on the road longer and brings you a better price at trade-in time. It is usually cheaper to fix a car that is in decent condition than it is to make new car payments. Follow your maintenance schedule and attend to concerns quickly to keep your car running for 200,000 miles or more.
Irresistible aura, intelligent drive and modern luxury: The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet and S-Class Coupé are going to celebrate their world premiere in September 2017 at the IAA in Frankfurt (Main). The video shows a first preview of the new S-Class Cabriolet with its 33 individually controlable OLEDs. IAA-Highlights: http://mb4.me/IAA-new-models. More information about the IAA 2017: http://mb4.me/2017-IAA