Frequently Asked Questions
Preventative Maintenance is regular maintenance of your vehicle that helps keep your automobile running efficiently and eliminating potential problems that may leave you stranded. Manufacturers know that a properly maintained car will be more dependable, safer, last longer, and increase your satisfaction with their product.
You may see your gas mileage decrease. Your vehicle may start running rough. If your check engine light comes on that could also be an indicator that your vehicle needs a tune up. The owner’s manual that came with your vehicle may suggest a tune up at a certain mileage.
- Prior to winter weather setting in, you should:
- Check your antifreeze level and condition. Rust colored antifreeze means you may need to flush and refill the cooling system.
- Check the level of you motor oil. If its been 3 months to 3000 miles since you last oil change, it should be replaced.
- Check you battery. Batteries that are weak can fail on cold morning and your car won’t start.
- Change your wiper blades to winter wiper-blades. These prevent ice build-up that can obstruct your view during operation in snow and ice conditions.
- Check the condition of your tires. Tires that have warn tread can mean hydroplaning on road water and can lead to accidents.
- Check your A/C operation. Your air condition will function in the defrost mode and is used to help defrost or remove moister from the windshields, fogged up windows can be hazardous during driving.
- Perform a brake inspection. A well operating brake system help stop your car, especially during wet or snowy and icy conditions.
Most repairs use less time and material, resulting in a lower cost. While repairs are cosmetically perfect, repairing a dent in this method does not restore the strength lost when the dent occurs. A subsequent accident in the same area often results in more damage than if the car had traditional body repair work.
Prior to going on a trip, you should:
Check all lights. Check your headlights (high and low-beam), brake lights, turn signals, parking lamps and (if you have them) fog lights to make sure they are all operational. You should clean your headlights using glass cleaner to improve night visibility.
Check wiper blades. Inspect them for cracks or tears, and make sure they’re operational. If they’re in good shape, it’s still a good idea to clean the rubber blade with little glass cleaner.
Check all hoses. Look for any cracks or holes in hoses, and replace any that are not in good shape.
Check all belts. Inspect all belts to ensure that none are worn, loose or frayed.
Inspect the battery. If there is corrosion on the terminals, you can clean it away with a toothbrush and a pasty solution of water and baking soda.
Check all fluids. Check the reservoirs to ensure that your coolant and wiper fluids are at the proper levels. Check your oil using the dipstick. Check transmission fluid, power-steering fluid and brake fluid. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for advice on checking all the fluids.
It is also a good idea to have a good set of basic tools and a emergency kit on hand, these can be purchased from most auto parts stores.
Remove any unwanted items from your truck and check tire pressures to save on gas mileage.
Brakes can squeal for a variety of reasons, but continuous squeals and grinding sounds may mean it’s time for new brake pads and shoes. Work brakes can mean longer stopping distances and difficulty stopping in emergency situations. Rotors and drums that are too thin may even become over-stressed and break. Remember, if you notice any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to get your brakes checked.
A brake job includes replacement of worn parts in order to restore the vehicle’s braking performance to new condition.
Although there are many things that can cause tire damage, improper inflation is the main problem we see. Always keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle and frequently check the pressure of all tires.
If you can see cracks in your belts, it is time to have them replaced. We recommend replacing your belts and hoses at least every three to four years. If your hoses look swollen or soft that could be an indicator that they need to be replaced. However, hoses can deteriorate on the inside and if this happens there is no visual evidence that the hose needs to be changed.
Your tires should be rotated every other oil change, or every 6000 miles. Neglecting to rotate tires is a major cause of premature tire wear.
Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. This can be caused by a blown head gasket (or other gasket), a failed transmission cooler, or cracked casings. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician immediately.
Battery cables and terminals should be cleaned and inspected periodically to make sure they provide a good electrical connection.
Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines. Or for vehicles that are used for towing (especially during hot weather), and vehicles that operate in extremely cold or hot climates. Although more expensive than mineral-based oils, synthetic motor oils can improve fuel economy and provide longer intervals between changes.
For maximum fuel economy and peak engine performance, your spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles, unless your vehicle is equipped with 100,000-mile platinum tipped spark plugs.
The most common cause is excessive warping of the brake rotor. This is caused by improper tightening of the wheels or wheel hubs that are not properly cleaned when the rotors are installed after a brake job or tire rotation, or it could be a bad hub. The problem does not show up right away, it can take a few hundred miles of driving, or getting the brakes hot enough for the vibration to show up. To solve this problem, the mechanic must first determine if the rotors are warped, the hubs are dirty, or if it a bad hub. The rotors can be machined if there is enough material on the rotor to machine it properly without going below minimum thickness required for a safe rotor, or the rotor must be replaced. If the hub is the problem it must be cleaned properly, the rotor reinstalled, and the smoothness and straightness (run out) rechecked.
You should always set the tire pressure by the tire manufacturer’s pressure specs. They can be found on the side of the tire. To realize better mileage, tire wear, and handling, run the pressure at the maximum pressure. You need to remember car makers do not make tires. The tire manufacturers are the experts and should be your source for pressure information. Car makers are more concerned with the best ride not the best mileage, wear, or handling. Additionally, the pressure car makers recommend is for the tires that they install at the factory.
This depends on the type of spark plugs that are in your car. Older cars (15-20 years old) are more likely to have standard plugs and they last 12,000-15,000 miles, newer models up to the year 2000 are platinum tipped and will last 30,000 miles. Some 2000 and newer have iridium tipped plugs and will go 90,000 to 100,000 miles.
Timing belts are rubber-toothed belts that drive the camshaft on overhead camshaft engines (most common type manufactured today). They need to be replaced as a maintenance item (refer to owner’s manual for mileage details). Timing chains can be found on both overhead cam engines and non-overhead cam engines; they are not a maintenance item and may go 200,000 miles or more before needing to be replaced.
When buying a pre-owned car it is imperative that you know what you are getting yourself into. You want to make sure that you don’t get more than you bargained for. We provide a thorough inspection both inside and out. We check for body damage that may be covered with bondo and paint. We also insure that the vehicle is sound mechanically by checking the engine, drive train, belts, and hoses. We also do a comprehensive safety check including the brakes and looking for suspension damage and wear. You do not want surprises after you have bought the car. We can’t see everything but we can see a lot. An additional benefit of having a professional inspection is that you will be armed with additional information when negotiating a sale price.
Do you have questions we didn’t answer? Give us a call or send us an email.
We’d love to talk with you and answer your questions in more detail!
GIA Service Center
5770 Atlanta Hwy.
Alpharetta, GA. 30004
Fax: (1) N/A