Regular Car Service Helps You Maintain A Healthy and Happy Car

Chances are that your car is one of the most valuable possessions you own.  Regardless of the book value of the car itself, that car is how you get to work, go shopping, and accomplish so many other necessities of daily life.  Keeping it in good driving condition is critical, and that means regular car service from a trusted Brockville dealership or auto shop.

Additionally, regular maintenance and service can extend the life of your car for years, as well as helping maintain its value for when the time comes to sell or trade-in. So, in this guide, we'll be talking about some of the most common forms of car service: signs you need them, how often to get them, and what happens if you skip them.

Keep Your Vehicle Going with Prompt Car Service in Brockville

I. Tire Pressure and Tread Maintenance

Few parts of your car have to put up with more abuse than your tires.  They rotate hundreds of times per minute while making consistent contact with the ground.  Your tires are what hold your car in place and prevent it from skidding out or otherwise losing control. Few components of your car need more careful attention. If you don’t care for your tires properly, you may risk an accident due to loss of traction or tire blowouts at high speeds.

There are two important elements here: tire pressure and tread depth.

Tire Pressure refers to the amount of air in your tires, as measured in pounds-per-square-inch, or PSI.  The proper inflation for a set of tires can vary, but it will be identified in your owner's manual or in the documentation that came with the tires.  Note that the recommended inflation is different from the maximum PSI for your tires, which is usually printed directly on the tire. You should never intentionally fill your tires to the maximum PSI, as this could lead to tire failure (either during inflation or on the road) and serious injury. The recommended PSI for your tires and vehicle is always well below the maximum.

You should check your tire pressure at least once per month and verify that it's near to the pressure the manufacturer recommends. If the pressure is low, top it up promptly. Remember that tire pressure will decrease as the temperature decreases, and increase as the temperature increases.

Over-inflated tires (too much PSI) will be more prone to blowouts. Under-inflated tires (too little PSI) may also fail, will wear down more quickly and need to be replaced more often.

The other critical indicator of tire health is tread depth. The treads on your tire help improve its grip on the road, but the treads naturally wear down over time. If the treads become too worn-down, you'll be at risk of slipping, skidding, or otherwise losing control. So, you should check your tread depth whenever you check the tire PSI.

General advice regarding tread depth is to replace your tires when they reach 4/32” in the winter or 2/32” in the summer. There are a few informal ways to measure tread depth, including the use of coins. However, the best way to check tire tread depth is with a tire tread gauge. These gauges are available at low cost from many retailers, and are even included on some tire pressure gauges. Go to a Brockville car service center and inquire about either buying new tires or re-treading the ones you have if your tread depth starts to get low.

II. Oil and Oil Changes

Maintaining the proper amount of oil in your car's engine, and changing that oil regularly, is another critical aspect of car service and maintenance. Your car's engine involves a lot of parts moving against each other, which creates friction and heat. Without proper oil, your car engine will quickly wear down, overheat, or both - potentially leading to critical failures and very expensive repairs.

Oil in an engine doesn't last forever - it will burn off over time, and become dirty. The dirtier the oil is, the less effective it becomes. So, you need to be concerned with both the amount of oil and how clean it is.

Checking the amount of oil in your car is simple: under the hood, there will be a dipstick that leads directly into the oil reservoir. Check your owner's manual if you can't find it. The dipstick will indicate your oil levels and should be marked to show you whether there's enough oil in the engine.  If the oil levels are too low, add a quart of whatever type of oil your owner's manual suggests.  

As far as the dirtiness of the oil, this isn't something that can be easily decided by sight.  Instead, it's a good idea to simply get a full oil change at a Brockville car service center every 12,000-16,000 km for synthetic oil or 5,000-8,000 km for conventional oil. Your vehicle owner’s manual will have a specific km-based recommendation for the frequency of oil changes. Oil changes are quick, inexpensive, and a great way to keep your engine running well.  During an oil change, technicians will also change the filter, which helps ensure your engine is getting the most protection from the oil.

III. Spark Plugs

On traditional gasoline engines, spark plugs are what actually make your car go. These devices create electric sparks, and gasoline is spritzed onto them. The spark ignites the gas, which creates a small explosion that powers the engine. Without properly functioning spark plugs, your car will simply not go.

Fortunately, spark plugs last a long time. They usually only need to be replaced every 50,000 kms or so. This is not a job that newcomers to engine maintenance can do themselves. Unless you know what you're doing, it's much better to take the car to your local Brockville car dealership to have the plugs tested and, if necessary, replaced.

If your car begins to sputter or misfire while in use, there's a good chance it's a problem with one or more spark plugs. Get it checked out ASAP.

IV. Brakes and Brake Pads

Your brakes need to be in top condition if you are to maintain proper control of your car, particularly in the winter or any time the road may be slippery (always!) The braking system on your car is quite simple - when you push down on the brake pedal, padded pieces of metal come into physical contact with the rotating wheels. This creates friction and slows the wheels down.

Anything which creates friction within a car will wear out eventually, and brake pads are no exception. Brake pads need to be properly maintained and replaced regularly.

There are several warning signs to watch for if your brake pads are worn down:

  • You have a "check brakes" light on the dash
  • You hear metallic screeching or grinding sounds when you use the brakes
  • Your stopping distance is noticeably lower than normal
  • Your car pulls to one side when braking, suggesting that your brakes aren't working evenly
  • You feel jitters, lurches or shakes in the steering wheel or vehicle when braking

Changing your own brake pads is extremely difficult and only the most experienced of DIY car enthusiasts would want to attempt this. If you're experiencing any of the above warning signs, it's a much better idea to make an appointment at a Brockville car repair center at your earliest opportunity. If your brakes fail while on the road, it could be disastrous.

V. Other notes on car maintenance

These are only the most common areas of car service - elements that anyone with a traditional car will need to take care of regularly. However, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different car parts that all need to be maintained if your car is to remain in good operating condition.

That's why we recommend that anyone with a car, truck, or other personal vehicle get a professional tune-up once a year. Regular tune-ups are the best way to maintain a vehicle, keep it performing well, and reduce the chances of serious breakdowns on the road. Like going to the doctor for a check-up, car service tune-ups are an inexpensive way to prevent much more serious and expensive problems later on.

In addition, there are two other circumstances under which you'll want to get your car tuned up:

  • If the weather is about to turn bad. Canadian winters can be nasty, so many people wait for the fall to have their annual tune-up. This ensures your car is in peak condition for what will be the most challenging months of driving.
  • If you are about to go on a long drive. It's generally a bad idea to go on an extended road trip or move cross-country without having your car tuned-up beforehand.  This is just a smart preventative measure - you don't want your car breaking down when you're a thousand miles from home, or far from a city.

For Top Quality Car Service, Repairs, And Upgrades, Come To 1,000 Islands Toyota!

1000 Islands Toyota is Brockville's top destination for all things Toyota. Our service center is top-notch, staffed by trained and certified technicians, providing you with only genuine warrantied Toyota parts and components. We can even offer you a loaner car or shuttle service, to make your car service trip as easy as possible.

And of course, if you're in the market for a new or used vehicle, we carry some of the area's finest cars on our lot, from Toyota and other manufacturers!

If you need repairs, upgrades, or more information about our vehicles and financing options, please contact our team today!