Description of Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is the care and protection of your vehicle against potential major auto repairs. Negligence is the most common and costly way to see money wasted on repairs that could have easily been prevented through regular service intervals. Depending on your vehicle’s manufacturer, avoiding preventive maintenance on certain parts and components has the potential to void warranty coverage. Car maintenance intervals have been designed to improve the reliability, durability, and resale value of your vehicle. Based upon your driving conditions, these service intervals may arrive sooner than you expect. For example, short commutes can actually hurt a vehicle because most engines thrive during long drives. Driving short commutes, experiencing stop-and-go traffic, and carrying heavy cargo are all aspects of severe driving. However, severe driving can also be reinforced by your environment. Hot or cold weather, mountainous or rough roads, and dusty or salty environments can all affect your vehicle. Because of these innumerable factors, adhering to a rigid service schedule can keep your vehicle operating at maximum efficiency for years to come.
Benefits of Preventive Maintenance
Vehicle components and parts naturally wear out over time, and road hazards can negatively impact critical components. By adhering to the preventive maintenance schedule in your vehicle owner’s manual, you will help ensure that your vehicle always runs at optimal conditions. Depending upon the vehicle’s service interval mileage, our staff may inspect the function of your steering and suspension components, fluid filters, belts and hoses, brakes and axles, and more to help ensure that your vehicle functions efficiently. Our staff can look at the level of vital vehicle fluids. We are also able to review exterior and interior lights, examine windshield wiper blades, check batteries, inspect hinges and locks, determine level of ball joint wear, check transmission components, fix exhaust system components, and conduct both tire wear inspection and inflation checks. It is important to schedule preventive maintenance for these and other components to ensure they continue to work as intended. Remember that environmental conditions may affect your ideal preventive maintenance schedule. Depending upon your environment, you may need to seek more frequent inspections and replacements. Contact us today to learn more about recommended car maintenance service intervals for your vehicle.
Description of Engine Diagnostics and Performance
Every vehicle built since 1996 has been equipped with an On-Board Diagnostics System that monitors engine performance. Discrepancies in performance levels are reported through your vehicle’s computer system. Once the “check engine” or “service engine” light is displayed, your next step should be to seek out an engine diagnostic service or an engine tune-up. Engine diagnostics allow our staff to gather helpful information about the operating condition of your engine. The insights obtained during an engine diagnostic will determine the extent of suggested engine repairs. The most common diagnostic trouble codes are generated in response to malfunctions in the powertrain. Ultimately, regular engine tune-ups are necessary to optimize engine performance. A tune-up is also one of the most effective ways to prevent unexpected engine trouble. During an engine tune-up, our staff may replace the spark plugs, spark plug wires, air filter, fuel filter, and distributor cap and rotor in your vehicle. Our experts will also check emission levels, fuel lines, and belts and hoses. Engine diagnostics and regular engine tune-ups can help extend the life of your vehicle and improve the health of your engine.
Benefits of Engine Diagnostics and Performance
While regular engine maintenance will help ensure that your engine always performs at peak conditions, there are also signs you can look for that indicate an engine repair service is needed. The “check engine” or “service engine” light is a sure sign that your engine should be looked at by an expert sooner than later. Most of the time, your vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostics System will detect an engine issue and store the corresponding repair code, which can be accessed by a member of our service staff. Slow-cranking, rough idling, stalling, knocking, or pinging while accelerating are all signs that you should seek engine repairs or engine diagnostics to determine the full extent of your engine trouble. A decrease in gas mileage and detectable loss of power during acceleration are also signs of an impending engine tune-up or engine repair service. Engine warning lights help alert drivers to minor issues before they become major repairs. Be sure to follow up with our staff once your vehicle's On-Board Diagnostics System detects a problem with your engine.
Description of Belts & Hoses
Your vehicle’s belts and hoses are involved in processes within the cooling system, air conditioning system, charging system, and engine. These belts and hoses play crucial roles in functional operations inside your vehicle. The heater hose and radiator hose carry liquid coolant to and from the engine, radiator, and heater core. The timing belt is responsible for maintaining engine precision by synchronizing the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft, which move the engine’s valves and pistons. However, not all vehicles contain timing belts. In place of timing belts, some vehicles use timing chains. On the outside of the engine, the serpentine belt transmits power from the front of the engine to other systems in the vehicle, like the air conditioning system and charging system. Some factors that contribute to wear and tear on your belts and hoses include vehicle age, mileage, belt tension, hose clamp failure, electrochemical degradation, and oil contamination. In the long run, routine maintenance and replacements of your vehicle’s belts and hoses will prevent breakdowns and costly repairs.
Benefits of Belts & Hoses
When compared to other components in your car, belts and hoses have one of the shortest life spans. These items are constantly exposed to engine heat, vehicle vibrations, and harmful chemicals, which all have the potential to cause cracks and leaks. Some symptoms to be aware of for belts and hoses nearing failure include squeaking, screeching, or grinding noises that begin when starting your engine or appear during vehicle operation. It's worth noting that grinding sounds near belts are usually associated with a bad pulley bearing rather than the belt itself, as the pulley bearing may freeze up and ultimately lead to a belt replacement. Other symptoms of a bad belt or hose include loss of power, leaking coolant or other fluids, illuminated dashboard lights, rising steam from the engine, and air conditioning failure. While routine maintenance of belts and hoses is always important, summertime is an especially important season to keep an eye under the hood due to increased temperatures, which will accelerate deterioration of the rubber components. Since belts and hoses can be difficult to inspect visually, be sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for scheduled maintenance.
The OBD System, or On-Board Diagnostics System, was originally installed to monitor vehicle emissions, but it also detects problems within the engine. Both OBD I and OBD II systems exist, with OBD II systems becoming the standard in vehicles manufactured after 1996. The OBD is connected to the engine control unit (ECU), which helps your engine run efficiently while keeping emissions low. The OBD can identify and warn the driver of engine malfunction by sending error notifications to the ECU system. The ECU is in charge of several engine processes, including the mixture of air and fuel, emissions, and engine timing. The ECU uses sensors to monitor them or make adjustments. If the ECU detects malfunctions, it triggers the “check engine” light on the dashboard. The OBD system then records the code pertaining to the problem. The code can be accessed by a trained technician through engine diagnostic equipment in order to properly diagnose the issue.
In the past, engine tune-ups were much more time consuming because they required a motorist to check a variety of parts. Engine tune-ups formerly included checking the distributor, cap, rotor, ignition contact points, condensers, carburetors, and more. Today, these items are generally no longer included in engine tune-ups because a vehicle’s electronic control unit controls the engine timing. While not as many parts need to be checked today, engine tune-ups still include the inspection of a variety of components. These include spark plugs and wires, oil and oil filters, and fuel filters. Regular tune-ups will ensure your engine is running efficiently and reliably. Engine tune-ups can help prevent breakdowns and extend the life of an automobile. A well-tuned engine will help keep a vehicle operating at maximum performance levels, which is why routine maintenance is so important.
Air Filter Replacement
An air filter allows outside air into an engine’s intake manifold, where the air mixes with fuel to power a vehicle. Playing a defensive role, air filters prevent dirt particles, bugs, and other contaminants from entering the engine and causing destruction. Unfortunately, engine air filters lose effectiveness over time and require replacements. Drivers looking to replace an air filter can choose from three common types: paper, foam, and cotton. Paper air filters are usually cheap, but they generally wear out faster than their counterparts. Foam filters are a popular choice for off-road vehicles, because they have strong filtering capabilities. However, they also tend to clog engines if used and left unchecked. Cotton filters are commonly found on race cars, but can be also used as aftermarket upgrades on everyday vehicles. No matter the type of air filter in your vehicle, it is important to replace the air filter as needed. A dirty air filter can negatively affect gas mileage and make an engine run roughly.
During a fuel injection, your vehicle’s fuel injectors are checked. Located in the intake manifold of the engine, fuel injectors use small nozzles to spray a mist of fuel that your engine can burn. Fuel injectors work with your throttle valve, which lets air into the engine whenever you use the gas pedal. When the valve opens, fuel injectors release the fuel mist so it mixes with the air. This fuel and air combination then enters the combustion chamber and helps your vehicle run. Over time, fuel injectors can become dirty. Clogged injectors can negatively affect your vehicle’s performance, leading to poor gas mileage and dirty exhaust emissions. Short trips make it especially easy for dirt and grime to build up inside the fuel injector nozzles. Because a healthy fuel injection system is important for overall vehicle maintenance, we advise you to keep watch over your fuel injectors and have them serviced as needed.
An alternator is part of a vehicle’s charging system, and is an essential component in keeping a vehicle operable. The alternator works with the battery and voltage regulator to keep electrical components running. Usually located near the front of a vehicle’s engine, an alternator can be identified by its aluminum body, vents, and an internal or external cooling fan. Depending on the vehicle, the alternator pulley is driven by either a serpentine belt or v-belt. This mechanical energy is then converted into electrical energy as internal parts operate to create a magnetic field used to produce the alternating current output. The alternator can reach high temperatures fast, so an operative cooling fan is important. Although the battery can keep the vehicle running for a little while, it will not be able to keep it running for an extended period of time if the alternator malfunctions. In fact, the alternator serves as the charger for the battery as well. Because a bad alternator will eventually render the vehicle inoperable, it is imperative that a driver have this component repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
The starter is a motor that, when supplied with electricity from a vehicle’s battery, will engage the flywheel ring gear and crank the engine. When a driver turns the key to start the engine, the battery sends a small supply of electricity to the starter solenoid. In turn, the solenoid powers the motor which sends a gear to mesh with the ring gear on a vehicle’s flywheel. Depending on the vehicle, the starter may be a direct drive (DD), planetary gear (PLGR), permanent magnet gear reduction (PMGR), permanent magnet direct drive (PMDD), or offset gear reduction (OSGR). In a DD starter, components are attached in a line and run off the armature. A PLGR starter has a shaft that the armature uses and is good at increasing torque. A PMGR starter is similar to a PLGR starter except the PMGR starter uses permanent magnets instead of field coils. Similarly, PMDD starters are akin to DD starters except PMDDs use permanent magnets instead of field coils. Finally, OSGR starters do not run directly off the armature. No matter the type, each starter ultimately plays an essential role in powering a vehicle.
Heater Hose Replacement
Heater hoses play a crucial role in a vehicle’s heating system, which operates in conjunction with the cooling system. Running engines produce a tremendous amount of heat that will need to be transferred away from the engine in order to prevent overheating and subsequent breakdowns. Heater hoses are responsible for carrying coolant to prevent overheating. Coolant or antifreeze flows through the engine, absorbs the excess heat, and carries the heat away from the engine. More specifically, heater hoses are responsible for transferring coolant away from the engine to the heater core, where the warm air can be blown inside the compartment of your vehicle by engaging the adjacent fan. Heater fans blow through the heater core to heat the vehicle and cool the antifreeze inside of it. The hoses transfer the coolant back into the path of the cooling system at a lower temperature so the coolant can continue to regulate consistent temperatures inside the engine.
Radiator Hose Replacement
Your car or truck’s radiator hoses, which connect the engine to the radiator, are important components that maintain consistent internal engine temperatures. The upper hose connects to the top of the engine, while the lower hose connects to the bottom. Coolant flows through the engine to cool internal temperatures and works with the hoses. Radiator hoses carry hot coolant away from the engine and into the radiator, a large tank with small channels where the coolant flows to dissipate heat. Radiator fans, which are located behind the radiator, help cool the antifreeze or coolant once it enters. The radiator hoses also carry the coolant back into the engine to absorb the heat created during the combustion process. Once the engine reaches operating temperatures, the hot coolant cycles back to the radiator where it is cooled again. Because the engine can reach extreme temperatures, the coolant is often extremely hot. Over time, hot coolant can cause radiator hoses to deteriorate from the inside out.
Serpentine Belt Replacement
As the timing belt synchronizes engine processes, the serpentine belt powers peripheral processes in the engine compartment, like the power steering pump, water pump, cooling fan, air conditioner, and alternator. The serpentine belt receives its name from the snake-like path it takes through the various steering and electrical components it powers. Belt tension also plays an important role in serpentine belt maintenance. A properly tensioned belt helps promote long belt life while ensuring that all components are not overloaded or strained during operation. Serpentine belts are tough, built to sustain years of continued and heavy use, but they do have a natural life projected by every manufacturer. Periodic inspections of your serpentine belt will help prevent breakdowns, though replacing your serpentine belt is a natural part of overall car maintenance. If you suspect trouble with your serpentine belt, please give us a call or contact us for assistance.
Timing Belt Replacement
The timing belt, or timing chain in some vehicles, is a drive belt that synchronizes the rotation of the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft with the opening and closing of your engine’s valves. Depending on the vehicle, it may also rotate the water pump. When the crankshaft turns, the timing belt turns the camshaft, which opens and closes the engine valves to allow the pistons to move up and down. Your vehicle’s engine operates in four phases: intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. During the intake phase, intake valves open and exhaust valves close as fuel and air enter the cylinders. As the air and fuel is mixed, compressed, and ignited by spark plugs during the compression and combustion phases, the valves close. The remaining air and fuel is pushed out of the exhaust valve during the exhaust phase. The timing belt is responsible for synchronizing this process and for opening and closing valves during normal engine operation.
Fisher's Tire & Service: Proudly serving the Truck and Auto Engine Repair & Maintenance needs of customers in the Pensacola, Escambia County, FL, area for over 25 years.
Areas Served : Milton FL | Molino FL | Pensacola FL | and surrounding areas