Maintaining a Maintenance Schedule

October 18th, 2013




Even Penny on CBS's hit show “The Big Bang Theory” is not exempt from automotive trouble. A running gag has Sheldon fussing at her “Your check engine light is on”. It's never a laughing matter when your check engine light is on! Although many times it may be caused by something simple, like a loose gas cap or another emmisions problem, many times it can be caused by something more serious.


At minimum, you should invest in a diagnostic test at a qualified auto garage. Don't rely on one of the many auto parts stores that offer free “diagnostic checks”. Almost always all they will be able to tell you is the “code” that is being reported and that it “might” be this or that. Any professional garage should be able to report the exact problem.


In addition to obvious indications like the check engine light, there are common sense items that every vehicle owner should have inspected at least twice a the fall before the harsh cold of winter and in the spring before the extreme heat of summer.


  1. Electrical systems check...Battery, starter, & alternator. Batteries are susceptible to extreme temperatures. Steve Popovich of AAA says “ If a battery is older than 2 years it should be tested by a qualified technician to make sure it has the starting power to handle the stress of extreme temperatures.”

  2. Tires... Check the placard on your drivers door to determine the correct air pressure. Tires will generally lose 2-3 psi per month. Low air pressure is a leading cause of both poor gas mileage and tire failure. At minimum, you should have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles. If your tread shows irregular wear or is less than 4/32 thick, it could point to other problems.

  3. Brakes..You should have the thickness of the friction material checked as well as the condition of the rotors and the brake fluid. Does your car shake when you put on brakes? Better have them checked!

  4. Fluid levels and condition...especially have your coolant system checked this time of year. Is the antifreeze at the right level? Does it protect to the lowest temperatures that you may experience? Your owners manual has a maintenance schedule that will spell out how often you should have each fluid exchanged.


It is important to find a shoip that you can develop a relationship with, one that you learn to trust. There are many shops out there that are not just after your money. They are interested in forming a long term relationship in which they can advise you how to save money in the long run and more importantly keep your vehicle safe.

Tags: Maintenance
Posted in: Maintenance

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