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Commonly Overlooked Car Maintenance Items

Today’s cars are made to run longer than ever. However, whether it’s a small extra cost or simply forgetfulness, many people fail to have these important maintenance items done. And several of these items are critical to the long-term performance of your vehicle. Remember that following your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule is the best way to maintain your car.

Fuel filters remove dirt and contaminants from the fuel before it clogs the tiny passages in your throttle body and fuel injectors, and are a critical part of your engine’s performance. Fuel filters on fuel injected cars are often located somewhere under the car that is often difficult to access and can be difficult to change because they are usually pressurized -- even when the engine isn’t running.

However, since these filters prevent very expensive problems in your engine, be sure to replace them as your manufacturer recommends. The expense is worthwhile. The filters last a long time -- most modern fuel filters are designed to last from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. Change them as necessary to prevent much more expensive damage to your engine.

Brake Fluid Flush

Like all other fluids in your vehicle, brake fluid degrades over time. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it attracts and absorbs moisture. As humidity changes and the brake fluid heats and cools from use, it absorbs moisture from the surroundings. This reduces the ability of your brakes to work effectively. Additionally, moisture can cause corrosion in your master cylinder, brake lines and hoses, and other parts, creating further problems with the efficiency of your braking system and can cause eventual failure.

Manufacturers vary widely in their recommendations for brake fluid flushes, but it comes down to your local weather conditions, like how much you drive in the rain, on salt-covered or snowy roads, and how hard you use the brake system in your vehicle. Your brake fluid should be crystal clear. If it has a yellow, brownish or green tint, or if your fluid has “specs” of dirt or contamination in it, it’s definitely time for a flush.

Automatic Transmission Fluid Flush

Automatic Transmission Fluid does many things to help your car run smoothly. Besides being the hydraulic fluid that makes your transmission work, it also cools your transmission and lubricates all of the gears inside. Like antifreeze, modern vehicles have long-life transmission fluid. Most have sealed systems that are theoretically designed to never need servicing. But, today’s transmissions generate more heat in tighter spaces with less airflow, so fluid can still degrade over time. It can also become dirty, burnt, or contaminated, and will need to be replaced.

A full flush of your transmission fluid will help keep your transmission running efficiently. You definitely want to have this service done before you start noticing any type of transmission issues – if you’re having complications, the damage may already be done. Generally, a fluid flush should include a new filter and a complete flush. A lot of shops will just remove the transmission pan and drain the fluid, but this only changes about a third of the fluid in the system.

This is by no means a complete list of important service items, but these are commonly overlooked and have a big impact on the longevity, performance, and enjoyment of your car. Contact Big Jim’s Automotive to schedule your vehicle’s maintenance service appointment today.