Car maintenance essentials

Part II

Welcome back.  We were covering fluid and filter changes in the first blog post.  I rambled about oil and filter changes too long in the original post.  Changing oil helps maintain your car’s engine.  You must follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance on all fluids.  We will continue with other fluids and filters.

Transmission fluid and filter

Your engine depends on clean, well-maintained oil.  The transmission also depends on clean, functioning fluid.  You depend on your transmission to move you from point A to point B.  It will fail in that mission if you do not maintain it.  The expense of fixing or replacing your transmission out of warranty is one to avoid.  The best way to prevent that money drain is to follow the maintenance interval.

Transmissions have transformed into high-tech, hard to understand monsters.  Some do not have any recommended maintenance.  They come “sealed;” they are continuously variable; they are automatic, manual, or a combination of all of these.  I will not be going to go into detail about transmissions.  If I did, it would be a book, not a blog post.

Breaking down the transmission to replace a worn fluid pump.

Know that your transmission is one piece in your car that you do not want to pay to repair or replace it.  If your car’s maintenance manual does not recommend a fluid change, I would call the dealer and talk to a service advisor about changing the fluid anyway.  I would recommend somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.  Man engineered that fluid; it will not last forever.  Trust me.  Also, the transmission filter does the same as the oil filter.  It also needs to be changed.  I will have to do a post on the different types of transmissions in the future.  It is also essential to use the manufacturer’s fluid.  We have had customers buy high-quality after-market fluid and the transmission slips after putting the fluid change.  We had to flush all the fluid out and replace it.  Of course, older transmissions are not as technical, and you could probably get away with using after-market. Pay attention to how your car changes gears.  Get to know the feel, and if it starts shifting differently, call to have it diagnosed.  Sometimes, a software update or fluid change will be all that it needs.  Your transmission is vital to your car’s mobility, so please maintain it.

Replacing a worn c-clip in the gears of an automatic transmission.

Other fluids and filters

Coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, hydraulic suspension fluid, and battery fluid are all other fluids critical for proper operation of your vehicle.  Each should have its maintenance schedule.  I could ramble about all these fluids like I did with the engine oil and transmission fluid, but I won’t.  If I did, I would never finish this blog post.  Some of these fluids are forgotten and never get maintenance.  Power steering fluid helps maintain your pump.  The power steering pump is a mini engine that needs proper lubrication, and the fluid is essential.  Coolant is another forgotten fluid.  Maintaining coolant helps reduce corrosion in the engine cooling system.  There I go rambling, let us move along folks.

I have covered oil and transmissions filters.  I will briefly hit a couple of more filters before we depart this section.  Like a human, your engine needs to breathe.  It also needs clean air to breathe.  Make sure you change the air filter when recommended.  It will help gas mileage, and keep your engine running well.  I have fixed check engine lights and running rough by changing an air filter.

The cabin air filter is different.  It filters the air that enters the vehicles passenger compartment.  If it clogs, it can damage your blower motor.  The blower motor is the humming noise you hear in your dash when you have your heat or air conditioning turned on.  Again, I have seen cabin air filters clogged up enough to stop the blower motor from turning.  You will benefit from maintaining this filter.

One more filter to mention is the fuel filter.  Most fuel filters these days are located inside the gas tank and do not need maintenance.  If it is external, you will need to change it when recommended.  If you are not sure, call the dealer or your mechanic.

I think that is enough for now.  I think I can cover the rest of the maintenance in one more post.  Maybe, maybe not.  I will be covering brakes and suspension, tires, and anything else that I can think of in the next post.

Until then, ya’ll have a good week.

That Awesome Auto Tech

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