Auto Maintenance Shop | Car Maintenance | Bridwell Automotive Center in Scottsdale, AZ
Preventative Auto Maintenance
Preventative automotive maintenance is performed to keep your vehicle in good running condition. Following the scheduled maintenance recommendations of your vehicles manufacturer; checking fluid levels regularly, and changing those fluids and filters as recommended or as needed by visual inspection; can minimize the risks of breakdowns and prolong the life of your engine, transmission, cooling system, steering system and brake system.
Also understand that most vehicles that are driven in Metro Phoenix traffic, and especially throughout the summertime, should follow the maintenance recommendations in the "severe service" category. So if you are driving a "maintenance challenged" vehicle, and you do not want your vehicle to "age prematurely," you need to pay closer attention to your fluids and filters.
Everyone knows that you have to change your engine oil. It not only lubricates the engine, but also cools, cleans and protects it. But just in case you didn't know, the oil itself can't do all of these jobs without some help. Needed chemicals are added to oil to improve the oil's ability to resist heat, friction, oxidation and contamination. Short trip driving is especially hard on oil because the engine never warms up enough to burn off the moisture that develops inside the engine from normal use. The only way to get rid of the accumulated moisture, acids and sludge is to change both oil and filter.
The oil and filter change intervals recommended by manufacturers varies depending on the vehicle application and how the vehicle is driven. For "normal service" (which means mostly highway driving, NOT short trip city stop-and-go traffic driving), the scheduled maintenance intervals for changing the engine oil and filter vary from 3,000 to as much as 15,000 miles, or up to one year. We strongly disagree with the manufacturers that recommend going 7,500-15,000 miles between oil changes. Your engine is simply too expensive to replace to not make sure that your engine oil is in optimum shape. Today's engines are built well enough to go 300,000 miles if you take care of them!
Most cars in Metro Phoenix fall into the severe service category. The following is a description of severe service:
- Repeatedly driving short distances of less than five miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures.
- Extensive engine idling or low-speed driving for long distances.
- Driving in heavy traffic for continuous periods over 90 degrees (F.)
- Towing a trailer, towing a vehicle, or using a camper.
- Frequently driving in stop-and-go conditions.
If a newer low mileage engine is driven mostly on the highway, you can get away with the longer service intervals (5,000- 7,500) especially on newer cars. But as an engine accumulates miles, it experiences more blow by which dumps more moisture and fuel into the crankcase. For this reason, we suggest engines with more than 90,000 miles should not use the extended oil change intervals regardless of how they are driven. So... the older your car gets the more you should move to more frequent oil changes.
Turbocharged and Diesel engines require more frequent oil changes because of the high temperatures caused by the turbocharger, and the extreme amounts of blow-by entering the oil constantly while driving in diesel engines. Because of this, we recommended oil change intervals for most turbocharged engines of 3,000 miles or six months. The motor oil should be "turbo-approved" for such applications, or synthetic motor oil. Diesel engines should have the oil changed every 3,000-5,000 tops using Delo type oil with a CF rating.
Motor Oil Recommendations
What type of oil should you use? Follow the viscosity recommendations in your vehicle owner's manual. Most vehicles today are factory-filled with a multi-viscosity oil because this improves cold starting, fuel economy, and allows the oil to lubricate an engine more quickly at start up than heavier viscosity oils. In multi-viscosity oil, the lower the temperature of the oil, the lighter weight it is and the easier it flows to needed lubrication points. So a 5w-30 motor oil is a 5 weight oil at start up and becomes 30 weight oil at normal operating temperature.
Synthetic oils are more expensive, but provide much better performance compared to conventional motor oils and can last longer at superior performance levels. Switching from conventional oil to synthetic oil will cost more money for an oil change but it will allow you to go longer between oil changes. However, most aftermarket experts agree that even if you are using synthetic oil, the interval between oil changes should not exceed 7,500 miles or one year regardless of what your vehicles' manufacturer recommends for oil change intervals. Additionally, some manufacturers require synthetic oil to keep from voiding the warranty and in some cases will even set a check engine light.
Performance Oil Change Service
Problem: High engine temperatures caused by heavy stop and go driving conditions lead to thermal breakdown of engine oil. Not all of the oil is removed during a drain and fill oil change. Deposits are left behind and form sludge and varnish in the engine resulting in smoke from the exhaust and increased oil usage. This is especially true of older cars.
Solution: Install new oil and filter along with BG MOA® to fortify new oil for optimum performance and engine protection. The result will be improved engine compression, increased power and increased fuel economy.
Air Filter Replacement
The air filter keeps dirt out of the air intake of the engine, so its service life depends on its operating environment. Motorists who do a lot of driving on rural gravel roads may need a new filter every couple of months while the city dweller might go a year or more between changes.
Another air filter on many newer vehicles is the cabin air filter. This filter cleans the air that enters the passenger compartment. The filter's service life depends on its construction (dust only or dust and odor), and operating conditions.
Fuel Filter Replacement
For reliable engine operation and fuel system performance, a clean fuel supply is absolutely essential. The fuel filter is the fuel system's primary line of defense against dirt, debris and small particles of rust that flake off the inside of metal fuel tanks. If not trapped by the filter, debris can affect the performance of fuel injected engines in three ways and none of them are good. First it can completely clog the fuel injector inlet screens and starve the injector for fuel. Second, the amount of fuel coming out of an injector can be reduced or affecting the spray pattern in an adverse manner by not allowing the injector to create a “misting” of fuel into the cylinder.
The third way that debris gets inside the injector can cause you to waste fuel which is never a good thing for several reasons that all cost you more money, aggravation, and the possibility of other parts in your car to breakdown such as O2 sensors and catalytic converters. The typical OEM recommendation today for fuel filter replacement is every 30,000 miles or every three years and we agree.
The most important things you can do to extend the life of your automatic transmission are keeping it cool, and keeping it clean. Transmission service in Metro Phoenix is especially important, due to the harsh environment we drive in. Not only from the intense radiant heat of the road, but also the driving conditions in Phoenix, with the constant stop and go traffic.
There are three ways to service automatic transmissions. The most conventional way is to change the filter inside the transmission and at the same time about 30% to 40% of the oil is changed. This method is the only way to look at internal wear in a transmission. As the transmission wears metal debris will collect in the filter and on a magnet that is placed inside the transmission. This information can give a technician important information about the state of a transmission that no other method can and the only drawback is that all of the fluid is not changed but there are other things that can be done to mitigate this problem such as adding a fortifying agent such as BG Transmission Conditioner.
Flushing all the transmission fluid can be a good way to change transmission fluid but one of the drawbacks is that it does not give the technician a chance to see the filter which shows evidence of transmission damage that simply flushing the transmission fluid cannot and does not reveal. We would advise the use of this method only in newer cars.
Drain and refill of some transmissions is also an option because some manufacturers provide a drain plug to drain transmission fluid just like motor oil. However again, when draining your transmission fluid in this manner only about 30% to 40% of the fluid gets changed at a time. Because of this draw-back we recommend that at about the third year or 30,000 miles you should do a drain and refill once a year every year to every other year at the least.
Call us today at 480-948-4781 to make an appointment for Auto Maintenance Services!