When you own a car, you need to consider the responsibility of upholding all of the regular maintenance that your vehicle needs. In most cases, ignoring vital maintenance leads to costly repairs.
Motor Oil Change
The most common maintenance required for any vehicle is an oil change. Mechanics will usually slap a sticker to the corner of your windshield suggesting when you should come back for your next service. So, you can follow the sticker, or at the very least you should get it done every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. That’s a wide range, but that’s because every car is unique. You’ll find the most accurate suggestion in your owner’s manual, or you can simply check the oil yourself. If you’re not sure how, you can read our guide on “How to Check Your Motor Oil”.
A typical oil change ranges from $20 to $70 depending on the type of oil you use and how many quarts you need. Conventional oil runs the cheapest, but it doesn’t give you the benefits of a full synthetic or synthetic blend. Full synthetic is the most expensive type of motor oil because it’s top-quality and improves the performance and lifespan of your vehicle. Learn more about the different types of oil by reading “A Guide to Motor Oil Types”.
Motor oil is a vital component because it keeps your vehicle lubricated and running at an acceptable temperature. Over time, the oil picks up dirt and other debris to the point where it will stop being effective. Your vehicle will overheat, causing your engine to shut down which could lead to a replacement service costing you thousands of dollars. Getting an oil change is a small price to pay to keep your car running smoothly, and you can find great deals on this common service at any Prieto Automotive location.
Transmission Oil Change
Unlike motor oil, a transmission oil change only needs to be done every 30,000 to 60,000 miles or every two years. You’ll notice when it’s time to attend to your transmission oil when your vehicle starts generating less power because transmission is what regulates your engine output and speed. An oil transmission change can cost somewhere from $80 to $250. To better understand this part of the vehicle, read “What is Transmission?”.
Many people think about this particular maintenance and tell themselves, “I don’t need to do that, right?” If you want to save money in the long run, it’s worth it to have your tires rotated regularly. A good rule of thumb is every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, but you can also look at the tread depth of your tires or refer to your owner’s manual. Your tires slowly deteriorate when you drive, and so the grooves start to become smaller. When the grooves stop showing significant depth, it’s time to consider replacing the tires.
It can cost a few hundred dollars to replace a complete set of tires, but it only costs around $20 to have them rotated. Think of it this way: You can either use up your tires without any maintenance for five years and buy a replacement set for $600, or you can pay $20 to rotate your tires and put off buying a replacement set for ten years. No matter how you approach caring for your tires, you can replace or rotate your tires at any Prieto Automotive service center for a great price!
Tires last longer when you have them rotated because your front tires suffer more wear and tear than the rear ones so when the front tires are switched out with the rear set, it’s almost like you’re working with a brand new set of tires altogether and you’re able to go on longer. Performing this maintenance is also a good way to see if there are any issues with your tires. When you instinctively get into your car and drive off, you don’t always notice if there’s anything puncturing your tire like a nail.
You should have your brakes checked every 10,000 miles, or you can ask to have them looked at during your next oil change or tire rotation. During a tire rotation, the brakes become visible after the tire is removed and so most places will take a look while it’s already easily accessible. It’s worth it to ask because a repair can end up being costly.
The brake system is made up of many separate parts that work together. It consists of pads, rotors, calipers, and axles. A set of four pads can cost up to $150, rotors run for about $75 each, and calipers over $100. And of course, you need to pay extra for labor which can range from $150 to $500 depending on what parts need to be replaced. That’s a lot of money, but we always have service specials available at Prieto Automotive. Call any of our service centers for more details on pricing.
Aside from getting them checked regularly, you’ll be able to tell if something is wrong with your brakes if you hear strange noises when you apply pressure on the pedal or if it takes longer to make a complete stop. If this happens, it will be dangerous if you wait too long to take it to the shop. As often as you use your brakes, you don’t want them to stop working when you’re on the road.
On Board Diagnostics Check
Did you know that most vehicles have computers installed? Every time your vehicle encounters an issue and the check engine light comes on, the computer keeps a record of everything that happens. This computer should be inspected at least once a year or whenever your check engine light comes on.
Running a diagnostic on your car’s computer ranges from $60-$100. This routine is not as simple as using your home computer. You don’t just turn it on and open the task manager. First, you’ll need an On Board Diagnostic (OBD) scanner to plug into your vehicle. But that’s the easy part. You also need to know how to read the codes that show on screen, and that requires someone who has studied this line of work as a career. At Prieto Automotive, we have the tools and experts needed to run a proper OBD check.
Each code is a series of letters and numbers, each digit or character representing a part of the vehicle or brief description of the issue. For example, P0113 translates to “Intake Air Temperature (IAT) Circuit High Input. Even if you are able to translate the code, you will need to know what steps to take in fixing the problem.
Like motor oil, the coolant in your vehicle is needed to keep everything running at a decent temperature. However, coolant doesn’t need to be changed nearly as frequently as oil. Coolant can be flushed out every two or three years.
Aside from temperature control, coolant also helps in preventing corrosion and internal rusting. If your vehicle suffers from corrosion and rust, it can break down and lead to very costly repairs. The price range of a coolant flush can be from $70 to $120. That includes both parts and labor combined. Like with most maintenance, getting a routine service done such as this one will save you money in the long run from preventing costly replacements.
Now that you have an idea of what regular maintenance your vehicle needs, you can be a more responsible owner. Bring your vehicle into any Prieto Automotive service center and we’ll give it the best treatment.