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You Car Care Questions Answered!

Here's the latest Arizona Republic Car Care column. Do you have a car question? Let us know, we may use your submission in an upcoming column in the paper!

What are some of your suggestions for regular maintenance on my car?

This is great time of year to take the car in for scheduled maintenance or just ask your mechanic to give your car a good going over. It’s easy to over look the little things that keep our car running safely and efficiently. In fact, we’ve put together a list items you should keep in mind when it comes to automotive maintenance—don’t make the easy mistake of writing off these important car care items.

  • Keep your tires properly inflated and rotated. All tires will leak some air and need occasional inflation. Tires that are not inflated properly will wear fast and use more gas. Also, as the temperatures increase, making sure your tires are in good shape is just as important for safety as it is for gas mileage.
  • Don’t wait too long to fill up and use the recommended type of fuel. Driving a fuel-injected car too often on fumes can lead to premature fuel pump failure, which can be costly to repair. And, if your owner’s manual says to use a higher octane fuel, do so. We know you may feel the pinch at the pump, but it’s better than facing a possibly costly repair when you opt to use cheaper gas.
  • Take your car in for preventive maintenance including oil and filter changes. Neglecting to replace your oil can lead to sludge build up over time, and this will ultimately damage your car’s engine, or at the very least, shorten its life. Most reputable shops will do a multi-point inspection of your car during an oil and filter change, which will identify any other special issues the car may have.
  • Communicate with your mechanic. Be as clear as you can about the problems or concerns you are having which could include smells, noises (rattles, bangs and bumps) you hear in your car, when you hear them, how often and in what type of driving conditions. The more information you give, the better your technician can diagnose a problem. And, your auto shop should be open to any and all of your questions and concerns and able to clearly explain what is happening with your car and needed repairs.