What is Preventative Maintenance?

Preventative maintenance is a critical part of maintaining a vehicle that saves in significant repair costs long term and provides reliability. Every vehicle has a maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer to provide optimum operation and reliability.

What Maintenance Should I be doing and when?

Every vehicle is different when it comes to regular maintenance. Contact me to discuss your vehicle maintenance needs.
Typically, a maintenance schedule can be found in the vehicle owner's manual.

How do I know when my car needs a tune up?

If purchasing a used vehicle, it's always a good idea to have tune up components inspected. Generally, if you're experiencing a rough running engine and drivability issues such as lack of power, it is a good time to have the vehicle tune up components looked at.

How should I prepare my car for winter?

In Montana, a good set of winter tires should be installed. Typically, from October-May depending on weather. Also, wiper blades should be checked and replaced as needed

How should I prepare my car for a road trip?

Prior to a road trip, I recommend having all fluids checked, as well as tire pressures, belts and hoses, and brakes.

Why do my brakes squeak?

Brakes can squeak for a number of reasons such as excessive mud, dirt, or gravel stuck between brake pads/shoes and rotors/drums. Most disc brake pads have a wear indicator that contacts the rotor when pads need to be replaced.

Why is my check engine light on?

Check engine lights can come on for a number of reasons related to emission controls, sensor data discrepancies, or mechanical engine issues. They should not be ignored as these issues could become worse and end up as costly repairs.

What causes tire damage?

Tire damage can be caused by over or under inflated tire pressures, failure of suspension components, and age of tire. Typically tires should be replaced every 6 years.

When should I have my timing belt changed?

Every vehicle is different when it comes to the recommended belt replacement. Contact me to determine what your timing belt interval is. This information is also found in the vehicle's owner's manual.

When do I need to replace my belts and hoses?

Generally, belts should be replaced every 5 years or 50k miles and hoses should be replaced every 4 years or 40k miles. These are just general guidelines as it depends on heat cycles, worn pulleys, component failures, and oil/coolant contamination.

Why do I need to have my engine oil changed every 3,000 miles?

Older vehicles generally required an oil change every 3k miles but todays vehicles are typically 5k-7k miles between oil change intervals. Contact me to determine what your interval is. This information can also be found in the vehicle's owner's manual.

How often should I rotate my tires?

Tires should be rotated every 3-5k miles or every time the vehicle goes in for an oil change.

Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?

Timing belts should be replaced at or before the recommended interval. If not, major engine damage could occur costly potentially thousands in repair costs

What should I do if my car starts to overheat?

Pull over right away and allow engine to cool. Have vehicle towed to repair shop to determine the cause. If you keep driving with a vehicle that's overheating, major engine damage could occur costing potentially thousands in repair costs.

Why is engine oil milky brown?

Milky brown oil is typically caused by coolant entering the oil system. Most common cause is a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head. In addition, most of the time you'll also see white smoke coming from tailpipe.

How do I make sure my car battery has a good electrical connection?

Battery posts should be cleaned when installing a new battery and when there are signs of corrosion. Battery terminals should not be allowed to spin by hand.

Should I consider using synthetic motor oil in my vehicle?

Synthetic oils provide better protection to your engine than conventional oils with fewer deposits but also comes with additional costs.

When should I replace my car's fuel filter?

Every vehicle is different when it comes to fuel filter replacement. I typically follow the vehicles recommended service interval or when replacing the fuel pump.

How often should I replace my tires?

The legal minimum for tire tread is 2/32" but the recommended replacement is 4/32" tread. Age of tire should also be considered. Typically tires should be replaced every 6 years regardless of tread thickness due to the deterioration of the rubber. Most tires are date stamped to identify manufactured date.

What things should I be looking for when purchasing a used vehicle?

If purchasing a used car from a dealer, you'd want to see if there is a warranty or limited guarantee if something mechanical goes wrong. If purchasing from a private party its always a good idea to have a mechanic look it over prior to purchase. Otherwise look for check engine light on dash, abnormal wear on tires can mean there are issues with suspension components. Take vehicle for a test drive to see if brakes and drivetrain all seem normal, operate all interior switches for windows, heaters, etc..., check underneath vehicle for any major leaks, check fluid levels, check for any type of body repairs which means vehicle was in an accident. A Carfax report is always a good idea.