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We strongly encourage our customers to keep up on regular, preventative maintenance. Below is a list of recommended maintenance items that will help you keep your vehicle longer, and save you money over the life of your car.
• Oil changes: every 3,000 miles. Despite many manufacturers’ claims that you can go 5,000 or even 7,500 miles between oil changes, our 25 years in the business has shown us that customers who change their oil every 3,000 miles have far fewer problems with their motors.
• Tire rotation: every-other oil change. This ensures even wear on your tires and helps them last longer.
• Wheel alignment: every 12,000 miles. With the potholes and washboard roads here in Vermont, this is a no-brainer. Not only will you enjoy a more comfortable ride, but alignments also drastically reduce the wear-and-tear on your vehicle’s tires, suspension and front-end parts.
• Cooling system flush: every 2 years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. This will remove harmful build-ups and reduce acidity levels thus helping to prevent internal engine corrosion and wear.
• Transmission flush: every 30,000 miles. This reduces friction and prevents wear, substantially enhancing the life of your transmission. We always recommend a full flush, which replaces all of the fluid. Many shops offer the standard “drain and fill,” which takes out only the fluid in the pan and leaves a large amount of the dirty fluid in the transmission, which will mix with the new, clean fluid.
• Brake system flush: at least every 3 years, or if fluid is dirty or discolored. Without this service, moisture can build up in the brake system, causing corrosion to the hydraulic parts and eventually causing failure to the brake lines, wheel cylinders, brake calipers, and the master cylinder. An occasional brake flush is much cheaper than replacing these parts, and certainly enhances your overall safety.
• Fuel injection system cleaning: every 30,000 miles. As carbon builds up on your fuel injectors, the fuel stream -- which should spray a fine mist for optimal firing and performance -- changes to a more stream-like spray, which does not burn as efficiently. When this happens, unburned fuel can end up in the crank case or be forced through the exhaust, potentially damaging the catalytic converter. A system cleaning promotes increased performance and noticeably improves your fuel economy. With the price of fuel today, the payback can be quick and substantial.
• Timing belt replacement: every 60,000 to 105,000 miles, based on the manufacturer’s recommendation for that particular vehicle. This is a very important part of any vehicle’s maintenance program. It the timing belt is not replaced as recommended, it could easily break or lose some of its rubber teeth. If this happens, the vehicle will not run -- and if the belt breaks while the vehicle is running, it could do some very expensive engine damage.
• Check drive belts: life expectancy is approximately 40,000 miles. Your drive belt or belts (some vehicles have one large belt, some have 2-4 smaller ones) run everything from your alternator and power steering pump to your a/c compressor. These should be checked on a regular basis for cracks and fraying.
• Check suspension and front-end: the suspension, which includes the shocks and/or struts, springs, and ball joints, and the front-end, which includes the rack and pinion, tie rods, and idler arm to mention a partial list, all need to be inspected on a regular basis after the vehicle reaches 40,000 to 50,000 miles. The rutted roads and pot holes of Vermont can sometimes cause these parts to wear out. Catching one worn out part early can often save wear to a lot of other parts when it comes to this area of the vehicle.
If you keep up on regular maintenance, there’s no reason your car shouldn’t last you 200,000 miles – or more!
And preventative maintenance shouldn’t cost you a ton of money. We figure an average annual cost of $350 to $500 per year -- which is a bargain, considering that emergency repairs can easily run you into the thousands when preventative maintenance is ignored. (Our average “fix it when it breaks” customers spends $1,100 more with us over a year than our average “preventative maintenance” customer.)
Finally, a word about warranties. Many people are under the false impression that they must take their car to the dealership for service, in order to document that they’ve kept up on their recommended maintenance (which is a requirement if you ever make a warranty claim). But this is not true. It’s Vermont State Law that all auto warranty companies must recognize maintenance work performed at any auto repair shop.
This is great news for you, because using an independent repair shop like Partner Tire can save you a lot of money. For example, an oil change at a dealership can run you more than double what it would cost you at Partner Tire -- and if you use our web coupons, you can save even more.
We look forward to being your auto service partner!