Increasing the longevity of your 4×4 or other vehicle can take a little attention and care, but if you put the necessary time into taking care of it you will save time, money and increase the durability of your rig. We’ve covered some auto repair tips before, but these new additions will help make your life easier and promote a “healthy” vehicle.
Before handing your vehicle over to your auto service center, make sure they give you a detailed, written estimate of the repairs they anticipate performing. If there is an issue with your vehicle you are unaware about, make sure before you pay a mechanic for repairs they explain to you what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how much the labor and parts will cost. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
It’s important that the 4×4 mechanic you choose has the proper certification to perform maintenance on a vehicle. You should look to see that the National Institute for Automotive Excellence has given him or her their seal of approval. The most important thing though is to trust they have a certain amount of experience and skills necessary to work on your car.
Familiarize yourself with your vehicle as much as possible, and you may be able to help diagnose a problem without spending more money than necessary. Research common issues associated with your car on message boards, the internet and through other owners with your make. In addition, if you can get a better understanding on how cars operate and are designed, you will more prepared when a mechanic attempts to explain issues.
Make sure to have detailed records of your car on hand and available to give to your mechanics. If you have a detailed service history, you will be able to save time and money and your mechanic will be able to rule out certain problems and diagnose a potential problem more efficiently. After getting your bill, put it in a safe place so you won’t lose it.
If you’re going to buy aftermarket parts, make sure they’re high quality or serve a specific purpose that OEM parts wouldn’t be able to otherwise provide. Unless you’re doing some modification that will improve your vehicle, it’s usually a good idea to stick to OEM parts. Using generic parts may be a less expensive alternative, but they can wear out quicker and end up burning a bigger hole in your pocket. Buying generic parts means you might have to purchase the same parts again and pay a mechanic to change them within the next few years.
Make sure to wash your vehicle regularly, especially during the winter. Salt and ice can cake on the undercarriage of your car and can cause rust or other damage creating problems that will cost money.
If you’re going to work on your vehicle yourself or perform any sort of 4×4 service, don’t buy cheap tools. The better quality of tools you have, the easier it will be to execute a job safely and effectively. If you have a large truck or SUV, be prepared to purchase a jack and stands that will support its weight.
If you’re going to work on your brakes, bleed them after performing any work on them and give them a pump. Check to see if there are any leaks because running low on brake fluid can cause problems and be unsafe. In addition to the brake fluid, regularly check other fluids in the rear differential, transfer case, transmission, radiator and anywhere else that uses liquid to cool or grease moving parts.
If you run out of washer fluid, don’t refill it with water, this can actually cause damage to its system. In addition to the threat of freezing, using water can damage the components of the system. Make sure it’s always topped off, especially in the winter when your windshield gets the dirtiest.
Follow these helpful tips and your car and wallet will both be happy. Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you.