Very often people get confused and do not completely understand what exactly car maintenance is. I have already pointed out in my last post why it is important at all and deserves more attention than it is usually given. So now let me put it in very simple way what it all covers. It is preventative services you are advised to do by car manufacturers every some amount of miles in order to prevent bigger damage to happen as well as help your vehicle last as long as possible by keeping all parts in tact.
1. Tune up. You most likely have heard that before and it is simply related to the spark plugs and spark plug wires if applicable on your vehicle. Because they are a vital part of the combustion system it is advisable to change them at 100k miles to increase your gas mileage and overall performance, efficiency of the engine.
2. LOF. Sounds fancy but it is just a regular engine oil change that is recommended to be done every 3-6k miles (or once every 3 months to half year) depending on the type of oil you are using. Conventional/synthetic blend will usually last you 3-4k miles and full synthetic 5-6k miles. The only difference between those types of oil are really just additives and minerals that let full synthetic one withstand higher temperatures and oxidation, therefore last longer. I know some car's manual, especially in newer cars, will tell you to go over 10k miles but believe me there is no engine oil in the world that has a lifetime of 10k miles. When it stops doing its job all the pressure goes on the engine. I will elaborate on that in my next blog post. So in general, LOF assures your engine is running smoothly and all the parts are lubricated properly. Due to high temperatures oil tends to thicken and sludge can form leaving harmful deposits that oxidize and can damage engine from inside out.
3. 4x4 service. This service covers front and rear differentials as well as transfer case fluid replacement. Can be done together or separately but nevertheless they all are responsible for the whole drive line and proper wheel engagement when you are on the road. As any other fluid it wears from friction and heat and if not maintained and changed could cause noises and component damage.
4. Transmission filter service. Can be offered together with transmission flush or separately. Like when changing engine oil, you are replacing engine oil filter, the same is with the transmission. The only difference is when you are changing just an AT filter, you are changing about half of the fluid because the rest still remains in the transmission. When a complete transmission flush is performed, you use a machine to force all new fluid in pushing old one out. As for the importance of all services let me give you an example. Every 20 degree increase in operating temperature above 175F cuts the life of the fluid in half. At 195F fluid life is reduced to 50k miles. At 220F, which is commonly encountered in many transmissions, the fluid is only good for about 25k mile. That is why statistically 90% of transmissions failure is due to the old fluids which we usually believed to last the whole lifetime of the vehicle. When the fluid is getting old it loses all of its benefits that contribute to the lubrication/cooling of the transmission parts, prevent smudge formation, parts wear and eventual failure. And it takes just one little part to fail for your transmission to go out.
5. Fluid flushes: coolant flush, power steering flush, fuel/air induction system flush and brake flush. In general, since they all are fluids they lose its effectiveness when exposed to high pressure and temperature as well as tend to form harmful deposits causing abrasive wear of the parts inside all assemblies. For example, brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that absorbs moisture as one of its properties to protect the system from rusting from inside out. Now imagine one of those vital systems not working properly or efficiently enough to keep you safe on the road. Generally, whenever fluid looks dark visually and smells burnt it needs to be changed.