Monday, September 22, 2014

Car Servicing Basics: What To Be Aware Of

A car service is never easy to deal with and often, as a result of fearing the hefty bill our mechanic might hand over, we can put off visiting our local garage for as long as possible. Unless as the result of a breakdown or as a result of the dreaded annual check up; many drivers will rarely ensure that their car is regularly checked for faults but is this a good habit for drivers to have?

Car servicing will ensure that whatever the age of your vehicle, all the vital components remain in the best working condition for as long as possible. As such an intricate yet volatile piece of equipment, it is important to remain aware that there are many things that could go wrong with a vehicle at any time. For this reason, drivers should know how to spot a problem and how to stop it turning into a big one!

Whatever the vehicle, there are many issues to watch but below are a few of the most problematic that should be dealt with and serviced right away...

  • Brakes- It is important that all drivers remain aware of how their brakes operate. Complexities aside, your brake pads apply pressure and friction to your brake rotors which in turn slow down and stop your vehicle. As expected these can understandably wear and tear overtime. One of the main errors that drivers can make is not knowing at what point brakes require replacement-leaving it too long and being clueless is not exactly the wisest move. Are there any unusual scraping sounds when you use your brakes? Can you feel any vibrations and do the pads themselves feel soft and mushy? Keep a close eye on your brakes and the moment something feels or sounds unusual it is best to get it checked out. Ignoring your brakes is definitely a bad move.

  • Lights- Today's cars are built with electronic systems, these systems include sensors which are connected to different areas of a vehicle and are designed to essentially pick up on any faults that they may have had. These faults are then reported to you on your dashboard in the form of warning lights. From a coolant warning light to oil warning and even brake lights; the moment we see anything we know that we will generally need to take action right away. What is difficult to understand is why, despite knowing that these warnings are indeed a warning, we seem to profoundly ignore our check engine lights. None of these warning lights will appear at a convenient time and it can be frustrating but ignoring them is a big no. One of the basic car facts that all drivers need to be aware of is that any warning lights should be dealt with immediately. Whether it is your oil, your brakes or your engine; deal with it as soon as possible for your own safety.

  • Cambelt- A cambelt or timing belt is one of the most important components of an engine. Controlling the motion between a cars crankshaft and camshaft which in turn opens and closes the engines valves; the cambelt is essentially crucial to how the entire system operates. No engine can operate without a fully functioning cambelt. Unfortunately despite its importance, the cambelt is not immune to wear and tear and as a result it can very easily and unexpectedly snap. If a cambelt snaps, the damage to a vehicle can be catastrophic and an engine replacement is often the only solution. Nobody wants to face this colossal cost yet surprisingly there are many drivers who aren't fully aware of when they will need to replace their cambelt. Manufacturers will provide a standard interval in which a cambelt change should take place but check your manual as this may differ according to vehicles. For those purchasing a second-hand car, be sure to check when the cambelt was last replaced. A snapped cambelt is a servicing nightmare but a cambelt replacement is as easy as pie.

No driver likes to deal with car horrors and visiting the mechanic is never exactly on the top of our last but if we expect our cars to look after us then we need to look after it. There are a number of issues to keep an eye on but monitoring and being aware of warning lights, your brake pads and your cambelt can ensure that the next time you aren't faced with an unexpected visit to the mechanic and a disastrous cost!

Thomas Robson is the development Manager at Central Audi VW; Birmingham's leading Audi, VW, SEAT and Skoda specialists. From MOT to car servicing, the specialist mechanics can provide everything you need.
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