Cars are an interesting proposition. For some, they are a way of life, a reflection of their lifestyle and for others they are just a mode of point-to-point transport. Irrespective of the perspective you have, it is the second most heavily invested asset following your dream home.
Naturally, it’s quite obvious to take care of your prized possession so that it can serve you in a hassle-free manner for years.
Car-servicing is generally a time-consuming and sometimes expensive aspect of owning a car. Well, it’s not so inconvenient if you follow some of the steps to maintain your car.
Benefits of maintaining your car via timely service
- Safety is of utmost importance and regularly maintaining your car will keep it in a safe drivable state.
- Increase reliability – so you can avoid unforeseen breakdowns and being stranded
- Lesser visits to the car workshop by identifying and resolving issues during periodic maintenance
- Much higher resale value for your old car when you want to trade in for a new one!
- Lower overall cost of ownership for you
With car that is regularly maintained, it becomes fantastic to experience and drive.
What’s generally included in a ‘manufacturer’ recommended regular car service?
- First and foremost a test drive in the car to identify any symptoms or issues in acceleration, gear changes, suspension, abnormal noises, etc.
- Checking of the engine oil for either top up or complete replacement – based on your car’s specific service interval (could be every 10,000 km or 15,000 km or 12 months whichever comes earlier), engine oil would need to be completely replaced
- Along with the engine oil – the oil filter would have to be replaced too at every service.
- The air filter of the car needs to be checked and cleaned (or if in a state that it cannot be cleaned, it has to be replaced). A clean air filter is essential to ensure proper flow of air into the engine and ensure efficient working of the engine
- Checking of the coolant level and top ups or replacement as required. As long as the right coolant mix is in the radiator, it would prevent the engine from overheating
- Inspection and cleaning (or replacement) of brake pads on all wheels is an essential part of scheduled service. If the brake pads or discs are worn beyond recommended levels, then they would need replacement.
- Inspection and cleaning of spark plugs (in case of a petrol car). Rest of the vehicle would need to be thoroughly checked for any electrical issues, proper functioning of the car AC, fused bulbs, proper functioning of gear and clutch, tyre wear, body damages, refill of windshield washer fluid etc.
- The car battery needs to be inspected, tested for proper voltage, terminals cleaned and distilled water topped up
- Based on the initial test drive, if the vehicle tends to ‘pull’ towards either left or right on a straight road, then the car is in need of wheel alignment and probably balancing as well.
- Some of the recent car models require a service interval reset or a scan of the vehicle using a diagnostics tool
- In some cars there would be more work to be done based on the age or mileage – refer to your car owner’s manual or ask your service advisor for details.
- Finally a complete car wash and depending on the condition of the interiors you could opt for an interior shampoo/foam cleaning. You will have a fully refreshed car back with you after this
Now that you know the “why” and “what”. let’s get on with the “how” part.
There are certain things that one has to keep in mind while maintaining his car and getting them serviced in a timely manner.
- Follow your vehicle’s service manual to identify your service intervals (“when your car needs a service”).
- Keep track of services carried out on your car (“Service history” – usually through previous service bills).
- Choose the right service provider for your car who offers good value pricing and convenience. If your car is under warranty, then any manufacturer authorized car workshop would be the recommended choice. However after the expiry of warranty, you could look at alternate options if you need
- Get the service done in your presence if time permits, so you know what exactly is being done to your car. If not, at least make the service advisor explain to you what work is to be carried out and why along with evidence (e.g. pictures of worn out brake-pads).
- Ensure you don’t miss or over-run your service intervals. In addition to the regular service, it is recommended to get the car inspected every quarter to be absolutely safe.
Cars like all other machines need regular maintenance and if you take proper care of them, the lower the chances that they will let you down on a drive.
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