Today’s motor vehicles are a highly complicated piece of machinery, with numerous separate systems that need to be linked and working in unison to provide safe and reliable motoring. All of these systems require regular servicing and maintenance in order to keep performing at their peak. Many people believe that a car service simply involves draining and refilling the engine oil, and replacing the oil filter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although cars have become so much more reliable since the introduction of computer systems controlling most aspects of the car, this also means that there are so many more components and systems that require constant attention. Although scan tools can provide a mechanic with valuable information, contrary to popular belief, they provide no answers, but merely guide the technician to an area that then needs to be tested & diagnosed with a regimented list of steps to follow.
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New cars are always delivered with a log book that lays out the maximum time and distance that the manufacturer demands between services, as well as each function that needs to be followed to complete each service. Some items will need to be checked or replaced at every service, while others may only need attention every 150,000 kilometres, and these periods have been set through rigorous testing and evaluation of their products. These log books also have a section listing extra checks and items to be replaced in “Extreme conditions”. This may include constant high speed running, running in dusty conditions, or short distance driving, or driving in heavy stop/start traffic conditions, to name a few. All of these condition can increase the loads and stresses on certain components, meaning more frequent attention is required. Although all of these demands & recommendations from the vehicle manufacturer are required to maintain the new car warranty, by continuing this regiment throughout the life of the vehicle will result in significantly less repair costs, as small issues can be resolved before major component failures are created.
Due to the improvements made in manufacturing processes over the years, all aspects of cars have generally become more reliable, and are often sealed units, requiring less individual maintenance. This means that for many cars, most services are only “minor services, taking between 45 minutes and an hour and a half to complete. The occasional air filter or cabin filter may need to be replaced, but spark plugs and fuel filters are often not needed in petrol engine cars any more frequently that 100000+kms. Engines that are fitted with timing belts, as opposed to timing chains, will require the belt to be replaced anywhere between 60000 and 150000 kilometres, so very often those 100000 kilometre services tend to be very expensive in comparison to the regular service. But even this cost will pale into insignificance to the repair cost to the engine if the timing belt does break.
Diesel powered vehicles will require considerably more frequent fuel filter changes, but are not fitted with spark plugs. Other than the engine side, servicing will require regular inspection, testing and maintenance to all other components, to ensure that nothing is wearing to the point of failure before the next due service. The multitude of fluids require constant monitoring for both condition and quantity and when necessary, these need to be drained, components flushed out 7 the fluid replaced to prevent either premature wear, or chemical reactions, that can destroy components. Coolant for instance will turn acidic over a long period of time, which will see it corrode components that it previously protected. Brakes are inspected for leaks, wear and operation, and may require periodical adjustment and cleaning. Brake fluid also requires regular replacement (usually about every 2 years) as it is what is known as hydroscopic. This means that over time it absorbs moisture from the air, which is then held in suspension within the fluid. Once the brakes are then used, particularly in more extreme situations, like towing, high speed or downhill driving, the fluid heats to a point that this moisture boils and creates pockets of gas.
As gas is a compressible state, this results in, at best a very low and soft brake pedal feel, or at worst, complete brake failure. Tyre condition & pressures as well as all suspension and steering components need to be tested regularly, to ensure safe operation, and optimal tyre wear. Drive belts and cooling system hoses are other components that deteriorate with use, and regular servicing will detect this deterioration, so that they can be replaced before failure that could cause further damage. Electrical system need to be checked, and often light bulbs will be required as they tend to blow quite regularly these days. Many of the systems are computer controlled and by connecting the scan tool, we can view any fault codes that may have been logged since the last service. Very often codes will be logged through low battery charge situations, or other readily explainable occurrences that provide the computer with a piece of data that it was not expecting at that time. Often these can be logged before being cleared and will not return again. Other codes will require further investigation. On many cars the scan tool is also needed to rest the service due warning light or text. Road tests are also a very important part of any service, preferably both before and after the service. A road test before the service may highlight a potential issue to a technician, that the regular driver may not have picked up. Not only is the mechanic trained to detect issues, many times a problem may develop over such a long period of time, that the regular driver doesn’t realise the changes, until after the issue is repaired and the car performs as it originally did.
At Viva Auto repairs, we offer a wide range of services for your car. Our minor car service will give you a full written report and includes a full safety check of all lights, electrical equipment, brake system, suspension and steering. All fluid levels are checked and topped up. Brakes are cleaned and adjusted where applicable, tyres (including the spare tyre) are checked for condition and pressure and tyre black is applied. Engine oil and oil filter is changed using quality parts, air filter & cabin filter are checked and cleaned or replaced as necessary. Wiper blades tested are replaced if necessary and the vehicle is road tested. Manufacturer log book servicing is done to manufactures specifications and using the correct parts to maintain your new car warranty. Service reminder lights are reset where necessary and a reminder sticker is affixed to you windscreen. We will also send you a service reminder by mail or SMS. Other services that we offer may include, tune up (although not often required on modern cars as everything is computer controlled), transmission services, cooling system flush and refill, and any other fluid replaced as necessary. 4WD vehicle services tend to be more involved due to extra components that may need checking and/or greasing, and also due to the sometimes very extreme condition through which they get driven. We can also service and adjust LPG systems to maintain optimal efficiency. We are also licensed to service and re-gas automotive air conditioning, and have the equipment to find any leaks or faults in the system.
Our aim is to keep you on the road in a safe and reliable vehicle and regular comprehensive servicing is certainly the best way to maintain this.