Extending the Life Of Your Car
Why do some people get 200,000 or more miles on their car, when other cars seem to fall apart after 80,000? The answer is simple – routine maintenance. Many people have come to believe that changing the oil every 3,000, or 7,500 or even 10,000 miles is all that is needed to maintain a car. If you head down that road your car will only last 80,000 miles.
The auto manufacturers have done a great job in extending the necessary service intervals for traditional maintenance services. But go ahead and look in your vehicle owner’s manual. You will see several important maintenance services recommended. In general, the recommendations are to have the following services done every 30,000 miles.
Transmission flush. This service flushes 16 quarts of new automatic transmission fluid through both the automatic transmission and the torque converter. In the past 3 to 4 years, many vehicle manufacturers have developed fluids specifically for their transmissions. These fluids cost more, but really should be used. We do not recommend using a universal fluid and adding 1 pint of “magic modifier” to change it. Alternatively, a remanufactured transmission with 36,000-mile warranty is about $2,500.
Coolant flush. Most 2000 and newer vehicles have an extended life coolant, or anti-freeze. Extended life coolant is usually orange, red or blue in color. Here in Ridgeland, the most important job of the coolant is to protect against internal corrosion of the engine, radiator, and heater. If you have an extended life coolant, you can wait until 50,000 miles before flushing, and then every 30,000 miles, or 2 years thereafter. If you have the traditional green coolant, you should have a coolant flush every 24,000 miles at a maximum. It is really better to flush the green coolant every year. Alternatively, a new radiator will be between $350 and $500, a new heater core can be $350 to $1000, and a new water pump $300 to $600.
Air Induction Cleaning. This service cleans the throttle body, air intake passages, valves, and fuel injectors. Do not confuse this with a fuel injection only cleaning. This service removes wax, tar, and grime that build up in the upper third of the engine. These deposits rob fuel and restrict air flow. They cause difficult starting in the morning, rough idle at traffic lights, poorer acceleration, and increased vehicle pollutant emission.
Rear differential service. This service replaces the 3 quarts of gear oil in the rear axle of SUV’s, pick-ups, and other rear wheel drive vehicles. (Front wheel drive vehicles have their differential serviced as part of the automatic transmission flush.) If you tow a trailer regularly, you should have this done every 15,000 miles. If you tow a trailer occasionally, service this every 30,000 miles. If you never tow a trailer, every 50,000 miles. Rebuilding a rear differential costs between $800 to $1,500 dollars.
The above services are more important than changing your spark plugs. They will add considerable life to some of the most expensive components on your vehicle.