Q: How often should I change the oil in my car?
A: I recommend that you change your oil every 6,000 Km or every six months, which ever comes first, unless instructed to do otherwise by your vehicle’s Manufacturer. Regular oil changes are the single most cost-effective way to preserve and extend the life of your motor.A: I recommend that you change your oil every 6,000 Km or every six months, which ever comes first, unless instructed to do otherwise by your vehicle’s Manufacturer. Regular oil changes are the single most cost-effective way to preserve and extend the life of your motor.
Q: How often should I get my car tuned up?
A: I recommend a regular tune-up every 12 months or 20,000 Km, which ever comes first, unless specified otherwise by your vehicle’s Manufacturer.
Q: How often should I rotate the tires on my car?
A: The tires on your vehicle should be rotated once a year and always front to back. You should never rotate your tires side to side as this causes increased wear and poor grip in wet conditions for approximately two weeks while cutting in a new rotational pattern. Additionally, many modern tires are unidirectional in design. At Vancouver West Motors we always put the best pair of tires on the front axle of front-wheel drive cars. On a front-wheel drive vehicle the front tires carry the load in terms of steering, braking and driving traction.
Q: What is synthetic oil? Should I use synthetic oil in my car?
A: Synthetic oil is composed of designer molecules created by engineers for their superior lubricating characteristics. Synthetic oil has been shown in independent laboratory tests to do a better job of both lubricating engine parts and in controlling internal engine combustion deposits. Check with the specifications of your vehicle Manufacturer to see if it’s applicable to your vehicle. I recommend synthetic oil for all 1998 and newer Audis, Volkswagens and imports. I don’t think it’s necessary for older vehicles.
Q: Can I use synthetic oil in my standard transmission?
A: Possibly. Check with the Manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle. Synthetic oil may actually be too slippery in some applications. For example some syncro gear assemblies do not slow down quickly enough in synthetic oil because of the low co-efficient of friction of synthetic oil. This causes high gear selection, which may result in the sound of grinding gears when shifting into third and fourth gear. I suggest sticking with the Manufacturer’s recommended fluid.
Q: How often do I need to check the transmission in my car?
A: For vehicles equipped with an Automatic Transmission I recommend a check every 2 years or 48,000 Km. The presence of dirty transmission fluid during a routine check or poor shift quality are indicators that something may be amiss. I also ask all my customers if they use their car as a tow-vehicle. Towing even a light trailer may necessitate more regular check-ups as a greater load on the transmission equals greater wear of the transmission components.
For vehicles equipped with a Manual or Standard Transmission I recommend regular inspection of the transmission fluid and fluid levels. The condition of the transmission fluid is often the first indication of a possible problem. Any presence of metal in the fluid may indicate bearing failure or broken gear teeth.
Q: Should I wait until my car is running poorly or has a problem before I get it checked?
A: No, the cost of doing even relatively minor vehicle repairs is almost always more expensive than a program of regularly scheduled maintenance. Routine maintenance will often identify small problems that may become bigger and certainly more costly if left to deteriorate further. You don’t always wait until you’re sick to see your Family Doctor. Just like you, your car can benefit from a regular check-up! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Q: Why is it so important to get my vehicle's fluids and lubricants checked every year?
A: I recommend biannual fluid, lubricant and coolant check-ups. A brake flush is very important because brake fluid can absorb atmospheric moisture. This can really compromise your brake-system performance, causing poor pedal feel and brake fade. In extreme cases the moisture will actually lower the boiling point of your brake fluid, possibly leading to failure but also causing corrosion and damage to your wheel calipers, wheel cylinders, master cylinder and brake lines. The same problem occurs with engine coolant. Diluted engine coolant will have a lower boiling point, which may lead to over-heating. Corrosion and deposits can damage your radiator and water pump.
Q: Why do my brakes squeal and make noise after I just had them changed?
A: Brake squeal is a common occurrence after a new brake job and is caused by the harmonization of brake components due to dust, moisture and vibration. Brake squeal is NOT an indication of brake pad or brake rotor thickness. During the installation of new brake components in a brake job, cleanliness and a thorough lubrication of contact points in the brake system is very important. Lower quality brake pads will often give off a lot of dust, compounding the problem of brake squeal.
Q: Why should I spend extra money to have my routine maintenance done at a full service garage when I can get it done at a fast lube facility for twenty dollars less?
A: The attendants at a fast lube facility are not trained mechanics and they don’t have the time or training to look for other problems. When we do your routine maintenance we remove the wheels from your vehicle and inspect the brakes, we inspect the exhaust system, and we remove ignition components to check for wear and the state of tune your car is in. And if we see anything out of the ordinary we can bring it to your immediate attention. If we spot a problem we’ll give you an estimate of what it will cost to fix. Problems that are caught early tend to be less expensive than problems that go unnoticed until a part breaks. It’s almost always cheaper to replace a worn part rather than a broken part. We think that a routine maintenance program for your vehicle by a trained mechanic will save you significant money in the long-term. We also believe that the peace of mind in knowing that your vehicle is well maintained and cared for is well worth the slightly extra cost.
Q: When is it time to sell my car?
A: For most of us, our cars are our daily transportation. As attached as we may get to them, we need our cars to be safe, reliable and dependable. I suggest to people that it may be time to consider selling their vehicle when the yearly cost to repair it exceeds the monthly payments on a similar vehicle.