General Auto Repair
Like most motorists today, you may be keeping your car longer. Anything Automotive is pleased to offer a wide variety of the most commonly requested auto maintenance and auto repair services which include: oil changes, brake services, timing belt replacements, A/C services, tune-ups, and so much more. Anything Automotive can help make general auto repair worry free.
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You know you should change your oil at regular, reasonable intervals to make sure your car runs smoothly but a common question remains: How often should you change your oil? What is a reasonable amount of time — or mileage — between oil changes?
Consumer Reports recommends checking your oil level at least once a month. Be sure to get your auto repairs done at the first sign of a leak.
Check the owner’s manual and follow your automaker’s recommendations for general auto repairs. Some newer cars have electronic oil monitors and don’t have traditional dipsticks for manual inspection. The car’s service manual is the best way to learn how to maintain your car. It was written by the factory representatives who designed and built the car. It stands to reason that they should also know how best to keep everything running smoothly.
If you do have a dipstick, and you’re checking it yourself, make sure the car is parked on level ground. If the engine has been running, be aware of potential hot spots under the hood.
With the engine off, open the car’s hood and find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off from its end. Then insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in.
Pull it back out, and this time quickly look at both sides of the dipstick to see where the oil is on the end. Every dipstick has some way of indicating the proper oil level, whether it be two pinholes, the letters L and H (low and high), the words MIN and MAX, or simply an area of crosshatching. If the top of the oil “streak” is between the two marks or within the crosshatched area, the level is fine.
But if the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add oil.
Pay close attention to the oil’s color. It should appear brown or black. But if it has a light, milky appearance, this could mean coolant is leaking into the engine. Look closely for any metal particles, too, because this could mean there is internal engine damage. If you see either of these conditions, get the car to Anything Automotive for further diagnosis.
If everything is okay, wipe off the dipstick again and insert it back into its tube, making sure it’s fully seated. Close the hood and you’re done.
Check Engine lights
The Check Engine light — more formally known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) — is a signal from the car’s engine computer that something is wrong. Prior to 1996, carmakers had their own engine diagnostic systems, primarily to ensure their cars were compliant with Environmental Protection Agency pollution-control requirements. Starting with model-year 1996, automakers standardized their systems under a protocol called OBD-II, which stipulated a standardized list of diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) and mandated that all cars provide a universal connector to access this information. It’s usually located under the steering column and is easy to access.
Check Engine lights come in orange, yellow or amber, depending on the manufacturer. If the light begins flashing, however, it indicates a more serious problem, such as a misfire that can quickly overheat the catalytic converter. These emissions devices operate at high temperatures to cut emissions but can pose a fire hazard if faulty.
But even with the code and its meaning in hand, do-it-yourself interpretation can be a little tricky — even if you are mechanically inclined.
Occasionally, the Check Engine light comes on when nothing is wrong with the car. It could be a temporary problem caused by a change in humidity or other factors. In such cases, the light should go off by itself after a short time.
five most common Check Engine light codes in order of frequency:
- Oxygen sensor (part of the emissions system, monitoring and helping adjust the air-fuel mixture)
- Loose gas cap
- Catalytic converter
- Mass airflow sensor (monitoring the amount of air mixed in the fuel injection system. A never-replaced air filter might be responsible for its failure.)
- Spark plug wires
Whatever you do though, don’t ignore work that needs to be done. This post outlines some of the most basic repairs that people tend to overlook on their cars. Delaying preventive maintenance or obvious problems, sounds, or leaks will inevitably lead you to more expensive and time-consuming repairs down the road. No worries, Anything Automotive has superior Automotive Technicians that provide honest recommendations for all your vehicles needs.