Think outside the basic oil change
The busy driving season is almost here, and with the additional miles you’ll be putting on your vehicle, it’s only natural to take it in for an oil change. Here are three easy items your dealer can do “while they’re in there.”
Cabin Air Filter – It’s likely that the engine oil and filter change will include at least an inspection of the engine’s air filter. After all, it’s important that the engine breathes debris-free air, and enough of it. A filter that’s been in service for a while or seen harsh conditions will flow less air than your engine needs to do its best and operate at peak efficiency. A new filter helps the powerplant breathe easy, but what about the air you breathe?
Many cars today have cabin air filters. It’s not always easy to remember it’s there, let alone change it. Forget about the cabin filter, and it can become shockingly funky, and not in a musical way. Some filters are easy to change, others are more involved. Either way, the service technicians at your dealership will know what to do and how to do it, and that should have you sighing with relief.
Wiper blades – Your blades deal with weather conditions which would make you pack up and go home. That’s what your wiper blades dealt with all winter. While the world was frozen solid, you relied on the wipers to remain flexible. Now that they’ve done their job, and before the rains of spring and summer finish up, take the opportunity to retire the old blades.
It’s easy to forget about the wiper blades until the next time you really need them. If they’ve seen better days, it’s going to make your day that much worse. Old wiper blades will smear, chatter, and obscure your visibility more than they help.
Check the brakes – If they’re swapping tires, your tech will have the clearest view you can get of the braking hardware. It may not be time to replace the linings, but it’s worth looking, and a quick visual inspection now can help you save hundreds later. Not only that, you’ll be able to get an accurate idea of how many miles you’ve got left on your brake linings, which is helpful for planning.
Let your brake linings go too long without inspection and you’ll be in for seriously bad news at some point. A sticking caliper costs you at least three times, and it sneaks up on you by being quiet at first. You’ll burn through a lot of extra fuel if it’s sticking and not fully releasing. It could be as simple as lubricating the guide pins, or it may be more involved to repair.
Either way, it’s going to wear out the brake pads in silence before you notice any symptoms, and by then, you’ve lost efficiency, you need brake pads, and the underlying problem will still need repair. Avoiding this kind of check because you don’t want to spend the money often means you’ll be paying more in the future, sometimes the near future.
Your dealer’s service department may even suggest these items to you when you come in. It’s their job to help keep you safe on the road and help you avoid nasty surprises later.