Some of you are too young to remember “back in the day” when you went to the gas station to fill up. Back then, a nice attendant would come running out, pump the gas for you, lift the hood, take a look around, and check your oil. If you were a little low on oil, he would fill it up. If you needed something else done, he would inform you and most likely, if neither of you were too busy, he would take care of it then and there. If you were busy, you’d be back for another fill up soon enough and he would take care of it then.
Now, that was service.
These days, things are quite different, but even so, when you stop for gas, you should still do a couple of things.
At each fill up you should:
- Check engine oil level and add as required
- Check windshield washer solvent and add if required
And once a month you should:
- Check tire pressure and look for unusual wear or damage
- Inspect battery and clean and tighten terminals as required
- Check fluid levels of coolant reservoir, power steering, brake master cylinder, and transmission, and add fluid as needed
- Check all lights and all other electrical items for correct operation
At every oil change you should:
- Inspect the exhaust system
- Inspect the brake hoses
- Rotate tires at each oil change interval shown on schedule “A” (highway miles) or every other interval as shown on schedule “B” (stop and go miles)
- Check coolant level, hoses, and clamps
- After completion of off-road operation, the underside of the vehicle should be thoroughly inspected
- Examine threaded fasteners for looseness
That is what the kindly, full-service gas station attendant used to do for us. Now that everything is self serve, we tend to drive up, fill up, and drive off. But, think about it. Do you check your engine oil level or your washer solvent at each fuel stop? Do you monthly check your tire pressure, inspect your battery, and check fluid levels, lights, and other electrical items?
Most people never lift the hood of their car or even look at their tires, much less check the pressure. Some people who come into our shop in a hurry only want an oil change because they think that everything else seems fine.
While it is true that our cars are increasingly sophisticated pieces of machinery and that our oil is better able to withstand a couple of extra thousand miles between changes, what about all of those other services that the gas station attendant used to take care of for us?
If you only see me twice a year (or less) think about what can go wrong between visits without someone lifting the hood and checking your tire pressure and fluid levels. You should be visiting your mechanic at least once a quarter to really get an solid idea of your car’s health.
Remember, those of us in the industry are here because we love cars, trucks, and SUVs! We want them to run at peak efficiency so that they are safe and reliable for you. Don’t be a stranger. Stop on by and let your car care provider lift the hood for you!