Hi, my name is Angela, and as the wife of a mechanic, I was constantly tripping over car parts and complaining about the rows of project cars lining our garden. However, after a few years, I quit complaining and actually found joy in the art of auto repair. Inspired by that classic book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", I decided to start working on cars with my husband. This blog is the culmination of everything I have learned and more. I hope you enjoy reading it and that my tips and ideas guide you toward a healthier car and a happier, safer driving experience.
You may know how important it is to service your car's engine on a regular basis. You may also understand how much you rely on the braking system and are sure to get this checked out in accordance with manufacturer recommendations, as well. However, while your focus is on the more obvious tasks you may be overlooking some simple, but nevertheless crucial areas that can help to prolong the life expectancy of the car and reduce your overall running costs. What are you missing?
A Tale of Two Belts
A modern-day automobile can be a very complex machine. You may not know a lot about all the mechanical components, but you may be aware that the engine drives a lot of critical accessories when it is turning.
You may be careful to check the condition of the drive belt that powers the water pump, alternator or compressor, but you may be overlooking the all-important timing belt, which connects the camshaft to the crankshaft.
Certainly, some engines have external belts and the engine timing belt may be the same as the accessory belt, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, the timing belt will be internal and its condition is critical to not just performance but engine longevity. In the worst-case scenario, a belt could slip or break and this could allow the valves and pistons to collide, causing catastrophic failure.
While this is an area you should focus on due to the potential repercussions, the less critical areas can help with fuel economy and passenger comfort.
When was the last time that you had your fuel system cleaned? While manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure that the petrol you put in your tank is as clean as possible, over time you can expect a buildup of sludge, dirt and even carbon. This will cause poor fuel economy and sluggish performance unless you schedule a cleaning periodically. You can also add a fuel additive to your petrol tank to help with this situation.
Moving inside the car, are you embarrassed to give anybody a lift because of the smell? Is this even worse when you start up the car on a hot day, as a particularly obnoxious aroma comes out of the A/C? This is due to a clogged cabin air filter that is supposed to filter out those bad smells. The filter can accumulate a lot of dirt and as it is exposed to wet conditions on one side, can also attract mould and mildew spores.
Rectifying the Situation
Make sure that the filter is on your list of items to be checked at your next car servicing, and don't forget to ask the mechanic in case you've missed anything else.Share