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Auto Maintenance FAQ’s

 How long do wiper blades generally last?

You know, depending on the heat, wiper blades can last quite a long time, upwards of two, maybe even three, four years. Here in Chico though, when the wiper arm or the wiper blade is sitting on the windshield, it literally cooks it during the summertime. So, for optimal performance, I would suggest replacing your wiper blades once every year or every other year, preferably in the early fall.

What are signs a timing belt needs replacement?

Now, there’s no indication as far as looking at the belt. If you look at an old belt and a new belt, pretty hard to tell the difference. But what happens is the belt will, the teeth will fall off, or you’ll start to get a little rip in the edge of it. So, each manufacturer has a different recommended mileage or date time. It’s usually anywhere from 60,000 or 5 years, or 105,000 and 10 years.

Funny story how that came to be, all timing belts were recommended at 60,000 miles. Then, Consumer Reports started monitoring the cost of a car over a 10-year period. So, magically after that, all of the car manufacturers started saying that a timing belt was due at 105,000. So nothing really changed there. They just pushed the maintenance off until after Consumer Reports reported it.

Is it true that cars with 50,000 or more miles have timing chain problems?

The only time we ever see that is when the oil changes were done with the incorrect oil. So, if your car says it needs synthetic oil and you’re putting conventional oil in it, you’re going to have problems like that. Because the timing chain tensioner is powered by the oil pressure. And if oil pressure isn’t able to build up at that timing chain tensioner, then yeah, you’re going to have those issues where you’re not having enough pressure put on the timing chain. It’s going to click. It’s going to knock.

The guides that keep the chain in place, they get worn because not the correct amount of oil is lubricating it. So, it starts out with the oil change. Use the correct oil and do them on time. Going a thousand or a couple thousand miles overdue really can affect the oiling component’s performance and life.

Do I need a new oil filter every time I get an oil change?

The manufacturer on some vehicles will say you can do it every other oil change. But with the cost of oil filters these days, all oil shops or all shops that change oil, they put that in with the cost of the oil change. So just do it at the same time.

How often should my vehicle’s fluid levels be checked and refilled?

If you have a leak in any one of those areas, then it needs to be checked as often as every time you get gas. Other than that, a standard vehicle that someone’s been keeping up on it, every time you get an oil change is good enough.

How will my vehicle be affected if there’s too much or too little air pressure in the tires?

Well if you imagine if you were to get a bowling ball and push it down a very long road, it would almost go forever. Now if you get a flat tire and push it, it’s really hard to push a flat tire. So, as you can see, the more tire pressure in your tire, the better mileage you’re going to get. But tires have regulations and they’ll state on the side the max allowable pressure. Those pressures should be set according to what the tire says. Or else, too much pressure in a tire can blow it out.

Host: For safety reasons then.

Robert: For safety reasons, yeah.

Host: All right, so better mileage with higher pressure, but don’t exceed the recommended highest pressure of the tire.

Robert: Correct.

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