The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and
contrary to some beliefs, today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to
keep them performing at the most efficient levels.
As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions.
If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go. As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected: battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.
To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter
Mechanical failure - an inconvenience anytime it occurs - can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. A well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.
Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.
Engine Performance - Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters - air, fuel, etc.
Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent - you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
Carry emergency gear - gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer
Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too! Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.
Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended - more often in dusty conditions. Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Emergencies - Carry some basic tools - ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first-aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.
Keeping your vehicle in tune with the environment is definitely a win-win
situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and
operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last
longer - up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master
The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.
First time customer- car was making a noise that I thought might be the brakes. Dropped car off at 9 am and had a call with a quote for new brakes by 9:30 am. The job was done the same day at a very reasonable price. I will be going back to these guys and would recommended them to anyone else.
Amazing service! I took my car in for an oil change, and brought in headlights & taillights for them to change. They did everything the same day and changed my lights for free! Turns out I had brought in the wrong kind of headlight, but they installed one they had on hand and asked me to bring them a replacement whenever was convenient for me to "reimburse" them for the part. Said he didn't want me to be pulled over for having a burnt out headlight. I couldn't believe it! Kind, friendly people who are quick, efficient, and reasonably priced. You can't beat it!
I have been there a few times with my personal truck ('96 Dodge Dakota) and work vehicle ('12 Nissan Pathfinder). I have always been confident in their work.
Just today was the very first time we dropped off our vehicle at this place. My husband was there around 7:30/8am and was the first customer to arrive. He left our Jeep commander, 2007, and a few hours later, we received a call from the mechanic. The issue we had was so severe, too intricate of work required, and that is exactly what he told us as well. “Best you take the car to the dealer” with a thorough explanation as to why. He DID NOT charge us anything and we greatly appreciate that. We will, unfortunately, have to take it to the dealer, but we will take our car back to this place for any future issues.
I went in today with the oil leak problem in Chevy Cruze, he first did a diagnosis and later fixed the problem saying it was just a minor issue. He also helped me with the front headlight fixing a loose wire. And the EXTRAORDINARY part was he did not charge me anything. My experience today was WONDERFUL and they are simply AMAZING, TRUSTWORTHY and HONEST, in other words, THE BEST. I am going to recommend Auto Tech Services to all my friends.
These guys really take care of you! Finally a place where I don’t have to worry about being ripped off. They have a great reputation and it comes from years of treating people well and fixing car problems fairly. Get there right when they open or they might not be able to see your car until the next day.
Great owner and great business. Came here second time for oil change and they did a general check up as well as filled my steering fluid for free. The same afternoon I had problem with my metal tire cap(and lesson learned, never use metal tire cap, plastic will do the job), although it was late, the owner jacked my car and change a new valve in 10 mins for free. There're price is reasonable and they get the job done very fast.
Awesome mechanic. I came here for several oil changes and service was quick and reliable. If my car needed additional repairs they provided service recommendations but they never pressured me into them like other mechanics. Honest and reliable, best I’ve seen in DC.
These guys were great! I had the horror story everyone wants to avoid: station wagon loaded to move daughter to grad school and then vacation. Entire family in car. Saturday morning the car starts making scraping noises. Just before July 4 weekend. Took the car in and these guys diagnosed it as a simple fix and got me on the way quickly and efficiently. THANK YOU!!!!
I blindsided them with an unexpected visit, they didn't have room for my car - Which was completely dead and I had towed on site. They had it done and ready in under 20 minutes, way faster than I could make it back to get it. The entire team promptly dropped what they were doing to help push it into the garage without hesitation. They were great. Great price on the repair. Awesome customer service. I've found my new go to mechanic.
An uncomplicated and trustworthy garage for simple repairs; they've done my radiator, spark plugs, tires, etc and they tell it to you straight, no up-selling.
Really glad to have them in the neighborhood. They diagnosed the problem quickly and didn't charge me anything to look at it when I told them I wanted to pursue a warranty claim through a dealer. I'll definitely go back when I have another problem. Wish they worked on motorcycles too. Incredibly nice guys.
I once again have to hand it to Auto Tech Service. Recently had brake work done and got new tires. They worked to save me money at every step, agreed to wait on a repair that could, and threw in some free emergency body work to get my car safe to drive. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
I recently had my car serviced at Auto Tech Services. The employees were very knowledgeable and the owner was great. I dropped off my car in the evening and it was ready the next day. The price for parts and service were fairly cheap compared to other auto shops in the area. I highly recommend this place.