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Maintaining Your Older Car In Federal Way

The government mandates a lot of equipment in cars: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Federal Way Washington motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car. Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Federal Way area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Federal Way have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin’. Give Northshore a call to schedule your next maintenance. Some owner’s manuals do not specify service requirements at high mileage. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles. First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don’t hold the fluids as well as they used to. It’s also time to make sure you have a good Federal Way technician! There are some services and replacements...

Make Your Vehicle Last

It’s a disposable society. It’s crazy all the stuff we throw away. New items are released so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the good old days, folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough – they had to do without. Most people couldn’t afford new cars very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Washington penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Federal Way car owners making sure we follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule. It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your maintenance and to hold off further damage. And...

Maintenance Free Myth

Sometimes people will say, “What’s up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don’t break down.” While it is true that today’s cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most folks don’t realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid. Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today’s automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle’s components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don’t think we’re using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance – but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize the importance of getting things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and budget. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine. The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on the highway and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that...

Serpentine Belt Service in Federal Way

If you’ve experienced a squealing sound under your car’s hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It loops around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your car. Let’s go over them. First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Federal Way. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your car’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles. The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost). And, on most cars, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Federal Way cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt. When they understand what it does, Federal Way car owners realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Northshore Auto Repair. At Northshore Auto Repair in Federal Way, your service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every...