There was a time when cars needed a comprehensive tune-up every 15000 kilometres, or they wouldn’t get from A to B.
Cars in 2016 don’t need as much maintenance as the cars of yesteryear. Whilst they’re technically much more complicated, and far from the domain of the home mechanic, there are still bits and pieces that, when not serviced on time, can increase fuel consumption and prevent the car from running at its best.
Engine Air Filter
An engine works through the combination of air and fuel together to enable combustion of the fuel in the engine. Air fromoutside, goes through a filter, but when it becomes unserviceable through dust accumulation, the engine is unable to breathe effectively.
All sorts of bad things happen when the efficiency of the air filter is compromised. It’s like someone holding your nose and telling you to breathe. You can, but it gets harder. Air filters are pretty cheap and generally fairly easy to change. If you’re a home mechanic, it’s a two-minute job in most cars. As you can see in the picture, air filters whether rectangular like this or round as in older cars, they’re made of paper and do a great job of protecting your car. And whilst your service interval may be 15,000 or even longer, if you use your car in adverse conditions, like off road on dusty roads, you should at least inspect it every 5000 kilometres.
From a technical viewpoint, spark plugs ignite the fuel and air. And how many times an hour do you think these items do their thing? When your car is travelling at 100kph, each plug fires a spark around 54,000 times. And whilst advanced ignition systems help plugs achieve a longer life, eventually they’ll wear out. The DIY home mechanic can change plugs, but they’ll need to have an insulated socket and a steady hand to make sure that the threads on the plug and in the block aren’t damaged. But it’s a relatively easy thing to do – remembering that you absolutely have to have the correct plugs for your car to start with.
Spark Plug Wires
And in tandem with good quality spark plugs, the electricity that fires the plugs need a connection to give the plugs energy to do their thing. The transit between the distributor or coil packs are high tension leads.
These connectors are in a hot and variable engine bay – and sooner or later will need replacing. Having the correct level of power is essential to allow your car to operate as it needs to.
A new set of leads, generally available from your auto accessory store, specifically to suit your brand and model of car can generally be installed by the DIY mechanic .
Distributor Cap and Rotor
A distributor is a round funny looking thing that connects the high tension leads to the power that is generated to enable the plugs to fire.
Inside the distributor, a rotor spins around and carries the power, Distributor caps don’t last forever, so will need changing occasionally. Many modern cars don’t have distributor caps any longer, but if your car does, then replacement every now and again is called for, generally when you replace your ignition leads.
No, it’s not PVC, it’s PCV. That stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. All engines are filled with oil, and they usually create a mist of oil. This explains why some cars will need oil top ups between services and why it’s good habit to check your oil every month. Modern cars use this PCV valve to return the oil to the engine where it’s burned. If your PCV valve gets clogged up, it will affect the cars ability to run efficiently. It’s pretty easy to check on the condition of the PCV valve. Locate it in the engine bay, remove it and shake it. If it rattles, it’s doing just fine. If it doesn’t it’s time to replace it.
Cabin Air Filter
If you’re in a dust storm, you’d usually wear a mask to prevent dust from entering your lungs. The same applies to your car – if you’re driving around, not neccesaarily in dusty conditions but in areas that are more inclined to be a bit toxic, then your cabin air filter, which feeds fresh air into your air conditioning and cabin, will need to be cleaned.
Technically, the cabin air filter doesn’t help your car run better, but it will help you breathe easier – particularly those families who have children with asthma concerns.Cabin air filters are usually located in the car and can be changed very easily. My suggestion is to replace it whenever you change the engine air filter.
The Picture above is an actual cabin filter than I had replaced for a customer recently. Just imagine the quality of the air entering the cabin. PLEASE be aware of the need to monitor your cars essential components
Every article I write is targeted at providing as much information for car owners and prospective car buyers.
Above anything else, Car Business is a company that provides automotive advice for car owners who don’t have access to experts. Am I an expert? I’ve been in the car business for over 38 years, and while there are areas where I’ll reach out to friends and acquaintances for advice, I’ve got a pretty good grasp of most aspects of the business. I’ve been called a lot of things in my time – Car Doctor, Car Professor or The Car Guru, but whenever someone wants some sensible advice, they call me.
I don’t charge for advice, whether it’s on the phone, via email or face to face. I’m happy to provide my expertise whenever I can. So if you want to chat to The Car Guru, get in touch.
I have access to good quality cars – you can see them on Cars Guide. Just click here [Cars Guide] to view our current stock of vehicles.
Other parts of my business that you may find the need to use from time to time are:
www.genuinespares.com.au. This is an online spare parts store for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Volkswagen and Isuzu Ute. I’ve got thousands of mechanical and panel parts plus Mopar (Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa) T-Shirts, tyres, and alloy wheels as well. If you’re looking for a hard to get replacement part for any of these brands, or you just want to get a better price than retail on any car brand, let me know. And you won’t pay inflated replacement parts prices either. I’ve priced my stock at a discounted value to compete with the USA and Europe spare parts prices but with local delivery charges
We’re local agents for Williams Paint and Interior Protection as well as AutoGard and CleanGard car products and SunX window tinting. The Same story applies. This is an area that car dealers want to make an amazing amount of profit – up to 100% in some cases. Don’t get ripped off by the franchise car dealers – check us out for a local competitive price on car protection products, window tinting, and engine products.
I’m pleased to advise that in 2015 I was awarded the franchise for 1800Approved Finance. As a local finance company, we’re able to provide a better level of service than the local car dealers as well as pretty competitive rates. SO before you sign on the dotted line, let us compare rates on finance and insurance for you – no obligation. If you’re looking for finance for a new or used car, or any other worthwhile purpose, our company can assist – even if you’ve had some troubling financial issues.
BLOG – I write a new Blog for my website a couple of times a week. If you’d like to read some of the stories I’ve written just click here.
If you ever need that advice, reach out. My contact information is:
Phone: 0418 748 498
Visit: 226 Anzac Avenue Kippa-Ring Queensland (by appointment only)
Mail: PO Box 195 Clontarf Q 4019
Warm regards and remember to drive carefully