Life in Arizona can be tough on vehicles. To help keep your ride running for years to come, here are 10 Q&A about primary car care.
1. How Often Do I Need to Get the Oil Changed? The benchmark for oil changes in the past was every 3,000 miles. With new technology for oil development, it varies between 3,000 and 10,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual for the specific requirement. Temperatures and climate conditions also are a consideration. Life in Prescott, Surprise, Tempe, and Chandler, for example, may require changes more frequently. The older the vehicle, or if it has encountered severe road conditions may also be a factor in the rate of occurrence for changes.
2. When Do I Change the Air Filter? Your engine needs clean air to produce combustion and horsepower. When your air filter gets clogged, the engine will not run as efficiently and wear out sooner. Changing the engine and cabin air filters twice a year is an excellent practice.
3. How Much Air Do My Tires Need? Every tire is different, but the information you need can be found in the car. Open the driver’s door, where you will find a sticker on the rear post that stipulates the recommended tire pressure that came with the vehicle. Check tire pressure once per month.
4. Do Windshield Wipers Wear Out? Every time your wipers move across the windshield, the material breaks down, pits, and tears. Change of season will damage the material from extreme temperatures in either direction. Maintain a clear view by changing your wiper blades twice a year.
5. How Do I Fill Up the Windshield Washer Fluid? The reservoir for the fluid is under the hood. Look for a cap near the fenders that has the same symbol on it as your windshield wiper switch inside. Pop the top and fill it up with a jug of washer fluid found at most stores. You have your pick in the type of liquid with some designed to take off just daily dirt, or bugs, and a few that clean tree sap or diesel grime.
Fun fact: Most windshield washer fluid has a harmful ingredient in it, which is an alcohol-based product called methanol. If the fluid does not contain methanol, then it probably won’t withstand freezing temperatures.
6. Is Fluid Leaking from My Vehicle? There are several fluids in any vehicle. If the moisture is found in your garage, chances are it belongs to your car. You can also determine if it is coming from your machine by looking underneath for dripping. If you do have a drip, the location tells you a great deal. If the drip is under the front bumper, it may be antifreeze (green in color or orange). A leak near a wheel may be brake fluid (appears clear with a yellow tint). Oil leaks often are found beneath the center of the engine (light brown/black in color).
Air conditioners will drip water after you turn the engine off as it sheds condensation, but this is not a leak. Moreover, if you are anywhere near Phoenix or Avondale, you’ll be using the AC most of the year. Other fluids you may see include transmission, which is a brownish red or pink liquid, and power steering is a reddish brown. Having a leak can be easily repaired by simply sealing it or replacing a current seal that has a broken. Until you get the car in for service, you’ll need to keep an eye on the liquid levels and top them off often.
7. What Do I Do When the Engine Light Comes On? The engine light is telling you that something is wrong with your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle, a yellow check engine light means you need to investigate or take it in for service, whereas a red or blinking light means for you to get help immediately. Bring your vehicle into your local Valley Honda Dealer service center to have the code checked.
8. Do I Need to Follow the Manufacturer Maintenance Schedule? Your maintenance schedule helps you to stay on top of wear and tear on all the systems in your vehicle. If you skip a fluid change, inspection, or filter replacement, you could be shaving years off the life of your ride. So, yes, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
9. How Often Should I Check the Brakes and Tires? Most vehicles have the tires rotated every six months, depending on wear. When tires are being rotated is an excellent time to have the brake pads checked for thickness, plus the condition of the calipers and drums.
10. Why is the Turn Signal Blinking Fast? When you hit your turn signal and hear the indicator click sounding off twice as fast than normal, that is a notification that one of your lights is out. If the bulb is out, the resistance changes, thereby making the indicator blink faster.
Not a top tip, but worth consideration is that every vehicle should be packed with emergency supplies including flares, a flashlight, water, a small tool box, first aid kit, and gloves. Oil and antifreeze are necessary for driving life around Superstition Springs and Mesa, so even if you’re only going to Scottsdale, you should carry extra fluids just in case.
Know your vehicle, or at least be somewhat familiar with the basics. For regular maintenance and all other mystery machine issues, connect with your local Valley Honda Dealer service center, where they can help to keep your van, truck, SUV, or sedan in its best condition.