When it comes to regular car service and routine maintenance, your local auto technician at Christian Brothers Automotive can help you understand the complex needs of your car. Your car mechanic can provide in-depth knowledge for auto service and maintenance, from knowing when to change your air filter or transmission fluid to recognizing the warning signs that your battery could be on the blink. Let the professionals at Christian Brothers answer your questions—and help you take car of your car.
Common Questions to Ask Your Mechanic
What are your certifications, education, and training?
Your local mechanic should have classroom education, vocational training, and be ASE-certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
What is wrong with my car?
Your auto mechanic should present a detailed description of your vehicle’s problem in a face-to-face conversation, allowing you to ask questions along the way.
When can I pick up my car?
Make sure you understand when your vehicle will be ready before you leave the drop-off appointment.
Where do you think the problem started? Was it a lack of maintenance?
By understanding what caused your car trouble in the first place, you’ll be able to better prevent similar issues in the future.
Why did my vehicle break down?
Were you overdue for a mileage check? Or, was the breakdown caused by an external factor? Discuss these issues with your local mechanic to better understand the situation.
How often should I replace my air filter?
On average, clean your air filter every 10,000-12,000 miles and change the filter every 30,000 miles to ensure optimal engine performance. The quality of your air filter is affected by your driving conditions—if dusty, unpaved roads are part of your everyday journey, you’ll probably need to replace your air filter more often than someone who regularly drives on a concrete highway.
What type of motor oil is best for my engine?
Check your owner’s manual and ask your local car mechanic which motor oil is best for your car make and model. Generally, any oil that meets the American Petroleum standard is a safe option, and, although more costly, synthetic oils often make the best choice. Synthetic oils provide ultimate temperature protection, durability, and all-round performance.
How can I tell if my battery is low or should be replaced?
Your car battery can be adversely affected by extreme weather conditions and excessive wear and tear. If your battery won’t hold a charge or your car’s warranty has expired, your car is most likely ready for a new battery. Damage to the battery casing is another warning sign that the battery should be replaced—dangerous chemicals can leak when the casing is cracked.
How will I know my brakes need maintenance?
If you experience pulling, pedal vibration, or brake pedals that stick, your car’s brakes should be checked. Heed these warning signs, and schedule an inspection at your local auto shop.
How often should I change my transmission fluid?
For optimal transmission protection, car mechanics recommend changing your transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. It also recommends a complete transmission flush to prevent debris and old fluid from damaging critical transmission parts. In between transmission fluid changes, ask your car mechanic to check the fluid level.
Five Common Auto Repair Myths
Not only is it important to have your vehicle serviced on a regular basis at your local auto repair shop, make sure you know how to take good care of your car in between service appointments. Misconceptions are common, so stay educated and up-to-date about the complexity of your vehicle. A mechanic at your local Christian Brothers auto shop can answer your questions—and help you distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to your car.
Auto repair myths you shouldn’t believe:
Premium gasoline is always best - Most car owners believe that choosing premium gas every once in a while can help their car run better and more efficiently. However, in reality, premium gas isn’t cleaner or more capable than regular gas—only less combustible.
Sugar in the gas tank destroys a car’s engine - While your car’s tank isn’t designed to run on sweets, the belief that a little sugar will caramelize and clog a car’s fuel line hasn’t been scientifically proven. In order to cause any permanent or substantial harm, sugar would have to be added repeatedly to a car’s gas tank.
Always let your car warm up before you drive it - Many people believe that by letting their car’s engine run for 10-15 minutes on the driveway—especially in cold weather—the gas and oil will flow better. However, modern car models use fuel injectors, which evenly distribute the correct amount of gas for the engine based upon its temperature. Whereas starting your car a few minutes early won’t affect your engine’s performance, it can warm up the interior of your car for a more comfortable ride during chilly, winter months.
Fuel additives are good for your engine - Fuel additives are believed to prevent deposits from building up and clogging your fuel system. The reality is, however, that gasoline manufacturers are required by law to add certain detergents to gasoline that prevent deposits and buildup. The work has already been done for you—additional additives are ineffective.
Idling is better for your battery - This myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. Idling is a less efficient use of energy and gas than turning your car off and on again. When you’re running one errand after the other or caught in stop-and-go traffic, stop and start your car to conserve the most gas—and ultimately, save money at the pump.
But Isn’t Servicing My Vehicle Going to Be Expensive?
Gas prices, car payments and insurance all add up, so it may be tempting to skimp on servicing your vehicle. But this is a temptation that is best avoided because servicing your vehicle at the recommended intervals is a wise investment that will save you time, money and headaches later on down the road. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
One way to think of the cost of servicing your vehicle is that each maintenance appointment is a small investment in your car’s future that offsets the cost of major repairs and breakdowns at a later date. For many of us, coming up with the money to service our vehicle at the correct time is a doable proposition, but the cost of a disastrous unexpected repair while on the road can be difficult or impossible to afford. This way, with relatively minor incremental preventative investments paid along the way, your vehicle will stay fresh and well-preserved without costing you any extraneous or unnecessary expenditure. If you pay attention, you can be sure that the money you do invest in your car is well spent.
Today’s vehicles are made better, with more durable parts, smarter internal systems and better designed functionality, so certain “old rules” such as getting an oil change every 3,000 miles can largely be overlooked. As always, let your car’s service or owner’s manual dictate the frequency and depth of maintenance that your car should receive. Oftentimes, dealerships and oil change shops will try to upsell customers on expensive and extensive service packages that benefit the dealer, not necessarily you as the driver. While it is solid advice that regular oil changes and tire rotations are worthwhile to increase fuel efficiency, safety and gas tank range, these “XXX,000 mile” service packages are often overkill when basic maintenance would suffice.
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