Category Archives: Inspection
Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our minivans.
Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Des Moines motorists maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.
Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of critical automotive performance for Des Moines car owners: protection of the vehicle itself, fuel economy, and safety.
Your vehicle’s components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by products. Protective components include filters and fluids.
Most of the fluids in your minivan are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your minivan.
For example, motor oil lubricates your engine, when keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle’s engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Des Moines car owners should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.
Over time, the important additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.
Over time, your vehicle’s systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of fuel efficiency and power output.
For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine’s efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore fuel efficiency and improve gas mileage.
Some of your minivan’s systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents for Des Moines auto owners.
Your owner’s manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your minivan. Of course, you can consult with a your Des Moine BDG service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.
Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like fifteen or twenty thousand miles. The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your minivan. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.
The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at Des Moine BDG in Des Moines to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better gas mileage and fewer pricey repairs. It may even save your life.
Road trip, anyone? Nothing spoils a great vacation for us Des Moines motorists then ending up stranded on the side of the road or spending a week in a rundown motel while our vehicle sits in the shop. Long days on the road can bring out the worst in your vehicle, so before you leave, prepare it for the journey by getting an automotive analysis at Des Moine BDG in Des Moines. After all, you wouldn’t travel without clean socks, why ask your vehicle to travel with a load of dangerous dirty oil?
The first step in a trip inspection at Des Moine BDG is to look at your travel plans. What kinds of roads will you be driving on? Will you be in the IA backcountry or on the freeway? Will you be crossing mountains? Off-roading? What will the weather be like? How many miles away from Des Moines will you be traveling? How much are you hauling? Will you be towing a trailer or lugging a rooftop carrier? Will you encounter dust, mud, snow or sea salt? All of these questions can help Des Moines motorists determine which Des Moine BDG services are the most needed. And don’t hesitate to speak with your Des Moine BDG service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on what trip conditions are hardest on what systems of your car and what kinds of services your vehicle realistically needs. Start with the tires and review them for tread wear and proper inflation. Replace or rotate them as needed. If you need to change them out for winter tires, then do so.
Then survey your shocks or struts for wear. Replace them if needed. You’ll want that extra comfort on your trip. Be sure to survey your alignment. Steering a vehicle that is out of alignment is tiring, and dangerous. Don’t overlook your brakes. With extra passengers and baggage, your brakes are going to get a workout. You want them in top condition.
In addition, review belts and hoses. If any of them are close to wearing out, have them replaced before your long trip does them in.
Change your engine air filter if it needs it or if it’s close to needing it. For every gallon of gas you burn, your air filter processes 12,000 gallons of air. A clean air filter will protect critical electronic sensors that effect how your engine runs.
Get an oil change at Des Moine BDG in Des Moines if it’s coming due. Make it a full-service oil change while you’re at it. That way, all of your fluids will get checked and topped off. Change any dirty or old fluids. Des Moines drivers don’t want to overstress their cooling systems or transmissions with detrimental dirty fluid during a long trip.
Does your vehicle smell? Check the cabin air filter. The bad smell could also indicate an exhaust leak, which can be fatal on a long trip. So don’t ignore bad odors; check them out.
If your air conditioning hasn’t been up to snuff, then give it an overhaul. You want your vacation to be relaxed and pleasant, and that means keeping the passenger compartment comfortable.
And be sure to inspect your wiper blades and your headlamps. You may find yourself driving in unfamiliar territory at night after a long day. You’ll want to be able to see as much as possible.
Of course, almost everything listed here is just part of essential preventive maintenance for smart Des Moines car owners. If you keep up with your car care on a regular basis, a trip inspection will be a breeze at Des Moine BDG.
Taking care of your vehicle before you leave for a road trip will pay you back in safety, peace of mind, improved comfort and better MPG. It will also help your vacation go as planned by keeping you on the road and headed for that next great adventure. Just don’t forget to pack your socks.
There are a lot of things in life that Des Moines residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Des Moines dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don’t stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.
Scheduled maintenance is also part of good car care. Des Moines drivers should take their minivans in regularly for a good check-up. But many Altoona folks struggle to remember, or actually even ignore, this auto advice. When it comes to our cars, we’re more likely to listen to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.
Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze, for example, vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?
One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting; we can smell how dirty our clothes are; but we don’t notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our minivans is like trouble in our bodies—ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can’t know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Des Moine BDG in Des Moines.
Another reason us Des Moines car owners put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Des Moines car owners don’t know.
Of course, our minivans come with owner’s manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Des Moines car owners actually read them?
The good news is that all Des Moines car owners have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Des Moine BDG in Des Moines. Like a good doctor, your helpful Des Moine BDG service advisor will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your car needs and when. The service center can track your car’s maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.
Here are some guidelines to help Des Moines motorists understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it’s a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner’s manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.
Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.
Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There’s no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.
Fuel. Obviously your minivan needs gas on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.
These are the basics of car maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don’t need to be replaced as often.
If you are taking your minivan in for the basics, then your Des Moines service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you’ll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.
If you’re not convinced yet that your minivan needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased MPG, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to expensive repair bills and costly accidents.
Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at Des Moine BDG in Des Moines can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.
People from Des Moines IA love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than a IA road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it’s great! But there’s nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.
Now you can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip.
Heading out on a IA road trip? Stop by Des Moine BDG before you head out to make sure everything is in good repair.
2222 East Douglas Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313
Call us at 1.800.LET.NAPA
Let’s look at some of the auto maintenance related problems you might encounter on a road trip and what you might do to avoid them.
It all starts with a thorough trip inspection by your Des Moines IA service professionals at Des Moine BDG. Let’s talk about some of the items on the trip inspection checklist.
The most common vehicle component to fail is the tires. Of course, you can’t always avoid a road hazard that leads to a flat, but you may be able to head off some maintenance-connected tire problems.
A good tire inspection will start with looking over the condition of the tire itself. Are there signs of uneven tire wear? Are the tires properly inflated? Is the tread worn to the point that the tire should be replaced? The answers to these questions may lead to a recommendation to balance or rotate your tires. It may also be time to have an alignment service.
Your brakes should be inspected for function as well as to determine how much life is left in your brake pads. You’ll also want to know if it’s time to service your brake fluid. Over time water and contaminants make their way into your brake fluid and the system needs to be flushed, cleaned and filled with fresh fluid.
While looking under your car, your Des Moines auto technician should also inspect your suspension system for worn or damaged parts. If you need new shocks or struts, you’ll really notice the difference on your trip once you have them replaced.
Now the second most common vehicle failure is the cooling system. It may be time for a coolant exchange or flush. These services remove old fluid that has become corrosive and replaces it with fresh, clean fluid that restores the effectiveness of your cooling system.
The cooling system inspection will reveal leaks and weakened hoses. Replacing worn parts, like the radiator cap or water pump may be indicated. Even though cooling system failure is fairly common, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to prevent with proper maintenance.
Another thing people often overlook their transmission service. This is very important before a road trip because transmission problems tend to take some time and money to get fixed. Not the way you want to spend your vacation.
Your technician will inspect your belts to see if they should be replaced. A failed belt is at best an inconvenience. He’ll also give your exhaust system the once over to make sure there aren’t any dangerous leaks that could harm you and your passengers.
Of course, there are the usual things as well. An oil change, engine air filter, fuel system cleaning, a tune up. If you need any of these things, get them done today at Des Moine BDG – the improved fuel economy will be appreciated on your road trip.
If your heater or air conditioning isn’t working as well as you’d like, let your Des Moines IA service consultant know at Des Moine BDG.
Some important items that are often overlooked are power steering service, differential service and timing belt replacement. If these things don’t ring a bell, have your service consultant check to see if they’re due.
Now while you’re out seeing the sights, you’ll want to make sure you can see the sights. Replace your windshield wipers if they aren’t working well. And don’t forget your headlamps. They gradually lose their brightness and you don’t even realize it. Many people replace their lamps once or twice a year.
All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all come into focus as you plan for your trip. They’ll always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?