Often confused with wheel alignment, a properly balanced wheel is a beautiful, perfectly tuned wheel-tire combination. This is accomplished by placing measured lead weights on the opposite side of the "heavy spot"—the noticeable tread wear on your unbalanced tire.
For those of you who aren't mechanically-savvy, you probably still understand that transmission problems are among the most expensive repairs required for your vehicle. That's because your transmission is a complex system of gears that transmit mechanical power to your engine, ultimately determining the rate of speed you travel.
Tire rotation refers to the regular practice of switching the position of each tire on the car.
Purpose: Tire rotation helps to equalize tread wear and is critical to gain the maximum life from your tire investment.
Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: Refer to your owner's manual for the recommended rotation interval and pattern; generally a rotation interval of 6,000 miles is recommended. The rotation pattern varies with different makes and models, which shows the tire locations during rotation. Some vehicles have different size tires on the front and back or directional tires. This limits the locations that a tire may take on the vehicle. When in doubt, check the owner's manual or consult a professional technician for guidance. Tire rotation time also offers a good opportunity to have the tires and wheels balanced. It's another step you can take to maximize your tire investment.
The primary function of your cars suspension and steering systems is to allow the wheels to move independently of the car, while keeping it "suspended" and stable. Any play or uncontrolled motion in these systems results in a deterioration of handling and accelerated tire wear. Vehicle alignment is closely tied to the condition of the suspension and steering systems.
Check the owner's manual to see if your driving habits are considered to be "severe service". This type of driving requires more frequent oil changes, warns the Car Care Council. Have the oil changed accordingly, usually every 3-5,000 miles.
For less wear and tear on the engine, drivers in cold climates (sub-zero driving temperatures) should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30. Your mom and dad would probably suggest simply moving to someplace warmer.
Your exhaust system is more than a muffler. It is a series of pipes that run under your car, connected to your muffler and catalytic converter. The main function of your exhaust system is to control noise and to funnel exhaust fumes away from passengers.
The engine cooling system affects your car’s overall dependability and engine longevity. Cooling systems have advanced over the years with new coolant formulations and new radiator designs and materials. If you suspect a problem with your cooling system, you should check it immediately.
What does it do? The key parts of the cooling system remove heat from the engine and automatic transmission and dissipate heat to the air outside. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine. The coolant absorbs heat and returns it to the radiator where heat is dissipated. The thermostat regulates the coolant temperature to keep it consistent for efficient engine operation.
Your car’s exhaust system has come a long way from the old days of exhaust pipes and mufflers. Today, the exhaust system is safety and emissions control rolled into one. Have your car’s exhaust system inspected regularly and check it immediately if you suspect any problems.
What does it do? The exhaust system routes dangerous exhaust gas from the engine out and away from the car to keep from affecting the occupants. Next, the exhaust system reduces exhaust noise from the engine. The catalytic converter reduces the level of harmful pollutants in the exhaust. The oxygen sensors mounted in the exhaust system monitor the level of oxygen in the exhaust gases to maintain efficient engine operation and to monitor the converter’s operation.
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