When you bring your car to our shop, we try to do a very thorough visual inspection, even if it’s just for an oil change.
Just from driving on the road and as vehicle’s age, things can start to break and cause other problems you may not notice, because you’re driving it every day.
As we’re looking at your vehicle, we want to pick up on problems that could lead to a much larger expense down the road.
Recently, our technicians worked on a Honda Accord that came in for an oil change. The customer didn’t mention any problems. During our normal inspection of the air filter, we discovered that the intake boot coming from the mass airflow meter to the engine was cracked.
When that happens, air is not being metered and the computer can’t see how much air is getting sucked into the engine. That can cause problems with the car running too rich or lean, depending on the programming and the driving conditions. Generally, it would show that it has more air coming in than it is and you will burn more fuel. The driver might or might not notice they have more fuel consumption, based on how they drive.
Dirt entering the engine is another problem the crack can cause, because it isn’t going through the air filter. Over a period of time, this may reduce the engine’s lifespan.
If it’s raining and the vehicle went through a deep puddle, water could splash up and get sucked into the engine, which could break it.
You may notice this sort of problem when you give it some gas as you’re going on the highway or an onramp, and that can be a dangerous situation.
The air filter on this vehicle was also very, very dirty, which would also restrict the airflow. This can impact the fuel economy. So, you have many things going against this car that are very simple, but unless you’re looking at it on a consistent basis you’re just not going to know.
Our courtesy inspection
Watching for simple things, like an air intake boot, and fixing it is just part of our oil change process and is a very important thing to repair.
In addition to changing the oil and oil filter, we rotate the tires if applicable and take a look at the components. It’s sort of like a mini safety inspection without scraping the sticker. We really are trying to keep you safe on the road and help your car last as long as it can.
When we have the hood open, we’re checking for visible engine coolant leaks. Our technicians also examine the serpentine belt to make sure it doesn’t have cracks and isn’t getting glazed on the back.
Accessible fluids are also looked at. For example, before changing the oil we make sure the oil level isn’t too low. If you come in and it’s much lower than normal, we may be able to pick up an oil consumption problem.
Windshield washer fluid and brake fluid are also inspected. Some of the newer vehicles – as parts become more electronic – may not have these fluids, but you would be surprised. Even with brakes being electronically controlled, there’s still brake fluid going to the calipers.
Lights, wiper blades, tire tread depth and tire pressure are other items checked out.
We also test the car battery, and make sure the connections aren’t loose or that corrosion isn’t building up on them. You’d be surprised by the number of cars that come in with weird problems or intermittent starting problems, and it’s just a loose battery cable or corrosion. Cleaning that up and putting battery terminal BG pads, which help prevent acid from coming up to the terminal and corroding the metal, are some things we can do during an oil change to stop simple, weird electrical problems.
Resetting the maintenance indicators takes a little more time now. There are indicators for the tire pressure, the oil life, for certain maintenance the manufacturers recommend. Not only is it changing that oil change sticker up in the window, it’s also resetting the electronic reminders in the car.
To read more about what we do during an oil change, check out this recent article we wrote.
Courtesy inspections come at no additional cost.
Taking these extra steps can prevent problems and a lot of frustration.
By performing this work, we hope to help keep you and your family on the road.
Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.