If you want to get the best performance and the most mileage out of your car, it’s crucial that you keep up with proper maintenance. Here at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake, our technicians are asked a multitude of questions by drivers new and old about proper vehicle service. Here are some of the most common questions we receive.
Why is an oil change important?
Your car’s gas-powered motor relies on oil to keep the mechanical components lubricated and spinning smoothly. Over time, engine oil can become contaminated, becoming more sludgy than viscous. That’s why fresh oil is so important; deteriorating oil won’t do its job properly, which will result in poor engine performance and even permanent mechanical damage. To prevent this from happening, make sure your car gets fresh oil on a regular basis.
How often should I get my car’s oil changed?
The time it takes your car’s motor oil to become contaminated or deteriorate depends on many factors, so there’s no single answer that applies to every vehicle on the road. For instance, if you put many miles on your car every day here in Iowa, the oil will need to be changed more often.
The best place to start is by reading your car’s owner’s manual. It should outline the frequency that your vehicle needs an oil change. If you believe that your car needs an oil change more or less often, talk with one of our technicians, who can establish an interval that’s right for your specific vehicle.
How do I tell if my car’s tires need to be replaced?
It may not always be as obvious as a puncture or total deflation to know if a car tire should be replaced. Sometimes, the signs are less apparent and require you to be attentive. Check the tire tread to ensure it’s never below 2/32 of an inch. You can use the penny test to easily check tread depth. Also, if you see bulges, cracks, or gouges in the rubber, the tire’s stability has been compromised and should be replaced before it breaks open.
How much air should I put in the tires?
The suggested PSI of your car’s tires depends on their size and type. The best place to check the recommended air pressure level for your car’s tires is the door jamb plaque, which lists out important information on your car like recommended tire pressure.
Why shouldn’t you go by the PSI number etched into the sidewall of the tire? Because that’s the maximum PSI that the tire can handle; if you fill it to that level, you’re pushing them to their limit and could cause them to pop.
How often should I check my car's fluids?
Your car relies on many fluids to run properly, such as the engine oil, transmission fluid, and the coolant. To ensure none of the fluid levels are low, look under your car’s hood once every month and see if any of them are noticeably below their fill lines. If so, top them off — just be careful not to overfill the reservoirs. You can also ask our technicians to top off your car’s fluids whenever your car is serviced here at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake.
Why are my brakes squeaking or grinding?
It’s not uncommon for car brakes to squeak a bit right after new pads have been installed or after the car sat in the rain overnight. However, if that squeaking persists or turns into a rough whirring or grinding sound, the issue could be more serious.
If a break pad’s cushion has worn down, the metal base underneath could be exposed and is rubbing against the metal rotor when the brake pedal is depressed — which causes an unpleasant noise. The brake rotors could also be warped from age or rust and aren’t spinning evenly when the pads squeeze them. In case these might be happening to your vehicle, bring it for a checkup at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake when you hear persistent noises from your car’s brakes.
Hopefully this service FAQ helped answer some of the questions you may have about caring for your car in Spirit Lake, Iowa. When your vehicle needs serviced, we invite you to schedule an appointment with Motor Inn of Spirit Lake.
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