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Signs Your Vehicle Needs Servicing

As a general rule, vehicles should be serviced by a professional mechanic every 12,000 miles, although vehicles driven often should be inspected every 6,000 miles. This averages out to about once a year if you are a casual driver. Auto servicing includes checking fluids and oils in your car, replacing air filters, and checking all lights for functionality, among other things. All of these services helps keep your ride in well-working condition.

Your car may give you signs that it needs servicing before your yearly inspection is due. You should know how to identify those signs so they don't go ignored. Here are some signs you should have your vehicle serviced by your mechanic.

Dark Oil

Check your oil regularly by checking the oil's dipstick located under the hood of your car. Check for both oil color quality and quantity. Oil should be a clear light yellow to a clear dark brown, but never black or dense in appearance.

Oil turns dark as it does its job, lubricating your car's engine and keeping debris and sediment from damaging your car's internal parts. Dark oil by itself is not an indication you need an oil change, but it is a sign that your oil hasn't been changed in a while. However, your car needs servicing if the dark oil on your dipstick contains lumps or coagulates, which means the current oil you are using has run its course.

Non-working AC

Your car's air conditioner should always circulate cool air in your vehicle after it's been left on for a few moments. If your vents only produce lukewarm or even hot air while the AC is turned on, your air conditioner needs to be charged, or it could be a sign of more serious issues with your vehicle's radiator, fan blades, or even leaking refrigerant. Your mechanic will inspect your air conditioner as part of your service appointment.

After your air conditioner is repaired, don't be alarmed if water drips under your front passenger tire when the unit is on. Your vehicle needs to get rid of the condensation caused by the air conditioning unit when it's running. As long as the fluid under your car evaporates quickly and doesn't leave a stain (which would indicate that another fluid, such as antifreeze, is leaking), your car is operating as it should.

Leaking Fluids

Any leaking fluid (aside from water) under your vehicle or on hoses or engine components under the hood should be given immediate professional attention. Transmission, power steering, brake, engine oil, and other fluids leaking from your car mean your engine is in trouble.

Identify what is leaking under your car by placing white cardboard or construction paper under your vehicle to catch drips. Transmission fluid is often purple, engine oil is yellow or brown, brake fluid is nearly clear to a light gray, power steering fluid is light yellow, and antifreeze is typically yellow, blue, or green.

Sometimes, you can smell a vehicle leak - antifreeze often smells sweet like syrup, while power steering fluid carries a cooking oil odor. However you identify the fluid, report your findings and where leaks are located to your mechanic when your car is serviced.

Upcoming Trip

Preparing for an upcoming trip where your vehicle will get more mileage than it normally does is another cause for servicing. Along with having your car serviced, have windshield wipers replaced, tires checked and rotated, brakes tested, and interior lights and fuses inspected before going on a long trip. You don't want to break down on the road, and full servicing will help ensure your stays car in top form.

Choose a mechanic you trust to perform all auto servicing for you, and stick to the recommended schedule to keep your car in excellent running condition. Trust our mechanics to give your car custom care - call us at Vans Auto Service LLC today.

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