The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and
contrary to some beliefs, today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to
keep them performing at the most efficient levels.
As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions.
If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go. As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected: battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.
To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter
Mechanical failure - an inconvenience anytime it occurs - can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. A well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.
Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.
Engine Performance - Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters - air, fuel, etc.
Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent - you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
Carry emergency gear - gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer
Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too! Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.
Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended - more often in dusty conditions. Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Emergencies - Carry some basic tools - ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first-aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.
Keeping your vehicle in tune with the environment is definitely a win-win
situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and
operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last
longer - up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master
The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.
Love this crew! I wouldn?t take my car anywhere else. Very professional and diligent!
Have used them for the past four years. Honest, fast and good price.
Best experience! Explains everything even if I don?t understand. :-) Treats my car likes it was his wife?s!
Mike got me in quickly for a rattling noise, took time to explain the process to diagnose before I left my car for the day, called me by 2pm to let me know the car was fixed and took time again on the back end to explain the problem and the fix. All for an incredibly reasonable expense. This shop was efficient, courteous and highly knowledgeable. Everything you need when your sole source for getting around is broken. I strongly recommend them!
Mike and Karen are the best! We had a car that had been sitting a while that was going to be my son's first car so we had them check it out after my parents recommended them. They told us all the urgent needs and what could wait, and then fixed what was needed at a very reasonable price. Mike even spent 45 minutes showing my son and I everything about the car and how it works and tips a new driver needs to know. We learned so much! He is very knowledgeable about cars and is excited to educate others, always willing to explain why and answer my questions. Mike and Karen are also people of character who love the Lord and are quick to make things right if something seems like it isn't. We now trust them completely with all our vehicles and we are so thankful to have an honest and experienced mechanic to take care of us!
My mother had an issue with her 2009 Ford V8 Sport Trac jerking as it was driving on the highway. She took it to a dealership that wanted to replace the transmission for 6800 dollars. We heard about Mike at Alternative Automotive and took the vehicle to him. Based on his experience, he suspected right away that the truck did not need a new transmission, but merely a tune up! He tuned it up and even did a BG transmission service. Mike saved us thousands of dollars and for that we are grateful!! The truck runs great. Found a new mechanic to rely on with Alternative Automotive.
Mike is awesome! I took my car to him after having it with another mechanic for 9 weeks without getting it fixed. Mike had it working very quickly. I would highly recommend Alternative Automotive
The owners and mechanics at Alternative Automotive are very honest. I have no worries when I get repair work done or an oil change. I know they will always do a fantastic job and the cost will always be appropriate for the work done. The owner, Mike always explains what repair needs to be done, and I know it will be done in a timely manner. It is a great relief for me to be able to trust any work that is done on my vehicle. Thank you Alternative Automotive!
Great service every time.
Very good diagnostic and automotive service.
Really liked these folks. friendly, knowledgeable, and reasonably priced. I felt comfortable through the entire experience. Thanks Alternative
I am so happy that I found a reliable and professional auto repair shop in Tulsa. I was very pleased with the work done on my vehicle at Alternative Automotive. They are very honest and professional and the cost was lower than I would have paid at a dealership. I will definitely return for future jobs on our vehicles.
Karen and Mike are wonderful! Honest, thorough and quick service with kindness and smiles. My vehicle is running like it's brand new. With sincere gratitude and appreciation.
From the minute you walk into their shop, Mike and Karen will make sure you get the best treatment for both you and your car. They are very knowledgeable, and the work is second to none.
Came in to replace a door latch on an 02 Mustang. Mike quickly diagnosed that there was in issue with the hinge too, and replacing just the latch would not be a permanent fix. Excellent service, in and out in one day. Less expensive than a dealership too. Feels great knowing I now have a relationship with a great mechanic who can do anything I need to my Ford.