Hosted at Avon Auto & Truck, VVBW’s May event covered essential car care topics, including regular maintenance and recognizing problems before it’s too late. Igor, a mechanic from Avon Auto did a thorough, and sometime humorous, presentation to the group. Attendees asked questions along the way, while Igor covered oil changes, brake care, tire rotations and other car care topics.
Starting with the brake system, Igor explained how certain noises or car reactions can be clues to brake issues. A squealing, high pitched noise when using the brakes can mean the brake linings are worn and need replacing, or maybe the brake pads are loose. Another clue to an issue is if the vehicle pulls to one side when you brake or you feel shaking in the steering wheel. Brakes making a grinding noise that you can feel in the pedal is a sign of a serious brake issue, and further driving could damage the brake discs or drums. Grinding brakes are caused by excessively worn brake linings; when the lining wears off, the metal part of the brake pad or brake shoe contacts the brake disc or drum and can quickly ruin the most expensive mechanical parts of the brake system. Igor expressed that car owners never put off brake work, especially if you’re experiencing any of the above issues. Other kinds of automotive trouble may keep your vehicle from moving, but brake trouble keeps it from stopping. If your brakes fail, Igor gave two ways you can attempt to slow and stop your car.
First, try your braking system one more time. Your vehicle likely has a dual braking system, which controls your front and rear brakes independently. Both halves of the system would have to fail for your car to totally lose all braking power. There may still be some stopping power. Try applying strong, consistent pressure to the brake pedal to see if you can slow the car down.
Second, you can carefully employ the emergency brake system. which is separate from the main, hydraulic brake system.
Third, start downshifting so that the engine can help slow down the car. With a manual transmission, you work your way down through the gears to slow the car down. If you have an automatic transmission, taking your foot off the accelerator should cause your car to shift to lower gears as it slows down. Some newer cars with automatic transmissions allow you to also drive them manually with paddle shifters. If you have these, put your transmission in manual mode and downshift to the lowest gear. Check your car owner’s manual for information on using your automatic car in manual mode.
A common question is how often should you change your oil. The traditional wisdom is that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. Igor pointed out that the new standard is that you can typically change your oil every 5,000 miles, but the frequency in which you change your oil depends on your manufacturer’s recommendations, your operating conditions (environment), and how much wear and tear your car has already experienced. Colorado weather can be tough on autos, and Igor recommended not waiting longer than 5,000 miles.
Thank you to Trish Schulteis and Paul Bartsch of Avon Auto & Truck for providing the location for this informative evening. Avon Auto is offering a $99 “Pothole Special” during the months or May and June 2017. The special includes an alignment, four wheels balanced and rotated, and a steering and suspension inspection.