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Self-Inspection

Check your own vehicle periodically for signs of wear and tear. Signs it is time to take it to Browns Auto Repair could include noticing fluid leaks under the car, low tire pressure, cracked belts, noises such as squeaking, squealing or thumping, lights that may be burnt out, check engine lights, windshield wiper failure to clean, etc. 

 

Fluids

Learn to check your fluids. You don't need to know how to change your antifreeze or transmission fluid but we recommend checking your fluids periodically. This is especially important if you have a leak somewhere; you don't want to run your engine dry! If you notice your fluids are leaking, low, or dirty bring it to Browns Auto Repair and we can fix it. 

 

Timing and Serpentine Belts

People will tell you to replace your timing belt every 60,000 miles and your serpentine belts every 40,000 miles. We recommend reading your owners manual for the recommended replacement. If you cannot find, or do not have, your owners manual please call our shop for assistance. 

 

Oil 

Knowing the difference between clean oil and muddy, murky oil will save you a ton on unnecessary changes and gives you a way to tell if something's wrong with your engine (e.g. the oil looks terrible but you just had it changed). It's hard to make a universal recommendation for how frequently you should change your oil, but the answer is—as we mentioned—in your owner's manual.


Battery

Most batteries these days don't require much in the way of maintenance, but you should know where it is and check it to make sure it's not leaking and there's no mineral or other buildup on the contacts. If there is, clean it off with a battery cleaning brush. It will set you back a couple of bucks at any auto parts or department store. Buy one and keep it in the trunk. While you're at it,consider buying a cheap battery tester or jump starter. You'll never need to call someone or wait for AAA (or a friendly passer-by) to give you a jump. If your battery just won't stay charged it is time to bring it in for inspection as it could be another element causing the lack of charge. 


Windshield Wipers

Wipers are cheap and easy to replace yourself. Don't wait until you can barely see through your windshield. Your visibility is important, and you wouldn't wait until you saw an optometrist to clean your glasses, would you? While you're at it, give your windshield a good cleaning inside and out—if it's hard to see, the problem may be inside, not out. If you are not sure how to change your wipers or not sure which ones to buy, we are here to help.


Cabin Air Filter

Does your car have one? Again we recommend looking in your owners manual to find out if this is another filter that is recommended for replacement. Generally it is easy to replace, and not essential to your car's running condition but it does help filter out unpleasant smells and make the driving experience better. 


Engine Air Filter

Getting to the engine air filter may be a little trickier depending on the vehicle you have, but replacing it regularly is important. Your owner's manual will give you a mileage estimate for how frequently you should replace your engine air filter, but if you can get to it, check it. If it's dirty, replace it. If you drive a ton, especially in stop-and-go traffic or have a long commute, your engine air filter may get dirtier faster than someone who drives open roads or only drives around on the weekends. If you need help or your owner's manual doesn't lay out exactly how to do it (although it should), bring it to Browns Auto Repair for assistance. 


Tires

Your manual will tell you how often to do this, and it's important to do to make sure your tires wear evenly and your car drives smoothly. You can make your tires—which are expensive to replace all at once, by the way, take it from someone who's done it several times—last much longer by getting them rotated and balanced. Your alignment is just as important. If you're fighting your car to keep it straight, that's a bad situation that's easily corrected. Unfortunately Browns Auto Repair does not have the ability to provide an alignment but if you come in for another repair or inspection we can check your tire wear, tread, and balance to make recommendations. We do offer brake services and tire rotation. 


Spark Plugs

If your spark plugs are worn out or covered in buildup, your engine isn't working efficiently. That can cost you money in fuel for one, but it can also lead to a breakdown. If you don't feel like doing it yourself (or it's a big and complicated job for your vehicle), follow your manual's recommendation and get them changed regularly—for most standard copper spark plugs and vehicles, that's around 30,000 miles (but again, it varies - some iridium plugs can last up to 100,000 miles).