Today’s engines are built to run longer…100,000, 150,000 even up to 200,000 miles! But only if you as the owner take care of that engine, making the time for regular engine maintenance–and not waiting for warning lights come on and your engine left gasping for life.
Skilled & Seasoned Mechanics
Buchanan’s mechanics are continuously trained to better know today’s engines. They’re working on these engines everyday so have the invaluable experience of what looks, sounds and feels right or wrong. Our mechanics have all the background and knowledge so you don’t have to worry or even be aware of all the components that need to be routinely checked.
15,000 Mile Increment Check-ups
Fortunately all you need to do is keep track of your odometer for key mileage increments. Every 15,000 miles bring your car, truck, van or SUV to Buchanan’s Service Centers. Our mechanics will make a comprehensive check over key engine components for their performance, cleaning, repair or replacement. They know at what mileage increment the particular parts of your model vehicle that need to be checked.
Your routine “mile-stones” for vehicle assessments are:
Preparing for road trip
You’re ready to get on the road for your first summer road trip, but is your vehicle ready, too?
First and foremost, start your maintenance check with an oil change. We recommend going to a service garage rather than a franchised shop, as service garage professionals are better trained and will thoroughly check other key components of your vehicle including transmission fluid, coolant system, hoses, drive belts, signals, lights and wipers.
Next, check your tires for their age, tire pressure, tread depth and overall condition. Older tires ride hard, show signs of cracking and bulging so should be replaced before going out on a long road trip. Having the correct air pressure in your tires is necessary for fuel efficiency and reducing heat. Tread depth is also important for traction and ride. Learn more about assessing your tires health.
With cars running cooler these days, hoses within air-conditioning and cooling systems aren’t as much of an issue as they have been in the past. However, it’s important to check your air-conditioner operation to be sure the system is clean and operating at full capacity.
If your car battery is over 4 years old, consider replacing it. Your electrical system is a key component to your vehicle operation and you don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery.
Once you’ve changed your oil and double-checked that your tires, air-conditioning system and car battery are running smoothly, it’s time to hit the road, turn up the tunes, and start your road trip worry-free.
Assessing your tires health
No other part of your vehicle is subjected to more bumps, jars, screeches and burn-outs than your tires. With all that consistent use and abuse, Buchanan’s Service Centers recommends assessing your tires at least once a month for wear and tear.
You don’t have to rely on a pro to make that call because with these visual and performance cues, you can check your own tire’s health and decide if it has more life or needs replacement.
Every tire has a built-in system for determining tread life. Manufactured within the tire’s groove are ridges, or wear bars, spaced inches apart all around the tire. On a new tire the wear bars are deep within the grooves, well below the tire surface. Over the thousands of miles of driving—even locally—the tire tread wears down and decreases. You’ll notice the tire grooves are diminishing. If your tire’s surface is ever close or even with those wear bars it means that your tire has worn down to only 2/32 of tread. That’s a sure indicator the balding tire is less effective on the road, especially wet pavement, with not enough tread and traction to effectively maneuver and suddenly stop the car in the shortest amount of space. Your safety is at risk and it’s time to replace that tire.
The Penny Check
Another common, easy way to check your tread is using a penny. Turn the penny so that Lincoln’s head faces down and place it in the tire’s groove. When your tire has high tread you shouldn’t be able to see penny’s edge or even most of Lincoln’s head. But If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread is too shallow and the old tire should be replaced.
Just as important as the tread are the sides or walls of your vehicle’s tires. Cracks on the sides of tires are signs of stress and fatigue on the tire wall. A weakening wall can preclude a tire blowout hitting the right pot hole or other severe bump. It’s best to check the walls on both sides of the tire. So you not only have to get to the level of the tire to assess the outer walls, but also grab a flashlight, get on your back and scoot just enough under the vehicle to inspect the inner tire walls as well.
Proper Tire Inflation
Proper inflation is essential to your tire’s life. Information on the manufacturer’s proper tire inflation can be found on the driver door or door jam and in the owner’s manual. If your tires are typically under-inflated or over-inflated the tire will not wear properly and likely have a much shorter life. If your tire regularly looses air, the slow leak may be fixed with a plug or caused by small cracks in the tire. Unfortunately, tire cracks can not be repaired and the tire will need to be replaced.
The Feel of Driving Your Car
A rough ride can also indicate tire damage or excessive wear. If you notice any vibrations or other disturbances while driving, reduce speed and have your tires inspected as soon as possible. Those vibrations may be a warning that the tire is about to blowout.
Learning how to assess your tires’ health can help you avoid a tire blowout, and even an accident. It can can also save from being misled into unnecessary tire changes. When you do have questions and concerns, trust us at Buchanan’s Service Center in Omaha for honest evaluation, professional repair or proper tire replacement.
Service engine soon
Today’s new engines are more sophisticated that ever. When working properly they deliver a level of performance that we never before experienced. But it also means today’s engines have more things to go wrong. Monitoring all the sophisticated aspects of modern engines is your vehicle’s ECM, the Engine Control Module, often referred to as your car’s on-board computer. When something goes wrong in your car’s engine the ECM picks up on the problem and activates the Service Engine light–keeping it on till the problem is fixed. Since most of us have no idea what’s actually wrong with our engine, that Service Engine light can easily put a scare into any driver.
If your Service Engine light comes on, bring your vehicle to Buchanan’s Service Centers at your earliest convenience. Your engine’s computer knows what’s wrong and will tell us by code with the right equipment. Buchanan’s has an ECM code reader that plugs into your car. We can cross reference the code number to any vehicle manufacturer and model. When the code is revealed, Buchanan’s Service can quickly identify and solve your engine’s problem.
Probable causes that your ECM detects include failures with your engine’s:
- Ignition coil
- Fuel injector system
- Emissions control system
- Spark plugs or spark plug wires
- Engine valves
- Proper fluid levels
Your ECM is continuously gathering information from sensors placed throughout your vehicle’s engine. Sometimes when a problem is detected the cause may actually be a faulty sensor. Buchanan’s Service will test the sensor to see if it is faulty, then either clean or replace that sensor.
Service Engine Light Blinking Means “Immediately”!
If your Service Engine light begins blinking then the engine problem is quite serious. The blinking light is often accompanied with a rough running engine, particularly in idle. A blinking Service Engine light means you need to immediately get your car in for service. Likely the blinking light indicates that your catalytic converter is failing. Running the car much longer can cause further damage to the converter. If close by, get your car into either Buchanan’s Service location. Best advice is to pull in the nearest parking lot, shut off your vehicle and call Buchanan’s for a tow. The cost of the tow (which may be covered anyway by your auto insurance) is far, far less compared to the costly repair of the ailing engine running much longer.