In 2020, millions of people across the country and the SoCal region delayed routine maintenance and repairs on their vehicles amidst the pandemic.
According to Statista Transportation & Logistics, almost 40 percent of Americans delayed vehicle maintenance in 2020.
Unfortunately, many drivers in our region, across the country and the world, were driving much less in the past 14 months as many employers have employees working from home, and as much of the economy was shut down.
But, as our state is getting back to a point where drivers are traveling again, students are returning to school, and employees are returning to the office, it’s leaving some drivers nervous, particularly those who may have delayed service last year. But don’t worry, because Maintenance Pros will help get you back on the road again.
It’s important to note that there are two different types of maintenance obligations, one is based on miles driven, and the other is based on time. Let’s start with the good news…if you did not drive many miles last year, it’s likely that your vehicle’s tires are still in decent shape as tires will not particularly deteriorate over a year due to non-operation.
But, there are some concerns you should have as a driver who may have delayed maintenance during the past 14 months, particularly the oil and brakes.
Here are our tips on how you can take your vehicle from deterioration to restoration and get back on the road!
Getting an oil change
First things first, if you delayed or skipped an oil change in the past year, it’s important to get one as soon as possible. Oil changes are essential because if you delay it for too long, you can potentially cause irreparable damage to your vehicle’s engine.
Remember, vehicles have so many fast moving parts inside of them. It causes auto parts to elevate in temperature. The oil keeps them lubricated and cools while keeping auto parts clean and preventing them from wearing down.
So if you delayed an oil change in the past year, there is a high probability that you need an oil change because, over time, oil breaks down and degrades as an effect of the heat and pressure inside the engine.
The age of a vehicle, driving aggressively, hauling trailers, and driving through rough weather conditions will have an impact on how fast the oil breaks down.
“On an older car, following the owner’s manual mileage recommendation for severe conditions will keep the lubricant and its blend of protective additives fresh. The systems built into many new cars remind you of required service, like oil changes, take into account the length of trips and will recommend changes based on actual driving. Changing the oil is also the ideal time to look into other maintenance tasks, including checks of all belts and hoses; while both suffer the effects of engine heat under the hood, they can also develop cracks while the car just sits.”
The New York Times
On average, a vehicle should have its oil changed after an estimated 5,000 to 7,500 miles driven.
Inspect your brakes
Another critical point in getting your vehicle back on the road is to inspect your brakes or get them inspected by a maintenance professional. Brakes are one of the most significant auto parts that strengthen the safety of your vehicle on the road for yourself and other drivers; you do not want to delay having your brakes inspected.
Now, if you very rarely drove your vehicle last year, there may be a very thin layer of rust on your brake disks. This thin layer of rust may cause a light squeaking noise, which isn’t necessarily dangerous, as your brakes are still operable, and the squeaking noise generally wears off after braking a few times; this is only if the layer of rust is THIN.
Another point of inspection a driver can take is to look for corrosion on the brake calipers, which are used to squeeze the disks to stop the vehicle. One point to note about the corrosion of brake calipers is that if your vehicle does not roll freely at low speeds, you need have your brakes checked ASAP.
One reason why we recommend having a professional conduct a full-point inspection on your brakes is due to items you cannot see or hear, like the hydraulic fluid. If this fluid is dirty, it’s essential to have it flushed immediately and refilled with fluid to strengthen the vehicles stopping power.
“A car’s brake system relies on a hydraulic fluid, commonly referred to as brake fluid. Flowing through the brake lines, brake fluid provides the power or force necessary to bring a vehicle to a stop. It’s necessary to drain and replace brake fluid periodically because it absorbs moisture from the air and degrades over time. Brake fluid changes are typically done every one or two years, however, different vehicles will have different recommendations for best performance.”