Serving The Maine Coast From Falmouth To Camden

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

Posted April 16, 2014 9:39 AM



In our auto video today we'll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that "modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free".

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Coastal Maine Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn't so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Coastal Maine.

  • Some cars in Coastal Maine no longer require chassis lubrication. They're made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There's literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn't even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they've always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Coastal Maine if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there'll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It's cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines' maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don't want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner's manual or ask your Coastal Maine service advisor at Atlantic Motorcar to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it's cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That'll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Coastal Maine, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Atlantic Motorcar. You'll find us at 10 Ox Horn Road in Coastal Maine, Maine 04578. Just give us a call at (207) 882-9969.


Posted in the Maintenance category

How Your Check Engine Light Works

Posted April 9, 2014 7:06 AM



Have you ever had an experience like this in Coastal Maine Maine? You drive through the one of those automatic car washes. When you get to the end, where the dryer is blowing, your check engine light started flashing!

You fear the worst, but within a block or two, the light stopped flashing, but stayed on. By the next day, the light was off.

You wonder; "What was going on?" Well, it's actually a good lesson in how the Check Engine light works.

Your air intake system has a sensor that measures how much air is coming through it. When you went under the high-speed dryer, all that air was blasting past the sensor. Your engine computer was saying, there shouldn't be that much air when the engine is just idling. Something's wrong. Whatever's wrong could cause some serious engine damage.

Warning, warning! It flashes the check engine light, to alert you to take immediate action.

It stopped flashing because once you were out from under the dryer, the airflow returned to normal. Now the engine control computer says the danger is past, but I'm still concerned, I'll keep this light on for now.

Then the Check Engine Light goes off in a day or two.

The condition never did recur, so the computer says whatever it was, it's gone now. The danger is past, I'll turn that light off.

Now a flashing check engine light is serious. You need to get it into our Coastal Maine Maine shop as soon as possible. But if it stops flashing, so you have time to see if the problem will clear itself or if you need to get it checked. How does the computer know when to clear itself?

Think of it this way. The engine control computer is the brain that can make adjustments to manage the engine. Things like alter the air to fuel mix, spark advance, and so on. The computer relies on a series of sensors to get the information it needs to make decisions on what to do.

The computer knows what readings are in a normal range for various conditions. Get out of range, and it logs a trouble code and lights up the check engine warning.

The computer will then try to make adjustments if it can. If the computer can't compensate for the problem, the check engine light stays on.

The computer logs a trouble code. Some people think the code will tell the technician exactly what's wrong?

Actually, the code will tell the technician what sensor reading is out of parameters. It can't really tell you why, because there could be any number of causes.

Let's say you're feeling hot. You get your heat sensor out – a thermometer – put it under our tongue and in a minute or two you learn that you have a fever of 104 degrees.

You know your symptom – a fever – but you don't know what's causing it. Is it the flu, a sinus infection or appendicitis?

You need more information than just that one sensor reading. But it does give you a place to start and narrows down the possible problems.

There are reports on the internet telling you that you can just go down to an auto parts store and get them to read your trouble code or buy a cheap scan tool to do it yourself.

There are two problems with that. First, the computer stores some trouble codes in short term memory, and some in permanent memory. Each manufacturer's computer stores generic trouble codes, but they also store codes that are specific to their brand.

A cheap, generic scan tool, like you can buy or that the auto parts store uses, doesn't have the ability to retrieve long-term storage or manufacturer specific codes. Your Coastal Maine Maine service center has spent a lot of money on high-end scan tools and software to do a deep retrieval of information from your engine control computer.

The second problem is that once you've got the information, do you know what to do with it? For example, a very common trouble code comes up when the reading on the oxygen sensor is out of whack.

So the common solution is for the auto parts store to sell you a new oxygen sensor, which are not cheap, and send you off on your way. Now your oxygen sensor may indeed have been bad and needed replacing. But the error code could have come from any of a dozen of other problems.

How do you know the right solution? Back to the fever analogy, do you need surgery or an aspirin? Leave it to the pros at Atlantic Motorcar. Give us a call at (207) 882-9969 and let us help you resolve your check engine light issue.


Posted in the Dashboard category

Keep Your Cool In Coastal Maine

Posted April 2, 2014 5:46 PM

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Coastal Maine car owners rely on their car's coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your European vehicle engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it’s cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.

There’s a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that’s easily reached inside your European vehicle's engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.

Also, if it’s freezing outside in Coastal Maine, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the Maine cold.

So, if you remember your Coastal Maine high school chemistry, you’ll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.

Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around Coastal Maine.

Keep Your Cool In Coastal Maine Whenever your European vehicle is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it’s cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.

All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal European vehicle engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. The expensive parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole European vehicle's engine is ruined and has to be junked.

This is why it is critical that Coastal Maine drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their European vehicle cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your European vehicle car maker has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner’s manual or ask us at Atlantic Motorcar in Coastal Maine.

The reason Coastal Maine car owners need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system’s a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other European vehicle cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.

Many Coastal Maine auto owners ask Atlantic Motorcar why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don’t mix them up.

The manufacturers use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.

So check with us at Atlantic Motorcar in Coastal Maine or your owner’s manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your European vehicle cooling system.


Posted in the Cooling System category

Timing Belt

Posted March 26, 2014 3:28 PM



Ever heard the sad tale of a staggeringly costly repair bill from a broken timing belt? Bad news. Let's Coastal Maine car owners take a lesson from their woes and remember to think about our important timing belt.

First, let's review what a timing belt does. The top part of the engine, over the cylinders is called the cylinder head. The head contains the valves. There's at least one valve that lets the fresh air into the cylinder. This air, mixed with fuel, burns to create power. Then another valve or two open to allow the exhaust out of the engine. Each cylinder has 2 to 4 valves - that's 12 to 24 valves for a V-6, up to 32 values on a V-8. The opening and closing of the valves is done by a camshaft. The timing belt uses the rotation of the engine to drive the camshaft which opens and close the valves. It's called a timing belt because it has to be adjusted to rotate the camshaft to keep proper time with the engine so that everything's in sync.

The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt . But some cars use a timing chain or timing gears instead of a belt. Timing chains and gears are much more durable, but auto makers are using belts more because they are quieter - and cheaper. If you have a small or mid-sized passenger car, crossover or mini-van, chances are you have a timing belt.

Unfortunately, timing belts fail without any warning. That shuts Coastal Maine car owners down right away. Your Atlantic Motorcar technician can inspect your timing belt and look for cracks and looseness. But getting to the belt to take a look can be almost as much work as changing it on some cars. That's why car makers recommend replacing the belt from time to time. For most vehicles it's from 60,000 to 90,000 miles or 95,000 to a 145,000 kilometers. If your owners' manual doesn't specify an interval ask your friendly Atlantic Motorcar service specialist.

One AutoNetTV producer has had two timing belts fail. The first was while he was waiting at a stop light - that costly repair cost several thousand dollars. The second was while driving on the highway - that one cost more than twice as much. Both had the cars out in the shop for three weeks. His cars had what we call "interference engines", meaning that the valves and pistons are very close to each other. If the timing belt slips even one notch, the pistons will slam into the open valves. That's why our friend's highway failure was so much more pricey - his engine was traveling so fast that the valves were smashed and they chewed up the cylinder head.

A non-interference engine will just shut down if the timing belt breaks. You're stranded, but the engine doesn't suffer permanent damage. In both cases, our hapless friend was just a couple oil changes past the recommended interval for changing the timing belt. This is one of those things that Coastal Maine auto owners just cannot put off. Now replacing a timing belt is not cheap - but repairs for a broken belt can be far more expensive.

The team at Atlantic Motorcar recommends Coastal Maine motorists check their owners' manual ASAP - especially if you have more than a 60,000 miles or 95,000 kilometers. You may need to get that belt replaced right away. And on many cars, the timing belt drives the water pump. So, it may be a good idea to replace the water pump while you're at it because 90% of the work required for the new pump is already done with the belt change. Doing both at the same time saves you a lot of money because as they say, "timing's everything".


Posted in the Parts category

PCV Valve Service At Atlantic Motorcar In Coastal Maine

Posted March 20, 2014 3:38 PM

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a critical job for Coastal Maine motorists. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.

The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the European vehicle engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.

These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.
PCV Valve Service At Atlantic Motorcar In Coastal MaineThis can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause European vehicle engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Atlantic Motorcar. At high speeds on Coastal Maine freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, auto makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the European vehicle's engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves fuel economy also. (Budget-conscious Coastal Maine drivers take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets harmful gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased fuel economy.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at Atlantic Motorcar in Coastal Maine and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Coastal Maine auto owners don’t know about it. Check your European vehicle owner’s manual or ask your Atlantic Motorcar service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at Atlantic Motorcar when it gets dirty.

Please ask your friendly Coastal Maine service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Coastal Maine, you can avoid some very expensive engine repairs.


Posted in the Parts category

Emergency Items For Your European vehicle

Posted March 12, 2014 10:40 AM



Local Coastal Maine roadside emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So you may want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car at all times and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip.

Your close-to-home kit for around Coastal Maine would have some basic items to work on your car: everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You'll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools.

Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots. Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card.

People who live in areas with frequent severe weather or earthquakes may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies.

For trips away from home, consider the weather and geography as you assemble your emergency supplies. You'll need to have a source of light and heat and will want to provide protection against the elements as well as adequate food and water for everyone in the car.

Always tell people where you are going and have a plan for checking in at waypoints. Then if you run into trouble, you can be reported missing as soon as possible and rescuers will be able to narrow the search area.

The key to safe travel is to keep your vehicle properly maintained, plan ahead, and let others know your itinerary.


Posted in the Parts category

Make Your Battery Last

Posted March 4, 2014 2:28 PM



Today’s report from Atlantic Motorcar is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn’t. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Coastal Maine vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

Now that’s an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around Coastal Maine. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

For more information on your battery, please visit us:
Atlantic Motorcar
10 Ox Horn Road
Coastal Maine, Maine 04578
(207) 882-9969

Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.

A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates actually, for the lack of a better word, 'die'. Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Coastal Maine area, is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the car. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you’re driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it’s no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may’ve heard these chargers referred to as 'trickle chargers'. They’re attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

Now there’s some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you’ll have to tend it. Frankly a learning curve on how to do it right and requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it’s fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery. Something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That’ll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Atlantic Motorcar to clean it for you. Atlantic Motorcar can even test your battery and tell you if it’s time to replace it.

Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Atlantic Motorcar about appropriate upgrades.

If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.


Posted in the Battery category

Atlantic Motorcar On Your Serpentine Belt

Posted February 27, 2014 12:20 PM



Today we’re going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Coastal Maine, Maine customers. Let’s start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That’s the key device that makes electricity to power the European vehicle and recharge the battery. Then there’s the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you're driving around Maine in the summer.

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Coastal Maine auto owners' vehicles. Those pumps provide vital pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many European vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Coastal Maine, Maine, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some European vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of critical work for one belt.

But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most if not all of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of key work, but they’re tough and can last Coastal Maine drivers for thousands of miles.

Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Coastal Maine, Maine area. Your automobile manufacturer will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Atlantic Motorcar can detect a belt that’s getting close to failing.

Your friendly Atlantic Motorcar service professional can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that’s more than half the depth of the belt - replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it.

What’s involved in replacing the belt at Atlantic Motorcar? First the old belt is removed. Then a new one is fitted around all the pulleys for the accessories and the drive. There’s a special pulley called a tensioner.

This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm. Its important job is to apply the correct amount of tension to the belt to keep it from getting loose and maybe slipping off. Because the spring in the tensioner pulley wears out, AutoNetTV and the automotive professionals at Atlantic Motorcar recommend Coastal Maine motorists replace them at the same time as the belt. It just makes sense.

What are the warning signs that there’s a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating around our Coastal Maine streets. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.

What do you do if your belt breaks? If you’ve actually had that happen on a busy Coastal Maine expressway, it can be a little scary. The first thing Coastal Maine motorists usually notice is that they have no power steering or power brakes. Don’t panic – you can still steer and brake, but you’ll have to do the work. It’ll be harder to steer and you’ll need more time and effort to stop, so plan accordingly.

Your dashboard will light up will all kinds of warnings. You’ll see a warning about your cooling system if you have a water pump that’s driven by the serpentine belt. This is key because without your cooling system working, your engine will overheat. If you don’t stop you’ll have massive engine damage, maybe to the point that you need a new engine. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling. Pull over as quickly as you safely can!

The battery light will come on because the alternator isn’t working. If your car’s water pump isn’t driven by the serpentine belt, you’re not in danger of overheating so you can drive a little further if necessary. But the battery will run down to the point where the car will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Coastal Maine, Maine traffic.

Remember, Coastal Maine car owners can avoid this stressful scenario if they replace their European vehicle serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your friendly Atlantic Motorcar service professional to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.

Atlantic Motorcar
10 Ox Horn Road
Coastal Maine, Maine 04578
(207) 882-9969


Posted in the Maintenance category

Stay Headed In The Right Direction, Coastal Maine

Posted February 18, 2014 11:35 AM



Power steering is standard on nearly every car and truck in Coastal Maine, Maine these days. Now there are some exotic, new types of power steering systems, but for the most part, the general setup is a pump that’s driven by a belt powered by the engine.

Contact the automotive professionals at Atlantic Motorcar in Coastal Maine for questions about your power steering.

The pump generates power that assists you as you steer your European vehicle around Coastal Maine, Maine. Power steering systems use hoses to move pressurized fluid back and forth. These hoses can develop leaks so it’s a good idea to have your Coastal Maine technician inspect them at every oil change.

A check of the power steering fluid level is on the list for every full service oil change at Atlantic Motorcar because low fluid can damage the power steering pump. And the fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so you need to use the correct type –just ask your tech at Atlantic Motorcar.

In addition to providing boost, the fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. Over time, the lubricants and detergents diminish so Coastal Maine auto owners need to replace their old fluid with clean, fresh fluid periodically.

Excess moisture can collect in the power steering fluid as well. That can lead to rust and corrosion as well as reduce the effectiveness of the fluid. Many auto manufacturers outline power steering service intervals in the owner’s manual. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the maintenance schedule. If you're not sure, every two years is a good rule of thumb.

At Atlantic Motorcar, we use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid and replace it with new fluid.

Now, if you are experiencing high steering effort, erratic power assist, loud whining coming from the pump you may have a power steering problem. Another sign is that you have to frequently top off the fluid.

Holding the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time can wear your pump out real fast. AutoNetTV wants you to be sure to service your power steering system regularly to keep you headed in the right direction.

Atlantic Motorcar
10 Ox Horn Road
Coastal Maine, Maine 04578
(207) 882-9969

Posted in the Steering category

Busting Automotive Myths In Coastal Maine Maine

Posted February 11, 2014 2:49 PM



Myths passed around our Coastal Maine Maine community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the European vehicles of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.

To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the Coastal Maine area, come over to Atlantic Motorcar.
You'll find us at 10 Ox Horn Road, Coastal Maine, Maine 04578.
Give us a call at (207) 882-9969 to make an appointment for your next auto service.

Let's examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.

The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.

The truth on which this myth is based is that many new cars come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around Coastal Maine. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in Coastal Maine still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.

Another common rant you'll hear around Coastal Maine is that modern cars don't need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a 'tune-up', which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Atlantic Motorcar would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.

This definition just doesn't apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Atlantic Motorcar generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles or so.

Of course you can't lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can't adjust a carburetor if your car doesn't have one. You probably don't need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles. What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?

The danger with these modern-day myths, is that they prevent people in our local Coastal Maine community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?

Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .

You get the picture. Your European vehicle is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors at Atlantic Motorcar have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your Coastal Maine service advisor at Atlantic Motorcar, or do some research of your own.


Posted in the Maintenance category

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