Auto Maintenance Professionals
State-of-the-Art Expertise /
Personal Neighborhood Service
about buying a used car? Don't get saddled with a lemon, we
provide a thorough and complete prepurchase inspection before you buy! (Click Here)
The bedrock of a good
maintenance program, is a regular series of
scheduled component inspections.
inspections can give our technicians important insight into the usage
patterns and maintenance needs of your vehicle and provide you with
1) The ability to anticipate when and where
issues may occur and plan appropriate services to preclude breakdowns
and unplanned repairs.
2) The ability to spot potential
problem areas early, and perfrom pre-emptive repairs.
3) A program of regular
can give you, the driver, confidence in your vehicle to use it as its
manufacturer will detail their recommendations in
the vehicle owner's manual. Typical inspection items and
criteria are discussed here:
Drive Belt(s) -- Driven accessories can include the
power steering pump, air-conditioning compressor, coolant pump,
alternator, and certain emissions control devices. Most belts
this application can last up to 150,000 miles, however; ozone
the environment, sustained highway driving, and high ambient
temperature can shorten the life of these belts. As a general
rule the manufacturer suggests that the belt has 10% of its useful life
remaining, when cracks or blemishes exceed 3 per inch.
Replacement is recommended when belts reach this condition.
A failed accessory drive belt will cause all
driven accessories to loose power. In the case of the water
the engine will overheat and cause substantial vehicle damage.
2) Battery and
Terminal Condition -- Battery life can suffer
if: 1) it is left in a discharged state, 2) if the fluid level is not
maintained, or 3) if the terminals become excessively corroded.
you leave your lights on overnight, for instance, the battery life may
be significantly foreshortened. If the
battery is not 'maintenance free' , electrolyte level should be
inspected and adjusted on a periodic basis, to maximize battery life.
As batteries age, corrosion will develop at the terminals.
This corrosion can spread to the cables and cable ends
causing poor starting and potential safety issues. Periodic
cleaning of the battery terminals and cable ends can insure safe
reliable starting and full utility of the battery.
Component Condition -- Exposed rotating components of
the drive train such as drive shafts, u-joints, and drive axles, are
subject to exposure and corrosion from the environment. Some
these components include service fittings that provide for routine
lubrication. All of these components should be regularly
for running clearance, smoothness, and mechanical condition, and
serviced where applicable.
Deteriorated drive line components can cause noise and
and under extreme circumstances of degradation, they can
fail causing serious mechanical damage to the vehicle.
Systems Components -- Since 1996, environmental
mandated controls on the evaporative emissions from a vehicle's fuel
tank. This complex system usually involves an activated
filter and a series of valves and pressure sensors to test for pressure
leaks. These components are mounted under the vehicle in the
vicinity of the fuel tank. Although this system is robust,
periodic inspections for mechanical damage and degradation are prudent.
A leak in this system will be detected by your vehicle's
on-board computer, and cause a 'Check Engine'
malfunction Lamp. Here in S.E. Wisconsin a 'Check Engine'
Lamp will cause an automatic failure of an emissions inspection for
Condition -- In the last ten years manufacturers have
system materials to become very corrosion resistant. As a
exhaust systems have the ability to last for 150,000 miles or more.
Seasonal usage of deicing salt, and other environmental
can greatly reduce the life expectancy of an exhaust system.
Degraded exhausts can develop potentially hazardous leaks,
objectionably noisy, or in some instances become detached from the
vehicle and create a driving hazard. For these reasons,
inspection of your exhaust system is recommended to insure safe a
comfortable driving experience.
6) Air Filter
Condition -- A clean air filter is a very
inexpensive way to insure good longevity and best fuel economy and
performance for your vehicle. Here in rural S.E. Wisconsin,
driving environment is tough on air filters. On most vehicles
air filter is easily accessible for inspection and service.
easy way to test an air filter is to hold a lamp behind it and observe
the light that passes through. A clogged air filter will not
allow any light to pass.
Filter Condition -- Later model vehicles are now
equipped with high efficiency cabin air filters.
filters are intended to prevent pollen and other small impurities from
entering the cabin ventilation system. This type of
system dramatically improves the air quality inside the passenger
compartment, especially for individuals prone to sensitivity to these
types of particulates. Periodic inspection and renwal of this
filter is important in maintaining the enjoyment of your vehicle.
8) Fuel Tank
Seal Condition -- The fuel tank cap is typically taken for
however, the gasket seal will degrade with age and a failure
seal will cause the 'Check Engine' lamp to illuminate. This
inexpensive repair under most circumstances, but if it is not
accomplished, moisture can inter the fuel tank and cause corrosion
issues and potentially expensive repairs. A leaky fuel cap
will also cause an automatic failure during emissions inspection for
registration in S.E. Wisconsin.
Fluid Quantity and Condition
-- Brake and other hydraulic system fluids are
designed to operate at
high temperatures. These fluids have a chemical
causes them to absorb moisture from the air. Over time this
can build up and cause internal corrosion of the system components.
addition excessive moisture content in the brake fluid can reduce its
resistance high temperatures and cause brake fade. Regular
and testing of these fluids can prevent expensive component or system
-- A large number of vehicles in service today still use the old
fashioned incandescent light bulb for exterior lighting, including;
headlamps, turn-signals, brake, and running lamps. Most
providers will include courtesy inspections of these lamps during a
routine engine lubricant service. A quick and easy service
that these lamps are working properly and help insure that your
vehicle's safety features are working properly. Here in S.E.
Wisconsin, our law enforcement officers, will also note the operability
of these lamps!
Quantity and Condition
-- Everyone understands the importance of maintaining your engine's
lubricant. Regular intervals of inspection can also yield
information about the health of your vehicle's power train.
vehicle's usage patterns are established through experience, sudden
increases in oil consumption or sudden degradation in oil quality can
give valuable early warning to more expensive and troublesome issues
that might be forth coming, and allow a plan of action that will
insure the continued reliability of your vehicle.
and Suspension Component Condition
-- These components are critical to safe and comfortable operation of
your vehicle. Articulating mechanical linkages which comprise
steering system can and will loosen up with age and use. Any
detectable looseness is considered a component failure. A
inspection for this condition and prompt repairs when necessary can
prevent premature tire wear, insecure handling, and potentially
dangerous mechanical failures. Suspension components such as
springs and dampers can also degrade with age. Springs can
with accumulation of mileage and shock absorbers can loose their
characteristics and /or leak damping fluid. Vehicles with
degraded suspension components will not be able to execute smooth and
sure emergency maneuvers, and can exhibit uncomfortable ride
13) Tire Inflation Pressure
and Tread Condition
-- Tire inflation pressure is a frequently neglected maintenance item
that can have a strong influence on your car's operating costs and
drivability. Under inflated tires will develop hazardous wear
patterns and not develop the traction that the manufacturer intended.
Normal air under pressure will diffuse through the portions
the tire, pressure losses are typically 0.5 to 1.0 psi per week.
Unusual tread wear patterns can be caused by wheel misalignment.
Early detection of these patterns and prompt wheel
can prevent costly tire wear.
14) Under Hood Fluid
typical passenger vehicle may have 5 or more vital fluids in
circulation in the engine compartment. A regular program of
inspection and monitoring of these fluids can reveal potential problems
long before they become a threat to the reliability and safety of your
15) Wiper Blade
Condition -- Ozone, normal wear, and hot summer
degrade wiper blades. Blades in poor condition will streak
chatter, hindering rather than improving visibility in the rain.
Wiper blade condition should be assessed regularly and wipers
should be replaced once per year. A popular alternative are
winter style blades which have a protective covering around the spring
system to protect it from ice buildup and insure constant pressure on
the glass during snowy conditions. Wiper blade renewal is
recommended on a yearly basis.
USED CAR INSPECTIONS --
If you are considering the purchase of a used car, it is highly
recommended that you invest in a third party inspection. Erin
Auto Care has been performing these inspections at this location for 11
years. We offer
three levels of inspection from basic to comprehensive. Each
inspection includes a detailed report covering important
reliability, and maintenance issues. Armed with this
our customers are typically able to negotiate a price
reduction that covers the cost of the inspection. Most reputable sellers will
welcome our involvement in your purchasing decision. Contact
us for details.