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1835 Highway 83
Hartford, WI 53027-9774
Phone (262) 673-9900
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All vehicle manufacturers publish a schedule of recommended maintenance procedures to maximize the service life and utility of your vehicle through 120,000 to 150,000 miles. In addition, the automotive service industry has developed a similar maintenance strategy that can extend the useful life of your vehicle to 200,000 miles and beyond. These schedules consider your driving style and driving environment in establishing the timing and type of maintenance tasks that are required.  

Lubricant and Filter Service
Brakes and Brake Fluid Service
Tire/ Wheel Rotation
Steering Systems Service
Suspension Systems Service
Battery Service
Cooling System Service
Timing Belt Service

Lubricant and Filter Service

All power and drive train lubricants, including synthetics, after time in use the molecular structure of the lubricant will break down and no longer be effective.  The effectiveness of the lubricant is also degraded by heating and cooling cycles and the subsequent buildup of condensation and combustion contaminants.  Under very good climate conditions and gentle use of the throttle , these lubricants may be effective for longer periods without damage too the engine.   Most driving in Wisconsin qualifies as "normal" or "severe" duty as defined by manufacturers' guidelines, so a maintenance schedule prepared with consideration for that type of duty should be followed. An often overlooked consideration when establishing lubricant service intervals is the degradation caused by extended storage or seasonal usage on the effectiveness of lubricants.  Depending on storage conditions, condensation and corrosion products can accumulate in the lubricant and attack the sensitive mechanical components within.  Although it is not frequently addressed in factory published owner's manuals, lubricants should be examined and serviced as necessary during periods of vehicle inactivity.  The following guidelines are recommended:

Mixed Driving Highway Driving Seasonal Driving
Engine Lubricant/ Filter 3mo or 3000mi 3mo or 5000mi /6mo
Engine Lubricant/ Filter w/Synthetic Fluid 5mo or 5000mi 5mo or 5000mi Inspect /3mo
Transmission Lubricant/ Filter 30000mi 30000mi Inspect /6mo
Transfer Case Lubricant 60000mi 100000mi Inspect /6mo
Differential Lubricant 75000mi 75000mi Inspect /6mo
Diff. Lubricant (Towing /Plowing Operations) 3000mi 3000mi Inspect /6mo

Many late model vehicles have the ability to illuminate a reminder "lamp" when serviceable lubricants are nearing the end of their useful life.  This is a terrific feature.  Prompt responses to these reminders will assure long and reliable service-life for your vehicle.

Note:  We do not endorse extending engine-lubricant service intervals beyond 7000 miles, even with premium synthetic lubricants.

Brakes and Brake Fluid Service

Fully functional brakes are the most important safety consideration on any vehicle.  Modern brakes are designed to give many miles of trouble free service.  Regular inspections and services can insure that your brakes will go the distance.  Depending on driving habits and environment, your front and rear brake friction material will need renewal at 40,000 to 100,000 miles.  Periodic inspections in conjunction with each tire rotation is recommended, to preclude an inadvertent loss of braking effectiveness.    Brake fluid and brake components will, over time, react adversely with moisture in the air and result in degradation of the braking performance and damage to the brake system components.  For this reason, brake fluid should be tested regularly for moisture contamination, and should be completely replaced every 24 months.  For maximum service life, it is recommended that disc brake caliper slides be serviced yearly to renew anti-seize material that degrades over time.

Friction Material /Linings Inspect /6000mi
Hydraulic Fluid Renew /24mo
Caliper Slides  Service /12mo

Tire and Wheel Rotation

Front wheel drive cars provide a difficult challenge for tires.  The front wheels typically provide 70% or more of the braking force and 100% of the acceleration and steering forces.  If not rotated on a regular basis, these tires will wear unevenly, causing; traction, vibration, and handling safety concerns.  Rear wheel drive vehicles also benefit from regular wheel rotation.  Tire pressure is the most important factor effecting tire wear and traction performance.  Tires tend to loose a small amount of pressure over time, additionally seasonal temperature variations can cause a reduction in tire pressure.  It is recommended that tire inflation pressure be verified and adjusted on a weekly basis.

Wheel /Tire Rotation FWD Inspect, Rotate /6000mi
Wheel /Tire Rotation RWD /AWD Inspect, Rotate /7500mi
Tire Inflation Pressure Verify /1week

Vehicles with a full size spare, stored externally on a decorative rim (Jeep Wrangler, etc.) should have all 5 tires rotated every 10000mi.


A modern tune-up is considerably more complicated than in years past.  Changing spark plugs and filters are only a small parts of today's maintenance tune-up.  A typical late model vehicle with computer controlled fuel injection has a number of new systems to consider:  

1)  Fuel injection systems are sensitive to the cleanliness of the fuel.  A clean fuel filter is essential to efficient operation of your vehicle's power train.  Here in S.E. Wisconsin, abundant air born dirt will infiltrate your vehicle's fuel tank and clog a fuel filter in a few short years.  Your vehicle manufacturer's recommend fuel filter replacement interval should be strictly followed.    
2)  Oxygen sensors have become commonplace on all vehicles manufactured from 1996 on.  Many vehicles operate with as many as four oxygen sensors.  These sensors, located in your vehicle's exhaust plumbing,  allow the fuel injection system to constantly adjust  itself for optimum emissions and fuel economy.  They will degrade over time, causing poor drivability concerns and poor fuel economy.  In addition oxygen sensors can be seriously damaged by poor fuel quality, or defective engine seals.
3)  Fuel injectors are critical to a modern engine's health.  On higher mileage engines these injectors can be partially obstructed with gumy deposits caused by poor fuel or fuel impurities.  These deposits can make the injector stick causing a misfire.  Deposits can also degrade the normally fine fuel spray pattern, causing poor running and increased emissions.  Periodic "in-car" cleaning of these injectors will insure optimum performance.
4)  Intake system plumbing can accumulate deposits over time.  These deposits are a result of a modern emissions control strategy that recirculates a portion of the exhaust back into the engine.  Soot and carbon from this hot exhaust gas can accumulate, obstructing critical passages and causing drivability concerns, sticking throttle,  and poor emissions.  Periodic cleaning of these intake passages is recommended to insure smooth running.
5)  Each computer controlled vehicle comes with control software.  As vehicle control strategies evolve and improvements are developed, manufacturers will make software 'upgrades' available to correct manufacturing deficiencies and improve the functionality of your vehicle.  When performing tune-up related services, it is recommended that your vehicle be updated with the latest control software release.

Platinum Tiped Spark Plug Renew /100000mi
Standard Tiped Spark Plug Renew /30000mi
Ignition Wire Set Renew/60000mi
Fuel Filter Renew/30000mi
Air Filter Inspect /5000mi
Oxygen Sensor Renew /100000
Fuel Injection System In-Car Clean /AS NEEDED
Intake System In-Car Clean /AS NEEDED
System Software Updates Verify /1000000mi

6)  Ignition systems on late model vehicles operate with secondary voltages as high as 80,000 V.  In order to cope with theses high voltages, ignition wires are insulated with a new type of silicon.  While providing high initial performance,  wires insulated with this material will break down with high usage and cause ignition misfires when the wires have reached the end of their useful life.  It is important that all causes of ignition misfire be promptly addressed, as not only does it cause poor drivability and fuel economy, but severe and expensive damage can be done to the catalytic converter as well.  

Steering Systems Service

Your vehicle's steering system includes a power steering pump and associated hydraulics, and a system of mechanical linkages and joints which transmit the rotations of the steering wheel into directional changes of the front wheels.  Needless to say proper maintenance of these components is extremely important to vehicle safety.  Power steering hydraulic fluid is extremely robust and need not be frequently changed.  The fluid condition should be periodically inspected for contamination, and the entire system should be periodically inspected for corrosion and leaks, especially on older cars.  Mechanical linkages and joints are subjected to high levels of wear-and-tear.  Items like ball joints and tie rod ends on late model vehicles usually have a service life of approximately 130,000 miles.  Some of these components are fitted with service fittings for periodic lubrication.  It has been our experience, that lubable fittings when properly serviced will last indefinitely.  When steering linkages wear appreciably, handling can become  seriously degraded and tire wear is greatly accelerated.  If these components wear to the point of failure, a life threatening condition will result.  Periodic inspections and services of these components are inexpensive, and can save costly repairs later in a vehicle's life.

Steering Linkages /Joints Inspect /15000mi
Steering Linkages /Joints Service /3000mi
Power Steering Fluid Inspect /3000mi
Power Steering Fluid Renew /
Power Steering Hydraulics Inspect /15000mi
Wheel Alignment ANNUALLY

A vehicle's wheel alignment should be verified whenever new tires are fitted, and it should be adjusted anytime the vehicle develops a handling concern, or uneven tire wear.

Suspension Systems Service

Your vehicle's primary suspension components are springs and damping elements.  On most contemporary passenger cars, and  some  SUV's, these components are combined into 'struts'.  The suspension system is designed to provide a comfortable and smooth ride over a variety of pavement surfaces as well as allow stable cornering behavior.  Shocks and struts are in constant motion while the vehicle is moving.  They keep the car from nose diving when braking, swaying when cornering, and bouncing on rough roads.  They also keep the vehicle's tires in contact with the road surface, insuring consistent traction and even tire wear.  When suspension components start to degrade, handling, ride comfort, and tire wear will all suffer.  All damping elements have a finite service life.  Manufacturers of these elements suggest that degradation in damping performance can be detected as early as 60,000 miles, with full failure possible after 120,000 miles.  These elements should be periodically inspected for fluid leakage and damping performance on a regular basis.  Suspension springs can suffer from corrosion as well as fatigue.  Fatigued springs will alter a vehicle's steering geometry and ride height, potentially creating an unsafe condition.  If springs corrode or fatigue to the point of failure, a serious condition will result.  Like steering inspections, routine inspections of suspension components are inexpensive and can save on costly repairs or worse. .
Suspension Components Inspect /12mo
Damping Elements Renew /50000mi

Battery Service

Modern battery and charging systems require very little attention, however there are a few critical areas that should be inspected on a regular basis to insure that your vehicle starts and runs reliably.  A reliable battery requires a properly functioning charging system.  Prompt attention to a charging system malfunction indication can prevent irreversible damage to your car's battery.  If your battery is not of the 'maintenance-free' variety, periodic inspection and adjustment of the electrolyte level is required.  In addition, the battery should be tested seasonally,  and the terminal ends and grounds periodically cleaned.
Battery Electrolyte Adjust /6mo
Battery Capacity Load Test /Seasonally
Battery Terminals & Cable Ends Service /AS NEEDED
Cable Ground Connections Service /AS NEEDED

Cooling System Service

The cooling system on your vehicle has the most potential to cause reliability problems.  The primary culprit is reactivity between the anti-freeze mixture and various components of the cooling system, which over time can cause several concerns:  1)  Sludge build-up in the cooling system will cause premature wear of the cooling pump bearings and seals and potentially obstruct the radiator and heater core.  2)   Coolant in poor condition can accelerate corrosion in the engine and the heater and radiator, causing leaks.  3)  Coolant over time can degrade cooling system hoses and seals causing coolant leakage.  Additional components that can be effected are critical engine controls such as the thermostat and coolant temperature sensor.  Regular inspection of the coolant coverage and condition and periodic renewal of the coolant are recommended to preclude more expensive repairs.

Coolant Coverage and Condition Test /6mo
Coolant (Standard, Green) Flush-Renew  /30000mi or /24mo
Coolant (Extended Life, Yellow, Red Flush-Renew /150000mi or 5yr
Radiator Cap Pressure Test /Seasonally
Coolant Hoses Condition Inspect /3mo

Timing Belt Service

Most of today's four and six cylinder engines use a high-tech polymer belt to drive the valve train.  These belts typically have a service life in excess of 100,000 miles, but some manufacturer's belts are recommended to be replaced in as few as 40,000 miles.  Renewal of these belts is critical.  Not only will a belt failure cause  the engine to immediately quit running, but on a number of modern engines, severe engine damage can result. Belt replacement is a moderately complex task, and a thorough job can include additional services which are sensible to perform at the same time. There is evidence of belts continuing in service well past their recommended renewal mileage, however; these drivers are rolling the dice each time they drive, on potentially expensive engine repairs!

Timing Belt Renew /60000mi or per Factory