With new technology, automobiles have become fine-tuned machines, but even with all the new hardware in a vehicle, one fact about your ride hasn’t changed regularly scheduled routine maintenance is important to keeping your car in tip-top running condition.
Whether your car care routine includes taking the vehicle to a dealership or an independent mechanic, regular oil changes, transmission service and tire rotations will keep you trouble-free on the road for years to come.
Brian Miller, of Miller’s Auto and Repair in Earlville, has been in the business for nearly 15 years and said the essentials of car care are no surprise.
“Oil changes are really good along with transmission services, tire rotations and keeping up on your brakes,” Miller said. “Every time you take your car in for service, your mechanic should be checking the brakes. It depends on how you drive. Some people will need brakes before others.”
Miller explained improvements in auto building and more efficient engine lubricants allow drivers to go longer between services.
“Some of the oil pans are larger so you can go longer between service intervals. Right now, four to five thousand between oil changes isn’t unusual,” he said. “The oil is the lifeblood of the vehicle, and you should service your transmission about every 50 to 60 thousand miles too.”
Miller explained a car with high miles on the odometer isn’t necessarily something to be overly concerned with.
“100,000 miles used to be long-lived for a vehicle, but anymore, you’re getting two or three hundred thousand miles out of a vehicle,” he said. “The better oils and fuel injection systems in vehicles help. The quality of the fuel isn’t as good, but the oil is getting better.”
Miller is, however, an advocate for ethanol.
“The ethanol fuels are great and if you have a flex-fuel vehicle the E-85 is good,” he said.
Miller and his father Dick started the business in Earlville and developed a reputation for providing quality work at a fair price.
“We’ve been here 15 years. Dad and I first started off here and three years ago he retired, so it’s just me,” Miller said. “Most of the time I do routine maintenance but sometimes I get into replacing engines or transmissions.”
Auto repair and maintenance is an evolving field, and while the basics of working on autos haven’t changed, vehicles rely on technology more than ever.
“Just about everything in a vehicle is running on the electronics and everything is controlled by computers, like your windows going up and down,” Miller said. “I do electronic diagnostics too.”
What does Miller see most frequently in his shop?
“Right now, the most problematic areas are wheel bearings and suspension issues,” he said. “With the Iowa roads and the products they put on the roads in the winter, it’s hard on vehicles.”