Entering the world of car maintenance can feel very overwhelming. It is worth learning the basics to avoid irreversible damage on your vehicle, expensive repairs and breaking down in the most inconvenient of ways.
Car maintenance includes a yearly service undertaken by professional auto repair shop mechanics, otherwise known as a Warrant of Fitness (WOF) to ensure safety. In addition to this,
Once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll know the small steps you can take throughout your life to help care for your car in the best way possible. After all, the most important priority is driving in a vehicle that is safe.
Warrant of Fitness (WOF) Service
A yearly service or inspection is the safest action you can undertake. In addition to this, it is the most cost effective way to catch errors before they cause irreversible damage to your vehicle. A Warrant of Fitness (WOF) is an ideal example of this. In New Zealand, cars are legally required to have a WOF once a year to ensure vehicles are safe enough to be on the road. Mechanics at an auto repair service shop will review your vehicle’s condition and its elements such as filters, brakes, and oil.
A car service is when you take your car to a garage for a routine check up. A mechanic will look at your car’s condition and check parts for wear and tear, like brakes, oil, filters and engine belt. This service is known to directly prolong the life of your vehicle, saving you money in the long run. It reduces your chances of breaking down when you least expect it.
Wheel Alignment and Balancing
While a WOF can significantly minimize damage occurring and the need for repairs, this doesn’t mean errors cannot randomly incur. On occasions, wheel alignment and balancing is required, which unbeknownst to many people are two completely different things.
Wheel alignment refers to ensuring that the wheels are all at the correct angle, facing parallel next to one another. While wheel balancing is ensuring equal weight around the wheel to guarantee it rotates correctly.
If you need a wheel alignment service, a tell tale sign is the feeling that your steering wheel is being pulled to one side or being off center even while driving in a straight direction. You may also notice squeaking tires and uneven tread on your tires.
Warning signals for when you need wheel balancing is your steering wheel, seat or floor noticeably vibrating especially at high speeds, uneven tread wear and running out of fuel faster than usual.
If these signals do arise, take your vehicle into an auto repair service shop where mechanics will check it for you. It simply is not worth the risk of ignoring red flags.
Brake Repair Service
Brakes are one of the most important elements of a car. If there are faults with your brakes, or your brakes lock, it can result in serious injury or death. For this reason, if you do not want to undertake a full WOF, ensure you have your brakes serviced on a regular basis or when you notice any warning signs.
The two common elements that will need to be checked and replaced are the brake pads and the brake rotors.
If your rotors are in need of replacement, you will hear a screeching noise, and the vehicle will shudder when braking. Your car will also take a while to break, often triggering fear you won’t break in time. These brake rotors tend to need replacing every 110,000 kilometers.
The main warning signal that you need to replace your brake pads is a grinding or screeching noise when you try to brake. This is due to wear and tear causing the metal sensor to make impact with the brake disc and resulting in the loud noise. Brake pads usually need to be replaced around every 40,000 to 105,000 kilometers and often, you will notice they need changing outside of your WOF service.
Additional brake parts that get checked in a brake service are brake calipers, brake drums, brake lines, brake pistons and brake lines.
In conclusion, a yearly WOF service is your best option to have peace of mind that your vehicle parts will last as long as they can, and help ensure your vehicle is safe to drive. While this can be done by mechanics for a professional result, it doesn’t mean issues won’t arise throughout the remainder of the year. Listen out for any signals that something isn’t right – remember, strange noises and occurrences that don’t usually happen with your car often mean something is happening on a deeper level. As soon as you notice anything strange, take your car straight to an auto repair service shop!
Olivia Fairhurst is a content manager for Tony Allen Auto Service.