I like to do the maintenance on my vehicles. As vehicles become more complex, what maintenance can I realistically do myself?
This is a great question. My brothers and I grew up tinkering with cars and trucks. We completely understand the person who likes to service and maintain their own vehicle. But, as you noted, vehicles are becoming more complicated incorporating advanced technologies and that does present challenges to the do-it-yourselfer.
According to AAA, the objective expert in the consumer automotive industry, the five maintenance projects they recommend for a do-it-yourselfer, that have not been significantly affected by technology, are the following:
- Oil changes
- Replacing air and cabin filters
- Replacing the drive belt
- Replacing the hose; and
- Replacing engine coolant and windshield washer fluid.
It is important to note that you may be able to perform the above services and be good to go. The challenge is if there are other issues that may be difficult to detect without the proper diagnostics to read other sensors and indicators.
According to the AAA expert “Car Doctor,” John Paul, new technologies are affecting typical maintenance jobs. That is why if your vehicle has a service need, it is best to trust an expert like the certified mechanics at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota. We now leverage video to walk around your vehicle, identify the item or purpose for your service and use video to show you cause and effect whenever possible. Whether you like working on vehicles or have no interest, our commitment is to leverage technology to be able to show you what service is needed and why to give you peace of mind and confirmation of the work to be performed.
The “Car Doctor,” John Paul recommends the following maintenance and repairs are performed by an expert:
- Batteries— Some luxury vehicles now have a power adjustment system. If this is not set correctly, it may wear down sooner than needed.
- Brakes— You may change your own pads, however dangerous it is to be under the vehicle, but you must be so careful not to get even a speck of dirt into an ABS system that could trigger a warning light if it makes its way into the hydraulics.
- Fuel filter— New model vehicles have filters that require tools that the average do-it-yourselfer wouldn’t own.
- Headlights – you may have done that in the past, however, now it is difficult to get into the headlight socket. New headlights, known as “adaptive headlights,” need system reprogramming. If not installed properly, they may stop turning on. This type of headlight, when properly installed, helps to improve visibility around corner, so they are very beneficial.
- Tire rotation— There are sensors that monitor tire pressure. These sensors are very expensive and we frequently see customers who have damaged them or serviced at outlets where the technician was not properly trained. At best, If not reset properly, drivers could mistakenly be alerted to low pressure. Worse case, you are facing a significant expense to repair important technology that your vehicle included for your safety.
I am not one to discourage someone who enjoys working on their vehicle! However, as vehicles become more technologically advanced, the reality is that service and maintenance has also become more complicated. While working on a vehicle is for many enjoyable and a hobby, the complex technology presents challenges that may make the hobby frustrating and potentially expensive. Also keep in mind the importance of your own personal safety. Many people are injured working on vehicles at home because they do not have the proper equipment or lifts properly anchored.
If you enjoy working on your vehicle, come on in and visit our Parts Department to get the genuine parts you need to keep your Toyota a Toyota or your Volvo a Volvo. If you need service, you can schedule online 24/7 or call us at (888) 355-1041. We’re here to listen to your service needs and provide you with the best solution cost-effectively. We shop our competitors to be certain our prices are competitive. Check out our “Dare to Compare” board in the service area and online.