Regular maintenance is critical for the performance and reliability of all vehicles. And we don’t just mean oil changes. Manufacturers provide a maintenance schedule that includes the minimum required service for each model; this will include oil changes, as well as other items at specific intervals of mileage or time. It’s wise to follow this schedule. Some of these services can be messy, but fortunately there is innovative auto shop equipment that can make these jobs clean, efficient, and easier to do.
An important item on the maintenance schedule is to exchange the brake fluid. It is necessary to change all the fluid in the brake hydraulic system, and with many cars having ABS it is often necessary to use a brake fluid exchange machine for the job, to ensure that all of the old fluid is out of the system. The old procedure no longer works. With a brake fluid exchange machine attached, brake fluid will be forced into the brake hydraulic system, through the master cylinder, the lines, the abs unit and out to the calipers or wheel cylinders. The bleeder screw is opened after attaching a catch tank to catch the old fluid. When clean fluid appears, the bleeder is closed and the process is repeated three more times. Brake fluid is topped off, and that’s it. The brake fluid exchange machine does the job in a thorough, clean, and efficient way. Renewing the brake fluid should generally be done every two years, but it is wise to confirm if that is right for your model with the factory maintenance schedule.
The coolant in the cooling system also has to be renewed periodically. Different manufacturers use different types of coolant with varying life spans. For instance, the typical green coolant should be changed every two years or every 30,000 miles. Long life coolant can go twice as long. Once you determine the type of coolant, attach the machine. The machine recovers all the old coolant, then refills with the correct mixture so there is now completely clean coolant in the system. Using a fluid exchange machine is not only clean and efficient, but it ensures that there is no old fluid to contaminate the new fluid; it does a better job that lasts longer. This is another reason why fluid exchange has become the new standard in the industry.
Exchanging the transmission fluid is also key to proper maintenance. There are a number of transmission designs on the road today, but maintenance wise a fluid change is necessary as the oil breaks down over time; there can be clutch or band material and tiny bits of metal held in suspension in the oil from normal wear. If that dirty fluid is not replaced it may affect the performance, reliability, and shift quality. Refer to the service schedule for the correct interval after identifying the transmission.
The power steering hydraulic system suffers the same degradation and contamination as the other lubricated systems. Renewing the power steering fluid helps to avoid expensive repair costs, and increases reliability. Sometimes it is mentioned on the service schedule, or sometimes manufacturers will leave exchanging the fluid as necessary, as the fluid is inspected every time the car is serviced.
Another system that benefits from periodic maintenance is the air conditioning system. In the past, R12 systems had a 'site glass' that would show a low system. Todays systems don't. So a periodic service, which would include evacuating and weighing the old refrigerant to determine if a possible leak is present, is advisable. Remember, there is allowable leakage, but if the refrigerant is too low you may have a leak. Hold vacuum, and make another leak check. Recharge with the weighed charge of refrigerant/oil and function check system. Replace pollen filter and that system is ready for summer.
Each of the operations listed above can be completed using fluid exchange machines. This modern auto shop equipment gets the job done efficiently, while being cleaner and easier to do.