Car Tips from Kenny the Car Guy
By Kenny Walters
Thanksgiving is the time of year to show gratitude for our families, friends, employers and … our automobiles. Without them, how would we earn a paycheck, visit the wonderful people in our lives, and travel to that magnificent turkey feast? While our people love hugs, handshakes and ‘thank-yous,’ our cars sure would appreciate a Turkey Day tune up.
Why now? Two words: November rain.
Wet, cold weather can wreak havoc on your engine and lay the groundwork for winter problems. Issues – itty-bitty or big – may fly under summer’s forgiving radar, but they rarely pass the relentless, wet test of late fall and winter.
Cold can cause the worn insulation around the spark plugs and wiring to crack, exposing parts to the elements that should be kept under wraps. It’s a bit like walking into a blizzard in your underwear. Chances are, you’ll shiver, your teeth will start chattering and your body will stop working at optimum performance to preserve basic functions. The longer you’re exposed, the bigger the problems get.
Same with your car. In your spark plugs and wiring, these insulation cracks get bigger, exposing the metal and potentially draining the juice, or worse, shorting out.
So, let’s go into prevention-mode, concentrating on making sure the engine is tuned up and all the parts we need are new and ready for winter.
If the spark plugs look charred or bent, there could be a bigger issue, but in general, you’re looking for normal wear and tear. Your spark plugs will usually last 30,000 miles or so.
We check ignition wires for cracks and exposed wiring and run resistance tests on them.
Then we’ll check filters, which keep dust and other particulates from gumming up the works. Air filters are usually good for 20,000 or so miles, but if you live or drive on dirty, dusty roads, you might change it more frequently.
Your car’s fuel filter keeps dirt out of the fuel injectors – an important job as clogged filters can cause stalling and make it hard to start the car in the first place. You should change fuel filters every 30,000 miles or annually.
We’ll check the positive crankcase ventilation system (PCV) for moisture leaks springing from your car’s crankcase, and the PCV breather filter, as old or damaged filters can cause oil breakdown and sludge buildup. The last thing we do is flush out your fuel system.
The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, which should remind us of one thing this November: be thankful to your car and your car will be thankful to you.
Kenny the Car Guy Walters, a member of Temple Israel, owns the award-winning auto shop Mufflers and More at 490 N. Pontiac Trail in Walled Lake, 248.668.1200, www.mufflersandmore.net. Email Kenny the Car Guy at Kenny@mufflersandmore.net.