Best Ways to Maintain a Used Vehicle

Keeping your vehicle up and running is important, wouldn't you agree? We need our cars to get us from home to work, to kid's soccer games, camping on the weekends, and everything in between. So that's why the team at Deery of Ames put together a list of tips and best practices to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.

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Check and Change Your Engine Oil

Checking and changing your oil regularly is one of THE most important services you should schedule for your vehicle. You use your car every day to get from point A to point B in extreme weather conditions-from the hottest of summer days to the coldest of winters months. These temperature variations put constant strain on your vehicle's engine and moving parts; it's the oil that keeps everything running smoothly. Keeping your oil fresh with regularly scheduled oil changes will keep your vehicle in good condition. Click here to schedule a service appointment.

Wash, wax, vacuum

Try to wash and vacuum your car every week; this is the easiest way to keep your car looking good for the long term. It's constantly being exposed to road grime, bugs, dirt, and salt (during the winter months). Over time this debris will build up, scratch the surface, and etch away at the coatings of your vehicle. The more often you wash it, the less damage will occur. Same goes for the interior. Each time you get in your car, you're bringing the outside in-all the dirt and grime goes from your shoes to the carpet in your vehicle. The carpet will stay much nicer for longer the more often you vacuum. Waxing is recommended when the water beads get to be larger than the size of a quarter.

Other Checks at Each Oil Change

  1. Check the air filter. Remove the air filter and hold it up to the light. If you don't see light it's time to replace it. And always follow recommended service intervals.
  2. Check the contact-velocity-joint boots; CV boots. These are bellowslike rubber boots on drive axels in front-wheel-drive and some four-wheel-drive vehicles. The boots should be replaced immediately if they're cracked or leaking.
  3. Inspect the exhaust system. It's always a good idea to regularly take a look underneath your vehicle. Check for rusted-through exhaust parts and tighten any clamps that may have come loose. Listen for changes in the sound of your car's exhaust while driving. If you hear any changes, try to determine where the sound is coming from. When you bring your vehicle in for an oil change, be sure to mention this to the staff so they can easily diagnose the issue.
  4. Look at the brakes. It's a good idea to have your brakes checked regularly. The earlier you catch any wear on the brake pads, the less it's going to cost you to get them fixed-it's easier to change the brake pads than it is to let it go until the rotor has been damaged and needs to be machined or replaced. The brakes should be checked at least twice per year; more often if you put on above average mileages each year.
  5. Check fluid levels. Transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, and brake fluid. Transmission fluid should be checked with the engine warmed up and running. If your brake-fluid reservoir is low, top it up and then check it for leaks.
  6. Clean the radiator. Remove debris from the exterior of the radiator with a soft brush and detergent. This will help to prevent overheating.
  7. Check the battery. Make sure the battery's terminals and cables are securely attached and inspect for any corrosion. If your vehicle battery has removable caps, check the fluid levels every few months, especially in warmer climates.

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Keep up to date on recalls

When you receive a recall notice in the mail, make sure to schedule an appointment at your dealership right away. Most of the time these are easy fixes, won't cost you anything, and won't take a lot of your time. The dealership takes care of everything for you and usually has all of the information on file.

Regular Maintenance for Every Two to Four Years

  1. Drain and flush the cooling system. For all of you DIYers out there, you can certainly do this yourself, however, our service department will take a properly deposing of old antifreeze which could be a hassle when taking care of it yourself.
  2. Change the automatic transmission fluid. Most models require that you change the transmission fluid every 36,000 miles (sooner if the pinkish fluid starts to turn brown). Some vehicles can go 100,000 miles before you change the fluid and filter. Always check your owners manual, or bring it in and we'll take care of it for you.
  3. Replace drive belts and hoses. Even if they don't show any wear, it's good practice (and safer) to change the belts every two to three years.
  4. Change the timing belt. This one is so important and can be very costly if you don't change it in time. If your timing belt goes while you're driving your vehicle, you'll most likely have to replace the whole engine. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the timing belt every 60,000 to 80,000 miles but always refer to your owner's manual.
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Call Deery of Ames for your next service

When it comes time for service, make sure to contact the team at Deery of Ames Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Check our website for service specials. And if you're looking for a used vehicle, be sure to check out our extensive inventory. Serving the Des Moines, Webster City, Iowa Falls, Scranton, and Toledo area, we're ready to make your next service visit a complete success.


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