Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance. The Canadian government does not track the number of deaths that are caused by neglected maintenance, however, according to studies done in the United States, each year, neglected maintenance leads to more than 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the leading cause of mechanical breakdown on US highways is engine overheating. Low antifreeze/coolant level, worn or loose belts and defective cooling system hoses. These can be avoided easily with a regular maintenance of your car.
Coolant, which is also known as antifreeze, is typically a mixture of water and ethylene glycol. Coolant both lowers the freezing point and raises the boiling point of fluids, which is essential to preserving an engine in both cold and hot climates.
In addition to managing the temperature of your car’s engine, coolant also has corrosion inhibitors and lubricants mixed in. Corrosion inhibitors help protect the car’s aluminum radiator. Lubricants in the coolant helps maintain the seals in the water pump and hoses.
Serpentine belt is a long belt that is flat on one side and often has ribs or nubs on the other side. It snakes around different components in your car’s engine that need auxiliary power, such as, alternator, air conditioner, power steering fluid pump, water pump, radiator fans, etc. If the serpentine belt breaks, it affects other parts as well. Unlike a broken timing belt, a broken serpentine belt does not cause irreparable engine damage; however, your car is not drivable until you have the serpentine belt replaced.
Check your serpentine belt for two things: wear and tension. If the belt is dry, cracked, worn, missing ribs or glazed (shiny), then it needs to be replaced. If the belt ‘gives’ more than a half inch when you press on it, but is in otherwise good shape, you might be able to adjust the tensioner to make it tighter. If you hear a loud squeaking or chirping noise coming from your engine when you accelerate, odds are you need a new serpentine belt.
To avoid costly breakdowns and lost time we recommend changing them every 80,000 km or according to your car owner’s manual.
The coolant hoses are made of rubber and eventually wear out. When a coolant hose bursts, there is a huge explosion of steam from under the hood of the car or the engine simply dies. Either way, it’s unpleasant and highly avoidable by changing the hoses before the fact.
- Minimize the risk of being stranded
- Improve fuel economy
- Unnecessary engine component wear
- Getting stranded/ Inconvenience of a broken car
- Extra expense (cost of towing/repair)