Get More Miles From Your German Luxury Car
No vehicle lasts forever, no matter how well made. But if you spend premium dollars for a premium vehicle, you want your big investment to last as long as possible. This is where smart, timely maintenance will enable you to enjoy your car for many miles. This is even truer if you own an Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, or BMW. The critical factor in extending the life of a car is the maintenance you perform.
Here at Autobahn, our focus is on premium German brands. For our clientele, keeping their vehicle in peak condition is a vital concern. No car will run forever, but there are certain brands that can last a long time. The key to making a vehicle last a long time has to do with how you approach routine maintenance. Your brakes need regular inspections and replacement periodically and this is better done before it develops into a problem. This is also true for items like tires. Don’t try to squeeze every ounce of life out of them until you are driving on metal bands. Replace them before uneven wear puts a strain on other parts of your vehicle such as the suspension or steering components.
Today, let’s look at five maintenance items that will help you drive your German vehicle longer. These may sound simple when you read them, but they are some of the most overlooked items we see when a customer brings a vehicle into the shop.
A faulty or clogged fuel filter puts the fuel pump under stress and can starve the engine as the filter gets older. In neglected filters, small particles can pass thru into the injectors and, over time, cause more issues. Fuel injectors that get clogged will cause your car to sputter, stall, and, in some cases, not even start. Replacing four to eight injectors can cost almost $1,000 on a big S-Class, but simply replacing the filter is less than $100.
This vital fluid is probably the number one neglected item on the list. The average life span for engine coolant is four years. After this time period, the cooling agents in the fluid break down and the mixture loses its potency, ultimately causing the engine to run hotter than normal. Recently, a client bought a low mileage vehicle that was not driven very much. In the 10 years the previous owner had the car, they never changed the coolant. Within a short amount of time with the new owner, the water pump failed, because it wasn’t lubricated by the coolant.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid acts just like hydraulic fluid in heavy machinery, allowing the wheels to turn with little to no effort from the steering wheel. Once the fluid becomes low, the wheels become harder to turn, but you may not notice it because the steering pump just works harder. This puts unnecessary strain on the system. As the power steering strains to keep up, the pump wears out twice as fast. Here also, the fluid is vital to lubricating all the internals of the steering rack, pump and other steering components.
Your engine needs a steady flow of air. Over time, road debris, dust, dirt, and numerous airborne particles clog the filter material and stifle the flow of air into the engine. Not only does this put excessive strain on your intake system, but as the filter becomes more and more filled, particles escape and go directly into your engine. The long term burden placed on your vehicle by clogged filters can turn into a host of expensive repairs including engine computers, internal parts, and intake systems.
This is one area where German cars excel beyond American and Japanese cars. Found on almost every German luxury car starting in the early eighties, the cabin filter does just what it says – filters the air that goes inside of the vehicle. You may not notice it at first, but drive behind a big diesel truck and you will be thankful for your cabin filter. Same goes for pollen and dust, if you have allergies. Your filter blocks a massive amount of tiny particles from entering the interior of your vehicle. Two big issues develop when these are not regularly replaced. One, more dust, mold spores, pollen, etc will flood into your car. Second, the restricted air flow could cause your blower motor to overheat and fail. The blower motor is the fan the pushes heat and A/C into the car and is a very expensive part to fix.
Remember this important point; many of these services are far less expensive than the repairs they can require if not done. In the long run, timely maintenance is the real key to protecting that rolling investment. If you have any questions or concerns about the maintenance of your vehicle, we are always here to assist!