Auto Repair

How to Keep Your Car Running at its Very Best

One of the necessities for a complete, accurate and quick diagnosis of your vehicle is a thorough description of the problem. A history of the vehicle's repairs, whether the repair was done recently or if it has been a while, is very useful. At Melvin's we have you fill out a drivability worksheet because this is a tremendous aid to the technician who is going to work on your vehicle.


What Should a Complete Tune-Up Include?

Electronic ignition, computerized engine controls, and electronic fuel injection have eliminated many adjustments that were once part of a "traditional" tune-up. Most would agree that a tune-up today is preventative maintenance service and an engine performance check. Call it what you will, at Melvin's a complete tune-up combines preventative maintenance, adjustment and performance analysis.

 

One of the main reasons that people bring a vehicle in for a tune-up is because they are experiencing some kind of drivability problem. Things like hard starting, stalling, hesitation, misfiring, poor fuel economy, or lack of power are seldom cured by a new set of spark plugs and a few turns of a screwdriver. Every tune-up at Melvin's includes a comprehensive performance check to verify that no drivability problems or trouble codes exist.

 

Another item that is included is an emissions check. Thirty-five states not have some type of annual vehicle emissions inspection program, and all but two include a tailpipe emission check. Our mechanics will check EGR valve operation, the PCV valve, and make a visual inspection of other emission and control components and plumbing. Unless an actual emissions performance check is made at the tailpipe, there is no way to know whether the vehicle will meet applicable emission standards. An emission check is a must.

 

Taking into account longer service intervals and reduced maintenance requirements of today's vehicles, a tune-up is probably only necessary every 30,000 miles or once every two to three years. This is altered when a drivability or emission problem arises that requires diagnosis and repair. The best guide to tune-up frequency is probably the recommended spark plug replacement interval as found in the vehicle owner's manual. Melvin's list of items that should be included in a "complete" tune-up include:

 

  • Replace spark plugsCheck choke, engines with carburetors
  • Install new air filter
  • Replace rotor
  • Clean fuel injectors
  • Replace fuel filter
  • Check distributor cap, adjust if necessary
  • Check compression and power balance, identifies bad fuel injectors as well as compression problems
  • Replace PVC value
  • Check timing, adjust if necessary
  • Check manifold intake, reveals exhaust restrictions
  • Check all emission controls, EGR valve, air pump, etc.
  • Check ignition wires, replace if necessary
  • Check battery charging voltage
  • Check all vital fluid levels, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brakes, power steering
  • Check ignition performance, firing voltage and ignition patterns
  • Check exhaust emissions, verifies fuel mixture, ignition performance and emission performance
  • Check belts and hoses
  • Check idle speed, adjust if necessary
  • Check vehicle computer for trouble codes
  • Check safety item such as lights, wipers, tires (including inflation pressure), horn, etc.

When Cars Need Preventative Maintenance

Manufacturers know that a properly maintained car will be more dependable, safer, longer-lasting, and increase your satisfaction with their product. Car makers and owners also have a responsibility to make sure emission controls receive regular service and are functioning properly. Regular maintenance helps accomplish these goals by keeping your engine running efficiently and eliminating potential problems that may leave you stranded.

What's in it for you?

 

  • A more dependable car
  • A car that retains the "new car feel"
  • Less chance of a costly breakdown
  • A safer car for you and your family
  • Doing your part for cleaner air
  • A car worth more at trade-in or sale
  • An intact warranty

Manufacturer Maintenance Schedules

The manufacturer creates detailed maintenance schedules outlining specific operations to be performed on various components and systems. This is done at different mileage intervals to ensure proper operation and prevent premature wear. The manufacturer also indicates what services must be done to maintain the factory and extend warranties.

 

AllData Automotive Information System

Melvin's is equipped with an automotive system that provides detail automotive information about every car built in the last 20 years. The AllData system even lists high-tech specialty lubricants required for your particular car. Other information includes vehicle-specific repair and diagnostic information and factor issues Technical Service Bulletins, including 'silent' recalls.

 

The bottom line is efficient, dependable and cost effective service for you.

 

Why Timing Belts Need to be Replaced

Timing belts have replaced timing chains on many of today's engines. Both belts and chains ensure that the crankshaft, pistons and valves operate together in proper sequence. Belts are lighter, quieter and more efficient than chains. Like other components, timing belts wear out. Proper maintenance requires belt replacement at regular intervals - before they break. Timing belts are on the front of the engine, protected by a plastic or metal cover. When a timing belt breaks the engine stops. Replace belts before this occurs. Most manufacturers provide a suggested service life and replacement schedule for this critical component. You should ask a technician if your car has a timing belt instead of a timing chain.

 

What is a Free-Running Engine?

If the timing belt breaks on a free-running engine, the engine stops and you will need a tow to the repair shop. No mechanical damage occurs and the installation of the new belt is usually all that is needed to get you on your way.

 

What is an Interference Engine?

If the timing belt breaks on an interference engine, mechanical engine damage occurs. It most commonly involves open valves being struck by pistons, resulting in the need for expensive repairs. In extreme cases a replacement engine my be required.


Emissions Check

Thirty-five states do not have some type of annual vehicle emissions inspection program, and all but two include a tailpipe emission check. Our mechanics will check EGR valve operation, the PCV valve, and make a visual inspection of other emission and control components and plumbing. Unless an actual emissions performance check is made at the tailpipe, there is no way to know whether the vehicle will meet applicable emission standards. An emission check is a must.; The best guide to tune-up frequency is the recommended spark plug replacement interval found in the vehicle owner's manual.; AllData Automotive Information System Melvin's is equipped with an automotive system that provides detailed automotive information about every car built in the last 20 years.