Any vehicle owner knows that proper care and maintenance of a vehicle is critical to its performance and durability. Vehicles today are so well-designed and built that only your care for the vehicle separates you from 200,000 miles or more of service.
While not everyone has any desire to set a record with their odometer, the good maintenance needed to achieve that goal will provide benefits in other ways as well.
There is an investment edge to this. With the Oldsmobile name plate no longer in production, those of us who own this venerable make will want to do everything we can to keep those discontinued models on the road as long as possible. Again, we may have no desire to show off an antique Alero 15 years from now, but if we maintain it well, it will hold resale value for the person who does.
There are some advantages to DIY automotive care with a line like Oldsmobile. For one, obviously, it saves money. For another, it’s convenient; there’s no need to schedule your life around the shop’s availability. And considering there aren’t any Oldsmobile dealers anymore, your choices for hired service are more limited every day.
Performing these tasks yourself also gets you more in touch with your vehicle. If you’ve been under the hood doing simple tasks, you’ll notice an unexpected leak or a part that appears to be wearing out. By following up on your suspicions, you may be able to keep a repair much simpler and less expensive than it would have been. That’s why drivers of commercial vehicles are required to make periodic visits of all functional areas, and even to wash the vehicles to inspect the exterior.
So above and beyond oil changes and transmission service, think of several of your vehicle’s components as you plan preventive maintenance.
Ignition Systems: Fire In The Hole
Even the most novice automobile operator has an idea of what an RPM is. But has it occurred to you that every revolution of that motor requires each spark plug to fire one time? That means even as you’re cruising along at a mellow 1,800 RPM, those little guys are arcing 30 times a second.
Bad spark plugs can reduce power, damage fuel efficiency, and gunk up your cylinders with unburned fuel. Replacing them should be accompanied by new plug wires as well, and if your vehicle utilizes a distributor (many Oldsmobiles equipped with the durable GM 3.8-liter V6 used ignition modules instead), you should replace its cap and rotor button as well. These are simple, inexpensive things that can drastically improve your motor’s performance.
Gauges: Status Check!
Not every internal engine problem makes noise. Some sneak up on you quietly, with only a waver of the oil pressure or a depression of the amp meter to clue you in.
The proper function of your gauges is important. Many times a gauge or two can malfunction or fail, leaving you to assume that the parts it represents are functioning normally. Then one day it fails and you’re on the side of the road, and you’re all over town or scouring the internet for Bravada parts.
Replacing gauges isn’t as complex as it sounds. A gauge cluster repair can be accomplished by simply removing and shipping your instruments to get fixed. Upon return, you will be back to accurate readouts right away. And they do make repairs on Oldsmobile gauges. It’s not an obsolete brand just yet!
Filters: Keep It Clean
It’s a dirty world out there. Fortunately, its designers have included a boatload of filtration mechanisms that keep those contaminants out of your vehicle’s systems so that the engine remains clean and efficient.
Filters only last so long, of course. The air filter in your engine can clog with dirt and restrict performance, and the fuel filter can also gunk up with things that wandered in during fueling. Check your owner’s manual for recommended intervals for replacement, and then follow through on them.
Since the Oldsmobile line quit production in 2004, you’re already driving a car that’s at least ten years old. It hasn’t reached that point without good maintenance. Follow these guidelines to keep that future classic on the road as long as possible.