General Maintenance
Gain an insight into some of the overlooked services, and learn about what you can do to help prevent your vehicle from working properly. These services will help you keep your vehicle functioning well, and staying safe for you and your loved ones.

Create a general maintenance routine to keep yourself and your passengers safe as well as keeping your car at its optimal performance.

Asked 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there will be 10 different answers. Today’s modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them preforming at the most efficient levels.

TUNE-UP: the tune-up is properly maintaining a vehicle, drivers can prevent expensive repairs. In short, practicing vehicle maintenance is a small investment to make for the benefit of prolonging the life of a vehicle. Gary’s Automotive is there for Chico drivers and gladly takes this opportunity to provide a little insight on vehicle maintenance. The routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributer cap, rotor, fuel filters and air filters. Along with some basic adjustments to help “tune” the engine.

Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology. Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they’re giving the car to a friend or family member. To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions.

It is recommended that motorist take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. We suggest driver’s study the owner’s manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the dashboard instruments and indicator lights, especially your Check Engine Light.

CHECK ENGINE LIGHT: That’s the way your car communicates with you that your car needs professional attention and may require immediate repair. Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

ENGINE PERFORMANCE: Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters, fuel etc.

OIL: Change your oil as specified in your owner’s manual- more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and –go or consists of frequent short trips.

COOLING SYSTEM: The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 36 months. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled. The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked by a pro.

WINDSHIELD WIPERS: Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you will be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scrapper.

HEATER/DEFROSTER: The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.

Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner’s manual for the location and replacement interval.

BATTERY: The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections, clean all surfaces, and retighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

LIGHTS: Inspect all lights and bulbs, replace burned out bulbs. Periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching never use a dry rag.

EXHAUST SYSTEM: Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.

TIRES: Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing and cupping. Check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget your spare tire, and be sure the jack is in good condition. Check your tires for proper inflation. Under-inflation wastes fuel your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven read wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder. Proper maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.

Carry an emergency gear, gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, tire chains and a flash light. Put a few “high energy” snacks in your glove box.

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner’s manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.

Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Do-it-yourselfers, dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams. Observe speed limits. Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop and goes. Use cruise control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.

Maintenance service intervals that we recommend:

  • Oil and filter service-3000 miles.
  • Synthetic oil and filter service-5000 miles.
  • Oil and filter service with moa additive-4000 miles.
  • Tire rotation and balance-every other oil service.
  • Alignment checks-once a year.
  • Courtesy check- every oil service
  • Brake fluid flush-30,000miles.
  • Fuel and air induction service-30,000 miles.
  • Cooling system service-30,000 miles.
  • Automatic transmission flush-30,000 miles.
  • Fuel filter-30,000 miles. (If applicable)
  • Drive line service-30,000 miles. (Manual transmission, transfer case, transaxle, differential.)
  • Power steering system flush-30,000 miles.


160 Rio Lindo Ave
Chico, CA 95926