Deciphering The Menu Board: Part 1

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Let’s talk about deciphering the service menu board. Service centers have a board that lists the routine services they provide. But some people don’t know what these services really are unless they ask. Let’s go down a typical list, in alphabetical order, starting with air conditioning service.

First remember that all of these services are recommended by vehicle manufacturers. They set how often or at how many miles the service should be done.

Air conditioning service involves purging the old refrigerant and capturing it for proper disposal. Then fresh refrigerant is installed. The fresh refrigerant will lubricate the system and will also help it cool better.

Alignment. They make sure all four wheels are lined up and track with each other. This reduces tire and suspension wear and improves safety and handling.

Battery service. Inspect the battery for corrosion, leaks or damage. Test the battery’s ability to hold a charge. If the battery’s still strong, clean it up. If not, replace it.

Brakes. This could be two things. A brake inspection to see if the brakes are working well mechanically and to see if the pads are still safe. If not, replace the pads and make any repairs that might be in order.

The other thing is to evacuate the brake fluid, clean out the system and replace it with fresh fluid. This is important, but often over looked.

Cabin air filter. The cabin air filter is the filter that cleans the air that comes into the passenger compartment. It works like the filter on your furnace at home. It gets dirty and needs to be changed.

Cooling system. This is the cooling system for your engine. Replace the old coolant with fresh to protect your radiator and other cooling system components from corrosion.

Differential service. Every vehicle has at least one differential. They don’t require service very often, so people don’t think of them much. The differential transfers power from the drive train to your wheels. Drain the old fluid and add fresh lubricant.

Engine air filter. This filters the air that’s burned in the engine. It gets dirty and needs to be replaced.

Fuel filter. This filter cleans the fuel before it gets to the engine. Like the other filters, it gets clogged and needs to be replaced.

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