Whether you drive an SUV to go off-roading, to better handle tough road conditions, or just to cart around the kids’ soccer team and gear, you know taking care of your vehicle is key to making it last. Regardless of the type of SUV, whether it is a domestic or foreign brand or a functional or luxury model, the purchase price of a Sports Utility Vehicle is a greater financial investment than a sedan or coupe. In order to protect your investment, you need to make sure you maintain your vehicle with high-caliber SUV maintenance and repair. Griffin auto wants to help you stay on the road with these SUV service tips.
SUV Service Tips for Busy Drivers
SUV Maintenance: More Than Routine —The same as with any vehicle, routine auto care and attention can be the difference between the vehicle reaching 200,000+ miles and it needing major repairs at 75,000 miles. Of course the former situation will save you tons of cash because SUV maintenance is almost always less expensive than having to scrap a vehicle and purchase a new one. Regular oil changes, transmission services, tune-ups, mileage interval SUV service, and more are essential for your vehicle’s long life expectancy.
When you consider the total value of owning an SUV, it is easy to see how important regular SUV car service is even when compared to a standard coupe or sedan. Because the Sports Utility Vehicles are more expensive, have more weight to haul and are used for more rigorous activities, it only makes sense to take the time to protect this depreciating asset with regular SUV maintenance and care.
SUV Repair Costs
Because the cost of SUVs themselves tend to be higher than the cost of cars, SUV repair and maintenance tends to be more expensive too. For oil changes, filter replacements and basic SUV service, you can save money by comparison shopping and doing your due diligence. But for major repairs such as transmission repair, engine repair, suspension repair and the like, you can pretty much expect to pay more for SUV repair than for car repair. Larger vehicles mean larger parts and this alone accounts for some of the added expense. Moreover, some SUV service work is somewhat specialized and for this reason auto repairs may cost more.
Finding A Trustworthy SUV Mechanic
Many SUVs on the road today have modern systems and components that require advance system diagnosis, troubleshooting and auto repair. When shopping around for an auto repair shop, don’t be afraid to ask the technicians if they regularly work on SUVs. Sports Utility Vehicles, while not rare, are less common than cars. Not all auto mechanics are knowledgeable about the specifics of these vehicles.
In addition to finding a garage that is familiar with SUV repair and service, these mechanics should have up-to-date automobile repair credentials, current trainings from Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), and modern tools and equipment. Again, given the history of auto repair, SUVs are still new to the scene. Make sure the auto repair shop you find has the right knowledge and tools to do the SUV service and auto repair right the first time.
SUV Trouble Spots
Brakes, Transmissions, and Suspensions are common repairs needed for SUV service. As important as oil changes, tune-ups and regular mileage interval maintenance are, performing a visual inspection of the tire-area or wheel-well area is also important if you are an SUV driver. Whether it is because of their positioning, the total weight of the vehicle, or back-road driving, SUV brakes tend to experience more wear than car brakes do. As such brake repair work may need to be performed more often.
It is worth noting that because of their size and weight, SUVs generally are not considered fuel efficient vehicles. You can, however, improve your SUV’s miles per gallon by making sure your tires are inflated to the proper air levels. Regular attention to these air levels will help maximize MPG.
- What about Four-Wheel Drive? — Some SUV drivers who live in mild climates like San Diego grouse that they never get to use the 4-Wheel Drive functionality of their SUV. Chances are, if you don’t go off-roading with your vehicle or don’t drive it through snow, slush or ice, you really don’t have a need for the 4-wheel-drive capacity. Overtime, this may help the longevity of your suspension system; however, it may be a good idea to use the 4-wheel-drive once in a while just to keep it in-check.
- Off-Road Often? More Frequent SUV Repair May Be Needed – If you own an SUV to go off-roading, drive on unpaved construction sites, or drive through tough weather conditions, you need to pay extra attention to how your vehicle is functioning and look for possible areas of damage.
If you are off-roading in the hot California or Nevada desert, keep an eye on your SUV’s cooling system. Avoid engine overheating by checking your cooling system’s fluid levels and bringing along an extra jug of water for this purpose. Though off-road driving can be fun and exciting, it increases the chances of damage to your steering and suspension systems. By inspecting these systems after your trip, you can catch any damage early so that SUV repair can be performed quickly.
- Do You Like to Test Your SUV’s Limits?
Though an SUV can handle difficult terrains and road conditions you wouldn’t attempt in a coupe, SUVs are not without their limits. Some drivers assume their SUV can handle any terrain, any temperature, any obstacle. Unfortunately, some SUV drivers find out the hard way that this just isn’t true. Overheating, axle bending, flat tires, shock or strut damage, and problems with the brakes are just some of the issues that can happen from off-roading. While these 4-wheel-drive vehicles can take you places your family sedan never could, they aren’t fool-proof and it is important to have only qualified mechanics work on SUV suspension repairs.
If you regularly drive your SUV in tough conditions, you will probably need SUV maintenance more often than if you drive in normal conditions. Rather than adhering to the manufacturer’s “regular” SUV maintenance schedule, most manuals offer a “severe conditions” maintenance schedule for back-road drivers and their ilk. If this applies to you, then you should heed the “severe conditions” schedule to better protect your SUV and help it last.
A Wrap-up of SUV Service and Repair
Driving an SUV comes with many perks such as the ability to go off-roading and the capacity to shuttle around the kids’ soccer team plus all their gear. The downside is somewhat higher SUV repair costs, difficulty parking in cities, and higher fuel costs due to poor MPG. Owning an SUV is a significant financial investment for most people so it is worth taking care of this investment with proper SUV car service and maintenance.