Tag Archives: vehicle maintenance

road through fall leaves

Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Accessible Vehicle Cruising into Fall 

Fall has arrived and that means cooler temperatures are on the way. Due to the changing weather, it’s a good time to do some maintenance on your wheelchair accessible vehicle. Below we look at a regular maintenance schedule that will keep your wheelchair accessible vehicle running smoothly providing you with dependable, accessible transportation.

Tires close up of car tire

When it comes to safety, tires are one of the most important components of the vehicle to maintain. Motorized wheelchairs can add as much as 300 pounds (136.08 kg) of weight to your vehicle, increasing the weight on your tires causing them to wear out faster. Schedule a regular rotation schedule, for example, every time you change your oil.  Be sure to have the tire pressure and tread checked regularly and replace the tires as needed.

Battery

When seasons change, it’s a great reminder to have your vehicle’s battery checked. Make sure terminals and cables are snug and clean. If your battery has removable caps, you’ll also want to check the water level periodically, and refill with distilled water as needed.

Windshield Wipers

Whether you get rain or snow where you live, chances are, you’ll see some wet weather over the winter. That’s why it’s a good idea this time of year to check your wiper blades to make sure they’re ready when you need them. As a general rule of thumb for a vehicle that is used daily is that wipers should be changes once or twice a year. Don’t forget to check your wiper fluid, too!

Heating and Cooling

With unpredictable weather ahead, you’ll also want to check your HVAC system to make sure it’s functioning properly. It’s not only important for interior comfort and safety when you need heat, but defrosting, too.

Headlights

Days will keep getting shorter and shorter as we approach winter, so good headlights are really important. Bulbs tend to last a couple years, and when one goes out, you can be sure the other is not far behind. That’s why it’s best to replace them in pairs to avoid losing a headlight at night. Also, as a vehicle ages, headlight covers can become cloudy, which significantly reduces visibility. There are some cleaning solutions that can remove a lot of the film or you can look for some covers in better condition at a wrecking yard.

Brakes

Another component of the vehicle that needs to be maintained to keep you safe are your brakes. Be sure to have brake pads inspected and replaced as needed so you’re able to stop effectively, especially in inclement weather.

mechanice tuning brakes

Ramps & Adaptive Equipment

Just like any other part of your vehicle, the ramp mechanism, hand controls and other adaptive driving equipment needs to be maintained to get the best performance and lifespan. Be sure to perform regular inspections and cleaning of the ramp or lift, door tracks, as well as tie down tracks.

NMEDA‘s recommended schedule for an accessible vehicle maintenance service call is twice a year. During this service call, the tech inspects all the electrical components, ramp motors, kneeling mechanism and other adaptive equipment. They will also lubricate and clean all the cables, door tracks, and support wheels. .

When Getting Service, Find Someone You Trust

fall leaves with blurry vehicle in backgroundBeing treated with respect and dignity, receiving excellent service, and having all your questions addressed is important. Finding and working with the right people who will give you the time and attention you deserve is just as important as service itself. At AMS Vans, we understand the importance of good customer service and we really care.

Buying a new or used wheelchair van conversion from AMS Vans isn’t the end of a process — but rather, the beginning of a meaningful relationship. And when it comes to servicing your vehicle, we give you options to fit your lifestyle. For our local customers situated near Atlanta, Houston or Phoenix, we offer a team of experienced, certified mechanics operating in our high-tech service facilities performing every conceivable adjustment — from system repairs to installations and more.

Did you know? AMS Vans customers also have exclusive access to VMI Assurance, which includes At-Home Service™ provided by Wrench, Inc. Through this program, Wrench, Inc. mobile mechanics will provide the convenience of certified automotive technicians dispatched to the customer’s home, office or other location to complete the maintenance or repairs and get their vehicle back on the road again. 

Synthetic Motor Oil vs Regular Motor Oil: Which Should I Use?

Hand mechanic in repairing car,change the synthetic motor oil close up selective focus

Motor oils are primarily responsible for keeping the engine from premature wear. When you find the right oil, your engine will serve you for longer. Choosing the right oil for your vehicle might seem like a simple job. However, engines are designed with a specific type in mind, and the more complex the engines become, so are the oils they require.

Choosing the right oil can become challenging when you begin examining the vast array of options available. But, we’ve come to the rescue! A little education goes along way. Understanding the basics of synthetic motor oil can help you make the right choice for your vehicle’s needs.

The API Symbols

API uses two symbols; the “Donut” and the Certification “Starburst.”

The “Donut.” This symbol, shaped like the sweet treat, has three parts. The top half describes performance levels, the center identifies viscosity, and the bottom informs you about the oil’s energy conserving potential. Performance levels are shown with an ‘S’ (which stands for Service) for gas engines and a ‘C’ (which stands for Commercial) for diesel engines.

Viscosity is all about temperature. It determines how well the oil flows at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This is used for the oil’s designation; 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30 and 0W-30. It’s important to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations on SAE oil viscosity, which can be found under the hood or in your owner’s manual.

The “Starburst.” This certification shows that an oil displaying this mark meets the current engine protection standard and fuel economy requirements of the International Lubricant Specification Advisory Committee (ILSAC), a joint effort of U.S. and Japanese automobile manufacturers, according to API.org

motor oil certification and service symbols

What’s the Difference between Regular and Synthetic Oil?

There are a lot of differences between synthetic and regular motor oils. Synthetic oils being more refined and distilled means they have no impurities. The refinement also allows the oil to be tailored to the specific demands of modern engines. How do you determine whether regular or synthetic is the right type of oil for your vehicle?

There are two main differences between synthetic and regular motor oils. The first difference is in how they are made. Second, their functionality and how they affect your car. When it comes to performance, synthetic motor oil is better. Synthetic oil engines perform 47% better than engines using regular motor oil. Synthetic oil’s low level of friction protects the engine while the additives help clean engine deposits.

Further benefits of synthetic motor oils include; fewer emissions, longer oil change intervals, reduced engine drag, better all-weather protection, and a quicker engine start time.

Your manual should be the first reference point if you want to know what type of oil is right for your vehicle. Some advise the use of regular motor oils while others specify the use of synthetic motor oils. Click To Tweet

Other Factors to Consider

Although synthetic motor oils can often provide better performance while helping your engine maintain a longer life-span, that’s not always the case. Some older engines run better on conventional or regular oil. Other factors affect the efficiency of motor oil in use, including the following.

External Conditions

External conditions such as weather and driving habits and distance play a role in determining how efficient your motor oil will be. Low temperatures affect the start time of your engine while high temperatures cause motor oils to break down or even evaporate which exposes your engine to wear.

Longer driving distance means a prolonged running engine. This prolongs the exposure of heat your motor oil will have to endure. Longer distances also imply longer running time which could increase the amount of sludge deposited in your engine.

Still not sure which oil is best for your accessible vehicle? Check out this comparison from idrivesafely.com.

AMS Vans side-entry wheelchair accessible van

Budget

Also, with synthetic motor oil being six to ten times the cost of regular oils, budget is also essential to consider. If you can afford it, and it’s right for you vehicle, go for synthetic motor oils. If full synthetic motor oils are out of your price range, and you have the option to choose something else, consider going with a high-quality regular oil. Visit our site for varied accessible vehicles with different motor oil needs. We will help you identify the right oil for your vehicle engine.

Need service on your AMS Van? We offer nationwide service and repair!