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Service FAQs

Common service questions and checklist page

You’ve got questions…we’ve got answers!  Our service department manager, Ben Lawson, has a lot of experience with general maintenance to keep your car running well and the most commonly asked questions of car owners. 

Q: How often should I change my oil?  Timing belt?  Wiper blades?
Ben says:  You will never go wrong by following the instructions in your owner's manual.  That's what we use to as a guideline when making recommendations for these changes.

Oil changes - for most new Nissans, it's between 5,000 and 7,500 miles.

Timing belts - new Nissans obviously have new timing belts; older models are required to replace their timing belts every 105,000 miles or ten years.  The age and heating/cooling of the engine can cause dry rot, causing the timing belt to break (even with fewer miles).

Wiper blades - most manufacturers recommend replacing them at least once a year.  Regardless, the blades should be inspected at the start of each season - most importantly, winter and summer.  Audible signs, such as skipping, squeaking and "chattering" could mean it's time to replace blades.  Visual signs of blade deterioration, such as cracks, rips and collapsing of the blade could also mean it's replacement time.

Q: What’s the right tire pressure for my car?
Ben says:  Check your vehicle owner's manual for recommendations for your specific tires.  Correct air pressure should also be listed on the tire placard attached to the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door.

Q: How often should I check my anti-freeze?
Ben says:  It's a good habit to check your antifreeze once a month.  When you bring your car in to Simmons Nissan for regular servicing, we always perform a visual check of your antifreeze.

Q: How long do spark plugs last?
Ben says:  Spark plugs have come a long way since the 1950s, when changes were recommended every 5,000 miles.  Today, through advancements in design and materials, most model cars can meet or exceed 100,000 miles without a change.  All new Nissans have a recommendation of replacement at 105,000 miles.

Q: How often should I have my tires rotated, balanced and replaced?
Ben says:  Most manufacturers recommend rotating and balancing tires with your oil changes.  Unless you drive less than 7,500 miles/year, this will likely be about every six months.  Doing so extends the life of your tires.  

Replacement varies with how much you drive, the quality of tires you purchase and how you care for your tires.  Most tires have a lifetime of between 25,000 and 50,000 miles.  Here are a few tips on keeping tabs on your tires to know when they need replacing.

Q: Will it hurt my engine if I drive my car when the “check engine light” is on?
Ben says:  It's possible but not likely, unless the light is flashing.  Refer to your manual, then if still concerned, get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible before you see a decrease in performance.

Q: Why are my brakes making noise?
Ben says:  A grinding or squealing sound when applying pressure to the pedal means you likely need new brake shoes or pads.  Brakes should not make any noise when operated.  Your safest assumption is that noisy brakes are unsafe brakes - so get them inspected right away to avoid an unsafe situation or costlier problem down the road.

Q: What should I do if my car overheats?
Ben says:  First take this seriously!
  1. If driving at normal highway speed when this happens, turn off your air conditioner, turn on the heater and pull over to the shoulder.  The odds are that there is a problem in the cooling system, such as low coolant, a clogged radiator, broken belt or burst hose.
  2. Shut off the engine, open the hood (carefully, it could be hot) and let the engine cool down for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  3. Once any over boiling stops and the engine has cooled, look for obvious problems.  Do not open the radiator cap unless the radiator is COLD (and of course, the engine is off).
  4. If there is no noticeable problem, you can add a coolant/water mixture to the radiator or overflow reservoir.
  5. Close everything up, start the vehicle and drive slowly to a service facility.