***Please Note:  If your engine, wheels, or underneath is making noise.....  You NEED to listen your vehicle.  Please, do not turn up the radio and ignore it.  Just like your body is hurting or doesn't feel good for more then 3-5 days, you call your doctor to check you out.  So, Please listen to your vehicle, Take it to his/her Mechanical Doctor when it's making noise(s), because, it is telling you, TLC is needed to get You from point A to Point B.  As always, getting him/her in to be checked very soon, rather then later when you are stuck off the side of the road instead.

Weekly In Winter

November - April

If we are having a normal winter, with lots of snow or ice, you will need to Wash your car/truck exterior and underneath it too at least once per week if we have had a major storm.  If not, then make sure it stays clean on the   exterior.  Especially, if you did not oil the body seams, under wheel well lips or door sill plates in the fall/autumn before the snow/salted being applied to the streets.  Where is the best place to get this done?  If you have a do it yourself coin operated car wash w/the self power wash wand is best.  Long as you don't hammer it hard with the power sprayer.  Why?    First, it is clean/fresh water in most cases to clean the salt and dirt/oil off your vehicle.  Second, if you don't use the scrub brush attachment, you don't get the scratches in the front,ends of your roof panels, trunk panels and pr brush marks in your paint finish, and You get most of the salt off throughly top to bottom and under carriage/underneath of vehicle.  P.S.  Don't KICK Off the ICE Chunks From Behind/Front Of Your Wheels.  Why?  It takes the paint/e-coat primers off the panels=no rust protection anymore.  Making your vehicle prone to rust out in those areas first when the water, salt hit the the bare metal panels.  Not a good thing, Less value, and more rust instead= rust bubbles and rust holes in your fenders and quarter panels.


At last, it is now staying a bit warmer most of the time.  Time to think major sight seeing tour of your exterior and interior for winter salt, slush, ice, and  water damages.  Where to begin?  A good washing or two is the best first step.  Second step?

Interior.  Sweep the carpets out really well.  Next thing to do is  wash/shampoo the salt, dirt, out of the mats and carpet areas, wash out the plastic/rubber winter mats too.   (Not in the family washing machine). Take the hose to floors mats/rubber mats.   IF you have a rubberized floor, say in a jeep, or suv or truck you may use the hose GENTLY,so you don't get the interior electrical systems/stereo systems wet and damaged.  This helps prevent your floors/seating area from rusting out.  Note:  Complete coverage of carpets with full winter rubber or plastic floor mats, but you still may see salt behind the mat or at the sill plates of your doors that you use the most. 

After your interior inspection and clean up, it is time to for the exterior inspections.  Check the bottoms of your door panels (exterior and inside bottoms where the fold over/pressed seams, and along the door jambs/door frame, including the rocker panels (the whole bottom of your cars metal frame/uni-body).  Check for rust, bubbles in paint/means rust is starting to form, or any rust through, oily film or oil drips or puddles on your driveway.  Why?  This is the major part that holds your car together and holds all the floor pans in place. If there is oil, red fluid under your vehicle equals oil pan or gasket or plug is faulty.  If it is gold fluids under your car  under sill plates /bottom side areas on the ground, means your your brake lines are leaking/ disloved from rust,   Another reason to  have this, you will be riding o Gods good graces, or on   your thumb, instead of your car/truck. 

Next, Check your fenders around the wheel wells, inside the engine compartment , seams  and  trunk compartments.  Check your tires and rims for rust or any bubbles,cracks, brake dust (It Should wash off), check for excessive brake fluid around the hub caps, or chrome wheel it's self.  If you find excessive brake fluid on any wheelcall your trusted mechanic ASAP. You may need new brake parts or brake lines.

If you do find bubbles, rust thru in your exterior parts, or rust damage, you will need to call Seppala's and set up a appointment to save your main form of transportation from any more damage to help it last longer.  (P.S. And it is cheaper then buying a new/used vehicle.  It's cheaper to repair  instead of replacing what you have in the long run too).  If your vehicle had a accident during the winter and you were  still able to drive, great.  Now is the time to  bring it in for a estimate and a appointment to get it repaired.  Parts need to be replaced and refinished before the rusted areas get any worse or spread beyond the  sheet metal damaged area(s) for the longest possible life of your vehicle.


Monthly Fluids Check.  Visual & Physically Inspections Inside Engine Compartment and Exterior/Outside Auto Body Panels.

1.  Check your motor oil, fill to full line if low, Don't OVERFILL.  Do this when it is not running and the engine is cold.  Check for oil spots when you pull out of your normal parking area.   If there are oil spots, and or it continues to become low by one or two quarts per month  or more....  you may have a seal(s) leak/oil pan/oil filter is loose or missing. 

If leaking or your engine is burning it (blue smoke from your tailpipe), You nay need to find out by calling your Trusted Mechanic to have it checked it out, and they can tell you what needs to be done.

Your motor oil should be changed on a older vehicle with low mileage every 3,000.0 miles with oil type needed by vehicle manufacture/owners manual or your mechanics recommendation. 

Older vehicles with high mileage should be changed every 3,000.0 miles with a good oil for high mileage vehicles or per  OEM owners manual. 

For Newer vehicles check with your owners manual for how often and with what kind of oil. As there are new  and different recommendations for newer/new style engines for each manufacturer.  Brand New?  Check Your Owners Manual/Dealership Mechanic where purchased from or the sticker in the upper left corner of your windshield.  

2.  Check your transmission  fluid, fill to full line if low. Repeat the same as for motor oil.  Check your owners manual when it needs to be replaced/flushed.  If it continues to become low, see a transmission specialist/Dealership Mechanic and ask for cost of a inspection, and estimate of repairs needed.  If it exceeds the cost of a nice used car, then go with the nice, gently used car.

3.  Check your Antifreeze Coolant Reservoir. To have this container of antifreeze mixture go a "Little" low is okay.  Especially in the hot summer months.  Do not allow it to go below the first top line.  If it is consistently continues to go more then a inch, request your trusted mechanic for a pressure test.  This will check for leaks from faulty hose clamps, old hoses  that are worn out, radiator leaks, or perhaps motor seals that may be leaking.

4.  Check your power steering pump.  As well as check within your owners manual when it should be changed and how often it should be done.   Especially if you are hearing squeak/squeal/screaming noise when you turn the steering wheel, or make a turn  at a corner turn. If it needs to be refilled, do so.  If it continues..... Do the same as for low oil See your mechanic right away.  It may need to be replaced  completely or flushed out and refilled with new fluid and lines(s).

5.  Check your brake fluid reservoir.  Refill as needed.  Read and check your owners manual for how often it should be changed/replaced.  If is constantly low, check for brake fluid drips under neath of the body on your driveway or parking spot along the bottom of your vehicles body rocker panels.  This is where to check for brake fluid spots, and on your wheels for excess brake fluid leakage.  If excessive, do not stop at go, call a tow truck, take your vehicle to your trusted mechanic ASAP!!!

6.  Windshield Wipers And Windshield Fluid should be checked often, especially if it has been dry weather, or if on the highway driving, or on dirt roads/Construction Areas.  As you use it often to clean it to see and drive safely.  Windshield fluid is fairly cheap, and easy to fill.  Wiper Blades should be checked often too, because they  need to clean off rain, condensation,dirty water splatters from passing traffic .  As It takes it toll on them.  They should be changed out when they make a lot of noise, do not clean your windshield well  during a moderate rain, or when they look damaged to your eyes,  or make for a clean swipe without any streaks.    Best Bet, check both of them every 6-12 months, and don't just replace one wiper, you must change both of them at the same time, or the wipers will not be able to work properly, and you may be replacing windshield motor soon.  Then the next time you see your mechanic have them check your wiper arms as well to see if they  are contacting the windshield at a 90 degree angle for the best possible cleaning of your windshield when you use them.

7.  Body Panel Inspections.  If you park often in public parking areas or close fit areas you will need to check your body panels for dings and dents.   You may want to invest in door moldings or door panel protector strips.    Especially, If you use automated rotating W/brush, or W/automated carpet  strips/or brushes in the automated  auto washes you will need to check the front of your hood panel, the front and rear of your roof panel.  As well as, the end edge on top of  your trunk panel for scratches too.  Where is the best place to wash your vehicle?  At home, in winter though that is not possible.  So where do you go to get your car washed in winter months?  We found the self wash car washes work well.  Just don't use the scrub brush on your painted areas. 


 When & How To Take Care Of Your Car/Truck..... 

So It Takes Care Of You,  And It Lasts Longer Inside & Outside

Basic Maintenance Care

The To Do List 

Seppala's Body Shop & Restoration

645 Douglas St. N.W. Grand Rapids, MI 49504   Call:  616-459-1945

October-May Office Hours:  8-5 Monday through Friday, Sat. By Appointment Only

June-September Office Hours:  Tuesday through Friday 8-5 Sat. By Appointment Only

Celebrating Over 40 Years Of Quality With Pride Of Workmanship Since 1978