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  • Find answers to frequently asked questions about maintaining your Buick and Buick Certified Service.

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AUTO MAINTENANCE FAQS

Below you’ll find answers to some frequently asked questions about maintaining your Buick.

Q: What makes Buick Certified Service technicians different?

 

A: From oil changes to engine replacements, these automotive experts, nationwide, are trained to care for your vehicle’s special needs. So no matter what kind of vehicle you own, trust it to your Certified Service experts at your local Buick dealer.

Q: How can I be sure I’m having my vehicle maintenance performed at the right time?

 

A: Buick Certified Service is your one-stop shop for everything maintenance related. To learn about your vehicle’s specific maintenance schedule, when to get your oil changed, brake service, and much more, download your Buick Owner’s Manual. It’s that simple. You can also create an account and visit the GM Owner Centre any time to track your service history, view your Owner’s Manual, watch how-to videos, check your warranty status, and more!

OIL CHANGE QUESTIONS

Q: What do I need to do when my “Change Engine Oil Soon” message displays?

 

A: When the “Change Engine Oil Soon” message appears, oil change service is necessary for the vehicle as soon as possible.

If driving under the best conditions, the Engine Oil Life Monitoring System might not indicate the need for vehicle service for more than a year. The motor oil and filter must be changed at least once a year and the Oil Life System will need to be reset. Your Buick dealer has Certified Service experts who will perform this work and reset the system. Click here to schedule service.

Q: How can I be sure to get the correct type of motor oil for my vehicle?

 

A: Consult your vehicle Owner’s Manual or visit the Certified Service experts at your Buick dealer to be sure you get the proper oil for your vehicle. For 2011 or newer vehicles, dexos1TM Synthetic Blend is the recommended oil specification (dexos1 for gasoline engines, dexos2TM for light-duty diesel engines, 15W40 CJ-4 for Duramax® diesel engines).

Q: I’ve heard I should change my motor oil every 5,000 kilometres. Is that still true?

 

A: The majority of today’s Buick vehicles are equipped with an Engine Oil Life Monitoring System, which has made the traditional 5,000-kilometre oil change interval a thing of the past. Depending on the age of the vehicle, driving habits, and road conditions, vehicles with today’s advanced engines can go much longer than 5000 kilometres between oil changes. Always be sure to check your engine oil level regularly, even with an Oil Life Monitoring System.

TIRE QUESTIONS

Q: I have a 2011 or newer Buick; when should I get my tires rotated?

 

A: Owners are advised to see their dealer for a tire rotation every 8,000-13,000 kilometres. For the average Canadian driver, this means having your tires rotated every six months.

Q: Why is tire rotation so important?

 

A: Each tire on a vehicle performs a different task, causing them to wear at different rates. Regular tire rotation allows tires to wear evenly, maximizing tire life, and allowing tires to be replaced in sets of four, which is preferable.

Q: I’ve heard that the first tire rotation is the most important. Why is that?

 

A: Irregular tread wear occurs fastest when tires are new and at full tread depth, thus the first tire rotation has been found to be of the greatest importance.

Q: Is it OK to rotate my tires earlier than 8,000 kilometres?

 

A: Yes, it is OK, particularly if you notice signs of irregular tire wear.

Q: Why is tire pressure important?

 

A: Improperly inflated tires are a leading cause of tire failure. Proper tire pressure helps a tire have optimum tread contact with the road, which improves traction and braking and reduces tire wear. Underinflated tires generate heat, which is the tire’s worst enemy, so maintaining the right amount of air keeps temperatures where they should be.

Q: How often should I check my tire pressure?

 

A: Checking your tire pressure once a month is a good guideline. For specific information on your vehicle, refer to your Owner’s Manual. Be sure the tires are cold (driven less than one kilometre), and don’t forget to check your spare tire. Use a good-quality tire gauge to check your tire pressure—don’t try to “eyeball” tires because they can look fine even when they are underinflated. Remember that tires can lose air pressure in cold weather.

Q: How will I know when I need new tires?

 

A: There are a number of indicators that will tell you when you are ready for new tires. You’ll need new tires if the tread wear indicators—called wear bars—appear. These wear bars look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and appear when it’s time to replace your tires. If you can see three or more tread wear indicators around the tire, you should replace your tires. Other ways to know when you need to replace your tires include cord or fabric showing through the rubber, cracks or cuts in the tread or sidewall deep enough to show cord or fabric, bulges or splits in the tire, and punctures or damage that cannot be repaired correctly. The best measure is to use a tire tread depth gauge. When your tread measures a minimum depth of 1.5 mm (1/16 in.), it’s time for new tires. If you have questions about whether your tires need replacing, see a Certified Service dealer for helpful advice and expert guidance.

Q: There are a lot of places that sell tires. Where should I go to get the right tires for my car at the right price?

 

A: Your Certified Service experts can recommend tires that are right for your vehicle, your driving habits, and your budget. Also, Certified Service offers a 30-day price match guarantee on all tires. Click here for additional details.

Q: I definitely need new tires. What now?

 

A: You can start searching for new tires right now with our Tire Finder Tool. It’s a quick and easy way to find tires for any vehicle. Once you’ve selected the right tires, our Certified Service experts can handle all your tire needs at your scheduled appointment.

BATTERY QUESTIONS

Q: Do I need to charge my battery after I jump-start my vehicle?

 

A: In most instances, normal driving will recharge the battery unless there is an issue with the vehicle. If your vehicle does not start after driving it, it’s recommended that you take your vehicle to your nearest Certified Service experts to have a diagnosis performed.

Q: What are the main causes of battery failure?

 

A: Batteries wear out over time, but there are also issues that impact battery failure, for example, unusual “parasitic drains” such as adding accessories but not properly grounding them, infrequent startup, and prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold.

Q: What kind of preventative maintenance can I perform for my battery?

 

A: Typical car or truck batteries require no special preventative maintenance. The best thing you can do to prolong battery life is to turn off all accessories before switching off the ignition. That way there is less drain on the battery upon startup. You can also have your Certified Service technician perform a conductance test on your battery. This helps to monitor the status of the battery and hopefully avoid a situation where your vehicle won’t start.

WIPER BLADE QUESTIONS

Q: How do I know when my wiper blades need to be changed?

 

A: A blade’s natural rubber deteriorates after about six months, which is why it’s recommended that you replace your blades on a semi-annual basis. Streaking, squeaking, chattering, skipping, cracks, tears, splits, bent or broken frame, worn rubber, and rounded wiping edge are some common signs that your blades need to be changed.

Q: Even though one of my wiper blades is more worn than the other, should I replace both of my wiper blades?

 

A: Yes, it is recommended that you replace both. This will ensure your windshield is clear and provide a safer view when driving.

Q: Is there anything I can do to make my blades last longer?

 

A: The biggest enemy of wiper blades is exposure to sunlight and ozone. There is little that can be done to reduce ozone exposure, but limiting the amount of time your blades are exposed to direct sunlight will help prolong the life of the wiper blade. Clean your windshield and the rubber element of your wiper regularly. Use an ice scraper and defroster to clear ice from your windshield, not your wipers. Pull your wipers away from the windshield in winter to prevent ice buildup from sticking to the windshield.

Q: What can be used to clean wiper blades?

 

A: It is recommended to use hot, soapy water or another nonabrasive liquid.

Q: Why is my wiper blade streaking?

 

A: Streaking is caused by worn blades. A blade’s natural rubber deteriorates after about six months.

Q: How easy is it to replace wipers?

 

A: Wiper replacement is easy, and instructions are typically included with your wipers. If purchased at your Buick dealer, your Certified Service experts can install them for you.

Q: Are all wipers designed the same way?

 

A: No, there are lots of different designs: beam, conventional, and winter are the most common.

Q: What is the difference between conventional and beam blades?

 

A: Beam blades feature a frameless design that helps them conform to the shape of the windshield and maintain uniform pressure to keep your view especially clear. They also feature a low-profile design that improves aerodynamics. Conventional blades feature a metal frame design. This design has fewer pressure points and does not have uniform pressure across the entire windshield. (Beam blades have an infinite amount of pressure points.)

Q: My car came with conventional blades. Can I use beam blades instead?

 

A: Of course, you can upgrade your conventional blades quickly and easily to the latest technology in beam blades.

BRAKE QUESTIONS

Q: How do I know when I need new brakes?

 

A: Brake pads are equipped with wear indicators that produce a squeaking noise when the brakes are almost worn out. The noise may be present with or without the brake pedal applied, but when noise is heard from the wear indicator, the brake pads should be replaced as soon as possible. Wear indicators are set to create noise when there is around 2 mm of brake pad friction material thickness remaining. In the case of assessing pad wear through inspection, pads should be replaced at or before 2 mm thickness is reached.

 

Brake rotors are marked with a “minimum thickness” on the casting (usually 2 mm to 3 mm less than the new rotor thickness). Rotors should be replaced before they reach this minimum thickness and should not be “turned” (machine refinished) below this.

Q: Must I always turn or replace my rotors when changing my pads?

 

A: No. If there are no conditions such as pedal pulsation or steering-wheel vibration during braking, and the brake rotor is at least 1 mm thicker than the discard thickness, then it does not need to be turned or replaced.

Q: Why does my brake pedal pulse?

 

A: Brake-pedal pulsation and other conditions such as steering-wheel shaking while braking are caused by thickness variation in the brake rotor. When a thicker spot of the rotor rotates through the caliper, it pushes back against brake fluid, which can be felt at the brake pedal. The brake fluid and pedal then relax again as the thick spot exits the caliper. This process produces pedal pulsation and “brake torque variation,” which can shake the steering wheel and seats. Brake pulsation is not caused by warping of the disc. However, distortion of the disc due to excessive temperatures or improper installation and torqueing of the wheels can lead to brake rotor thickness variation over time. Brake-pedal pulsation is corrected by turning and/or replacing the brake rotors to eliminate the thickness variation.

Q: Why do my brakes squeal? How can I stop it?

 

A: Brake squeal is caused by the high-frequency vibration of brake components (rotor, calipers, and/or pads) in response to excitation from the brake friction process. A significant amount of time and engineering goes into eliminating brake squeal from original equipment brake components. Brake components are engineered as a complete system—factory-original performance can only be assured when using original equipment brake pads and rotors. When brake squeal occurs, there may be damage or excessive wear on one or more components affecting noise, including the brake pads, the noise-damping shim that is bonded to the brake pad, or the rotor friction surface.

 

In addition, it should be recognized that high-performance and track-capable brake systems using high-performance pad materials will always be at higher risk for producing brake squeal noise, even when no damage to the components is present.

Q: Do metallic pads eat rotors?

 

A: Yes. Pads with higher metal content will tend to operate with more abrasive friction, where hard metal particles in the pad interact directly with the brake rotor surface. Use of metallic pads will create more brake dust and will shorten the rotor life. Non-asbestos organic pads (also known as ceramic pads) used on most GM vehicles in North America develop a transfer film, a layer of material on the pad and rotor surface that acts as a cushion (at a microscopic scale) between the pad and rotor, protecting both from abrasive interaction that causes wear.

Q: My brake pads are very dusty. Are all pads dusty?

 

A: Brake dust can occur to some extent on most brake systems, but it is significantly more noticeable with metallic pads and on high-performance brake systems. Brake dust is a mix of debris from the brake rotor, which is the most significant component, and debris from the brake pads. Pad materials that wear the rotor more aggressively will cause more dust.

Q: Are all brake rotors the same?

 

A: There are often significant differences between original equipment and aftermarket brake rotors. While brake rotors designed to fit the same vehicle will often be similar in appearance and dimensions, there can be differences in internal cooling vane design, thickness of the brake plates (against which the brake pad rubs), and the grade and material specification of the cast iron. For original equipment brake rotors, significant analysis and testing goes into determining the right geometry to minimize thermal distortion and squeal noise and to maximize cooling. Similar rigor is put into the material selection, which also affects the risk of squeal noise as well as friction and wear properties.