Lessons learned: modded cars require more maintenance


I know people who consider cars a machine that should just work, and instead of just performing regular maintenance they discard them when the start to fail . It baffles me how ignorant and closed minded some individuals are.

Given how I drive my car, I am aware that it requires more maintenance than specified by the manufacturer. As an engineer, it amazes me how much abuse cars can take so I understand the importance of keeping all the components lubricated and calibrated.

The BRZ just turned over 21,000 miles. 1,000 of those are a combination of track and autox miles, not counting some spirited driving… that’s a lot of happiness. Since the car was brand new when I got it and (for the moment) I have no plans to replace it, I want to make sure it is always in top shape. Even when my wallet complains, I’m keeping it up.

As of today, this is the maintenance that has been done on the car:

  • oil changes: 8 (Rotella T6 5W-40)
  • brake fluid flush: 5 (Wilwood EXP 600 Plus)
  • brake caliper lubrication: 2
  • transmission fluid flush: 1 (Motul GEAR 300 75W-90)
  • differential fluid flush: 1 (Motul GEAR 300 75W-90)
  • alignments: 3

Other things I inspect regularly are lug nut torque and wheel bearings. Any other modification should also be regularly inspected. Just naming a few:

  • catch cans
  • hoses (water, oil)
  • clamps
  • gaskets
  • filters (oil, air, fuel)
  • exhaust components
  • radiator
  • oil coolers
  • intercoolers
  • gauge sensors
  • custom wiring
  • lines (fuel, vacuum, etc.)
  • brake pads
  • tires (pressure, wear)

Ideally you should also do some runs and log how the engine is running, a good data logging tool is essential. You want to make sure AFRs are on target, especially on boosted cars that see big changes in air temperatures (summer\winter). Data logs can be used to diagnose leaks or components like spark plugs and fuel pumps, even the quality of the fuel your buying.

If you have a FlexFuel conversion, be mindful of your fuel lines. I checked mine because I’m paranoid and found that one of them had some wear due to rubbing against a bracket.

IMG_2966

I promptly ordered a replacement. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a better way to route the line, so I ended up covering the rough edges of the bracket and covering the area of the line for extra protection. Needless to say it will be regularly inspected. After I installed the oil cooler I found the same problem with one of the oil lines, fortunately I found it early enough that the line didn’t wear out so I covered the rough edges.

Bottom line is: don’t be cheap or lazy. Take the time and money to properly maintain your car and you’ll be rewarded with lots of happy miles.

This post originally appeared on Peaches Motorsports and has been republished with permission.