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Must a wheel alignment be done at each changing of tires from summer to winter, and vise versa? Also, my 2011 Honda Civic had 51,600 kilometres on it. Would you suggest a transmission fluid change as well as brake fluid change? – Llewellyn

Over time, the steady assault on your vehicle's suspension inflicted by our poor road conditions takes a toll. Regular front-end inspection is critical to passenger safety and the longevity of your tires. Wheel alignments are recommended when a customer is having drivability concerns related to the vehicle's tracking and handling, irregular tire wear and with the purchase of a new set of tires. Performing an alignment every two to three years as preventative maintenance is advisable, but bi-annual is excessive.

Your Civic uses Honda's Onboard Maintenance Minder system, which tracks a variety of conditions to calculate when services are due. Your system alternates between an "A" service – which is essentially a glorified oil change – and "B" service, which includes the same oil change along with a lengthy inspection usually including a four-wheel brake system. Accompanied along with the A or B will frequently be a number from 1 to 6. These digits represent sub-items that correspond to additional maintenance items due as defined by Honda. Sub-item 3 indicates your automatic transmission oil is due. See Honda Canada's online maintenance calculator for a definition of each sub item.

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The onboard system does not monitor remaining brake pad life or brake fluid condition; therefore, replacement of the brake fluid is recommended every three years.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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