The moment you drive your car off the dealership lot, you become responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your import car. Even with today’s precision engineering, there are hundreds of moving parts that must function properly to keep your car running smooth for years to come. Whether that means following the suggested factory maintenance schedule or taking the car in for service when the check engine light flashes, it is essential to adhere to regular vehicle maintenance.

Unfortunately, even new vehicles can run into problems. That is why all cars are equipped with a check engine light to let the operator know when a potential issue arises. Sometimes problems can be a simple as the gas cap needs to be secured, but other times the notification can be an alert for a major malfunction.

Check Engine Light

Your import car is equipped with an onboard computer diagnostic system designed to monitor the operation of your vehicle. This warning system will light up in the instrument panel as the “check engine” light, usually with an icon shaped like an engine.

What Does a Check Engine Light Response Mean?

There are a number of reasons your vehicle’s onboard computer would send an error code leading to a check engine light response.

Light Comes On at Startup

Your engine’s instrument panel automatically lights up at start, and so will your check engine light. This is standard. If your light remains illuminated, then it is a sign that your car should be checked.

Is there a Problem with my Import Car?

Not always. A simple unscrewed gas cap can cause the light to respond. However, this can be a first indicator of trouble that can turn from a low cost repair into a major problem causing thousands of dollars if neglected.

Flashing Check Engine Light

Stop and turn of the car immediately! You may risk permanent damage to your internal combustion engine or the vehicle may be have more harmful emissions being ejected from the vehicle.

What Should I Do if My Check Engine Light Comes On?

A professional diagnostic is recommended for any cars with an illuminated check engine light. A diagnostic on your import car can provide a quick and accurate assessment of your vehicle to determine what repairs might be needed. The experienced technicians of Triangle Imports will review the codes and provide you an evaluation of suggested services. If needed, our team will conduct road tests and other diagnostics to solve your problem.

Reasons for a Check Engine Light Response

So many factors could be the culprit for an engine warning light to turn on, but here are the common issues that we find.

Spark Plugs need replaced

Spark plugs and wires need to be replaced after a certain mileage. However, there are times that poorly performing engine components can cause premature wear of the plugs.

For example, a broken head gasket seal can leak coolant into the chamber damaging the plug. Or if the vehicle is experiencing overheating, a hot running engine can destroy plugs that were in good condition.

Fuel Injection problems

Fuel injectors force fuel through a small nozzle to the engine. A poorly running fuel injection system leads to poor performance and could ruin your engine.

Ignition issues (wires, cables, etc.)

Problems starting your vehicle could be electrical, a problem with a sensor or even a problem with the fuel/air mixture in your combustion chamber.

General Maintenance Checks

General maintenance interval occurs and sends a code suggesting vehicle service. Basic services involve checking the spark, fuel and airflow of a vehicle to ensure all elements are operating correctly for optimal combustion.

  • Air filter replacement
  • Wiper replacement
  • Fluid fill
  • Check for air and vacuum leaks

Sensor Failure

A vehicle has a number of sensors monitoring a various components. A faulty sensor can cause a variety of problems from rough idle to difficulty starting.

Factory Suggested Maintenance Schedule

To keep their import cars at peak performance, car owners should adhere to the factory suggested maintenance schedule. These are intervals that the manufacturer has deemed best to repair, replace or maintain certain vehicle components. Each car manufacturer has a different suggested service interval and this could also be different base on the year and model of your car.

European and Asian model cars are engineered different that their American counterparts and often require specialized equipment to complete the task. Heat, cold, jarring, and time can really take a toll on even the most durable cars. That is why the majority of import car owners should trust an experience import car repair shop like Triangle Imports to keep their vehicle in top condition.

What Conditions Do YOU Drive In?

Depending on the environment and conditions your vehicle operates, these intervals should be looked at as a guide. If your import car is commonly in salty environments like the coast or areas that use salt on the roads, then it should be checked more frequently.

Stop-and-go driving, like we often experience in the Raleigh area, can be very stressful on import cars. Add that to the heat of a North Carolina summer and your car is under constant assault. Short commutes are really bad for car engines, especially high-end European cars that you may only take out on the weekend.

Brand Specific Maintenance Schedule

Some manufacturers have specific maintenance schedules that should be strictly adhered to in order to achieve the peak performance from your automotive machine. Certain vehicles can become easily devalued by missing this factory specified milestones.

BMW Factory Maintenance Schedule

Depending on the year model range, your Raleigh BMW should be serviced at specific intervals. Additionally, during each interval, specific tasks should be completed to ensure long lasting BMW performance.

BMW Schedule I


  • Check or change engine oil
  • Transmission check
  • Axles
  • Fuel lines and exhaust system
  • Brakes
  • Bushing wear
  • Cable adjustments

Engine Compartment

  • Cooling system
  • Top off fluids and check for leaks or problems
  • AC and Heater operation

Body and Electrical Systems

  • Check battery
  • Lighting system
    • headlamps
    • brakelamps
    • signal flashers
  • Safety belts and latches
  • Air Filters

Road Test of brakes, suspension, steering and other components

BMW Schedule II


  • Check brakes
  • Check boots for leaks
  • Look for rust on body and frame

Engine Compartment

  • Check plugs
  • Check air filter

Mercedes-Benz Factory Maintenance Schedule

The maintenance services are indicated by Service type A through H. They are classified based on the estimated time needed to perform the service, approximately one hour (type A) to up to eight hours (type H). For more details see the Maintenance Booklet for your vehicle or contact a member of Triangle Imports for assistance.

Schedule A

The first maintenance visit for A-Service is at approximately 10,000 miles or 1 year. The exact time is determined by the vehicle’s Flexible Service System.

Afterward, it is approximately every 20,000 miles or 2 years. This is for model year 2009 and newer.

Schedule B

The first maintenance visit for A-Service is at approximately 20,000 miles or 1 year. The exact time is determined by the vehicle’s Flexible Service System.

Afterward, it is approximately every 20,000 miles or 2 years. This is for model year 2009 and newer.

Audi Factory Scheduled Maintenance Intervals

The first scheduled service is due at 5,000 miles (8,000 km) or 1 year after delivery, whichever occurs first. Afterward, all remaining scheduled services are due every 10,000 miles or 1 year after previous service, whichever occurs first.

Jaguar Factory Scheduled Maintenance

A service interval indicator appears every 16,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever occurs first, to tell you when necessary vehicle maintenance needs to be scheduled.

Standard Scheduled Maintenance Packages

30k Mile Maintenance

  • Engine Coolant flush and replace
  • Fluid Checks
  • Transmission
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Drive shaft boot inspection
  • Steering linkage and boot inspection
  • Brake Drums, discs and pads
  • Ball Joint and Dust Covers
  • Engine and Cabin Filters
  • Tire inspection and service
  • Batteries

60k Mile Maintenance

Our 6ok mile inspection provides the same in depth service check as our 30k, but at higher mileages, other inspections become more essential and must be added to the maintenance list.

  • Fuel system check
    • lines
    • connections
    • vapor recovery
  • Timing chain or belt inspection
  • Check belts and hoses

90k Mile Maintenance

  • Gasket replacement
  • Timing chain inspection
  • Possible engine overhaul
  • Water pump replacement
  • Fan clutch replacement
  • Spark plugs

Since there are more suggested maintenance intervals than the ones listed above, it is essential to take your vehicle to a Raleigh import car mechanic who is familiar with your car and can suggest when maintenance is recommended.

Contact Triangle Imports for Regular Import Maintenance

Triangle Imports provides the latest technology for diagnostic and maintenance repair techniques to help your car perform best. To get the best performance out of your car, it is essential to schedule regular maintenance appointments with factory trained technicians like the team at Triangle Imports in Raleigh.

Complete the online contact form or call 919-948-3444 to schedule your car’s alignment, inspection, or repair.