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How Often Should I Have My Car Serviced?

Posted on 10/15/2019

I know in this day and age it is sometimes difficult to remember those certain appointments…like going to the dentist or the doctor every six months…or having your vehicle serviced at least twice a year!  You can ignore it until suddenly you aren’t feeling your best, or you experience a toothache, or your car breakdowns! 

Here is what your car’s owner manual tells you should happen and how often.  We recommend you visit us every six months to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape!

Your owner’s manual states that every time you stop for fuel you need to:

  • Check engine oil level and add as required.
  • Check windshield washer solvent and add if required.

Once a month you are supposed to:

  • Check tire pressure and look for unusual wear or damage
  • Inspect battery and clean and tighten terminals as required.
  • Check fluid levels of coolant reservoir, power steering, brake master cylinder, and transmission and add as needed
  • Check all lights and all other electrical items for correct operation

At every oil change you are supposed to:

  • Inspect exhaust system
  • Inspect brake hoses
  • Rotate tires at each oil change interval shown on schedule “A” (Highway miles) or every other interval as shown on schedule “B” (Stop and go miles).
  • Check coolant level, hoses, and clamps.
  • After completion of off-road operation, the underside of the vehicle should be thoroughly inspected. 
  • Examine threaded fasteners for looseness

That is what the kindly, full-service gas station attendant used to do for us.  Now that everything is self serve, we tend to drive up, fill up and drive off. Think about it. Do you check your engine oil level or your washer solvent at each fuel stop?  Do you monthly check your tire pressure, inspect your battery, and check fluid levels, lights and other electrical items?  The majority of consumers never lifts the hood of their car or even looks at their tires, much less checks the pressure.  Some, when it is time for an oil change are adamant that we just change their oil as they are in a hurry and everything else seems fine. 

It is true that our cars are increasingly sophisticated pieces of machinery and that our oil is better able to withstand a couple of extra thousand miles between changes but how about all those other services that the gas station attendant used to take care of for us?  Sadly, the answer for the most part is no one!  You should at least have your vehicle serviced twice a year at the minimum. If you don’t, think about what can go wrong between visits without someone lifting the hood and someone checking your tire pressure and fluid levels. 

Remember, we love cars, trucks and SUV’s!  We want them to run at peak efficiency so that they are safe and reliable for you!  Don’t be a stranger.  Stop on by and let us lift the hood for you!

 

The Sound of Silence Can be Golden

Posted on 10/08/2019

The job of a muffler is to keep your vehicle quiet.  There is a lot involved for a piece of equipment that doesn’t look too intricate.  It silences the noise of your car in these ways:

  • Changes the pressure pulses
  • Dampens the pressure pulses
  • Absorbs the pressure pulses

The noise is measured in decibels and the muffler dissipates the level of sound.

There are two types of mufflers; direct-fit or universal.  A direct-fit muffler doesn’t require modifications.  A repair shop just has to line it up and bolt it on.  They are, however, not readily available for all vehicles.

A universal muffler is easy to find and usually requires some modifications.  This is done by lengthening or shortening pipes or even replacing them.  New hangers are a must to keep the new equipment from rattling. Thankfully these modifications are not difficult or expensive; they just take more time.  If you are replacing a direct-fit muffler with a universal muffler, don’t expect it to muffle the noise as well as the direct-fit.  It will be acceptable, but different. 

It is hard to imagine the noise level if we didn’t have mufflers on our vehicles!  If yours needs replacing, just give us a call.  The sound of silence can be golden.

October is Fall Car Care Month

Posted on 10/01/2019

Twice a year the Car Care Council, a non-profit organization, celebrates National Car Care Month.  This happens in April and again in October.  The reason they feel the need to spend money on advertising the importance of car care is because so many consumers don’t take care of their vehicles properly. 

Neglect of this kind causes accidents, expensive breakdowns, pollution, using more fuel than necessary and even lost time at work! The Car Care Council hopes a gentle reminder twice yearly will prevent all this. 

Here is a check list for safety, dependability and savings!

  • Have all fluids checked
  • Have air filter checked
  • Have battery and charging system checked
  • Have belts and hoses checked
  • Have oil and lubrication service
  • Have all lights checked
  • Have all wipers and fluid checked
  • Have tires checked for proper inflation and tread
  • Have suspension system checked
  • Have brake system checked

Many consumers feel a false sense of security today because they have cell phones or On-Star so they are able to call someone for help.  Yes…these are great when you need them but of course avoiding a breakdown or accident due to neglect or not to pollute the air or use more gas than necessary is a better choice.

If you have been putting off service or repair; call your car care provider today and not only will you be driving a safer, more eco-friendly vehicle, you will save money in the long run!

 

Why Won’t Your Car Start?

Posted on 09/24/2019

Car problems of any kind can be frustrating but the one that seems to annoy people the most is when their car won’t start.  There are several possible reasons your car won’t start but the number one reason is a battery issue.  If you try to start your car and you don’t hear a noise we call that a “no crank” and this could be caused by one of three things; the battery, the ignition or the starter circuit. 

The two main reasons for shortened battery life are;

  • Excessive heat - Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal structure of the battery.
  • Overcharging - A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, resulting in a slow battery death. 

To get the most out of your battery:

  • Have your battery and its connections checked at every oil change
  • Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate.  Overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
  • Always have the battery replaced with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
  • Keep the top of the battery clean.  Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power.  Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

Batteries do not always give warning signs before they fail. It is always wise to check it after summer’s end.

If the battery isn’t the issue, if you don’t have experience with ignitions and starter circuits it is best to leave this to professionals.  This calls for inspecting, cleaning and tightening plus testing.  If the test proves the part is beyond repair, you need to purchase the part and replace it. This is great if you know what you are doing but if you don’t you could inadvertently cause more problems.

Crank is when you hear your car trying but it just won’t start the engine. This again could be caused by one of three issues…your car has run out of fuel, it has no spark or it has no compression. Of course the first thing to check is the fuel.  If your car is on empty then of course you need to refuel.  Hopefully you can just add gas and all will be well but sometimes this isn’t the case. Most vehicles have an electric fuel pump.  This sits inside the tank actually submerged in the fuel.  This allows the pump to stay cool and lubricated and this submergence in fuel keeps the pump from destructing due to overheating.  The reserve fuel inside your tank prevents this from happening.  Some vehicles have a well that the pump sits inside and if this well runs dry the pump also gets damaged. If your vehicle is fueled by diesel and this occurs, it also becomes necessary to “prime it” to get fuel to the pump.  Obviously, you can’t drive forever on an empty tank...but if you regularly put in just enough gas to get by; your fuel pump can fail earlier than normal. Your pump will also be taking in the "bottom of the barrel" fuel which is full of debris. This sediment in the bottom of the fuel tank can also clog the fuel filter, fuel injectors as well as the pump pickup. I generally don't let my tank get below 1/4 tank for this reason.

If the problem is no spark or no compression I again recommend you get your vehicle Fairway Auto Repair!  If you don’t know what you are doing you could even have a “shocking” experience. 

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