Technology moves at a fast pace. What was just an idea a few years ago becomes reality in the present. Even car engine technology can change drastically in a short time. For example, car manufacturers have replaced the distributor cap with an electronic ignition system. A few decades ago, replacing the distributor cap was a routine part of an engine tune up for cars. Also gone is the carburetor replaced by fuel injectors. It was the carburetor that mechanics adjusted or “tuned up” for optimal efficiency. Also, we now go into panic mode when our check engine light suddenly appears! What now? What does that mean? How dangerous is it to continue driving?
Furthermore, many engine components last much longer than they used to. Thus, unless you have an older vehicle, you probably don’t need a regular car tune up in the traditional sense. However, your car will need regular preventive maintenance. Quick and convenient, Havoline® Xpress Lube of Kernersville can perform tune-ups, routine maintenance, and major repairs.
Has the Tune Up for Cars Really Gone the Way of the Dinosaurs?
Not exactly. If you have an older car, you’ll still need to have someone perform certain car maintenance tasks. They will need to tune your carburetor and replace certain components over time. Thus, a tune up for cars is necessary for older vehicles to keep your car running at peak efficiency.
However, in modern cars, fuel injectors don’t need adjustment and many parts last much longer. One example of this is the spark plug. In older cars, spark plugs generally last about 30,000 miles. Made from copper and a nickel alloy, this type of spark plug tends to wear out quickly. Many of today’s newer cars use platinum and iridium spark plugs which can last for about 100,000 miles.
Even with these advancements, some engine components are still the same. The modern car engine still has a timing belt and PCV valve. These parts need an auto mechanic to check to make sure they’re operating properly. In other words, no matter how old or new your vehicle is, you still need to adhere to some type of maintenance schedule to keep your car or truck running smoothly and reliably. You’ll achieve better fuel efficiency when all parts are working properly and are in good condition.
While modern engine parts may not need tuning, they do require maintenance. Fuel injectors can become clogged and the oxygen sensor can fail. Thus, while you may not need a “car tune up” in the traditional meaning, you most definitely need routine maintenance.
Routine Oil Changes Are Vital
With today’s engines, changing your fluids on schedule is vital for optimal engine performance. Neglecting or delaying replacing your engine oil can have serious consequences. Heat and the daily stress of driving breaks oil down so that it is no longer effective at its job.
Engine oil has 3 important jobs, it lubricates, cools the engine, and removes dirt and debris. First, without proper lubrication, the many moving parts of an engine will rub against each other causing premature wear. This rubbing of engine parts also causes friction and additional heat. Too much heat build-up can damage your engine.
Moreover, as oil circulates throughout the engine, it collects combustion contaminants and carbon deposits. As the dirty oil flows through the oil filter, the dirt becomes trapped. Once the filter becomes clogged, there’s less clean oil circulating through the engine. Dirty oil can cause corrosion on engine parts and is less lubricating.
Furthermore, as oil ages and breaks down, it becomes sludgy and thick. Old thick oil cannot circulate as freely as clean oil. Now it can no longer effectively cool your engine, possibly causing overheating. Plus, the additives the manufacturers include in the oil to protect your engine also become ineffective.
The frequency of replacing your oil depends largely on the type of oil you use and your car manufacturer’s recommendation. Today’s engine oils may be conventional, synthetic, or synthetic blend. If you’re not sure which is best for your car, bring it down to Xpress Lube of Kernersville. We only use Havoline® products, the oil approved by leading automakers. When you come in for an oil change, we’ll perform a courtesy check of certain components. With an oil change, we’ll also check your air filter, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and antifreeze. Our mechanics can guide you through the options to determine which oil is best for your vehicle, driving habits and weather conditions.
Brake and Power Steering Fluids
How often do you think about changing your brake fluid? Some automobile manufacturers recommend changing your brake fluid every 30,000 miles or so. Others don’t give a time frame but advise checking it every time you change the oil.
Moisture can work its way through the hoses contaminating your fluid. Additionally, normal wear and tear on components can allow bits of debris to accumulate in your brake fluid. Dirty brake fluid is less effective than clean brake fluid. Thus, you may experience a difficult time stopping or in the worst-case scenario, having your brakes fail altogether.
New brake fluid is almost clear with a yellow tint. As it ages, the fluid turns dark brown to black. When this happens, you need to change your brake fluid. To check your brake fluid, locate the reservoir. If you’re not sure where this is, consult your owner’s manual. When opening up the cap, be careful not to drip any fluid as brake fluid is toxic.
Another hydraulic system in your car is the power steering system. Generally, you should change your power steering fluid every 2 years. Check your automobile’s owner’s manual for specifics for your car. Just as with brakes, wear and tear on components can contaminate the fluid. Sometimes too, you may develop a leak making it difficult to steer.
If you notice any strange sounds when steering, this is a sign you should have a mechanic check your fluid. Additionally, check your fluid’s color and the level of fluid once a month. Most manufacturers produce red power steering fluid, although you may find pink, clear, and green as well. When you notice that your power steering fluid is brown or black, it’s time to change it.
Do I Need to Change My Transmission Fluid?
Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, your car needs fluid to lubricate and cool the gears. With an automatic transmission, your fluid has an added job of providing power through hydraulics. Manufacturer’s recommendations vary widely, so check your owner’s manual for a replacement timetable.
Many cars have a transmission dipstick, allowing you to easily check the level and color. Since this fluid expands when hot, most mechanics recommend checking levels when your engine is warm. Most often, the transmission fluid is red. Like other fluids, if it’s brown or black, it’s time to change it.
Some newer cars have a sealed transmission. There’s no dipstick with a sealed transmission. Thus, you’ll need to take your vehicle to your auto mechanic to check it. Of course, if your gears grind or delay in shifting, take your car to the mechanic as soon as possible.
Don’t Forget About Your Coolant
Motor vehicle engines create a lot of heat during normal operation. If left unchecked, the heat could cause the metal to warp, expand, and even crack. Your car engine’s radiator and cooling system help prevent this from happening. Coolant moves throughout your engine absorbing heat and releasing it out through your radiator. Thus, your engine stays within normal operating temperatures.
Your engine’s coolant is a mix of 50/50 antifreeze and water. The antifreeze has properties that keep water from freezing and boiling during extreme temperatures. While water is an excellent temperature regulator, it also is very corrosive to your engine. Thus, anti-freeze products contain rust inhibitors.
However, over time, your coolant can lose its rust-inhibiting properties. Recommendations for changing your coolant vary widely among auto manufacturers. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to replace your coolant:
- Engine is running hotter than usual
- The coolant level is low or leaking
- Coolant light on the dashboard is on
- Your heater doesn’t work
- There’s a sweet smell coming from your engine
- Instead of green, orange, red, or blue, your coolant color is brown
- Rust particles are floating in your coolant
Of course, you can always bring your car into Xpress Lube of Kernersville for an inspection. We’ll take a look at your coolant to see if it needs changing. Plus, we’ll explain your vehicle manufacturer’s instructions for replacing your coolant.
What Other Types of Maintenance Do Newer Cars Require?
Often, we only think of the engine when we think of maintenance. Yet, your vehicle has other components that affect the overall experience of driving. For example, bad windshield wipers won’t affect your gas mileage, but it can affect your vision. Worn wipers can streak the windshield limiting your visibility and increasing your risk of an accident.
Of course, your car won’t be going anywhere without electricity from your battery to get the engine started. Generally, car batteries last about 3 years. However, driving habits, an improperly mounted battery, and weather can all shorten its life. Xpress Lube of Kernersville can check your battery life in as little as 5 minutes. If it’s time for a new one, we’ll help you decide on the best one for your vehicle.
Besides fluids, some other parts need checking and/or changing. Both the air filter and fuel filter keep dirt out of your engine where it can cause damage. As you drive, dirt and debris clog your filters reducing your fuel economy. Moreover, your engine will be sluggish and may even make strange noises. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, bring your car to us as soon as possible. We’ll look over your engine, fix the problem, and have you back on the road quickly.
Don’t Forget About Your Annual Inspection
Not many people look forward to receiving their annual renewal notice from the DMV. Yet, the required inspection helps to protect you, as well as others on the road, and maintain your car. Our ASE-certified mechanics will check over components you often neglect but could also seriously impact your safety.
When was the last time you took a look at your tires? Yes, worn tires can seriously affect the handling of your car. Low tread tires are more likely to hydroplane on wet roads. Moreover, bald tires slip more easily on snow-covered streets. This is why your inspection includes examining the tread depth on each tire. If your tires don’t have enough tread, your vehicle won’t pass inspection.
Your headlights are another component an NC inspection will check. If only one of your headlights is functioning, your vision is greatly impaired. Having both headlights functioning is especially important when driving along the rural roads of North Carolina.
Steering, horn, and directional lights are some other components that your DMV inspection will examine. All of these parts along with your engine, work together for a secure, enjoyable driving experience. When it’s time to get your inspection done, you can rely on Xpress Lube of Kernersville. We can save you time, as well. If we find an issue during the inspection process, we can fix it quickly and complete the inspection, so you can get back on the road again.
We Can Handle All Your Car’s Maintenance and Repairs
At Xpress Lube of Kernersville, we can perform a tune up for cars, handle the normal car maintenance, and over 30 common repairs. Using the latest diagnostic equipment, we’ll service and repair your vehicle. Our ASE-certified mechanics can make recommendations specific to your automobile for optimal performance.
Our owner, Mac Allen, has been providing car maintenance and repair for more than 2 decades here in Kernersville. We provide quick, efficient service in an inviting, friendly environment. Plus, we can repair or service both domestic and foreign cars, trucks, and SUVs.
And when you’re done with the mechanical aspect of your car, take care of the outside. Our Xpress Turbo Wash gently cleans away dirt and debris. We offer 3 affordable ways to pay with several different packages. Plus, we use Armor-All®, Rain•X®, and Black Magic® premium products. Our state-of-the-art car wash recycles most of the water, filters it and is environmentally-friendly. Prepaid car wash plans are available for your vehicles or to give as the perfect gift! One size fits all! Everyone on your list will be happy to receive a gift that will keep their car looking great!
Additionally, we offer a loyalty program that earns you points for every visit. Use the points to pay toward future services!
When it’s time to service your car, Kernersville residents trust Mac and his crew. Give us a call at 336-993-7697 to set up an appointment for servicing of your car. Because keeping your car well-maintained can prevent inconvenient breakdowns.