We address many of these car repair questions and give you some great tips in our auto repair blog! Also check out what our customers are saying about us on our auto repair reviews Page.
Q. When should my tires be rotated?
Your tires should at least be rotated every other oil change (or every 6000 miles). Some people rotate tires with every oil change. Regular rotation will help extend your tires’ lifespan and help your car drive better.
Q. What can cause tires to wear prematurely?
Bad wheel alignment, out-of-balance tires, worn shocks and poor driving habits can all cause tires to wear out early. One of the most damaging things to tires, though, is under- or over-inflation. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your car, and check your pressure often.
Q. How often do belts and hoses need to be replaced?
As a general rule, belts and hoses need to be replaced every three to four years. Your own eyes can be the best judge of that, though – belts that are frayed, glazed or chipped are due for replacement. Hoses that appear soft or swollen are worn-out and will fail soon. Sometimes hoses can be deteriorated on the inside, though, and it won’t be visible to the naked eye.
Q. Is it so important that I replace my timing belt when the manufacturer recommends it?
YES. Not all cars have timing belts, some still use timing chains. But for cars that use belts, a broken timing belt can mean catastrophic engine damage. It’s a pay-now or pay-later question, and the cost of replacing a timing belt The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.
Q. What does it mean if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light comes on?
There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle’s engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails or sends a bad reading, it will store a trouble code in your car’s engine computer. Trouble codes on some cars will cause it to run in “limp-in mode,” meaning very poor performance that will force you to go to get it serviced. Either way, a “check engine” light means you should go in for diagnosis before the problem gets worse.
Q. What should I do if my car starts to overheat?
This is a very serious problem – if your car overheats for too long, you can damage your engine. As soon as possible, find a safe place to pull off the road and shut the engine off! Do not attempt to check the fluid level in the radiator; the hot fluid can cause severe burns.
Q. Why is my car running rough?
A car’s engine needs four things to run properly: air, spark, fuel and vacuum. A rough-running condition could be due to a bad spark plug, bad plug wire, broken or decayed vacuum line, a clogged fuel injector, a trouble code in the engine’s computer or any number of other things. This is something that can be hard for a shade-tree mechanic to track down; it’s best to bring it in for diagnostic tests and service.
Q. When should I get my oil changed?
You should get your oil changed every 3000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Q. Why is my engine oil brown and milky-looking?
Milky brown oil means that engine coolant has found its way into the oil. This can be due to a blown head gasket, failed transmission cooler, cracked engine head or cracked casings. A blown head gasket can also cause white smoke from the tailpipe, which is actually steam being burned off as coolant gets burned up in the engine’s combustion chambers. This is a serious problem, and driving will only make it worse. Have it checked by a professional technician right away.
Q. How do I make sure my car battery has a good electrical connection?
Battery cables and terminals are prone to corrosion, which will interfere with the flow of electricity from the battery to the rest of the electrical system. Battery cable and terminal cleaning should be part of regular maintenance to provide a good electrical connection.
Q. Are synthetic motor oils really everything they’re cracked up to be?
More and more manufacturers are advising synthetic motor oils. They can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines, or severe usage such as towing or extremes of heat and cold weather. Synthetic blends are also becoming popular for high-mileage (over 100,000) engines. They’re more expensive than mineral-based oil, but synthetic oil doesn’t need to be changed nearly as often.
Q. How often does the fuel filter need to be changed?
To make sure you don’t get stuck by the side of the road with a clogged fuel filter, it should be changed approximately every 30,000 miles, or according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
Q. How often do spark plugs need to be changed?
Spark plugs can be important to engine performance and fuel economy. Older-style spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles. Newer platinum-tipped plugs can go 100,000 miles before they need to be changed. As a general rule, it’s also a good idea to replace your spark plug wires whenever it’s time to change plugs.
Q. I need to replace a burned out fuse, what should I do?
When you replace a burned-out fuse, make sure you replace it with one of the same amperage (which will be printed on the fuse). Remember that if a fuse continues to blow, it means that there’s something else wrong in that circuit; have it checked by a technician for troubleshooting.