Category Archives: Maintenance
As Birmingham BDG consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.
New stuff comes out so fast in AL, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Clay, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without.
Birmingham BDG motorists couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Birmingham BDG penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the automobile manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.
Is it really that bad for Birmingham BDG motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for harmful sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster.
Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.
It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Birmingham BDG area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Birmingham BDG motorists to get back on track with essential maintenance and to hold off further pricey damage.
It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your technician at Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG help you keep track of the rest.
Of course, it is inevitable for Birmingham BDG auto owners that some things are going to wear out along the way – important stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
5720 Old Springville Road
Birmingham BDG, AL 35126
In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.
Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Birmingham BDG Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.
Here are some examples for our friends in Birmingham BDG.
- Some cars in Birmingham BDG no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.
-Chalk one up for the myth.
On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.
- So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.
-A point to maintenance.
- Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.
-Myth gets a point.
- Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.
-Point for maintenance.
I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.
So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Birmingham BDG if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.
Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.
It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.
So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Birmingham BDG service advisor at Birmingham BDG to check on the recommendation right away.
Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.
For our friends in Birmingham BDG, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Birmingham BDG. You’ll find us at 5720 Old Springville Road in Birmingham BDG, AL 35126. Just give us a call at 1.800.LET.NAPA.
No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the vehicle manufacturer to issue recall notices to Birmingham BDG residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The auto maker then tries to contact all Birmingham BDG motorists who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Birmingham BDG service center.
To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
5720 Old Springville Road Birmingham BDG, AL 35126
These recalls always affect safety, so Birmingham BDG auto owners would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.
Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.
Recalls are pretty serious for Birmingham BDG drivers and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Birmingham BDG motorists still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, car makers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Birmingham BDG service centers (including Birmingham BDG) how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.
Your Birmingham BDG tech receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. Birmingham BDG auto owners can buy access to these for an annual fee.
Whatever your source, pay attention to Birmingham BDG vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.
Before the recession hit, the median age for cars in the Birmingham BDG AL area (zip code: 35126) was over nine years. And two-thirds had over 75,000 miles. At Birmingham BDG we hear reports that those numbers continue to rise.
If you have a high-mileage vehicle in the Clay area, bring it in for high-mileage maintenance:
5720 Old Springville Road
Birmingham BDG, AL 35126
Many people in Birmingham BDG are keeping their vehicles longer. The economy has influenced that, but the fact that modern sedans are more durable and reliable means that owning a high mileage vehicle doesn’t have to be a painful experience.
Local car owners in Birmingham BDG with over 100,000 miles on their vehicles often ask which service intervals they should follow. Let’s start with the special needs of the older vehicle…
The reality is that time and mileage will take its toll. The engine and transmission will have more sludge. The fuel, steering and brake systems will have gum and varnish built up. There’ll be more dirt and contaminants in the fuel tank. Corrosion and deposits in the cooling system. And seals and gaskets will start to dry out.
All of this, plus normal wear and tear, means that the engine might not be as strong as new, so it just has to work harder to get the job done.
So we need to compensate. Consider high-mileage formulations for oil changes, transmission service, etc. These special formulations contain additives that condition the seals and gaskets to prevent leaks. They also have more detergents to clean sludge and other deposits. They cost a bit more, but they’re worth it.
In general, if an auto service was recommended every 15,000 miles when the car was new, you should continue to get the service done every 15,000 miles.
Talk with your Birmingham BDG service advisor at Birmingham BDG about the condition of your engine. See if he thinks you should adjust your auto service intervals for oil changes or other auto maintenance to account for the older engine working harder.
Expect the oil filter to get dirty faster. Same goes for the fuel filter. And some leaks are to be expected so you need to keep a closer eye on fluid levels.
If anything, following recommended service intervals for your sedan is more important in a higher mileage vehicle. Skipping oil changes or other services can lead to problems much more quickly than with a newer vehicle.
So, have your Birmingham BDG auto service advisor at Birmingham BDG help you with an assessment of your older car or truck. If you haven’t gotten around to a fuel system cleaning, or replacing power steering or brake fluid, a differential service or transmission service – it’s time to start taking care of those things. It’ll help keep you on the road for many more happy miles.
A generation ago, Birmingham BDG car owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your sedan in to your Birmingham BDG shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.
For example, almost everyone in Birmingham BDG used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the sedan was in for a tune-up at Birmingham BDG, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.
Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our sedans don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.
Modern Birmingham BDG auto owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Birmingham BDG service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and fuel efficiency. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”
Modern sedan engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of essential parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the sedan isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.
As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your sedan engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the sedan engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this pricey damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.
Timely oil changes are more critical for Birmingham BDG auto owners than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to critical engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.
One word of warning to anyone in Clay who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Birmingham BDG folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.
Birmingham BDG auto owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel efficiency, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.
When your car breaks down in the Birmingham BDG, AL area, or just needs some routine service, it can make Birmingham BDG drivers a little nervous. Because your car’s so important to your life, you need to be back on the road as soon as possible. And with the problem fixed right the first time.
We’ve been checking into some of the essential training our Birmingham BDG AL technicians receive, and we’re very impressed. It’s amazing how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. So it’s not like when your uncle worked on his hot rod over weekend.
Today there are four cylinder engines around Birmingham BDG that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars 20 years ago. A new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to 60 mph.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the benefits come to Birmingham BDG drivers at the price of simplicity. Modern cars are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin.
Then there’s the electronics. Some cars on AL interstates area have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Birmingham BDG drivers take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks.
It’s a real challenge for the service professionals at Birmingham BDG and other Birmingham BDG auto service centers to keep up. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the auto technician and the service center as well. In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools as well.
So where do Birmingham BDG service professionals go for training? There’re many sources. It’s usually a combination of formal classroom training, training provided in the service center by auto parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses. There are many independent certifications available all the way up to Master Technician.
And AutoNetTV produces monthly training for Birmingham BDG automotive service centers called The Pro Channel. If you were to watch the Pro Channel segment on re-flashing the engine control computer, you’d be amazed at how much is involved: special software, hardware interfaces and a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill.
Service centers in Birmingham BDG, AL have a lot of other resources available as well. No one can know everything, so service centers like Birmingham BDG subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them with they run into a difficult problem.
It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. Birmingham BDG motorists want everything to be simple, straight forward and cheap – and sometimes it just isn’t.
So, be more relaxed next time you take your sedan in. Birmingham BDG auto owners can trust their courteous Birmingham BDG service professionals. You’re in good hands. The more you know, the more comfortable you can be with your automotive service decisions at Birmingham BDG. Visit AutoNetTV.com to see more great auto tips videos about many service topics.
At Birmingham BDG, we provide quality automotive service including chassis lubrication, fuel filter and check engine light diagnostic.<br><br>
If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your sedan hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your sedan. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Birmingham BDG.
More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.
The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).
And, on most sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Birmingham BDG cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.
When they understand what it does, Birmingham BDG auto owners realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why auto manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Birmingham BDG.
At Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG, your courteous technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.
If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your courteous service professional at Birmingham BDG. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Birmingham BDG, we recommend Birmingham BDG auto owners that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.
As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your sedan.
All in all, the serpentine belt’s is vital to the operation of your sedan. And it’s not that costly to replace at Birmingham BDG – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
At Birmingham BDG we’ve had a lot of Birmingham BDG, Kimberly, and New Castle clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in AL. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Clay folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this vital question.
So let’s say you’re one of the average car owners in the Clay area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?
Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Birmingham BDG. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.
Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if wise Birmingham BDG car owners stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto manufacturer’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Birmingham BDG drivers know what to do when they’re way past that?
It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG, for example, leaves an opportunity for detrimental sludge to build up. Talk to your courteous Birmingham BDG service specialist.
So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Birmingham BDG are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:
- it keeps MPG from decreasing;
- it prevents costly repairs, and;
- they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.
Having the oil changed may be the most important thing auto owners can do. A full-service oil change at Birmingham BDG means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your courteous Birmingham BDG service specialist a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get pricey. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.
If you live in the Birmingham BDG area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your service specialist at Birmingham BDG. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.
And, the team at Birmingham BDG strongly encourages Birmingham BDG auto owners to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Birmingham BDG auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.
Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Clay. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.
Give us a call for more information:
5720 Old Springville Road
Birmingham BDG, AL 35126
At Birmingham BDG we get a lot of Birmingham BDG auto owners asking about car trip preparation. That’s a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas outside of Birmingham BDG so it’s important to know that the car is up to the task and won’t leave you stranded.
Smart Clay car owners plan ahead for a major road trip – there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Birmingham BDG to see if you can feel any vibrations: are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? Come to Birmingham BDG for a peace-of-mind trip inspection.
5720 Old Springville Road
Birmingham BDG, AL 35126
The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your important fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV valve and an engine air filter.
How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?
How are your wiper blades? There’s nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Birmingham BDG.
Check your owners’ manual for any other essential recommended service and have Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG do the multi-point inspection before you head out in AL.
Consider also having the coolant system serviced at Birmingham BDG – you want to stay within the auto manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re towing a trailer in Birmingham BDG you’ll want to be keep in mind that you’ll be going a long way under severe conditions.
A lot of Birmingham BDG folks overlook severe conditions like towing, or Birmingham BDG summer heat, or driving on dirt roads in AL. Plan ahead for your next road trip – Birmingham BDG wants you to get there and back.
Sometimes busy Birmingham BDG residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Clay in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Birmingham BDG motorists spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.
Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Birmingham BDG car owners would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Birmingham BDG car owners didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Birmingham BDG area auto service centers.
Birmingham BDG drivers should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Birmingham BDG is simply more expensive than it used to be. So if you think about it, AL motorists can avoid many costly sedan repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.
Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Clay auto owners can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.
These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Kimberly drivers know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your sedan will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.
Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):
|Yr. 1||Yr. 2
According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more pricey than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.
Just a bit of auto advice from Birmingham BDG: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and AL auto insurance with an older Birmingham BDG vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for important preventive maintenance in AL, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less costly!