Car Care St Louis
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As an auto inspector I see my fair share of under maintenance cars everyday. When I talk about under maintained vehicles I am referring to much more than just not changing your engine oil every 3000 miles… I am talking about simple stuff like checking your lights, changing your wiper blades and getting that check engine light turned off. But here are some other things that you should have checked on a regular basis to keep your automobile running and stopping smooth.
- Make Sure You Can Stop on a Dime by Having Your Brakes Checked Twice a Year – Most of us wait until it is way too late to have our brakes serviced. If you are the type of car owner that waits until you hear the squeaking from the pads digging into the rotors you are spending way too much money on your brake jobs. I recommend that you have your brake system checked by a qualified shop or even yourself if you are handy and don’t mind spending a bit of time jacking your car up and removing the tires. The cheapest way to get a brake inspection is to ask your local tire place to peek at them when they do your tire rotations. The difference in repair cost of brake pads vs. also having new rotors and even sometimes calipers replaced because they ran too long are over a $1000… For a normal quick brake pad / shoe replacement you can expect to pay just $300… If you have to have new rotors or drums put on too you can easily creep into the $800 range. Any good mechanic can do a quick look at your brake pads for you, most shops even do the check for free. It’s kinda like cancer… Early detection can save you big time.
- Do the Hokie Pokie and Rotate Your Tires Around – Realistically this is not that often for most vehicle owners being that the average American driver only puts 15,000 on their vehicle a year. The benefits of rotating your tires often include even tire wear, better chances of spotting suspension & suspension issues not to mention the freebee brake system checks.
- Let Your Car Breath In, Breath Out Better With a New Air Filter – The data is amazing to look at comparing cars that have had new air filters installed versus the ones that simply have just 9,000 miles on them. What you need to know about air filters is that by the time they show dark colored dirt they are already clogged up and reducing your fuel efficiency. If that is not bad enough a dirty air filter also puts more strain on your oxygen sensors and other parts that are known for turning on that ugly thing we call the check engine light giving you that sense of oh my God my car is going to croak feeling in our guts. Keeping all your vehicle’s filters clean is crucial to how it performs and how much money it cost you down the road.
- Removing the Check Engine Light Bulb is Not the Answer – Today’s vehicles are designed to do self diagnostics to a certain extent. The tell us when the oil needs changed (mostly) they also tell us when things are getting a bit out of whack. The check engine light is turned on when the vehicle’s sensors are not reading within the right parameters that the manufactures put in place after years of research in labs and on the road. You cars computer system looks not just at the fuel mixture but also how often your engine is spinning, if things are lined up right, if it is shifting at the right times, how long it takes to start up, how thick the air is and even takes its core temperature. If your doctor was telling you that you need to have a test or ingrown toenail taken out would you keep ignoring them? If your check engine light is on then stop ignoring it and go see your car doctor. If you want a quick idea of what the cause is before you spend $150 on diagnostics at the shop just swing by your local auto parts store and they normally scan check engine lights for free – it might be something simple like a gas cap which you can fix yourself. 50% of check engine lights come one because your gas cap is leaking air and many others are because of oxygen sensors.
- Just Because It Isn’t Raining Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore Your Wipers – Many of us (yes us, I am guilty too) don’t realize they need to replace their wiper blades until it is raining and we can’t see the road or one of the wipers are so bad the rubber is separating from the rest of the wiper… It is best to change your wipers twice a year or just occasionally give them a checkup by hitting the washer fluid and seeing if they do a good job or not. The best part is most of the time if you purchase a set of wiper blades from an auto parts store they will install them for free while you are there… Not bad for $30 worth of being able to see the road again without sticking your head out the window.
- Your Car Likes to Burn Gas Easier So Let It – If you have taken your car and gotten your oil changed you have likely been asked if you would like to add “fuel injector cleaner” to your oil change package. Most of these “cleaning systems” cost upwards of $70 or more but you can do this much cheaper yourself. This is how you do it.. When you stop by your local auto parts store to get your wipers changed or your check engine light diagnosed also pick up a can of “SeaFoam”. This stuff works wonders on cleaning your fuel pump, fuel lines, fuel injectors, tops of your pistons and even some of the sensors which allows your car to not only get better fuel mileage but also you will likely see an increase in performance, and we all like more power from our vehicles. Just fill up your fuel tank (even though it might be painful) dump the “SeaFoam” into your fuel tank and go driving just like normal. The SeaFoam will clean the fuel system as you use up that tank of gas and you are all set for awhile…. Don’t bother wasting your money on STP fuel treatments that only cost a couple of bucks, they don’t do the same thing.
If you are ever in a tight spot and need some car repair advice or a second opinion just give us a call. If we are out in your area we can stop by and take a look for you for free.