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Maintenance Blog

SPRING CLEANING

March 15, 2016 / maintenance

Spring is just around the corner and it seems almost like summer on some days. Everyone seems to get that urge to do spring cleaning at this time of year, but we often overlook our vehicle. That car needs that cleaning and sprucing up just as much as your home does. Winter grime and road salts have taken a toll; living and eating in our car has created trash; the trunk as become a storage closet; and we have probably put off some basic maintenance. There is no better time to take care of all that necessary spring cleaning. It will lift your spirits, save you money, extend the life of your car and give you peace of mind.  

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Back To School?

August 12, 2015 / maintenance

Now that vacations are almost over and it is time for the kids to start back to school, the real challenge begins--transporting the kids to all those extra curricula activities such as basketball, football, dance, cheerleading, scouts, tennis, and ext. It is time to GAS UP MOM's TAXI and make sure that your vehicle is in tip top shape. No one wants wants to be stranded with a car full of kids (carpooling).


We recommend that you get your car ready just like you get your children ready for school to begin.  

  •  Make sure maintenance is up to date. Oil changes are one of the cheapest ways to help assure your car keeps running at it's peak.
  • Check tires and tire pressure--Correct tire pressure can increase your fuel mileage. If your tires treads are below specks, you really should get new tires for the sake of safety. How long has it been since your tires were rotated?
  • Give your car a good deep cleaning inside and out. Get rid of all the left overs in your car from vacation--fast food bags, sand in floor mats, and salt from the ocean air.
  • Check your battery's life. Dead batteries are one of the biggest reasons for breakdowns.  

If your vehicle needs a good check-up, please give us a call at Paul's Automotive where trained technicians can give your vehicle a good physical and advise on any issues you may need to be aware of. 

Planning a Vacation?

July 20, 2015 / maintenance

Everyone needs a vacation and summer is the time when most families plan their vacation. We spend lots of time planning the vacation: making reservations, making arrangements for the pets, shopping to make sure we have all the essentials and packing. The one thing that we typically forget to plan for is our vehicle. Nothing can ruin a vacation quicker than your vehicle breaking down on the side of the road and leaving you at the mercy of a stranger. You should always plan ahead and make sure your vehicle is tip top shape: strong battery, good tires, oil change and other maintenance up to date, brakes in good shape, A/C at a full charge, etc. Some of these things you can check for yourself, but others you would need to take to a professional mechanic to get them checked. It only takes a little time to schedule an appointment. If you have a mechanic that you take your vehicle to regularly, they should be more than happy to give your vehicle a FREE pre-trip inspection to make sure everything is OK. A little prevention can potentially save your vacation.

Is a Cooling System Flush Necessary?

March 25, 2015 / maintenance

 The Cooling System Flush is one maintenance service that car owners tend to overlook and often consider as fluff. In reality, a cooling system flush can save you money from future repairs and extend the longevity of your vehicle and should be considered every several years. It is a lot less expensive than buying a new radiator or a new water pump.

The job of the cooling system is to keep the engine from overheating and direct heat through the heater core to keep you warm. Antifreeze is pumped through all the heat producing components of the engine--picking up heat and then getting rid of it as it goes through the radiator. Engines contain several different types of metals which corrode at different rates and lead to galvanic corrosion. So special care needs to be taken to prevent the buildup of rust and other materials and to make sure that the acidity of the coolant is kept at the correct level. New antifreeze acts as a lubricator, keeping seals/gaskets lubricated in addition to acting as a rust inhibitor.  

Is a Cooling System Flush Necessary?

March 25, 2015 / maintenance

The Cooling System Flush is one maintenance service that car owners tend to overlook and often consider as fluff. In reality, a cooling system flush can save you money from future repairs and extend the longevity of your vehicle and should be considered every several years. It is a lot less expensive than buying a new radiator or a new water pump.

The job of the cooling system is to keep the engine from overheating and direct heat through the heater core to keep you warm. Antifreeze is pumped through all the heat producing components of the engine--picking up heat and then getting rid of it as it goes through the radiator. Engines contain several different types of metals which corrode at different rates and lead to galvanic corrosion. So special care needs to be taken to prevent the buildup of rust and other materials and to make sure that the acidity of the coolant is kept at the correct level. New antifreeze acts as a lubricator, keeping seals/gaskets lubricated in addition to acting as a rust inhibitor.  

Why Factory Recommended Maintenance Is Important!!!!

January 14, 2015 / maintenance

Well I feel that I must talk today about the Factory Recommended Maintenance Schedule (also known as the 30/60/90 Mile Maintenance). These are the major mileage intervals that usually have recommendations that require some of the more major checks and replacements, although this varies on some vehicles. There are also other factory recommendations at different mileage intervals that are minor but still just as important.

Many people just seem to think that maintenance is one thing that can be put on the back burner until they either have the time or the money. The car is running fine and everything seems to be OK. I guess since they cannot “SEE” immediately the effect the lack of maintenance causes, it is easy to overlook. Well the truth is that this is the one thing that you as a car owner should be most particular about. Every vehicle comes with an owner’s manual which few people every read until a light flashes and they don’t know what it is. The owner’s manual is a valuable “tool” for your vehicle. In the manual you will find lots of valuable information, especially the manufacturer recommended service schedule (services that are recommended at different mileage intervals). Now there is a reason that these services are recommended and should not be ignored or delayed indefinitely. These recommendations have been provided for you so that you will know what is required and when it is required in order to keep your vehicle in tip top running condition and help assure that you won't be left stranded with a break down.

I realize that this is a lot to keep up with and really if you havea good trusted mechanic, then you shouldn’t have to worry about keeping up with all of this. A good mechanic will do all of this for you. They should keep you informed of the recommended maintenance schedule and you should rely on them to make sure it is kept up to date on your vehicle. But once again, you must give your mechanic your approval to perform the services recommended. That points to the importance of having a mechanic that you know you can trust.

Vehicles don’t come cheap in today’s market. Your vehicle is a big investment to you and protecting that investment is important. The best way that you can do this is to adhere to the recommended maintenance schedule. We have seen vehicles come into our shop with over 300,000 miles and still providing great transportation to the customer. What those customers did differently than many is that they faithfully kept their vehicles maintained. They had regular oil changes as recommended and they had them serviced according to the recommended maintenance schedule.

Ignoring maintenance causes all sorts of issues down the road—parts wear out quicker, small issues left unattended can turn into major repairs that cost lots of money and the life of your vehicle will be shortened. Just one example is the recommended replacement of a timing belt that a customer did not take seriously. Eventually the timing belt broke and the entire engine was destroyed, making the vehicle almost worthless. Yes a timing belt replacement is not cheap, but it is still much less expensive than replacing the engine. So make a resolution this year to protect your investment and to save yourself dollars in future repairs.

Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

November 20, 2014 / maintenance

Well, whether we like it or not the cold weather is upon us and it came Much earlier in our part of the country than ever expected. Hope this first deep freeze did not catch your vehicle unprepared. If you lucked out this time, make sure that you prepare your vehicle for the remainder of the cold winter. Some preventative measures can help you rest assured that you won't become stranded in the cold.

BATTERY: Batteries are the number one cause for stranded vehicles. Winter is hard on batteries because it takes more energy to start your car in the frigid temperatures, sucking more juice from your battery. Oil becomes thicker and moves more slowly through the system making everything slower. Just like us older Humans who typically move slower in the cold till our joints get lubricated.

Most batteries last 3 to 5 years but get weaker with time. It takes more amps typically in the cold to start a car and a weak battery may not start your car. Make sure you get your battery load tested ( most shops do this for free) before the winter sets in especially if your battery is nearing the 3 year mark.

TIRES: Did you know that your tires loose 1 pound of pressure for every 10 degree drop in temperature? Tires with the correct pressure are important not only for better gas mileage, but also for your traction in snow/ice/rain. Check your tire pressure now that cold weather has set in and adjust the pressure accordingly. Tire tread is also important for safety. The more tread on your tire, the better traction. You can do a quick check yourself using a penny. Place a penny upside down in the tread of the tire. If the tread depth does not touch Lincoln's head, then your tires need replacing.

ANTIFREEZE: Your radiator should be full and have a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. This will give you protection to keep your cooling system from freezing and possibly bursting. Again a reputable shop will check this most of the time for free, but you can purchase an antifreeze tester for about $5 and do it yourself.

Old Antifreeze can loose its chemical properties over time and no longer be able to do its job. If you have not had your cooling system flushed (remove the old and replace with new) then you may want to consider this.

FUEL LINE: TIP OF THE DAY

In very cold weather your fuel line can freeze if it has moisture in it. Keeping your gas tank full can help prevent moisture from getting in those fuel lines and prevent freezing.

WIPERS: Who ever thinks about wipers??? Snow, ice and cold are hard on wipers, after all they are just rubber. To help save your wiper blades, thaw your windshield before turning on the wipers. Wipers only last about 6 months in good conditions. Also be sure to keep your windshield wiper fluid filled. You will be surprised how often you use this in the winter. Being able to see clearly out your windshield is important to your safety.

GENERAL: If you have been having problems with your vehicle running sluggish, or missing, or whatever, then be aware that the cold weather will just make these issues more prominent. The issues may just leave you stranded if they get serious enough.  

To Replace or Not to Replace--TIMING BELT

October 20, 2014 / maintenance

 I feel a need to talk about the importance of a timing belt replacement in my first BLOG since we have seen several customers in the past month with vehicles that have come in for repair with broken timing belts. In both instances the engine was destroyed by the broken timing belt and sadly enough it could have been prevented.

There are two types of engines that have timing belts, "Interference Engines" and "Non-Interference Engines". On interference engines if the belt slips even one notch or breaks serious engine damage can occur by bending valves and breaking pistons. Non-interference engines will not typically self destruct , but the engine will shut down immediately, leaving you stranded. With some newer cars with dual cam heads, even though they are listed as non-interference engines, major damage can still occur.

Checking your timing belt is next to impossible in many cases because you can't get to it, and even if you could it would be impossible to tell if it was still reliable. The only way to really prevent a disaster from a broken timing belt is to replace the timing belt at the manufacture recommended intervals. On many cars this is around 60,000 miles, but some newer cars may be 100,000 mile intervals. . If you are unsure of when the timing belt is due to be replaced or if you have an interference or non-interference engine contact us and we can tell you.

Most technicians worth their salt will also recommend replacing the water pump at the same the timing belt is replaced. This is because 90% of the labor has already been done and can save you money when your water pump goes out. It is just up to you if you are willing to take a chance.

Not all vehicles have a timing belt. Some have timing chains which can break, but they rarely do. You do not have to worry as much about a timing chain because the worse that will happen if it breaks is your car will stop running, leave you stranded, and require a tow to your local shop for a replacement. This can cause major inconvenience, but at least your engine is not destroyed.  

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