Auto Repair in Mint Hill – How Do I Make My Wipers Last Longer?

Wiper blades are a key piece to any car and, in North Carolina, required by law on vehicles equipped with windshields. Wipers are a kind of car part that you don’t really think about if they’re good or not until you’re using them. With this in mind, how does one make a wiper “last?” Here are a few tips and tricks on how

  1. Treat Your Windshield

Things like Rain-X or similar products intended to make water and other fluids on windshields bead up are great for making wipers last longer as it makes the work a wiper has to do with each wipe a bit easier.

2. Glass Cleaner on the Rubber

Things like glass cleaner are a great way to clean film and other residue off your wiper’s rubber. Doing this with a towel is best, but paper towels are also ok.

3. Lift Your Blades When it Snows or is Freezing

When it snows or is freezing cold, your blades could freeze to the windshield. Preventing this from happening is great for your wipers.

4. Keep the Windshield Crack and Chip Free

Cracks, chips, and dings are one of the biggest reasons a wiper blade tears. should your windshield crack or chip, consider replacement.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Keeping Your Pets Safe in the Car

Warm weather is a sign of great times, cook outs, and road trips. For those if us who own pets, it just wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t bring them along for the ride! However, keeping our fuzzy friends safe should always be a priority. Below are some tips, tricks and other useful info.

 

  1. Protect the Eyes of Your Pet

Some pets like to stick their heads out the window when driving. That’s fun for the pet, but this can hurt your pet’s eyesight over time. Buying you pet goggles (sometimes called Doggles) are a great way to protect their eyes and let them have their fun.

2. Seatbelts, Good for You and Your Pet

Some pets are big enough for seatbelts. In events of a wreck, seatbelts can save a pet’s life just like a person. Modifications and adapters to make seatbelts work for your pet can be found online for as little as about $7.

3. Leaving Pets in Cars isn’t OK!

Leaving a pet in a vehicle that isn’t running with A/C (or heat in cold months) isn’t not only unsafe, but illegal.

In North Carolina specifically, law § 14-363.3 states:

“In order to protect the health and safety of an animal, any animal control officer,animal cruelty investigator appointed under G.S. 19A-45, law enforcement officer, firefighter, or rescue squad worker, who has probable cause to believe that an animal is confined in a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or under other endangering conditions, may enter the motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible for the animal.”

 

So, in other words, if the pet is in dangerous temperatures or doesn’t have enough air, it is legal for officers of the law to enter the vehicle to save the pet. Don’t let this be your pet!

 

The next time you bring your pet into the vehicle, just remember these tips, and you and your fuzzy friend will have a great (and safe) time!

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Is My Car Ready for Spring?

Finally, spring has sprung! The weather is warmer and our winter coats are back in the closet. Just like how we change our activities and wardrobes, our cars need some TLC for the warmer months too. Here are some basic tips and tricks on how to “springtomize” your car.

 

  1. Change your windshield washer fluid

In the winter months, you may have swapped out your washer fluid for a “winter wash” style of fluid. While that fluid is great for breaking down ice on your windshield, the formula isn’t intended for the warmer months. Consider switching to a regular washer fluid or a hot-weather-specific blend.

  1. Check the windshield wipers.

Your wipers put in overtime in cold months, helping remove ice and similar winter debris. Always check your wipers for tears or cuts and, if needed, replace.

  1. Get a sun shade

A sun shade isn’t so much a requirement as it is an accessory, but it’s a useful accessory either way. Sun shades are big, tin foil looking covers that go over your windshield when you’re not driving. This is especially useful on cars painted dark colors, because it helps prevent your car from being ridiculously hot when pared outside.

  1. Have your A/C system checked.

You’re A/C system has been sitting dormant now for a few months. Your coolant may be low/dirty and other systems used to cool your car may be running a little weak. It’s best to have your car serviced now in the spring so that when the hottest of the summer months roll around, you’re A/C is at peak performance.

  1. Check your tires.

Depending on how severe the weather was during the winter, your tires may have worn a bit quicker than expected. Check to make sure there aren’t any holes/leaks/bumps or uneven wear.

  1. Consider window tint

Similar to the sun shade, window tint works to keep some of the sunlight out of your car. This not only makes the windows darker but also helps it keep cool (and in some cases, provide UV protection.) Just remember that most states where window tint laws are in place, 35% tint is the lowest you legally can go.

  1. Wash the car’s underbody.

There is no bad reason to wash your car’s underbody, but if you live somewhere where the roads were salted to prevent snow and black ice buildup, it is incredibly important. Salt left on the underbody of a car can cause the frame to rust, which is an extreme safety hazard, and lowers the overall value of your vehicle.

Now that the warmer months are here to stay, be sure to consider the tips above, and most importantly, have a safe and happy spring!

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Is My Car Safe for a Rainy Day?

Did you know it rains about 70 days a year in Charlotte? That’s almost 20% of the year! With that much rain, you’re likely to have to drive around in the rain every now and again. Driving in rain, however, is not like driving on a sunny day. Is your car prepared to face a rainy day? Here are some important factors to think about before driving in the rain:

 

  • Tire Tread Depth

Tire Tread Depth is important on any day, but it plays an even more important role when the roads are wet. The gaps between your tire and the road that your tire tread creates is what prevents you from losing control and hydroplaning. This is why most states consider tires that are below 2/32″ in tread depth illegal.

  • Windshield Wipers

This one may seem a bit obvious, but Windshield Wipers are one of those things that you really don’t think about unless you try and use them. Wipers usually should be replaced every six months, but that can vary by quality and usage. If you’d like to read more about Windshield Wipers, we have an article about them here.

  • Headlights

In North Carolina, it is law to turn on your Headlights when your Windshield Wipers are in use. This law is in place not so much so you can see in the rain, but so others can see you. If you have headlight/taillight/daytime runner out, you may be harder to see and possibly more likely to be hit. If you’d like to read more about Headlights, we have an article about them here.

  • How You’re Driving

When driving in the rain, you should allow for more following distance  (this is the distance between you and the car in front of you) and slow down. This allows you more time to stop should something in front of you happen. A lot of your vehicles automation devices – cruise control for example – may not work as well during the rain.

No matter if it is rainy, sunny, sleeting or snowing, be sure to enjoy the ride and stay safe!

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – What do the Lights on my Dashboard Mean?

If you’ve ever owned a motor vehicle, you’ve most likely been driving around and had a light come on, only to find yourself saying “What does that mean?” This is an understandable feeling. After all, even the most common light, the check engine light, looks different from vehicle to vehicle. Due to this, we’ve made a list of common lights and what they mean so the next time a light comes on in your car, you’ll be informed and ready.

Check Engine Light

Check Engine Light

Officially known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) the Check Engine Light is a light that tells you something is wrong inside your engine. It can have multiple forms, but the most common are shown above. In vehicles with OBD II built in (this is all vehicles made during or after 1996) Check Engine Lights also put out a code (you’ll need a code-reader for this) that give a broad diagnostic of the issue. Vehicles equipped with OBD I (these are in most vehicles made during the 70’s to 1995) blink a certain way to tell you what code you have.
Image result for maintenance required lightMaintenance Required Light

The Maintenance Required Light, which was created by Toyota, is commonly confused as a Check Engine Light. All this light actually does, though, is tell you its time for an oil change. It isn’t always accurate, however, so don’t rely on just it for when to know its time for an oil change.

Image result for tpms lightTire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Light

Commonplace on vehicles made in the 2010’s, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Light is a light that is synced with the TPMS monitors inside your wheels. This light comes on to tell you one of two things; either “your tires are low on air” or “your TPMS monitors are broken.” The light usually goes away once you air your tires back up, however, if your monitors are broken or replaced, some reprogramming of the TPMS monitors may need to be done to make the light go off.

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Oil Light

The Oil Light (sometimes called the Oil Pressure Light or Oil Temperature Light) is an oil-can shaped light designed to tell you that there is something wrong with your oil. It can mean that your oil’s pressure is too low, your oil levels themselves are low, or the oil temp is too high. Oil is the lifeblood of the car, and this light should be taken seriously if it comes on. This light sometimes has a squiggly line under it (pictured above) or a temperature gauge with squiggly lines by the oil can.

Image result for abs light

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Light

The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Light is designed to tell you if there is a problem with your anti-lock braking system(ABS). The ABS system is why we no longer need to “pump the brakes” to prevent our wheels from locking up and skidding. ABS was created in the 1980’s and is equipped on most vehicles made during or after the 90’s. ABS became legally required on all new vehicles in the United States in 2013.  While the light usually means there is a problem with your ABS system, the sensors on these can go bad causing the light to come on when there actually isn’t a problem with the system at all. Either way, the ABS system is important and it is highly recommended that when this light comes on, you visit your local auto shop.

These lights are the most common indicator lights that come on in the modern vehicle. If you have a light on not mentioned in this article, feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill for more information at 704-545-4597

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – What Should I Do if My Vehicle is Recalled?

Having your vehicle recalled is a scary thing to have happen. After all, if a vehicle is recalled for a defect, the issue is most likely important. Recalls happen all the time for various reasons. Though recalls themselves are common, what to do when the vehicle is recalled is not commonly discussed.

 

  1. If you vehicle is recalled, you’ll likely get a letter.

Most car companies will send mail to you if they have your address, which they should have if you bought your car from a car dealer (this usually excludes dealerships who focus on used cars.)

2. You are usually required to bring the vehicle to the dealership from where it was originally sold.

Sadly, your local independent auto shop cannot do recall repairs, usually due to licensing or legal reasons. The good news is, however, a recall is free if the recall was issued by the manufacturer. For example, if a Toyota is recalled, the repair is usually done at the Toyota dealership who sold it new, regardless of who currently owns it. If you cannot get to that specific dealership, you should attempt to go to your local dealer.

3. If you have the repair done, you should keep the records.

It is incredibly important you keep the records of a recall repair. If something should happen to the vehicle or if you try and resell it, proof that the job has been done is great to have.

 

If your vehicle ever gets recalled, you can rest easy, you now know everything there is to know about recalls.

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Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Should I Replace My Headlights?

Headlights are a crucial part of any car. After all, without them, driving after sunset would be more of a dangerous stunt than a common activity. Headlights, like any other part, wear over time. Replacing headlights, however, are not as cut and dry as “change your headlights at X miles,” but “when can you not see anymore?” To expand on the topic, we spoke with Manchester Auto and Tie of Mint Hill’s co-owner and co-founder Ken Manchester.

 

“Headlights go bad. A lot of people think you just have to replace headlight bulbs every now and again but a lot of times you have to replace the whole headlight assembly too.”

Ken expanded on the topic; “A lot of times we don’t realize how bad our own headlights are. After all, we drive them every single day, we aren’t going to notice the hang in visibility as well as we think we can.”

 

“What you have to check for is the “fogginess.” When you look into your headlight, can you actually see the bulb? Can you see anything in there? If the answer is no, its time to consider new ones.”

 

We then asked Ken if there is a law about headlight visibility.

 

“Yea, kinda.” He said. “State inspectors are supposed to fail you if they think they’re too foggy. Its an automatic fail if your headlight is cracked or has condensation in it. If your headlights get to that point, the state thinks they need to go ASAP. Its a safety thing. Ultimately, if you think your headlights need to be replaced, just have them checked by professionals. They’ll tell you whats OK and whats not.”

 

If you’d like to talk to Ken or his associates, you can call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill at 704-545-4597 or email them at kenmanchester1@gmail.com

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Should I Tint My Windows?

Tinted windows are all the rage – they look sleek, they keep sun out of your eyes and in some cases, provide UV protection. While window tinting sounds like it has no disadvantages, there are many arguments for and against it. For some more information, we sit down with Manchester Automotive and Tire of Mint Hill’s owner Ken Manchester.

 

“Tinted Windows are nothing new.” Ken said. “They have, however, gotten pretty sophisticated.”

“Most window tinting you see on the roads is aftermarket film. It can be made by a lot of different companies and in different darknesses. Think of it like a really high quality sticker.” He elaborates, “You can even do it yourself now. Your local parts store probably has it.”

 

On whether or not it’s worth it, Ken states its all situational. “Tint is really great if you’re an Uber driver who doesn’t like being the sun. It probably isn’t a good idea to have it if you work a night shift and drive in the dark. If you have sensitive skin, they make perscription tint. Its all about how and when you drive, and if you’re within the legal limits.”

 

As far as the laws go, Ken says its different from state to state. “Here in North Carolina we’re pretty picky. We actually have to charge extra on state inspections for it. Some states, like South Carolina, are a bit more lenient.”

 

“The laws here in NC are a little tricky. On a car, no window tint can be darker than 35% unless you have an exemption waiver. On trucks and Vans, tint only has to be at 35% on the front two windows, but the rest can be as dark as you want. Theres also a line on your front windshield, called an AS1 line, and tint isn’t allowed to go below that line on any vehicle without a waiver.

 

“Ultimately which tint is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is a personal choice. If you do choose to get it though, just remember that if its too dark you will fail state inspection.”

 

If you have any questions about tint, call Ken Manchester at 704-545-4597.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – How Do I Get the Most Out of My Tires?

Tires are probably the most well known part of a car. All cars have them, and everyone want’s to get their money’s worth, and rightfully so. Four new tires all at once can be expensive! But how do you make tires last longer? It’s actually quite simple.

Tire Pressure 

Keeping your tires properly inflated and even is half the battle. Most uneven wear between left and right tires is caused by one tire being over or underinflated than the opposite tire. Correct tire pressure in a tire also prevents uneven tread wear.

Rotations

Rotating your tires allows all four to wear evenly. Front tires tend to wear faster, as they’re used to steer, so occasionally swapping them to the back, and the back to the front, helps keep tires even.

Weight Distribution

On vehicles which haul, such as vans or trucks, too much weight on one axle can cause those tire to wear faster. keeping weight within the vehicle evenly distributed can help prevent premature wear.

Using Them

Tires that sit too long tend to “dry rot” which causes them to crack and become unusable. Making sure a vehicle is driven and not sitting can help prevent this from happening.

 

No matter what methods you use to keep your tires in good working order, they will eventually need replacement. If it is time for you to replace yours, call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill at 704-545-5497 for an appointment.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill: How Long Should an Oil Change Take?

In a fast paced world, the time needed to stop and get an oil change is minimal. After all, if its a daily driver, you can’t just take it off the road for a day, you have errands and a job to do! It is completely understandable that “5 minute oil changes” as offered by some major oil-change corporations seem desirable. However, an oil change that only lasts that long isn’t in your car’s best interest.

Ken Manchester, owner of Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, elaborates on the subject.

 

“I don’t care how many workers you put on an oil change. 5 minutes is just way too short.” He says. “An oil change done correctly should take about 30 minutes.”

 

Gunk like this happens from never changing the oil.

“Part of the problem with that premise is that it is physically impossible to drain oil that fast in most cars. Even if you’re using one of those high-tech fluid vacuums, oil just can’t leave the vehicle that fast. Even if it could, however, in order to even make this oil change last only 5 minutes, you’d have to be pouring new oil in as fast as you’re draining old oil out. And that is a disaster waiting to happen.”

 

“If your oil is changed in 5 minutes, they didn’t drain all of it out like they said they did.” Ken states. “This really becomes a problem if they bill you for the full amount of oil, too. Unfortunately isn’t the easiest thing to prove, though.”

 

To put it simply, oil changes shouldn’t be long, but they shouldn’t be quick either.

 

“An oil change should take 30 minutes for one main reason – to properly drain oil. Refilling it doesn’t take too long, but draining it does. That oil is spread all throughout your engine, lubricating things. It just can’t come out in 5 minutes.”

 

An oil change is not necessarily a complex procedure, but doing it properly is important. Many places that offer speedy oil changes probably aren’t giving you your money’s worth. The next time you need an oil change, keep this in mind.

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