Tires are one of the most important pieces of your car – not just because they actually let your move, but because they are one of the most important safety tools your car has. As the increasing amount of research and development of tires sends prices up and up, many people are left wondering “How do I get my money’s worth out of my tires?” Believe it or not, there’s a lot of easy tips and tricks that can help you do just that.
Over-inflated or under-inflated tires are one of the biggest reasons tires wear unevenly and prematurely. To prevent this from happening, check your tires at least once a month to see if the tire pressure is right. If you aren’t sure what the correct tire pressure is, check your car’s driver’s side door panel, there’s usually a sticker there indicating what the correct pressure your tires should be at. Tire gauges can be bought for as little as $2.00 both in stores and online.
A wheel alignment is an adjustment of your car’s basic suspension components. A bad alignment is usually most obvious when your steering wheel “pulls” to the left or right, but there are other things that an alignment can affect besides the direction your wheels what to go in. An alignment adjusts your car’s camber, or the angle at which your tire is pointing. If a wheel’s camber is off, a tire can wear unevenly on one specific side, causing the tires to need replacement. An alignment can be checked fairly easily by professionals and of you feel there may be an alignment problem, ask that it be checked the next time you head in for an oil change.
Rotating the tires is the simple act of moving the rear wheels and tires to the front, and the front to the rear. This extends tread life because front tires wear quicker than rear ones due to the fact that front tires are the tires you steer with. By rotating at regular intervals, tire wear can be “evened out” among all four tires so the front two don’t have to be replaced before the rear two. Tire rotation is recommended every other oil change, or 6 months, whichever comes first.
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.
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.
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.
A sun shade isn’t so much a requirement as it is an accessory, but it’s useful nonetheless. Sun shades are big, tin foil looking covers that go under 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 parked outside.
Your 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.
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.
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 in North Carolina, 35% tint is the lowest you legally can go.
There is no bad reason to wash your car’s underbody, but in areas like Mint Hill where salt was spread 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!
I think my heater core is not working! Oh no! If you are in Mint Hill or the surrounding area and need your auto repaired by qualified professionals, Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill is the place to come. We will have one of our certified technicians run tests on the vehicle to ensure your car is properly diagnosed so you do not end up spending money on unnecessary auto repairs.
What is a heater core? A heater core is a device that uses coolant to heat the cabin of the vehicle. The heater core works by having coolant, already hot from the engine, pass through a small radiator (called the heater core), making the core hot. A fan blows the heat generated via the coolant into the cabin, warming the passengers.
What are signs my heater core does not work? One of the most obvious is that your car’s heater does not work, but that isn’t the only sign. Sometimes water can leak onto the floor in the passenger side, or the car can fog up the windshield quickly. Sometimes, the car may even smell sweet.
What happens when my heater core doesn’t work? Though beneficial when working properly, a broken heater core can be a major disadvantage. Cars without heat are not only unpleasant to drive in the winter, but are less valuable.
Since the heated air the core generates cools off as it is blown into the car, the heater core must be located very close to the cabin. Many times, the heater core is located under the radio or by the glove box. Due to it’s positioning, the cabin’s dashboard almost always must be taken apart to remove it.
We recently performed a heater core replacement on a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. The process begins by carefully taking off the dashboard, without damaging the plastic, radio, gauges, or wires. Though time consuming, it is crucial to take time when disassembling the dashboard as to not break any crucial components. Once we have completely taken apart the dash, we can now access to the heater core. At this point you must be careful, as there could be coolant still in the core from previous use.
Now with access to the heater core, we remove it. The coolant is drained from the vehicle. We still have to be careful as there can still be some coolant left in the core itself. Next we remove the tubes pumping coolant into the heater core, then unbolt the core itself from the car. A visual inspection of the core usually finds the issue. This one happens to be leaking.
Once the old heater core is removed and the new one is set into place, we run some water through the new heater core to make sure it is not defective. If everything checks out OK, it is bolted into place, then the hoses are reattached. Now begins the process of reassembling the dash. We check the electronic database to see exactly how it should be reattached, so we do not rely entirely on memory. From there we carefully attach wires, the radio, the gauges, and so on, putting the car back together again.
Now we refill the car with coolant. Turn on the heat in the car to test the new heater core. It works, and the air being blown is warm. Success! If you think you have a heater core problem or need any type of auto repair in Mint Hill, please feel free to stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill and have your car checked out. We are an award winning facility and the top shop for auto repair in Mint Hill. Call us at 704-545-4597 and schedule an appointment today.
Auto Repair Mint Hill; Cooling System Maintenance. I bet this time of year you are not thinking of your Car’s Cooling System. The truth is, this is a critical time of year for a car’s cooling system because we experience a change in temperatures that may uncover an issue that went unnoticed when the temps were warmer. Cooling system failure is the number 1 cause of roadside auto failure. Your cooling system consists of not just your radiator but the hoses and belts that operate them along with the coolant or antifreeze in your system.
If your car’s antifreeze is low the fluid in your engine can freeze and crack your engine block and cause a whole host of issues. But it does not stop there, look for cracks on the surface of drive belts. These belts can be connected to your water pump, fan etc. they need to be in good working order. Belts that are worn can make a lot of noise, especially in the morning. If you hear noise coming from your engine in the morning, this may be something that needs further investigation. Hoses are connected to your radiator and circulate antifreeze to vital components of your car. Make sure these are not cracked or spongy, many times hoses fail from the inside out so it can be difficult to detect if you do not know what to look for.
Additionally, a bad thermostat can result in low heater output, overheating, poor fuel economy, knocking and pinging during acceleration, high idle speed or an electric cooling fan that runs continuously. All of these things can impact your car’s performance when the mercury falls.
Performing routine car maintenance is meant to prolong the life of your vehicle and hopefully avoid major problems that can leave you stuck on the side of the road. Setting up a schedule with a reputable auto repair facility can take the headache out of remembering when to do what and keep you on track.
If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or South Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.