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Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Is it Time for New Shocks & Struts?

Shocks and struts are an integral part of driving comfortably. The main purpose of shocks & struts is to absorb kinetic energy (objects have kinetic energy due to being in motion, in this specific case, it’s the vehicle’s suspension system) and dissipate it as heat energy so that the cabin of the vehicle has a smooth ride as possible. Shocks have a piston & hydraulic fluid inside of them, and control bounce & sway by only letting a small amount of fluid through the piston on bounces. This slows down the piston, and in turn, the suspension. Struts perform the same basic function, but also act as structural support, unlike the shock. Because of this this, wheels with struts don’t need an upper control arm or ball joint. This compact setup is popular on front-wheel drive cars. Though you may have shocks and struts on the same car, like one kind in front & the other in the rear, you’ll never have shocks and struts on the same wheel.

“So how do I know if I need new ones?”

The basic signs usually are one (or multiple) of these:

  • Poor steering & handling
  • Noise coming from the general area of the shocks and struts
  • Tire wear that an allignment cannot fix
  • The vehicle sways & bounces “like a boat”
  • The vehicle leaks fluids onto the ground that clearly aren’t coming from the engine or transmission.
  • visible damage to the shocks & struts such as dings or dents.

Please note that, while these symptoms can be signs of bad shocks and struts, every vehicle is different and more than one issue can cause some of the above listed symptoms. To avoid unnecessary spending, please have diagnostic work done by a professional.

 

For more information on shocks, struts, suspension and everything that goes with it, don’t hesitate to call Manchester Auto & Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at kenmanchester1@gmail.com, or message us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ManchesterAutoandTireOfMintHill.

 

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – What Do Oil Grades Mean?

Have you taken a peak at your oil change sticker or owner’s manual to see what kind of oil you’re running in your car? No, not standard or synthetic, but the grade of oil? It usually reads like 5W30 or 0W20. Sure, you’ve probably seen that combo of letters and numbers before, but what does it mean? Today, we’re going to talk about just that and why using the right kind is important.

Today’s oil grading system was created by a group called the Society of Auto Engeneers (SAE). The need for a new grading system came to be when “year round” oil was invented around about half a century ago. Previously, Cars needed thinner oil in the winter, and thicker oil in the summer. Oil thins at higher temperatures and thickens at lower ones, and the numbers (0, 5, 10, 20 etc.) measure just how the oil reacts to different temperatures. Thanks to additives, modern oil can be used in both hot and cold seasons. For example, a 5W20 oil acts like an SAE 5 oil at 0°F and an SAE 20 oil at 212°F – in other words, you don’t have to switch to “winter” or “summer” oils to properly lubricate parts – one kind of oil can do both.

So why is it important to use the factory reccomended kind of oil?

The short answer is that your engine is engeneered for it. While it is true that modern oils can lubricate in both hot and cold seasons, everything in your engine that touches oil wasn’t just designed to be lubricated – It was designed to be lubricated certain ways in certain temperatures – and the oil your manual calls for is the best way to do that. If your car calls for 5W30 and you use 5W20, for example, the oil’s viscosity may not be adequite for how your engine was designed, so if your owner’s manual calls for 5W30, you should stick to that. Don’t substitiute because a different grade oil is on sale one week – while you may not see or feel any changes immediatley it could be detremental to your engine in the long run.

 

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire at 704-545-4597, email us at kenmanchester1@gmail.com, or message us on facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoAndTireofMintHill

 

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Conventional Oil or Synthetic Oil?

Every time you head in for an oil change, one question you’ll usually hear is “Do you want conventional or synthetic oil?” Though this seems like a simple decision, this actually brings up more questions like “What kind should I use in my car?” or “Is the difference really worth the extra money?” Below we’ve listed some of the main differences between the oils and some useful information to help determine what kind is right for you.

Conventional Oil

Conventional Oil is the “traditional” motor oil. Conventional is derived from crude oil and has additives that help with heat tolerance and viscosity. When purchasing a “regular” oil change, this is the oil usually being used. It usually comes in a black bottle, but depending on brand this may not be the case. Oil changes for conventional are usually recommended at 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first.

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic Oil is derived from crude oil and has additives just like Conventional, however this version of the oil is synthesized” – in other words, the oil is modified at the molecular level. It is also distilled. It usually comes in a silver bottle, but depending on brand this may not be the case. Synthetic Oil Changes are usually recommended at 5,000 miles or 5 months, whichever comes first.

What Oil Should I Use?

There is no “wrong time” to use Synthetic over Conventional, because it is fact that Synthetic lasts longer and holds up better. However, this doesn’t mean Conventional is bad. Conventional is fine for cars that are daily drivers that have a “regular” commute (15 minutes or longer.) Synthetic is better for cars that drive in extreme temps (a New York winter or an Arizona Summer, for example) or make short trips commonly (conventional may not heat up enough in short trips.) Synthetic is also useful in dusty climates. Synthetic is sometimes recommended in the owner’s manual, in which case that oil should be used. Synthetic can also be useful in high milage cars, but is not necessary unless the manual requires it. In short, conventional is fine for the average daily driver, but synthetic will usually be the better option.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Do I Need an Oil Change?

When it comes to owning a car, the most common phrase uttered about maintenance is “oil change.” Oil changes, though routine and common, are the most important maintenance job that can be done to your car. Oil is to a car what blood is to living animals, without it, there is no life. To put it simply, oil changes are too important to overlook.

What is motor oil?

Motor oil is a specific kind of oil designed to lubricate an engine. There are two main kinds; conventional and synthetic. Conventional oil composes of “natural” oils and recycled oils. Synthetic oil is scientifically manufactured and distilled to be purer. While synthetic is the “better” of the two oils, putting conventional into your car is not a bad thing, it just means you should change it more.

Motor oil is also “weighted” meaning depending on its weight, the heavier it is. Your manual will always say what kind of oil your car needs.

Why is an oil change so important?

To put it simply, if the oil is not changed, the oil turns to sludge. When an engine has sludge in it, the car becomes a countdown clock. The engine will eventually seize up, and the whole engine will need to be replaced.

How often should I get my oil changed?

Some outlets have reported that you can go as long as 7,500 miles on conventional, but in reality that isn’t a good mark to shoot for. With conventional oil, 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first, is the standard. With synthetic, 5,000-10,000 miles is the standard. These numbers can change depending on how long you drive daily and how dusty or dirty the area you live in is, however.

How is an oil change preformed?

An oil change is a fairly simple process. First, the car must be shut off. Second, the car is lifted in the air, and a small screw called the drain plug is removed, allowing the old oil to exit the car and be recycled. After all oil has drained, the oil filter is removed by being unscrewed. The new filter is attacked and the drain plug is reinstalled. After this, the car is lowered and new oil is put into the engine. The amount of oil is determined by the manufacturer and is in the owner’s manual. After the new oil is in and the cap is secure, the oil levels are tested and modified if needed. Once the correct amount is in, the car is ready to be returned to the owner. A new sticker with the next oil change due date is applied to the car windshield before it leaves.

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Preventative Maintenance

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Preventative Maintenance.   Time, Mileage or Condition which do you observe to maintain your car?  Some vehicle owners go by the owner’s manual, some the shop’s recommendation where they have their car serviced.  Which one is right for you?  The answer depends on how you drive your vehicle in conjunction with what  the the manufacturer recommends.  However, listed below are some guidelines that apply to the average driver and their car, no matter what make or model.

Oil Change Service:  This is by far the most cost effective service that has the biggest impact on prolonging the life of your car.  It is better to do this sooner than later.  Some vehicle manufacturers indicate you can go 5K-10K or more in between services.  The truth is with today’s technology the oil may last that long but it is likely the filter will not.   The filter is a vital component in making sure the oil that circulates through the engine is gunk and particle free.  In addition to that most drivers today are bad at remembering to perform this vital service in the first place, so that means that 5K interval in reality turns into 6k or 7k before you actually get it done.  To be on the safe side having your oil changed every 3,000 miles or 3 months is not a bad routine, especially if you drive your vehicle hard with lots of stopping and going are in an extremely hot or cold climate, tow a trailer etc.  If you follow this rule of thumb and go over, you most likely will have your vehicle serviced long before the 5,000 mile interval.  This is our shop’s standard recommendation for most vehicles.

Transmission Fluid Change:  This service too depends on what the manufacturer recommends and can vary based on the make and model.  Now days it is a cost effective measure to have your fluid tested first to determine if the service is actually needed.

Coolant Change:  Under most driving conditions coolant can last for a long time.  However it does not hurt to check it at the change of seasons since a variety of things can impact the condition and quality of the coolant.  If there is a deviation from the manufacturer’s specification in the coolant condition it can be easily corrected.

Brake Fluid Change:  Two different tests can be performed to determine the quality of your brake fluid.  One involves using an electrode to test the fluid, the other involves heat.  Either one of these methods is effective to determine the quality of the fluid and whether or not it needs to be changed.

Power Steering Fluid Change:  This is the easiest fluid to test and can be done with a coffee filter.  If debris is left behind in the filter it is time for a change.  The baseline for changing this fluid is usually 50,000 miles  but you can test it more regularly if you feel it is necessary.

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 have concerns about  preventative maintenance, don’t hesitate to stop by and have Ken take a look at it.
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.