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Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Who Can Buy OEM Parts?

If you’ve ever bought a new car, you’ve likely gotten fliers in the mail from the dealer. “Bring your car back to us, our dealers install Brand XYZ Genuine Parts” for example. These pamphlets heavily imply their parts – Original Equipment – is superior and exclusive. Is that true? Yes and no.

 

Dealers do have parts straight from the “OEM” – the Original Equipment Manufacturer. The parts on their shelves are the same ones used on the assembly lines. What dealers don’t mention, however, is that these parts can often be found at an auto parts store, and are available to independent repair shops.

 

Take for example Toyota and Denso. Most “Toyota Genuine Parts” aren’t actually built by Toyota themselves. Why is that? Because Toyota owns about 25% of Denso, an auto parts manufacturer. Denso, though influenced by their big brother Toyota, still want to make lots of money, and playing an exclusive game isn’t going to do that. So to remedy that they sell to others. They label parts under the Denso name so they can be resold without being attached to Toyota. Denso sells to companies like the Hyundai Motor Company, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, and even domestics like General Motors. Most importantly though, they sell to the general public. Despite Toyota owning so much of Denso, they actually make up less than half of their total revenue.

 

There’s plenty more examples of this – General Motors and ACDelco, Ford and Motorcraft, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles and Mopar.

 

So what does this all mean? It means that independent auto shops have access to original equipment just like dealers – and usually for a better price.

 

This is huge for a few reasons. The first reason is ease of mind. When the OEM’s can sell directly to shops and consumers, there’s no need to worry if the part “fits” or is “built well.” It is the exact same part, albeit under the occasional different label. The second reason is that with the parts available to the public, you aren’t restricted to going to the dealer for the highest quality part – you can get it at your shop of choice, or at a parts store to do it yourself.

 

By selling to more than just manufacturers, independent and even chain stores benefit by being able to see high quality parts, and in turn parts companies get to make more money. It’s a win-win! So the next time you see an ad from your local dealer, don’t think they’re the only ones with access to the original brand of parts – everyone else does, too.

 

If you have any more questions about auto parts, feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at kenmanchester1@gmail.com, or message us on facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoandTireofMintHill.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – How to Read Tire Sizes

Have you ever tried reading your tire size? It looks like a jumbled mess, doesnt it? Even though theres a lot to take in, theres actually a pretty useful and interesting meaning behind each and every aspect. To better explain, lets take a look at an example:

P245/55R16

P stands forpassenger.” This is the Tire Type. Tires withPon them are designed to go on passenger vehicles usually sedans and some light unibody SUVs. Another thing you may see isLT” (Light Truck) this is usually put on big trucks like F350s and some bodyonframe SUVs.

245 is the Tire Width in millimeters from sidewalltosidewall. This area generally encompasses all of your tires tread. In our example, 245 means 245 millimeters.

55 is the Aspect Ratio. This measures the height of the sidewall from where it meets the rim to the tread. In our example, 55 means the sidewall height is 55% of the tire width (which we said earlier was 245 millimeters.)

R is the Construction. In our example we have aRtire a radial which means the tire layers run radially across the tire. Almost all tires on the road use this structure, but you may also see crossply style tires.

16 is the Wheel Diameter in inches. This is a simple measurement of the size of your wheel (sometimes called a rim) and in our example, the wheel size is 16 inches.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – Is My Car Ready for a Winter Road Trip?

Once again, the holidays have arrived. Colder weather, lots of food, and, for some, road trips. While a road trip may seem like a fun adventure, having one in cold weather is a whole new ballgame. Before you head over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, ask yourself, “Is my car ready for a winter road trip?” If you aren’t sure, here are a few things to check before you leave.

1. Tires.

Tires are important in any season – after all, they do keep you glued to the road – but in winter tires have all new obsticals to overcome. Things like black ice, snow, and even heavy rain are all things you may see on your trip, and old tires are dangerous in these situations. 2/32″ is the legal minimum for tire tread, but if you are traveling somewhere that definitley is getting snow (Buffalo, for example) you should replace long before that.

2. Wipers.

Much like tires, wipers are also an all-season divice, but becomes much more useful in the winter. In areas where snow has fallen and things like mush and salt cover the road, your wipers will be in almost constant use. If your wipers are old, they may not wipe off melted snow or physical debris as well as new ones would.

3. Defrosters.

Even in a fairly mild winter climate like the Carolinas, windshields and mirrors are bound to freeze over or fog up. While it may not be necessary to have defrosters, they will save you lots of time keeping your windshield visible. If your car comes equipped with them, check them!

4. Washer fluid.

If you live in or are visiting somewhere that has temperatures are below freezing, water won’t be a good substitute for washer fluid. Most washer fluid is designed to freeze at a much lower temperature than water, and also is better at breaking up snow and salt on your windshield. Of all the things on this list, washer fluid is both the fastest and cheapest fix, so be sure to change your fluid!

5. Be prepared for emergencies.

Though you never want to break down, it is always best to be prepared in case you do. A winter emergency car pack should have things like blankets, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and warning markers. Portable phone charge-packs are also useful so your cellphone can stay on even when the car cannot.

6. Have your battery tested.

Cold weather is a dangerous time to have an old battery. Have your battery tested by a professional to see if the battery is healty enough to take on a long trip. If not, consider replacement.

7. Consider an oil change.

Consider how long the trip is, in miles, and compare to where you are in your oil’s life. If you think you’ll pass your vehicle’s “milage due” for an oil change, it may be best to do it before you leave.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – What is Winterizing My Car?

It’s getting colder out! Winter will soon be here, and you’re probably ready to bust out your favorite coat and make some nice hot coffee. But did you know your car needs some TLC to be ready for colder weather too? As colder weather approaches, it’s time to winterize your car.

 

Winterizing is the process of Inspecting and replacing parts and fluids to make sure your vehicle can handle the harsher weather. It is best to get this done in the fall, just before temperatures really start to fall, but it can be done at any point in the cold months. Listed below are some of the things that are done to winterize a car.

 

  1. Inspect the Battery.

Batteries don’t like cold, and things like low charge and corroded terminals only exacerbate the situation. Usually a quick clean of the battery is all that is necessary, but sometimes a battery needs to be recharged or replaced.

  1. Inspect the Oil.

Oil is the lifeblood of your car. While in extreme temperatures it may be necessary to switch to less-thick oil, it usually isn’t necessary in the fairly tame Carolina Piedmont winters. However, if your oil is old (around 5 months or older) it may warrant a change, and switching to synthetic isn’t a bad choice either.

  1. Inspect the Coolant.

Coolant is possibly the most important piece in this equation. Coolant (sometimes called antifreeze) should be inspected to assure that there is not water or grime in the system. While water can freeze at 32°F, coolant cannot. If your vehicle is using water instead of coolant, it is crucial it be replaced. Some coolants are designed for cold weather, but it may not be necessary to switch from regular coolant due to the fact that the Carolina Piedmont rarely goes below 20°F, but it may be useful for those who commute to the Appalachian Mountains.

  1. Inspect the Washer Fluid.

Washer Fluid is a great tool to help defrost a windshield. While most washer fluids are predesigned to not freeze at 32°F, some can and it is necessary to replace these fluids with cold-resistant ones. This is another example of a place where water won’t cut it as it freezes. It is worth noting that mixing coolant into the washer fluid is not recommended, as coolant can corrode paint and is dangerous to the natural wildlife as well as pets.

  1. Inspect tires.

Are your tires old? Is the tread at or below 2/32”? Is the wear uneven? If so, you should heavily consider replacing them. Tires with bad tread do poorly on black ice, which is common in this region of North Carolina. For the Carolina Piedmont snow tires and chains aren’t necessary, as the snowfall is usually less than an inch and only happens a few times a year. ALWAYS MAKE SURE TIRES ARE INFLATED PROPERLY FOR THE BEST POSSIBLE TRACTION IN COLD WEATHER!!!

  1. Pack an Emergency Kit.

Though this one is designed for cities with extreme cold and heavy snowfall, it’s still a great idea. Winter emergency kits usually have a flashlight, an ice scraper, a blanket, a warning/S.O.S light and non-perishable food.

  1. Inspect the Belts and Hoses.

Belts and hoses are notorious for snapping in cold weather. These should be inspected and replaced if they show signs of cracking or age.

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – What is “Preventive Maintenance?”

If you’ve ever had your car in a shop, you’ve most likely heard the term “preventative maintenance” at some point. However, just what is preventative maintenance? To put it simply, preventative maintenance are jobs done to your car to prevent problems, as compared to regular service, which you do while the problem is occurring. Changing spark plugs, filters, and belts are kinds of preventative maintenance done  during factory-preset intervals. Even something as common as an oil change is technically preventative maintenance, because you don’t change your oil after it has turned to muck in your engine, you change it beforehand to prevent it from doing so.

When Should I do Preventative Maintenance?

Preventative maintenance is done either when the factory recommends it (this is usually listed in your owner’s manual) or when a technician spots something wearing a bit prematurely. For example, a timing belt is usually recommended to be changed at 90,000 miles, but it may be changed earlier if a professional notices cracks or other wear in the belt.

How Do I Know if I Actually Need What’s Recommended?

The best way to know is to ask your service provider to show you. Any reputable shop will gladly do this for you and take pride in making sure you understand fully what is needed.

Is Recommended Maintenance the Same for Every Car?

No. While there are many similar components in cars that may require maintenance, no two cars have the same preventative maintenance schedule. You should always check with your manual and automotive service provider to see what your car’s specific needs will be down the road.

 

To recap, preventative maintenance is a “catch-it-early” repair service. All cars have a preventative maintenance schedule, and it is always best to check to see what your car needs when. We hope this article helped!

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – 3 Tips to Extend Tire Life

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.

 

  • Check your tire’s air pressure.

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.

Some forms of uneven tread wear.

  • Have your alignment checked.

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.

 

  • Rotate your tires.

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.

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 – 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 Mint Hill; Tires

Auto Repair Mint Hill; Tires

At different times of the year you need to focus on different issues with Tires.  This time of the year we deal with snow, ice and freezing rain among other things so it is important to make sure you tires are in optimal condition.    Some things to think about regarding your tires are:

  • Worm tires put drivers at risk for hydroplaning because there is not enough tread to accommodate the water and the tire does not remain in contact with the road.
  • Air pressure will change with the change of seasons, cool damp air of the fall and winter is more dense than the warm dry air of the spring and summer.  Have your tires check at a minimum with each oil change.
  • A convenient way to check your tread depth is to stick a penny in the tread, if you can see Lincoln’s head then the tire is worn out and needs replacing.
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 concerned that your tires need attention, don’t hesitate to stop by and have Ken take a look at them.

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.

Auto Repair Mint Hill; The tire store tried to sell me Nitrogen Fill for my tires, is that necessary?

Auto Repair Mint Hill; The tire store tried to sell me Nitrogen Fill for my tires, is that necessary?  Nitrogen is dry air with the oxygen removed.  About 5-6 years ago it became all the rage and the new thing at the chain tire and repair shops to sell nitrogen fill whenever you bought a set of tires or had them rotated and balanced.  Is it necessary?  Well for most of us nitrogen fill is not necessary.  While it does have some benefits in certain applications like NASCAR and other commercial settings, for the average car owner  the added cost usually is more than the benefit received from using nitrogen fill.

Why did nitrogen fill become so popular at the chain tire and repairs shops?  It was a revenue generator, simple as that.  One more thing they could sell.  Now if they are offering it for free or including it with the purchase of a set of tires that is fine, but also keep in mind that when you go in for routine maintenance or safety checks, there may be a fee if your pressure is low and they need to top it off.  It is my opinion that your money is better spent elsewhere and if you are prudent about checking your tire pressure and keeping your tires filled to the proper pressure; your gas mileage and tire wear will be the same as if you used nitrogen fill and you will have a few more dollars in your pocket to boot.  If you currently have nitrogen fill in your tires and have any questions, don’t hesitate to call Ken or stop by and have us take a look.

 

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.