Brake Time

Auto maintenance tip # 2

Brake rotorBrake Time

Your brakes will make your driving experience or break you.  Do you feel brakes are one of the most vital items on you vehicle?  Of course you do.  So why mess around.  Take a Brake!  Check your Brakes!

Inspecting your brakes and components

If your car has a prescribed maintenance plan and schedule, stay on top of it.  Different parts of the country have different driving habits. Example – Here in Houston Texas, everything is hurry up and Stop!  Since there is so much distance between point “A and B” the speed limit is higher and the stops are just as frequent.  Constant stopping from higher speeds will wear heavy on your brake system. This will also determine when you may have to replace your brakes.   

Typically you should have your brakes inspected about every 10,000 to 15,000 miles.  However, if you notice any of the following, “Inspect” your brakes NOW!Brake rotor gouges

  • Does your brake pedal feel squishy?  Does it go all the way to the floor?
  • Do you see a warning light for your brakes on your dashboard?
  •  Does your steering wheel vibrate while driving when you apply your brakes?
  •  Does your steering wheel vibrate when you are not using your brakes?
  •  Do you hear a grinding or squealing sound when you apply your brakes?  Sometimes you may hear a constant squealing even when you are driving.  That can be the warning device on your brake system to let you know you may have an issue with your brakes.
  •  Do you smell a distinct odor? A burning smell?
  •  Do you see metallic flakes that have peeled off the brakes?

·         When you look at the rotors on your brakes, do you see and or can you feel deep gouges or scratches?  If you do see deep gouges, you will have to have your rotors turned or possible replaced when you change out your brakes.

These are warning signs that it is time to have your brakes inspected and or replaced.

Driving habits: Other considerations to inspect your brakes soonerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

·         Do you drive in heavy stop and go traffic?

  • Do you use a camper or top storage rack on your vehicle?
  • Do you pull a trailer?
  • Do you live and drive in a mountainous or hilly area?
  • Do you drive off-road?

Brake componentsChoosing your brake components

Whether you choose an OEM or after- market component, “Choose Wisely!”  Price should not always drive the decision.  With every price, there is a “Cost” whether short term or long term.  Choose the components that are Cost effective, but also fit into your budget.  Be sure to include all the installation hardware that you will need.

I hope this has been a helpful.  Stop safely!

Changing your engine Air Filter

Auto maintenance tip # 1

Car Air Filter 200x135Changing your engine Air Filter

Just like each of us wanting that breath of fresh air, your car is looking for the same thing.  Clean and fresh air.  As we cough and sputter with dust in the air, so will your car.  Without proper clean air flow, your car will not run in peak performance.  That is why your car’s air filter is so important.

An air filter that is working properly, can help stop Containments from getting to the engine, which intern will help to extend its life, and help enhance performance and efficiency.

When should you change your Air filter?

Most car manufactures will recommend changing your air filter somewhere between 15,000 – 30,000 miles, depending on the type and model of your vehicle.

There are times when you may want to change it more often. 

Here are a few examples of why:

·         Do you drive on dirt roads or live in an area with excessive dusty conditions?

·         When you check your air filter, do you see a lot of dirt and debris in the filter?

·         Does your car seem to be experiencing a rough idle or does it feel sluggish during accerleration?

·         Is your car experiencing a decrease in efficiency?

Choosing a proper Air filter

·         Choose a filter that has a tight seal.  Usually a leak proof Polyurethane seal.

·         Choose a filter that will filter 95%+ dust and debris.

·         Choose a filter that will handle extreme temperatures.

·         Choose a quality filter.  Not one that looks like it was made by a third grader!

Happy Trails!

Winter is Here! Are you Prepared?

When was the lSnow street sceneast time you checked your cars vitals? While safety should always be foremost on your mind, you should also consider some basic auto maintenance to keep your vehicle on the road and not in the shop.  For the DYI folks, you should take time to check under the hood to make sure things are in order.  With the changing of seasons , you should pull out your regular maintenance log to make sure you are up to date on the maintenance items for this time of the year.  Pre-Winter and Pre-Summer are good times to check on the annual or bi-annual maintenance items on your list.

Winter Specific Maintenance

With winter driving , the potential perils that go along with that,  your cars systems can go through a gambit of changes which can be hard on your cars  systems.  Freezing temperatures, winter  precipitation, slippery roads, salt or sand or other chemicals on the roads.  The following maintenance items should be a Priority on your list of things to do!

·         Antifreeze – Check it!

The Antifreeze in your radiator is the hydration portion of your cars system.  You need to be hydrated to keep yourself from over-heating, so does your car!  Your radiator should contain a 50/50 mix water/antifreeze that is recommended by your cars manufacturer.  Make sure your level is full. *Caution – While an engine is warm/hot, you should NEVER remove the radiator cap to add fluid.  Use the radiator overflow to add antifreeze. It is also recommended to do a radiator flush each spring to keep your system working properly.

·         Wipers – Be a driver of with Vision! Replace them!

Snow on the street

With inclement weather and dirt / sand / salt / chemicals on the road, change your wipers before the season begins.  Odds have it, the rubber on the blades have hardened and grooved from summer heat and dust. Be Safe!

·         Windshield wiper fluid – Check it!

With winter, dirt, road grime, salt, etc.  It will be more prevalent than ever.  In order to keep that clear vision, you will use more wiper fluid than normal.  Keep your wiper fluid reservoir topped off all winter. Be sure to only use wiper fluid that is made for cold temperatures.  The right fluid will not freeze when it drops below 32 degrees.

·         Inspect your Tires!

Tip – (Take Heart) If you have less than 1/8” of tread, you are driving in the Red Zone when it comes to foul weather. Excess water on the road (hydro planning), ice and snow can be a dangerous combination.  Personally, I like my thrill rides at the amusement park.  Check the tread depth and the air pressure.  Do live in an area where you would need snow tires?

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       Oil – Check it!

Another vital part of you operating system.  I always like to change my oil right at the beginning of winter.  Oil gets sluggish in cold weather until it warms up in the engine.  By removing the older oil sludge from the system, parts will lubricate and pre-form better.