Car Maintenance Tips for Spring Driving Around DFW

auto repairAs the weather starts to improve, and we think about taking some longer road trips between now and fall, it is a good time to make sure your car or truck is ready for those longer drives. The last thing you want to do is have a breakdown on the road a long way from home, where your trusted local mechanic can’t help. So before you make a trip out of the DFW area, check out your vehicle first. If you want to do it yourself, here are some key safety maintenance checks you can make to maintain your vehicle.

Tires

From a safety point of view, tires are one of the most important things to inspect. Having your tires in good condition and inflated correctly is very important. Having a tire failure can be very dangerous especially at speed. Have a good look at all four tires, and make sure they are inflated to the recommended pressure, and that the tread is even across the tire, and does not show any sign of excessive wear. If the tread is worn in the center part of the tread, it is an indication of tires being over inflated, whereas a worn area to one side of the tire indicates a problem such as poor alignment or a worn tie rod. Check for damage to the wheel rims, and inspect for any bulges in the tire wall, which can indicate a possible failure point. On most cars the drive wheels wear out faster than the other wheels, so it is a good idea to have your mechanic rotate the wheels occasionally.

Battery

If you have had trouble starting your car recently, then it would be a good idea to have the battery checked out. Some batteries need topping up with distilled water if levels drop, but many newer batteries are maintenance-free. A flat battery may not be the battery itself, it may be a problem with the alternator or charging circuit.

Lubricants and Fluids

Most owners should do regular checks on their car’s fluid levels (although most don’t), from a safety point of view. Always check fluids when the engine is cold and the vehicle has been standing for a few minutes, so levels have settled down. Check the engine oil level using the dipstick, and also look at the color of the oil to make sure that is it a light brown color, and has no drops of coolant on it. Black engine oil should be changed as soon as possible, as worn oil will increase the wear on the metal surfaces of the engine. Any drops of coolant on the engine oil is an indication of a more serious problem such as a leaking cylinder head, and a mechanic can perform a compression test to diagnose that.

Next fluids to check is the level of the coolant expansion chamber, making sure the level is in between the minimum and maximum levels. If it needs topping of regularly, it is an indication of a leak, most likely at the junction of one of the hoses, which may need replacing. At the same time check the levels of the brake fluid, and the power steering reservoir, which are usually translucent to make checking easier. Any loss of brake fluid should mean an immediate trip your auto technician for safety reasons. Finally if the vehicle has an automatic transmission check the transmission dipstick as well, the fluid should be between the indicator levels, and should be a red color to indicate a healthy transmission. Following these safety maintenance tips will help you make a safe journey whether inside or outside the DFW area. Happy Driving!

Car Service Needed for Traffic Conditions in Plano Texas

For those of us that drive around Plano and the north DFW area in Texas, dependable and secure auto maintenance is crucial. The large number of vehicles on the interstates and also roads has grown tremendously in the last few years, in line with a large rise in population in Plano and also in Frisco and also McKinney.

With the enhanced population, new roads are being constructed, with the unpreventable hold-ups to as construction goes on constantly. The majority of roadways and interstates are undertaking a continuous state of building as well as repair works, which of course inevitably leads to significant tail backs.

Lots of hold-ups will leave both the vehicle and driver hot and bothered  driver as well as sometimes overheating if a vehicle is stuck in stationary traffic for a lengthy time in very hot temperatures. So it is important to have actually any sort of issues checked with a Plano Texas auto mechanic (ideally an ASE approved mechanic), to keep you on the road at all times.

Coolant Servicing

One of the most important checks your auto repair shop will do is to ccheck engine coolantheck the fluid. Especially the engine coolant – this flows around the engine block and then through the radiator, transferring heat away from the engine block to the exterior of the vehicle. Electric fans also disperse the heat, but they are not connected to the coolant system directly.

A regular service of the coolant will find out if there is any fluid loss. A fluid loss is usually a symptom of the real problem in the engine compartment – it may be a leaking radiator, or just a loose or cracked water hose, sometimes a small fix here (an ounce of prevention, as the saying goes) can save you getting hot and bothered at the roadside Check with your phone book or internet to find good auto repair in Plano Tx to check your fluids to prevent your vehicle getting stranded on I95!

Latest Trends in Green Vehicles

Green vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. Since the early development of the market, Toyota has been an early adopter with its Prius model, but now there are many other companies producing fuel efficient cars. In the last few years there have been good improvements in both CO2 emission reduction and improved fuel economy. The majority of the improved CO2 results and gasoline savings from current vehicles is largely down to new technologies applied to vehicles.

Start-Stop Vehicles
One of the most recent developments is in the application of start-stop cars, which is an upcoming fuel saving technology. Actually the technology has been proven on larger commercial vehicles such as for public transport buses, where it was used in hybrid vehicles. These start-stop systems turn the engine off when the car comes to a stop, at lights or in a traffic queue, and then re-starts the engine when the car moves off again when the driver steps on the gas. This saves fuel, as a considerable amount of fuel is wasted while vehicles are sitting idling. A newer version of the start-stop engine control can now be used when the car is moving, for example when the car is coasting down a hill, again saving fuel which would normally be wasted. Start-stop system manufacturers estimate a saving of 10% when the system is used, which is a good saving for no impact on vehicle driving performance.

Engine Accessories
As technology keeps improving, other alternatives are open to manufacturers to make cars more environmentally-friendly. For example drive belts have been around for over a hundred years, but they are not very efficient as they are constantly turning accessories (such as alternators, air conditioners), whether they are being used or not. Now these accessories can be driven by electric motors which are only switched on when the accessory is actually needed. This is now an approved method, in fact the new Toyota Prius and the Ford Fusion have no drive belts installed at all.

Turbocharging
Another recent trend is to get more power out of a smaller engine by using a turbocharger. Using a turbo booster can increase the output of an engine to boost fuel economy. The Ford Fiesta SFE uses a three cylinder Ecoboost engine to get 45 miles per gallon on the highway and 32 miles per gallon in urban driving. Ford now has over two million cars fitted with its Ecoboost gasoline direct injection engine. This shows a conventional engine can be greener without needing to be a hybrid vehicle. This has been recognized by manufacturers and in fact the use of turbochargers has increased by a factor of five times over the last five years.