Winter Automotive Maintenance (Cold Temperatures, Snow, Freezing Rain, Etc.)
Adjusting to the winter months takes some effort, and some of that effort should go in to winter automotive maintenance. No matter where you live, the changing seasons present a challenge to your vehicle, and probably more than you realize. A lot goes in to keeping your ride riding smoothly, and any car maintenance issues that you ignored in the summer could create an additional hazard in the winter.
Winter automotive maintenance includes anything that prepares your car for winter, from protecting sensitive components to assuring proper visibility. Auto repair shops approach the process in two ways; preparing the car for the worse possible weather conditions and making important repairs that insure the long-term functionality of your car.
You might have to grit your teeth and personally gird yourself for a long harsh winter, but winter automotive maintenance is much easier than most people think. Most importantly, any efforts you put in now can increase safety while decreasing the probability of costly repairs.
Battery Test or Replacement
Cold temperatures can reduce battery power up to 50% and shorten the batter life. When temperatures drop, have your auto repair shop test your battery for performance. If it is near expiration, it’s better to replace it than risk driving with a dying battery.
Have an auto technician go through the heating and auto-defrost system and make sure it is in top condition. On the road is not the place to find out that a water pump has a crack or there is a short in the electrical circuit.
Worn brakes can cause a problem at any time of year but pose even greater hazard in wet weather. Brakes are no places to cut corners, so have your auto repair shop inspect your brakes for any problems.
Having proper antifreeze levels is essential to your winter automotive maintenance checklist. Make sure the level is full and the mixture is as close to 50/50 as possible.
Your tires are the point of connection to the road, so you’ll want to make sure that they are in good condition. Look for ware, cracking, cupping, or bulging. If they are in poor shape, replace them If you are in an area that receives snow, use snow tires during the winter months.
Lights, Bulbs, Wipers, Windows
Maintaining visibility is high on the list of winter care priorities. Inspect all bulbs and lenses. Replace any that are burned out and clean or replace any dirty or damaged lenses. Wiper blades only last a year, so replacing for the winter months is a great idea. Use a detail polish on your windshield to help rain or snow sheet off.
There are many important elements in preparing your vehicle for the long winter slog, and auto repair shops make sure that winterizing your car takes the chill out of future repair
Affordable Transmission Rebuild in Columbus
Automatic and standard transmissions are very complex. Adding to the complexity in the newer vehicles of today is the use of computers in both engines and transmissions. Proper diagnostic testing is a must in pinpointing existing problems. At that point, a decision can be made as to whether you need a new transmission or if you can rebuild your existing one.
Rebuilding is cost effective for you
Most people think that if a transmission needs repairs or rebuilding, they need to replace the entire vehicle. This is no longer the case. If you’ve decided to rebuild your existing transmission, you have chosen a cost-effective way to keep your vehicle rather than selling it. When you rebuild – you’re basically getting a new transmission. This is more affordable than having to replace an entire vehicle.
Proper Equipment is a Must
While rebuilding a transmission may sound easy, it can be difficult without the proper equipment. The transmission is completely taken apart. All components other than the housing are replaced, and the housing itself is cleaned and inspected. Repairs should be done in a regulated auto repair shop to ensure the job is done properly and safely. Having the work done by a qualified technician at Broad & James AutoCare & Towing is your best bet for this type of work . The amount of seals and gaskets in addition to clutches can be quite large. In order to have your rebuild be successful, proper placement of these parts is crucial. Visit our Columbus shop for qualified technicians to get the job done quickly for you.
Hearing that your vehicle needs a new transmission shouldn’t be as frightening as it used to be. With today’s technology and properly certified technicians available, it is definitely a good way to save your vehicle.
Brakes are your first line of defense against any accidents or collisions on and off the road. So it’s important that you get them checked out before they begin to fail or make noises. If you’re like most drivers in Columbus, you only get your brakes checked once you notice that something’s wrong. It’s important to get your brakes checked regularly.
Note, an easy way to remember is to get them checked each time you go in for an oil or filter change at Broad & James AutoCare & Towing Not maintaining functioning brakes is a safety hazard to both you and other drivers on the road.
Most common signs you need a brake check:
Grinding or Screeching noises when you brake
Cause: This usually indicates that the brake pads are worn down and need to be replaced immediately. Remember, the grinding and screeching is not a “friendly reminder” to change your brake pads, it is a sign of a mechanical problem. Not replacing your brake pads at this point will result in serious problems and more expensive repair costs.
Your ABS light on the dashboard is on
Cause: Have one of our auto technicians do a routine brake check, if there are no discernible problems and the light is still coming on, check the wiring and electric plugs. They can suffer from over-all wear and tear too!
Pulsating or shaky braking
Cause: Consistent use of your auto brakes means heat and wear caused by friction. Over time, this can warp the rotors by thinning them out, which leads to the shaky feeling.
Cause: This is difficult to say without a full inspection of the brakes by a mechanic, but any of the above are likely potential causes.
Pollen – Your Car’s Springtime Enemy
We all fear that time of spring when everything turns yellow in color and everyone we know seems to come down with hay fever. The effects of pollen on air quality during spring are obvious in indoor and outdoor settings, but it’s really important not to neglect the effects of pollen on your car.
When you think about it, our cars are on the front lines of the war on pollen. Imagine if you went out for a jog one spring day, but you magically acquired a new super power that enabled you to run at 50 miles per hour. It’d be a total blast at first, but after the first few blocks you’d be wheezing and sneezing from all the pollen suddenly rushing into your face and lungs.
Why are air filters so important?
We tend to think of our cars as solid, and totally protected from the elements like rain and wind. But lots of air flows through our vehicles when we drive, both into the interior cabin of the car where we sit, and under the hood into the engine and machinery. That’s why there are a number of different air filters to protect you and your car from the elements, and keep out large particles of dust and dirt that build up with frequent driving.
When your filter is dirty, and trust me, we see it all the time, your car’s performance really suffers.
Side effects of a dirty filter:
- A dirty, oversaturated filter lets in less air, so your engine has to work twice as hard to burn fuel and get the job done.
- A dirty filter is a less-effective filter. Too much dust and dirt can wear it down, and let in more dirt, pollen and you-name-it into your engine, leading to inefficiency and possible long-term damage.
- A dirty cabin filter negatively affects your heating and air-conditioning, and in some cases will produce some terrible smells.
- A dirty engine air filter lowers your fuel economy!
Now that pollen season is just around the corner, it’s time to check on your filters, and get them replaced as a preventative measure. The longer you wait between each engine filter replacement, the more damage and wear you can expect to see in your vehicle. Stop by Broad & James AutoCare & Towing in Columbus, OH to hear how our team of experts can assist you with your air filters.
Air Filters and Your Vehicle’s Performance
A lot of people are surprised to hear that regular maintenance and replacement of air filters in your car increases your fuel economy! Your engine needs clean and pure air to function efficiently, and gas mileage is one of the first things to be affected by a dirty filter.
Air filters are important for fuel economy!
The average family car needs about 12 thousand gallons of air to burn just one gallon of gas! That’s a LOT of air!
Engine air filters are necessary because they prevent fine particles like dirt and dust from getting inside your engine and causing damage to the walls, pistons and piston rings. Air filters are your main line of defense from the hazards of daily driving.
Many drivers neglect to change air filters regularly, thinking that a dirty filter is better than no filter at all. A dirty, clogged filter starves your engine of the air it needs to work properly and causes stress on the engine- making it work harder and significantly raising the overall fuel economy of the vehicle.
With an old, dirty filter, your engine will burn much more fuel to compensate for the lack of air flow. Your mechanic isn’t just trying to sell you another part, he’s trying to help you save some of that gas money.
High pollen counts have a very negative effect on the overall performance of your engine. That’s why it’s really important to check and replace your car air filters during the spring months.
There are a number of air filters that go into your car.
- Cabin air filters – protects and cleans the air that flows into where you sit. If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, high performance filters and regular replacements are a must. Cabin filters should be replaced every year, or every 12,000 miles.
- Engine filters – these protect the flow of clean air into your engine. During pollen season, it’s best that you replace your air filter more often than the manufacturer’s 15,000 mile recommendation.
Air Filters- Your Main Line of Defense against Pollen
Spring into early summer are prime months for pollen season. Last year, pollen counts broke records with over 8,000 particles per square meter. Technically, a “high” pollen count on the scale is 120 particles per square meter.
To make matters worse, pollen counts ebb and flow as different species of plants bloom and release their pollen. The overall count and increase and decrease over the course of spring as different trees, weeds and flowers come into bloom. Pine pollen is generally the culprit behind massive pollen counts – just think about all the pine trees in your neighborhood!
While it’s important to keep you and your family safe and healthy during the miserable pollen season, don’t forget that your family vehicle is also a prime location for pollen saturation. As your car drives along during the day, plant particles in the air are drawn into the engine and ventilation system by the tens of thousands.
So how can you combat this massive assault of pollen during the spring?
The first place to start is to maintain a clean filtration system. Just like the air filters in your home ventilation system, or air purifier, cabin air filters in your car block harmful particles from getting into the passenger area of your car. A high quality cabin air filter will block almost all of the harmful pollen in the air, only if it’s replaced regularly.
Cabin air filters protect and clean the air that flows into where you sit. If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, high performance filters and regular replacements are a must. Cabin filters should be replaced every year, or every 12,000 miles.
Replace Your Air Filters Before Spring Comes
Be sure to check and replace both your engine air and cabin air filters before the pollen surge hits. A dirty cabin air filter will quickly become a health hazard once pollen counts reach extreme levels again.
Stop by our Broad & James AutoCare & Towing in Columbus, OH to get one of these filters for your vehicle. We look forward to seeing you!
Tires for your vehicles
Tires (general about large selection of tires, and capable mechanics able to help you pick the best tires for your vehicle and driving needs)
Sometimes tires don’t get the time and consideration they deserve. We just buy them and count on them to serve us for a certain amount of miles. They deserve a lot more of our respect though; tries are one of the vehicle’s most important safety features and everything from the type to tread matters in the tire’s performance, and ultimately your safety. That’s why it makes sense to get help from automotive professionals when choosing tires.
There are Many Types of Tires
There are many types of tires. That’s great, right? It is if you know what tires are the right size and type for your car and driving considerations. Tires are more than a flexible rubber container for air. They actually have between 19 and 25 different components that make them well suited to a particular purpose and vehicle. You’ll need to match the tire’s attributes to your type of vehicle, load, driving conditions, driving style, and weather conditions to find one most suited to your needs.
What to consider in Tire Size
Buying the right size can also get a bit tricky. Whatever the tire quality you buy, it still must be able to carry the weight of your vehicle. Otherwise the tire is overworked and you risk a blowout. Never undersize a tire.
Next, you need to consider the diameter of the tire. It’s especially important to take your vehicle in to the auto shop and talk to a qualified technician about which tire sizes will work on your vehicle. Newer vehicles have sensitive computer systems that depend on the tire size for accurate readings and responses.
What about Sets?
If you’re not getting a set of four new tires, talk to a capable mechanic for help in matching the new tires as closely as possible to the old ones. When you have the mechanic install them on the vehicle, ask them to find the reason one set wore out so much more quickly than the other. Worn tires can alert you to other problems that may need attention.
Driving Conditions and Driving Style
Another excellent reason to take your vehicle in to the auto shop when you need new tires is that your service technician not only knows the vehicle and driving conditions, they’re also familiar with your driving style. The technician can help choose the most appropriate tire for the particular stresses it will endure, which translates as better mileage, longer lasting tires, and better performance.
It’s pretty hard for most people to find the “perfect” tire because so many different elements are involved. Fortunately, making a great and economical decision is as close as your nearest qualified technician!
When is it Time for Struts & Shocks Repair ?
Knowing when to take your vehicle into the auto shop for struts and shocks repair can be kind of tricky. The damping characteristics of shocks and struts diminish slowly over time, making it difficult to detect a problem. Usually when a driver notices that there is a problem, it’s well past the time of needing replacement.
Shocks and (or) struts are part of your vehicle’s suspension system. Not all vehicles have both shocks and struts; some only have one or the other. Each aids in the vehicle’s stability and handling. There’s no strictly set time for shock and strut replacement as part of it depends on driving conditions such as how you drive and the condition of the roads. Some need replacement at 30,000 miles, and others can go as long as 60,000 miles. There are however some good indications that it’s time to get into the auto shop and have them looked at by service technician.
Signs that it’s Time to Replace or Repair Struts
Shocks and struts are responsible for keeping you on the road, so you’ll want to know the signs of wear. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your vehicle into the automotive repair shop to ensure that it’s working safely and properly.
- The vehicle is not running as smoothly as it once did or showing difficulty in handling while on the road.
- The ride is excessively bumpy.
- The vehicle bottoms out when going over a bump or dip in the road.
- When driving on a curvy road, the vehicle tends to sway.
- You notice fluid leaking from the shock or strut
- You notice a poor steering response or noise when steering.
- The shocks or struts show signs of physical damage.
- The vehicle makes an excessive nose dive when braking.
- Tires show cupped or uneven wear.
- The drive feels “shaky.”
- You notice instability when braking.
Finally, it’s important not to ignore the warning signs. The shocks and struts make your vehicle manageable to drive and interact with other systems such as steering and alignment. Neglecting them can lead to the need for additional future repairs, adding to repair costs. Driving on worn shocks and struts can make the vehicle difficult to drive which could lead to unsafe driving conditions. Replacing shocks and struts regularly can keep your vehicle performing optimally and help extend its life expectancy.
Having the correct tire pressure is an important part of regular maintenance of your car, and it’s also a necessity for being a good driver. The amount of air pressure in your tires has an immediate effect on the quality of your driving, especially when braking and turning. Aside from these concerns, seasonal temperature changes can also effect the performance of your tires, and the overall pressure within them.
Let’s start with the basics, of tire pressure.
Like most maintenance suggestions and requirements, always check the user manual and manufacturer’s schedule for when to have certain repairs and what is required. Your car’s user manual and maintenance handbook will also tell you the exact psi requirements for your tires, and you can also find this information on the tires themselves.
Always check the psi in your tires regularly, during scheduled maintenance and tune-ups (your mechanic should always do this for you), and it’s a good idea to go it before going on long car trips too. If your tires are under-inflated, or have a low psi, this can create unnecessary drag on the car and can cause decreased fuel efficiency.
How does weather affect my tires?
When the seasons change and temperatures begin to rise and fall, so does the air pressure in your tires. Because of colder contracts, the air pressure inside your tires falls and the tire may become under inflated. In the summer, the reverse is true. When air starts to get warmer, the volume of the air expands, so for air trapped inside the tires, it begins to expand and increases the overall pressure and potentially causing the tire to become over inflated.
In extreme cases, this can damage the tires and cars if not taken care of. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your tires and check the pressure when the temperature starts to rise and fall dramatically like in summer and winter.
Winter tires, tires designed especially to deal with winter weather precipitation like snow and ice, may have their own specific psi requirements that differ from the average tire. Be sure to check these when getting new winter tires, and check regularly to make sure that the correct psi is maintained throughout the season to deal with fluctuating weather and temperatures. This is especially important when driving in adverse weather conditions, so you always want to make sure you are fully prepared to drive in anything!
Having trouble with your tires? Feel free to stop by Broad & James AutoCare & Towing to talk to a mechanic about your car’s tires and get everything checked out!
Dashboard Warning Lights – The Check Engine Light
It’s a busy weekday morning. You barely get out the door in time, and when you get to the car, start the ignition, and a dashboard warning light comes on- the check engine light.
The check engine light is probably every driver’s most hated warning light. It gives no details about what’s wrong, and the list of potential problems goes on and on, ranging from minor malfunctions to costly problems.
NOTE: If your check engine light comes on and is flashing, this indicates a serious problem and you should get to the nearest auto repair facility immediately.
Top 3 Most Common Causes of the Check Engine Light
- Oxygen Sensor: The oxygen sensors in your car helps determine how much fuel you burn. A defective oxygen sensor effects mileage calculation and leads to a decrease in fuel economy.
While oxygen sensors are a relatively easy and inexpensive part to replace, failing to replace them in time can eventually destroy your catalytic converter. And depending on the car, a catalytic converter is thousands of dollars to replace.
- Gas Cap: It might seem silly that something as small as a gas cap can trigger your warning light, but the gas cap keeps fuel from evaporating, keeping your emissions and gas mileage low.
Check to see if your gas cap is loose before you leave the driveway. Turn off your engine, and replace the gas cap tightly before turning your car back on. It may take a while for the light to go off, even if the gas cap is the culprit. If the light doesn’t go off within the next couple of days, take your car to your mechanic.
- Catalytic Converter: A dying catalytic converter leads to lower gas mileage, and makes it difficult for your engine to accelerate. If you notice any of these problems, take your car to your mechanic as soon as possible to fix it.
Regardless of whether the problem is minor, like a loose gas cap, or major, like a catalytic converter failure, you risk serious damage to your car and the safety of yourself and others on the road when you continue to drive with your check engine light on.
The first thing you should do is bring your vehicle to an experienced, certified mechanic like our team at Broad & James AutoCare & Towing. They will be able to diagnose the problem and give you an estimate on how much it will cost you.
If your check engine light, or any other of your dashboard warning lights, has come on and you don’t know why, contact Broad & James AutoCare & Towing in Columbus, OH to figure out the problem and get an estimate of your repair cost. Don’t wait- you save money and lives when you act early!
Auto Repair Shop Broad & James AutoCare & Towing in Columbus, OH
As a car owner, there are many things that you can do to extend the life of your vehicle. These forms of preventative maintenance can include changing your oil, checking your tire pressure, and getting regular checkups. Preventative maintenance saves you money and helps you catch small issues before they become a big problem. Just like performing routine activities like going to the gym or taking a shower, maintaining your car takes time and effort but will ultimately benefit the health of your vehicle. For your convenience, every time you visit Broad & James AutoCare & Towing, in Columbus, OH we will check under the hood to make sure all of your vehicle’s vital fluids are in proper condition. We will then make recommendations based on these observations.
Make sure you check your owner’s manual for an appropriate maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle, this will help you know when you need to bring your car in. Here at Broad & James AutoCare & Towing we can help you keep your car running smoothly and safely.
Honest auto repairs
How to Get Honest Auto Repairs
When you take your car in to the auto shop for servicing, you have every reason to expect to be treated with honesty and integrity. However, it’s pretty hard to know when you are lied to, over charged, or taken advantage of, when automotive care is not your expertise. So how do you know when you are getting honest auto repairs? It all boils down to the details.
What You Should Expect With Routine Maintenance
Taking your car into the auto shop for routine maintenance is always a good idea. It prolongs the car’s useful life, prevents larger repair bills, and it prevents you from having to deal with unexpected problems and expenses, or wondering whether or not you really need this repair. When you take your vehicle into the auto shop, the technician should tell you what services will be performed, how long it will take, and the cost. Honest auto shops want you to know these details and strive to perform the work as described.
What About Repairs?
Routine maintenance will extend the life of the vehicle, but like any other machine, eventually parts will fail and you will need repairs. An honest auto shop will provide a diagnosis of the problem, a description of the parts or services necessary to fix the problem, and an estimate of the time and cost. They shouldn’t start work without your authorization, and shouldn’t do anything outside of the scope of the agreement without your consent. Auto shops that deal with integrity will not have any problem being upfront and transparent in their dealings with you, and would be willing to show you broken and replaced parts, for example.
What About Additional Work?
When you bring your vehicle in for work, it’s not unusual to expect the technician to find additional problems. After all, the parts all work together to perform a task, so if one is broken or malfunctioning it will likely cause stress on another. Your repair technician should tell you what needs to be done, and it’s urgency. Some repairs might need to be done as part of regular maintenance and could be delayed, others might need immediate attention.
Bringing up needed repairs isn’t necessarily a sign that a repair shop is somehow dishonest. In fact, it may be just the opposite! A technician may bring up a needed repair because they have the necessary area accessible and a repair now can save you on labor. Another reason they may bring up needed repairs is that not having some things fixed could lead to unsafe driving conditions and they may be required to tell you of the danger. Other times, they may suggest repairs that could be of benefit to you such as ones that would provide better gas mileage or a smoother and safer ride.
In most cases, a shop will demonstrate honesty and integrity through their willingness to communicate and provide documentation about the work. It also takes a certain amount of trust from the vehicle owner, understanding the process and why a technician would make a recommendation.