There are many things you can do yourself to keep your vehicle in top shape.
Some simple things that you can check and repair yourself underneath the hood are:
- Check oil level. The engine needs to be off. Pull out the dip stick; take a rag; wipe it down; reinsert it into the hole; push it in all the way, and remove to look at the level. Look for a tab near the bottom and indicators for lower and high levels. If it is at the lower level then you need about a quart of oil.
- To add new oil. Open the cap and add only enough oil to get engine levels up to the high mark on the dipstick. Most, newer, oil caps will indicate what kind of oil to use in that engine.
- Check the windshield washer level. Windshield washer fluid is usually sealed with a blue cap and located in an area of the engine that is easy to find. Fill with a good quality, undiluted windshield washer fluid, almost to the brim.
- Check power steering fluid. You can usually see through the container which is marked with a lower and higher level. Make sure the power steering fluid is between those lines.
- Check air filter. The air filter catches particles of dust and dirt before they can enter the engine. So it is a very important part. Eventually the air filter will get dirty and need to be changed. If not changed when it is dirty it will effect engine performance and gas mileage. Some engines have a clamp down cover, and some have a screw. Remove the cover, remove the dirty air filter and replace with a new one.
- Clean the hood join. Another thing a person should do is raise the hood and take a look at the area where the top of the hood meets the car body. It can often accumulate leaves and other debris on the grill. This grill keeps leaves and debris from entering the cabin of the car. It also has an interior filter which should be removed and replaced periodically.
As always, if you are too busy to do these small tasks yourself they are a quick and easy maintenance task for your local mechanic. Your local shop will have air filters and oil available and you can usually make an appointment, pull in and get the job done very quickly.
Winter is here, did you remember to check the freeze protection of your coolant? How about that battery and the cable connections, are they corroded or clean and good-to-go. What about the condition of your belts and hoses? Nothing like cold weather to bring out the weak links in a what would otherwise be a smooth running easy to start vehicle.
Call us today to set up an appointment and get $5.00 off your next service when you mention this posting.
So your car is making a noise. It’s kind of, “Beep beep grind”, and it certainly doesn’t sound right! It didn’t sound like that yesterday. So, how do you communicate this with your auto mechanic to get the best service and right repairs?
Today’s vehicles are high-tech marvels that run pretty great… until they don’t. They actually run better, longer and more efficiently than ever before. But they can also seem more intimidating when something goes wrong.
When it comes time for those repairs, good communication between you and your auto repair specialist will help make the process smooth and possibly even save you money! Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Do a little research before heading out to the shop. You may pick up some great tips in an online forum or fact website. Remember, though, this is only research. Your auto mechanic is the trained professional and knows a lot more than any online forum about your particular case.
- Read through your owner’s manual. It was written specifically for your car and could have the answer right there.
- Make a list of service schedules you have followed (or not) to give your mechanic all the information they need to make a diagnosis.
After you are done with the basics, start looking at the problem logically:
- When does the sound or smell occur?
- Have you noticed any unusual drips, leaks or smoke?
- What are your gauge readings when you start cold, and after you are heated up?
- How does the steering feel?
- How’s the braking?
- Is the problem constant or periodic?
- Does it happen at slow speed? Fast? During acceleration? Braking?
- When did the problem first start?
OK. Now you and I know that you will not be able to resist trying to make that “noise” when talking to your mechanic… and actually, it’s perfectly acceptable. Just make sure it is backed up by a few facts and history of the problem
Professional auto repair garages, such as the Good News Garage, recognize the importance of good communication about a car’s problems. Once you are talking to your mechanic, go ahead and use your list. Mention oil changes, brake sounds, and anything that you have noted during your analysis.
Then stand back and let them do their proper diagnosis and find out what the problem really is. Resist the temptation to suggest a specific repair. Just tell where it hurts, what it’s doing, and let the mechanic work his magic.
Finding Jeff’s Auto Repair
To find the Good News Garage, head on out Hwy 28 from the center of Salmon. You’ll be going south on Hwy 28 (actually it’s the only way you can go from town.)
A very short mile from the center of town you’ll come upon City Park (with the pool) on your right, and a row of industrial buildings on the left. The Good News Garage is there, to your left. You’ll recognize it by all those repaired cars, trucks and RV’s out front that are nice and healthy from their visit with Jeff!
Getting the oil changed in your car is about more than just getting the oil changed in your car! As every auto repair shop knows, the average driver never pops the hood of their car, or even checks tires and brakes. A good mechanic, doing an oil change, will also give your car a once-over to make sure that the miles you are putting on your vehicle are not adding damage!
It might very well be that your oil is not causing imminent damage to your car at 3,000 miles. More than likely you started to notice that your car was due for an oil change at 3,000 miles, and have put on another thousand or so miles before you got around to bringing it in for an oil change. Those miles have also added a lot of bumps to your car, strain to your transmission, and wear on your brakes. It’s good to come in for regular checkups to make sure your trusy vehicle never leaves you stranded on the side of the road.
Many car manufacturers recommend that oil be changed every 7,500 miles under normal driving conditions. But in order to keep your machine in tip-top condition all around it is good to have more regular checkups.
Another possible scenario is a car that is not driven very often. A vehicle that does not put on a lot of miles should still be seen regularly by a mechanic. Obviously not as often as a car putting on thousands of miles a month, but definitely every 6-months to a year.
Today’s car engines run at hotter temperatures to meet quality emission standards. You may have also noticed that engines run a lot better and a lot longer than they used to! It is not unusual for an average engine to work smoothly for 200,000 miles or so.
Today’s oils are also of higher quality than the oils in the 50′s and 60’2… when the 3,000 oil change became the rule of thumb. Better oils and tighter engines give us more leeway in extending our oil change times. The 7,500 recommendation seems excessive in light of the damage that can be done to a vehicle through lack of maintenance. an oil change is a small price to pay to keep a vehicle (that costs as much as a house did in teh 60′s!) running smoothly.
Petrolium sludge buildup on an engine is a leading cause of engine death. Clogged oil and air filters reduce engine performance enough to more than pay for an oil change through just the gas money you will save.
So, while engine performance and oil quality is up, so are vehicle prices and the cost of gas! Call your trusty auto repair shop today and schedule an oil change!
With today’s high gas prices it pays to have your car optimized for the highest performance. It’s worth taking a few minutes out of your day to make a few minor modifications that will improve your gas mileage. And it’s worth it in your budget to consult with the trained professionals at the Good News Garage in Salmon Idaho to help you get the most from your vehicle.
Along with good maintenance and regular tuneups, knowing how to drive to decrease wind resistance and minimize braking and acceleration can dramatically help increase your gas mileage. These tips brought to you by the Good News Garage: a trusted Salmon Idaho mechanic.
Practice these Good Vehicle Maintenance Tips:
- Keep all your tires inflated correctly and check them frequently.
- Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment. Even the slightest wobble in your suspension or steering could have dramatic effects on your gas mileage.
- Use the proper oil: if you use the thinnest viscosity oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer you will increase that gas mileage.
- Get your checkups! Keeping your engine in proper mechanical condition saves money in the long run.
- Keep those air and fuel filters clean, and make sure your engine is constantly in tune.
- Check your brakes regularly and make sure they are not dragging.
- Repair any body damage as quickly as possible. Slight changes to the outside of your vehicle will increase wind resistance.
- Use regular fuel… only use premium if recommended by your auto manufacturer.
Driving tips to increase gas mileage:
- Don’t warm your car up forever. Most modern engines do not require it.
- Keep idle times to a minimum: Turn the car off when you are leaving it for a bit, or at long traffic stops.
- Avoid fast starts and acceleration.
- Keep that speed down! Anything over 55 miles per hour greatly increases wind resistance.
- It is often best to close the windows and turn on the air conditioning. In today’s vehicles with aerodynamic designs you lose more from wind resistance in having the windows open than you gain by having the air conditioning off.
- Watch for what’s coming up: avoiding sudden stops, and merging smoothly can lead towards a lower weekly gas bill.
Best of all, plan your trips wisely. Do several chores at once, and plan good routes, rather than constantly jumping in your car throughout the day. Keep your car light by emptying the trunk and reducing weight. Try to keep your speed constant and drive in the highest gear possible.