How often do I need an oil change?
3,000 miles has is a good rule of thumb, but there are plenty of things to consider; conventional or synthetic oil, normal or severe operating conditions, manufacturer specifications, etc. Many car manufacturers specify synthetic oil, and recommended oil change intervals of over 5,000 miles are not uncommon. We consider 5,000 miles to be the upper limit. Yes, some synthetic oils can hold up beyond that, but the oil filter is still accumulating more and more contaminants.
How can I tell if I need an alignment?
If the vehicle pulls to one side on a level roadway, that is a pretty good sign, but that is only one sign- and may not always occur. A car’s alignment may be out of specification, yet it can drive perfectly straight. Tire wear is another indicator we look at. If a tire is wearing prematurely, or unevenly, the number one cause is alignment.
What should I run for air pressure in my tires?
This is a great question. There are typically two numbers to look at, vehicle specification and tire manufacturer specification. You can find the vehicles spec in the door jam of the drivers door. It will be on the sticker that tells the size and pressure for both the front and rear tires. On the sidewall of the tire will be the maximum capacity of the tire, and the maximum tire pressure. Since most people don’t drive with four of their friends and all their luggage, we usually recommend something in between those two numbers.
How can I tell if I need new brakes?
The best way to tell is a visual inspection. This way any defects, or severe wear can be identified before it becomes a safety concern. If a car’s brakes are making any grinding noises, if the brake pedal feels softer than usual, if the car pulls, shudders, or vibrates under braking, chances are good the brakes are already unsafe.
Do I need a tune up?
Some warning signs are the following:
Engine runs rough when idling or when accelerating
Longer to start
Poor fuel mileage
With today’s computer controlled engines, it can be tough to tell when a tune up is due. The engine control unit can detect if the engine is running poorly, and try to adjust for that. Sounds great, right? Well, if the engine is running inefficiently for a long time, it can cause check engine lights, and premature wear and damage to other components- things like oxygen sensors and catalytic converters. One thing we always recommend is to check the manufacturer maintenance intervals for tune up schedules.
How do I know if I need new tires?
One good way to tell is to look at the wear bars in the tread. These are raised areas in between certain tread blocks that show when a tire is worn out to a point of being unsafe- typically around 2/32”. Keep in mind, even at that point a tire is more susceptible to hydroplaning, and can be downright dangerous in wintry conditions. Also, if a tire is wearing unevenly, certain spots may have good tread while others are nearly bald. It is not unusual for us to see cars with tires well above the wear bars in the center, and bald on the inside edges.
Why do I get vibrations at high speeds?
This is often due to a tire being out of balance. If you have recently driven through a lot of mud or snow, check to see if there is dirt or ice on your rim. Tire damage,or a bent wheel can also cause this.
Sometimes this can be a result of more serious axle or drivetrain issues. Having a damaged or unbalanced cv shaft or drive shaft can cause vibrations, as can transmission/awd problems, even a seized brake caliper can cause vibrations without the brakes being applied.