3 Common Maintenance Mistakes

Our Certified Technicians  provide quality service at a reasonable price.
Our Certified Technicians provide quality service at a reasonable price.

Our vehicles do more for us than help run errands, move across the state, and shuttle the little league team to and from practices. They get us from point A to point B safely and don’t ask for too much in return. One thing your vehicle won’t directly ask you for, but still needs, is routine maintenance. Maintenance is an important piece of the vehicle ownership experience and should be taken seriously. Driver’s can lure themselves into a false sense of security when they make these simple maintenance mistakes. Don’t let your vehicle down! Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you!

 

  1. Skipping an Alignment

    Changing your tires is a great way to keep your vehicle running safely and efficiently, but if you skip the alignment process altogether it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. A while back we did a short post on why you need an alignment, but to sum it up, it protects your tires from wearing out unevenly.

  2. Avoiding an Oil Change

    Oil changes are an important part of vehicle maintenance and keep your engine running in top shape. You vehicle’s engine breaks down oil as it is circulated and eventually the oil will stop providing the right amount of lubrication for your engine, causing your engine to wear out faster. Even though oil technology has made several advances in recent years, it’s still a best practice to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular oil changes.

  3. Skimping on a Quality Battery

    Replacing a dead battery on your vehicle is the least fun part to shop for in the parts department, but it is an important piece of equipment. With many of the vehicle’s gadgets running off the battery, it’s more important than ever to be sure that your battery is up to the task. An inexpensive battery may seem like a quick and easy fix at the time, but it could end up leading to costly repairs to the electrical system down the road.

Our Service department would be happy to take care of any of these maintenance requests for you. We have Certified Technicians that love to provide quality service at a reasonable price. Take a look at our Service Specials and give us a call (972) 223-7611. Our ALL-PRO team is ready to serve you!

5 Tips to Prep for Your Annual Road Trip

 

2013 Chevy Malibu at the Beach
2013 Chevy Malibu at the Beach

It’s that time of year where families all over the state begin to take advantage of their lake houses and beach getaways for the weekend. Keep your sanity and your wallet happy by following these suggestions before hitting the open road.

  1. Bring your car in for its routine maintenance. An oil change and a tire rotation makes all of the difference on how your car performs. While your car is getting looked over, mention to the service adviser that you are about to go out of town and if there is anything else they could take a look at while your car is in the shop.
  2. Be prepared for emergencies. Make sure your trunk has an easy to find emergency kit stocked with tools to help manage an accident or medical event. Basic supplies to include are flashlight, first-aid kit, a blanket and a bottle of water. We hope you never have to use these things, but it’s best to be prepared for anything while away from home.
  3. Charge up your cell phone. Before you hit the road, make sure your cell phone has a full charge and you have a working car charger with you. The last thing you want to experience is trying to look up directions to your destination on your dying cell phone or trying to navigate yourself out of a bad part of town.
  4. Pack Smart! While packing your trunk tetris style might seem like a great idea at the time, bear in mind that you will most likely be bringing extra souvenirs home, so plan on leaving extra space accordingly. Keeping a small cooler in between the kids lets them have access to snacks and drinks and might help them keep the back seat peace.
  5. Check your lights! This is one of the easiest, most often overlooked, areas of your car to check yourself. Turn on your car at night and take a walk around it. If you do have a light out you will have some time to get it taken care of before your trip. Don’t forget to check your hazard lights! Flashing hazard lights have saved countless stranded drivers from being hit by passing vehicles.

Be safe and have fun! Be sure to post your pictures of where your Chevy takes you! We live vicariously through you! #findnewroads

 

4 Things I’ll Never Ignore About My Brakes Again! A Cautionary Tale by Tammy DeYoung

ABS Warning Light
ABS Warning Light

Have you seen the TV commercial where a lady eats an unhealthy snack, then hits herself in the forehead and says, “I could’ve had a V-8!”

Instead of snack time, picture the waiting room of an auto repair shop.
Instead of that lady, picture me, smacking my forehead saying, “I could’ve saved BIG bucks!”

My dad always told me, “Have your car serviced at the first sign of trouble to avoid bigger trouble later.”  But I didn’t listen. Sigh.  I knew something  was wrong with my car, but I procrastinated finding out.  And now, instead of shopping for a new spring wardrobe for myself, I’m buying new shoes and ALL the pricey accessories for the braking system of my car.

It all came to a peak when my husband switched cars with me one day and called me a little upset.  “How long have the brakes been making that awful noise?”  he asked.  “This is really bad!”

“I haven’t heard any awful noises,”  I said, which was the truth!  They hadn’t been making any awful noises.  But there were other warning signs I had ignored and didn’t realize how serious it was.  I’m blessed to have a spouse that is understanding of my ignorance.

But, I don’t want you to suffer my fate!  I don’t want you to get that phone call from your spouse!  Mostly, I don’t want you giving up that to-die-for handbag because you were careless getting your car repaired!   So I’m on a mission to share what I learned the hard way!

What are those warning signs I ignored?

I asked Chuck Fairbanks Service Advisor, Blake, to explain to me what I should have done early to prevent such a big brake repair later.

“Listen to your car,” said Blake.  “Like a pet,  your car will talk to you and tell you what’s wrong!”

Hmmm….I like that analogy!  I have two dogs that definitely have “warning signals” telling me what they need!

“So, what should I listen for?”  I asked.

1.  Any type of squealing when applying pressure to your brakes.  There are wear indicators built onto the brake pads that will make noise when they need to be serviced.  Replacing the pads at this stage is much more economical.  Like I said, picture the V-8 commercial!  At this stage, you have tons of money leftover for new clothes!

2.  A pulsating or a shuttering in your brake pedal when applying pressure.  This means there is some type of imperfection in the brake rotators that need immediate attention.  So no, it doesn’t mean the tires need air or that the road is bumpy!  At this point, you can still buy plenty of spring dresses if you act quickly!

3.  Brake light warnings illuminated on your instrument panel!  When the light comes on, take your car in for service!  I confess, mine did say “ABS Tracking is Off” but I just thought it was some sort of switch and I would get around to it.  I have no idea how much I would have saved at this point, but I’m fairly sure I could have still bought a lovely new handbag.

4.  Grinding noises.  This is really really bad. This means your brakes are “metal on metal” which is never a good thing and results in more extensive damage and more expensive repairs.  A this point, the personal shopping spree is pretty much over.

Thankfully,  Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet  has an excellent Service Center with expert care at a reasonable cost!  I’m still smacking myself in the head because my procrastination created a problem that never had to be.  If I would have just brought it to service when I first felt that pulsating, or saw the light come on, I’d be a fashionista right now!  Instead, I will just have to be content knowing my car has a shiny new braking system.

I have learned my lesson and will NEVER let it happen again!  But I leave you with one more piece of advice from Blake:
 “If you are driving and you hear a ‘ding! ding! ding! ding‘ sound in your car….and your seat belt is fastened……that means something is wrong and your car needs service!”

Good advice, Blake!  And thanks for taking care of my brakes!

Does My Vehicle Need an Alignment?

Evidence of a Bad Alignment
Evidence of a Bad Alignment

Do you ever feel like your vehicle is pulling a certain direction? You probably need to have your alignment checked. Did you buy new tires recently? Did they check your alignment? Are your tires uneven feeling? You guessed it, you need an alignment. A simple adjustment to the alignment of your vehicle can solve a multitude of problems!

Adjusting the alignment of your vehicle is needed when the parts that hold the wheels in place begin to wear out. When these parts wear out, your wheels are no long parallel to each other or completely flat against the road.

One of the ways your vehicle will let you know that it needs an alignment is how the tires are showing wear. If the outside part of your tire is getting worn down, but there is still plenty of tread in the middle, you might want to have your alignment checked. It also helps to check the passenger side tires against the driver side tires. All of your tires should show roughly the same amount of wear, if not, you need an alignment.

Another thing that you might have noticed, while you were driving, is that strange feeling that your vehicle is pulling to one side. When you feel like you have to really try to get the steering wheel to line the car up straight. If you feel like you are having to work hard at driving your car in a straight line, it’s a good idea to bring it into service and let the professionals take a look at it.

Whenever you purchase new tires, you should have your alignment checked to reap the full benefits of having brand new tires. New tires allow you to have better control of your vehicle, but if your alignment is off you lose this extra control.

If you feel like you are experiencing any of these things, swing by our service center and ask one of our service advisors to take a quick look. Our service advisors are always happy to answer any questions about the routine and not-so-routine maintenance of your vehicle.

What Does This Light Mean?

One of the most popular phone calls that the service department handles usually references a light that has illuminated on the dashboard. Join us on Wednesdays as we cover the basic, and not so basic, lights on your dashboard, what they mean and what to do about them!

The first light on our long list of dashboard lights is the tire pressure light. Here is what the tire pressure light looks like.

Tire Pressure Light
Tire Pressure Light

See those four rectangles on the bottom? Those represent tire treads. Who knew?

Anyways, the tire pressure monitor system warns the driver when there is a significant loss, or gain, in tire pressure in any of the four tires.  This light will stay on until the tire pressure is corrected. The proper tire pressures for your specific vehicle can be found on the Tire and Loading Label which is located just below the door latch on the driver’s door.

During colder weather, your tire pressure light might come on at the start of your drive and then turn itself off during your drive. This could be an early indicator that your tires could use a little more pressure.

If your tire pressure light comes on and stays on, your tires will need your attention sooner rather than later. The easiest thing to do is to swing by a gas station that has an air pump and add a little bit of air to your tires. If you are unsure about adding your own air to your tires, like me, then you can always swing by a dealership and ask them for a little assistance.

It’s important to note that the tire pressure monitor system, aka the tire pressure light, can alert you about low tire pressure, but it is not a replacement for normal, monthly, tire maintenance. It is the driver’s responsibility to maintain correct tire pressures. Tires with low pressure causes increased treadwear on the outsider edges of the tire and can reduce your fuel economy because your vehicle is having to work harder to get down the road.

Stay tuned on Wednesdays for our weekly post “What Does This Light Mean?” brought to you by our awesome service department!