Tag Archives: car care council

Keep it Cool this Summer

Don’t Overheat this Summer

With the summer heat sending temperatures in St. Louis through the roof, knowing how to assess the overall health of your vehicle is a vital part of making sure everyone remembers this year’s summer trip for all the right reasons.

At Axleboy, we’ve noticed that summer is one of the busiest times of year at our auto shop.  “Why is that,” you might ask?  We believe that most major engine problems start with minor issues in the cooling system, and that many of those minor problems go undiagnosed during the fall, winter and spring months.

Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council advises:

“Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure, which would put a sudden end to your summer road trip.   If the cooling system doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it’s not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when it will fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.”

Under normal driving conditions, most engine temperatures fluctuate between 190 and 215°F.  If the engine cooling system isn’t working just right, those temperatures can soar, causing a multitude of malfunctions.

 

Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System

To help prevent coolant-related breakdowns this summer, pay close attention to these common symptoms before you hit the road: frequent overheating, constantly low coolant levels and the sweet smell of syrup.  All of these are symptoms of a sick cooling system that should receive immediate mechanical attention.

 

Routine Maintenance

According to the Car Care Council, “A major factor that affects the replacement of cooling system parts is the frequency of regular maintenance, such as coolant changes.”  We advise motorists to follow the service schedule in their owner’s manual for specific recommendations about how often to change antifreeze and flush the coolant system (typically every couple of years).  These schedules are formulated by the manufacturer to optimize engine performance and reliability.

In addition, motorists should regularly (like once a month) check the coolant levels at the reservoir and top off as needed.  The reservoir can be topped off with a 1:1 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water.  Using tap water is discouraged because, over time, the mineral deposits left behind when tap water evaporates can clog lines, leading to additional problems.

At Axleboy, we realize that NOBODY likes to pay for car repairs and that costs seem to add up quickly.  The fact is, small repairs will almost always be less expensive than a complete engine overhaul.  So, if you notice chronically low fluid or any of the other trouble symptoms, get to your trusted mechanic right away.

 

To make an appointment with Axleboy call: (636) 939-5337

Tire Care Aware

As Americans we want to get the most use out of every investment and it is not uncommon for us to push things (like tires) to their limits.  Is it any surprise that in 2012 the Car Care Council found that 10 percent of vehicles had excessive wear and were in need of replacement?  According to Randy Goodrich, service manager at Axleboy Automotive, “Tires are one of the easiest things for the average person to check and yet they are the most neglected.”

It only takes a few minutes to check tires.  The experts at Axleboy suggest three critical components to be aware of:

Tire Pressure: Maintaining appropriate tire pressure is not only helps ensure even wear, giving your tires a longer life, it is also proven to improve fuel efficiency by up to 3%.  Checking tire pressure is a quick and easy process that could save drivers hundreds of dollars each year.

Tread Depth: Tread is what keeps tires from slipping while turning corners or driving in wet conditions.  If tread depth measures below the minimum legal limits or if the rubber has started to crack, it may be unsafe to operate the vehicle.  If you’ve never heard of the “penny test” stop by Axleboy and one of our experts will show you to do this test yourself.

Alignment:  If your vehicle consistently pulls to one side or you experience stronger than normal shaking, you may have an issue with the alignment.  A vehicle that is not properly aligned is not only uncomfortable to drive, but it can also lead to premature, uneven tread wear.  Under normal driving conditions, the Car Care Council recommends “hav[ing] your car’s alignment checked at least once a year.”

In addition to being attentive to tire pressure, tread depth and vehicle alignment, Scott Carline, owner of Axleboy Automotive, suggests rotating the tires every 6,000-8,000 miles.  “Many people are not even aware that their front and rear tire tread wears down at a different rate,” says Scott.  “Generally, rotating tires at every other oil change can help minimize uneven wear and allow drivers to realize the full life expectancy of their tires.”

 

Schedule your next automotive service today and we’ll show you what to look for when assessing the tires on your vehicle.

The Pothole’s Revenge

Potholes, chuckholes, ruts or tire biters…call them what you will.  These road hazards seem to come back with a vengeance every year.  As drivers, we do the best we can to dodge them but there always seems to be one or two that are unavoidable.

After hitting a pothole, most drivers think, “{censored} pothole!!! I hope my car is okay.”

Upon first inspection, things may appear to be just fine.  Tires and wheels can easily be visually inspected, but there are several other issues that may not be as visually apparent.  According to the Car Care Council the following are signs that there may be more damage to the vehicle than initially anticipated:

  • Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends.
  • Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These symptoms mean there’s an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.
  • Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.

If you have got any of the symptoms described above, give us a call at (636) 939-5337  or click below to request an appointment.

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