Tag Archives: Maintenance

10 Quick Tips

10 Quick Tips For a Healthier Ride

Thanks to technological advancements and mobile connectivity the world seems to be moving at a faster pace than ever before.  According to a Gallup data collected from 2013 and 2014 nearly the average full-time employee works 47 hours a week.  Chalk up another 3.7 hours each day spent on social media, along with all the time spent running errands, eating, sleeping, hanging out with family/friends and countless other things going on day after day…and suddenly we’re surprised when our vehicle develops an odd noise, blows out a tire or the check-engine light comes on.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Don’t be too hard on yourself if it does.  Life is legitimately busy and full of distractions that constantly compete for our attention, so we often adopt the mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to automobiles, neglecting routine maintenance can turn into an expensive game.  For example, on average, vehicles need 3-4 oil changes annually to maintain optimal engine performance.  At $30 per change, we could expect to spend $90-120 per year on this service alone.  If, on the other hand, we just drove the vehicle until the engine burned up (no oil changes), our $100-200 short-term savings would suddenly become either a $4,000-6,000 expense to swap out the engine or a $250 monthly payment toward a new ride. Ouch, right?

Our suggestion: If you own any type of vehicle, set aside a little time to become familiar with more than just the fuel tank.  Here are 10 things you can do to help extend the life of your vehicle.

Every Week

  1. Check the tire pressure.  Most pressure gauges are the size of a pen and fit conveniently in the glove box. This 5 minute task will help your tires wear evenly, extending their useful life and giving you better stopping distances.
  2. Check for pooling oil and other fluids on the driveway or in the garage where you park.  Really, this is a daily type of thing and doesn’t require you to do anything other than be observant.
  3. Pay attention to the trouble-lights. Vehicles today are set up with some pretty awesome technology that is programmed to notify you when something is not working properly.  When your check-engine light or any other trouble light comes on, get it checked out by a professional asap.
  4. Check/Top off windshield fluid. Driver visibility is a vital component to safe driving and while we can’t speak for every windshield, ours certainly seem to collect dust, pollen and bug guts that all need to be washed off.  Checking the windshield fluid should take less than 2 minutes once you know what you are looking for under the hood.
  5. Clean out the interior.  Did you know that clean vehicles can last 25-30% longer than messy ones?  Drivers who take time to de-clutter their vehicle are more likely to notice when things do not sound, smell or feel right…like having enhanced “spider senses.”

 

Every Month

  1. Check your oil once a month. Even though that sticker says you don’t have to get an oil change for another 8 weeks, go ahead and check your engine oil anyway. It only takes 4-5 minutes and can let you know if your engine is burning oil or how serious a leak may be. The dipstick handle to check this is typically yellow.
  2. Check transmission fluid levels.  Next time you go for a drive, try counting how many times your vehicle shifts gears. In order to work properly, those gears require a specific type of transmission fluid.  The transmission dipstick handle is typically red and not always convenient, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic to point you in the right direction.
  3. Check coolant levels.  Just like people, engines don’t run for very long when temperatures get too high.  Metal expands when it gets hot, and at about 245 degrees Fahrenheit different parts of an engine can begin to distort.  Coolant, also called anti-freeze helps to regulate temperatures inside the engine so you cave dependable performance.
  4. Visually inspect turn signals and other exterior lighting. External lighting doesn’t have an impact on engine performance, but it can increase your visibility to other drivers and they only take a minute or two to check.
  5. Give your vehicle a bath at least once a month depending on the season.  Dirt, debris and especially salt buildup on your vehicle create an ideal environment for corrosion to take root. And by corrosion, we mean rust, which could easily be prevented with a 10 minute trip to the local car wash.

We’ve noticed that if these simple things don’t get put on the ‘To do’ list, they just won’t happen.  So what we’re suggesting is, put down your smart phone or your tablet and take 20-30 minutes, once a week to become a little more familiar with your car, truck, Jeep, SUV, boat, motorcycle, train or whatever you drive.  Social media and the internet will still be there when you get back (maybe)…and this will give you something interesting to share with all your Facebook friends.  Brb gtg chk my oil, u shd chk urs 2.

Rain drops

Rainy Day…Smear?

When was the last time you had your wiper blades changed?  If you are like most people, checking and replacing wiper blades doesn’t rank very high on the priority list.  That makes a lot of sense, since we don’t typically use them on a daily basis…but it can be pretty frustrating to turn them on and see streaks across the windshield.

According to a study conducted by the Car Care Council, 1 in 5 vehicles on the road have deficient wiper blades or washing systems.  That doesn’t sound so bad, right?  According to information gathered at statista.com, there were approximately 254 million registered vehicles on the road (in the U.S.) in 2012, and if only 1 out of 5 is deficient, then around 50.8 million drivers may be visually impaired when driving at night or in precipitous weather conditions.

What can you do to avoid being part of the 20% problem?  For starters, you can keep your windshield and side windows clean.  Use the courtesy squeegees provided at most gas stations each time you refuel your vehicle.  In addition to using the squeegee, check and replace wiper blades that are cracked, split or leaving streaks.

According to the experts at RainX, “Wiper blades should be replaced [at a minimum] every year” as part of a routine, preventative maintenance schedule.  At Axleboy, we realize that drivers make critical decisions nearly every moment they are on the road, and those decisions are based primarily on visibility.  Our top concern is keeping you on the road, and a good set of wipers can go a long way to helping you make the safest driving decisions.

Rain Drops on Windshield

RainX Wipers

Axleboy now carries a full line of the premium RainX Latitude windshield wiper blades.

Sources:

www.carcare.orgwww.rainx.comwww.statistica.com

Axleboy Shocks and Struts

Want a Better Ride?

When you want increased traction, better cornering and more control on the road, what is the first thing you look at?  Probably tires, right?  The right set of tires can certainly do a lot to enhance vehicle control, but there are two other components that are equally important when it comes to maximizing vehicle control and minimizing stopping distance.  We’re talking about the shocks and struts.  At Axleboy, any time we take the tires off, we also check the shocks, struts and brakes.

Teraflex 9550 Shock Absorber

What do the shocks and struts do?

Shocks and struts play an important role in absorbing jolts and vibrations and making sure your tires have constant contact with the road.  As they begin to age and wear out, you will notice your vehicle start to dip, sway, bounce and over-react…making it more difficult to maintain control.

 

How often do they need to be replaced?

Under normal driving conditions, we recommend that factory shocks and struts be replaced after approximately 50,000 miles, as a routine maintenance item.  Vehicles exposed to harsh weather conditions, unpaved roads or winding roads may require more frequent replacements.

 

Shock Lifespan

Warning Signs:

Does your vehicle bounce or rock from side to side when you go over even small bumps in the road?  When coming to a stop, does your car rock back and forth?  Does your vehicle bottom out on speed bumps?  These are all possible symptoms of shocks or struts that are under performing.

A completely failed unit will may: Rattle or make knocking noises, Leak hydraulic fluid, Cause uneven tire wear and Create unsafe driving conditions.

If you are noticing any of these warning or complete failure signs, give Axleboy a call at (636)939-5337.

Got Oil?

Pushing the Limits of Motor Oil

“To change or not to change?”  When it comes to motor oil, this isn’t a relevant question.  Instead, we should be asking ourselves, “When to change?”

 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “every 3,000 miles or 3 months.”  For decades, auto shops and quick lube stops have endorsed the idea that frequent oil changes help to extend the life of a vehicle…and much to their credit, it was true.  “But a lot has changed over the past 30 years,” says Scott Carline, owner of Axleboy, “especially with regards to motor oil.”

 

With modern advancement in the chemical composition of fully synthetic and even synthetic blends, combined with technological improvements under the hood, the old 3,000 mile rule is near obsolete.  Most modern automobiles, under normal conditions, can actually run for around 5,000 miles on a good synthetic blend, and some of the newer models can reportedly go an impressive 10,000-12,000 miles between changes before the oil starts to break down.

 

So, how often should your oil be changed?  Just because some vehicles can run more than 10,000 miles does not in any way mean that you should push your vehicle to those limits.  Every vehicles needs are different, and the answer to that question depends a lot on the driver, but we would suggest following the maintenance schedule and oil specifications outlined in your Vehicle Owner’s Manual.

 

Don’t know where your owner’s manual disappeared to?  A lot of these owner’s manuals are now online and can be downloaded for free, or simply ask one of our experts next time you are in the shop.

 

Axleboy Automotive

Monday –Friday 8:00 AM -6:00PM

4150-A Ehlmann Rd.

St. Peters, MO 63376

(636) 939-5337

Myth Behind the “Maintenance-Free” Cars

Are you “Car Care Aware?”  April is national preventative maintenance month and Axleboy Automotive is challenging you to take a hand in being proactive toward maintaining your automobile.  The first step toward cultivating a proactive mindset is to dispel the false notion behind the maintenance free car.

“Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the marketing and sales tactics of dealerships,” says Scott Carline, president and owner, Axleboy Automotive.  “Consider this: What motivation does a car salesman have to sell a ‘maintenance-free’ car?  The answer is all too clear.  Car dealerships know that if drivers don’t take appropriate care of their cars, they will eventually have to purchase a new one.”

At Axleboy, we know that if you really want a car to last 100, 200 or even 300 thousand miles it must have regular preventative maintenance both at the shop and at home.  While opening up the hood may seem daunting to some, there are plenty of things that every-day car owners can watch for.

The Car Care Council and most vehicle operations manuals recommend that, on top of routine mechanical service, car owners *regularly perform the following 10-point check of their vehicle:

 

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  3. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  4. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  6. Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
  7. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
  8. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  9. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  10. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

*Regularly is a very broad term that, in the case of this article, is used to mean “at least once per month.”

 

Schedule your appointment at Axleboy today by calling (636) 939-5337 or clicking below.

Axleboy

It’s a Jeep Thing

Why is it that the local Jeep clubs and several Chrysler-Jeep dealerships look to Axleboy as THE trusted source for reliable off-road repair and customization? Could it have something to do with the fact that the guys at Axleboy have over 110 years of combined automotive experience?  Possibly.

 

We like to think “It’s a Jeep thing.”  If you’re new to the Jeep community, you might not fully appreciate the weight of that phrase but you soon will.  Jeeps, much like their owners, live life to the fullest… constantly pushing the limits and going where no other vehicle has gone before.

Because Jeeps are used in ways that no other standard car or truck would even imagine, they have specialized needs.  Without having built a Jeep or regularly driving off-road, many mechanics are simply under-qualified to understand the needs of the Jeep community.

 

Axleboy is unique from all other automotive shops in that we not only work on Jeeps, but we are also immersed in Jeep culture and participate in several Jeep events every year.  The fact that we have firsthand experience building out our own Jeeps and putting them to the test gives us an irreplaceable competitive advantage when it comes to understanding your off-road needs.

“Sure, we do complete automotive repair and maintenance, “says Scott Carline, “but our true passion is lifting, re-gearing and customizing Jeeps.  There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing our [Axleboy] logo on a bad-a** Jeep out at Flat Nasty or on some long-forgotten back road.”

 

If you have big ideas for your Jeep or off-road vehicle, stop by Axleboy in St. Peters TODAY, or give us a call at (636) 939-JEEP. 

Our experts are always glad to talk “off-road” and can work up a quote on any work you need done.

We Honor Sport Moms

Salute To Sports-Team Moms

Sports-Team Moms, we salute you!!  You are the superheroes of the 21st century and we admire the many roles you fulfill.  At any moment, you take on the role of party planner, master of ceremonies, operations manager, medic and/or nutrition specialist.  You are the voice of reason, the shoulder to cry on and the embodiment of kindness, compassion & selfless service.

Like all superheroes, you have a specialized vehicle full of gadgets that can do almost anything.  Its comfortable seating and spacious cargo area make your mini-van the ultimate vehicle of choice among responsible super-sport-moms.  With you at the helm, no matter what obstacles appear, we are confident that you will get our team there on time.

We understand that there are times when things don’t turn out exactly as you planned, and it’s okay, Mom.  That’s all part of the superhero-cycle.  Even Superman and Wonder Woman had challenges to overcome, and often times they relied on a faithful sidekick for additional help.  We want you to know that when the trouble-light comes on, help is one simple phone call away.  Your dependable sidekick, Axleboy, can accurately assess the danger and provide a viable strategic plan to keep you and your team safely on the road.

Oil Changes, Transmission Work, Wheels & Tires, Axles, Differentials, Safety & Emissions and so much more.  No matter what you need, we’re here for you!  We can even set you up with a courtesy van at no additional cost so that your team doesn’t have to miss a single game.

Windshield Wash Fluid

Washer Fluid

Underneath the hood of your vehicle should be a small plastic container full of blue fluid.  In the winter months that fluid can be a real life-saver as it works with your wiper blades to keep your windshield clean.  Here are some common questions we’ve heard this winter about washer fluid.

Is there any alternative to buying fluid from the store?

Yes. You can find several DIY solutions online.  We advise that you use caution when following recipes that appear online.  Unfortunately some solutions may cause a significant amount of damage over time.  So, if you don’t want to spend the $1-$2 and purchase fluid from the store just make sure you do your research. Or bring your vehicle to Axleboy and we’ll top you off.

Can I just use a mixture of water and detergent?

You could…but we absolutely do NOT recommend it for several reasons.  First, the chemical properties of detergents may actually leave a residue on the inside of hoses which can lead to system failure.  Second, this combination is not rated for low temperatures.  When water freezes it expands and may completely bust the plastic fluid container.  Finally, the chemicals found in many detergents can be harmful to an automobile’s paint, making it more likely to peel and blister in warm weather.

Does my mechanic top off this fluid as part of my routine maintenance?

That can vary from one shop to another, but when you have your vehicle serviced at Axleboy the answer is definitely YES.  Every time your vehicle comes into our shop, for routine maintenance and repairs, we check and top off essential fluids.  Your safety on the road is our primary focus.

Is there a special winter blend that I should buy?

There are essentially two types of windshield fluid: a diluted form of the blue stuff which is good at any temperature above 40°F and the standard winter blend, rated for temperatures as low as -20°F.  At Axleboy, we use the winter blend all year long and it works great.  Whether you buy the pre-mixed solution or one of the many concentrates available, we recommend that you check the temperature rating on the label and follow all directions…or you could just bring you vehicle to Axleboy and we’ll take care of it for you.

Windshield Wash Fluid

 

We Service Fleets of All Sizes

Maintaining Your Fleet in 2014

Most business owners and managers have a lot on their mind.  Whether they are hiring& training technicians, balancing the books Axleboy Automotive offers a wide range of fleet maintenance services that can help keep your vehicles on the road, keep your customers happy and keep the revenue rolling in. or finding new ways to expand their client base, in business, there always seems to be something that is in need of critical attention.  The last thing that any business owner or fleet manager wants is a phone call from a stranded driver.  That one phone call often turns into a mountain of paperwork, costly repairs and cranky customers.  On top of all that, whenever one fleet vehicle is out of commission, some other vehicle has to compensate for the adjusted work load, incurring greater wear and tear.

Here’s what we have to offer:

1.      Regular service reminders

Fleet vehicles are always on the go and it’s easy to forget the small things that keep them running.  At Axleboy Automotive, we ease the burden of having to remember routine maintenance items by sending out email reminders to our customers.

2.      Tire Rotation

Properly rotated tires helps to extend the longevity of your tread.  What this means, is that your drivers will be able to put on more miles before needing new tires.  Our service manager, Randy, suggests that tires should be rotated at every other oil change.

3.      Regular Oil Changes

Not changing your oil is the absolute worst thing you can do to an engine.  The chemical additives in clean oil help keep moving parts lubricated, carry heat away from the metal parts suspend dirt so it can move to the oil filter.

Over time though, these additives break down.  Push your oil too far and it will turn into a gooey black sludge that loses its ability to lubricate and actually becomes counter-productive.

Got Oil?

4.      30 Point Inspection

Our goal is to keep your drivers on the road longer.  Whenever one of your fleet vehicles comes into Axleboy Automotive, our technicians run a full check the critical components to ensure that all systems work according to their design.  If anything doesn’t look quite right, we’ll write it up for you and provide an accurate cost estimate.

5.      Vehicle Pickup and Delivery

For business owners big and small, time is money.  At Axleboy Automotive, we recognize that taking time out of your already packed schedule to service a fleet vehicle costs precious time.  We offer two unique solutions: 1. Our technicians will save you the time of coming in by picking up your vehicle to be serviced and delivering it when completed and 2. If you still need access to transportation, we are more than glad to reserve one of our two courtesy vehicles.

 

Fleet Trucks

Aircraft Maintenance Stand Spindle Repair | GSE Steering and Axle Repairs

This aircraft maintenance stand suffered from repeated steering knuckle and spindle failures. Our GSE axle specialist machined the broken spindle from the steering knuckle, and pressed and welded an upgraded 3500lb spindle into it’s place. We fix airport ground services equipment axles, differentials and steering. We distribute GSE axle parts and braking systems.

spindle_2   spindle_3