Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Crucial Vehicle Maintenance Items on Every Car

Cars today do not need half as much maintenance as they needed a couple of years ago. Car manufacturers are constantly working on better, more functional and efficient vehicle models. However, there are still a couple of important things you need to keep up with if your do not want to develop car problems. Some of the most common and crucial vehicle maintenance items include:


Oil is the life blood of your car’s engine making this maintenance bit the most important for your vehicle. The oil keeps the engine’s part working properly but it can be exposed to exhaust gases from the cylinders or get contaminated by small bits of metal. As the oil becomes older, it is less effective in its function and the heat from the engine also reduces the viscosity of the oil. You should change your oil at least once every three months or every five thousand miles. The frequency of engine oil changing depends on how often you use your vehicle. You should always consult the owner’s manual to see how long your vehicle can go between oil changes. If your vehicle has a complex monitoring system, it may be able to determine how long the oil will last. This feature is often found in vehicles that are more modern.

Air filter

A dirty air filter for your car is similar to trying to breathe with a sock over your mouth. Not enough air can get in and most of it is muffled and musty. Air filters clogged with dust and dirt is kind of the same way and can reduce your gas mileage significantly. The frequency of changing your air filters depends on the environmental conditions where you are driving and the number of miles you drive in a year.  Just like your engine oil, your air filters should be changed at least once every 5000miles. The distance may be longer for street vehicles that do not get into a lot of dirt or off-road driving.

Old engines produce fumes that can contaminate the filter and cause it become unusable in as little as 1000 miles.

Brake pads

It is a no brainer that brake maintenance is important to the safety of your vehicle. There are no rules on how often you need to change your brake pads. It purely depends on the frequency of your driving, your driving style, the weight of the vehicle and the quality of the brake pads. When it comes to checking your brakes, take a more hands on approach in making sure you replace worn out brakes. Most auto repair shops offer free brake inspection. Some vehicles also have an electrical monitor built into the brake pads that tell when they are too worn out and need to change.

The life expectancy of your tires also varies depending on the load of your car, your driving techniques and the driving conditions. Normal passenger car tires can do about 50,000 miles before they need to be change. There are some factors that can cause premature wearing out of car tires. The wear indicators in car tires are the tiny ridges between the treads. Once the treads get even with the ridges, you know you need to get new tires.

Posted by: Faircloth Automotive 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Golden Rules of Vehicle Maintenance You Should Know

Car maintenance is one of the major responsibilities of owning a vehicle. Regular car maintenance can help reduce the frequency of accidents and incidences. It also greatly improves the lifespan of your vehicle. Reading your vehicle owner’s manual is an informative guide on the proper maintenance of your car and it could save you a lot of money.

Check engine light
Ignoring your “check engine” light is a big and expensive mistake for vehicle owners. About 50% of drivers whose “check engine” light is on often ignore this sign of trouble for as much as three months because they are fearful of finding out the cost of what is wrong with the vehicle. It could be minor but ignoring the light will allow it to grow to a much bigger problem. Some of the most common reasons for the engine light to come on are a malfunctioning oxygen sensor or a damaged spark plug. Ignoring such problems could decline your gas mileage or need repairs that are more expensive in future.

Change your oil
You should never extend oil-change intervals beyond what is recommended for your vehicle. Try to keep up as much as possible with the manufacturer’s recommendations for your engine to avoid damaging it. Replacing a damaged engine costs thousands of dollars and failing routine maintenance could invalidate your car warranty. Oil changes cost only about $10.

Check the tire pressure
You should learn how to check your own tire pressure manually. Little pressure and too much pressure can lead to a barrage of problems with your tires and vehicle handling on the road. You need to make sure the tire pressure is just right. Driving with the wrong tire pressure causes you to use more fuel than necessary and you also risk a blow out. If you are forgetful about it, you can set an alarm on your phone to remind you of these regular maintenance checks.

Rotate the tires
Rotating tires helps to increase the lifespan of the tire treads. Rotating the tires ensures proper alignment of the tires to the vehicle and the grown. This ensures that the tire treads wear out evenly. Make sure you keep a spare tire in your boot as well and learn how to change it for your own safety.
Change fuel and air filters
Oxygen sensor failure costs as much as $250 in repairs yet replacing the dirty air filter only costs 20bucks. This just goes to show how expensive neglect can be. In case your vehicle misfires, you will ends up spending as much as $1000 on a catalytic converter.

Only use quality replacement parts
There is no double that cheap is often expensive. You may think that you are saving money only to spend much more of it on repairs after your vehicle gets damaged by these cheap replacement parts. Avoid replacing more complex parts with inferior parts. Ensure you have the right part by checking the vehicle make and model number when buying replacement parts online. If you are not too sure, then leave it to a professional. 

Posted By: Faircloth Automotive  http://fairclothautomotive.com/

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

8 Questions to Ask your Auto Mechanic

When taking your car for repairs at the mechanic, don’t just drop it and leave. Ask your mechanic a number of questions that will help you understand the service they are capable of providing.

1.     What credentials do your technicians have?
Auto repair technicians have expertise in different areas. You need to find out this information before you entrust them with your car. For instance, find out if the technicians have been trained to repair engines or provide quality car servicing.

2.     Are you familiar with my car’s make/model?
Taking your car to the dealership for repairs may be somewhat expensive and that’s why most car owners prefer to look for a private mechanic. However, it’s important to ensure that the private mechanic you have chosen is well versed with your model or make. This will prevent a lot of issues and ensure you get proper repairs done the first time.

3.     What kind of repairs do you specialize in?
Auto mechanics can focus on a number of different areas but there are others who are well versed with a single type of repair. For instance, if you want auto glass repairs, it is best to consider technicians who are experienced in this area. Find out what kind of service the technicians do best and focus on that.

4.     Can you provide free estimates?
You should be able to get a free written estimate from the mechanics before you can finally commit to having them repair your car. It gives you the opportunity to understand what you will be paying for and even negotiate for a better rate.

5.     Can you explain all the repairs needed in detail?
When your car is experiencing serious problems, you need a mechanic who can break it down to you in a way you’ll understand. Find a good mechanic who can explain issues and ways to prevent them in future. You’ll end up spending less on car repairs.

6.      Do you provide an alternative car for a client?
There are auto shops that provide their clients with a courtesy car when their car is undergoing repairs. This really works great especially if you rely on your car for day to day transportation. However, this may come at an additional cost that should be quoted in advance without any hidden costs.

7.      What guarantees do you offer?
You need to ensure that the car repairs done are of the highest quality and that the mechanic is able to stand behind their work. They will only do this if they offer reasonable guarantees. For instance, if the repairs do not work within a predefined period then they should be able to redo it for free.

8.     Do you offer warranty on parts or labor?

Most important, you need to find out if the mechanic will make use of quality auto parts and provide high standard labor. Most auto shops that provide a high standard of service will have warranties on their parts and labor so that you are rest assured that your money is well spent. 

Posted By: Faircloth Automotive http://fairclothautomotive.com

Friday, October 16, 2015

Understanding Your Vehicle's Oxygen Sensors

Every automobile on the road today is comprised of thousands of parts, large and small, working in harmony allowing us to enjoy the experience of driving down the road. When one of these parts fails, engine performance can decline and oftentimes it can have a cyclic effect on other parts of the vehicle as well. Arguably the most important part of any vehicle is the engine which creates the power needed to operate it. Today, we are going to look at the oxygen sensor and how it helps to keep the engine running efficiently, as well as its effect on the vehicle's exhaust system.
To understand the importance of the oxygen sensor and why it is needed, we first need to understand how the engine itself operates. The basic concept of combustion engines is to add a tiny amount of fuel to a small enclosed space and ignite it; there is an incredible amount of energy released in the form of expanding gasses from this combustion which is utilized to power the vehicle. There have obviously been many changes since the first vehicle was created back in the 1800's but one thing has remained constant, the four-stroke design of all combustion engines.
The four-strokes in each engine cylinder are broken down into the intake stoke, compression stroke, combustion stroke and finally the exhaust stroke. In the intake stroke, oxygen and gas enter the cylinder, the compression stroke adds pressure to this mixture, the combustion stroke ignites the mixture and during the exhaust stroke the exhaust is released out of the cylinder to eventually exit the tailpipe. Each cylinder in the engine goes through these four strokes hundreds of times in a minute, and there must be a precise mixture of gasoline and oxygen each time for maximum efficiency. This is where the oxygen sensor comes into play.
The oxygen sensor measures the exhaust from the cylinders and depending on the amount of oxygen remaining after combustion, sends a message to the engine's computer to make adjustments. The perfect ratio of oxygen to gasoline is 14.7 to 1. When there is too much oxygen entering the cylinder during the intake stroke, it can cause poor engine performance, engine damage and will release more nitrogen-oxide pollutants into the environment. On the other hand, if there is too much fuel during the intake stroke, there will be unburned gasoline left over which will create excessive pollution and can ignite in the catalytic converter, causing it to fail which leads to a significant repair bill.
Every engine has a baseline set of parameters it utilizes to determine the amount of gas and oxygen to send to the cylinders but that amount fluctuates depending on a variety of factors. The air temperature, engine temperature, altitude, barometric pressure and even the load on the engine can all change how much oxygen is pulled into the engine. In order to maintain the perfect ratio of 14.7:1, the engine needs to make periodic adjustments, which it can only do if the oxygen sensors continue to send information. If the oxygen sensor is faulty, then the engine's computer has to guess how much oxygen and fuel to send to the cylinders which can cause the engine to perform poorly and dramatically decrease fuel efficiency.
Most vehicles today have a minimum of two oxygen sensors; however some modern vehicles can have up to six or more. When one of these sensors fails, the Check Engine light will generally go on, but you might notice some other symptoms as well. A faulty oxygen sensor can lead to rough idling, hesitation during acceleration, engine misfires, engine surges or bucks, poor fuel economy, unexpected catalytic converter failure or a rotten egg odor emitted from the exhaust.
Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor is a fairly inexpensive repair, however if you put it off it could end up costing you quite a bit more in the long run. If it causes damage to the catalytic converter you will be looking at repair costs in the thousands instead of just a couple hundred. A bad oxygen sensor could also cause you your gas mileage to drop up to 40% as well, which at today's gas prices is a huge chunk of change. If you suspect that your vehicle might have a faulty oxygen sensor, it is in your best interest to take it into an auto repair shop and have it checked out sooner rather than later; from the impact to your pocket book to the negative impact on the environment from excess pollution, it is well worth the price of replacement.

Posted By: Faircloth Automotive  fairclothautomotive.com

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Expert Vehicle Maintenance Tips

Cars ideally depreciate in value with time due to the obvious wear and tear. However, the rate at which the vehicle dilapidates depends on how well you take care of it. If you want to avoid making costly repairs on a vehicle whose value is already dropping, you should consider the following vehicle maintenance practices that will keep your car running smooth for longer.

The tires and wheels
You should rotate your tyres at least after every 5000 miles. When washing your car clean all the grime and dirt off the brakes for your brakes to work properly. If you do a lot of off-road driving with your car, you may have to do this cleaning more often than usual. Tyre pressure checks should be done once a week because bad tyre pressure affects the fuel consumption. Bald and slick tyres are only good for the racing track but not on the road. Tyres get worn out with time and you should replace tyres with a low tread depth.

The engine
The engine may look quite complex and there are many tiny bits that you are actually not supposed to touch if you are not qualified. However, the unprofessional eye can still check the amount of wear and tear on the engine drive belts usually at the front of the engine. The accessory drive belt and timing belt are supposed to be replaced preferably after 50,000 miles.

Everyone can also check the engine oil and it is very quick and easy. Too much or too little engine oil can damage your engine. You need to park the car on a level surface, allow the engine to cool down then find the dipstick, wipe it clean and dip it again to check the level of the oil. The dipstick is usually marked with the levels that the engine oil is supposed to be. You should check the coolant level as well. The coolant reservoir is the white or translucent bottle on the side of your engine.

Use the right fuel
You need to use the right fuel as advised in the vehicle handbook. There are some myths that ‘premium’ fuel varieties or ‘high octane’ fuel gives you better mileage on the gallon. You should stick to the kind of fuel that your car’s engine was built for by the manufacturer.

Detail the exterior and interior
You can also keep your car looking showroom fresh by choosing high quality detailing supplies. Detail your vehicles interior and exterior to keep it smelling fresh and to keep the paint looking glossy. Detailing the interior is also good for the air conditioning as it reduces the amount of dust that ends up in the air conditioning.


The batter terminals also get dirty with time preventing the wiring from making good contact. You may notice the electrical components are not working properly because of this. You need to remove the terminal caps and clean the contact posts using a wire brush for better connectivity.

Posted By: Faircloth Automotive http://fairclothautomotive.com 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Automotive Repair

Automotive repair is a large industry. There are many unsuspected things that can go wrong with a car, and if you do not have a warranty, you will have to find the right repair shop to trust with your car. Another thing to consider is the amount of regular maintenance people have performed on their car each year. This would include oil changes, brake jobs, flushing of fluids, or could simply be having your tires rotated for you. This type of work is typically left to the professionals because automotive repair work takes a degree of knowledge and a lot of experience to be able to be done correctly.
One thing to watch for when you are getting your automobile repaired is to make sure you are shopping around for the best prices available on parts. If you are using a shop, feel free to check online for part prices that they claim you need. Usually your mechanic will be honest with you on part pricing, but there is the occasion that they are trying to make money of the parts you need. Another thing to look out for is that the right parts are being replaced. Getting second opinions for auto repair is a smart practice unless you use the same shop for all of your needs and they are trusted amongst your family and community.
Another misconception is that any type of auto repair will cost an arm and a leg. Many simple things break on cars instead of catastrophic failures which make it very affordable for people to have their cars fixed, instead of spending more money on a new car. A trusted mechanic will be able to tell you what is wrong with your car and the best options for you to fix it. They will also offer maintenance to prevent catastrophic fixes in the future.

Maintaining a car properly is what will keep you away from getting many automotive repairs. Have your trusted mechanic create a schedule of maintenance for you if your car does not already have one. Minor maintenance such as an oil change will go a long way in keeping your car's engine at its full potential. Maintenance is very affordable and is spread out with months and months separating you from each scheduled visit, which also helps people on a budget. The key factor either way though is to choose a reputable local repair shop for any of your automotive needs, no matter how big or small.
Posted By: Faircloth Automotive http://fairclothautomotive.com

Monday, July 20, 2015

Checklist for Choosing an Auto Repair Shop

Realizing that your car needs repairs is not a pleasant experience, especially because this usually happens at the wrong time of the month. Dealing with auto repairs is a hassle for everyone. However, you can make things a bit easier for yourself by choosing an auto repair shop that is good for the job. Here is a list of things that you should consider when selecting auto repair professionals.

Certification and licensing

Do not give your car to an auto repair shop that hires professionals who are not certified and licensed. In order for one to be able to properly repair car problems, they need to undergo training and get licensed to provide these services. Remember, if a car is not correctly handled, it can lead to auto accidents and this is the last thing you need.


If you are entrusting your car with someone, you need to be certain that the particular person has put in place protective measures to cover you in the event that something goes wrong. An auto repair company that is insured is a plus. Also, in matters insurance, you need to work with an auto repair shop that has an agreement with your insurance provider. Auto repairs can be expensive, and auto insurance exists so that it can make this burden bearable. It is necessary to discuss this with the auto repair shop as you talk about the charges that you will be expected to pay.

Customer service

If you call the auto repair shop and the call is answered by the machine, hang up and call the next shop. An auto repair shop that takes its customers seriously will ensure that all calls are answered promptly and arising matters are addressed swiftly. When your car breaks down, you need someone who can attend to you immediately, especially when this break down happens in the middle of nowhere, leaving you stranded.


Pay a visit to the auto repair shop and look around. If the place looks like a dumping site, that’s a red flag. Just because auto repair involves messy work does not mean that there need to be spills and trash everywhere.

Friendliness and professionalism

While on your visit to the auto repair shop, pay attention to how the staff relate to each other and the customers. If there seems to be some hostility in the relations, consider what this means for you in the long run. Auto repair sometimes requires teamwork, and if the staff cannot operate as a team, then it is likely that you will not get value for your money.


And lastly, when it comes to costs, a good auto repair shop will be completely transparent about the costs that you will be expected to meet. This way, there will be no unexplained additional costs that will crop up along the way. Ask about this, and verify anything that is not clear before you get your car to the repair shop.

Also, don’t forget to ask for references, and if possible, check the auto repair shop’s online reviews for some insight.

Posted By: Joey Faircloth   http://fairclothautomotive.com/