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What is a Power Steering Rack?

There are millions of parts on your vehicle and this one literally points you in the right direction. If your looking to find out what is a power steering rack? What does the steering rack do? What are the symptoms of a bad steering rack? and why do you need to repair your power steering rack? Read on to find out!

The steering rack is an aluminum housing enclosing a rack and a steering pinion. The steering pinion is connected to the steering wheel through the set of jointed shafts. As the steering wheel is turned, the pinion moves and pushes the steering rack either to the left or right. The ends of the steering rack are connected to the front wheels through the tie rods. This linkage transmits the movement to the wheels to move them left and right as well.

All modern racks have a form of power assist. Power Assisted steering has been around for many years. For most drivers today, power steering is a given standard. Power steering is designed to make our driving experience not only more comfortable but safer too.

Most power steering racks are assisted by a hydraulic fluid that is supplied by an engine driven pump. The high pressure fluid enables an easier turning of the steering rack. This also means that there is a system of hoses, seals, and o-rings to contain the hydraulic fluid. The best method of maintenance for your steering rack is to regularly flush the fluid, fluid service is performed every 3 Years or 30,000 miles.

How do you know if you need a new steering rack? One of the symptoms of a worn steering rack is fluid leakage on the ground, another symptom of a bad steering rack is difficulty turning the steering wheel. The last most common failure area in the steering rack is excess movement due to component wear. In any of these cases the repair will become replacement of the steering rack assembly. Your service consultant will also recommend flushing and replacing the power steering fluid when installing a new power steering rack as well as adjusting the wheel alignment.

Posted in: auto repair

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“Top Tier” Gas Offers Clear Advantages

The ads at many gas stations are familiar: Retailers proclaim that their gasoline is a special, high-tech blend that offers all kinds of benefits. Many talk about how their product is a “Top Tier™ gasoline,” which they say improves engine performance by reducing the amount of “gunk” left behind. AAA recently tested a number of Top Tier and non-Top Tier gasoline brands and found that, on average, Top Tier brands left 19 times fewer intake valve deposits than non-Top Tier fuels. With Top Tier brands widely available and only costing about 3 cents more per gallon, AAA urges drivers to prioritize quality when deciding where to get gas.

What is Top Tier Gas?

Top Tier gasolines are those that contain special detergent additives to prevent the buildup of carbon deposits (known as gunk) in the engine. Engine deposits increase emissions and lead to other performance issues, which is why the Environmental Protection Agency mandates a minimum level of detergent.

Some automakers don’t think those standards go far enough, and they run a program called Top Tier that has developed more stringent guidelines. Today more than 40 retail fuel brands participate in the program, follow its detergent standards, and call their fuel Top Tier.

Are “premium” Gas and Top Tier Gas the Same Thing?

No. When gas stations separate their fuels into regular, mid-grade, and premium, they are referring to the octane rating. Fuels with a higher octane rating are required by some high-performance engines to prevent knocking or improve fuel economy, but being premium doesn’t have anything to do with the fuel’s detergent additives.

If your vehicle manufacturer doesn’t recommend premium fuel, buying it can be an unnecessary expense. Read more about premium fuel.

Is Top Tier Gas Better for Engines?

To see whether Top Tier detergents work as intended, AAA selected Top Tier and non-Top Tier gasolines from a southern Texas market that represent the gas sold in most of the country. Engines in a lab simulated 4,000 miles of driving with each fuel, and then were inspected for deposits.

The results: Top Tier fuels left engines much cleaner. On average, non-Top Tier fuels left 660 milligrams of deposits on each intake, compared to an average of just 34 milligrams for Top Tier fuels. That’s 19 times fewer deposits, or a reduction of almost 95 percent. Top Tier fuels also left fewer overall deposits throughout the engine.

Other Top Tier Findings

Top Tier brands didn’t just keep clean engines clean. To see if they might also help remove deposits from dirty engines, AAA researchers took a high-mileage engine with substantial residue inside and ran it on Top Tier fuel for 1,000 miles. It was re-inspected, and researchers found that a significant amount of residue had cleared.

AAA also investigated whether Top Tier brands cost significantly more than others. Over a 12-month period, researchers found the average difference between Top Tier and non-Top Tier brands was just three cents per gallon.

Do drivers prefer Top Tier fuel?

Given that there appear to be real benefits to the Top Tier standard, AAA researchers commissioned a telephone survey to see if fuel quality was a top concern for American drivers, as opposed to convenience or price. The results:

63% of drivers believe there is a difference in the quality of gasoline sold by different gas stations

34% of drivers say they usually buy gasoline with an enhanced detergent additive like those in Top Tier gas

Drivers’ top reasons for picking a gas station

Location – 75%
Price – $73%
Rewards Program – $29%
Gas Has Detergent – 12%

AAA’s Advice for Drivers

Use gas that meets Top Tier standards whenever possible.
AAA’s tests demonstrate that Top Tier detergent additives are effective at combating carbon deposit buildup.Not sure which brands have Top Tier gas? Check out a list of participating brands.

Shop around for gas with the Auto Club App
The extra cost of Top Tier fuels (generally a few pennies more per gallon) and occasional inconvenience are outweighed by the long-term fuel savings and performance benefits. Plus, with the new AAA App’s Cheapest Gas feature, finding a Top Tier station nearby is easy. Explore the free Auto Club App.

Don’t assume it’s already too late to benefit from Top Tier gas
The results researchers got from running Top Tier gas through a dirty engine suggest that detergents can help clean out deposits, not just prevent them. Using Top Tier fuel for several fill-ups may yield improved performance.

Use the right fuel — don’t confuse “premium” with Top Tier
If the owner’s manual calls for premium-grade gas, that’s a reference to the octane rating, not fuel quality. Top Tier standards apply to all octane grades of fuel, whether regular, mid-grade, or premium.

Posted in: auto repair, car maintenance, fuel system

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Wiper Blades in Southampton, PA

Your windshield is literally your window to the world when you are driving your car and therefore you want to make sure you can see out of it no matter the weather conditions outside. That is why we, at Frank’s Servicenter, recommend changing your wiper blades twice a year during the milder months in the spring and fall seasons. We want to help you be prepared no matter what happens. It is too often that Southampton drivers are caught off guard by a surprise storm or rain fall. Or maybe your windshield has gotten dusty or dirty during the spring and summer months but your wipers are so worn out they can’t clean your windshield even with the aid of washer fluid.

Visibility while driving your vehicle is something that should be taken very seriously because if you can’t see out your windshield you shouldn’t be operating your vehicle. With this idea in mind there are ways to help your wipers last longer. Never use them when your windshield is dry, which means be sure to only operate them in the rain or with washer fluid. When changing to new wiper blades, clean your windshield and wiper blades with rubbing alcohol. This will help remove dust and grime from your windshield without leaving hard water deposits. Some wiper blades even come with an alcohol wipe to remove any packing dust from your wiper blades before you install them.

Anytime you have questions about how to best maintain or replace your wiper blades give us a call here at Frank’s Servicenter. We want to make sure that you are driving both a safe and reliable vehicle. This includes making sure that you can see out of your windshield. If you haven’t checked your washer fluid lately let us know and we can easily check it and top it off for you if needed. Also, the Fall season is a great time to start thinking about preparing your vehicle for the coming winter months.

Give us a call, or drive on into our garage anytime you have questions about how to best maintain or repair your vehicle. We want to give our drivers the peace of mind they deserve while on Southampton, PA roads.


Posted in: auto repair, car maintenance, wiper blades

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The Maintenance Mindset in Southampton, PA

Here at Frank’s Servicenter we want to make sure that our customers are driving both safe and reliable vehicles. This is not only important for your own safety and that of your passengers but for the drivers that share the road with you. If you have ever been behind a vehicle that has a tire blowout, you know how frightening it can be to see a vehicle malfunction. This is why it is important to get your vehicle inspected on a regular basis. Scheduled oil changes are not only great for the overall health of your car, truck or SUV they also allow our professional technicians the chance to perform a comprehensive inspection one your vehicle.

Catching issues while they are small is crucial. The alternative is to allow them to become bigger problems later down the road. These issues could lead to a hazardous roadside breakdown or leave you stranded with a vehicle that won’t start. Most inspections can be completed in a quick manner and will give you the peace of mind you are looking for when having your vehicle serviced by a certified automotive technician. Give us a call anytime you notice a drivability issue while operating your vehicle.

If we find that your vehicle needs to be repaired, we will help you prioritize the work that needs to be completed


Posted in: Auto Maintenance

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Fuel System Southampton, PA

We think it is important for Southampton, PA drivers to know what drives their vehicles and a big part of that is your fuel system. The fuel system contains several components but here are a couple of the main ones: Fuel Filter, Fuel Intake and Fuel Injectors. Below are their functions of these parts and why they are important to your overall Fuel System.

Fuel Filter: Much like the name suggests, your fuel filter cleans your fuel of dirt and other contaminants before it makes its way to your engine.

Fuel Intake System: The purpose of your Fuel Intake System is to store and provide a steady supply of fuel to your engine. This relies heavily on your Fuel Pump and Fuel Injectors.

Fuel Injectors: This component delivers the precise amount of fuel at a precise time to keep your engine operating at its peak level of performance. Allowing your Fuel Injectors to get clogged will most likely cause them to be replaced before factory recommendations.

Be sure to read your owner’s manual, in there will be maintenance suggestions as to when you should have your Fuel System cleaned or have various components checked and/or replaced. If your filter becomes saturated it can no longer separate contaminants from your fuel. This will cause your engine to become gummed up with harmful deposits that will negatively impact your engine performance.

If your Fuel System does happen to become clogged or compromised for whatever reason, we can help you with a professional fuel system cleaning. This will help remove harmful gummy deposits from your combustion chamber and off your intake valves. Once the cleaning is completed your engine will be operating far more efficiently.

Therefore anytime you have questions about how to improve your Fuel System or if it has been a while since you have had your filter, injectors or fuel pump inspected. Let us know here atFrank’s Servicenter and we will be happy to help!

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Battery Upgrades Southampton, PA

Most drivers in Southampton, PA are unhappy to hear that they need to replace their car batteries but according to NAPA 70% of Car Batteries don’t make it past four years. Here are few things that drivers in Southampton, PA can do to help increase the life of their battery.

Keep it clean: Cleaning dirt and grease from your battery especially from the connectors helps with battery efficiency. Dirty batteries run hotter which will significantly shorten their life. If you notice that your battery is dirty, be sure to mention it to one of our friendly and knowledgeable technicians. We can quickly clean your battery and its connectors anytime you bring your vehicle into our garage.

Don’t run your battery down: Running your A/C, radio or headlights while your vehicle is not running will deplete your battery. Most batteries can do no more than 10 deep cycle depletions before dying. Let us know if it has been awhile since you’ve last had your battery life checked.We can quickly test it and give you a better idea of when you will need to replace your battery.

Charge your battery: Short trips can leave your battery only partly recharged. We recommend charging your battery using a good quality battery charger once a month during the summer and every three months during colder seasons. Allowing your battery to remain only partly recharged it will significantly shorten your battery life.

Eventually you will have to have your battery replaced. When this time comes, give us a call or drive on into our garage. We can help you find the right battery for your vehicle, we will always match or exceed your manufacturer’s recommendation. There may be some special circumstances for some Pennsylvania drivers especially if they live in the colder parts ofPennsylvania or if you run a lot of accessories while driving, let us know. We can source several batteries that will give you the extra power you want.

Give us a call or schedule an appointment online for a day and time that works best for you anytime you have questions about how to best replace or maintain your battery.

Posted in: Car Battery

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Selecting Tires in Southampton, PA


Frank’s Servicenter Inc. Answer:

There are three factors one should consider when looking for New Tires in Southampton, PA: Function, Fit, and Value.

Function: Feel free to let us know why you are looking for new tires in regards to your needs. Is it because of changing Pennsylvania weather conditions, Southampton road conditions or changing temperature.

Most new vehicles come with all-season tires. These are functional all year round and can do well in most cases but fall short when it comes to extremes.

Winter tires have tread specifically designed to handle ice and snow on the roads. They take advantage of a rubber compound that helps with better traction as temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit/7.2 degrees Centigrade. These tires will help with better stopping and handling in winter weather conditions.

All terrain tires could be right for you if you enjoy off-roading activities but we can also find you dedicated off-road tires that will give you the off-road experience you want.

Let us know here at Frank’s Servicenter what you expect to get out of your tires and we will help you find the right fit for you and your vehicle.

When it comes to Fit it is often best to refer to your manufacturer’s suggestions. Let us know at Frank’s Servicenter if you would like to find a different wheel size or tire profile than what your manufacturer recommends and we will work with you to find the right tire. It is important to make sure that a different size wheel or tire will not negatively impact the safety features that your vehicle offers. These safety features can include but are not limited to stability, control, traction and your anti-lock brake system.

When it comes to Value we are not talking about how expensive the tires are because the least expensive option might not deliver the performance you want. Anytime you come to Frank’s Servicenter in Southampton, PA we will work with you to find the best option based on your needs.

Anytime you have questions about tires or wheel maintenance give us a call, drive on by our shop or schedule an appointment online for a day and time that works best for you!

Frank’s Servicenter Inc.
645 Knowles Avenue
Southampton, Pennsylvania 18966

Posted in: Shopping for Tires, Tires

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Differential Service Southampton PA

When you are driving and about to turn a corner, it is important to know that the wheels on the outside have a longer distance to go compared to the wheels on the inside. What does this mean? Basically the wheels on the outside need to turn faster than those wheels on the inside. The mechanism that allows this to happen is the differential.

Essentially, he differential makes sure the drive wheels rotate at different speeds during turns without hopping or binding. If your vehicle has rear-wheel drive, this means the differential is located on the rear axle. When you’re driving next to or behind a truck, and you see a bulge placed in the middle of the axel you are looking at the axel.

If your vehicle has front-wheel drive, this means the function of the differential is managed by your transaxle. Finally, vehicle with all-wheel drive have differentials on both of their axles. All-wheel drive vehicles also are equipped with a center differential or a transfer case in between the rear and front axles in order to account for the speed differences between them.

Due to the fact that all of the power from the engine is transferred by varying differentials, they are very strong and are made to last for long periods of time. Because of this, it is important to keep your differential lubricated properly. Differential fluid is used to protect and cool the gears.

Your Frank’s Servicenter Southampton, Pennsylvania service technician will check the differential fluid level of your vehicle and top it off, if necessary. If the fluid is running low, the differential will run too hot and as a result, wear prematurely. Be sure to ask your Frank’s Servicenter service advisor when it’s best recommended to get your differential fluid changed. It is important to know that fresh fluid will allow your differential to run properly for longer. Your service technician will also inspect the u-joints which is used to connect your driveshaft to the differential. Service may be recommended if needed. Some u-joints can be simply lubricated as a part of a routine lube, oil, and filter change.

As you can imagine differentials do eventually wear out and need replacement. If you hear a strange noise from or around your axle area, this can be one of the first warning signs. When the differential shows signs of failure, it needs to be repaired quickly. If left too long which may result is it freezing up while driving, you can potentially lose control of your vehicle, including other parts such as the driveshaft and axle. As a result, your transmission could be damaged as well.

Stop by Frank’s Servicenter or give us a call.

Posted in: Differential Service

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EGR Valve – Frank’s Servicenter

Drivers in Southampton understand and see how incredibly hard auto manufactures have to work to keep building strong engines that keep getting more efficient fuel mileage while also meeting all environmental standards. One small piece that keeps making sure that these advancements happen is the EGR valve, or Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve. In both diesel and gas engines, the EGR valve puts a little exhaust back into the air intake system. This exhaust that gets put back in fills the space in the engine cylinders. This replaces the oxygen-heavy air that would normally be present. What this means is that the fuel burning event is more cool than normal. The cooler the combustion is, the less harmful nitrous oxides are produced and put into the air.

Like anything else, your EGR valve can get backed up, which can affect the timing and amount of exhaust that should normally be in your engine. You can tell if this is happening if there is a rough idle and poor engine performance. Things can go back to normal by cleaning and sometimes replacing your EGR valve. This all depends on how dirty it is.

As you can imagine, the EGR valves found in diesel engines are some likely to become clogged and slow because of how much soot there is in diesel exhaust. It is important to note that this soot is filtered out of the exhaust down the exhaust system, but still needs to pass through the EGR valve.

There are some tips for extending the life of the EGR valve in your diesel engine. First thing to know, idling for longer periods of time makes for more soot. This is because the engine operating temperature is reduced as it idles. This means the valve is not opening and closing normally and is allowing particulates to accumulate in the valve. Secondly, let’s talk about fuel quality. All diesel fuel has a cetane rating. The higher the rating is, the better the combustion will be in the end. Unfortunately, cetane ratings are not often posted on pumps and can be different depending on the location. If you add a cetane boost to the fuel tank, it would really help with this.

If you are experiencing either rough idling or poor performance in your gas or diesel engine vehicle, come by and have one of our Frank’s Servicenter Inc. expert technicians diagnose the problem quickly. They can set things right and restore your vehicle’s performance back to normal.

Posted in: EGR Valve

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Simple Answers from Frank’s Servicenter Inc. for Southampton: Power Brakes

Question: What is power brake service and why do Southampton drivers need to have it done?

Frank’s Servicenter Inc. Answer:
Power-Brakes-SouthamptonThink for a second: if you poured a tablespoon of water in your hand and tried to throw it as hard as you could, how far would the water go? If you suck up a tablespoon of water with a syringe, push the plunger and squirt it out, how far do you think that would go? In which scenario does the water go further?

Without question, the answer is the water leaving the syringe! The reason why is because there is so much pressure behind the water. The power brake system in your vehicle works just the same. Each time you step on the brake of your vehicle, the master cylinder adds pressure to the brake fluid. This activates the brakes and allows you to stop your vehicle. Drivers in Southampton who lack pressure from the master cylinder won’t be able to stop their vehicle.

If your brake system had sprung a leak, this would reduce and even potentially eliminate the stopping power of your vehicle. This can happen because brake fluid attracts moisture which leads to corrosion, and eventually leaks. A fantastic way for Southampton drivers to avoid these situations, and keep their brake fluid clean is to get their brake fluid changed as it is recommended.

There needs to be enough brake fluid for the correct and proper function of traction and stability control systems, and anti-lock brakes. Your Frank’s Servicenter knowledgeable and friendly professionals will always check your brake fluid level during a full-service oil change. If the brake fluid is low, your Frank’s Servicenter service advisor may recommend a thorough brake inspection. Worn brake pads can be the cause of low brake fluid.

You may notice some signs of a potential leak. If the brake pedal feels hard or like a sponge, or if you notice reduced stopping power when you brake, you could have a leak. Come into Frank’s Servicenter straight away if you feel as though there might be an issue for a brake inspection.

Give us a call.

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