What are winter tires? One of the biggest myths about “Winter Tires” is that they are “snow tires”. Winter tires are designed for improved traction in cold/wet/slippery conditions. The main factor in all of these conditions is the low temperature. Specific winter tires have design features that maximize their performance in cold weather, not just snow. So if you want maximum performance and the safest cold weather driving possible; snow tires are a huge upgrade. There is a vast difference from a winter tire to an all season tire. A great set of all season tires will be outperformed by true winter tires in the cold and wet weather.
What oil does your car take? With all of the motor oil options available choosing the right oil for your car seems like a daunting task. Lets start with the very most basic, the first step is simply to look in the manual. The manufacturer of your engine has invested countless amounts of time and money in selecting the proper viscosity of motor oil for your application. The oil viscosity will be listed numerically, for example; 5W-20.
Once you know the proper weight/viscosity be sure to select a motor oil brand that displays the starburst symbol, indicating that the oil has been tested by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Whether to choose Castrol, Mobile, Valvoline, Quaker State, Pennzoil, Shell, or equivalents is a matter of preference. The most important selection is choosing the proper viscosity of a certified and tested motor oil, and of course changing it on a consistent basis!
You don’t have to be an expert to know what a fuel pump does; it pumps fuel. The fuel pump is vital to your engine operation delivering fuel from the tank to the engine. Failure of the pump will leave you stranded. A failing fuel pump can cause engine performance issues, stalling, sluggishness and even not starting at all. Other components can also cause these issues so if you are experiencing any of these have your car checked out by a professional. Your fuel pump is located in the fuel tank on most vehicles so many times tank removal is required to access the pump. One easy tip to extend fuel pump life is to keep your fuel tank at least 1/4 full. The fuel both cools and lubricates the pump. Excessive heat will shorten the life of the pump. Don’t wait until the low fuel light comes on to refuel your ride.
How often should I replace my air filter? Air filters typically last 15,000 miles. Your cars Engine Air Filter keeps dust and debris from entering the intake and damaging the engine. This filter will build up with dirt and debris over time and begin to reduce the airflow and negatively affect fuel economy. As a part of our regular Multi-point Inspection Process we will remove and inspect the filter. Additionally we will send you a digital picture so that you can see what we see. If the filter is just dusty we will clean remove the loose debris and recheck it at your next visit. There is no charge to install a new air filter during regular service. There is a second air filter inside of your vehicle referred to as the “Cabin Air Filter” this filter is inline with your Heating and Air Conditioning system and it is responsible for keeping the dust, dirt and pollen out of the interior. These two filters are typically replaced at the same time.
[caption id=”” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]After Hours Key Pick Up Locker[/caption] If you need to drop your car off outside of regular business hours please utilize our Early Bird/Night Owl drop off system located directly to the right of our front door. After filling out the provided envelope, insert your keys and documents in the secure drop box. We will contact you to confirm that we have the correct information and details.
How Long do Shocks and Struts last? The shock absorbers and struts on your vehicle are in place to hold the tire firmly against the pavement, not to support the weight of your vehicle as is commonly misconceived. The weight of the vehicle is supported by the springs in conjunction with the suspension components. because of this demanding job of holding the tire firm against the pavement shocks and struts are constantly moving. This constant movement and dampening slowly wears the shocks and struts. Generally a good quality shock or strut will last 60,000 to 75,000 miles before showing signs of wear or requiring replacement. Sometimes the hydraulic fluid will begin to leak from the shock/strut unit, although most often there are no external signs of shock or strut replacement needs. All of the wear and tear is internal and the symptoms are diminished ride quality, tire wear and poor braking performance. Due to the fact that we drive the same car every day the gradual wear can be difficult to detect. You may seem to notice that your vehicle just doesn’t feel like it “used to”. So to keep your car operating as the finely tuned machine that you purchased have the Shocks and Struts inspected regularly and budget for replacement between 75,000 and 100,000 miles.
Do I need new radiator hoses? Radiator hoses last much longer than they did in the past for many reasons! Consistent vehicle operating temperatures and improved antifreeze compounds as well as improved hose materials have made huge improvements. The best way to make your radiator hoses last is to service the fluid in the cooling system. By servicing the cooling system you will keep the fluid from becoming acidic and deteriorating the hoses. The cooling system should be serviced every four years and the hoses will then last for eight years!
Timing belt replacement is important because letting this one slide can lead to very expensive engine damage.
Your timing belt connects the crankshaft and the camshafts to create the timing of your combustion process. While the pistons are traveling up and down in the cylinder the Intake valves must open at the right time to let in air and fuel, they close at the right time to allow the fuel to burn and then the exhaust valves open at the right time to let out the exhaust.
All this happens thousands of times a minute and it’s your timing belt that makes sure the valves are opening and closing at precisely the right time. If the timing belt is damaged, your engine won’t run.
Even worse than that is that if a valve is opening at the wrong time and collides with the piston. This will result is bent valves and maybe even more damage.
Timing belts are made of a special rubber and they breakdown over time. You want to replace a worn belt as a preventative item before it slips or breaks. Check your owner’s manual or with your service advisor at Frank’s Servicenter Inc. in Southampton Pennsylvania to see when they recommend you replace the timing belt. Timing belt replacement varies and can be as soon as 60,000 miles or as long as 105,000 miles.
Additionally on some engines, the water pump is driven by the timing belt. On these engines it’s a good idea to replace the water pump when you’re replacing the timing belt, and vice versa since much of the same work has to be done for either. The same is true for the timing belt tensioner – it should be inspected and potentially replaced during service.
While replacing a timing belt is one of the more expensive maintenance items on your vehicle not replacing your timing belt can lead to some of the most expensive repairs you’ll encounter.
How much will it cost to fix my brakes? That is a great question that we get everyday. The problem with that question is that we need more information to give you the answer. We can compare it to calling a doctor and asking how much it will cost to fix a leg that hurts! There are questions and data that need to be gathered along with physical inspection and evaluation. After all of these items then we can give you a detailed written cost estimate. The great news is that you can come in and free of charge we will go through all of these processes and give you all of the information that you need to make the right decisions.
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.