How do I check my cars engine oil? And How do I know if my car is low on oil? Well first warm the car up and park on a flat and level surface. Shut the car off and open the hood by pulling the release lever(generally located at the drivers left knee area). Secure the hood in the raised position. Locate the Engine Oil Dipstick, frequently a yellow ring shaped handle.
Remove the dipstick and wipe off the motor oil with a clean towel. Fully reinsert the dipstick and remove to read the current level. Dipsticks all have a range indicated by a hole, crosshatched area or notches. Ideally the oil should be a translucent brown syrup color and filled to the upper hole closest to the handle. The lower hole indicates that you are at the lowest safe operating zone and the motor oil should be immediately topped off and/or completely changed. Remember that the motor oil is the lifeblood of your Engine and a lack of lubrication can be extremely costly. Better to be safe than Sorry!
So you are unlucky to find out your car didn’t start. After having the road service come and getting your car to the repair shop you find out that the Alternator is bad. But what does the Alternator have to do with the car starting anyway? The alternator is an imperative component to the operation of your vehicle. Think of the alternator as the automotive equivalent of that little white box that your cell plugs into……
Lets start off with what an alternator does for you. The basic function of an alternator is to take mechanical energy (from your running engine) and turn that into Alternating Current Electrical Energy (to power all of the electronics). The mechanical energy is transferred to the alternator through a drive belt. This drive belt is connected to a rotor through a pulley. The rotation of this rotor within a stator produces Alternating Current Electricity. You may remember from high School science that alternating current (AC) is what is typically used in homes and direct current (DC) is what is stored in a battery. So unfortunately for our standard battery powered cars alternating current is useless! So there is one last step in automotive alternator. The Alternating Current (AC) is converted to Direct Current (DC) through a rectifier. Now that we have the proper DC voltage being produced we can use this to charge and maintain the vehicle battery.
So when the battery has no voltage remaining one of the first things that your mechanic will check is your alternator. Just like when you phone dies you would check to see if the charger is plugged in! The alternaotr is responsible for maintaining battery voltage as well as providing additional electrical supply for your vehicle. Without a properly charged battery your car will not be able to start and drive!
Symptoms of a Bad Alternator
A dead battery is just one of the potential symptoms of a bad alternator. You may also experience some warnings on your dashboard prior to the battery dying. Some vehicles will have a battery shaped light, others will have a message indicating a charging fault or even the illumination of the “Check Engine Lamp”. These issues do not solely mean that the alternator is at fault. Your mechanic can perform a test to determine the function of your cars alternator. If the alternator is determined to be faulty it will be rebuilt and or replaced.
We know, getting your car repaired is right up there with going to see the dentist! Well really it is actually much better than the dentist, but anyway. None of us budget the time or finances to take care of our main mode of transportation. But for today lets concentrate on the time factor. Time is the worlds most limited resource, especially if your responsible for kids, pets, homework, parents, friends, etc. The list of responsibilities goes on forever. Automotive repair is not something that can be rushed. After all when your rushing to the next kid pick-up/drop off do you really want to get a surprise car problem!!??
The best advice that we can give to assist in this battle for more time is to plan ahead. Frank’s Servicenter offers a free shuttle service to get you to work or back home. If you desire even more flexibility we also offer free loaner cars for your use while your car is in for service. To reserve a loaner car or for more details Click Here. The second part of planning ahead is to have a maintenance plan for your vehicle. Our advisors will layout what your car or truck will need so that we can help you to budget both the time and the finances to keep your car moving worry free with as least amount of surprises as possible!
The battery in your car is an integral part for any of the components to operate. Without this one simple item nothing will function on the car! Typically a car battery will last 4-6 years in our area. While automotive batteries are rechargeable there is a limit to the number of times that you can run the battery down and restore its operation.
How do you know if the battery needs replacement?
Batteries are rated in Cold Cranking Amperage or CCA. Every battery has a CCA rating usually displayed on the top of the battery. A specialized battery tester can determine the available CCA. During your routine service visits we will check the available CCA of your battery and let you know if the battery is falling below the standard.
What is the best kind of battery to use?
There are a variety of battery options available. Frank’s Servicenter offers multiple options although our preference is AC Delco batteries. AC Delco has proven to be a strong and reliable supplier offering a great value and strong warranty. Our new AC Delco Professional batteries will come with a minimum 30 month free replacement warranty and many options are 42 Months and beyond. Check with your service consultant for details.
How long will it take to change my oil?
That is a great question! To just merely drain and refill the engine oil on your car is a relatively easy and quick task. Unfortunately vehicle maintenance is much more than just “changing the oil” as the title suggests.
So the real question is what is an “Oil Change“?
An Oil Change is actually just one part of a 3,000/5,000/10,000 mile service. One of the many items that is completed during this service is the simple draining and refilling of the motor oil and replacement of the oil filter. Although to keep your complete vehicle safely operating as designed there are actually many more items that will be inspected, adjusted and serviced at this service visit. First of all the vehicle will have a complete digital maintenance inspection performed. All of the fluids will be checked for level, cleanliness, replacement and topped off as required. The tires will be inspected and the pressures adjusted as needed. Throughout the maintenance inspection the technician will review the complete vehicle assessing the on board systems, the lighting, windshield wipers, air filer, cabin filter, belts and accessories. The battery is tested and the engine components are assessed. While performing work under the vehicle the technician will review the steering, suspension, drive train, tires and brakes. Throughout this process the technician will utilize an iPad to document photographs of any abnormal conditions. Following the assessment and the refilling of the motor oil the technician will reset the on board maintenance reminder system and apply a reminder to the windshield.
How long will this take again?
As we can see an oil change is actually much more than the simple title implies. So if you are in a rush and just do not want the actual motor oil to be neglected that can be changed in roughly 30 minutes. To actually complete the mileage service and ensure long term reliability we ask our customers to allow up to one hour.
What kind of oil do I need?
You many have been posed the question if you would like regular/standard/conventional oil or “Synthetic” oil. Just about every new car requires the use of a Synthetic motor oil. Synthetic oils are far superior offering increased protection along with extended service intervals. Please keep in mind that no matter what kind of oil your vehicle requires you should have your car in for its routine maintenance service and assessment at least every 6 months. If you drive an older car and high mileage is not a concern then a standard oil may be your best option. Ask your service advisor which is best suited for your vehicle and driving habits.
Let’s face it, having your car serviced can feel like a real inconvenience. Nobody really wants to stop their life to get their car serviced! It is not something that we look forward to, although it needs to be completed. Better to do it on your schedule then to wait for an emergency and suffer a real significant inconvenience. To speak with an advisor and schedule your service we are available at 215-355-8877 to assist you Monday through Friday from 7 AM through 5:30 PM. We can also be reached 24 hours a day through our web site www.FranksServicenter.com as well as via email at Service@FranksServicenter.com. To keep your busy life moving we are happy to offer transportation solutions while your car is in for service.
Frank’s Servicenter offers FREE loaner vehicles, these vehicles are in high demand and we recommend scheduling your service with a loaner well in advance. If a loaner car is not the best solution for you we are also happy to provide local shuttle service to your home or workplace. Proper vehicle service takes time to evaluate and complete. We prefer to help you to keep your day moving however possible although if you find yourself needing a quick oil change, tire repair, light bulb repair or other minor service we can also schedule a waiting appointment. The best time for a waiting appointment is at 7 Am, 9 Am or 2 Pm. Our team breaks for lunch together from 1 PM to 1:30 PM, if you have an emergency feel free to stop by at any time during the day and we will help you through it. Maintaining and repairing vehicles is complex task that takes time to properly complete, we are here to take care of your car so you do not need to worry about it. Reach out and let us know how we can best solve your transportation needs!
What is “State Inspection”?
In the state of Pennsylvania by law *every car* operating on the road must be inspected annually to verify safe operation. (*some exceptions apply to specialty/antique vehicles) The inspection is a visual and physical examination of your vehicle and its safety components. The inspectors adhere to published guidelines provided by the State to verify the safe operation of all motor vehicles. Completion of a successful inspection is indicated by a sticker located in the lower left corner of your windshield.
Who can perform State Inspection?
Licensed mechanics working at a state approved inspection station perform all of the Pennsylvania State Inspections. The mechanics must pass a physical and written test to verify their capability. Both the inspectors as well as the stations are monitored and audited by state officials.
When do I need to have the inspection done?
The reflective badges on your windshield indicate the month and year of your current inspection expiration date. The grey background number is the expiration month and the opposite side indicates the year. The inspection must be renewed prior to the end of the month indicated on the sticker. There is no grace period for inspection in Pennsylvania. The inspection may be performed up to three months prior to the indicated expiration. For example if your inspection expiration was 3/20 you are eligible to have the new inspection performed anywhere from January 1 through March 31. Providing the inspection is completed in this range your new expiration date will be 3/21.
Where should I get my inspection?
Many repair shops have mechanics on duty that are capable of performing state inspections. Although as with everything else you will find a varying degree of quality among your choices. The state inspector license is a bare minimum requirement for an inspection mechanic. Inspection mechanics at Frank’s Servicenter are highly trained and undergo additional certification through the Automotive Service Excellence program (ASE).
Why do we have inspection?
Inspection is vital to the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. We all lead a busy life and it is too easy to forget about crucial safety items that are out of sight and consequently out of mind! Safety inspection maintains safe roads for all of us.
At Frank’s Servicenter our phone is constantly ringing with new clients asking questions of how much will something cost and do we fix a certain issue or do we work on their model of vehicle. Let’s face it nobody really wants to get their car serviced and it can be daunting to find a new automotive service provider. At the end of the day what do you as an Automotive Repair consumer really want to know? In fact its the same as any other consumer. What the automotive consumer REALLY wants to know is the answer to all of the questions that they are NOT ASKING of the business that they want to deal with! Here are some of those questions!!!
- Are you a good person?
- Is your service team made of of good people?
- Are you reputable and honest?
- Can I trust the information that you are presenting to me?
- Are you going to take good care of myself and my belongings?
- If I have a problem will you help me?
Now that we can see some of these questions the next obvious question is how can we find out the answers? Very few of us will call up an unknown business and blurt out “Are you a good person?, Are you reputable and honest?” As much as we would all like to that is just not a reality! So the next best alternative is to research the business. Check out reviews online, Google, Facebook, other industry sites. Look at the company web site, is the site filled with graphics and words only? Is the team and facility present? What is the history of the company? Do they offer a warranty or guaranty? Do they have state or industry accreditation? Find out what the public has to say, what you friends and neighbors know. How does the facility look? Is it well kept and presentable or run down?
While we have the understanding that these are the unanswered questions of our clients we take great pride in the results you will find with Frank’s Servicenter. Frank’s Servicenter is family owned and operated. While we are in our third generation pictures of the fourth generation grace the walls! Our team is comprised of hardworking, reputable and honest men and women of our community. These industry professionals are trained and certified. All of our work carries a 2 Year and 24,000 mile warranty. Our current clients generously post reviews of our efforts online. We are AAA Certified, BBB rated A+, Repair Pal Certified, Napa Autocare and ASE Certified just to name a few. We practice transparency through electronic digital inspections so that we can share everything that we see with you. We are meticulous while maintaining both your vehicle as well as our own vehicles and our facility. So next time you have an automotive question? Feel free to ask!!
How often should you change your antifreeze? Thankfully advancements in cooling system and chemical technology has extended the interval for cooling system maintenance to be every four years or 60,000 miles. At this time we will install a specialized cooling system flush machine inline to reverse flush the system until fresh fluid is filled throughout the system. This service will maintain proper system operation and maximize the life span of cooling system components.
Corvette Cooling System Maintenance
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.