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Spark Plugs – How Often Should They Be Replaced?

April 27th, 2017

In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor’s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.

But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?

Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Regular, Synthetic or Blend...What Kind of Oil Do I Need?

May 26th, 2016

At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn't been for quite some time. Here's a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it's time for an oil change:

  • Viscosity: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner's manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- t ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Regular, Synthetic or Blend...What Kind of Oil Do I Need?

May 26th, 2016

At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn't been for quite some time. Here's a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it's time for an oil change:

  • Viscosity: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner's manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many are designed to work a ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Questions You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Repair Tech

March 17th, 2016

Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It’s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.Car questions? Ask them!

As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:

  • Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle? Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, o ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Questions You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Repair Tech

March 17th, 2016

Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It’s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.Car questions? Ask them!

As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:

  • Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle? Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading ma ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Winter is Coming

October 15th, 2015
The days are getting shorter, there’s a snap in the air, and before you know it, the winter months are going to be upon us. Is your vehicle ready? 
 
Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year; normal wear, the sun’s UV rays and the elements take their toll on them. Get a good look and check them for chunks, strips or chips missing, and replace if necessary for a streak-free field of vision in wet weather. Hint: a fresh application of 
Rain-X on your windshield and window glass can help visibility greatly. 
...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Winter is Coming

October 15th, 2015
The days are getting shorter, there’s a snap in the air, and before you know it, the winter months are going to be upon us. Is your vehicle ready? 
 
Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year; normal wear, the sun’s UV rays and the elements take their toll on them. Get a good look and check them for chunks, strips or chips missing, and replace if necessary for a streak-free field of vision in wet weather. Hint: a fresh application of 
Rain-X on your windshield and window glass can help visibility greatly. 
Brakes: Are you hearing any squeaks, squeals or ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

How To Update Your Auto Repair Routine

September 30th, 2015
Time has a way of sneaking up on everyone, and so does mileage on a vehicle. If you have a long commute or regularly put lengthy interstate trips on your car, you can easily rack up 15-18,000 miles a year. Even though today’s cars don’t need as much maintenance as cars from a generation ago, it’s still something you can’t neglect. Here’s a reminder of some important milestones for service on your vehicle: 
 
Monthly 
• Check tire inflation
• Check oil and transmission fluid levels
• Check all lights
• Check windshield washer flui ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Mark Auto Repair off Your Back-To-School To-Do List

August 27th, 2015
The kids are going to be headed off to school again before you know it, and then of course, the holidays will start coming one after another between Labor Day and the end of the year. There’s a lot to stay on top of, and auto repair should be one less thing for you, the grownup, to worry about as the year marches on. Here are some suggestions for things you might want to take care of before it all starts rolling again: 
 
• Oil Change – Can’t remember the date of your last oil change? Then it might be a good idea to go ahead and set up another one. Dirty motor oil is so loaded with carbon and other contaminants it will begin to form sludgy carbon deposits on internal en ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Benefits You Didn’t Know About Oil Changes

July 15th, 2015

Automotive technology has come a long way since the mid-20th century, and so has motor oil. A 1940s-era car didn’t feature an oil pump or oil filter. Instead, they relied on dippers on the crankshaft’s counterweights, which would then sling oil to coat crucial moving parts. Motor oils in those days weren’t designed with detergents and other additives to help keep the engine clean; even with frequent oil change intervals, many cars would be in need of an engine overhaul by the time they reached 80,000 miles.

Today’s motor oil formulations incorporate additives to suspend contaminants in the oil so they can easily be trapped by the oil filter. Here are a few other ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
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