When Metal Meets Metal (Wheel Bearings)

2019-07-21 09:26:04

What part of your vehicle has little metal balls inside that are lubricated and allow you to cruise on down the road?  They are wheel bearings, and automotive designers might argue they are human beings' second greatest invention of all time (the first is, of course, the wheel!).

You have a wheel bearing at each wheel.  They allow your wheels to turn freely, minimizing friction that would ordinarily slow you down when metal meets metal.  When one of your wheel bearings starts to go bad, it lets you know. A wheel bearing does its work quietly when it's in good health but starts getting noisy when it isn't.  People describe the noise differently.  Sometimes it sounds like road noise, a pulsating, rhythmic, sound.  That pulse speeds up when your vehicle speeds up. 

Here's what's happening when you hear that sound.  As mentioned, the bearing has these little metal balls inside a ring.  They have a lubricant inside to reduce friction between the balls; modern wheel bearings are sealed and they're intended to do their job without any maintenance. 

Wheel bearings take a beating; you hit some rough potholes or go over some uneven railroad tracks. Sometimes water can get into a bearing and reduce the ability of the lubricant to do its job.  Time starts to take its toll, too. When the lubricant isn't reducing friction like it should, the bearing can heat up. One of those little balls can start shedding pieces of metal and soon those shards start grinding up the other balls.  Friction takes over and soon your wheel isn't turning smoothly. That's what's causing the sound.  If a wheel bearing is not fixed, it could eventually seize up completely, and you can be stranded.

It's a lot easier if you heed the early warning signals, that pulsating noise.  Now, sometimes a similar noise can be caused by a bad tire, but in either case, it's important to have it checked out. Our I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service technicians will be able to tell you fairly quickly what the problem is and offer a solution.

Wheel bearings generally don't fail often and usually last from 85,000-100,000 miles/140,000km to 160,000km. But consider them a long-term maintenance item that, once fixed, will keep you heading smoothly to the next destination.

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

The Right Fluids for Your Vehicle

2019-07-14 10:30:05

The current vehicles in the market have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.

It's up to people in Falconer to always use the right type of fluid for their vehicle. Your service advisor and your owner's manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.

Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it's hard to know exactly which one your vehicle needs.

Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among manufacturers, they require different additives, which means there are now several coolants on the market. The type of coolant your vehicle needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.

Most vehicles used to require DOT 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need DOT 4 or DOT 5. Some Falconer drivers mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that DOT 4 is somehow better than DOT 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your vehicle is designed for just one of them.

Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, Falconer vehicles still need them to be highly durable.

That's the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.

Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your vehicle has 75,000 miles/120,000 km or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines, additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and Falconer drivers should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.

Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. New York vehicle owners should take care to learn their vehicle's fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for Falconer drivers is making sure your vehicle's fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our vehicles become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.

Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer.

 I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

 

Automotive Tips from I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service: Alignment Inspection

2019-07-07 10:36:04

Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Falconer drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.

When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service will inspect your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He?ll also compare your current alignment with the vehicle manufacturer?s settings.

Your vehicle owner?s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in a crash, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Falconer, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service service advisor perform an important alignment check.

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

Fresh Air Inside Your Car in Falconer

2019-06-23 12:42:04

Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There's a filter that cleans the air going into our vehicle's engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers haven't been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Falconer residents who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don't have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.

Cabin air filters are still fairly new in the Falconer area, so you'll have to check your vehicle owner's manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care will have to include changing the filter as part of your preventive maintenance. The owner's manual will give recommendations on how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in New York is particularly dirty or if you're prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.


Your friendly service advisor at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Falconer area. They're the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.

There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Falconer residents can usually find them in the vehicle engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.

However, if you have a newer vehicle, it's good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your vehicle will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Falconer drivers discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!

Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy and stay on the road in New York.

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

For 4x4s (Maintenance of 4x4 Vehicles)

2019-06-16 09:12:03

Some people love 4x4 vehicles, the true 4-wheel drive works of engineering like Jeeps and 4x4 pickups that allow you to seemingly go anywhere on the planet. You can climb up a 40-degree rock trail with some planning and skill (always careful to protect the environment, of course), or you can get through the deepest snow.

But with that added capability comes additional complexity, drive-train components and other systems that less capable vehicles don't have.  And that is why when it comes to 4x4s, you have to maintain them a little differently from those vehicles that spend their lives on pavement.  Here are some of the key things to keep an eye on:

  • Transfer case—This transfers power from the engine to the wheels.  A transfer case has fluid in it that needs to be changed at intervals recommended by the manufacturer.  Your service advisor will let you know how often that is and will keep track of your service dates.  You will need to make sure the transfer case seal is working properly.  Otherwise, transmission fluid could get in and cause damage that is costly to fix.  Some transfer cases have an electric motor that shifts it through gears, and its connections are often exposed to the elements, making them vulnerable to damage and corrosion.  Proper maintenance will keep those connections working like they should
  • Front and rear differentials—These also have to have the right amount of fluid and should be checked regularly.  Your service advisor can let you know when you need that fluid changed as the owner's manual recommends.  It's important the service is performed correctly with the proper lubricant so it will work the way it is designed to.
  • Brake lines—Those 4x4s practically beg to go into wet spots. They also are great machines to conquer snow: road salt, brine and all.  Moisture, salt and brake lines are a recipe for corrosion, so brake lines need to be inspected regularly.  There are anti-corrosion sprays or white lithium grease that can retard corrosion.  Remember, getting there is half the fun, but not being able to stop is no fun at all.

So enjoy your 4x4 and what it can do that other vehicles can't.  Just remember that even though it's tough on the outside, it needs special care to keep it going.  Oh, and remember to take care of the environment when you go off-roading, too. 

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

For 4x4s (Maintenance of 4x4 Vehicles)

2019-06-16 09:12:03

Some people love 4x4 vehicles, the true 4-wheel drive works of engineering like Jeeps and 4x4 pickups that allow you to seemingly go anywhere on the planet. You can climb up a 40-degree rock trail with some planning and skill (always careful to protect the environment, of course), or you can get through the deepest snow.

But with that added capability comes additional complexity, drive-train components and other systems that less capable vehicles don't have.  And that is why when it comes to 4x4s, you have to maintain them a little differently from those vehicles that spend their lives on pavement.  Here are some of the key things to keep an eye on:

  • Transfer case—This transfers power from the engine to the wheels.  A transfer case has fluid in it that needs to be changed at intervals recommended by the manufacturer.  Your service advisor will let you know how often that is and will keep track of your service dates.  You will need to make sure the transfer case seal is working properly.  Otherwise, transmission fluid could get in and cause damage that is costly to fix.  Some transfer cases have an electric motor that shifts it through gears, and its connections are often exposed to the elements, making them vulnerable to damage and corrosion.  Proper maintenance will keep those connections working like they should
  • Front and rear differentials—These also have to have the right amount of fluid and should be checked regularly.  Your service advisor can let you know when you need that fluid changed as the owner's manual recommends.  It's important the service is performed correctly with the proper lubricant so it will work the way it is designed to.
  • Brake lines—Those 4x4s practically beg to go into wet spots. They also are great machines to conquer snow: road salt, brine and all.  Moisture, salt and brake lines are a recipe for corrosion, so brake lines need to be inspected regularly.  There are anti-corrosion sprays or white lithium grease that can retard corrosion.  Remember, getting there is half the fun, but not being able to stop is no fun at all.

So enjoy your 4x4 and what it can do that other vehicles can't.  Just remember that even though it's tough on the outside, it needs special care to keep it going.  Oh, and remember to take care of the environment when you go off-roading, too. 

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

A Fluid Situation (Check Fluid Levels)

2019-06-09 07:02:04

There's one fluid in your car you are always careful to keep at a certain level: the fuel. If you don't have fuel, you're not going anywhere.  Your vehicle has other fluids which are vitally important to proper and safe operation, too.  So, here's a "level" headed approach to those "other" fluids.

Engine oil.  This one's probably the most important fluid to maintain at the proper level. Without enough oil, you'll wear out your engine prematurely.  Sometimes vehicles have warning lights on the dash that will tell you to get your oil checked.  Don't ignore that one; get it checked immediately.  Certainly don't go on a long trip at high speeds with your oil level low. Oh, and it's not good to have too much oil in, either. Our pros at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service can advise you on oil levels and tell if you if you should be concerned about abnormal fluctuations.

Windshield washer fluid.  OK, this is one you probably know about.  You certainly miss it when it runs out.  You find yourself trying to clean your windshield with the wipers but you need a little liquid help.  Unless you live in an area that requires you to use an awful lot of windshield washer fluid, one fill-up can often last between oil changes.  Modern vehicles have large enough windshield washer fluid reservoirs to keep you going for quite a while.    

Engine Coolant. Here's another fluid you need to keep your engine running properly.  You need it to keep the engine running at the proper temperature.  Plus, you'll need it for heat when the temperature gets chilly outside. 

Power Steering Fluid. If you have a vehicle that uses power steering fluid, it's important to keep the correct amount in your system. Without enough of it, you might find steering difficult.  Plus, if you’re losing power steering fluid, our experts at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service can find out why and perhaps prevent a more expensive repair later.

Brake Fluid.  You may have heard of hydraulic brakes.  Hydraulic refers to the fluid and is one of the key reasons your brakes work.  Levels should be checked regularly and, like power steering fluid, if you're losing brake fluid, a technician needs to find out why so you can get the issue repaired and maintain your stopping ability.

If you have regular preventative maintenance performed at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service, we’ll keep an eye on all of these fluids when you bring your vehicle in for service.

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

Steering Clear in Falconer

2019-06-02 11:57:03

Those who know vehicles believe the steering system may be the most vital component of them all. Perhaps you've found over the years your steering has gotten loose. Or maybe suddenly, your steering wheel has gotten very hard to turn. Let's steer you in the direction of understanding why this may be happening.

First, loose steering. This can likely be the result of wear and tear on the components that connect the steering mechanism with the wheels. Those parts can be ball joints, Pitman arms or tie rods. These parts take a lot of abuse on the road, thanks to railroad tracks, potholes, uneven surfaces: you name it. It's important that they be checked regularly and maintained at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service.

Second, the hard-to-turn wheel. Virtually all vehicles on the road have power steering. There are a couple of different types, though, so let's deal with each. By the way, when they fail, your vehicle's steering can suddenly go from easy peasy to really hard to control.

Some vehicles have hydraulic power steering. It uses a hydraulic fluid that can either leak out or become contaminated. When that happens, you can lose that power assist. There's also a belt involved, and if it becomes worn, stretched or cracked (or even breaks), you'll find yourself struggling with the wheel. If you hear a loud whine coming from the area in the engine compartment when you are steering, that could mean your power steering pump is failing. The best way to avoid these problems is regular maintenance.

Recently, manufacturers have been using electric power steering systems that have some advantages over hydraulic systems. They have electric motors that—like everything mechanical—can fail. Sometimes a fuse to the power steering motor will blow, but simply replacing the fuse often doesn't get to the root cause of the problem. A I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service technician can evaluate the system and recommend a solution.

Steering issues are all about safety and should be addressed as soon as possible. When you tell your service advisor, try to be specific about the signs and symptoms. It's one way to steer clear of trouble on the road.

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

NOT JUST ANOTHER CUSTOMER (Finding the Right Service Facility)

2019-05-26 12:53:04

You might remember a hit TV sitcom that was set in a bar, a place where "everybody knows your name."  The idea, of course, is people feel more comfortable where they aren't just another customer among many; they're special because their relationship goes back a few years.

 

That comfortable relationship can extend to professionals you deal with, too.  Think of your accountant, your dentist, your doctor.  Most people try to stick with the same person or firm in those businesses.  They have grown to know their work over the years and they've learned to trust their professionalism, the quality of their work and their track record. 

 

Ideally, you should have that same relationship with your automotive service facility, like your friends here at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service. You may have tried several facilities over the years until you found one that did good work at a reasonable price.  The longer your relationship with your service facility, the better the people there understand your wants and needs.

 

And you trust them to only perform repairs you really need and not try to sell you parts and services you don't. 

 

For most of us, it's a great feeling when you walk in the door and you're greeted with a smile.  That goes for us at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service as well. That history you've established by regularly going to one facility for service and maintenance helps you feel more confident about the work they do. And, at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service, we appreciate your loyalty as a customer.  Maybe it won't be exactly like that TV sitcom place, and maybe not "everybody knows your name." But your service advisor will, and you won't feel like you're just another customer.

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

Your Vehicle Is NOT Maintenance Free, Falconer Car Owners

2019-05-19 11:25:03

A generation ago, Falconer drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle's preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Taking your vehicle in to your Falconer shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Falconer used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the vehicle was in for a tune-up at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today's engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles/160,000 km. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our vehicles don't experience a huge performance drop when they're ready for some care. But it doesn't mean that they don't need it.

Modern Falconer drivers need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner's manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you'll get better engine performance and fuel economy. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern vehicle engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they're more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the vehicle isn't driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your vehicle on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your vehicle engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and damage the vehicle's engine parts it was designed to protect. It can eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this damage, and it's a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Falconer drivers than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Falconer who purchases used vehicles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Falconer folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don't want to be bothered with maintenance or vehicle care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

We can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel economy and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

Give us a call or send us an email for more helpful tips.

I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service
1739 Lindquist Drive
Falconer, New York 14733
716-665-2501

 

 

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