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:
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.
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 Service1739 Lindquist DriveFalconer, New York 14733716-665-2501
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.
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.
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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
A lot of people get custom wheels in Falconer. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you're not careful. Sometimes, once they're mounted, they just don't fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don't want that.
Consulting your I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he'll ask you a series of questions about your Falconer driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.If you don't want to make any modifications to your vehicle, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some people in Falconer like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.Also, most Falconer drivers don't realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your vehicle's anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn't know what changes you made so it can't tell how fast you're going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your vehicle engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in New York. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your friendly and knowledgeable I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your vehicle. Your I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Falconer.
You probably have heard that expression, "A stitch in time saves nine." In other words, if you fix an issue at its early stages, it will prevent a much more difficult problem later. That's certainly the case with your vehicle, and here's a true story to demonstrate it.
A driver noticed his vehicle was due for an oil change, so he took it in to his service facility early in the morning so he could wait while the work was performed. The technician routinely checks the battery on vehicles just before extreme weather is approaching (cold or hot), so with winter coming up, he hooked up the load tester (it measures voltage while a load is put on the battery). It showed the battery wasn't holding a charge well.
The technician checked the manufacturing date on the battery, too (most batteries have a date stamped in code somewhere on them). The date showed it was five years old. While batteries can last more than five years, many technicians say you should expect to get anywhere from three to six years out of them, depending on what they go through.
So, this battery was getting a little long in the tooth, and it wasn't holding a charge particularly well. But how much current was it being sent by the vehicle's alternator? If it wasn't getting enough, that might be a factor. A test of the charging system showed the alternator was putting out the correct amount of power. The technician recommended replacing the battery, and the driver agreed.
That was the stitch in time. Had the technician not checked the battery, that driver likely would have been stranded the next time he tried to start his vehicle on a very cold day. What originally was supposed to be just an oil change led to a technician's sharp diagnosis and a little preventative maintenance for one fortunate driver. Sometimes timing is everything.
If someone told you that your vehicle could have the same power but with a smaller engine, wouldn't that sound like great idea? Just think, a smaller engine would save you money at the gas station and you'd still get the same horsepower.
The technology to do just that has been around for a long time. It's called a turbocharger.
Race cars and other performance vehicles have been using turbochargers for years. It gives them a power boost without the need of a bigger engine, saving them fuel and pit stops.
Automakers have offered turbo gasoline and diesel engines for years, but there were problems with durability. Plus drivers had to make some driving adjustments with the way turbos delivered power. Newer turbos, though, have been vastly improved, and manufacturers are including them in more models. For example, Jeep offers its 2019 Cherokee with a choice of two engines that each make about 270 horsepower. One is a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and the other is a 6-cylinder conventional gasoline engine. The general rule of thumb is: the fewer the cylinders, the better the fuel economy.
A turbocharged vehicle uses a turbine that is turned by exhaust gas. That compresses air that goes into the engine, which then allows it to use more fuel per second, increasing power. One advantage of a turbo is that it is only engaged when the driver demands more power from the engine by stepping on the throttle harder.
One thing to remember, though, is that turbocharged engines have additional parts and are more complex. That means they can be more expensive to maintain. The upside? You'll likely save fuel.
Like any complex machine, it's important that you maintain your turbo vehicle so it will give you more years of service. I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service technicians are trained to inspect and service the systems associated with a turbo engine. If you already drive a turbocharged vehicle, keep up your regular maintenance schedule to get the longest life and performance out of it.
Because of the advantages these powertrains offer, turbo engines are definitely here to stay.