Every one of us has a little procrastinator inside us. Some put off getting our teeth cleaned. Others put off answering our emails. Yet others put off calling friends and family (sorry, Uncle Joe). And there are those of us who put off getting our vehicle's service done, whether it's a repair or regular maintenance. You may make the excuse that you don't have time, it can wait until tomorrow, you have other things to do.
Well, there are some things you should NEVER put off when it comes to your vehicle because that procrastination could have dire consequences down the road.
The biggest one is changing your oil. Yes, it's one of those things you may hear somebody nag you about, but changing your vehicle's oil regularly is probably the one thing that will do the most to keep things running smoothly… and well. It's the lubricant that keeps metal engine parts from wearing out. Oil doesn't last forever and it gets dirty, so you have to swap it out for fresh every so often. How often? Your I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service service advisor can tell you, and your owner's manual has the manufacturer's recommendations, too.
You have to keep the right amount of air in your tires. They don't inflate themselves! You may have a newer vehicle that has a tire pressure monitor built in and lets you know when a tire is over- or under-inflated. Don't ignore those warning lights! If your vehicle doesn't have those electronic monitors, have our pros at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service check your pressure every so often. If your tires have the right amount of air in them, they'll last longer, save you money and keep you much safer on the road.
Make sure you have the right amount of vital fluids in your vehicle. The important ones (besides oil) are brake fluid, transmission fluid and coolant. Without the right amount of brake fluid, your vehicle may be hard to stop. Without the right level of transmission fluid, gear shifting may be erratic. And without the right amount of coolant, your engine may overheat.
Ok, so if you put off calling your Uncle Joe today, he probably will be ok with that. But when it comes to these important vehicle maintenance points, prevent procrastination… and prevent problems down the road.
We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions.
I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service1739 Lindquist DriveFalconer, New York 14733716-665-2501
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Today's I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service article focuses on severe service maintenance. Many Falconer drivers are not aware of them and yet there are also very vocal advocates in New York who think that severe service schedules apply to everyone. Somewhere between a complete lack of awareness and the dire blanket statements lies a reasonable approach to severe service maintenance at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service.To back up a little, vehicle owner's manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance: things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil after a certain distanced traveled or after so many months. Falconer drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The mileage and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule.Now when you hear 'severe service,' you may think it doesn't apply to you because you don't feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it's just normal everyday driving in the Falconer area. So let's list some of the conditions that classify as severe so that you can make the judgment on your own driving.Before we start the list, here's a point of contrast that definitely is not severe driving. Driving down your nearest New York interstate at the highway speed limit on a 75 degree F/24 degree C day loaded only with your passengers. This is an easy trip for your vehicle: your engine is loafing along at low RPMs, no heavy loads to pull and moderate Falconer temperatures. Now let's look at some severe service driving conditions.Most trips around Falconer are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers. When your vehicle engine cools down, moisture condenses in the engine. This water in the oil doesn't get a chance to evaporate on short trips because the oil doesn't get hot enough. A lot of short trips in your vehicle means a lot of water build up. And water in the oil leads to the creation of sludge which can damage the engine. Changing the oil more frequently keeps sludge from building up. By contrast, highway driving warms the engine up and gets the water burned off.
Here's another example. Most trips around Falconer are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing. This is the same reasoning, but in very cold New York weather it takes even longer for the oil to get hot enough to evaporate the water, hence 10 miles/16 km as opposed to 4 miles/6.4 km.Next, you drive in very hot New York weather. The hotter it is outside, the more cooling the engine, transmission, brake fluid and so on becomes. The environment in which the fluids reside is more hostile, and the fluids simply break down faster. Therefore, the lower change interval.Another: driving at low speed most of the time. Every vehicle engine has what's called its power band. This is a range of RPMs in which it's most efficient. Low speed driving doesn't keep the engine in its power band so it's working harder. This is one of the reasons that ratings are worse in downtown than on the highway.Stop and go driving in Falconer is another severe service condition. You're always accelerating, which works the vehicle engine and transmission harder. Then you're stopping, which works the brake fluid harder, causing it to get very hot. Highway driving, on the other hand, requires far less horsepower to maintain its speed than getting a stationary vehicle from a stop light up to 25 mph/40 kph. A lot of this and you'll need to follow the severe service schedule.Also on the list is operating your vehicle in dusty, polluted or muddy conditions. Obviously, your engine air filter and cabin air will get dirty faster and need to be changed more frequently as will your breather element. Some of this dust and dirt will make its way into your fluids. They will simple get dirty faster and won't protect the components as well as fresh fluids.Finally, you're driving under severe conditions in Falconer when you tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier. This is pretty obvious. You'll spend more time in lower gears so the engine and transmission work much harder and create more heat. Brakes will be more stressed stopping the heavier loads.Sounds like most of us in Falconer operate under severe driving conditions at least some of the time. How can Falconer drivers know which schedule to follow?Think of it as a spectrum with "always driving under severe conditions" on one end and "never driving under severe conditions" on the other end. Some will be at one extreme or the other, but most of us will fall somewhere in between.Carefully think about your driving conditions and decide if you should do your preventive maintenance closer to the severe service recommendation or the regular recommendation. Of course, your I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service service advisor can help you with your decision.
I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service 1739 Lindquist Drive Falconer, New York 14733 716-665-2501
Falconer consumers are demanding. We want a safe, reliable vehicle that handles well and is comfortable to ride in. Oh, and we want good fuel economy, too. We also want vehicle repairs that are cheap, fast and easy. Unfortunately, one usually comes at the cost of the other.Today's vehicles have made significant improvements in reliability and performance over the last few decades. They also deliver more power to Falconer drivers more efficiently than ever before. For example, some of today's 4-cylinder engines are equal to yesterday's V-8's. Our vehicles also offer an amazing range of features that make them more comfortable and convenient than ever before.But all of that improvement has come at a price for Falconer vehicle owners. Our vehicles are more complicated and difficult to repair than ever before. They have numerous mechanical and electrical systems. Fuel systems are so complex they have to be run by a computer. Our vehicles are covered with sensors and high-tech electronic equipment. Our dashboards rival the control panel of the first manned space flight.With all that complicated equipment, it's no wonder we call mechanics service technicians these days. You can't learn to repair vehicles in the backyard with your dad anymore. Today's I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service technicians have to go to school. School may come in the form of classroom instruction, online courses or both. Technicians are also trained on-site at the Falconer service centers where they work (including I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service) to keep them abreast of constant improvements in vehicle engineering, diagnostic equipment and repair techniques.Today's technicians need to be certified to work on our vehicles. They can earn a variety of certifications in New York, but the highest of these is Master Technician. It's like a graduate degree in auto repair.Vehicle repair at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer requires more than just training and certification, though. It also takes information and creative thought. Falconer area auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and online repair communities in order to get the information they need to: work on various makes and models of vehicles, get recommended maintenance schedules, learn about non-standard features and locate hard-to-find parts in an unusual engine. They also use this information to help diagnose rare or difficult vehicle problems. Many auto repair problems also require a bit of creative thinking for the team at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service to solve. Falconer service technicians at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service act much like doctors in these situations. They're given a set of symptoms, and they have to come up with a diagnosis and treatment that will fix the problem. This process becomes as much of an art as it is a science.A proper diagnosis, even by a highly qualified technician, can take time. And a technician's time is going to cost us. It's just the price of progress.Of course, the best vehicle care for Falconer vehicle owners is planned preventive auto maintenance. This is also the least costly way to keep your vehicle in good repair. Regular inspections and replacement of worn parts will prevent most repairs from ever being needed in the first place.And with the amazing complexity of today's automobiles, isn't it good to know there's someone out there with the knowledge, training and skill to give us good auto advice? Whether we need preventive maintenance or repairs, the team of automotive professionals at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service can help us keep our vehicles on the road. We just can't do it on our own anymore.
Recently, Nissan introduced the latest version of its Leaf, the company's electric car. It has many new features, including something called e-Pedal. It allows the driver to let up on the accelerator and, unlike a gasoline engine car, the Leaf doesn't just slowly lose speed; letting off the throttle pedal brakes the car in a very controlled way, using regenerative and sometimes friction brakes. With practice, a driver can go for a fairly long time without touching the brake pedal.
Another system, similar to those found in self-driving vehicles, can steer the car to keep it in the center of the lane using a camera and radar. It literally watches the lane markers and, of course, doesn't work well in snow that obliterates those markers. But the technology is impressive and can greatly reduce fatigue on long trips.
In fact, much of this technology has "trickled down" from research on autonomous vehicles, such as adaptive cruise control that slows down your vehicle (even to a stop) if the vehicle in front of you decelerates or stops. And we can expect these features will eventually find their way into all price levels of vehicles if the past is any indication.
There was a time anti-lock brakes were only found on premium vehicles; now they are on nearly all new vehicles. Traction and stability control are also prevalent, helping drivers reduce slippage and maintain control, thanks to computers.
With SUVs and trucks so popular, rear backup cameras help drivers see behind their tall back ends, reducing injuries, deaths and property damage. Bumper sensors and cameras allow drivers to be visually and aurally aware of their surroundings with 360° protection.
Many of these features improve our vehicle's safety and efficiency, and we can expect new technologies to crop up in the future. But just like the mechanical systems in your vehicle, it's important to maintain the electronic and computerized systems. Technicians at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service constantly train to keep up on these latest developments. Make sure all your vehicle's components are maintained in top condition.
Many Falconer car owners have probably wondered: "What's the harm in putting off replacing an engine air filter? The answer is that not replacing it could cause your Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor to fail. This expensive sensor is situated between your engine air filter and your engine. Dirty air filters are a leading cause of mass air flow sensor failure – and these babies can cost several hundred dollars to replace in Falconer.
Change your vehicle air filter at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service when it's dirty. Your vehicle engine will thank you.Give us a call.
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The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Falconer, New York: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Falconer motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new vehicle.Because new vehicles are more expensive, people in the Falconer area are driving their old vehicles longer. The average vehicle is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in New York have more than 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin'.Give I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service a call at 716-665-2501 to schedule your next maintenance.Some owner's manuals don't specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles (120,000km).First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles (24,000, 48,000, 72,000 and 96,000 km) and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule; ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks; seals and gaskets dry out over time and don't hold the fluids as well as they used to.It's also time to make sure you have a good technician, like those here at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble's brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles (80,000 km), consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it's way cheaper than a new car payment!
Sometimes we hear people in Falconer say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Falconer drivers don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become, fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in New York and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. This guy took his SUV in for the New York safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Falconer inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Falconer drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Falconer service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was shredded and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.The team at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better. Plus, it is more economical to operate in New York. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service1739 Lindquist DriveFalconer, New York 14733716-665-2501
If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges the battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead after a short distance.The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Falconer vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.When they understand what it does, Falconer drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service.At I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch or couple of centimeters, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny, glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service. There's a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it's not that expensive to replace at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service – so it's good to do so before it fails.
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Sometimes we hear people in say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming more complicated than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most drivers don't realize how high-tech automotive fluids have become - fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money.The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little girl smacked a curb and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - and it was enough to wreck the vehicle alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.The team at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better and save yourself money in the long run. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service in Falconer for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service1739 Lindquist DriveFalconer, New York 14733716-665-2501
The hottest New York news story may be different every day, but there's one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Falconer. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things people in Falconer can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the environment. You can really improve your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here's a review of things you can do for your vehicle that'll save gas no matter how you drive.The first one for Falconer drivers is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Falconer service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Falconer gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.
Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn't let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy. And worn spark plugs can cost about the same. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every 1,000 miles/1,600 km driven. Check the vehicle owner's manual for replacement recommendations.The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that's messed up it can cost Falconer vehicles up to 3 miles per gallon/1.3 km per liter. And of course, there's dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That's another .4 miles per gallon/.17 km per liter right there.
One item Falconer residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon/4.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy! And with current gas prices in the Falconer area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Falconer drivers at the pump.
Now most vehicles aren't missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don't forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other services spelled out in your owner's manual.I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service knows all this stuff and can tell you when you're scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at I-86 Truck Repair & Auto Service – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.