Categories
Maintenance

When Should I Get An Oil Change?

Oil change
Oil Changes are important for a long vehicle lifespan.

Your vehicle’s oil change is necessary, but when is the right time? An important question with varying answers, so let’s attempt to simplify. Before improvements were made to fuel-delivery systems, engine materials, manufacturing methods and oil chemistry, 3000 miles were the typical barometer for an oil change. However, modern engines today can drive upwards of 7500 or 10,000 miles before an oil change is required.

Several variables come into play when determining the proper interval for your next oil change. If you own a new vehicle and do not want to jeopardize your powertrain warranty, follow the oil type, mileage and time frame recommendations listed in the owner’s manual. Most of the time, drivers will take their vehicle to a dealer for routine inspections and maintenance. During these appointments, oil changes are typically provided.

If your vehicle is out of warranty, the answer becomes more vague. Recommendations vary depending on driving conditions, such as the time of year and where your vehicle is driven. Severe driving conditions include short trips of five or less miles in normal temperatures, short trips of 10 miles or less in freezing temperatures, stop-and-start driving in hot temperatures, long distance driving at low speeds and frequent driving on dusty, muddy, salty, sandy or gravel terrain. Service providers recommend shorter oil change intervals, which are typically between 3000 to 5000 miles. While this never hurts your engine, it does result in more frequent expenses with your local dealer. Checking your oil level once a month using the dipstick is encouraged, especially with older vehicles. Many newer vehicles use synthetic oils for a potential 10,000 to 12,000-mile interval range before requiring an oil change. Older vehicles use petroleum-based oil, which provides users with a choice if they own an older model. Synthetic oils offer greater support for longer distance traveling and more resistance against temperature breakdowns. But they also cost more than petroleum oils. You’ll have to determine which option makes more financial sense. Changing your oil at the proper interval is reliant on many moving parts, most of which are specific to you and your vehicle. For new vehicles, follow the recommendations outlined in the owner’s manual in order to avoid breaking a powertrain warranty. Modern vehicles typically last 7500 to 10,000 miles before requiring an oil change. Used vehicles have varying intervals for oil changes depending on your personal driving habits and patterns. Many dealers suggest changing your vehicle’s oil every 3000 to 5000 miles. For additional questions and information regarding your oil’s life span, consult with a local car dealership for servicing details and assistance.

Categories
Maintenance

What Your Check Engine Light Might Be Telling You

Your vehicle’s Check Engine Light (CEL) is never a positive indicator. Identifying the reason for its illumination can vary from a minor obstruction to imminent critical vehicle damage. If your CEL is steadily lit, your engine sensors have identified suspicious behavior, perhaps with an engine component or sensor. But if the light is flashing, the issue with your engine could cause immediate damage and it is imperative to pull over immediately. The recommended action is to visit a vehicle service center to get the light turned off, regardless of the severity of your engine’s issue.

An at-home option for previewing potential engine problems can be conducted with a code reader, which can be purchased at an auto parts store or online retailer. Most code readers allow users to turn off or reset the check engine light. It is important to note that a code reader does not repair any issue with your engine and that, oftentimes, the light will turn back on later. But a code reader can present users with a code which can be searched for on the internet to decipher its meaning.

Causes for your Check Engine Light’s emergence on your dash can vary in severity (and cost). Common solutions may include replacing ignition coils, spark plugs, oxygen sensors, converters, fuel injectors, and/or thermostat. There is always a chance the light turned on because of a temporary problem caused by weather conditions. In this case, the light should go out by itself in a short period of time. But it is important to address these potential issues immediately to prevent larger (and costlier) problems down the road. Additionally, the CEL must be turned off in order to pass state vehicle inspection.

The Check Engine Light can potentially lead to a hefty vehicle expense and may discourage drivers from getting their vehicles serviced. Troubleshooting at home with a code reader is a viable option but primarily serves as a starting point and not a long-term solution. Visiting a service center will provide a more comprehensive diagnosis of your vehicle’s engine and help prevent further (and more severe) damage to your engine and vehicle. When your Check Engine Light is illuminated, place the safety of yourself and others first and get your vehicle serviced.

Categories
Tires

The Importance of Tires and Maintenance

Tires serve a vital role to your personal safety and your vehicle’s performance. Since tires are the only component making contact with the ground, they are prone to endless damaging situations. Driving on worn tires increases risk for poor input response. Handling, steering and braking are all directly tied to the quality of your tires. Poor tire performance equates to poor vehicular performance and a higher risk of losing control. In order to preserve your safety and the safety of others, paying close attention to your tires’ age and tread are promising indicators on whether or not you should get new tires.

Checking your tires’ expiration date is the first way to gauge your tires’ lifespan. Tires are typically expected to last six years. It is also common for tires to last longer than that, but tires should not be driven on for more than a maximum of 10 years. Rubber weathers away simply due to the environment around your vehicle. Regardless of your vehicle’s quality, tires can age and require replacements in a much shorter period of time. Printed on your tires’ sidewalls is a 16-digit tire identification number. The last four digits represent the tire’s age by detailing the week and year of its manufacture (for example, “1219” would signify the 12th week of 2019). 
Inspecting your tire tread is the second option for determining the quality of your tires. When tire tread reaches 2/32 of an inch, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing the tire. Furthermore, many tires have tread wear indicators which become visible when the tread wears down. They will create a noise while driving to prompt you to check your tires. 

Uneven tread wear is another sign for tire replacement. If you notice tire tread indicators are visible in some spots but not in others, your tires have unevenly worn down and require replacement. Tires can unevenly wear down due to improper inflation and failing to ensure your vehicle’s alignment and suspension are in order. If you experience problems with handling and/or excessive vibration, consider checking your tire tread.
Lastly, if you can observe physical damage to any of your tires, such as punctures, bulges, blisters, cuts and/or cracking, a replacement is most certainly necessary. Consider making a habit of regularly scanning your tires for visible damage. 

A tire’s age and tread thickness are two easy ways to determine when to replace your tires. Checking the expiration date of your tires by acknowledging the manufacture date will give an indication of your tire’s expected lifespan. Closely monitor the tire tread for proper thickness while also looking for tread wear indicators. Excessive vibration and difficulty handling your vehicle are other signs to replace your tires. Indicating problems with your tires could save your life and the lives of drivers around you. Be safe and replace your tires.

Schedule your service today at Thrifty Car Sales of Coopersburg to ensure your car & tires are road ready!