Hello Scottsbluff car owners! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your SUV feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel efficiency. The fuel filter’s job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won’t start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your car will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow dangerous particles into your engine.
A car with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around Scottsbluff, but sputter and strain on the highway because it’s starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in NE and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural NE, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.
And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from bargain Gering area stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that’ll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.
Of course, auto manufacturers recommend intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it’s a little more complicated than that for Scottsbluff car owners. Some auto makers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or eighty thousand miles. So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Cars older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the SUV fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in a steep repair.
As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money for Scottsbluff auto owners down the road by improving fuel efficiency and preventing pricey repairs. At Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned-out SUV fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.
People near Scottsbluff NE often ask Twin City Auto how often they should have a particular service done. It’s a great thing to ask. You can look at your owner’s manual, or have your Scottsbluff NE service advisor at Twin City Auto look up your vehicle in a service database. What you find is often a surprise to people – there are actually two service schedules.
One is the regular schedule and the other is the severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe service schedule. When asked, most folks in Scottsbluff NE will say that their driving is normal and that the ‘regular’ schedule probably applies to them. ‘Severe service’ sounds pretty extreme – ‘I don’t drive like that’.
Well, here is what the manufacturers say constitutes severe driving conditions; you can draw your own conclusions.
- Most of your trips are less than four miles.
- Most of your trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing.
- The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway. You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
- You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
- Drive with a car-top carrier.
- Stop and go driving.
- Driving in very hot or very cold weather.
If that’s severe driving, what constitutes regular driving? Well, it would look something like this: I live somewhere with moderate temperatures all year round – I’m thinking San Diego here. And I live close to a freeway on-ramp. Everywhere I need to go is right off the freeway, at least four miles from my home. I can drive at a steady 60 miles per hour when I’m on the freeway.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like my normal driving. It sounds more like ideal conditions. I live where it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I run short errands around Scottsbluff. Occasionally we load up for family trips.
For me, normal driving includes elements of severe service driving. So here’s what I tell people: think about how you drive, where you live, where you go and what you are expecting to with your vehicle in the near future.
Picture a line with ‘regular’ on one end and ‘severe’ on the other, and make a judgment on where you fall. If your regular oil change recommendation is 5,000 miles and the severe service recommendation is 3,000 – when should you change your oil? For me, it’s closer to 3,000 miles. For my wife, it’s closer to 5,000 miles. Your Scottsbluff NE auto service advisor at Twin City Auto will be happy to have this discussion with you and help you sort it out.
Just a quick word on why severe service intervals are shorter. One has to do with heat. That can either be external heat from the weather or engine and transmission heat from stop and go driving or working extra hard moving heavy loads or towing. The heat causes the fluids like oil and transmission fluid to break down more quickly and then they aren’t as effective.
Another factor is water. Moisture naturally collects in fluids as they cool. In your motor oil, for example, if you don’t drive long enough for the oil to fully heat up, the water won’t evaporate. Water in the oil can lead to the buildup of damaging sludge.
If you live where the air is dusty or polluted, fluids will become contaminated and filters will get dirtier more quickly.
So make an honest evaluation of your driving conditions. You’ve made the commitment to take care of your vehicles, so it only makes sense to follow the right schedule.
When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Scottsbluff car owners remember to get our oil changed. But Twin City Auto services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is an important part of car care for Scottsbluff drivers. A poorly maintained transmission will cut down fuel economy and lead to expensive repairs.
The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it’s clean and well – lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your gas mileage will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.
Transmission fluid has two jobs: to cool and lubricate the transmission. The transmission operates at high temperatures. It can get 100-150°F degrees hotter inside your transmission than inside your engine. Transmission fluid transfers some of the heat away from the transmission. Transmissions work hard. Their parts need constant lubrication to prevent excessive wear and keep them running smoothly for Scottsbluff motorists.
The constant shifting and movement of gears inside the transmission cause bits of the gears and clutch material to wear off. These bits of detrimental grit get into the transmission fluid. This grit increases friction inside the transmission and causes even more wear – it’s like liquid sandpaper. Also, the high temperatures inside the transmission cause the transmission fluid to break down over time, making it a less effective lubricant. The fluid can actually become sludgy, which can gradually plug up the maze of passages inside the transmission. Gradually, the transmission loses efficiency and stops operating smoothly. Eventually, the transmission will be damaged or fail altogether.
This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner’s manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this important service. Or, you can meet with your cheerful Twin City Auto service advisor. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your SUV may be shorter or longer.
Of course, if you give your transmission a real workout, you’re going to have to change the fluid more often than the auto maker recommends. If you drive in hot, dusty NE conditions, if you tow a trailer around Scottsbluff, if you haul heavy loads or if you do a lot of stop-and-go Gering driving, then you need to change transmission fluid more often. Also, if you demand frequent bursts of speed from your engine — especially shooting away from stops — your transmission is working harder and will need more frequent care. Check your owner’s manual for the “severe conditions” service interval.
Transmission fluids vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you’ll also need to check your owner’s manual to know what kind your SUV needs, or communicate with your cheerful Twin City Auto technician.
At Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly expensive. Compared to the cost of pricey transmission repairs or a new transmission, it’s downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at Twin City Auto and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in improved fuel efficiency and a longer, smoother ride.
Today in the Twin City Auto auto care blog, we’re going to talk to Scottsbluff drivers about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer for Twin City Auto customers. High quality oil in a well-engineered SUV engine has lead to extended intervals. But it’s also lead to some confusion among Scottsbluff car owners.
The old mantra “change your oil every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first” once applied to every vehicle on Scottsbluff expressways. Time and miles take their toll on motor oil. But now, you could have a different oil change recommendation for every car or truck you own.
Scottsbluff drivers are like everybody else, they have a tendency to follow the oil change schedule of the vehicle with the longest interval. Of course, that can lead to problems. For example, recently four of the world’s largest manufacturers shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles.
In real world Scottsbluff driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance. Quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging SUV small engine passages so the oil wouldn’t flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff.
The manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a catch: the vehicle owner had to follow a new, lower service interval, and provide proof of oil changes in order to make a warranty claim.
So here’s the bottom line for Scottsbluff motorists: with longer oil change intervals, it’s essential to follow them closely. Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge.
But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles and you go over another thousand, you’re getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don’t forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stop and go driving in NE, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Scottsbluff conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Twin City Auto advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.
So check your SUV owner’s manual or talk with your Twin City Auto service advisor about where and how you drive in Scottsbluff. Should you change your oil closer to the regular schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make the call.
Let me give you an example of this. Some newer SUVs have an oil change indicator. It has a sophisticated computer algorithm that tracks number of cold starts, engine temperature, RPMs, mileage, and many more variables to come up with a recommendation for when to change the oil.
Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles to almost 7,000 miles. It’s typically just over 4,000 miles. Clearer sometimes, we’re driving easy miles that are easy on the SUV – like a long road trip. Sometimes, we’re driving hard NE miles – like towing a heavy trailer or a lot of around town driving. But, usually, it’s a combination of both.
Once again, it’s up to you to make the call as to when to change your oil at Twin City Auto to protect your SUV engine. Another place where NE car owners can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Scottsbluff owners filled with synthetic oil. Without going into a lot of detail right now, let’s just say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil sludge.
But it also costs quite a bit more, so some Scottsbluff people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it’s always best to use the oil recommended by your automobile manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual see if a conventional oil alternative is allowed.
But getting back to the problem, if your SUV came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended oil change interval is for synthetic oil. If you use conventional oil, you can’t use the synthetic interval. You need to shorten it.
Scottsbluff auto owners rely on their car’s coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your SUV engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it’s cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.
There’s a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that’s easily reached inside your SUV’s engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.
Also, if it’s freezing outside in Scottsbluff, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the NE cold.
So, if you remember your Scottsbluff high school chemistry, you’ll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.
Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around Scottsbluff.
Whenever your SUV is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it’s cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.
All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal SUV engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. The costly parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole SUV’s engine is ruined and has to be junked.
This is why it is critical that Scottsbluff drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their SUV cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your SUV vehicle manufacturer has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner’s manual or ask us at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff.
The reason Scottsbluff motorists need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system’s a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other SUV cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.
Many Scottsbluff auto owners ask Twin City Auto why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don’t mix them up.
The manufacturers use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.
So check with us at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff or your owner’s manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your SUV cooling system.
Everyone in Scottsbluff, NE knows we are advised to go to our Scottsbluff dentist twice a year. Oral-conscious Scottsbluff residents have a teeth-cleaning and examination. Once a year, we get x-rays to look for problems that can’t be seen with the naked eye. When our dentist is done, he/she tells us what was found – “Everything’s fine, see you in six months.” Or “You’ve got a small cavity starting, let’s schedule an appointment to take care of it.” By the time you leave, you have a plan for addressing any necessary issues.
This system works so much better than waiting for a painful problem before going into the dentist. Small problems are fixed before they turn into big expensive problems. And you avoid those huge bills.
If Gering folks understand the wisdom of using this system for handling dental care, why do many resist when facing the same system for our important car maintenance?
Twin City Auto
1802 E Overland Suite #4
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Following the car maker’s recommended intervals can be confusing. First, there are recommendations for so many things: oil changes, transmission, coolant, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, fuel system, filters, belts, hoses, alignment, rotation, balancing …you get the point.
Every item has a recommended interval and it’s hard for Scottsbluff drivers to keep it all straight – even if you’re part of the 1% of the NE auto owners that read their owners’ manual.
And if you have more than one SUV, the complexity is multiplied. You’d need a computer to keep track of everything. Well, that’s how your service center Scottsbluff does it. For example, Twin City Auto subscribes to automotive databases that have your vehicle’s recommended intervals. You may have wondered how they know what else to recommend when you take your car in for an oil change – it’s all in the database.
Well, it’s not all in the computer. There are other variables that can’t be accounted for in the schedule. Things like Gering weather conditions, altitude, and where and how you drive in NE. Talk about these things with your cheerful Twin City Auto tech and you may decide that the severe service schedule in your owner’s manual is more appropriate.
Since anything that’s not highway driving in moderate Gering weather is considered severe, most of us do at least some of that around Scottsbluff, NE and it should be taken into account.
Let’s take your basic oil change as an example – what issues are involved? The oil you put in your SUV is a blend of base oil and special additives. There are detergents to clean the inside of your SUV engine and corrosion inhibitors. A good quality motor oil will not only lubricate your engine, it will help it stay clean inside and run cooler.
Now, these additives deplete with use and time. That’s why most auto maker’s maintenance recommendations include both a time and mileage element – like 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.
It’s easy for Scottsbluff drivers to think, “Gee, I’ve only driven 2,000 miles in the last 3 months. I can wait on that oil change.” But you need to remember that the inside of your engine is a harmful environment. The oil is contaminated with combustion by-products that starts degrading its effectiveness even when it’s just sitting there.
A lot of people in Scottsbluff don’t realize how harmful it is to skip an oil change. There are a lot of harmful metal parts moving around in your engine. Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate areas of the engine where they cause damage. Your oil filter is designed to trap metal particles and other dirt, but if it’s clogged up because you haven’t changed it, it can’t trap any more.
Oil sludge is another problem for Scottsbluff motorists. Sludge is oil that has turned to a gunky jelly – think ‘Vaseline’. Obviously, sludge doesn’t lubricate. It can also clog small oil passages so that all the parts don’t get properly protected by the oil. That’ll lead to premature wear.
If you’ve missed some oil changes, don’t despair. Just talk with your cheerful Twin City Auto technician. Fess up – you’ll feel better. And he can help you get back on track. Following recommended intervals is the key to keeping your SUV on the road and avoiding pricey repairs.
Take a look at the auto tips video in this post for more information.
All Scottsbluff drivers have blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can’t see when you’re driving around Scottsbluff.
First let’s talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others…
To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your SUV before you start to drive.
First, Scottsbluff drivers should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their SUV. Gering folks don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It’s pretty uncomplicated, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.
Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.
When Scottsbluff drivers adjust their mirrors this way, they’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on Gering roads and busy highways. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another SUV hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.
Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (SUV?), you may still have some blind spots. All vehicles have an area behind them that’s blind when backing up. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. A pick-up or SUV can hide a small child – an RV, bus or tractor-trailer can hide an entire vehicle. So be careful out there on our Gering streets and in your driveway at your Scottsbluff home!
As you drive around the Gering area, avoid staying in other auto owners’ blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.
Let’s talk about safely sharing our NE roads with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the driver of the car is to blame for about 40 percent of the accidents. But 78 percent of the fatalities are with the car. The laws of physics are against the smaller vehicle, so it is essential for Scottsbluff car owners to take extra precautions around trucks and buses.
Heavy vehicles have huge blind spots: to the rear, on both sides and up front. They also can’t maneuver like a car. They take twice as long to stop and need twice as much space as you do in your SUV or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs on Gering area expressways.
Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Gering area:
Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the Scottsbluff drivers’s face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!
Don’t follow too close. If you can’t see one of the truck’s mirrors, you’re too close.
Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you’re on one of our local Scottsbluff, NE two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.
Don’t linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can’t pass quickly, drop back.
Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks’ blind spot is much larger on the right.
Be attentive and wear your seat belt while driving anywhere around Scottsbluff, even for short drives. Don’t be aggressive when driving around trucks. Because of their size, they appear to be going slower than they really are. Cutting it short around a truck could be disastrous.
Use your turn signals when starting to pass. Once you can see the full truck in your rear view mirror, it’s safe to signal and move over. It’s important not to cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.
Be careful passing a truck at an intersection in Scottsbluff. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through Scottsbluff streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in your Scottsbluff body shop or Twin City Auto. Look for the truck’s turn signals.
The team of automotive professionals at Twin City Auto want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.
Twin City Auto
We’re on 1802 E Overland Suite #4 in Scottsbluff, NE (69361)
Call us to make an appointment at 308.635.7404.
Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our SUVs.
Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Scottsbluff drivers maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.
Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of vital automotive performance for Scottsbluff drivers: protection of the vehicle itself, fuel efficiency, and safety.
Your vehicle’s components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by products. Protective components include filters and fluids.
Most of the fluids in your SUV are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your SUV.
For example, motor oil lubricates your engine, when keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle’s engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Scottsbluff drivers should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.
Over time, the essential additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.
Over time, your vehicle’s systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of fuel economy and power output.
For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine’s efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore gas mileage and improve gas mileage.
Some of your SUV’s systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents for Scottsbluff drivers.
Your owner’s manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your SUV. Of course, you can consult with a your Twin City Auto service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.
Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like fifteen or twenty thousand miles. The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your SUV. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.
The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better fuel efficiency and fewer expensive repairs. It may even save your life.
Under-inflated tires waste gas for lots of folks in the Mcgrew area. Think how hard it is to walk in sand – you just have to work harder because of the resistance. When your tires don’t have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get from Scottsbluff to Mcgrew.
Always check your tire pressure when you gas up at one of our local Mcgrew service stations. If they’re low – even just a little bit – bring them up to proper pressure. There’s a sticker on the inside of your driver’s door that gives the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure.
And don’t rely on your tire pressure monitoring system to alert you to when you need more air. The TPMS system is set to warn you when pressure drops twenty percent below recommendations. That’s severely under inflated and you needed more air a long time ago. And if you have a slow leak – get it fixed right away at Twin City Auto.
Get some air and save some gas.
Wheel alignment is often overlooked by busy Melbeta and Minatare motorists until serious tire damage has been done. One wheel can be knocked out of alignment by hitting a curb or pothole on a Gering freeway or surface street.
When a vehicle’s out of alignment, one or more of the wheels does not track true and pulls against the others. This causes several serious problems. First off, the tires will wear out faster and will need to be replaced prematurely. It could also lead to expensive SUV suspension problems.
But the big issue for Melbeta, Minatare, and Scottsbluff drivers is safety. When your SUV wheels are out of alignment, the vehicle will pull to one side, which could lead to an accident. When you’re out of alignment, you should have it taken care of right away at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff.
When undergoing an alignment service at Twin City Auto, your SUV is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are checked for damage. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the factory settings.
Precision adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels going in exactly the same direction.
Minatare motorists should be aware of the signs of alignment problems. These include the car pulling to one side. Also, the steering wheel may not be centered when you’re going straight. If you see the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down, you should have your Gering service center look it over. If you’ve been in an auto accident in NE that involved a wheel, you should get your alignment checked.
Obviously, a big jolt can seriously knock things out of alignment, but Melbeta drivers also need to understand that a series of smaller ones can add up.
That’s why vehicle manufacturers recommend periodic alignment checks. If your SUV owner’s manual doesn’t specify, once a year might be appropriate. Or check with Mike Vallentine or your service advisor at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff.
One thing’s for sure: the cost of the alignment at Twin City Auto is cheaper for Melbeta motorists than having to buy a couple of new tires because of neglect.
Today we want to talk to Scottsbluff auto owners about timing belts. They’re something that many Scottsbluff drivers don’t know much about and yet your vehicle won’t run if it’s broken – and it could cause many thousands of dollars damage if it does break. A broken timing belt is usually a tale of woe. Even though timing belt replacement is scheduled in the owner’s manual, it’s not the kind of thing that most Gering drivers remember because it’s not well understood.
Let’s review what a timing belt does. As most Scottsbluff car owners know, the engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. A piston rides up and down in the cylinder. During the first down stroke, an intake valve at the top of the cylinder opens and air and fuel is drawn into the cylinder. Then the piston returns to the top, compressing the fuel and air mix. At the top, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel pushing the piston down in the power stroke. As the piston once again returns up in the final stroke of the cycle, an exhaust valve opens at the top of the cylinder and the exhaust is pushed out. The timing belt is what coordinates the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It’s called a timing belt because the valves have to open and close at just the right time.
Now, not all Mcgrew and Melbeta vehicles have timing belts. Some have timing chains. Like the name implies, they use a chain rather than a belt to perform the function. It used to be that most engines used timing chains, which are extremely durable. The leading auto manufacturers started using belts rather than chains to save money in the manufacturing process. So now Scottsbluff auto owners and Twin City Auto technicians are left with a component that can break. They sort of shifted the problem to us. There are two broad categories of vehicle manufacturer engine design: interference and non-interference. If the timing belt on a non-interference engine breaks, the engine simply stops running. That could be very dangerous for drivers depending on where they are at the time, but it causes no internal engine damage.
Interference SUV engines, on the other hand, will get real messed up when the timing belt breaks, because the valves will actually fall down into the path of the pistons. Things get chewed up when that happens and it’ll cost a chunk of cash to repair the SUV engine.
So, what are the warning signs? Unfortunately, there really aren’t any. There aren’t tell-tale sounds. In some vehicles, a technician from Twin City Auto may be able to see part of the belt for a visual inspection, but many have a cover that’s in the way. The reality is that if the belt slips even one notch, it might as well be broken for all the costly damage it’ll cause. There’s no middle ground.
So how can we avoid these problems? Simply replace the timing belt when your owner’s manual calls for it. It can be 60,000 miles; it might be 90,000 or 100,000 miles. The point is, if you have 60,000 or more miles, ask your Twin City Auto service advisor right away if your automobile manufacturer requires a timing belt replacement.
Contact Twin City Auto to learn more about your car’s Timing Belt
You can find us at:
1802 E Overland Suite #4
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Or call us at 308.635.7404
Sometimes Scottsbluff motorists can go quite a while without a failure, but we’ve seen them happen within a couple of oil changes of being due. It’s not worth the risk.
What does it cost to replace a timing belt in Scottsbluff or Minatare? Well, that really depends on what kind of car you have. I can tell you that it’s usually not very easy to get to the timing belt – you often have to remove some accessories to get at it. It isn’t a cheap procedure, but it’s a fraction of what it could cost to repair the costly damage caused by a failure.
At Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff we’re all about trying to prevent pricey repairs, keeping you and your passengers safe and increasing your driving enjoyment. Thanks to AutoNetTV for their great auto video tips.
Today’s report from Twin City Auto is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn’t. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Scottsbluff vehicle batteries last for 48 months.
Now that’s an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around Scottsbluff. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.
For more information on your battery, please visit us:
Twin City Auto
1802 E Overland Suite #4
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.
A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates actually, for the lack of a better word, ‘die’. Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.
One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Scottsbluff area, is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the car. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you’re driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.
Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it’s no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.
Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may’ve heard these chargers referred to as ‘trickle chargers’. They’re attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.
Now there’s some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you’ll have to tend it. Frankly a learning curve on how to do it right and requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it’s fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.
The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.
Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery. Something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That’ll take months off the battery life every time you do it.
Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Twin City Auto to clean it for you. Twin City Auto can even test your battery and tell you if it’s time to replace it.
Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Twin City Auto about appropriate upgrades.
If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.