Tune-Up

Car Running Poorly? Seven Signs It’s Overdue for a Tune-Up

Most car manufacturers suggest getting a tune-up every 40,000 to 120,000 miles. This important service involves changing the spark plugs and installing new ignition wires. Here are seven signs that your vehicle is overdue for a tune-up.

Bad Gas Mileage

Tune-UpIf your vehicle’s fuel economy has started to dip, it may need a tune-up. When the spark plugs begin to wear out, the engine will have trouble maintaining the proper air-fuel ratio. Gas mileage can plummet by up to 30 percent. Changing out the old spark plugs can save you a lot of money in the long run. This is especially true for drivers who commute on an everyday basis.

Slow Acceleration

Slow acceleration is a definite red flag. When driving with bad spark plugs or worn ignition wires, it can feel as if your vehicle is pulling a heavy load. Expect to notice a major decrease in passing power. You’ll have trouble merging onto the freeway, which can be a safety hazard. After getting a tune-up, performance should improve dramatically. Keep in mind that a clogged air filter can also cause sluggish acceleration, so first check the condition of this part before taking further action.

Check Engine Light May Require a Tune Up

Be on the lookout for a check engine light. This could be a warning sign that you need a tune-up. If your car’s onboard computer detects multiple misfires, it will trigger the check engine light to turn on. To be on the safe side, bring in your vehicle to the shop. With the use of advanced diagnostic equipment, the technicians can track down the specific source of the problem.

Hard Starts

When their vehicle is hard to start, many car owners immediately begin to fear a dead battery. However, bad spark plugs can also cause your vehicle to not crank. Over time, the electrodes on a spark plug gradually start to wear out. A weak spark will be produced. This means your plugs can no longer send an electrical current to the engine’s combustion chamber. A tune-up may prove to be the recommended solution.

Rough Idling May Require A Tune Up

A well-maintained vehicle should run smoothly with no hiccups. If your vehicle starts to experience rough idling, one or more of the spark plugs may have gone bad. Expect the engine to be vibrating far more than normal.

Arcing Ignition Wires

Ignition wires, which are also referred to as spark plug wires, often arc when they become defective. At night, pop the hood while the engine is running. In the event you see any sparks coming from the wires, this indicates that the insulation over the wires has broken down.

Raw Fuel Smell May Require A Tune Up

A lingering smell of raw fuel should quickly catch your attention. This could stem from incomplete combustion. If the spark plugs are determined to be bad, don’t wait to get a tune-up. You don’t want any unburned fuel to escape into the exhaust system. The vehicle’s catalytic converter can become damaged, which is often expensive to replace.

Car overheating

What Can Cause Engine Overheating?

Engine overheating is among the most serious car problems encountered by drivers in North Carolina. When your temperature gauge begins to approach the danger zone, it’s important to pull over as soon as possible. Not only can overheating leave you stranded, but the potential engine damage can be expensive to repair.

Car overheating

Here Are Some of the Most Common Causes of Overheating.

Leaks in the Cooling System

Leaks are by far the top reason for engine overheating. When the coolant level becomes too low, temperatures will quickly start to rise. This is why you should have your cooling system professionally inspected every year. Simply adding more coolant is only a temporary fix.

Parts prone to leaking coolant include the thermostat housing, hoses, heater core, and plastic reservoir. If a head gasket begins to leak, you have an even bigger problem on your hands. Aside from inducing engine overheating, a bad head gasket can also cause a major loss of power.

Bad Thermostat

A thermostat is a simple valve in your cooling system. However, it holds a big responsibility. The thermostat’s job is to help the engine to maintain the correct temperature.

If the thermostat fails in a closed position, the coolant will no longer be able to pass through the radiator. Engine overheating can occur quickly, especially on a hot summer day. The good news is that new thermostats are not expensive.

A Busted Hose Can Cause Overheating

It’s important for worn-out coolant hoses to be replaced in a timely manner. A burst hose will cause coolant to literally gush out of the engine. You’ll also notice steam pouring from underneath the hood.

To avoid overheating, check your coolant hoses from signs of wear and tear. Cracks and bulges in the hose are definite red flags. A soft hose also needs to be replaced.

Malfunctioning Water Pump

A properly functioning water pump barely makes a sound. If you start to hear a whining noise coming from the water pump, immediately bring in your vehicle for service. You may also notice coolant leaking from the part’s weep hole. At this point, the water pump is on borrowed time.

When a water pump fails, it can no longer propel coolant throughout the cooling system. Overheating is bound to occur at some point. The bright side is that you can expect a new water pump to last for 100,000 miles or more.

Overheating From a Bad Radiator Fan

A radiator fan, which enhances cooling by pulling air across the radiator, is an essential component. It’s designed to automatically kick on at a certain engine temperature. If the radiator fan isn’t working, overheating becomes a real possibility.

In some instances, the problem can be traced to a blown fuse. It only takes a few minutes to swap out an old fuse for a new one. You also can’t rule out a worn fan motor as the culprit. On the other hand, your fan may be in perfect working condition. A faulty temperature sensor may not be signaling the fan to turn on. Cleaning the sensor may fix the problem.

mildew smell from auto ac

Car AC Repair in Asheville, NC

Asheville’s four seasons are undoubtedly one of the benefits of living in this area. But North Carolina summers can be hot, especially if your car’s air conditioning fails. This is why many area residents trust Cox Auto Service on Druid Drive for their car AC repair.

Your car’s air conditioning system contains many working parts. These include a compressor, expansion valve, and two heat exchangers. The system also requires refrigerant fluid. Failure of any of these parts can lead to cooling problems. Below are some of the most common reasons why people need trusted car AC repair.

No Cold Air Flows from the AC

A refrigerant leak often causes the cold air to stop flowing from a car air conditioner. Without this important fluid in its system, the AC components stop working and you need car AC repair. A leak can occur for many reasons. The most common cause is a hole in one of the AC’s main parts, such as:

  • Hoses
  • Connections
  • Condenser
  • Compressor
  • Evaporator

To fix this problem, your trusted mechanic at Cox Auto Service adds a fluorescent leak tracer dye and refrigerant to your AC system. While the air conditioner runs, they use a blacklight to find the leak, then repair, evacuate and recharge your AC.

Air Does Not Flow through the Vents

Several component problems can cause air to stop flowing through your car’s vents. This type of car AC repair requires the skill of a knowledgeable technician, starting with diagnostics. Parts checked for this repair include:

  • Fuses and relays
  • Blower motor and blower resistor
  • Air intake vents
  • Belts and hoses

The technician typically starts repairing the AC with this problem by replacing fuses and the relay. From there, they can eliminate this quick repair issue if the air still does not flow as it should. Bigger problems generally require repair or replacement of non-working parts.

The AC Does Not Cool Enough

Low refrigerant causes air conditioning to get cool, but not cold enough. Other reasons for only slightly cool air from your AC can include a blocked or failed condenser or a failed clutch switch. To solve your car’s problem, the technician tests these components. He or she looks for damage, blockages in the system or part failure before starting your car AC repair.

A Mildew Odor from the AC

Car AC Repair

If you smell the noxious odor of mildew coming from your AC, you have bacteria growing in your system. Older vehicles and those where the AC is rarely used generally have this problem. It can also happen in vehicles frequently set for maximum cooling since excess moisture builds up in the unit during operation at this level.

For this car AC repair, you need the air filter replaced. This can fix the problem. If it does not, the technician must add an anti-bacterial fluid that clears contaminants and kills mold in the system.

The AC Makes Noise

If you turn on your car’s AC and hear odd noises like banging or rattling, this signals a problem. Sometimes the issue is simple, like leaves or other debris blocking the unit. But you may have a bigger issue, such as a worn-out bearing that grinds or squeals or a failed compressor clutch that rattles.

This car AC repair starts with inspection by a trusted technician. During this inspection, the auto mechanic can find which component is failing to replace it.

Water Dripping Onto Your Floorboards

Water dripping on your car’s floorboards from the AC generally means a chain of problems. These start with build-up of bacteria on the evaporator coil in the AC heater box under the dashboard. This bacteria combines with condensation and creates a slimy film that accumulates on the AC fins. Over time, the film clogs the drain line and causes water from condensation to drip onto your vehicle’s floor.

For repair of this problem, the technician first determines what is clogging the drain line and why. He or she then repairs or replaces the hose to fix your AC and get you back on the road in cool comfort.

AC Switching from Cold to Hot

When you turn on your AC, the last thing you expect is for it to blow hot air. This sometimes happens with a failed expansion valve. The expansion valve must properly dispense refrigerant to the evaporator for proper AC cooling. A blocked valve prevents this and can freeze from resulting moisture.

For this car AC repair, your auto technician tests the system’s pressure. He or she also inspects parts for malfunctions or blockages for proper diagnosis. If your car needs repair or replacement of these parts, they fulfill those needs.

Asheville’s Best Car AC Repair

Do you have problems with your car’s air conditioning? There is no reason to suffer in the summer heat of North Carolina. Simply call Cox Auto Service at 828-254-8661 to schedule your car AC repair or other services.

Auto Repair Shops Reveal the Biggest Used Car Red Flags

Auto Repair Shops Reveal the Biggest Used Car Red Flags

With COVID-19 hitting the economy so hard, some Asheville drivers are a bit hesitant to buy a brand-new car. Opting to purchase a used vehicle can save you thousands of dollars. However, you need to avoid buying a lemon. When shopping for a secondhand vehicle, auto repair shops warn you to watch out for these five red flags.

Discolored Motor Oil

Before even taking a test drive, auto repair shops advise used car shoppers to pull the oil dipstick. The color of the motor oil can reveal a lot about the vehicle. While it’s perfectly normal for motor oil to have a dark brown color, a black appearance indicates big trouble. The owner clearly didn’t make routine maintenance a big priority.

Milky motor oil is even more alarming. This is a result of antifreeze from the cooling system mixing with the oil. There’s a good chance that a blown gasket is the culprit.

Smoke

Far too many people fail to notice smoke coming from a used car’s tailpipe. You can prevent a major headache by having an auto repair shop inspect the vehicle beforehand. Bluish smoke is especially common, which stems from oil leaking into the exhaust manifold. On the other hand, black smoke is caused by a fuel problem.

White smoke is the worst of all. It’s only a matter of time before the vehicle needs to be towed. A damaged cylinder head could be the culprit, thus requiring a complete engine rebuild.

Worn Timing Belt

Some used vehicles are designed with a rubber timing belt. This belt’s job is to keep the engine’s camshaft and crankshaft turning at the same time. If the timing belt suddenly breaks, catastrophic engine damage may occur.

The bad news is that many car shoppers have no knowledge of a vehicle’s timing belt. This is yet another reason why a pre-purchase inspection is so critical. An auto repair shop can give you a rough estimate of the timing belt’s life expectancy.

Bad Wheel Alignment

Never buy a used car that has a bad wheel alignment. Aside from causing premature tire wear, a bad wheel alignment could indicate a previous accident. A bent frame can be extremely difficult to straighten. Because the damage is underneath the vehicle, it’s easy to go unnoticed.

If the vehicle tends to veer to one side, this is a surefire sign of a bad wheel alignment. An uneven steering wheel also points to an obvious problem.

Engine Runs Rough

Ideally, an engine should run smoothly with no hiccups. When test driving a pre-owned vehicle, take note of rough idling. It’ll definitely need to be examined by an auto repair shop.

Rough idling is often caused by old spark plugs. As the electrodes start to wear down, the spark plugs can no longer fire properly. A vacuum leak can also cause the engine to run rough. Although the parts to fix a vacuum leak usually aren’t expensive, tracking down the leak can be difficult for the average backyard mechanic.

Top Five New Vehicles of 2020

Top Five New Vehicles of 2020

This is a great time to be a car enthusiast. Several exciting new vehicles of 2020 have emerged. Here’s a look at the five coolest vehicles of the year.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette

For good reason, the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette has triggered a great deal of excitement. Chevy has taken this American sports car’s performance capabilities to the next level. Its redesigned LT1 V8 engine cranks out a thrilling 495 horsepower. Even the entry-level trim is capable of accelerating to 60 mph in a blistering 3.1 seconds. Because the new Corvette’s engine is now positioned behind the passenger area, it has a near-perfect weight balance. Handling is better than ever.

Many people are drawn to the new Corvette’s drop-dead gorgeous styling. It has an exotic look that instantly turns heads. Meanwhile, a more luxurious interior makes the Corvette an even better car for long-distance traveling. For these reasons the latest Chevy Corvette is #1 on our top five new vehicles of 2020.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

#2 on our top five new vehicles of 2020, without a doubt the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. This is the most powerful Mustang to ever come from the factory! The all-new 2020 Shelby GT500 comes ready to hit the track.

Under the hood sits a supercharged V8 engine, which cranks out a jaw-dropping 760 horsepower! Although you can’t get the Mustang Shelby GT500 with a manual transmission, its seven-speed automatic is remarkably quick and precise. When accelerating from a stop, you can hit 60 mph in about 3.4 seconds.

While the new Mustang Shelby GT500 is a beastly performance machine, it’s still comfortable enough to drive on a daily basis. Plenty of premium amenities are available, including heated and cooled seats.

2020 Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator is the ultimate pickup truck for serious adventure-seekers, earning this Jeep seat #3 on our top five new vehicles of 2020. Although the all-new Gladiator is based on the popular Jeep Wrangler SUV, a versatile bed and higher towing capacity help set it apart. Motivating the Gladiator is a Pentastar V6 engine with 285 horsepower. Every trim also comes standard with a capable 4WD system and rugged skid plates.

Asheville drivers will love the Gladiator’s removable roof. Life in the summer will be especially fun. A spacious backseat and active safety technologies also make this trail-ready pickup truck a more than worthy family vehicle. Of course, everyone on the street will notice the Gladiator’s iconic Jeep styling.

2020 Hyundai Sonata

Folks in the market for a new midsize sedan should take a serious look at the redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata, sitting at #4 of our top five new vehicles of 2020. Its sleek exterior styling makes a bold statement. A gaping front grille and cool LED headlights help this car to truly stand out.

Hyundai also engineered the Sonata to offer a more pleasing driving experience. A wider stance and sportier suspension tuning enable the sedan to take curves like never before. Drivers also enjoy the responsiveness of the new turbocharged engine, which kicks out competitive 180 horsepower. There’s a lot of new technology available for the Sonata. While a Blind-Spot View Monitor makes lane changes safer, Remote Smart Parking Assist enables the Sonata to park itself without you even being behind the wheel.

2020 Nissan Sentra

Many automotive reviewers are touting the 2020 Nissan Sentra as the best compact sedan on the market. And we agree! That’s why this stylish & efficient sedan slid straight into seat #5 on our top five new vehicles of 2020 list. Its upscale appearance will win over a lot of people. Many of the Sentra’s styling cues were taken directly from the latest Nissan Altima. Larger 18-inch alloy wheels and a contrasting black roof give the SR trim an extra wow factor.

Although the Sentra isn’t a sports car, it does benefit from much-improved handling. Furthermore, every trim now comes standard with an advanced safety package.

Top Five New Vehicles of 2020
Photo Courtesy of Nissan USA
Automatic Transmission - Vehicle Engine: Protect Your Most Expensive Car Parts

Automatic Transmission – Vehicle Engine: Protect Your Most Expensive Car Parts

Automatic Transmission - Vehicle Engine: Protect Your Most Expensive Car Parts

Some car parts, such as brake pads and filters, need to be replaced every so often. Meanwhile, other components can last for the life of the vehicle when properly maintained. No driver wants to have to replace things like their vehicle engine or automatic transmission as these major auto repair components always come hefty price tags. Additionally, catalytic convertors, fuel pump & filter, & also replacing a car or truck battery are infrequent maintenance needs that can surface.

Here’s how to protect your vehicle’s most expensive parts from premature wear and tear.

Engine

To prevent costly engine repair, take the necessary steps to protect your vehicle’s most expensive part. It’s especially important to get an oil change at the recommended interval. This routine service can extend the life of your engine by thousands of miles.

It’s just as critical to keep the engine cool. Overheating can cause an extensive amount of damage, including a blown head gasket and warped cylinders. If you happen to notice your temperature gauge approaching the danger zone, pull over as soon as possible. Some of the common causes of an overheated engine include coolant leaks, malfunctioning radiator fans, and a bad water pump.

Automatic Transmission

Automatic transmissions have become more sophisticated than ever. Because transmission repair can be so expensive, you must make maintenance a top priority. The transmission fluid will eventually need to be changed. Over time, heat and dirt cause this critical fluid to break down.

Another way to help preserve your auto transmission is to allow it to properly warm up, especially on cold days. When leaving home, simply drive gently for the first few miles. Far less stress will be placed upon the various moving parts. Contrary to popular belief, modern vehicles shouldn’t be allowed to idle for long periods of time. This is not an effective way to warm up the engine and automatic transmission. After allowing the engine to idle for about a minute or so, it’s safe to hit the road.

Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter is part of your vehicle’s emission system. It’s specially designed to limit the amount of pollution emitting from the exhaust. The cost to replace a damaged catalytic converter can be up to $1,500 on some vehicles.

In Asheville, a malfunctioning catalytic converter will result in a failed NC state inspection. In many instances, poor maintenance is the primary cause of a catalytic converter going bad. It’s important to repair oil leaks. When oil drips into the catalytic converter, it’s only a matter of time before you experience trouble. You also shouldn’t wait to replace worn spark plugs, which can cause unburned fuel to enter the exhaust.

Fuel Pump

It’s easy to forget about your vehicle’s fuel pump. This component quietly does its job without making a fuss. When your fuel pump starts to become noisy, expect the worse.

You must remember to have the fuel filter replaced every 40,000 – 80,000 miles. A dirty fuel filter will put extra pressure on the pump, thus shortening its life. Never make the mistake of driving on a near-empty tank of gas. This could cause your fuel to severely overheat.

Hybrid Battery

Some of today’s vehicles feature a hybrid battery. On average, you can expect a hybrid battery to last for at least 100,000 miles. However, there are ways to get even more life out of a hybrid battery.

According to experts, drivers should coast when traveling down hills and coming to a stop. A hybrid vehicle uses kinetic energy to replenish the battery. Also, try to park in the shade whenever possible. Extreme heat will ultimately shorten the battery’s life expectancy.

In conclusion, all cars & truck require minimal amounts of regular maintenance. Maintaining the proper maintenance schedule for your vehicle may seem small & insignificant, but in fact, it is HUGE. Always follow the recommendations of your vehicle manufacturer. Regular oil changes will likely minimize the chances that  you will need to replace your automatic transmission & in some cases even vehicle engines! Maintaining a clean & working auto fuel filter may extend the life of your fuel pump as well as potentially prevent the need for a new catalytic converter on down the road.

 

Six Big Car Care Mistakes Made By Vehicle Owners

Six Big Car Care Mistakes Made By Vehicle Owners

Six Big Car Care Mistakes Made By Vehicle Owners

As a car owner, you need to take care of your ride. Not only will your vehicle last longer, but it’ll also provide a safer driving experience. Here’s a look at six of the biggest car care mistakes to avoid.

1. Driving On “E”

Whether you’re short on cash or simply don’t feel like stopping by the gas station, it’s never a good idea to drive on a near-empty tank. This is among the most costly car care mistakes. A low level of gas can cause your vehicle’s fuel pump to overheat, thus making it more prone to failing. This is why you should always keep at least a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle.

2. Using the Wrong Motor Oil

Most drivers recognize the importance of getting regular oil changes. However, it’s just as critical to use the recommended type of motor oil. If you use the wrong motor oil grade, you could experience a loss of fuel economy or decreased performance. Even worse, the wrong grade may not provide an adequate level of protection. The extra wear and tear could noticeably decrease engine life.

3. Buying Inferior Brake Pads

In an attempt to save a few bucks, some drivers choose to use the cheapest parts available. Installing cheap brake pads is a big car care mistake. During heavy braking, low-quality pads are far more prone to fading. This means you’ll experience diminished stopping power. Cheap brake pads can also lead to warped rotors, which is yet another safety hazard. For your own personal security, spend the extra money on quality brake pads.

4. Failing to get a Wheel Alignment

Most automakers suggest car owners getting a wheel alignment once a year. Unfortunately, many drivers tend to neglect this important maintenance item. Failing to get a wheel alignment can cause your tires to wear down much sooner than expected. When your wheels aren’t properly aligned, your vehicle also won’t handle as well. If your vehicle is difficult to keep in a straight line, this is a tell-tale sign that a wheel alignment is needed.

5. Hiring a Backyard Mechanic

Think twice before taking your vehicle to a backyard mechanic. This could prove to be one of your most regrettable car care mistakes. Although these amateur handymen may offer you a great deal, the best approach is to take your vehicle to a certified automotive professional.

If a backyard mechanic makes a mistake, you stand to lose thousands of dollars. Some of today’s modern cars are engineered with sophisticated technologies, which makes them more complicated to work on. The average do-it-yourselfer doesn’t have the knowledge or equipment that it takes to perform certain repairs.

6. Ignoring Issues

When encountering potential car problems, always get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. Taking action could prevent you from becoming stranded on the side of the road. In most instances, car issues gradually become worse over time. This means you’ll likely end up spending even more money on repairs. Strange noises, check engine lights, and funny smells should all catch your attention.

Vehicle Won't Crank? Check Out The Most Common Causes...

Vehicle Won’t Crank? Check Out The Most Common Causes…

Vehicle Won't Crank? Check Out The Most Common Causes...

For many car owners, nothing is more frustrating than a vehicle that fails to start. This is especially true for Asheville drivers who’re stranded away from home. If your vehicle won’t crank, check out some of the most common causes listed below.

Bad Vehicle Battery

As expected, a bad vehicle battery is near the top of the list of reasons why your vehicle won’t crank. Although high-quality car batteries can last for five years or more, the cheaper ones often start to deteriorate after only a year. When purchasing a replacement, always choose the best battery that you can afford. During cold weather, you need maximum juice to start the engine.

Remember, even a quality battery will eventually need to be swapped out for a new one. Take a look at your battery’s expiration date. If it’s on the verge of expiring, order a replacement ahead of time.

Battery Corrosion & Loose Connections Can Also Be To Blame When Your Vehicle Won’t Crank

Before you waste money on a brand-new vehicle battery, first check your connections. Loose cables will prevent the battery from being able to send power to the starter. This potential cause for why your vehicle won’t crank is actually a very quick fix. And it only requires one or two basic hand tools to repair.

Corrosion around the terminals is another common problem. You can get rid of this corrosion by scrubbing the parts using a toothbrush. Simply dip the toothbrush in a mixture of baking soda and water. To prevent this problem from happening again, apply anti-corrosion gel to the terminals.

Dead Fuel Pump

A dead fuel pump will ultimately force you to call for a tow. When properly maintained, some fuel pumps can last for 150,000 miles or more. However, you need to take the necessary steps to extend its life.

Never drive your car on a near-empty tank of gas. This can cause the fuel pump to overheat. It’s also important to change your fuel filter at the recommended interval, which helps collect dirt and other contaminants.

Vehicle Won’t Crank Still? Maybe A Failed Starter Is The Problem

Starters are extremely durable. However, motor oil dripping onto a starter can dramatically shorten its lifespan. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to repair oil leaks.

Many people often mistake a failed starter for a bad battery. If you hear a few loud clicks when turning the ignition key, this is likely a sign of a worn-out starter. Some failed starters will also produce a high-pitched squealing sound.

Bad Spark Plug and Bad Wires

Typically, modern spark plugs are engineered to last between 40,000 and 100,000 miles. In the event that your vehicle is having trouble starting, it could stem from bad spark plugs. This is especially true when also experiencing issues like rough idling and hesitation.

Although your spark plugs may be fine, the ignition wires could be worn out. When installing new spark plugs, these wires need to be replaced at the same time.

No Engine Compression

If your mechanic discovers that your engine doesn’t have any compression, this is definitely bad news. You will likely have to buy a new engine. No engine compression can certainly be the reason your vehicle won’t crank.

A blown head gasket is among the top causes of low compression. While a head gasket can fail due to a manufacturing defect, most blow as a result of owners allowing the engine to overheat. Which is one of many reasons why drivers need to properly maintain their cooling system at all costs.

Five Problems That Can Cause a Failed NC State Inspection

Five Problems That Can Cause a Failed NC State Inspection

If your vehicle is registered in Asheville, a yearly NC State Inspection is required. Not only will the vehicle be checked for safety issues, but it will also be given an emissions test. Here are some of the most common causes of a failed NC State inspection.

1. Malfunctioning Exterior Lights

For good reason, burned-out headlights and taillights will result in a failed NC State inspection. When one of your vehicle’s exterior lights aren’t working, you are far more likely to be involved in an accident. Contrary to popular belief, headlights don’t just help you to see at night. They also make your vehicle more noticeable to other motorists during inclement weather.

The truth of that matter is that most people don’t intentionally drive around with blown lights. Often times, they are completely unaware. Fortunately, most replacement bulbs are reasonably priced.

2. Slick Tires

When performing an NC State inspection, the technician will be taking a close look at the condition of your tires. Tires have a big influence on your ability to avoid danger on the road. If you are low on tread, traction won’t be good. This is especially true while traveling on a rain-soaked street.

While tires can be a big investment, they typically last for thousands of miles. You can further increase tire life by getting regular wheel alignments. Rotating your tires every 5,000 miles is just as important.

3. Bad Catalytic Converter

Your vehicle’s catalytic converter is responsible for limiting exhaust emissions, which ultimately helps improve air quality. Even if you could care less about the environment, a defective catalytic converter will cause your vehicle to fail the NC State inspection. Because catalytic converter can be a bit expensive, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent damage.

Poor maintenance is among the biggest reasons why catalytic converters fail. For example, old spark plugs can foul the converter by allowing unburned fuel to get into the exhaust. An oil leak can also cause damage to occur.

4. Leaking or Missing Gas Gap

After stopping to refuel, many people unintentionally drive off without their gas cap. Although this may not seem like a big problem, a missing gas cap quietly allows harmful fumes to escape into the atmosphere. A loose gas gap is nearly just as bad.

If your check engine has recently turned on, your gas cap simply may not be tight enough. Meanwhile, a lost gas cap can be easily replaced for less than 10 bucks. You can then avoid the hassle of experiencing a failed NC State inspection.

5. Horn Is Not Working

Many drivers tend to overlook the importance of their vehicle’s horn. Although a horn is a relatively simple device, it could actually save your life. If another driver is on the verge of crashing into your vehicle, you can honk the horn to alert him or her.

In the event that your horn isn’t working, a wire may be disconnected on frayed. It shouldn’t be a hard problem for an experienced mechanic to fix.

Five of the Biggest Signs Your Vehicle Needs an Oil Change

Five of the Biggest Signs Your Vehicle Needs an Oil Change

When it comes to keeping your car in great running condition, nothing is more important than factory recommended maintenance. Getting a vehicle tune-up and also changing the motor oil regularly is especially critical. Here are the biggest signs you need an oil change.

1. Motor Oil Looks Nasty

Over time, motor oil gradually starts to become dirty. When this happens, your engine is far more prone to experiencing premature wear and tear. To be on the safe side, never wait too long to get an oil change.

As you check the oil, take note of its appearance on your dipstick. If the oil looks extremely dark and grimy, this is a tell-tale sign you need to schedule a trip to your local repair shop. Fresh motor oil typically has an amber color.

2. Illuminated Oil Change Light

If your vehicle features an oil change monitor, you’re already one step ahead of the game. By constantly tracking the engine-operating conditions, the system can determine exactly how much life the oil has left. Drivers love the extra convenience.

After seeing your oil light come on, you should plan to get an oil change within the next 50 miles. During this time, you can continue to drive your vehicle without worrying about jeopardizing its reliability.

3. Engine Sounds Louder Than Normal

If your car engine has started to sound louder than normal, have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible. You may simply need an oil change. When motor oil starts to break down, metal-on-metal contact within the engine is more likely to occur. Because there’s not as much lubrication, the engine naturally starts to produce more noise. This is one of the key reasons why car owners often report a quieter ride after getting a fresh oil change.

While an engine that’s running slightly louder isn’t extremely alarming, a knocking sound is especially serious. There’s a good chance you allowed the oil level to get too low.

4. You Notice Bluish Exhaust Smoke

Healthy gasoline engines should not smoke. Although smoking can stem from a variety of different issues, failing to get regular engine oil changes is a common cause. Some of the engine seals may have become brittle.

Although an oil change is clearly required, you could also need a few more repairs. Aside from replacing the worn-out seals, your mechanic will also need to inspect for sludge. Sludge, which is often a result of infrequent oil changes, can ultimately destroy an engine.

5. You’ve Racked Up A lot of Miles

Like so many other drivers in the Asheville area, you probably use your vehicle for commuting on an everyday basis. It doesn’t take long for a person to rack up a lot of miles, especially if their job is 20 minutes or more away.

In the event that your vehicle doesn’t have an oil monitor, be sure to keep tabs on your mileage. To find out your specific vehicle’s recommended oil change interval, consult the owner’s manual or ask your mechanic.

Cox Auto Service