BMW

Common Problems BMW Owners Tend to Encounter

Five Common Problems BMW Owners Tend to Encounter

It’s no secret that BMW is one of the world’s top luxury brands. This German automaker has a reputation for building vehicles that are plush and engaging to drive. On the downside, its vehicles are often more expensive to maintain. Here are five of the most common problems BMW owners tend to encounter.

1. Oil Leaks
Unfortunately, BMW vehicles are notorious for leaking motor oil. Although this problem usually isn’t serious, it can be extremely frustrating. If you’ve spotted dark puddles under your car or frequently notice the smell of burning oil, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a leak.

While leaks can occur while the vehicle is still under warranty, they typically happen after surpassing the 60,000-mile mark. The engine’s valve cover gasket and the oil pan gasket are especially prone to leaking oil. Fortunately, these parts can be easily replaced by a certified mechanic.

2. Engine Overheating
Be sure to keep an eye on your BMW’s temperature gauge. These vehicles are known for overheating, which ultimately puts the engine at risk of being damaged. Excessive temperatures can easily cause a blown head gasket. While various parts in the vehicle’s cooling system can fail, the water pump is especially susceptible to wearing out. Its primary purpose is to continuously push coolant throughout the radiator and engine.

Some BMW water pumps can fail sooner than expected. This is especially true for ones that feature plastic impeller blades. When installing a new water pump, many experts recommend upgrading to a unit that has more durable metal blades. It’s also a good idea to replace your radiator hoses and coolant reservoir as well.

3. Electric Window Failure
After your BMW begins to rack up a lot of miles, don’t be surprised if its electric windows stop operating. This is a big complaint among many owners. Although you may be able to continue driving the vehicle, a malfunctioning window is a major inconvenience.

There are two problems that can occur when the windows fail. Either the regulator breaks or the electric motor wears out. To be on the safe side, the best approach is to have these parts replaced at the same time.

4. Bad Ignition Coil
When experiencing hesitation and sluggish acceleration, there’s a good chance your automobile’s spark plugs are worn out. However, this isn’t always the case. A bad ignition coil can cause the same symptoms. It’s designed to connect the current from the battery to the spark plugs.

If you happen to notice the previously mentioned symptoms along with a check engine light, it’s time to take your vehicle to a mechanic shop. A severely worn ignition coil will eventually cause your vehicle to not start. To precisely pinpoint the root of the problem, the automotive technicians will need to perform a diagnostic test.

5. Underperforming A/C System
During the summer in North Carolina, outdoor temperatures can easily soar past 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A failing A/C system will make life on the road a lot less comfortable. If your A/C begins to blow lukewarm air, it could simply need a recharge. This process involves restoring the system’s refrigerant levels.

On the other hand, you could be dealing with a bad A/C compressor. If you hear a noise upon turning on the A/C, this is likely the compressor’s bearings falling apart on the inside. The compressor’s seals can also develop leaks. Regardless of the culprit, you’ll probably need to invest in a new compressor.

Toyota Tacoma

Taking Your Toyota Tacoma Off-Road

Taking Your Toyota Tacoma Off-Road for the First Time

Toyota produces some of the most adventurous trucks and SUVs. However, the Toyota Tacoma is especially popular among many drivers in Asheboro. If you enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, you’ll probably be looking to take your Tacoma on an off-road excursion at some point. Here are a few tips to remember when venturing off the beaten path.

Know Your Skill Level
If you don’t have much experience off-roading, avoid traveling on more challenging terrain. You should first practice on beginner-level trails. It may take at least a few excursions for you to hone your driving skills.

When exploring the rough backcountry, even the most capable Toyota Tacoma won’t perform too well in the hands of an amateur. Gradually work your way up to the more difficult trails. You’ll slowly learn how to confidently descend slopes and clear obstacles by learning from your mistakes.

Prepare to Hit the Trails
Before you even begin an off-road adventure, first properly prep your Toyota Tacoma for the rural conditions. Most experts suggest lowering the air tire pressure in your tires to about 20 psi. This will help the tires to obtain more grip when encountering uneven surfaces.

To be on the safe side, always bring along a full spare tire and a jack. It’s also a good idea to have a foldable shovel, which will come in handy if you get stuck. Other essentials to bring include a waterproof flashlight, a pocket knife, a first-aid kit, and a tow strap.

Find a Buddy
Although you may take pride in being independent, it’s usually not a good idea to go on a solo off-road adventure. This is especially true for newbies. You never know what can happen when encountering Mother Nature’s obstacles.

When traveling in remote areas, your cellphone may not always get a good signal. This means it could be difficult to call for help during an emergency. Having another buddy with a 4X4 vehicle is always a plus. He may need to pull you out of a ditch or give you a ride in the event of a breakdown.

Have Your Vehicle Serviced
Never plan a trip without first getting your Toyota Tacoma serviced and inspected. From the battery to the engine, every component needs to be in good shape. Worn parts should be replaced ahead of time.

Even if your maintenance is up to par, a mechanic will still need to carefully inspect for leaks. While a minor motor oil leak may not require immediate attention, a coolant leak will need to be repaired asap. When in the middle of the wilderness, the last thing you want is to experience an overheated engine.

Learn How to Use the Truck’s Off-Road Features
If you love to travel off the beaten path, your Toyota Tacoma should be equipped with a 4X4 system. You’ll need to learn how to use it. While the transfer case’s low-range setting comes in handy when encountering deep mud and crossing creeks, the high-speed setting helps you to maintain momentum on trails.

Toyota also equips some Tacoma models with a locking rear differential. This feature is designed to help further improve traction on slippery ground. Some models are also equipped with Crawl Control technology, which helps you to safely descend steep hills. Failing to use these features correctly can lead to increased fuel consumption and premature wear on certain parts.

Cox Auto Service near Patton Avenue in Asheville, North Carolina keeps up-to-date with your vehicle’s routine needs. We stay fluent with common Toyota Tacoma problems, as well as Toyota manufacturer guidelines. This means we stand ready to diagnose and fix any problem you encounter.  Schedule your Toyota service today  by calling Cox Auto Service in Asheville at 828-254-8661 today.

overheating

Tips to Help Prevent Your Engine from Overheating

Here’s how to help prevent your engine from overheating

It’s important for your engine to stay running at the optimum temperature. If it gets too hot, major damage can be done. Let’s look at how to  prevent your engine from overheating.

Regularly Check the Coolant Level
Develop a habit of checking your vehicle’s coolant level every month. If there’s not enough coolant circulating throughout the engine, the chances of you experiencing overheating increase dramatically. This is especially true when sitting in traffic on a hot day.

You’re probably dealing with a slow leak. By pressure testing the cooling system, a mechanic can track down the source of your problem. Remember, even a bad radiator cap can cause coolant to evaporate.

Have Your Belts and Hoses Inspected
To be on the safe side, be sure to have your coolant hoses inspected every year. These rubber parts naturally wear out over time. When a hose begins to look weathered or feels soft, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

Your vehicle’s serpentine belt also needs to be periodically checked. This belt delivers power to quite a few major components, including the water pump. If an old serpentine belt suddenly snaps while you’re on the road, overheating becomes a serious possibility.

Watch Your Temperature Gauge
Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of modern vehicles feature a temperature gauge. If you notice the temperature gauge rising above normal levels, the best approach is to pull over immediately. Opening the hood will help the heat to clear out quickly.

You’ll likely need to call a tow truck. Do not attempt to drive your car any further until repairs are made. If your temperature gauge enters the red zone, avoid taking any chances. From the head gasket to the pistons, a number of different parts can be destroyed.

Maintain the Proper Oil Level
Motor oil does more than just lubricate the engine. It also helps prevent overheating. When there’s too little oil in the engine, temperatures will gradually start to rise.

Ideally, you should check your oil level every month. However, check it more frequently if you have a high-mileage vehicle. Some engines begin to consume oil at a faster rate as they age.

Park in the Shade When Possible
When summer kicks into full gear in Asheville, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to surpass 95 degrees. To help cool down your vehicle’s engine, try to park in the shade whenever possible. Always be on the lookout for trees and tall buildings, which can block the sun. While you may have to park further away from your destination, a little extra walking never hurts.

Turn On the Heat During Emergencies
If you happen to be stuck in a traffic jam and notice your temperature gauge rising beyond normal levels, turn the heater on full blast. This will help prevent overheating by pulling hot air from the engine. Although the extra heat blowing inside the cabin may cause you to sweat, the pros outweigh the cons.

If your vehicle’s engine fails or needs a complete overhaul, you need ASE-certified experience. A mechanic able to complete the work effectively, correctly and at the lowest possible cost. Residents of Asheville, NC rely on the experts at Cox Auto Service near Patton Avenue, just as they have for 50 years. You can trust Cox Auto Service for your domestic or foreign vehicle engine replacement.

pontiac

What You Need to Know When Buying a Fourth-Generation Pontiac Firebird

What to Know When Buying a Fourth-Generation Pontiac Firebird

Produced from 1993 to 2002, the four-generation Pontiac Firebird is among the most exciting muscle cars to date. Many Asheville drivers loved its iconic styling and adrenaline-stirring performance. With this car becoming rarer with each passing year, its value is expected to skyrocket in the near future. Now is definitely a good time to buy one. Let’s take a look at the Pontiac Firebird’s must-have features and the biggest issues to watch out for.

LS1 V8 Engine
For the 1998 model year, Pontiac updated the Firebird with a new LS1 V8 engine. In terms of performance, it was a step above the car’s previous LT1 V8 engine. An optional WS6 package increased output to a thrilling 320 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque. Road tests showed the Firebird was capable of recording a quick 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds.

Not only was the LS1 V8 engine capable of producing more power, but it was also more reliable. The old engine suffered from a problematic Optispark ignition system. When kept in its stock form and regularly serviced, the Firebird’s LS1 V8 engine has been proven to last for 300,000 miles or more.

WS6 Package

If you’re in the market for a fourth-generation Firebird, be sure to get one that comes equipped with Pontiac’s WS6 performance package. It added a functional “Ram Air” hood scoop, which enhanced output by directing cool air into the engine. A free-flowing exhaust system further helped maximize the car’s performance capabilities.

When outfitted with the WS6 package, the Firebird also became a better-handling muscle car. Firmer shocks and larger sway bars ensured improved body control on twisty roads.

Borg-Warner Six-Speed Manual
While the Pontiac Firebird was offered with a four-speed automatic transmission, it suffered from a few shortcomings. For starters, performance took a hit when selecting the automatic gearbox. Don’t expect acceleration to be as brisk. This transmission was also not as suitable for aggressive driving, which made it prone to slipping over time.

Your best bet is to get a Borg-Warner six-speed manual transmission. Drivers will love the sensation of shifting from one gear to the next. A strong aluminum casing also enhances the transmission’s long-term reliability.

Issues to Watch Out for When Buying a Firebird
For the most part, the fourth-generation Pontiac Firebird is a reliable muscle car you can drive daily. However, there are a few potential issues that buyers need to watch out for. Always check for rust before handing over your hard-earned money. This is especially true for cars that were driven in a snow-prone region. It’s not uncommon to find rust behind the quarter panels and under the floor.

One of the Firebird’s coolest features is its pop-pop headlights. However, the motors that enable the headlights to move up and down can fail. The same can be said for the Firebird’s window mechanisms. Another thing to check is the taillights. Water can seem into the taillights, thus giving them a dark appearance.

Of course, the biggest thing to watch out for is abuse. Avoid buying a Firebird that has been modified to the max. While some Firebird owners make maintenance a top priority, others tend to neglect routine servicing. This is why it’s highly recommended to get a professional mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection.

Whether you drive the latest model from a luxury line or a vintage domestic or import, you receive nothing but the best from Cox Auto Service located in Asheville, NC. Certainly, always service you can trust from our ASE-certified technicians. Want to keep your car, truck or SUV performing its best? Then bring it into our Druid Drive location for auto maintenance or auto repair.

car won't start

Common Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

5 Common Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

As a car owner, it’s important for you to recognize the early signs of a potential problem. Failing to do so could lead to you being stranded and in need of a tow. Here are some of the most common reasons why your car won’t start.

Dead Fuel Pump
If your car won’t start, don’t rule out a dead fuel pump. Oftentimes, a failing fuel pump will begin to produce a loud whine or howl. Expect the sound to gradually become louder over time. Your vehicle could also begin to sputter. At this point, replacement is likely your only option. The last thing you want is for the fuel pump to suddenly go kaput while on a busy highway.

While a fuel pump can fail due to old age, poor maintenance tends to be the biggest culprit. Many drivers neglect to replace the fuel pump’s filter, which causes excess dirt and debris to build up. Routinely driving on E can also cause premature failure. In order to prevent this component from overheating, a certain amount of gasoline needs to be in the tank.

Bad Battery
Of the reasons why a car won’t start, a bad battery is probably at the top of the list. Car batteries naturally start to weaken with age. However, freezing and extremely hot weather can also cause them to fail sooner than expected. Although you can jump-start a weak battery during emergencies, you’ll need to get it replaced asap.

To be on the safe side, have your battery tested and inspected at least twice a year. A mechanic can tell when there’s not much juice left. Also, pay attention to your battery’s expiration date. A few reason’s your car won’t start.

Faulty Starter
A vehicle’s starter tends to have a long life expectancy. Some can even last for 200,000 miles or more. Nevertheless, it will eventually need to be replaced at some point. Once this electrical motor goes bad, your car won’t start.

Starters typically give warning signs before they completely fail. Many drivers notice that their vehicle takes noticeably longer to crank. You may also hear a clicking noise when turning the ignition.

Broken Timing Belt
Some vehicles are engineered with a timing belt. This rubber belt is responsible for opening and closing the engine’s valves at the appropriate time. As you begin to rack up the miles, the belt gradually begins to weaken. If the timing belt snaps, your car won’t start. On some models, there’s also a chance for major engine damage to occur.

Car owners can prevent trouble by simply having the timing belt replaced at the automaker’s recommended interval. While some timing belts need to be changed every 60,000 miles, others are rated to last for more than 100,000 miles.

Engine Failure
A well-serviced engine can last for an extremely long time. Unfortunately, some car owners in Asheville tend to put maintenance on the back burner. Failing to get regular oil changes can definitely shorten an engine’s life. Overheating is another big issue, which often stems from a low level of coolant.

If a mechanic finds that your engine has failed, there are two options to take. You can either have the engine rebuilt or have a new one installed.

At Cox Auto Service in Asheville, NC we cover the gamut on mechanical service for automobiles. Our highly qualified mechanics work on anything from minor repairs such as belts, oil changes, maintenance work to major repairs like engine and transmission work. We take pride in the auto repairs and services we provide. Rely on us to treat our customers’ vehicles as if they were our own. If you are experiencing any of the warning signs above contact us, and we will be glad to be of service.

spark plugs

Top Signs Your Vehicle Needs New Spark Plugs Signs

Five Top Signs Your Vehicle Needs New Spark Plugs Signs

Modern engine tune-ups involve replacing the spark plugs. If you neglect this important maintenance item, it’s only a matter of time before you start to experience performance issues. While some modern plugs have a life expectancy of up to 120,000 miles, they will all wear out at some point. Here are the top signs your car needs a new set.

1. Visual Signs of Excessive Wear
It’s recommended to have your spark plugs visually inspected every 30,000 miles. By performing a visual examination, an experienced Asheville mechanic can estimate how much life they have left. Carbon deposits, cracked housings, and worn-out electrodes all indicate the need for replacement.

An oil leak can also cause the plugs to become contaminated. Before installing a new set, it’s important to first repair the leak. If you allow the leak to persist, the same problem is bound to happen again.

2. Your Car Has Trouble Starting
A number of issues can cause your car to have trouble starting, including a bad battery and a failing fuel pump. Fouled spark plugs can also lead to poor starting.

If the spark plugs aren’t firing correctly, trouble is bound to occur. Things will only worsen over time. Severely worn electrodes can cause your vehicle to not even crank. There won’t be enough spark to turn the engine over.

3. Check Engine Light Comes On
When your spark plugs have reached the end of their life, don’t be surprised if the check engine light pops on. The car’s onboard computer is designed to detect misfires. You should bring in your vehicle for diagnostic testing as soon as possible.

However, never continue to drive your vehicle with a flashing check engine light. This indicates severe detonation, which could cause irreversible damage to the engine’s internal components. You may need to call for a tow.

4. Decreased Fuel Economy
The condition of your vehicle’s spark plugs has a direct impact on fuel economy. When these crucial ignition parts begin to deteriorate, gas mileage can take a big nosedive. Your engine will be out of tune, which causes it to suck down fuel at a much higher rate.

Efficiency can decrease by up to 30 percent. A vehicle that once averaged 30 mpg may struggle to even hit the 20-mpg mark.

5. Sluggish Performance
When driving a car with worn spark plugs, you can expect to experience sluggish performance. Acceleration will be much slower. Your car will also have difficulty climbing hills.

Furthermore, don’t expect the engine to run smoothly. It could eventually begin to stall at times, especially while idling at a stop.

When Should I Replace My Spark Plugs?
Don’t wait until your vehicle begins to run poorly. The best approach is to have your spark plugs replaced at the recommended service intervals. This information can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. Also, be sure to purchase genuine OEM spark plugs. Installing the wrong kind can cause just as much trouble in the long run.

Battle of the Chevrolet Sport Cars: Camaro vs Corvette

Battle of 2 Chevrolet Sports Cars: Camaro vs Corvette

Chevrolet gives Asheville drivers two iconic sports cars to choose from. While both the Camaro and the Corvette promise to deliver a lot of driving fun, one may suit your lifestyle better than the other. Let’s take a closer look at how these models compare.

Chevrolet Camaro vs Corvette – The Cost

If you’re on a budget, the Chevrolet Camaro is very likely your best option. Chevrolet lists the Camaro with a starting MSRP of only $25,000. Even the V8-powered Camaro LT1 is priced at a more than reasonable price, $34,000.

Drivers who want a new Chevrolet Corvette must reach significantly deeper into their pockets and or bank accounts. Prices for the base Corvette start at roughly $60,000. However, adding options can cause the car’s price to quickly approach upwards of $100,000.

Performance Comparison Between Chevy Camaro & Corvette

All versions of the Corvette now come standard with the same powertrain. Under the hood rests a potent V8 engine, which develops up to 495 horsepower. Sending power to the wheels is a quick-shifting, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Road tests show the Corvette clocks a 0-60 mph time of around 2.9 seconds. In contrast to the Camaro, the new Corvette is not offered with a traditional manual transmission.

The Chevy Camaro gives you far more powertrains to choose from. Thrill seekers will want one of the available V8 engines. Chevrolet rates the Camaro’s naturally aspirated V8 to crank out 455 horsepower. This ensures a quick 0-60 time of 4.0 seconds. Another step up the performance ladder is the Camaro supercharged V8 engine, which pushes out a staggering 650 horsepower. Drivers will be able to hit 60 mph in as quickly as 3.6 seconds.

Handling & Ride

Most experts agree that the Chevrolet Camaro handles remarkably well for an American muscle car. It inspires drivers with a great deal of confidence on twisty roads. With that said, the Corvette is an even more precise driving machine. A mid-engine layout and lower stance enable Corvette to compete with many of today’s exotic sports cars. Fortunately, both of these models offer a smooth highway ride.

Which Chevy Vehicle Has Better Fuel Economy?

The Chevrolet Corvette’s fuel economy isn’t bad for such a high-performance ride. You can anticipate getting up to an EPA-estimated 15 MPG city/27 MPG highway. Meanwhile, a standard turbo four-cylinder engine enables the Camaro to return 22 MPG city/31 MPG highway. Expect V6-powered models to be just a tad less economical. Upgrading to the Camaro’s V8 engine lowers efficiency to 16 MPG city/27 MPG highway.

Interior Room

Unlike the Corvette, the Camaro has a backseat. This is good news for drivers who need to accommodate their small children. Taller drivers will also appreciate the Camaro’s extra 1.1 inches of front-seat legroom. Extra cargo space gives the Camaro yet another advantage in terms of everyday practicality. While the Camaro has a trunk volume of 12.6 cubic feet, there’s only 7.3 cubic feet of storage space in the Corvette’s trunk.

Safety

Both of these Chevrolet coupes offer a safe driving experience. Among the available safety features include a color head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision warning. Parents will appreciate Chevy’s standard Teen Driver system. Aside from allowing a speed limit to be set, this feature can also monitor for driving mistakes. And parents can even set it up so that a report with drive details comes straight to their mobile phone.

Why Are BMW Vehicles Typically More Expensive to Maintain?

Why Are BMW Vehicles Typically More Expensive to Maintain?

Why Are BMW Vehicles Typically More Expensive to Maintain?

BMW is known for producing some of the best high-end luxury vehicles on the market. However, this German automaker’s cars and SUVs often cost more to upkeep. Here’s why BMW models tend to be more expensive to maintain.

Requires Synthetic Motor Oil

Most BMW engines are designed to use synthetic motor oil. Unfortunately, it is a bit more expensive than conventional oil. Some models also require up to seven quarts of motor oil. By comparison, the typical American commuter car only needs around 4.5 quarts.

On the bright side, synthetic motor oil is more resistant to heat and high pressures. Because these formulas don’t break down as quickly, you can drive more miles between oil changes. Furthermore, sludge is less likely to become an issue when using synthetic motor oil.

Complex Engineering

When it comes to engineering, BMW has always been a step ahead of the competition. Modern models are able to deliver a high level of performance without sacrificing much fuel efficiency. The downside is that these vehicles are often more difficult to service and repair.

Owners need to take the vehicle to a shop that has the necessary knowledge and experience. Some tasks can be more difficult than you may think. For instance, the car usually needs to be programmed upon installing a new battery. Failing to do so can lead to serious charging problems in the long run.

Top-Grade Parts

When a repair needs to be made, it’s always a good idea to only install genuine OEM parts made by BMW. Although there are aftermarket options available at the local auto parts store, most are inferior in quality. This means you’re far more prone to experiencing premature failure.

As expected, BMW replacement parts are more expensive. Most of these components are made by high-end manufacturers, such as Bosch and Bilstein. You’re paying for top-grade craftsmanship. High-performance models are even more expensive to maintain. A good example is the BMW M5. This high-powered sports sedan features performance tires, upgraded brakes, and a special sport suspension.

High-Mileage Repairs

After surpassing the 100,000-mile mark, it’s not unusual for BMW owners in Asheville to encounter a few mechanical problems. Oil leaks are especially common, which require worn seals and gaskets to be replaced. The cost of labor will be more costly than average.

Electrical problems are also quite frequent among high-mileage BMW vehicles, including malfunctioning wipers and defective A/C systems. An even bigger issue is BMW’s VANOS system. While this variable valve timing system may enhance engine performance, it can go bad.

Owner Neglect

Owner neglect can cause any vehicle’s repair costs to ride. However, this is especially true for BMWs. You must make routine maintenance, like tune-ups, air filters, and oil changes to name just a few. a top priority. Bad habits, like skipping oil changes and failing to replace parts at the recommended intervals, could lead to major trouble. If you think that the cost of maintenance is a tad too expensive for your budget, the best approach is to buy a more economical alternative.

What Can Cause a Vehicle Battery to Fail?

What Can Cause a Vehicle Battery to Fail?

A vehicle battery is one of many important components a car or truck cannot go without. When a vehicle battery is bad, it can put drivers in a stressful situation. Let’s take a look at some of the common things that can cause failures.

The Weather – Vehicle Battery Killer

What Can Cause a Vehicle Battery to Fail?

 

Cold weather is known as the number one battery killer. When temperatures start to dip, a vehicle battery naturally starts to weaken. If there aren’t enough cold cranking amps available, your vehicle will struggle to start. This is especially true on an extremely frigid morning.

While keeping your car in a warm garage will help to prevent trouble, not every

one has this luxury. The best approach is to have your battery tested before Old Man winter starts to set in. If the battery is on its last leg, don’t hesitate to buy a replacement.

Hot conditions also contribute to premature battery failure. Elevated temperatures can evaporate the battery’s vital fluids, thus leading to a weak charge. This is referred to as heat deterioration. In the summer, try to keep your vehicle parked in a shady spot whenever possible.

Time – Car Batteries Unfortunately Do Not Live Forever

A vehicle battery is not designed to last forever. When there’s no juice left in the battery’s cells, even attempting to jumpstart the car will prove to be a wasted effort. After being manufactured, batteries are stamped with an expiration date. When your unit begins to approach this expiration date, it’s already on borrowed time.

Keep in mind that not all batteries are created the same. While cheap “economy” batteries often fail after a year or two, top-quality batteries can last for five years or more. If you plan to keep your vehicle on a long-term basis, always purchase the best battery that you can afford.

Poor Maintenance

Don’t fall for the hype of a “maintenance free” vehicle battery. Although modern batteries don’t require as much upkeep as before, they still need some care. Simple tasks, like periodically checking the tightness of the cables, can help prevent problems.

It’s even more important to keep an eye out for corrosion on the terminals, which typically has a green or bluish color. Because corrosion can cause a poor connection, it’s important to remove it as soon as possible. Brushing the terminals with a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and vinegar is usually an effective solution.

Forgetting to Turn Off the Headlights and Other Electronics

Unfortunately, human errors can cause a vehicle battery to fail sooner than normal. Accidentally leaving the headlights on for long periods can completely drain a battery. Drivers are then left stranded in a parking lot.

If your vehicle is equipped with an amplified sound system, you must be careful about playing it while the vehicle is not running. Using car electronic equipment with your vehicle off causes your battery to expend a lot of energy. In the event that your battery suddenly weakens overnight, you could be dealing with an electrical short or an accessory that is not functioning properly. A mechanic will need to track down the issue.

Bad Alternator Will Not Charge Your Vehicle Battery – Therefore Killing It

When your alternator isn’t working properly, this forces a vehicle battery to power everything. It’s then only a matter of time before the battery ruins out of juice. If your headlights suddenly become dim while you’re driving at night, this is a telltale sign of a bad alternator. You may also notice a squealing sound coming from the part’s worn bearings.

The only option is to have a new alternator installed. In some instances, you may have to get a new battery as well.

Recommended Hybrid Service Tips For Eco-Friendly Driving

Hybrid Service Tips For Eco-Friendly Driving

Recommended Hybrid Service Tips For Eco-Friendly Driving

In recent years, concern about the rising cost of fuel is on many drivers minds. This is a key reason why hybrid vehicles have become so popular in Asheville. Tree huggers also appreciate these low-emissions vehicles. While modern hybrids are more reliable than ever, routine maintenance is crucial. Here are a few important hybrid service tips.

Hybrid Service Tips:

Change the Oil at the Recommended Interval

Because hybrid vehicles are engineered with electric motors, less stress is placed upon their combustion engines. This means less wear and tear in the long run. Nevertheless, hybrid service professionals still emphasize the importance of getting regular oil changes. To find out your hybrid’s recommended oil change interval, take a look inside the owner’s manual. The dealership can also provide this vital information.

If you neglect to change the oil when needed, the long-term durability of your vehicle will be compromised. As motor oil begins to degrade, it can no longer properly protect and lubricate the engine’s internal parts.

Also, be sure to always use the correct type of motor oil. Most hybrid powertrains are built to use a lower viscosity grade. Thicker oils can cause poor cold weather starting and reduced fuel economy.

Regularly Inspect the Braking System

Many of today’s newer hybrid cars and SUVs feature a regenerative braking system. When you come to a stop, the kinetic energy is used to replenish the car’s battery back. A side benefit is that less friction is created, which translates to longer life on brake pads. Many hybrid owners can travel more than 70,000 miles before needing new brake pads.

While your pads may last a lot longer, don’t overlook the importance of getting a regular inspection on the regenerative braking system. When bringing in your vehicle for hybrid service, the technicians will check for potential problems. Over time, the rubber seals and boots are especially prone to cracking. It’s important to get the issue fixed as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for your brakes to fail during an emergency.

Although there are some key advantages to a hybrid’s regenerative braking system, an enormous amount of heat is often produced. To prevent your brake fluid from boiling, the system must be able to effectively cool things down. As you probably know, driving with overheating brakes is a major safety hazard. The extreme temperatures can also cause your brake rotors to warp.

Properly Maintain the Hybrid Battery

Hybrid vehicles feature a large battery pack, which can last for more than 150,000 miles. While the advertisements for many hybrid batteries say they are “maintenance free”, don’t fall for this misconception. Hybrid service technicians advise owners to obtain a battery checkup every 12 months.

After surpassing 100,000 miles, it’s also a good idea to have a stress test performed on the battery. With the use of a special scan tool, mechanics can determine if the battery is maintaining optimum energy levels.

Although the battery itself may not require much servicing, there are some steps you can take to ensure a better performance. Hybrid batteries tend to perform worse in cold weather. When temperatures begin to drop below freezing during the winter, develop a habit of allowing your vehicle to warm up. Extremely hot weather also isn’t ideal. On summer days, park your hybrid in the shade whenever possible.

Cooling System Check

At least once a year, be sure to have your hybrid’s cooling system checked. Like a conventional gasoline vehicle, hybrids have radiator. If you fail to have the coolant regularly flushed out, it can leave behind sludge-like deposits. Over time, this can lead to your radiator prematurely rusting away.

Of course, the radiator hose also needs to be inspected for wear by a hybrid service center. If the radiator hose bursts or collapses while you’re on the road, engine overheating will likely occur. Replacing an old hose ahead of time will help you to avoid being on the side of a busy roadway.

Tire Care

When it comes to tire care, a hybrid is no different from any other vehicle. Make it a point to maintain the proper air pressure. Not only does under inflation lead to a much shorter life expectancy for tires, but they also jeopardize your safety. Low pressure makes tires more prone to blowing out.

It’s never a good idea to drive on slick tires. Don’t allow the tread depth to drop below 2/32 of an inch. You can use the tried-and-true “penny test” to determine whether the tread depth is too low. Simply place Lincoln’s head upside down between two ribs on your tire. If the tire tread does not reach Lincoln’s head, begin shopping for a new set.

Another important aspect of tire care is getting a yearly wheel alignment. Running over potholes and driving too fast over speed bumps can easily knock your vehicle out of alignment. You will eventually start to notice uneven tire wear and sloppy handling.

Air Filter Replacement

When bringing in their vehicle for hybrid service, some drivers complain about a loss of performance. They may notice sluggish acceleration when leaving traffic lights and merging onto the freeway. This problem is often solved by installing a new air filter.

Most air filters are made to last for around 30,000 miles. Once the filter becomes saturated with dirt and dust, airflow to the engine will be restricted. This results in a marked drop in overall power.

Cox Auto Service