The Importance of Wheel Alignment

There are a lot of service options out there for car care. Even though you’re not a mechanic, you should still know as much as you can about certain services and why they are important to the life of your car. Today we’re talking about tire or wheel alignment and why it matters.

What is Alignment?

It’s complicated, but essentially it means that the tires on your car are straight and in line with the rest of the car. If you’re driving down a straight road (and there aren’t other cars around!), take your hands off the steering wheel briefly and watch to see if your car is pulling in one direction or another. If that’s the case, there may be a problem with your car’s alignment.

What Causes the Problem?

In short, it’s sometimes the little things that can throw your car out of alignment: hitting a pothole, bumping a curb, and simply wear and tear. Over time, as your vehicle ages, joints start to get looser and rubber starts to wear down. This can also contribute to structure problems.

Even if your car is only slightly out of adjustment, it can cause uneven tire wear and make it more difficult to control your car.

Why is it so Important?

If you think about the car like you would a human, you wouldn’t want to wait to get continual aches and pains taken care of. Misalignment could almost be compared to a twisted ankle. You may start favoring the other ankle, leading you to limp and overcompensate and possibly make the problem worse by not treating it.

When a car is out of alignment, tires wear down faster, which isn’t good for the car, and it certainly isn’t good for your wallet. The other problem is simply an issue of handling. It becomes physically harder to drive your car when the wheels don’t want to go where they are supposed to go.

How Often Should I Have My Car Checked?

It’s not unusual to have your car checked frequently, meaning every other oil change, which could be somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 miles. Many service centers have deals offering a lifetime alignment service for the life of your car, which can be a worthwhile investment.

If you live in the Longmont area and you think that your car isn’t performing optimally, especially with regard to driving in a straight line, you should take your car into the service center and speak to a technician. The worst thing you can do for your car when it’s not performing well is to ignore it and hope it goes away. Deal with the problems as soon as they arise – car troubles tend to get worse with time and driving.

Routine Maintenance Extends Your Car’s Life

The best thing you can do for your vehicle is to stay on top of routine maintenance. Humans don’t go long in between medical check-ups or dental cleanings, and your car shouldn’t be neglected either. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common maintenance areas of which to be mindful, and how often they should be addressed.

Oil Changes

Oil is the most important fluid your vehicle needs to function. Oil lubricates the engine and prevents catastrophic engine damage from heat and friction. Over time, however, the oil filter gets dirty, and the oil starts collecting engine debris. To keep your engine functioning properly, your car needs regular oil changes.

Tradition is your car should get an oil change every 3,000 miles, but the reality is that it depends on your specific car and the way you drive it. To start, check your owner’s manual. Your manual will be able to tell you your limit, which could actually be every 3,000 miles, but it could be 10,000 miles. Alternatively, you can talk to a service center, and they may ask you questions about how much stress you put on your vehicle, which can also impact oil change intervals.

Engine Air Filter

Every engine has an air filter that stops larger particles from getting into the engine. A clogged air filter can have a minor impact on fuel economy, and it can impact acceleration. Either visually inspect the filter or have a service technician make a recommendation. The owner’s manual will offer a recommended interval, which is often around 30,000 to 45,000 miles, but varies based on the severity of driving conditions. If you find yourself faced with a technician who recommends a new air filter every time you go in for an oil change, you may want to look for a new service center, as an air filter change doesn’t typically happen multiple times a year.

Timing Belt

Not all cars have one, but if yours does, it needs to be replaced every 50,000-75,000 miles, or as your owner’s manual recommends. This is a critical piece of maintenance—if the timing belt breaks, you’ll be left stranded on the side of the road and faced with repairs that can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

Longmont residents who expect their car to live a long life need to stay on top of maintenance. Write a schedule or talk to your service center to estimate when you might need to take your auto in for maintenance over the course of the year. What you spend on maintenance will pay you back in an extended lifespan and an absence of surprise repairs.

The Importance of Regular Oil Changes

Changing Oil In Longmont, Colorado at Stonum AutomotiveUnless you own a house, your car is probably the biggest investment in your life. Even if you own a car that has a lot of miles on the odometer, it’s still important to protect your investment, and that means taking care of your car.

Care and Keeping of Cars

Like humans, cars can get by without paying much attention to them, but quickly start to deteriorate when neglected. There are little things you can do, like wash your car regularly to protect the paint from salt in winter, and big things you can do, like have your transmission flushed every few years. Arguably the most important thing you can do for your car is to get regular oil changes.

Make the Time to Get Your Oil Changed

When you mention oil changes, some people immediately roll their eyes and don’t think it applies to them, but oil changes don’t take much time, and the expense is worth it compared to the damage that can happen when it goes neglected. In the modern era, most service centers can complete an oil change and basic check-up in just minutes. Don’t make excuses, and make a regular oil change if you want to keep your car in proper working order.

The Risk of Not Getting an Oil Change

Oil has two important jobs. It lubricates engine parts and reduces friction—there are a lot of moving parts, after all. Oil’s other function is to draw heat away from the engine. Over time, when you neglect your oil change, you’ll start to notice a drop in performance. Your engine will sound slower, and even start chugging. Oil get thick, as it starts to collect debris, and becomes much less effective, causing poor performance.

When you continue to ignore its cries for help, engine parts can start to warp or wear down. Worst of all, when ignored long-term, it can lead to total engine failure. Total. Meaning the whole engine would need to be replaced. All you have to do is a quick Google search for nightmare scenarios and you’ll get tons of testimonials in favor of oil changes.

How Frequently Should I Change My Oil

This is a topic of debate, and one some people actually feel passionately about. The old rule, and one you’ve probably heard from a car lover in your life, is that you should get an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, it really depends on your car and the type of oil you use. Synthetic oil needs replacing almost half as frequently as natural oil. City drivers need more frequent oil changes than highway drivers. Check your owner’s manual.

Residents of Longmont, CO need to take every care to stay on top of regular car care and maintenance, including a regular oil change. However, there’s a lot more to proper car care than just an oil change. Talk to your service care center today to talk about what other regular maintenance you’ll need for your car, like tune-ups and tire rotations.

 

Everything to Know About Motor Oil for Your Car

Oil is one of the most important components to any engine’s function. Oil provides
lubrication and prevents engine parts from overheating. Your car is one of your
biggest investments, which makes it important to learn as much as you can about
how your car works. We’ve put together a helpful guide for what you need to
know about motor oil.

Oil Viscosity

Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil, which fluctuates as it heats and cools.
Motor oil viscosity is rated at 0°F (marked with “W” for “winter”) and 212°F.
You’ll see oil at auto supply stores designated by those two numbers. 10W-30
oil, for example, has a lower viscosity than 20W-50 oil, in both heat and cold.
For use in the winter, 5W oil is recommended.

Generally, thicker oil creates a better seal and lubricates moving parts better than
thinner oil.

Synthetic OilConventional vs. Synthetic

There are two classes of oil available: conventional and synthetic. Both will have
viscosity ratings, but synthetic formulas are designed for certain vehicles and
can combat deposits and potentially last longer than conventional oil. There
are also synthetic/organic blends that have their own benefits.

Oil Additives

Oil isn’t just oil; there are additives that help the oil and your engine perform a
little bit better.

 Viscosity improvers – This helps oil maintain thickness at higher temperatures, as
opposed to thinning as the oil heats up.

Detergents – They’re not quite like laundry detergent. What detergents do is discourage
solid deposits from forming, and help remove some of those deposits. Without
this, the engine can start to lose some of its performance.

Friction modifiers – This can actually improve your fuel economy, as it reduces overall
engine friction.

It’s important to note that while additives are helpful, there can be too much of a
good thing. For example, too much detergent can impact anti-wear balance, while
other additives may affect fuel economy.

Oil Changes

No matter what type of oil you use, oil gets dirty and less effective over time. It’s
critical for the proper functioning of your car to get regular oil changes and
a fresh oil filter at the same time. How frequently you have to do this varies
based on your car. The old rule was every 3,000 miles, but you should check
your car’s owner’s manual, as some manufacturers actually recommend every 5,000
miles or even every 7,500 miles.

If you’re still not sure, contact your service center and a technician can tell you
what’s recommended for your specific vehicle.

The next time you take your car in for an oil change at a Longmont service center, you
can drive in confident that you’re getting exactly what your car needs.

5 Signs Your Car Might Need Brake Repair

Having an oil change appointment booked in advance can be practical, as this appointment can serve as a checkup when other car issues are brought to light. Should one’s brakes be undergoing some changes, asking one’s mechanic to check up on them during an oil change in Longmont, Co can be beneficial. There might be times when awaiting an upcoming oil change might be too risky, however, which is why taking immediate action is recommended. If a car’s brakes are undergoing any of the 5 following changes, this could be a sign that one needs immediate brake repair.

 

Your Car Makes Strange Noises When Braking

 

If there is one sign that every driver should look out for, it’s brake whining. When a car’s brakes are in good condition, they aren’t going to emanate any noise. However, when a car’s brakes are nearing their end they might begin to make noises of protest when pressed down upon. Should a driver be experiencing some embarrassing noises when stopping at a stop sign or red light, it is most likely due to their brake pads have worn out. Booking an appointment with a mechanic is in order when such noises become apparent.

 

Your Brake Pedal Is too Malleable

 

A good way of knowing whether or not one’s brakes need changing is by simply pressing down on them. Should one’s foot be met with some protest, this can indicate that their brakes are efficient. However, when one’s brakes are too malleable, this can be a sign that one’s brake pads are worn down.

 

Your Car is Pulling to the Sides When Braking

 

The entire reason a car has brakes is so that it can stop where it needs to stop. Driving with proper brakes is a safety precaution every driver should hold dear. One of the first signs that one’s brakes are on the fritz is poor brake performance. If a driver is pressing on the brakes, their car should stop immediately — not pulling to the left or right-hand side. Should this be occurring, it is crucial for one to seek immediate mechanical guidance.

 

You Can Feel Your Brakes Vibrating

 

Another sign that it’s time to change one’s brakes is when they begin to vibrate. In fact, vibrating brakes are never a good sign and can be the result of a larger problem at hand. Vibrating brakes are sometimes the outcome of a warped rotor or poorly lubricated vehicle.

 

Your Brake Light is On

 

If there is one telltale sign that one’s brakes need changing, it’s the brake light. A car is designed to inform drivers about possible complications, which is why taking a check-engine light or a brake light seriously is in order.

 

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Top 3 Signs That Your Car Needs AC Repair

Whether a person lives in a sunshine state like Florida or a colder state like North Dakota, they are still going to benefit from a functional car air conditioner. During the summer season, it can be crucial for drivers to have access to air conditioning, which is why mechanics are often ready for AC repair come summer. Although many people are aware of their car’s AC levels, some are not, which is why it is important to look for clues when determining whether or not one’s car AC needs a tuneup. The following are the top 3 signs that your car needs AC repair.

 

A Decreased Air Flow

 

One of the most obvious signs that one’s car AC is no longer up to par is a decreased airflow. Commonly, when a driver turns on their AC they are met with sufficient airflow levels. This allows them to cool down when the day is warm and properly ventilate their vehicle. A driver might begin to notice that their AC airflow is weak due to low performance. If one’s car used to cool down within seconds and now takes minutes to manipulate the air quality, this can be a sign that it’s time to call a mechanic. As a test, drivers can hold up their hands to the AC vents to see if there is indeed a sufficient airflow.

 

The AC’s Airflow Is on the Warmer Side

 

When a driver cranks on their AC, they want to feel an immediate burst of fresh air. However, this isn’t a possibility when a car’s AC levels are nearing empty. If this is not a pressing matter, a driver can wait to ask their mechanic about it until they visit their Longmont garage for an oil change. Should it be pressing, however, making an appointment to have one’s AC unit checked out can be in order. Sometimes, mechanics might find that a driver’s AC vents are blocked with dust or that they are low on AC fluid.

 

There’s a Strange Smell Emanating From the AC Vents

 

While most people will encounter car AC troubles that revolve around poor performance, some will experience more puzzling issues. For example, there are some drivers that make appointments due to their car AC emanating a strange smell when turned on. If a foul odor is making one’s car AC intolerable, it is important to bring it in for examination. More often than not, there might be some water contamination that is causing mold and mildew growth. Having this issue taken care of is crucial, as mold and mildew can be detrimental to one’s health.

 

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4 Reasons to Visit Your Mechanic Today

It is no secret that owning a car is expensive, but this doesn’t negate how important it can be to own one. Individuals all around the world have made their lives easier by owning a car. However, some have made their lives more difficult due to not partaking in general car repair. When a car issue makes itself known, it is crucial for a driver to take action. Putting car repair jobs on the back burner can cause a small issue to become a large one, which can be much more expensive than necessary. While there are some car-related issues that one can fix on one’s own, it is important to seek professional help when inexperienced. The following are the top 4 reasons to visit your mechanic today.

 

You Have a Flat Tire

 

It is very rare for a driver to have never experienced a flat tire, which is why most drivers know what to do in such a situation. Still, there’s a first time for everything. The very second a driver becomes aware of a flat tire, it is crucial for them to pull over on the side of the road and call for help. Continuing to drive on a flat can cause the wheel bearing to break, and fixing this piece can be expensive. Most people will have a spare tire in their trunk. Should this be the case, calling for roadside repair may be in order. Should this not be the case, getting towed to one’s mechanic will be a must. Once united with one’s mechanic, a tire can be chosen and the car maintenance provided.

 

 

You Need Your Oil Changed

 

If there is one car-related procedure that everyone needs — it’s getting an oil change every 3,000 miles or so. Doing so can prevent a car’s insides from getting rusty, therefore increasing its lifespan. The longer one waits to receive an oil change, the more damage can be done to their vehicle.

 

There’s a Strange Noise Coming from Your Car

 

Hearing a strange noise coming from one’s car is never a good sign, which is why it should be taken seriously. Before making an appointment with one’s mechanic, take note of when the sound occurs. Does it happen during acceleration, idling, low speeds, or high speeds? The more information one has, the faster a mechanic can find the issue.

You Want to Fix Your Air Conditioning

 

A car’s air conditioning may need repair after a few years of use, which is why visiting one’s mechanic in Longmont for air conditioning services may be in order.

 

 

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4 Reasons to Have Your Car’s Oil Changed Regularly

One of the most important things a driver can do for their car maintains its inner workings. While receiving an oil change might not seem important to some drivers, it is extremely so. In fact, those who choose to neglect their cars for years at a time can end up facing many complications, as their car will have failed to be properly lubricated. On average, Americans spend about $120 dollars on oil changes every year — a small price to pay for a properly maintained vehicle. Whether one’s car is receiving an alignment in a Longmont garage or having its tires changed, asking the mechanic whether or not an oil change is in order can be beneficial. The following are the top 4 reasons to have your car’s oil changed regularly.

 

Helps You Get the Most Out of Your Gas Money

 

When a car is running on a relatively low amount of oil, it can begin to experience a decrease in efficiency. One of the most noticeable results of poor car lubrication is getting fewer miles out of one’s gas tank. When an engine is poorly lubricated it can begin to burn through fuel faster than it usually does, which can result in a decrease of funds and functionality. When a car owner has their oil changed regularly, however, they can expect to see positive changes immediately. As a matter of fact, car owners can expect to see an improvement of about 2%.

 

Oil Changes Help Maintain a Car’s Innerworkings

 

As many longtime mechanics would say: oil is to cars as water is to humans. In other words, oil can help prolong the lifespan of a car. As a car runs, it is normal for it to encounter large dirt particles. These can lead to early onset corrosion if not taken care of properly. In order to minimize these particles, mechanic recommends changing a car’s oil every 3,000 miles or so. Without oil and filter changes, sludge can become present in a car’s inner workings, which can cause its engine to grow tired.

 

To Maintain the Engine’s Lubrication Levels

 

When a car’s engine is running, it is normal for there to be moving parts underneath its hood. These parts (pistons, valves, etc.) end up producing a significant amount of heat due to the friction they are exposed to. Cars that have been properly lubricated can handle the amount of heat expelled, whereas unlubricated cars cannot. This added heat and dryness can have drastic effects on a car’s engine.

 

Expands Your Car’s Lifespan

 

All in all, a car that receives its needed oil changes can experience a longer lifespan than those that don’t. Routine maintenance is encouraged as it helps cars maintain a long and happy road-life.

 

 

 

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Study Reveals Benefits of Synthetic Oil over Conventional Oil

A recent AAA study was published that revealed how much better synthetic oil is for a car’s overall health than conventional oil is.  This might surprise a lot of average car owners who have always gone with conventional oil because of its affordability and the fact that it has passed minimum standards.  The study backed up what car enthusiasts already know: that premium oil is better for long term engine health and will not cause as much dirt to damage the internal structure of the vehicle.

AAA Is An Impartial Agency

Opinions about the merits of synthetic vs conventional oil had, up until now, only existed in the realm of informed opinion.  There were those who said synthetic was way better but had no conclusive scientific research to back it up.  Until now, that is.  The organizers of the study, AAA, are a reputable automotive agency that offers insurance for emergency car pick up and repair anywhere in North America.  Their merits are not to be questioned because they are relatively impartial, which is to say that they have no incentive to sway the evidence one way or another.  It would be a different story if a giant oil company (that just happened to produce conventional oil) published research and claimed “conclusively” that conventional oil is fine for cars.

Structure Of The Study Was Quite Comprehensive

The insurance agency conducted a thorough analysis on the effects of each oil by picking five brands at random and testing their impacts.  They checked for the impact that temperature and other variables had on viscosity (thickness of the oil).  They assessed the relative volatility of the oil, which affects how much evaporates and the kind of deposit it leaves in the tank.

Synthetic Oil Performed Much Better

Synthetic oil performed much better in all areas than conventional oil.  It is able to remain viscous in a variety of different temperatures and is also less volatile (meaning it is cleaner).  This conclusive information should be taken seriously by car owners across America because it shows that investing in higher quality oil will save money on engine repair and general car care over the long-term.  There is no question that the buildup of deposits causes a lot of unnecessary damage to a vehicle that winds up costing more than would be saved if synthetic oil was used from the beginning.

Car owners in the Longmont area should consider switching to synthetic oil because it will save them money over the long term and free up extra savings to deal with emergencies like alignment issues or a busted AC system.  There are a number of different brands of synthetic oil on the market so all it takes is a little bit of digging to find the best deal.

 

Independant Garages Are More Popular Than Franchised Locations

A new study conducted by consumer reports found that car owners are overwhelmingly more satisfied with services at an independant garage as compared to a franchised new car dealership.  A lot of new car owners (especially of the luxury brands like Buick and Lincoln) have the option of buying parts and getting serviced at a dealership.  The research was pulled from a questionnaire given to 121,000 car owners: 80,000 from franchised locations and 40,000 from independant garages.  According to this study, the kinds of work being done at dealerships is not as satisfactory as independant garages.

Dealerships Are Just More Expensive

The study took into account general satisfaction, price, quality of the work, and friendliness of the staff.  Independant dealers scored better on all these fronts, which is a great sign for independant mechanics across the country.  Car owners understand and appreciate the time and attention to detail that independant mechanics are known for.  Above all, though, car owners like how affordable they are.  The study highlighted that the costliness of a dealership is the main reason why people don’t like them—scores on quality of work and ability to consistently meet deadlines were pretty high for mechanics at franchised locations.  It really comes down to a matter of cost and convenience.

Costs for car repair certainly add up, especially if the vehicle is over 10 years old.  Independant mechanics know this fact, and are usually quite willing to match the needs of their customers.  This kind of bargaining is not possible at a dealership.  Even better than a friendly discount is the fact that independant mechanics will try and cut costs every step of the way.  Forming a trustworthy bond with a car mechanic will save money and lots of heartache because if something needs to get done, they will do it.  They will not say it’s time for an oil change if it’s only been three months, for example, which cannot be said for mechanics at a dealership that are looking to maximize their profits.  Most independant car mechanics know that the satisfaction of recurring customers is the bread and butter of their business.

Negotiate Over Repair Work

An independant car mechanic will not be offended to negotiate a price.  It’s a part of the business transaction that shows the mechanic the customer knows what they are talking about and wants a fair deal.  It would be best for a customer only to begin negotiating once they have become comfortable with the required terms to be convincing.  In Longmont, independant car mechanics are known to give discounts on air conditioning service and oil changes.  Anything more serious than this will probably have to be paid in full.