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News and Tips

Tips for Winterizing Your Car

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Gas prices are something to celebrate this holiday season, being at a five-year low. It looks like consumers are responding by driving out of town for the holidays. For many of these winter drivers, cold weather and icy roads could be a factor. With all this in mind, AutoMD.com compiled the top nine tips for winterizing your vehicles:

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1. Check the antifreeze (coolant). The engine cooling system should be filled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water to prevent freezing and boiling over. Antifreeze testers are available at your local auto parts store to test the mixture. To keep the cooling system operating at peak performance, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing the antifreeze (flush and fill).

2. Change the engine oil. Use the recommended oil viscosity range for winter. 5W-30 motor oil flows quicker in cold weather than 20W-50. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend 5W-30 oil for year round protection.

3. Check the tires. Tires should be properly inflated, and the tread depth should be at least 4/32″. Using snow tires can improve traction over all-season tires.

4. Check the battery. Cold temperatures can reduce the battery’s power. If the battery is older than four years, it may be time to replace it.

5. Check the wipers and wiper fluid. Replace wipers that are old or worn, and (to prevent freezing) use windshield washer fluid instead of water.

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6. Check the emergency kit. Make sure your kit is well stocked and add an ice scraper, tire chains, jumper cables, and warm clothes for winter weather emergencies. Remember to include a candle and matches, as well as some bottled water and energy bars. You can use a candle for light and warmth inside the vehicle if you get stranded.

7. Check 4WD operation if equipped. Since you may not have used 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) all year, make sure the 4WD is activated (review your manual on “how to activate”) when you switch it on. Using 4WD improves traction in slippery conditions.

Source: (KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

Vehicle Maintenance

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Regular Vehicle Maintenance Tips: 

 

  • Check the Oil –Get in the habit of checking your engine’s oil a few times between oil changes. If you notice that your oil level is often lower than it should be, contact your mechanic before your “check oil” indicator comes on. Just adding oil every time that you notice it is low is not a good idea. This could result in big problems for your engine including: Oil Contamination, worn out engine seals, and even completely locking down your engine.
  • Check the Tires — Check your tires’ pressure every 1,000 miles.  Pressure gauges are a pretty cheap investment and easy to use. Good air pressure will help you maintain the best gas mileage for your vehicle. Also have your tires rotated regularly to keep tread wear even on all four tires.
  • Check the Brakes — Your brakes should be checked any time that your vehicle is serviced. Look for problem signs like squealing/hissing noise, vibration, and brake pedal softness.
  • Check the Transmission – A transmission problem can leave you stranded waiting for a tow.  If you notice any signs of a transmission problem, you need to have your mechanic inspect is as soon as possible.
  • Perform Manufacturer Recommended Services – Keep up with all scheduled maintenance on your vehicle as suggested in the owner’s manual. Following the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance will help to prolong the life of your vehicle.

Let Professional Automotive Services in Greenwood SC help you with your vehicles regular maintenance. Make an appointment or call us today.

 

Post-Summer Car Care

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Kids are back in school, no more vacations, and cooler evenings are right around the corner. It is the perfect time to perform some inspections on your vehicle to make sure it will be ready for colder weather. Go ahead and check the recommended service schedules in your owner’s manual.

  • Engine Performance: If you’re experiencing rough idling, bad starting, or stalling, it needs to be corrected before the cold weather makes existing problems worse.
  • Fuel: Keep moisture and trash out of your fuel by using a fuel system cleaner. Follow the directions on the cleaner when using and be sure to know the size of your fuel tank. This can be found in your owner’s manual.
  • Oil: Most vehicles require an oil change every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to be certain. If most of your driving is stop and go, be sure to keep your oil changed as recommended by your vehicles manufacturer.
  • Cooling System: Check the coolant level and mixture in your radiator when the engine is cool. There needs to be a 50/50 mixture of water and coolant.
  • Battery: Cleaning off corrosion from posts/cables, tightening connections, and checking the level in cells can be done at home by some. The best way to check the health of your battery is to have it tested by a professional. Always wear protective equipment when checking your battery to avoid contact with corrosion and acid.
  • Lights: Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs. Clean lenses with a damp cloth when road grime and dirt has built up on them.
  • Exhaust System: Have your exhaust system examined by a certified technician for leaks. Have the floor boards and trunk of your vehicle checked for holes that may be allowing harmful exhaust fumes into your vehicle.
  • Tires: Don’t go into the cold season with worn tires. Keep a regular check on the tire pressure. Check for uneven tire wear and other hazards like nails or sidewall damage from rubbing curbs or parking stops.

Professional Automotive Services Inc. is here to help you with any of these issues as well as many others. Contact us or come by to make certain your vehicle is ready for cooler weather.

Tips for Driving in Wet Weather

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When it’s time to head out, keep a few of these tips in mind.

• If your windows are fogging up, use the air conditioner to dehumidify the air inside of your vehicle. If you don’t have an air conditioning system, open the rear windows a crack to allow air to circulate.
• Slowing down on wet roads is crucial. A wet road surface will offer the driver less grip compared to a dry road surface. Plus, braking distances can double and the ability to steer around an obstacle can be reduced.
• Keep a further distance from the vehicle in front of you since braking distances can be longer on wet roads. Staying back will also take you away from the tire spray of the vehicle in front of you, giving you better visibility.
• Vision technique is paramount to safe driving. Look further up the road and always look to where you want to be going.
• Jerky or rushed steering can cause loss of control, especially on rain-slicked roads. Drive with smooth steering inputs.

If you’re looking for other ways to help prepare yourself for driving in the rain, come talk Pro Auto Serv to about all-season tires.

Source: http://www.goodyear.com/en-US/services/tire-care/driving-in-rain

Preparing to Drive in Wet Weather Conditions

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Before you head out, check on the condition of your vehicle and tires.

•  Tires are an underrated safety feature on your vehicle. They should have plenty of tread depth to evacuate standing water from between the road surface and the tire. If your current tires are worn down to anywhere near the wear bars (3/32nds or 4/32nds of an inch), it’s time to think about replacing your tires.
•  Tire pressures that are too low, or too high, can lead to reduced traction, premature tread wear, or tire failure. Your tire pressure should be checked regularly (at least once per month) to be sure they are properly inflated.
•  Outward vision is critical to safe driving. Your vehicle’s wiper blades should also be checked for age and wear. If they leave streaks across your windshield, it’s time to replace them.
• Of course, it’s just as important to be seen, as it is to see. Turn your lights on and be sure that all of your vehicle’s lights are in working order. Use the full headlight system and not just the Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) in wet weather. With only your DRLs in use, the rear taillights are not activated and on wet roads the spray of the road can hide your vehicle from view, increasing your chances of being struck from behind. Your full headlight system will also make you more visible to oncoming traffic on wet roads.

If you need any of these services for your automobile, Pro Auto Serv  of Greenwood SC can take care of all your car repair needs.

Source: http://www.goodyear.com/en-US/services/tire-care/driving-in-rain

 

Time for a Tune-Up?

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Professional Automotive Services – Tune-Up in Greenwood SC

Tune-up intervals can vary between vehicles. There are some signs that can alert you that it may be time to bring your vehicle in for a tune-up. If your vehicle is stalling often, not starting correctly, or making a louder noise during acceleration, it may be a sign that your vehicle is in need of a tune-up.
The manufacturer’s recommendations in your vehicle owner’s guide can give you the best information on when to have your vehicle serviced for a tune-up. To maintain your vehicle’s quality and value it is best to go by the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Professional Automotive Services offers the following services for your vehicle in addition to tune-ups:

• Power Steering Flush
• Brake Fluid Flush
• Transmission Fluid Flush
• Cooling System Flush
• Rear Differential Service
• 4WD Drive Line Service
• Timing belt Change

If you feel your vehicle is in need of service for a tune-up or have concerns about how your vehicle is performing, call Professional Automotive Services to schedule a time to bring your vehicle in.

Take Care of Your Battery

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Car batteries require special care. In the summertime, the heat can be damaging to your car battery. Here are some tips to squeeze as much life out of your battery as possible.

  • Add Distilled Water:

Make sure the level in each cell is full. Use only distilled water to fill the cells that are low. This may need to be checked more frequently in the summer time as it can evaporate quickly in warmer weather.

  • Keep Your Battery Clean:

Clean any dirt, grease, or corrosion off of the battery posts. You may need to remove the clamps to clean thoroughly. A dirty connection will weaken the charge.

  • Secure the Battery:

Make sure your battery is secured and sitting correctly. If your battery is moving around, it could be loosening your connections and spilling battery acid.

  • Park in Shelter:

In the south, we see temperatures in the 90’s during the summer. Extreme heat from Mother Nature and the heat generated under your hood accelerate corrosion of your battery. If you have the option, park your vehicle in a garage. This will keep your battery a little cooler in the summer.

If you are unsure about the condition of your vehicles battery or know that it is time for a battery replacement, visit Professional Automotive Services today.

Uneven Tire Wear in Center Treads

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Have you recently noticed uneven tire wear in the middle tread of your tires? If so, and the outside tread still have depth to them, over-inflation is most likely the cause.The leading cause of this uneven wear in the middle of the tire tread is generally over-inflation.The tread in the middle of the tire will bulge from the higher air pressure when a tire is over-inflated. This causes that middle tread to wear before the outside.

      How to avoid center wear from over-inflation:

      • Consult your vehicle manufacturer’s information to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle.

      • The “max press” number on the sidewall of your tire is not recommended for everyday driving but instead indicates the most pressure that a tire can hold and carry the maximum load of your vehicle.

      • Different types of vehicles have different optimum pressures. For example a sports car would have higher tire pressure than a luxury car.
      Risks of driving with over-inflated tires:

      • Rapid, uneven tire wear

      • Reduced traction and braking

      • Sudden Blowout

      What to do if you have uneven center wear now:

      • Deflate them to the manufacturer recommended pressure.

      • If you want to have your tires checked out for uneven center wear or you’re having trouble finding your vehicles recommended tire pressure, visit Professional Automotive Services today.

Car Car Tips For Your Summer Vacation

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At ProAuto, we want you to have the best summer possible. Being stuck on the side of the road is not in anyone’s plans for a nice vacation. To prevent many issues, we are offering some car care tips on what you should consider maintaining and servicing before a big trip. Call us today to schedule an appointment so your vacation is nothing but fun in the sun!

  1. Brakes and Regular Maintenance: As one of your most important safety features, brakes need to be in working order before you head out on vacation. Schedule an appointment to have your brakes and pads, as well as, oil levels, belts and hoses, air filter, and have your windshield wipers replaced before you leave.
  2. Tires: It’s always a good idea to stop and check for wear on your tires because tread depth can keep you maneuvering safely. Optimal tire pressure can improve gas mileage. You can check your tire pressure at home with a tire gauge, and tread depth by placing a penny in the tread, head-first. If Lincoln’s head is mostly visible, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
  3. A/C Service: Riding for hours in a stifling hot car can ruin any road trip. Have your AC system checked out for leaks or low refrigerant levels before you leave.
  4. Coolant and Radiator: In the hot summer months, it’s vital that your engine can take the heat. Having your radiator, coolant, and hoses inspected can prevent overheating by catching leaks and low levels before they turn into a major issue.
  5. Be Ready for Any Emergency: When packing the car, leave room for an emergency kit. You should stock your kit with a first aid kit, flashlight, rain gear, jumper cables, a toolkit, fix-a-flat, food/water, warning signals, and a fire extinguisher. You should also be sure you have a spare tire, a jack, and tire iron in case of a flat. If you have newer model car, your automobile may not come stocked with a spare, so check before you head out.

Preventive Maintenance Protection

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To limit your risk of suddenly needing repairs you cannot afford, purchasing Preventive Maintenance Protection (PM) is not a bad idea.

When you pay for PM service, you limit the risk that it will take more money to repair your vehicle when – not if – it needs repair. You pay dollars in advance, expecting that you will have to spend more later than what you are paying for PM.

It is a bit like buying insurance protection. With it, you spend your money with the anticipation that you will need coverage; however, the insurance company collects your dollars in the hope that you will NOT need coverage, so that it will have free money.

PM is different from insurance, in that we are not betting, or hoping, that your car will not need repairs. We do go out of our way to keep your car in top condition, so that a breakdown will be less likely to happen.

We do our best because we want loyal repeat customers – and loyal, satisfied customers recommend their personal repair shop to their friends. We want  our customers to tell about how their well maintained vehicles break down less frequently, and how they get to pay fewer dollars.

Happy customers are the source of our success – and we want to keep it that way.

Check Engine

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Members of the automotive industry are often asked the following question: “Does it matter if I leave my CHECK ENGINE light on? Will it hurt my vehicle?” Perhaps many of you have asked this same question. Or maybe you will be staring into the radiance of a glowing CHECK ENGINE indicator the next time you drive your vehicle.

In 1990, Congress passed a bill of legislation (The Clean Air Act), which required auto manufactures to install an On-Board Diagnostic computer (OBD) in every automobile. The engines in today’s vehicles are largely electronically controlled. Sensors and actuators identify the operation of specific components (e.g. the oxygen sensor) and actuate others (e.g. the fuel injectors) to maintain optimal engine control. An on-board computer, known sometimes as a “powertrain control module”(PCM) or an “engine control unit,” controls all of these systems. The CHECK ENGINE or SERVICE ENGINE SOON light will illuminate when the PCM detects a malfunction in one of these systems. When this happens a numerical code is stored and it requires a hand held computer to retrieve the code information.

Therefore, YES, it will hurt your automobile to ignore your SERVICE ENGINE SOON indicator. You may not immediately notice the affects of the particular code your computer is reading, but 3 months down the road you could! I always advise customers to save their own time and money, and have your CHECK ENGINE light analyzed by a specialist as soon as possible. Don’t let a small, inexpensive repair cost you dearly in the long run. So don’t let a little light fool you. It could be a sign that further failure of your automobile is on the way.

Bring you vehicle by Professional Automotive during the Month of June, and we will perform a Check Engine Light Analysis for FREE on all vehicles manufactured on or after 1996.

Pre-trip inspection?

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Each year, as summer approaches, our office is flooded with customers who walk in the day before a family vacation and request a thorough inspection of their automobile. Although we do everything we can to accommodate their request, the day before a trip is not the best time to think about getting your car inspected.  I can remember one instance when a customer did this, and they had a serious problem with a coolant leak that they were not aware of.  Unfortunately, they had to postpone their trip by two days.

It is highly recommended to have your car inspected before leaving for a vacation.  The best time to do this is a minimum of one week prior to your departure.  This is recommended for two reasons: First, if your vehicle is in need of a major repair, you will have time to get the problem corrected.  Second, you will want to drive your vehicle for a day or two before the trip to ensure that everything is going to be ok with the repair.

At Professional Automotive Services, we offer an extensive pre-trip inspection that thoroughly evaluates the condition of your automobile.  The inspection will cover everything from the health of the computer to the condition of the all the fluids, filters, belts, hoses, brakes and tires. Bring your vehicle to Professional Automotive Services and let our ASE certified technicians perform an inspection on your car before your trip!

ICE COLD AIR

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I recently had a customer ask “My air conditioning is not cold enough at idle sitting at a stop sign, but gets colder when I get on the freeway. Is this a sign that my compressor is weak?”

Like your body, the air conditioning compressor is at the heart of the AC system, and Freon is the blood. The compressor pumps Freon throughout the AC system. This Freon is a gas  and liquid combination that is compressed and circulated throughout the air conditioning system. The compressed Freon is pushed through the system under extreme pressure to the expansion valve that causes the gas to expand and contract.  This expansion and contraction makes the Freon gas very cold.

Now if your air conditioning is not cold at idle, but is cold going down the road then this is a early indication that you are experiencing a lose in Freon or a component failure.  Depending upon the size of the leak or the failure of the part, before you have no cold air at all.  At the first indication of failure that the air conditioning system gives you, we recommend to bring your vehicle at Professional Automotive for further analysis.  Call 227-2948 for further details.

Better Gas Mileage

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As the rising prices of gas have hit our wallets hard, many customers have asked what they can do to get better gas mileage.  I think that question would be better asked this way: What can we do to ensure that our automobiles are getting the same gas mileage they did when they were brand new?

Let’s first look at what can cause bad gas mileage.  Simple things like a dirty air filter, past due on oil changes, worn spark plugs, dirty fuel injectors, and under inflated tires are just a few items that may affect your gas mileage.  There are also more complex problems like weak oxygen sensors, bad mass air flow sensors, and vacuum leaks that can contribute to decreased fuel efficiency. Most of these can cause the check engine light to come on.  However, if they are only starting to go bad, the check engine light may not come on.  It is best to have your computer analyzed at least once a year for any problems that might be beginning…problems that may be indicated by small decrease in gas mileage. Professional Automotive has invested in the latest, state of the art test equipment than can thoroughly examine the health of the computer in your automobile and provide you with a print out of the test results*.    For the Month of MAY we are giving away a FREE GAS MILEAGE examination to all customers who bring in this coupon!

Tune Up

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I have recently had a few customers ask, “It has been several years since my last tune up. Is it time for another one?”

In years past, most vehicles needed a “tune up” every 12,000 miles. This included spark plugs, points and condenser, air and fuel filters, and much more. With the introduction of electronic ignitions, that interval was stretched to 30,000 miles, and points and condensers were not needed. With platinum plugs, many cars may be able to experience peak performance for up to 60,000 miles before needing a tune up.

I recommend that my customers replace their spark plugs every 30,000-60,000 miles, depending on the type of spark plug selected. Our Service Advisors can recommend the best plug for your individual vehicle. Failing to replace your plugs at regular intervals can cause stress on other, much more expensive ignition components. For example, if the spark plug gap is worn, it makes the ignition coil work much harder, which can cause spark to burn through spark plug wires, back through ignition coils, and even into ignition modules and engine control computers. If one of these components goes bad, the engine will cut off and leave you stranded!

But these problems are, for the most part, easy to avoid. Proper preventive maintenance is accessible and affordable at Professional Automotive. When a tune up is requested or recommended, our technicians will inspect the ignition system and all components to individualize your vehicle’s needs. The best way to find out if your engine needs a “tune up” will be to come by Professional Automotive today for a FREE Ignition and Tune Up Inspection. Call (864) 227-2948 for your appointment!

Does it matter if I leave my CHECK ENGINE light on?

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“Does it matter if I leave my CHECK ENGINE light on?  Will it hurt my vehicle?  Am I getting the gas mileage that I am suppose to?”  Perhaps many of you have asked this same question.  Or maybe you will be staring into the radiance of a glowing CHECK ENGINE indicator the next time you drive your vehicle.

YES, it will hurt your automobile to ignore your SERVICE ENGINE SOON indicator. You may not immediately notice the affects of the particular code your computer is reading, but 3 months down the road you could! I always advise customers to save their own time and money, and have your CHECK ENGINE light analyzed by a specialist as soon as possible.  Don’t let a small, inexpensive repair cost you dearly in the long run.

The price of gas is something that unfortunately we cannot control, however we can control the consumption of gasoline.  According to AAA 8 out of 10 cars needs some form of maintenance.  How do you know if your automobile is getting the gas mileage it was manufactured for?  Professional Automotive is the Only Shop in Greenwood that can perform a Gas Mileage Examination on any automobile 96 and newer.  We will show you your computer’s efficient or inefficient use of fuel and provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision on your fuel consumption.

Bring you vehicle by Professional Automotive during the Month of July, and we will perform a Check Engine Light Analysis, and Gas Mileage Examination for FREE on all vehicles manufactured on or after 1996.