Foreign Accents is the premiere import service center in the Triad, being both a Bosch Certified Repair Center staffed with ASE-Certified and Master-Certified Technicians. This blog contains articles related to vehicle maintenance and repair.
The days are getting warmer here in Greensboro and high temperatures can lead to issues for your vehicle such as overworked air conditioning systems, ineffective batteries or steering wheels that feel like they’re on fire. As such, your vehicle’s maintenance should very much be on your radar at this time of year.
While you can’t change the weather, you can avoid a lot of headaches by heeding the following warm weather vehicle maintenance tips:
Avoid Battery Calamities
While cold weather can definitely cause problems for your vehicle’s battery, hot weather can be equally as brutal. Battery fluid can evaporate during high temperatures, leading to a malfunctioning charging system which can destroy your battery. Before you head out on a long road trip, it’s not a bad idea to have your battery inspected to avoid delays associated with the hassles of dealing with a dead battery.
Keep Your Air Conditioning Chilled Out
If you have service performed on your A/C but it still doesn’t seem cold enough, consider a couple things to get the most out of your system. In a dry climate with low humidity, use the “fresh air” or “fan” setting to allow your A/C system to cool most efficiently. Alternatively, if you live in a climate where humidity is rampant, use your A/C’s “recirculate” setting. This eliminates using the high-moisture outside air and makes it easier for your system to cool the interior of your car down.
Be Vigilant of Your Coolant Levels
When it’s extra warm out, your cooling system works overtime to keep your engine from overheating. This requires a 50:50 mixture of coolant and distilled water. Make sure to never open hot radiator cap as to avoid hot pressurized coolant from spraying out. While this should typically be done once a year, the owner’s manual for your car should provide you with the recommendations of how often it should be done.
Avoid Turning Your Car into an Oven
Parking in the sun can quickly turn your car into an unbearable sauna. This can cause a burning hot steering wheel, a faded interior, and a lot of misery and sweating. Using a sun shade in your windshield blocks direct rays from invading your interior. After being parked in the sun, open your doors for a couple minutes to let the heat out as the glass windows turn your car into a mini greenhouse. Also, leave your windows cracked a tiny bit, or get your windows tinted, to keep temperatures down in your car.
Keep Up on Tire Pressure
High temperatures cause more stress on your tires. Underinflated tires can fail because of more friction due to heat, while overinflated tires can result in uneven tread wear since air expands with heat, possibly leading to a blowout. Read up on your tire’s recommended pressure in your owner’s manual, and use a tire gauge to stay on top of the proper pressure for your tires.
While it may seem like a lot of little things to remember, staying attentive to your car’s maintenance needs will save you time and money in the long run. Paying attention to how your car feels, having it serviced regularly, and keeping an eye on your dashboard gauges will alert you to any potential problems that are lurking. A little mindfulness as well as regular visits to a reputable and trustworthy auto repair shop will help keep you safely and comfortably on the road this spring and summer.
Transmission repair can be expensive, but without a properly working transmission, your vehicle cannot run. Both manual and automatic transmissions ensure that power moves from the vehicle’s engine to the wheels. Your vehicle’s engine works at speeds called RPMs or Revolutions per Minute. The transmission’s job is to transmit power to the wheels while keeping the engine’s RPMs in the optimal range. It does this through a complicated combination of gears and parts that recognize changes in speed and RPMs and move accordingly to optimize the vehicle’s energy.
If the transmission isn’t shifting the gears properly, you’ll notice a bumpy ride because the energy isn’t transmitting smoothly from the engine to the wheels. The vehicle may buck or stall, or you’ll hear grinding noises from underneath the vehicle. If the transmission is really in trouble, you may even see smoke issuing from it. All of these signs are indicators of problems and should be checked by a mechanic immediately.
Fix Minor Transmission Problems Before They Get Worse
As with most repairs, transmission repair costs can be contained if you fix minor problems before they get worse. Some minor transmission problems to be bring to your mechanic’s attention include:
Leaks and stains under the car
Transmission fluid is typically dyed red to make it easier to identify it from other vehicle fluids, and in both rear and front wheel drive vehicles the transmission is located underneath the vehicle and towards the rear. Puddles of red fluid under the rear end of the vehicle indicate a leak somewhere in the system.
If you typically drive with the radio blasting, turn it off occasionally and listen to your vehicle. Many problems begin as unusual noises, but if you’re not sure what your vehicle normally sounds like you may not be able to tell the unusual from the usual. Transmission noises that indicate trouble brewing include whining noises, especially a whining sound under the floorboards while your vehicle moves from gear to gear.
Changes in shifting behavior
Your vehicle should move smoothly between gears whether you have a manual or an automatic transmission. If you feel a jolting sensation or the vehicle bucks during a shift, it’s time to have the transmission checked. A heavy sensation in the vehicle during shifting may also indicate a problem.
Money Saving Transmission Repair
Even if you’re worried about the bill, it’s important to have your vehicle’s transmission checked if you notice these or other changes. Talk to your mechanic. He may have some simple suggestions to extend the life of your vehicle’s transmission. Transmission fluid and filters should be changed around every 25,000 miles or so, but check your vehicle’s maintenance schedule for the exact number as it can vary considerably. Transmissions do have a filter that cleans the fluids inside, and as with your vehicle’s engine, keeping the fluids clean and the filter clear prevents build up and debris from harming the transmission. Routine maintenance alone may prevent or delay costly transmission repairs.
In an ideal world, when you hit the road in your vehicle the surface you’re driving on is even and smooth and you cruise along without any issues whatsoever. Unfortunately, roads are rarely perfectly smooth and even when they are, you can still have issues with steering and navigating the terrain you’re driving on.
The components in your vehicle all wear out and will need to be replaced at some point. Your steering wheel is connected to several different components, meaning when it starts to shake or doesn’t feel quite right there could be any number of causes for it.
Here are a few reasons why your steering wheel might be vibrating while you’re driving:
If your steering wheel is shaking violently whenever you stop or slow down, there’s a good chance that your rotors are worn out or warped and you should have your brake system inspected immediately.
If you have an issue with your engine that causes vibrations to emanate, you’ll probably feel the tremors throughout your vehicle, but the steering wheel will feel them the most. Fuel delivery and air induction are two of the potential issues that can lead to engine vibrations.
If your car has been in a fender bender or been involved with an impact of any kind lately, there is a decent chance your axle has been affected and might be bent. When you’re driving with a damaged axle, your steering wheel will shake more violently the faster you go but there will be vibrations no matter what your speed is. If your steering wheel is jerking to the left or right, your driveshaft is most likely damaged and you should have your vehicle towed to a garage ASAP.
Given that your steering wheel is responsible for telling your wheels which direction to go, when your tires are improperly configured you’re liable to feel it while you’re steering. If your tires aren’t properly inflated or if they have bald spots, worn out tread, etc., your steering will be affected and you should have your tires changed or rotated in the near future.
Other components that could affect your ability to steer if they’re damaged in any way include wheel bearings, tie rods and ball joints. If you have any concerns about your vehicle’s health or safety, be sure to give us a call at 719-382-5691 or click HERE to schedule an appointment with our ASE-certified technicians!
Modern automobiles are highly-sophisticated feats of engineering that would seem like vehicles in a science fiction story to drivers a half-century ago. Despite significant advancements in design and technology, cars still need to be tended to regularly and have the occasional tune-up performed in order to ensure optimum mechanical performance.
But how do you know when to have a tune-up performed on your vehicle?
As a rule of thumb, you should have your vehicle’s oil changed every 3,000 miles while your other fluids and filters should be serviced every 30,000 miles or so. Whenever you get service of any kind, it’s a good idea to have a quick inspection performed to make sure the various components in your engine are functioning at a good level.
An extensive, bumper-to-bumper vehicle inspection and computerized mechanical diagnosis should typically be conducted at least once per year and, ideally, every six months. If you’ve lost track of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, here are a few signs it’s time to head to a mechanic for a tune-up:
Increased Fuel Consumption.
If you notice you’re filling the gas tank up more often than usual, your engine is working harder than it was designed to and you should head to a garage for an inspection since there are any number of mechanical reasons for your fuel efficiency to go down.
If you can hear either of these distinct noises emanating from your engine, especially during acceleration, your vehicle definitely needs to be tended to in the near future. There’s a chance this noise is being caused by using the wrong grade of gas but if you make the proper adjustment and still hear knocking or pinging, head to a garage ASAP.
If it takes you a few tries to get your car started, that’s usually a sign there’s something off in your engine. The ignition process being disrupted in any way is typically a key indicator that you’re due for a tune-up.
If you have any questions regarding your vehicle’s health, be sure to give our ASE-certified technicians a call at 336-294-2137 – we’re here to keep you safely on the Greensboro roads year-round!
One of the most frightening scenarios that a driver can encounter comes when you suddenly slam on your brakes and they’re unresponsive… To help you avoid this precarious situation, here are a few brake failure warning signs that indicate your system is very likely in need of service:
Vibrations: If when you go to put your foot on the brake pedal and that pedal vibrates or you feel a shaking of it, that is a clear indicator that your rotors on your car may be warped.
Squealing: This may be a bit harder to monitor, as you will likely need to have your windows down, and both your air conditioning and your radio off in order to hear this. The squealing noise coming from your brakes when you use them usually is a sign that you need to have them checked out by a professional. However, it’s not uncommon to hear brakes squealing after a rain storm or car wash.
Grinding: When you push on your brake pedal and you hear a deep grinding, this is a clear indicator that your brake pads are damaged or worn beyond safety limits and need to be replaced quickly.
ABS Light On: There are several reasons that your ABS light may come on at odd times, including: metal particles in the brake system, or complete brake system failing.
Pedal Touching Floor: One potential problem with your brake system is that it may start to lose fluid and fluid pressure, allowing you to push the brake pedal all the way to the floor. This is a possible indicator of a leak in your brake system.
Grabbing: While you are driving and if you ever feel your vehicle pull to one side or another when you apply your brakes, this may be an indicator of your car’s brake lining wearing unevenly or in need of a complete flush of the brake fluids.
If you notice any of the above warning signs, be sure to give our ASE-certified technicians a call at 336-294-2137 to set up an appointment at our shop on West Market Street.
While they might not be the first thing that come to mind when you think about vehicle maintenance, your car’s fluids are literally its lifeblood and they are a vital component of its health.
Vehicle fluids perform a variety of functions that keep your engine running at an optimal level. You should monitor your car’s fluid levels closely and, in some cases, perform regular flushes in order to keep your vehicle safely on the road between tune-ups.
– Motor Oil is responsible for lubricating all of your engine’s moving parts and will need to be replaced every three months or 3,000 miles. If you don’t change your oil regularly it will thicken and your engine will not be able to function properly.
– Brake Fluid amplifies the force with which your vehicle stops, transferring force into pressure in your hydraulic braking system. Depending on its chemical composition, brake fluid should typically be flushed every year or two.
– Coolant & Antifreeze keep your engine running at the proper temperature. By transferring heat via a process known as convection, engine coolant prevents overheating or freezing from occurring in your vehicle. These fluids tend to vary in terms of composition, so it’s best to check with your preferred brand’s manufacturer for a changeout timetable.
– Transmission Fluid performs the task of making sure that your transmission is properly lubricated, which is critical to your car’s health. Like engine coolant, there are several different types of transmission fluid so its flushing schedule will be dependent upon the manufacturer.
Other fluids that can be found in your vehicle include power steering fluid, washer fluid and refrigerant, all of which will need to be changed out regularly as part of your preventative maintenance schedule. If you have any questions regarding your vehicle’s fluids are you need to schedule an appointment for a flush, give us a call at 336-294-2137 or swing by our shop on West Market Street!
When tire rotation is performed regularly, their lifespans can be extended by up to 20 percent. Not only will this save you money on replacement tires but rotating your tires also cuts down on your gas money. For uniform tire wear, it is suggested that a vehicle’s tires are rotated every 6,000 miles as part of your vehicle’s preventative maintenance schedule.
There are many factors that can cause wear to tires. Weight distribution is one of the biggest factors. On front-wheel drive cars, the stress of steering, braking and the weight from the engine and axle can quickly cause deterioration. Incorrect tire pressure and uneven alignment are also major factors. If your front tires gain more wear than your back tires, it may cause some safety concerns for the control of your vehicle. Bringing your car to our certified technicians regularly can ensure your tires are rotated properly and keep you safely on the road.
Rotating your tires will also do many things for your overall driving experience. If you can control the distribution of weight among your tires, they will wear evenly and offer a smoother ride. This will allow you the best possible gas mileage as your tires get older. A simple tire rotation will also make your vehicle brake more evenly which will give you a shorter stopping distance.
Some car owners who neglect regular tire rotations will find themselves purchasing two front tires when the wear becomes too much and, shortly after, buying two rear tires when needed. If they wear evenly, you can scoop up all four tires at one time and save yourself the hassle and cost of purchasing them separately.
If you notice uneven wear in your tires, our ASE-certified technicians will be happy to take a look and rotate them for you. Give us a call at 334-294-2137 if you have any questions about your tires or any other vehicle component!
In addition to offering drivers no shortage of challenges when it comes to weather-related conditions, the season knowns as FALL and WINTER also make things tough by making general visibility tough by greatly increasing the amount of darkness Guilford County residents are forced to deal with.
Once Daylight Savings ends, night seems to come immediately at the end of the workday and the only time you get to see the sun is on weekends. Driving in darkness so often means your headlights become one of your car’s most important tools.
In addition to helping you navigate roads, headlights also serve the important function of making your presence known to other drivers. While most newer cars are equipped with automatic lights that drivers don’t tend to worry about activating, you should still regularly check to make sure they’re operating properly.
The easiest way to check to see if your lights are operating properly is simply to pull into a closed area like a garage and look for a reflection or other indicator of proper exterior lumination. Your turn signals should be inspected as well. If any bulbs on either system is burnt out, you need to get it replaced ASAP.
In the event that your headlights appear dim or weak, it probably just means they need to be cleaned.
Dirt, grime, snow/ice, etc. accumulate on your car’s exterior at a faster rate in fall and winter than in other seasons so you will need to clean your headlights more often during these months. You should also, as a rule of thumb, request your auto technician perform a quick headlight cleaning whenever you bring your vehicle in for a tuneup or inspection.
If your headlights are acting up even with a new bulb and freshly-polished lens, there could be something wrong with your electrical system and you should bring your vehicle into our shop for a full diagnostic. To schedule your next inspection, click HERE or call our team at 336.294.2137
Many vehicles will experience oil loss at some point. Usually it is through small drips and minor leaks that can be prevented, but in some cases oil leaks require immediate attention from an ASE-Certified Technician.
An improperly sealed drain bolt is the most common cause of leaks. When having an oil change in Greensboro performed, your oil pan is first drained. The drain is resealed, usually with a new washer around the drain bolt. Cheap oil change services may not include a new washer, which can potentially result in new leaks emerging after the change. If a leak appears after the change and continues after a day or two of normal driving, you may need a new washer.
Small oil leaks are also common in older cars. Often the seals wear or are misshapen due to the mechanical movements and drastic changes in temperature that are common with a combustion engine. While replacing the seals may not be economical, it is very important to check oil levels frequently.
In the worst scenario, oil loss may be sudden and dramatic. Many vehicles have warning lights that indicate a loss of oil pressure. In this case, it is imperative that the vehicle is stopped and turned off immediately. Friction from oil loss will destroy internal engine components and may ruin the engine completely.
Abnormal oil loss without any prior indication such as oil stains or an oily engine may indicate a much deeper problem. It might be an indication that the vehicle is burning oil. Oil may seep past the pistons and into the combustion chamber or it may leak through a broken head gasket. These are both very serious problems that may result in a loss of power and reduced fuel efficiency.
If you think you might be losing oil, bring your vehicle in to Foreign Accents at your earliest convenience and we can assess the issue and determine the best solution for fixing it.
A well-sealed oil system is crucial to keeping your vehicle on the road – call us at (336) 294-2137 if you have any questions or concerns about yours!
Car polish and wax are among many products used to protect your vehicle and keep it looking its best. Unfortunately, there is a common misconception among car owners about these products and what they are used for. So what is the difference between a wax and a polish? And what’s right for your car?
A polish is used to give your vehicle a smooth, shiny surface. The primary purpose of polish is to remove imperfections from your vehicle’s paint or clear coat. Polish can clean off contaminants such as grease, dirt, and rust that normal washing cannot remove. It is also used to fix small scratches, scrapes, or swirls from the finish.
There are two primary types of car polish: chemical polishes and abrasive polishes. Chemical polishes are used to clean the exterior, removing rust, grease, and stains that normal washing cannot remove. Abrasive polishes are used to fix imperfections in your car’s paint job or clear coat and smooth out small scratches or scrapes. These polishes range from coarse to fine, with finer polishes ideal for detail work.
Polishes typically come in creams, sprays, or liquids and contain solvents to remove impurities (grease, rust). Polishing your vehicle fixes small imperfections in the finish and allows the paint to shine through. However, most polishes do not provide protection for your car’s finish.
Waxing is used to create a protective barrier on your vehicle. UV rays, pollution, dust, moisture, and corrosion can all harm your car’s paint and clear coat. Wax acts as a barrier between your car’s finish and the environment. Wax also can create the glossy look that many vehicle owners love.
Car waxes come in two varieties: natural or synthetic. Natural car waxes are usually made from caranauba wax and have great protection and shine. While both types of wax serve the same functions, synthetic waxes can last longer than natural wax.
You should always wash your car before applying wax. Wax acts as a paint sealant and will seal any dirt, grease, or rust to your car. Wax can provide protection from moisture, corrosion, and oxidation from the outside, but anything on your car when you apply the wax can still cause damage. If you find any damage after washing your car, you should use a polish to resolve any issues before waxing.
What is right for your car?
Because waxing and polishing your car serve different purposes, it is a good idea to do both. If you notice any problems with your car’s finish, you should get them fixed prior to waxing or polishing. Speedy action will help prevent scratches and nicks from causing further oxidation (rust) and damage.
Wash your car first before polishing or waxing. As you wash, you can inspect your car for any imperfections, rust, or scratches. Polish your vehicle as needed, anytime you find imperfections in the finish or when you want extra shine for your paint job. Always wax after polishing, since polish can remove the wax from your vehicle. Typically, cars should be waxed every 3 or 4 months. Follow the instructions for any products you use for the best results.
Both polish and wax can fix and protect your vehicle’s finish and your investment! If you have any questions about polishing or waxing your vehicle, call us at 336.294.2137 or stop by our shop!