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Top Ten Auto Maintenance Mistakes That Could Cost You

Auto Maintenance Tyler TXAuto maintenance can seem confusing to inexperienced owners. Sometimes ignoring the problem or waiting to solve it may seem like a money-saving life hack. However, neglecting auto maintenance often leads to expensive repairs later. Furthermore, who wants to drive an unserviced, unreliable car? Here are the top ten car maintenance mistakes that will cost you down the line.

  1. Dismissing oil changes. Ignoring your oil light may seem inconsequential. Sure, some vehicles can run on old oil, but that doesn’t mean they should. Over time, oil begins to break down and produces sludge that builds up in your engine. Follow an oil change schedule to keep your engine clean.
  2. Ignoring fluid checks. Oil is not the only fluid that needs changing. Monitor your brake fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant and transmission fluid. Have these fluids checked and changed regularly by your trusted auto body shop.
  3. Leaving tires unattended. Under-inflation of your tires can lead to flats or cause your car to use more fuel than it should. Improve your gas mileage and prevent flat tires by checking tire pressure regularly, and be sure to get your tires rotated when completing other scheduled services.
  4. Failing to maintain brake pads. Changing your brake pads may seem expensive at the time, but worn down ones can affect other parts of your car, like the rotors. Repairs at this stage can be significantly more costly than changing and maintaining the pads themselves. We recommend getting your brakes checked if you start to hear a squeaking noise—most mechanics will do checks for free.
  5. Using the same windshield wipers for years. Wipers are inexpensive and easily replaceable, so why do many drivers use the same old streaky blades year after year? Avoid driving blind in adverse weather. Change your wiper blades twice a year or whenever you begin to see streaks on your windshield.
  6. Not replacing air filters. Air and fuel filters are relatively inexpensive to replace. However, ignoring the maintenance of these items can lead to significant problems later. The air filter is one maintenance task you can do yourself, but your mechanic may be able to throw in this service for free at your next scheduled visit.
  7. Putting off recommended check-ups. We promise that maintenance schedules are not devised to make extra cash off of car owners. Recommended check-ups are designed to monitor your vehicle and keep it running properly. Parts wear out after a while, but with regular maintenance, your mechanic will be able to replace anything with wear and tear. Stick to the recommendations from your dealer or mechanic; you’ll be glad you did in the long run.
  8. Servicing the car yourself (with no knowledge of auto maintenance). An inexperienced car owner can do more harm than good when attempting to make repairs or solve maintenance issues themselves. Bring your car to a reliable auto body shop at let them handle your maintenance. It may cost a little more, but accidental mishaps with DIY car care often lead to disastrously high service fees.
  9. Using inferior generic parts. Cheap replacement parts compromise your engine’s performance. Invest in good-quality auto parts that are compatible with your vehicle and will last a lot longer than their generic counterparts.
  10. Choosing a sub-par body shop to cut costs. Sure, a 50% discount sounds great, but stop and ask yourself why they’re offering that service so cheap. Extreme discounts are usually a sign of inexperienced mechanics or the use of inferior parts to service your vehicle. Choose a well-known, trusted automotive shop like Hughes Automotive in Tyler, TX.

Hughes Automotive | Auto Maintenance Tyler TX | http://hughesauto.biz/

Tools 101: Essential Tools for Basic DIY Auto Repair

Auto Repair Tyler TXNothing beats having a professional mechanic perform auto repair on your vehicle. However, if you find yourself in a DIY situation, you’ll need certain tools on-hand to get the job done. From wrenches to ratchets, here are the tools you’ve got to have when attempting to work on your vehicle yourself.

Screwdrivers

Just about every DIY project can’t reach completion without help from the trusty screwdriver, and automotive repair isn’t an exception. Working on a vehicle also requires flat and Phillips head screwdrivers in a variety of depths and thicknesses. For instance, you’ll find that stubbed screwdrivers are needed to get into tight spaces and are helpful for removing sensors. Long and skinny screwdrivers are excellent for extending your length. Additionally, heavy-duty and small flathead screwdrivers are also essential for auto repairs, as are torx, also called star-headed, screwdrivers.

Socket Set

Socket sets are arguably the most necessary tool when it comes to vehicle repair. Look for a set that includes standard and metric sizes, as well as 3/8-inch, ¼-inch and ½-inch drivers and sockets. Also, make sure you have a variety of lengths and depths when it comes to socket sizes. Socket extensions are often useful for reaching into tight spaces.

Wrenches

Look under the hood, and you’re likely to find lots of bolts staring back at you. The best tool to manipulate these often tight items is a wrench. You’ll need a good quality set to ensure a strong grip and less damage to the tools and the vehicle. Ratcheting wrenches with open-ended sides and a ratcheting box end are often helpful to have.

Pliers

Just about any auto repair job requires a variety of pliers. Having a regular-sized pair of pliers is often handy. Vise grips are also extremely helpful for repairs involving coolant hoses and other clamps. Long and short needle nose pliers are also standard when working on automotive DIYs. They are helpful when manipulating or maneuvering small items or areas.

Multimeter

A multimeter tool is essential for vehicle repairs as it can tell you what wires are “hot,” or have current going through them. It will also detect how much voltage they are holding. Purchasing a multimeter that is also able to read amperage is a good investment.

Hughes Automotive in Tyler, TX, is happy to help should your DIY auto repair project go downhill or if you just plain need assistance.

Call us today at (903) 730-6788 or visit http://hughesauto.biz/ for more information.

Hughes Automotive |  Auto Repair Tyler TX  | (903) 730-6788

Three Crucial Things to Know About Your Vehicle’s Motor Oil

Automotive Maintenance Tyler TXChanging the oil in your car is one of the easiest and most powerful things you can do to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Whether you leave oil changes for the mechanics or take pride in doing it yourself, there are ways you can ensure to get the most power for your car. Effective oils should meet the standard of the American Petroleum Institute and have the right viscosity to maintain a smooth ride. For the best oil maintenance for your car, visiting an automotive maintenance shop in Tyler, TX ensures a high-quality oil change without a high price tag. There are three things to keep in mind the next time you need an oil change:

  1. What labels are on your oil? The best oils have been tested and approved by the American Petroleum Institute. Having this label means that your oil has been given a standard that gives you both the peace of mind and the assurance of a long-lasting engine. The American Petroleum Institute then labels oil according to current service ratings and knowing these service standards will help you to give your car the best product. Automotive maintenance centers know what labels and rating their oil has, ensuring a high-quality product.
  2. How thick should oil be? Motor oil, like most liquids, act differently at certain temperatures. When cool, oil tends to become more viscous; conversely, at higher temperatures, oil becomes runnier. While certain oil temperatures may be better suited for certain seasons, having an oil that is resistant to thinning means that your car receives a good, even coating of oil. Each vehicle has certain viscosity preferences, and your auto maintenance center can help you determine what needs to be put in your vehicle.
  3. Is synthetic or conventional oil best? Conventional and synthetic oils, not to mention blends, vary in effectiveness in every vehicle. Premium conventional oils tend to work best for light-duty vehicles, while synthetic oils are better for higher-duty engines. Blends of conventional and synthetic work well for vehicles that are somewhere between light and heavy vehicle engines. Especially if you have an older vehicle, the type of oil you put in your car is crucial for auto maintenance.

Whether your vehicle is brand new or decades old, the oil you put in your vehicle makes sure the rest of your car works as smoothly as possible. Knowing what oil works well with your vehicle, even if it takes a quick peruse through your owner’s manual, will help you and your car stay on the road. For the best automotive maintenance in Tyler, TX, let Hughes Automotive keep your engine in top shape with regular oil changes. Make the call today at (903) 730-6788 or visit http://hughesauto.biz/.

Hughes Automotive | Automotive Maintenance Tyler TX | (903) 730-6788

Questions to Ask Your Car Mechanic When Getting Your Vehicle Serviced

Car Mechanic Tyler TXWhether it’s a routine checkup or some repair work, at some point in time, every vehicle owner has to visit a car mechanic for service. While you may not know a great deal about automobiles, you can ask a few specific questions to get the information you need about the particular circumstances of your vehicle and the costs to take care of any problems.

The following tips will help you in asking your car mechanic the best questions in determining the problems with your vehicle.

Would You Please Show Me the Problem?

Most mechanic service professionals are knowledgeable and want to help you with your automotive problems. However, if you find yourself in a service center where you are unsure about your mechanic, a simple request can make all the difference. Ask to see the part that needs to be repaired or replaced. Some problems might be connected to technology, making it difficult to point them out directly. But, for the most part, your car mechanic should be able to physically show which part needs to be fixed so that you have a visual picture of the problem.

What Will Happen If It Doesn’t Get Fixed?

Ask your mechanic what will happen to your vehicle if the part in question does not get fixed immediately. There are some parts like timing belts that can wait to be repaired. Brakes, on the other hand, should be fixed right away.

Would You Please Prioritize the Repair Work?

Since not all problems with a vehicle need to be fixed immediately, it is possible to prioritize your repairs if more than one part needs to be fixed. Ask your car mechanic to list which repairs need to be completed first, and which ones can be made at a later date.

Would You Please Show Me the Defective Part?

Before any replacement repair work is started on your vehicle, ask your car mechanic to save the part that needs to be replaced. This will enable you to see exactly what was wrong and to verify that the replacement work was actually completed.

Would You Please Explain How the Problem Was Fixed?

You don’t necessarily have to understand everything they tell you about the repairs, but asking this question can help you to develop a connection with your car mechanic and not just the automotive service company you are using. By building a relationship with your car mechanic, you will be able to get better answers to your questions and concerns.

These questions for your car mechanic may seem like a lot to you, but a knowledgeable and experienced service professional will be happy to address all of your concerns.

If you need the help of a reliable and competent car mechanic in the Tyler TX area, contact the automotive experts at Hughes Automotive. Call 903-730-6788 today!

Hughes Automotive |  Car Mechanic Tyler TX  | (903) 730-6788

Auto Maintenance Tips For Your High-Mileage Vehicle

Auto Maintenance Tyler TXThere’s no doubt that today’s automobiles last longer than those in years past; in fact, it was a milestone to celebrate when a car built in the 70s, 80s or 90s racked up 100,000 miles.  Cars built in the 21st century are sailing right past that mark and are continuing to run up to and beyond the 200,000-mile mark.  What’s the reason for that improvement?  Better engineering and higher-quality products like synthetic motor oils are just two of the factors that are keeping cars on the road longer.  As a car owner, you play an important part in that, too, with regular auto maintenance that will help your car run more smoothly with fewer expensive breakdowns.  Here are some service recommendations for your high-mileage vehicle:

At 120,000 Miles

  • Spark Plug Replacement – The gap between the electrode and the spark plug body becomes larger the more a spark plug fires.
  • Oxygen Sensor Replacement – Combustion byproducts accumulate on oxygen sensors causing them to respond more slowly to fuel mixture changes.
  • Air Conditioner Compressor Clutch – The AC compressor clutch is one of the more expendable parts of the air conditioning system.
  • Four-Wheel Alignment – Wheel alignments allow for monitoring of springs and suspension bushings.
  • Coolant, Brake and Transmission Fluid Replacement – Different vehicle makes require replacement of certain fluids at different times. Check your vehicle manual for recommendations on when to change your fluids.
  • Shock and Strut Replacement – Shocks and struts are generally designed to last about 50,000 miles.
  • Engine Decarbonization – Engine decarbonization removes carbon buildup on the crown of the piston, valves and head.

At 180,000 Miles

  • Drivetrain Seal Replacement – Seals on axles and driveshafts must be replaced at the first sign of a leak.
  • Headlight Adjustment – Headlights can become misaligned over time from heat and vibrations.
  • Timing Belt or Chain Tensioner Replacement – Tensioners, as well as timing belts and chains, can wear out over time.
  • Power Steering Fluid Replacement – Power steering fluid breaks down and can accelerate wear on the power steering pump.
  • Engine and Transmission Mount Inspection – Vibrations can loosen or damage engine and transmission mounts on high-mileage vehicles.

At 250,000 Miles

  • Catalytic Converter Inspection – The catalytic converter must be inspected for damage on older vehicles.
  • Fuel Injector Cleaning – Cleaning removes carbon buildup on injectors, which can reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Chassis Inspection – A chassis inspection will reveal alignment problems that can reduce driving comfort and increase tire wear.
  • Air Conditioner Inspection – Debris can build up over time between the AC condenser and the radiator.

The best thing you can do for your vehicle is to get regular auto maintenance that includes oil and filter changes and inspections of all critical systems.  To ensure that your vehicle continues to run as it gets older, your auto maintenance should include inspections and service from an experienced auto mechanic.  In Tyler, TX, call the experts at Hughes Automotive at (903) 730-6788 or visit http://hughesauto.biz/ to schedule an appointment for vehicle maintenance.

Hughes Automotive | Auto Maintenance Tyler TX | (903) 730-6788

Top 4 Signs Telling You It’s Time for a Brake Service Appointment

Brake Service Tyler TXRecognizing that you are in need of a brake service appointment is vital to keeping your vehicle operating at optimal levels. Your brake system is one of your vehicle’s most important safety features, so it’s crucial that you understand the signs of brake problems to prevent expensive brake repair work. You don’t have to understand the science behind your brake system to be able to recognize these top four signs that you need to schedule a brake service appointment.

Squeaks, Squeals and Screech Sounds

Irregular noises from your vehicle indicate that you may very well have a brake problem. As with the treads on your tires, brake pads also wear down over time. Brake pads that have become worn down can lead to problems with other parts in your brake system. As a result, you could end up needing expensive repair work to fix the entire problem. If you hear squeaking, screeching or squealing sounds coming from your vehicle, schedule a brake service appointment right away.

Vibration Sensations

When you apply your foot to the brake pedal, your brake system should engage and smoothly reduce your speed. However, if you notice any vibration sensations as you apply your brakes, either on the brake pedal or the steering wheel, your brakes may be worn. It’s time to schedule a brake service appointment.

Spongy Sensations

When you use your brakes and press your foot on the pedal, the sensation should be smooth and controlled. If your pedal feels somewhat spongy when you press down on it, you could be in a dangerous situation. A spongy pedal is a sign that your brakes need repair. Contact your mechanic immediately.

Control Problems

You should be able to control the direction of your vehicle at all times. If it seems to pull in one direction while you are using your brakes, there’s a good possibility you have brake problems. They may need to be adjusted, or they may require more brake fluid. In either case, it’s imperative to have them checked as soon as possible.

If you notice any of these problems, promptly get your vehicle to a brake service shop. A brake inspection typically takes little time at all and is usually fairly cheap. For your safety and the safety of any passengers you might have in your vehicle, recognize these signs and schedule a brake service appointment.

For brake service, repairs and all of your other automotive maintenance needs in the Tyler TX area, contact the expert professionals at Hughes Automotive. Call (903) 730-6788 today!

Hughes Automotive | Brake Service Tyler TX | (903) 730-6788

Check Your Vehicle’s Fluids And Avoid A Trip To Your Car Mechanic

Car Mechanic Tyler TXYou rely on your car mechanic to take care of your vehicle when something goes wrong, but it’s important for you to know what’s going on under the hood so that you can avoid costly repairs and the headaches that come with not having a working car.  While you know that a flat tire or warning lights on your dashboard mean that something’s wrong, you may not know that deviations in the fluid levels in some of the important systems in your vehicle can signal, or be the cause of, trouble ahead.  Here’s what you need to know about checking your car’s fluids:

How To Check Your Engine Oil

Oil dipstick handles are usually yellow and are located on the side of the engine.  Wait until the car engine is cool to check the oil level.  Pull the dipstick out and wipe it with a clean rag or paper towel; then completely reinsert the dipstick and pull it out.  You’ll see the oil level between two lines near the tip of the stick.  If the level is below the bottom line, then you should add oil.  If it’s between the two lines, then your oil level is fine.  Make sure to check your oil regularly, especially if you drive a lot.

How To Check Your Transmission Fluid

If your car has a transmission oil dipstick, it will be toward the back of the engine, near the firewall.  Unlike engine oil, transmission fluid should be checked while the car is running.  Again, make sure the level is between the two lines on the dipstick.  If the level is low, you should take your car to your mechanic so that he can add fluid for you.

How To Check Your Brake Fluid

The brake fluid reservoir is usually a small, rectangular container on the driver’s side of the car.  Check this fluid with the car turned off.  Most of the time, these containers are plainly marked with minimum and maximum level lines on the outside.  If your container is not, you’ll have to open it and check inside.  It’s dangerous to let the brake fluid level get low; it could be an indication that you have a leak in your brake lines or that your brake pads are worn and need replacing.

How To Check Your Coolant

Your coolant is usually in a large, light-colored, plastic reservoir in one corner of the engine compartment with a hose running from it to the radiator.  These containers are clearly marked on the outside with fill lines.  This keeps you from opening the radiator cap, which can be extremely dangerous if your car is hot.  If your coolant is low, you probably have a leak that will need to be fixed by a mechanic.  If you have coolant available, open the reservoir top to add enough to get you to an automotive repair shop.

To avoid costly vehicle repairs, learn how to check fluid levels.  When you need the help of a professional car mechanic, call us at Hughes Automotive in Tyler, TX at (903) 730-6788.  You can also visit us online at www.hughesauto.biz to find out more about the complete line of car repair services we offer.

Hughes Automotive | Car Mechanic Tyler TX | (903) 730-6788

Take Your Vehicle to a Car Mechanic For Computerized Diagnostics

Car Mechanic Tyler TXWhen something goes wrong with your car and you take it to your mechanic to have it checked out, they’ll likely tell you your car will need to go “on the computer” to find out what’s wrong with it. Your vehicle, like every other light-duty car or truck built after 1996, is controlled by microprocessors that can find and log problems with it and then send the codes for those problems to your repair shop’s computer.  This makes it easier for a car mechanic to figure out what’s going on with your vehicle.

Early Engine Diagnostics

Since the introduction of General Motors’ “check engine” light in the early 1980s, cars in the United States have been equipped with systems that allow them to self-report problems. Back then, few cars had such systems and the ones that existed were very basic.  Mechanics used to refer to the “idiot lights” that lit up to indicate that something was wrong somewhere in the vehicle, without any specific information as to what or where the problem was.  Advances in computerized diagnostics came about largely because states, specifically California, began requiring some type of emissions testing and control for passenger and commercial vehicles.

The Latest Computerized Diagnostics

The newest versions of On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) are much more sophisticated and are better able to help pinpoint your car’s malfunction for repair technicians. The on-board computer in your vehicle scans the car’s systems for problems when you turn your ignition key and the “check engine” or “service engine soon” light blinks.  If the light stays off while you’re driving, then all of your systems are working correctly.  If the light stays on, then you should take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible so that a qualified technician can scan your vehicle for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC).

Your Car Mechanic Still Plays an Important Role

DTCs can’t tell a mechanic if a particular part is bad; they can only tell that the Powertrain Control Module, or PCM, detected something it wasn’t supposed to in a certain circuit. This is why OBD is just the starting point for the technician.  From there, they can perform additional tests that will say exactly what the problem is.

At Hughes Automotive in Tyler, TX, our technicians use their years of experience and extensive car knowledge, along with your vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostics, to make sure that your vehicle is properly diagnosed, repaired and back on the road.  Call us at (903) 730-6788 or visit us at www.hughesauto.biz to find out more about us and the complete line of auto repair services we provide.

Hughes Automotive |  Car Mechanic Tyler TX  | (903) 730-6788

What A Pre-Winter Brake Service Involves And Why You Need One

Brake Service Tyler TXWinter and vacation traveling are right around the corner; if you’re planning on traveling by car, you need a pre-winter brake service.  Though just about every system can benefit from a checkup before cold weather sets in, it’s crucial that your brakes be in good working order before you take your family out on the road this year.  Wet, icy, crowded roads are the perfect recipe for automobile accidents that can end your vacation before it begins.  When taking your car in for brake service, these are the parts of the system that will be checked:

Brake Pads and Shoes

Brake pads and shoes are the first things a brake technician will check because, of all the parts in the braking system, they wear out the fastest.  They contact brake rotors and drums every time the brakes are engaged and they work by clamping down on them.  This means that every time they’re used, they wear down a little more.  If your pads or shoes are worn down, your technician will replace them.

Rotors and Drums

Rotors and drums are attached to your car’s wheels and they spin with the wheels until you engage your brakes.  The pads or shoes squeeze down on the rotors or drums to stop your car; this action wears down the pads and shoes, which will eventually leave only the hard metal underneath to grab your rotors or drums.  This metal contacting the rotors and drums scratches grooves into them that not only makes your car emit a screeching sound when you step on your brakes, it also makes for less-efficient braking.  Your technician will either “turn” your rotors to remove scratches or replace them.

Calipers and Wheel Cylinders

Calipers fit over rotors and wheel cylinders fit over drums.  They are fitted with brake shoes or pads, which they bring into contact with the rotor or drum to stop your car.  Your technician will check your calipers and wheel cylinders to ensure that they function properly and he will replace them if necessary.

Master Cylinder

The master brake cylinder is the heart of your car’s braking system.  It is a hydraulic pump that pushes brake fluid through brake lines to calipers and wheel cylinders; this gives them the force needed to stop your car’s forward movement.  Your technician will check your master cylinder, the brake fluid reservoir located above it and all of the brake lines leading from the master cylinder to your brakes.  Replacing the master cylinder and/or replacing and “bleeding” the brake lines is an extensive repair but it can mean the difference between stopping and not stopping.

Wheel Bearings and Grease Seals

Wheel bearings don’t have a direct impact on stopping your car, but they do allow your car’s wheels to turn freely.  The grease seals protect the bearings from outside dirt and debris.  A good technician will check wheel bearings and seals to make sure they’re in good condition.

Parking Brake Cable

Though the parking brake isn’t something a lot of people routinely use, its condition should be checked by your repair technician to ensure that it will work when you need it to keep your car from rolling when it’s parked.

Don’t trust just anyone with your pre-winter brake service.  Call us at Hughes Automotive in Tyler, TX at (903) 730-6788 or visit us online at www.hughesauto.biz to schedule an appointment for a brake checkup as soon as possible.

Hughes Automotive |  Brake Service Tyler TX  | (903) 730-6788

Tips To Keep In Mind If You Want To Avoid An Engine Repair This Winter

Engine Repair Tyler TXWinter is on the way to East Texas and if you want to avoid an engine repair in Tyler, TX when frosty weather hits, you’ll have to take extra care of your vehicle.  Though heat is usually a bigger problem in Texas, hot weather doesn’t impact a car the way snow, ice and cold weather do.  If you keep these tips in mind, your car will keep chugging along through winter, spring and summer – without an engine repair.

Get A Pre-Season Checkup

It’s always a good idea to get your car checked out by a mechanic you trust before winter comes.  The checkup should include, but not be limited to:

  • A check of the hoses and belts
  • A check of the air intake and air filter
  • A check of all fluid levels, especially the antifreeze level
  • A check of the spark plugs and fuel injectors
  • A check of the battery

Change The Oil Regularly

Having your engine oil changed regularly is the most important thing you can do for your car all year round, not just in the winter.  Oil lubricates all the parts of your engine to prevent wear and tear on engine components and it keeps your engine from overheating.  In cold weather, engine oil turns more viscous, which means it won’t flow as easily and, if you add dirt to the oil, it will work even less efficiently.  Your mechanic can also change your engine oil to one that works better in cold weather, like 5W30.

Let The Engine Warm Up

When you start your car in the morning on a cold day, give the engine time to warm up before you race out of your driveway.  Unless you’re trying to defrost all of your windows before you drive your car, though, you don’t have to let it idle more than 30 seconds.

Store It Properly

If you’re not planning on driving your car this winter but you want it to work the way it’s supposed to in the spring, take these steps to make sure it will start when you turn the key:

  • Fill the fuel tank to reduce oxidation.
  • Add a fuel stabilizer.
  • Disconnect the wiring to the fuel pump.
  • Seal off exhaust pipes and air intakes to prevent pest infestation.

For a winter checkup or help with any type of automotive work, including engine repair in Tyler, TX, call us at Hughes Automotive at (903) 730-6788.  You can visit us online at www.hughesauto.biz to learn more about us and to read some of our customer reviews.

Hughes Automotive | Engine Repair Tyler TX | (903) 730-6788

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