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Understanding Batteries: An Important Part of Car Maintenance

Car Maintenance Tyler TXCar maintenance is required to protect your vehicle’s function, appeal and value. While you may understand the importance of oil changes and tire rotations, other areas of your vehicle deserve maintenance at certain times. Considering your battery is a crucial part of your vehicle’s power and operation, learning the signs that a replacement is necessary should be a priority. Here are a few tips to learn more about when to replace your battery and how to choose the best battery for your vehicle.

Testing 1, 2, 3

Your car may start and stop, running properly over time. However, your battery may still be in distress even when your car is running. Knowing if the battery has sufficient power will reduce the risk of your car unexpectedly breaking down.

Consider having your battery tested each year. A licensed mechanic is capable of testing the battery load using professional equipment. If your battery is new, you should not need to test it until it reaches 2 years of age. If you live in a colder climate, make sure to start testing annually after your battery reaches four years of age.

Time for Replacement?

If your engine is slow to crank, your check engine light is coming in periodically, or there is fluid or corrosion on your battery terminals, it is time for a replacement.

Also, if your mechanic tests the battery and determines it has a low load, consider replacing the battery no matter how old it is.

Battery Types

Make sure to check your owner’s manual to determine what battery is right for the make and model of your car. You want to make sure the battery load is strong enough to power your vehicle, but also the right size to fit easily with your existing battery terminals and space.

You should also choose a battery that works with your climate. Higher temperatures place more stress on batteries. If you live in a warm, hot, and humid climate, your batteries will be at risk of corrosion, so you will need to choose a high-quality battery that is ideal for these higher temperatures.

Compare battery warranties, as well, since this will help you save money on your car maintenance. Warranties are measured in two figures, which you can find on the label. The first figure refers to the free replacement period and the second figure refers to the partial replacement period. For example, 24/84 represents a free replacement for 24 months and a prorated warranty for a partial replacement for 84 months.

For a new battery, battery testing, or any part of car maintenance in the Tyler, TX area, contact Hughes Automotive at (903) 730-6788.

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

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

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

How To Know When It’s Time To Get your Car A Brake Repair

Brake Repair Tyler TXThink that the only time you need to worry about a brake repair is when your car won’t stop?  Actually, that’s a little too late because a car that won’t stop is a deadly weapon and the end result of weeks or months of neglect of brake problem symptoms.  In most cases, your car will send some pretty clear signals that your brake system is in need of repair – signals you shouldn’t ignore.

◾ Strange Noises

An unusual, high-pitched shrieking sound when you step on the brake pedal is usually the first warning sign of a potential brake problem.  Automobile brake pads are equipped with small, metal shims called indicators.  These indicators give you an audible warning when your brake pads are worn down enough to need replacing.  Occasionally, when you car has been exposed to water, a thin layer of rust can develop on the brake disc that can cause the brakes to squeal when they’re applied; but this rust layer wears off quickly.  So a high-pitched squeal or shriek that is constant is a good reason to see a mechanic sooner rather than later.

◾ Fading

If your brakes aren’t as responsive as they should be or the pedal goes farther to the floor than usual when you step on it, you may have a leak or air in the lines that carry fluid from the brake fluid reservoir to the brakes.  If your brakes are fading and you notice a small puddle of dark fluid under your car, take your car in for a brake repair as quickly as possible.

◾ Pulling

When you apply the brakes and your vehicle pulls to one side, it may be a sign that your brake linings are wearing unevenly or that there is some type of debris in your brake fluid.  Though this isn’t necessarily a dangerous situation, you should still see a mechanic for a brake adjustment or to have the fluid drained and replaced.

◾ Grinding

A continuous grinding sound with or without applying your brakes is a good indication that your brake pads are completely worn down and you’re grinding the metal disc against the metal caliper.  This grinding can score your disc, creating an uneven surface which can result in your disc needing to be “turned” (or evened out) or even replaced.

◾ Vibration

When your discs, or rotors, are warped, you might feel a vibration when you step on the brake pedal.  You might mistake this vibration for the normal feeling you get when you have to make an emergency stop and the anti-lock brakes engage; but if the vibration occurs during braking situations when the anti-lock brakes aren’t engaged, then it’s likely the result of a warped rotor.  See a mechanic to replace a warped or turned rotor.

For the best brake repair in Tyler, TX, call us at Hughes Automotive at (903) 730-6788 or visit us online at www.hughesauto.biz.

Brake Repair Tyler TX
Auto Repair Tyler Tx
2100 E 5TH ST
Tyler, Texas 75701
903-730-6788

Photo Credit:  ©Depositphotos.com/ simazoran

Automotive Repair Tyler TX: The Secret To Great Car Maintenance

Automotive Repair Tyler TXWhen you need an automotive repair Tyler TX, you can be sure that at Hughes Automotive, we’ll keep your car on the road with great maintenance and expert repairs.  But the real secret to making your car outlast the payments is you.  No matter how hard we work to keep your car running, you are the first line of defense because you’re the one who knows which noises are normal and which ones are strange or whether or not that puddle under your car is new.  You’re also the one who has to decide that it’s time a trained mechanic figures out why your car is pulling to the left or why the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor before the car stops.

Auto Repair Tyler TX:  Get Regular Maintenance

When there’s nothing wrong with your car and it seems to be running the way it did when you first bought it is when sticking to a regular maintenance schedule is really important.  When you bring your car to Hughes Automotive, we’ll make sure that it gets everything it needs – lubrication, oil, and fluids – that the manufacturer recommends at the right intervals.  And we can check for problems in the making with a bumper-to-bumper inspection that can spot items that can wear out like timing belts, hoses, brake pads and tires.  Dirty fuel injectors, loose steering, batteries that are losing power and more can lead to breakdowns that can leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Automotive Repair Tyler TX:  Stop Problems Before They Start

Between scheduled maintenance appointments, you can be extra vigilant by performing a few simple checks that will help to extend the life of your vehicle:

✓ Check your engine oil.  Remember that no matter how clean it looks, you shouldn’t skip bringing it into us for an oil change at least every 4,000 miles.  If it’s low, you can add oil yourself or bring it to us.

✓ Do a visual inspection of your car’s fluid levels.  Check your owner’s manual to find out how to  inspect your brake fluid, power steering fluid, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid levels.

✓ Check your tire pressure once a month.  The owner’s manual will tell you what the ideal pressure should be.

✓ Have someone help you check your lights, front and back.  Make sure brake lights, headlights, and turn signals are all working.

✓ Inspect your windshield wipers to see if they are cracked or splitting.  You can easily replace these yourself.

The secret to a car that keeps on running years after newer cars have gone to the junkyard?  Great owner care, regular maintenance and great automotive repair Tyler TX from Hughes Automotive. When it’s time to schedule service, call us at (903) 730-6788.  In the meantime, visit us at www.hughesauto.biz to learn more about our shop and the automotive services we offer.

Automotive Repair Tyler TX
Auto Repair Tyler Tx
2100 E 5TH ST
Tyler, Texas 75701
903-730-6788

Photo Credit:  ©Depositphotos.com/ Goodluz

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