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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

4 Simple Car Maintenance Tips that Will Extend your Vehicle’s Life

Car Maintenance Tyler TXYour vehicle is an investment that requires ongoing support and car maintenance to ensure it is in proper working condition. Even though you drive your car each day, you may not realize it is in distress and needs a repair or service. Without proper maintenance, you are decreasing the lifespan of your vehicle. Here are a few simple tips to ensure your car is a reliable mode of transportation for many years to come.

Get On a Schedule

Each vehicle manufacturer has its own recommendations to follow with maintenance and service. To ensure your vehicle aligns with the manufacturer’s recommendations for warranty purposes, make sure to follow their service schedule.

Since they made your car, they know what is best for its operation. Follow their suggestions for when to change the oil, rotate tires, tune up spark plugs, and other tasks in car maintenance.

Check Levels Yourself

Even if you bring your vehicle in for routine, scheduled maintenance, you should check your fluid levels and tire pressure regularly.

Pull out the dipstick and check the oil every once in a while. Also, check the reservoirs for your radiator and brake fluid. Dirty oil and fluids or insufficient amounts of oil and fluid can damage your engine and reduce the function of your car’s braking system.

You should also check the tread and air pressure in your tires. Repair or replace tires with worn tread and low air pressure. If you have low mileage on these tires, insufficient tread or air pressure issues may stem from an alignment issue that should need immediate attention.

Drive Safe

Aggressive driving can wreak havoc on your brakes, engine, and tires. Avoid hard accelerating, fast and frequent braking, and chronic gear shifting to prolong the lifespan of your car.

You should also follow all traffic laws to reduce the risk of an accident. Do not speed or drive too close to other vehicles. Also, make sure to stop completely at stop signs and stoplights to avoid accidents.

Even a minor fender bender that you believe is cosmetic can cause underlying damage to the car’s engine. Drive safe and calm to protect your vehicle.

Listen to your Car

Last but not least, make sure to listen to your vehicle. Most cars will send out distress calls, but you may not be aware that these sounds are often signals for help.

Listen to your vehicle while it is idling and in motion. Make sure to turn the radio off so you can focus on your vehicle’s sound.

Knocking and clicking sounds may be a symptom of a transmission or alignment problem. A squealing or grinding noise when braking could mean you need new brakes and rotors.

Take steps to protect the function of your car. To learn more tips on car maintenance, contact Hughes Automotive in the Tyler, TX area at (903) 730-6788.

Hughes Automotive | Car Maintenance Tyler TXhttp://hughesauto.biz/

How often should you get your car serviced for proper auto maintenance?

Auto Maintenance Tyler TXWhenever you purchase a new or used vehicle, you typically get a copy of the owner’s manual provided by the manufacturer. This manual gives you some guidelines on how often you should have your vehicle serviced. Generally speaking, all cars should see an auto maintenance specialist once a year or every twelve thousand miles. By having your vehicle serviced regularly, you can save money on potential repair work and prolong the life of your car or truck. A vehicle that doesn’t receive regular maintenance may be at risk of experiencing mechanical failures that could lead to an increase in fuel costs or severe driving problems.

The benefits of regular auto maintenance servicing include:

  • Considerably decreases the potential of mechanical failures and repair work
  • Identifies signs of potential vehicle damage
  • Creates comfort in knowing that your vehicle is safe
  • Can significantly increase fuel economy
  • Reduces your vehicle operating costs
  • Decreases vehicle emissions
  • Prolongs the life of your car
  • Helps protect the value of your vehicle

Look for the following warning signs that your vehicle needs servicing right away:

  • Grinding or squealing noises when you stop your vehicle. This noise may be a sign that your brakes are worn and need repair as soon as possible.
  • Oil marks under your car. Leaking oil can lead to significant problems with your vehicle. Proper lubrication is key to its performance. Have your vehicle checked for an oil leak.
  • Green fluid coming from the engine. Your radiator needs coolant to keep it running at the right temperature. If the coolant is leaking, you could end up with an overheated engine. Have it checked right away.
  • Slow starts. Your battery may be losing its power. Have it checked.
  • Excessive vibration while you are driving. Excessive vibration could be a sign that your tires need an alignment.

If your vehicle is experiencing any of these problems, schedule an auto maintenance appointment as soon as possible.

Today’s vehicles are more complex than the cars and trucks of yesteryear. Maintaining the technological features found in your vehicles requires the proper expertise, experience, tools, and equipment. The average vehicle owner does not have what it takes to maintain a car or truck properly. Using a DIY approach to service your vehicle could lead to unsafe conditions, major mechanical problems, expensive repair bills and potential risk of accidents.

If you’re in need of auto maintenance servicing, contact the automotive experts in Tyler TX. Call Hughes Automotive at (903) 730-6788 today!

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

Car Maintenance Tips: Understanding and Inspecting the Air Filter

Car Maintenance Tyler TXOwning and operating a car can be difficult at times. When it comes to car maintenance, you may find that you are physically, emotionally and financially overwhelmed. Oil changes, tire rotations and even interior detailing are important to keep your car functional and appealing. However, focusing on the air filter is also important. Using this guide, you will have a full understanding of the air filter and when and why it is time for a replacement.

The 411 on Air Filters

In order for your car to run, internal combustion must occur. During this process, gas combines with air, then burns and creates the force that powers the engine.

If the air that combines with the gas is dirty, dirt, dust and other debris will get into the engine causing severe problems, such as worn cylinders, bearings and piston rings. This can result in a complete engine failure.

To protect your engine, an air filter traps and filters out dirt and dust before it can enter the engine. Over time, the filter will become clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, so periodic inspections and replacements are imperative.

Inspections

Each vehicle manufacturer recommends a specific mileage interval or time to replace the air filter. You can find this information in your owner’s manual, or ask a mechanic who works on your specific make and model of vehicle. This simple task is a key part of vehicle maintenance.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing air filters every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, but if your filter is visibly dirty, you should invest in a replacement sooner.

In most cars, the air filter is located in a rectangular-shaped box near the front of the vehicle when you open the hood. If you are unable to locate the filter, consult your owner’s manual.

Pop off the top of the box, known as the cold air collector box, and set the cover aside. Gently reach your hands into the box and pull out the filter.

If the filter appears visibly discolored with dirt and dust, replace it immediately. If the filter is only slightly discolored, hold it up towards the sun to shine light through. If you are unable to see light coming through the filter, it is time for a replacement.

Replacing your air filter may seem unimportant, but it is an imperative part of protecting your car’s function and value. To learn more about car maintenance in the Tyler, TX, area, contact Hughes Automotive today at (903) 730-6788.

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

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

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

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

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