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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

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

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

Your Brake Repair And Brake Maintenance Questions Answered

Brake Repair Tyler TXAt some point in the life of your automobile, you’re likely going to need a brake repair. Brakes wear out faster than almost any other part of a vehicle because they’re constantly in use. Sure, your engine, transmission and other parts are all engaged and working every time you use your car, but your brakes are responsible for stopping a ton or more of metal, glass and rubber every time you step on the brake pedal.  That kind of wear and tear takes a significant toll on brake parts. Since you know a brake repair is probably in your future, you may have some questions about maintaining brakes and brake repairs. Here are the answers to some of those questions:

What Causes Brake Noise?

When your brakes make a squealing sound, it’s usually caused by the brake pads vibrating, spring clips losing tension or a poor brake pad fit on the caliper.  If your brakes make a grinding noise when you use them, it’s likely caused by the metal backing of a brake pad making contact with the rotor because the brake pad material has worn away.

Why Do My Brakes Feel Spongy?

Spongy car brakes are brakes that don’t feel like they’re engaging unless you completely depress the brake pedal, which you shouldn’t have to do to at least partially engage your brakes. Sponginess can be caused by a number of things, including mechanical issues or problems with the hydraulic system. Problems with the hydraulic system can also cause your car to pull to one side when you apply the brakes.

How Often Should I Have My Brake Fluid Changed?

Healthy brake fluid is essential to an effective braking system, so it’s important that you have it checked periodically. Some manufacturers recommend changing brake fluid every two years. Your owner’s manual should give you a good timeline for having it changed and your mechanic can also check it when he checks all of your other fluid levels.

Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake When I Use The Brakes?

A shaking steering wheel is often a sign that your car’s rotors need to be examined to see if they are “out of round,” or warped.  Another common problem that can cause shaking in your steering wheel or brake pedal is a sticking caliper.

Why Do The Brakes On My New Car Squeal?

Most mechanics will tell you that brakes should never squeal or make any kind of alarming noise for any length of time. Short-term squealing can be caused by dampness on the brake parts, but squealing that goes on for more than a couple of hours can mean that your car’s manufacturer used cheap brake pads that have a high metallic content or that something has come loose in the wheel. Either way, you should have it checked out before any extensive damage can be done.

How Long Are Brake Pads And Rotors Supposed To Last?

You know that you’re likely going to need a brake repair at some point that will include replacing pads or turning rotors; how often that happens depends on your driving style and driving conditions. If you like to drive fast and slam on the brakes at the last minute, your brake parts won’t last as long. If you live in the city and your driving conditions are mostly stop-and-go, you’ll put more wear on your brakes, which means less time between repairs or replacement of parts.  There really is no set timeline for wearing out your brakes.

For brake repairs and check-ups, call Hughes Automotive in Tyler, TX, at (903) 730-6788 or visit www.hughesauto.biz.

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

To Avoid An Automotive Repair, Don’t Skip Basic Car Maintenance

Automotive Repair Tyler TXAt Hughes Automotive, we specialize in automotive repair and we know how important basic maintenance is when it comes to keeping your car on the road and keeping your car from bankrupting you with major repairs.  Basic maintenance that prevents bigger problems is relatively inexpensive and can be easily done by qualified technicians, like ours at Hughes Automotive.  Here are some of the regular, preventive maintenance tasks you must have done and why it’s important not to skip them:

Don’t Skip Scheduled Service

If your car is new and under warranty, you’ll need to stick with the manufacturer’s schedule for maintenance services.  Not only will this keep you car covered by the warranty, it will also ensure that your car stays on the road for as long as possible.  Scheduled maintenance usually involves (at least) changing the oil, rotating the tires, checking the spark plugs, plug wires and timing belt and checking all fluid levels.  As the mileage on your car goes up, you may find that scheduled maintenance includes more extensive service; but you should continue to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s schedule to save yourself from having to deal with even bigger headaches and expenses when systems completely break down.

Have Your Air Filter Replaced

When you take your car to your mechanic for a checkup, make sure he or she checks your air filter. Clogged air filters can result in reduced fuel economy, a misfiring engine and reduced horsepower.

Get Regular Oil Changes

If your car isn’t new and under warranty, ask your mechanic about the right oil change intervals for your car.  Whether it’s every 3,000 miles or every 10,000 miles, make sure that you change your car’s oil on time even if it seems to be running perfectly.  Over time, engine oil can lose its viscosity and stop lubricating moving parts, which can ultimately result in an engine that simply stops working.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Have your mechanic check your tire pressure as often as possible.  It’s also a good idea to invest in an inexpensive tire gauge so that you can check your tire pressure yourself, including the spare, to make sure your tires aren’t over- or under-inflated.  Properly-inflated tires improve fuel efficiency and cut down on tire wear and tear.

Wash Your Car

It’s a good idea not to neglect the outside of your vehicle.  Washing it regularly – which is something you can do yourself – is a great way to maintain its new-car finish.  Dirt, chemicals and bird droppings can strip away wax and, eventually, paint, leaving your car vulnerable to moisture.  Moisture will eventually lead to rust that will spread, weaken your car’s body and expose vital parts that could become damaged.

If it’s time for basic maintenance for your car, call us at Hughes Automotive Repair in Tyler, TX at (903) 730-6788 to make an appointment for service.  You can also visit www.hughesauto.biz to find out more about our other vehicle services.

Automotive Repair Tyler TX
Auto Repair Tyler Tx
2100 E 5TH ST
Tyler, Texas 75701
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

Transmission Fluid 101: Car Repair Tips to Maintain your Transmission

Car Repair Tyler TXMaintaining your car, truck, or SUV can be complicated and time-consuming, but professional help is available if you need car repair in Tyler TX. Although you most likely understand why and when you need to change your oil and rotate your tires, understanding the importance of your transmission fluid is also necessary.

Transmission Fluid 101

Thousands of parts make up your car and each of these parts plays a special role in its operation. However, the transmission is one of the most important elements in your car, since it is responsible for powering the engine to allow the wheels to move.

If you have a manual transmission, you will need to push the clutch pedal to disconnect the engine from the transmission before shifting gears to move the car. In a car with an automatic transmission, gears are shifted automatically since the system utilizes a sensing system.

Each type of transmission requires transmission fluid, which acts as a lubricant for the gears. Over time, the temperature of the fluid will heat up, discoloring and eventually disintegrating. Without a sufficient and healthy amount of fluid, your car’s transmission will not be able to shift in a safe, effective, and smooth manner.

If you notice the following problems, you most likely need to check your transmission fluid:

  • Rough shifting
  • Clicking, grinding or popping sounds when shifting
  • Slipping transmission

Checking your Transmission Fluid

To inspect the volume and quality of your transmission fluid, read your owner’s manual to first determine if the car should be running or not while checking the fluid. Each make and model of car will have different requirements.

Open the hood of your car, making sure the hood is propped up and secure. Locate the transmission fluid’s reservoir, which has a different location in each make and model of car. Use your owner’s manual, if necessary.

Carefully remove the dipstick from the reservoir. The fluid should be visible up the entire length of the dipstick. Use a clean cloth to wipe the fluid off the dipstick. This will allow you to check the color. The fluid should be clear enough to see through it. If it appears dark and brown, you need to flush out the reservoir and replace it with new transmission fluid.

Replacing Transmission Fluid

While some car manufacturers recommend replacing transmission fluid every 30,000 miles, other manufacturers believe it is not necessary until you hit the 100,000-mile mark. It is best to consult a car repair technician if you are unsure about when to replace your vehicle’s fluid.

If you need to inspect or replace your transmission fluid in the Tyler, TX area, contact the car repair technicians from Hughes Automotive at (903) 730-6788.

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

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