Multi-Point Inspection

Do You Need a Multi-Point Inspection?

Your car needs to be pampered, and there’s no way around spending a little money to keep it in good mechanical shape. One of the many things we offer our customers here at Cloverdale Auto is a multi-point inspection.

Checking numerous components in your vehicle to ensure they’re in top condition is imperative for the longevity of your car. Do you need an MPI? No, it’s not essential for the operation of your automobile, but these inspections help you stay on top of maintenance issues.

Understanding the Multi-Point Inspection

As a vehicle gets more miles on it, it’s only natural that parts wear and need to be replaced. You often don’t know something is wrong until it breaks. A multi-point inspection can keep you from paying tow bills and ensure you stay in the fast lane. Here are a few things we check in these inspections.

1. Filters

You have several filters in your car, and each one of the filters in your vehicle is essential. The oil filter is responsible for catching gasoline debris before entering your engine. If you ever get bad gas, you will know the importance of this filter, as it helps to protect your fuel pump.

The air filter catches any pollutants in the air before it enters your engine. This filter helps your engine to run better. Additionally, many people don’t realize that there’s a filter in their transmission, and inspection is vital. Changing out a clogged transmission or fuel filter can keep you from costly repairs down the road.

Lastly, a cabin filter helps keep the air inside your vehicle fresh. All these filters need to be replaced periodically.

2. Battery and Alternator Health

Your battery health is critical to the overall function of your vehicle. While they usually start acting up in the cold weather, we can quickly identify an issue by testing it. We will also test your alternator that works closely with the battery to keep things charged.

3. Exhaust

Most people notice exhaust issues when encountering a foul smell or a loud noise. We inspect the exhaust to ensure there’s no rust or other issues that will soon become a maintenance problem.

4. Belts and Hoses

There are numerous belts and hoses throughout the vehicle. The most common belts like the serpentine, drive, and timing belts all tend to break when driving down the road. While they might squeal before they snap, they don’t always give you such a courtesy.

Additionally, there are many hoses connecting your vehicle’s many components. We ensure there are no leaks that need attention.

5. Oil

How long has it been since your last oil change? Is the oil the right color without any milky residue in the cylinders? Your oil is the lifeline for your vehicle, and you want to ensure this vital fluid isn’t contaminated in any way.

7. Fluid Levels

We check the following fluids, windshield wiper, coolant, brake, power steering, and transmission. Keeping your fluids at the proper level is imperative for the safe operation of your vehicle.

8. Transmission Health

Once we’ve identified that your transmission filter is good and your fluid is a pinkish-red color and doesn’t smell burnt, we ensure that it’s shifting correctly. Transmissions are expensive to replace, so preventative maintenance matters most.

9. Engine Health

Is the engine running correctly? Are any burning smells coming from this vital component during the run time? Are there any leaks on the manifold from worn seals or cracks? Does it engage properly when you press the gas pedal? These are all things we look for to ensure engine health.

10. Gaskets and Seals

Gaskets and seals are made of rubber, and your seals may break down over time. One of the most common seals to fail is the valve gasket cover. This is the piece that keeps the spark plug cylinders dry.

When this piece fails, the oil will leak down onto the manifold, causing a horrible burning smell. A quick inspection of the gaskets and seals helps protect your vital fluids.

11. Brakes

Do your brakes engage with the right timing? Are the rotors in good health, or are they warped? How much is left on the brake pads? You need good brakes to drive in the Winston Salem area, so we want to ensure your brakes are in top shape.

12. Tie Rods, Ball Joints, Sway Bar End Links, and Struts

Your suspension system will help you get safely down life’s highways. Did you know that driving with a broken tie rod or ball joint can cause your vehicle to be uncontrollable? Your suspension system is not something you want to mess with, so we want to ensure everything is in working order.

Final Thoughts on the Multi-Point Inspection

Once the technician completes all the multi-point inspection sheet parts, they will give you a summary. Items that need prompt attention need to be fixed immediately. These items will likely cause a mechanical breakdown if not handled in a prompt manner.

There are other things that technicians will notate that will likely need to be addressed soon. These are things that aren’t critical, but they’re becoming worn. You might see comments like this about brake pads or tire tread. Some people don’t have these multi-point inspections, but others feel that an MPI is vital to stay on top of their automobile maintenance.

Whether you’re buying a used car, want to maintain yours, or need to ensure the health of a loved one’s automobile, we can help you. Call us today at 336-331-3448 to schedule your next multi-point inspection or service.

vehicle won't start

8 Common Reasons a Vehicle Won’t Start

Help! My Vehicle Won’t Start

One of the most common and frustrating things you can experience as a driver is that your vehicle won’t start. You’re already late, and you have 100 places you need to be, but you’re stranded. So, is there anything you can do that will prevent the need of an Uber to get you to your destination?

Common Reasons a Vehicle Won’t Start

There are numerous reasons why your vehicle won’t start, and it could be any one of them. Here are the most common issues we handle at Cloverdale Auto that keep your vehicle from turning over.

1. Battery Cables are Lose or Corroded

The battery provides the electricity needed for the automobile to turn over. It sends the charges that ignite the spark plugs and allows the engine to fire. Over time, your cables can become corroded with rust, and a simple cleaning may be all it needs to restore the connection.

Another issue is that battery cables can loosen from bumpy roads and time. It’s possible that your connection isn’t tight, and the engine is not getting the spark it needs to turn over. These are both simple fixes and one of the first places you should check if the vehicle won’t start.

Before cleaning the battery terminals, unhook them from the power supply. Since this is an electrical component, use extreme caution.

2. The Battery is Bad

Batteries last about 3-5 years on average, and you can almost always tell when one’s going bad as it starts to act up during the cooler months. When the temperatures change, a bad battery will fail to charge on those cold mornings. Another hallmark sign of a bad battery is you will hear a clicking noise when you try to start the car.

It’s got some power, but it’s not enough, and your vehicle won’t start. Replacing a battery is easy for some, and others need professional assistance. The worst thing you can do is keep charging it and hoping it will hold the charge, as eventually you will become stranded.

3. Alternator

Your battery may be fine, but your alternator could be prohibiting it from staying charged. These two components work together to keep your car running. The alternator will last anywhere from 40,000-100,000 miles. A sign that it’s your alternator causing the problems is when the lights dim and brighten while operating the vehicle.

If you have a strong battery and a weak alternator, you will get about 60 miles max before the entire vehicle dies. This should allow you to get it to our station for help. In most cases, your alternator warning light will appear on the dash.

4. Broken Timing Belt

Timing belts last around 60,000-100,000 miles. This is one belt that people almost always wait till it breaks to fix. It’s costly because it’s very challenging to access this belt, and many things need to be moved. It’s always better to do this service as a preventative measure rather than a mechanical breakdown.

There usually is no indication that the belt is worn other than a visual examination, but some will squeak a bit before they snap. When they break, they can cause additional damage to your engine. It’s costly to replace this belt because of how challenging it is to access it.

This repair could cost you anywhere from $500-$2,000 depending on the vehicle and what else it messes up when it blows.

5. Dead Key Fob Battery

The new cars start with key fobs, which adds a whole other element of issues. Since the fob is required for the vehicle to start, it can be something as simple as a low battery. Simply replace the battery in the key fob if the vehicle won’t start, and many times it will turn right over.

6. Clogged Fuel Filter

Just like your air filter, your fuel tank has a filter too. If this filter becomes clogged, it won’t allow fuel to pass from the tank to the spark plugs, which might be the cause of why your vehicle won’t start. The whole process is stopped because of a lack of fuel. In most instances, when you replace the fuel filter, you must replace the fuel pump, too, as it can cause them to blow. Fuel pumps are another expensive service item that we regularly handle.

7. Bad Spark Plug

Your vehicle has anywhere from 4 – 8 spark plugs, depending on the size of your engine. If just one of these plugs fouls out, it can keep your car from starting. It may try to turn over, but it won’t fire. This is a simple fix, if there’s nothing leaking into the cylinders, caused by something like a worn valve gasket cover.

8. The Starter

Lastly, the starter can wear down after time. The lifetime expectancy of this part is anywhere from 30,000-50,000 miles, but some will get even more. The starter will be making a clicking noise much like a bad battery, so it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference. A bad battery will usually allow you to jump-start it, but a bad starter won’t jump, this may be the cause of why your vehicle won’t start.

Take Away on Vehicles Not Starting

It’s often hard to tell what issue your car is having if there’s no clear indication, like the clicking noise of a weak battery. Thankfully, we can help! Call us at 336-331-3448 for all your automotive needs or more information why your vehicle won’t start.

driving tips

9 Defensive Driving Tips For Summer

9 Defensive Driving Tips For Summer

The summer vacation season kicks off on Memorial Day weekend. Plenty of people will flood the streets in North Carolina going to and from the beaches and mountains. With the influx of traffic in this state, you want to be careful and use defensive driving. People don’t always follow the road rules, so you need to be extra cautious to protect your family.

Defensive Driving Tips

In football, you have defensive and offensive players. The best offense is a strong defense, and this works on the roadways too. Some folks don’t go the speed limit, don’t use turn signals, do improper lane changes, and run red lights.

Since these drivers are so irresponsible, you must be on guard. Defensive driving means that you’re ready for any dangerous situations that might come up. You’re always watching for the mistakes of others that could cause you to have an accident. Here are a few defensive driving tips you need to utilize.

Driving Tip 1. Keep Your Distance

Keep two car lengths distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Some say to keep 2-3 seconds between you two, but you can measure it out to at least two car lengths. Should the vehicle in front of you put on its brakes and you rear end them, you will likely be cited for unassured clear distance. Ensure there’s enough space keeps you out of harm’s way.

Driving Tip 2. Slow Down During Rain

Rain can be just as dangerous to drive in as snow and ice. People think they can still go at the same speed when the roads are wet, but it’s not wise. You should reduce about five mph during the rain, ensure your wipers are going, and headlights are on.

Driving Tip 3. Avoid Other’s Blind Spots

Each vehicle has a blind spot. If you get into these sections on the roadways, you increase your chances of getting hit. Become familiar with these blind spots on common vehicles, and make sure you stay out of these areas for your safety.

Driving Tip 4. Be Careful in Intersections

One fallacy people have is that a yellow light means to speed up. A yellow light is a warning to clear the intersection as the light is about to change. Many accidents happen when people try to hurry through the light to keep from waiting, so you must watch out for other drivers.

Another traffic light issue comes when the light turns green. Just because you have a green light doesn’t mean you can go. You must ensure the intersection is clear and no one is still trying to pass through. This often happens when people try to make a left-hand turn across traffic, and they would rather take it on a yellow or red. You can get into a major accident if you don’t look before you leap.

Driving Tip 5. Stay Focused and Alert

While it’s tempting to push yourself to go the extra mile, or you want to drive even though you’ve had little rest, it’s not a good idea. It would help if you were focused and alert while on the highways, so don’t drive when you’re sleepy.

Additionally, it’s not safe to eat, text, talk on the phone, or do other activities that can distract you from what’s going on around you. North Carolina has laws regarding cell phones. First, it’s illegal for anyone to text and drive. Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. A hands-free device is always best to keep your attention on the road.

Driving Tip 6. Properly Maintain Your Automobile

Did you know that many roadway accidents here in Winston Salem happen because of mechanical issues? If a car breaks down in the middle of the road, it causes other drivers to slam on their breaks to prevent hitting it. It’s not always possible to move a car to the berm for safety, which creates a big problem.

Part of driving defensively means having your automobile in top shape. Here at Cloverdale Auto Service, we ensure our customers get the highest quality of service to be safe on the roadways.

Driving Tip 7. Avoid Excessive Lane Changes

You need to make lane changes, especially when passing a tractor-trailer. However, excessive lane changes can cause an accident. You must never pass on the right, even if the left lane is blocked and moving slowly.

Driving Tip 8. Avoid Road Rage

You’re frustrated because you’re running late, your passengers are restless, and you just want to get to your destination. However, you should never take it out on the person who just cut you off on the freeway. Road rage is a dangerous game, and it can cost you heavily.

Just three months ago in the Lumberton area, a man shot a woman traveling from Pennsylvania because they engaged in road rage. People don’t always play nice on the roadways, so you must be careful and avoid such interactions.

Driving Tip 9. Always Assume the Worst About Other Drivers

One of the biggest problems on the roadways is assuming. You assume that the intersection will be cleared, the car beside you will stay in their lane, and everyone will drive safe. However, the worst thing you can do is expect everyone to do what they should, as this sets you up for trouble. When you assume anything, you let your guards down, which can cause an accident.

Final Thoughts on Defensive Driving

Keep your eyes on the road and put your phone in your pocket. Make sure your car is ready for the roads this summer by having an inspection and tune-up. Our highly skilled technicians give consistent automotive services to our valued customers so that you can be safe on the roadways.

blown head gasket

What Does It Mean When My Vehicle’s Blown a Head Gasket?

What Does It Mean When My Vehicle’s Blown a Head Gasket?

The average head gasket has a life expectancy of 200,000 miles, but they can blow on a new vehicle if there’s an engine issue. Once you receive the diagnostics of a “blown head gasket,” you might think the automobile isn’t worth repairing.

Clover Dale Auto Service gets a lot of calls from frantic customers about their car overheating, and the head gasket is one of the first things we consider. It’s an expensive repair. However, going through the diagnostic process is important, as some things can mimic this but be much simpler to repair. A compression test will usually be the key indicator as well as some visual signs.

Understanding the Function of the Head Gasket?

Your engine is an intricate machine, and two vital components are the block and cylinder heads. The gasket is a small seal that fits between the two, and it has a dual-fold purpose.

It’s located in the combustion chamber area, and it helps the engine maintain the combustion process so that it can run effectively. Your engine gets upwards of 105 degrees inside, while running at full capacity. Many fluids flow from the head to the block, which helps to lubricate, cool, and keep things running efficiently.

Your fuel, oil, and the coolant must stay in their chambers. If any of these substances mix, it will cause engine failure. Since everything is in very close quarters, seals are essential.

Why Does This Repair Cost So Much?

The gasket is made of high-performance materials to manage the temperatures and withstand the heat. Today, you can find them made of steel, copper, or composite materials.

One big question that everyone asks is why is it so expensive when a simple gasket blows? There are numerous gaskets on your automobile, and they are not costly to buy. How is this one so much different from others?

The problem with a blown head gasket is the labor involved in fixing it. Sure, the gasket itself isn’t overly expensive, but you must have the entire engine pulled to replace this damaged part. Additionally, our car diagnostic team may find other damage due to this faulty gasket.

Your engine block may crack under the intense heat, as the coolant can’t keep temperatures in the manageable range. The oil needs to be drained and refilled, spark plugs changed, pistons checked, and it’s a vast process to fix all the damage.

Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket

Your car may still run if you have a gasket leaking, but there will be some obvious signs. Here are some red flags that indicate your head gasket has failed.

1. Exhaust Leak

First, you might see coolant leaking from your exhaust. This means that your head gasket has failed on the outer portion, allowing water to leak beyond the engine.

2. White Smoke

The water can come inside your vehicle rather than flowing to the outside. If you see white smoke from the exhaust pipe, it’s telling you that coolant is passing into the combustion chamber’s hot area.

The steam sent out the tailpipe is glycol that’s been burned. It’s not uncommon for the engine to run relatively normally with this occurring, but when the coolant is gone, it will overheat.

3. Missing Coolant

Coolant has a sweet smell, and it’s hard to miss a leak. You may be losing coolant from your vehicle, but you have no idea where it’s going. If your gasket is just starting to fail, the fluid can make its way into the combustion chamber and burn off before hitting the ground.

So, you won’t see any coolant lying on the ground. Your sense of smell here is what’s key to identifying a problem. Checking your fluids often can indicate a problem before sitting along one of the NC highways.

4. Overheating

Your car will overheat when the coolant has leaked out or burnt away. Always pay attention to your thermostat gauge on the dash, and never drive a vehicle in the red zone, as you can do permanent damage.

5. Bubbles in the Radiator

If the gasket has failed, air can make its way into the cooling system, creating bubbles in your radiator or overflow. This is a severe issue as this air can develop pockets that prohibit the coolant from getting to the engine.

6. Milky, White Oil

You should be checking your oil frequently. If you ever see oil that’s not brown or black but more of a white, milky color, it’s cause for alarm. The coolant is mixing with your oil and causing it to be compromised. This mix indicates a leak that’s affecting the water/oil passages.

7. Poor Running Engine

The number one sign of a blown head gasket is when your engine is spitting and sputtering and won’t run right. It’s a sign that the gasket has wholly failed. The machine is struggling to keep the fuel burning cycle going because there’s not enough compression coming from the combustion chamber. It will have little to no power and idle very rough.

Final Thoughts on Blown Head Gaskets

If your car starts running hot at any time, pull it over and don’t drive. You may be able to prevent your head gasket from blowing, but preventative maintenance is the key. Also, make sure you keep your coolant full and check your oil levels frequently. If you see that you’re using more coolant than usual, it needs to be investigated.

At Clover Dale Auto Service, we know how important your vehicle is to your family. Our goal is to get your automobile fixed and back on the roads. Call us at the first sign of trouble so you’re not stranded on the Winston-Salem roadways in the scorching heat.

gas

5 Money Saving Gas Tips You Need To Know

5 Tips to Save Money on Gas

If you’re like most people, the warmer weather gives you the fever to hit the open roads for a vacation. While gas prices tend to be a little higher than usual, there are things you can do to save on the highways so you can make that family trip possible. Of course, the most cost-effective measure is buying a hybrid automobile that considerably saves on gas consumption, or even an electric vehicle is excellent. However, most people can’t afford to buy a new car just because the gas prices increase.

Gas Saving Tips

Have no fear, as we have some proven ways for you to save on your gas consumption. Some of them might seem a little silly, but every penny counts when you’re paying around $4 per gallon, which is currently the national average. These tips can help you cut out frivolous spending that you might even realize you were doing.

1. Keep Your Tires Inflated Properly

If you have one of the newer cars, you’re all too familiar with the mandatory tire pressure monitoring system. This system will let you know when your tire inflation levels drop below 25 percent when cold. However, if you’re tire drops below the 20 percent mark, it won’t always alert you if the tire is warm. Sadly, this can cause you greater fuel consumption.

There are very few reasons to have lower tire pressure, and it should be reserved for things like sandy beaches and icy roads. If you keep your tire pressure too low, it can cause a blowout, as well as premature tire wear. However, you’re also going to use more gas when your tires aren’t properly inflated.

According to the US Department of Energy, you will lose one percent of your gas mileage for every psi that your tires are low. If you run your tires at the manufacturer’s recommended psi, you can improve your gas mileage by over three percent.

2. Follow the Speed Limit

No one wants to follow the speed limit precisely, as going five over is considered the average amount you can go without getting a citation. However, the speed limits were set to 55 mph all those years ago because of a significant oil crisis that occurred in the 1970s. It’s silly for sure, but they even banned Christmas lights during that time.

While the speed limits on most highways are between 55-70 mph these days, you will be shocked at how much more mileage you will get per gallon if you go slower. The more you accelerate, the more gas you will use. When you’re flying down the interstate going 75-80 mph, you’re raising the air resistance on your vehicle, which results in higher fuel consumption.

Your automobile uses more energy when you put more pressure on your engine, and the average car has a threshold of 75 mph, though this can vary. So, if you’re traveling faster than your auto’s threshold, you’re wasting precious gas.

3. Avoid Warming Up or Cooling Down Vehicle

When your car is running idle, you’re getting zero mpg, which means you’re burning pure gas to run it. Idling your car to keep it cool or warm is a total waste of money. When you use all these extra features like heated seats, turbo power, and defrosters, you’re also increasing the amount of energy use, which will increase your gas consumption.

4. Remove Things That Increase Resistance

When you’re heading on vacation, the rooftop carrier becomes an excellent option for all the stuff you need. However, when trying to save on gas, you should avoid these aerodynamic storage containers. Your vehicle’s fuel economy will tank when you put one on your car. Now, if you have a smaller automobile and need storage space, it’s better than renting a vehicle, but be careful.

Some tests were conducted to see how these carriers affected gas consumption. Would you be shocked to learn that a Nissan Altima traveling 65 mph used over 48 mpg? That’s insane when you look at it from that point of view. You can count on at least a 19 percent drop in your fuel economy, which will add at least an increase of around ten mpg.

5. Turn The AC Off

Lastly, people think that turning their AC off will save money on their gas consumption, but this isn’t always the case. Should you use the AC system in your car or rely on Mother Nature to keep you cool? Well, your AC will use more gas in your vehicle, but rolling the windows down isn’t always the right thing to do. See, when your car is driving under 50 mph, it’s better to have the windows down and the AC off.

However, if you’re going over this threshold, the air coming inside your car’s cabin will create drag. This drag will use just as much if not more fuel consumption than the air conditioner. If you want to save, roll the windows down in the city and use the AC on the freeways.

However, the health and comfort of all the people inside the cabin must also be considered. If someone has health issues or breathing problems, it’s always best to turn the AC on and consider other ways to save.

Final Thoughts on Tips to Save Money on Gas

Hopefully, the gas prices will soon return to an acceptable level. However, regardless of the cost of the pump, you should always look for ways to improve your fuel economy. What tips can you use to save money on gas during this fuel crisis?

Warming Up Your Car

4 Reasons Warming Up Your Car is a Bad Idea

4 Reasons Warming Up Your Car is a Bad Idea

When temperatures plummet in the Winston Salem, North Carolina area, warming up your car is what people do before heading out. Sure, no one wants to touch an icy steering wheel or sit in frigid seats, but is this comfort measure better for you than it is your vehicle?

Why You Should Reconsider Warming Up Your Vehicle?

The weather in North Carolina isn’t nearly as cold as some other states. However, it can be challenging to adjust from temperatures in the 90-degree range to those just above freezing. There’s nothing like a toasty car with clear windows to make your commute more manageable, but here are some reasons why warming up your car isn’t a good idea.

1. Contaminates the Environment

Air quality is a big issue, especially if you live closer to the big cities like Winston Salem. Greenhouse gas emissions destroy the atmosphere and send pollutants into the air, which is a known factor for climate change. When your car is running idle, you’re wasting fuel and sending the toxins in the air that not only destroy the planet but also are harmful to your lungs.

Now, this isn’t just a problem in the winter season, as people cooling down their car in the summer can cause just as much of an issue. Even sitting in traffic waiting for the light to turn or an accident to clear can cause these emissions. Did you know that vehicles are responsible for almost two percent of the greenhouse gas emissions released into the air in this country? It’s shocking to consider that a vehicle can do so much damage.

2. It Uses Extra Gasoline When Warming Up Your Car

You already know that when you let your car idle, it’s going to use extra gas, but did you know that you can damage your cylinder walls? When your vehicle is running for more than ten minutes without moving, you run the risk of the gas making its way into these walls. Here, the fuel has the potential to sweep the oil from the engine, which can cause excessive wear and tear.

If warming up your car is a must, there’s absolutely no reason to let it run for more than 5-10 minutes. Even most remote starting systems are set to turn off after 15-20 minutes of running. It doesn’t take too long for the engine block to heat up and provide heat to your vehicle, so don’t let it idle unnecessarily.

Additionally, the prices of gasoline continue to rise. With prices well over $3.00 a gallon, do you have extra money to throw away? You can save yourself a great deal of money. A study by WBTV found that the average vehicle uses a gallon of gas each time a car warms up. If you do that once a day, this will cost you roughly $21 a week, or $84 a month.

3. Causes Unnecessary Wear and Tear on the Engine

Did you know that your car will warm up quicker when you get in and drive it compared to warming up your car? Letting it sit and run idle will take longer as driving heats up the engine faster due to friction. When you let your car sit and run idle, it’s not good for your overall engine health.

An article published by Popular Mechanics states some shocking facts. These experts say that a vehicle that doesn’t go through the normal warming-up phase will last longer than one that’s let run idle continuously. You can prolong the life of your engine by getting in and going, regardless of the temperature. Since a new engine or vehicle replacement is quite expensive, it’s worth considering.

4. You’re at an Increased Risk of Auto Theft When Warming Up Your Car

While NC has a lower rate of auto thefts than other states around the country, it’s certainly a concern. According to a study listed on MSN, there were 15,000 car stolen in 2015 alone, and the numbers have continued to rise. These staggering numbers mean that you must be careful when warming up your car and leaving your car unattended.

A vehicle that’s running idle is an invitation for grand theft auto. If you don’t have a self-start system that locks while it’s running, you would need a couple of sets of keys to keep it safe. However, many people don’t bother with such measures. They leave the car unlocked, thinking that it will be safe, as they’re close by.

Sadly, even though a car might be parked in your driveway, there’s still a significant risk of it being stolen. Did you know that professional car thieves actually watch for things like this as it makes their job easier? If you allow your car to run idle without being locked, you’re a target for crime.

Final Thoughts on Warming Up Your Car

People think it’s essential to warm up their car because their parents and grandparents did it. Getting into a toasty car is a time-honored tradition that folks have grown to accept. While the previous generations may have done this trick, it was because their engines were quite different than the ones of today.

The modern internal combustion engine doesn’t require warming up your car. It was good to let the engines get warm back in the day, but the vehicles on the highways now are much more sophisticated and have a whole different setup. You’re not worried about carbonators and crank start engines, so don’t worry about warming up those up either.

auto maintenance myth

Auto Maintenance Myths Debunked by Your Winston-Salem Auto Repair Experts

Auto Maintenance Myths Debunked by Your Winston-Salem Auto Repair Experts

Your Winston-Salem auto repair experts at Cloverdale Auto have heard many interesting auto maintenance myths over the years. These myths typically relate to common car care issues like oil changes, transmission fluid changes, which fuel to use, warranties and car batteries. But are these rumors actually true?

You Need an Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles

One of the most common auto maintenance myths surrounds the need for oil changes. While needing this service used to be important every 3,000 miles, newer model vehicles are different. Today’s cars typically do well with oil changes every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. This is due to improved oil composition and synthetic alternatives available on the market today. Engines are also superior to designs of the past.

To know precisely when you need oil changes, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Your Winston-Salem auto repair experts can also provide this information for you.

Premium Fuel Improves Vehicle Performance

For some cars and trucks, premium fuel does improve performance. But this is not true across the board. Regular grade fuel works well in cars not equipped with a high-compression or performance engine. It is also an auto maintenance myth that regular fuel will harm your engine. However, premium gas has protectants and cleaners in its formula that do benefit a turbo-charged engine.

Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance in which fuel to use for your car or truck.

Taking Your Car to a Winston-Salem Auto Repair Shop Will Void Your Warranty

Another popular auto maintenance myth is that taking your car to a Winston-Salem auto repair shop will void the warranty. While dealerships want you to only visit their shop for routine maintenance needs, you can take your car to any legitimate mechanic. You just need to save your receipts in case you need to prove the work was done and its cost. This is the case for any routine maintenance listed in your owner’s manual, when performed on the recommended schedule.

You Must Warm Up Your Vehicle’s Engine in Cold Weather

It is true that your engine’s parts run their best when fully warmed up. But today’s vehicles warm up more quickly when the car is in motion. Leaving your car running in the driveway before taking off only burns gas, wastes money and adds emissions to the environment. Warming up your vehicle in cold weather is an auto maintenance myth you can ignore, if you have a recent model.

Always Replace All Tires at the Same Time

You do not need to purchase four new tires if one or two need replacement. Simply ensure you buy the same brand, size and model as your remaining tires. Then, continue having them rotated as part of every other oil change.

Drive for a Short Period of Time after a Jump Start to Fully Recharge Your Battery

After having your battery jump-started, it takes hours of driving to achieve a full charge. This is particularly true in cold weather, when lower temperatures drain a battery’s energy. Simply driving for five, 10 or even 50 miles will not “refill” the battery. Instead of believing in the old auto maintenance myth, plan on driving for several hours. Avoid using heated seats, the radio and other accessories that pull power from the battery while you do this. Obviously, the best way to avoid having to jump-start your car battery again is to replace it as needed.

Flush the Transmission Fluid Every 50,000 Miles

Most modern vehicles use transmission fluid with a longer life than in the past. Instead of having to flush this fluid every 50,000 miles, as the old auto maintenance myth proclaims, today’s cars and trucks can last up to 100,000 miles. Of course, your vehicle’s manufacturer provides the best information about when to have this important service performed at your Winston-Salem auto repair shop.

Winston-Salem Auto Repair You Can Count On

If you have questions about auto maintenance myths or the service your vehicle needs, there is no one better to ask than your Winston-Salem auto repair experts at Cloverdale Auto. Schedule your next oil change, transmission fluid flush, tire rotation or other service today by calling 336-331-3448.

Sell Your Car

How to Get the Most Money When You Sell Your Car or Trade It In

Sell Your CarAre you getting ready to sell your car or trade it in? Before you get a new car, you have to decide what to do with the old one. Selling it yourself gets you more money toward your new vehicle purchase. But trading your car in is often the better choice. This is true if you do not have enough time to sell or money in the bank for your down payment on a new one.

No one likes having to haggle with a used car buyer. Whether you are selling it yourself or trading your car in, you inevitably have to haggle. But you have the upper hand when your vehicle is in good shape. Negotiating the right deal also means doing some research into your vehicle’s actual value. Below, we look at how to get ready to sell your car or trade it in for the best possible financial return.

1. Find Out What Your Vehicle Is Worth

It is critical that you have a realistic idea of your vehicle’s value before you sell your car or attempt trading your car in. You can use several resources to come up with the approximate value, such as Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book.

You can also compare values across other websites, such as Auto Trader, Craigslist and anywhere else people sell their cars. By reviewing pricing on multiple sites before you sell your car, you can understand how your car rates on the market. It is also helpful to have one or more used car dealers look at the vehicle. Have them tell you what they will pay to buy it or when you are trading your car in.

Knowing these amounts gives you confidence in the haggling process. If you are trading your car in, you can start negotiating just beyond the high end of your offers. This is better than starting with their low quote and trying to raise the trade-in offer. It gives you the upper hand and you can maintain that position with the insights you gained.

2. Make Your Vehicle Appealing

When you try to sell your car or when trading your car in, it is important to make sure it looks its best. A clean, well-maintained vehicle generally brings in a better price than one that looks like it has hidden problems. Have your vehicle detailed inside and out before listing it for sale or driving it to the car lot.

Also take your car to your local auto mechanic at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for routine maintenance. Get the oil changed and the engine tuned up. Ask the mechanic to ensure everything is in good shape to prepare it for sale. If your vehicle has major repair needs, your friendly mechanic can help you weigh your options. Sometimes it is better to fix problems before you try to sell your car. In other cases, it is best to leave the major repairs to the buyer.

3. Sell Your Car at the Right Time of Year

Depending on the type of vehicle you own, there are certain times of year that are better for trade-ins or outright sales. For example, during the sunny and warm months you can more easily sell your convertible in Winston-Salem, than during the early parts of winter. In the wintertime, North Carolina car buyers have more interest in trucks and SUVs. Get to know your local area’s buying trends to get the most from your sale or when trading your car in.

Just like seasons affect car sales, so do gas prices. When fuel costs are high and you are selling a car that gets great gas mileage, you have the advantage. When Winston-Salem area fuel costs are low, you will more easily sell your gas guzzler.

4. Hold Your Ground on Price

As you learn about car pricing in your local area, also decide on the absolute bottom price you are willing to accept. Car dealers and even consumers will try to pay you as little as they can for your vehicle. Once you know your absolute limit, stick to it.

Always be willing to walk away if you cannot get the right price from a particular car lot or individual. This impression that you will not give in puts you in an advantageous position. This is particularly true when trading your car in. Look for signs the dealer needs more vehicles for their lot. Also try to gauge whether they are struggling to meet their new car sales quotas, such as when business seems slow.

Cloverdale Auto Helps You Prepare to Sell Your Car

When you are ready to sell your car or you want to try trading your car in, schedule routine maintenance at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem. We will perform an oil change, replace fluids, and rotate tires. We can also provide a multi-point inspection to ensure your vehicle is in its best selling shape. Schedule your visit today by calling 336-331-3448.

auto maintenance

Should I Keep My Auto Maintenance Records?

Auto maintenance is critical for keeping your car, truck or SUV running as it should. But did you know it is important to keep your auto maintenance records? Why should you keep these documents and how can they help you?

Your Vehicle Maintenance Records Can Save You Money

auto maintenanceWhen your vehicle undergoes routine maintenance or even specific auto repairs in a Winston-Salem auto shop, your receipt is your record of these services. If your vehicle breaks down or experiences other problems after the service, these records can come in handy. Auto maintenance and service is often guaranteed, such as for a year after that work takes place.

As an example, if you get your oil changed, you may not think it is important to keep your receipt. But if you leave the auto maintenance shop and the “oil service” light illuminates on your dash, something could be wrong. With your receipt, you have the documentation you need to access the auto shop’s service guarantee.

Of course, this is a minor example. If you have major repair work done on your vehicle or purchase expensive parts for replacement, it is more important to keep this documentation.

Vehicle Maintenance Records Help Your Vehicle Hold Its Value

Maintaining your car, truck or SUV as you should helps it keep its value. This benefits you a great deal when you decide to put it on the market for sale in Winston-Salem or trade it in at a dealership. People want to buy well-maintained cars and trucks, as these are less prone to break down and endure longer. With good records, you can prove how your vehicle is worth its full resale or trade-in value.

At the negotiating table for your new car, you have more power when you have maintained your trade-in well throughout its lifetime. This can mean real cash value and shave hundreds, if not thousands, off your new vehicle price.

It Is Easy to Forget Auto Maintenance

Keeping auto maintenance records is important for recalling specifically what work has been done. You have a busy life and it can be difficult to remember when you last had the oil changed. You can also forget whether that tie rod you had replaced was on the driver’s or passenger’s side of the vehicle. Having these documents works great for recalling other information, too. You can easily find part numbers and mileage counts between routine service.

Auto Maintenance Can Be Tax Deductible

If you use your car, truck or SUV for work, you can possibly deduct your auto maintenance costs. You need to talk to your accountant about specific rules and how these apply to you. But having the documentation comes in handy in April, when you need proof of how much your business use of your vehicle costs you.

Organize Your Auto Maintenance Documents for Real Benefit

The best way to keep up with your auto records is to have one folder dedicated to these documents in your desk, home office or even the vehicle, itself. Even placing an envelope in your glove box can make staying organized easy. Make a point of always placing your receipts in the designated place to enjoy future payoffs of doing so.

Of course, the biggest factor in reaping the financial benefits of keeping your vehicle documents is getting that service done, in the first place. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, schedule your oil change, tire rotation or other service today. Call Cloverdale Auto Service at 336-331-3448.

It’s our goal to be the very best at what we do. At Cloverdale Auto Service we are committed to taking care of our customers in the same manner we care for our families and friends. That means providing you with the highest quality of service that will ensure safe and reliable transportation.

Dodge repairs

Dodge Repairs: Most Common Fixes

Dodge repairsDodge Repairs: Most Common Fixes

When most people think of the auto brand Dodge, they think of an all-American line of vehicles built right here in the U.S.A. When the Dodge brothers Horace and John started the company in the early 1900s, they originally focused on making auto parts. But then in 1914, they decided to expand into making their own vehicles from bumper-to-bumper. The rest is history as these cars, trucks, and SUVs continue selling well now in Winston-Salem, 106 years later. Of course, as trustworthy as the automaker is at crafting reliable vehicles, sometimes you need Dodge repairs service.

What are the most common Dodge repair needs? Below, we look at some of the most frequently occurring issues with these vehicles. We also examine how your trusted auto mechanic in Winston-Salem, NC fixes them.

Most Popular Dodge Vehicles

To list all of the Dodge repairs on all of the automaker’s vehicles would require writing a hefty book. This is true for any major car brand. So we will just look at a sampling of some of the most commonly owned Dodge cars here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and their biggest issues.

The most popular Dodge vehicles throughout the U.S. today include:

Minivan Grand Caravan
Mid-size crossover Journey
SUV Durango
Full-size sedan Charger
Large coupe with muscle car design Challenger
Common Dodge Repair Needs

On the above five vehicles, below are the most common Dodge repair needs:

Grand Caravan

  • Automatic transmission shuddering and shifting harshness issues
  • Power window motor and switch failure
  • Underbody coolant leaks from rear heat/AC
  • Key fails to start the vehicle or gets stuck in ignition
  • Rattling or clunking noise in the front suspension

Journey

  • Intermittent remote keyless entry failure
  • Dampness in the vehicle from a water leak
  • Engine overheating due to debris in the cylinder head coolant port
  • Brake vibration caused by warped brake rotors
  • Whining noise from the power steering pump

Durango

  • Broken exhaust manifold bolts causing ticking noise in cold engine
  • Check engine light turning on from water passing through the cowl screen
  • Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) fault code caused by clogged EGR tube
  • Camshaft position sensor failure on the 4.7L V8 engine, causing starting problems or stalling
  • Bacterial growth in the evaporator causing a musty odor

Charger

  • Shuddering or rough shifting requiring PCM/TCM software update
  • Window motor or regulator failure, causing power windows to not work
  • Interior lighting and feature electrical problems
  • Check engine light because of engine thermostat closing failure
  • Steering column squeaking during turning

Challenger

  • Harsh 4th gear to 3rd gear downshifting
  • Honking, hissing or groaning from the steering column at low speed
  • MyGig radio problems after disconnecting and reconnecting the battery
  • EVAP system canister control valve or other issue causes pump nozzle shutoff during fueling
  • Brake rotor or drum assembly retainers causing vibration during freeway speeds

Dodge Repairs You Need, When You Need Them

Certainly, not all Dodge vehicles experience these problems. But if you own one of these cars, trucks or SUVs and notice any of the above issues, you can rest easy knowing you are not alone. For the majority of these problems, the necessary Dodge repairs are known and inexpensive. Repairs do not always cost a lot of time or money.

The key to getting the efficient and cost-effective Dodge repairs you need is taking your vehicle to experienced auto technicians. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Cloverdale Auto Service strives to be the best at auto maintenance and repair. To fix your vehicle’s issues, we start with diagnostic service. We also check Dodge’s documentation for recall, factory service bulletin and parts replacement information. When we find the problem, we discuss it with you before jumping into repair.

At Cloverdale Auto Service, we maintain strong relationships with our customers. We do this by ensuring we meet your Dodge repair needs. We also provide a full array of routine maintenance services, to keep your vehicle running its best.

Lastly, Schedule your Dodge repair or maintenance at Cloverdale Auto Service by calling 336-331-3448 today.

Cloverdale Auto Service