winter road trip

Preparing for Your Winter Road Trip

Preparing for Your Winter Road Trip

Many people believe that summer is the best season for a road trip. But this is not necessarily true. Around Winston-Salem, NC and throughout this part of the country, a winter road trip is equally interesting. You simply need to know how to prepare for cold weather driving and tune up your car before heading out onto the open road. Below, we go through some tips for your next winter excursion.

Check the Weather

Before your winter road trip begins, you need to check the weather forecast. Never rely on how it looks outside as you pack your vehicle. Things can change drastically in just an hour or so. A temperature drop of only a few degrees can make the roads icy or bring on a snowstorm. Preparation for these types of winter weather events is important. You should also keep your eyes on the road at all times, watching out for black ice.

Plan for a Slower Pace

Particularly if you intend to drive through the mountains, you should plan for a slower pace on your winter road trip than for a summer one. You have multiple things to consider when driving in winter such as the shorter days with early sunset. Also consider that driving under extreme weather conditions in winter is a bit more tiring than even a summer rainstorm. You have the extra concern of ice forming on the roads and have to maintain more diligent watch.

Plan Around Traffic

In the summertime, rush hour traffic slows you down just like it does in winter. But on your winter road trip, rush hour traffic can mean a higher likelihood of an auto accident. This is especially true if there is a weather event like rain, snow or sleet. For this reason, try to plan your driving before or after morning and evening rush hours. Use the rush hour timeframe to take a break, eat a meal or walk around some of the sights.

Plan for a Winter Vehicle Emergency

A winter road trip emergency can be different than a summer one. If you are driving in a region with extreme conditions like below-freezing temperatures, ensure you are prepared for a vehicle breakdown. Besides having all of the tire-change gear you need, also ensure you keep your phone battery charged. You might need a blanket and several layers of clothing or heavy boots. This is particularly important if your car stops running and you have to sit to wait for help or walk on frozen ground.

Keep Your Gas Tank Full

On a sunny day in spring or summer, you can wait longer between fill-ups than when you are on a winter road trip. In the wintertime, you need to be more cautious about how low you allow your fuel level to drop. Keeping the tank at least half-full at all times can mean the difference between life or death, should your vehicle break down. You will need fuel to keep the car running and the heating operating when it counts most.

Prepare Your Car for Your Winter Road Trip

Before setting off on your winter road trip, take your car to Cloverdale Auto for a winter tune-up. Our skilled mechanics can check your heater, brakes, lights, fluid levels, defroster and exhaust system. Of course we can also check your tires. If you are unsure of whether you need all-season or winter tires, we can help with making the right decision for that, too. We will also check your windshield wipers to ensure they are able to stand up against freezing rain, sleet, snow or other conditions.

Getting your vehicle serviced at Cloverdale Auto before your winter road trip also provides you with complimentary roadside assistance. This built-in, one-year policy means you are covered nationwide through a limited 24 month/24,000 mile limited parts and labor warranty. Wherever you go on your winter road trip, you have the roadside assistance you need, when you need it.

Schedule your winter road trip tune-up at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, NC today. Call us at 336-331-3448.

School Bus Preventive Maintenance May Significantly Decrease Breakdowns

School Bus Preventive Maintenance May Significantly Decrease Breakdowns

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Transportation Services guidebook to school bus preventive maintenance opens by stating one truth. That is that North Carolina’s school children deserve the safest possible transportation.

Whether you are a Winston-Salem school child’s parent or someone who works in school transportation, you surely agree. At Cloverdale Auto at 2020 Cloverdale Avenue, we do too! Some of us are parents and have children riding on those buses every morning. So what do we do to help maintain school buses, church buses, tour buses and other bus transportation? Below, we explore some of the basics of school bus preventive maintenance performed by our expert auto mechanics.

Now School Bus Preventive Maintenance Is More Important than Ever

Whether you have a school bus fleet as part of the local school system or operate a second-hand bus for your church, organization or business, maintenance is very important. This is always true. But it is more important now than ever before. Why?

Throughout 2020 and much of 2021, school buses and other buses have largely remained unused. The Covid-19 pandemic, at-home learning and group gathering restrictions have made buses less necessary. Many sat still in parking lots and garages, gathering dust inside and out. If you open the hood of many of these buses, you are likely to find cobwebs, rust and leaves, something they never had time to accumulate before.

Sitting still for so long does not mean these buses will run better this year. Instead, they are in dire need of school bus preventive maintenance to ensure they run as they should. For this maintenance, your bus needs a skilled Winston-Salem auto mechanic at Cloverdale Auto.

NC Requirements for School Bus Preventive Maintenance

Even if your school bus is not used for Winston-Salem area schools you can use the North Carolina state guidelines for school bus preventive maintenance. The DPI Transportation Services manual is handy as a guide to important aspects of routine bus maintenance. For example, if you own only one second-hand bus for your organization, group or personal use, this manual provides good perspective on the checks and services your Cloverdale Auto mechanic will perform. Of course, each vehicle is unique and can require other preventive care or repairs.

The NC checklist for school bus preventive maintenance specifies three factors involved in determining when a bus needs to go into the auto mechanic’s shop. Those are age, fuel consumption and time since the last maintenance. The state requires this service every 6,000 miles, at most.

The schools also must self-inspect their transportation fleet every month. This is a good policy for any school bus owner or operator. Get to know your bus, have it serviced on a regular schedule and perform your own safety checks each month.

The state’s required 30-day school bus inspections include checklists for all vehicle areas and operation including:

  • Inside body
  • Outside body
  • Chassis
  • Fuel system
  • Electrical system
  • Road tests

You can find the full checklist for 30-day self-inspection of a NC school bus on page 21 of the DPI transportation service manual. Use it for your church bus, tour bus or other group transportation of this type to ensure your passengers stay safe when traveling from one place to the next.

Bus Maintenance Performed by Your Auto Repair Shop

While under an expert bus mechanic‘s care at Cloverdale Auto Service, your school bus goes through many system checks and services. These vary according to the bus model, age, mileage, condition and individual needs. Service can include:

  • Mounting bolts and bolt lock pins/nuts
  • Wheel bearings
  • Engine accessory drive belts
  • Lubrication, filter and oil change
  • Road test
  • Travel angle
  • Steering gear operation
  • Load test
  • Brake checks and service
  • Acceleration
  • Rear axle and drive line
  • Transmission check
  • Tune up
  • Tire service
  • Battery check
  • Electrical system test
  • Alternator test
  • Cooling and heating test and service

Schedule Winston-Salem School Bus Maintenance Today

There are many more aspects to school bus preventive maintenance than we can list here. What your privately-owned, commercially-owned or state-owned school bus requires will differ according to each individual vehicle. Each manufacturer also provides its own recommendations for routine scheduled maintenance. But the skilled auto mechanics of Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem are experienced in school bus service and know which service your vehicle needs.

If you own a school bus and need school bus preventive maintenance, call the pros of Cloverdale Auto today at 336-331-3448.

What Is Check Engine Light Service?

What Is Check Engine Light Service?

Has your check engine light turned on? When this happens, it is important to take your vehicle to Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem, NC for check engine light service. By learning what the problem is and getting the repairs you need, you can quickly and safely get back on the road.

What is the check engine light?

Modern cars, trucks and SUVs have their own onboard computer diagnostic system, also called OBDII. This system monitors your car’s performance. It constantly checks the engine, transmission and other systems to ensure everything is working as it should. The OBDII also verifies that your vehicle is running at its best efficiency and with the lowest emissions.

At the same time, your car’s electronics keep other aspects of its operations in check. These systems make adjustments to suit the vehicle’s load, air-fuel mix, temperature and other conditions. If the computer detects a problem with any of the systems’ parameters, the check engine light turns on to signal that you need check engine light service. Although it can turn on for serious issues, this light is usually prompting you to fix a small problem before it becomes a bigger one.

It is important to note that a blinking light indicates you urgently need check engine light service and should not drive your vehicle. Under these circumstances, you should park your vehicle in a safe location and call for tow service to Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem.

What is check engine light service?

There are literally hundreds of possible reasons why your dash light turns on. This is why diagnostic service is the first step your auto repair technician must perform. This diagnostic service reads codes from your vehicle’s computer to help the auto mechanic find the root cause of the problem. Although the code does not generally provide a precise answer right away, a skilled technician can find the exact issue through additional diagnostic work.

Because finding the exact problem takes skill and advanced knowledge of your type of vehicle, it is important to visit a licensed auto repair shop like Cloverdale Auto. Otherwise, you risk having to pay for parts or repairs you do not need.

Do I really need check engine light service?

If you want to put off your check engine light service, you are not alone. No one wants to take time out of their busy schedule for unexpected auto repairs. But ignoring the dash light can lead to bigger and much more costly problems.

A Steadily Lit Check Engine Light

Remember, if the light is not flashing but steadily lit, you likely do not have a severe problem. It is an issue that does need to be repaired quickly, however it has not YET become such a problem that your vehicle will cease to operate.

If you keep driving a vehicle with a steadily lit check engine light, you risk increased emissions and decreased fuel efficiency. This will also cost you money as you can lose up to 20 percent of your fuel efficiency. If you pay $3 per gallon of gas, this lower fuel efficiency can cost you more than $300 in a year.

A Flashing Check Engine Light

A flashing check engine light is an indication of a critical problem. It means you need immediate check engine light service or risk your vehicle breaking down. As a result of such a break down or putting this service off, you also face the possibility of greater damage to your vehicle. You may then need more expensive parts and service. You also risk putting yourself in a dangerous situation like being stranded somewhere.

Schedule Check Engine Light Service at Cloverdale Auto Service Today

Whether your check engine light turned on today or weeks ago, you need to schedule check engine light service as soon as possible. You owe it to yourself to prevent the higher costs or potential dangers of putting off this diagnostic service and the necessary auto repairs. Schedule your appointment with Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem by calling 336-331-3448.

Car Repairs to Make Before You Sell, According to the Most Trusted Auto Shop in Winston-Salem

Car Repairs to Make Before You Sell, According to the Most Trusted Auto Shop in Winston-Salem

Are you thinking about selling your car, truck or SUV? Maybe you wonder if you need to make car repairs before you sell? Or should you just drive it to the dealership or list it online in as-is condition? This is a common question customers ask at the most trusted auto shop in Winston-Salem, Cloverdale Auto.

Why Make Car Repairs Before You Sell?

Putting a little money and effort into car repairs before you sell can pay off multiple times over. Of course, it is important that your car looks clean and in good physical shape at first glance. This good first impression is much like curb appeal when selling a house. If the car looks bad from the initial look, you can bank on the buyers thinking the inner workings are in disrepair, too.

Most buyers want a vehicle they can drive off the lot with confidence. Few, if any, will want to have a list of immediate car repairs they must make from the start. So before selling, make the obviously necessary car repairs for them. Simply drive the vehicle to Cloverdale Auto, the most trusted automobile repair shop in Winston-Salem, and we will get things buyer ready for you.

Of course, the car you are selling does not have to be in perfect shape. After all, it is not new. But you want the buyers to feel satisfied with their purchase. This satisfaction comes from knowing you were scrupulous enough to make necessary car repairs before you sell. Proof of the upkeep and repairs can even boost the selling price higher. You can have confidence in knowing your vehicle is worth the asking price.

Important Car Repairs to Make Before Selling

Below are some of the most important car repairs to make before you sell:

Glass

Scratched, cracked and chipped auto glass is unsightly and dangerous. These are necessary car repairs any buyer can see immediately. Besides the glass of your windows and windshield, you should also repair the power windows and replace the wiper blades.

Tires

Worn out tires are another important car repair to make before selling. As with glass, these flawed parts are easy to see and create big red flags for anyone interested in buying your vehicle. To make a better first impression and ensure the timely sale of your car, get the tires replaced at the most trusted auto shop in Winston-Salem.

Brakes

Although a buyer cannot see the brake condition without getting the under the car and knowing something about these systems, they will notice worn out brakes if they go on a test drive. This is especially true with squeaky or grinding brakes. If these are in poor condition before you sell your car, the buyer will not trust that you effectively maintained other parts.

Engine

Before you sell, you do not have to make major car repairs like engine replacement. But you should take your vehicle in for a tune-up. The fluids should be fresh and at the proper levels. You also need an oil change while having the air filter, engine hoses and wires checked.

If parts are torn, cracked or worn out, have them replaced. Once this work is done and the engine has cooled, wipe down the surface of the engine to enable your potential buyers to read fluid levels and see the working parts.

Spark Plugs

Aging spark plugs cause engine idling problems. This is something a buyer will easily notice. Have your spark plugs replaced before you sell at the most trusted auto shop in Winston-Salem.

Other Important Steps to Take Before You Sell

Besides driving your vehicle into the most trusted auto shop in Winston-Salem for the above repairs, you also need to invest some elbow grease of your own. These steps include:

  • Deep clean the interior
  • Remove all personal effects
  • Get new inspection tags

The Most Trusted Auto Shop in Winston-Salem

At Cloverdale Auto on Cloverdale Avenue, we provide our customers with the service we would want to receive. Our highly skilled technicians provide professional auto repair services in a clean, relaxed and friendly environment. This is why our female-owned business is the most trusted auto shop in Winston-Salem. Bring your vehicle in before you sell, so we can help you make important car repairs to get the selling price you deserve. Schedule your appointment today by calling 336-331-3448.

Why is My Car Engine Overheating?

Why Is My Car Engine Overheating?

One of the scariest things for any driver is an engine overheating in the middle of nowhere or somewhere you just do not feel safe. Unfortunately, this is a common situation. But it is one you can avoid with proper maintenance and the knowledge of what to do when this happens to you. Below, the auto mechanic experts of Cloverdale Auto give some advice and answers to that question of, “Why is my car engine overheating?”

Why is My Car Engine Running Hot?

Car engine overheating occurs for many reasons. Usually, it means something has gone wrong with your cooling system. That system is supposed to help heat leave the engine compartment. Often, the cause is a cooling system leak, broken water pump, clogged coolant hose or faulty radiator fan.

Regardless of why it is happening, you should not ignore your car engine overheating. If you do, your engine can suffer permanent damage.

Signs of a Car Engine Overheating

You can avoid the risk of permanent engine damage by taking steps to cool your engine before it overheats. But this means you must know the signs of overheating, first. These signs include:

  • Steam coming from beneath your car hood
  • A spiking engine temperature gauge on your dash panel
  • Strange, sweet-smelling odor coming from your engine

When you see these signs, take your vehicle to your trusted auto repair shop in Winston-Salem, NC, Cloverdale Auto. First, take the appropriate measures, below, to ensure the situation cools down.

What to Do When You Notice Your Car Engine Overheating

When you notice your car engine overheating, take the following steps:

1. Turn off the A/C and turn on the heater.

This may sound counterintuitive. But you should immediately turn off the air conditioning in your overheating car and turn on the heat.

Doing so takes the strain of A/C off your engine and pulls heat away from it, into the passenger compartment. This gives you time before it fully overheats, so you can pull the vehicle into a safe location. Although you will feel uncomfortable with the heater on, this is much easier than having to pay a big repair bill.

2. Pull over into a safe place.

When you pull your car over into a safe place, turn it off. Let the engine cool down for a minimum of 15 minutes. While doing so, watch the temperature gauge to ensure it moves to a normal temperature range.

As you wait for your engine to cool, call a tow truck, roadside assistance or a friend for help. You will need your vehicle towed to Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, so our trusted auto mechanics can find and fix the problem.

3. Check the coolant and add more, if you have some with you.

If your coolant level reads as low, add some more fluid to protect your engine. This will prevent your car engine overheating until you can get the vehicle to Cloverdale Auto. But this will not work if your coolant hose is clogged or your car has a broken radiator fan or faulty water pump. If you need to find your coolant reservoir tank, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

4. Restart your engine.

If pulling over prevented your car engine overheating and you have taken the appropriate steps above, you may not need a tow. Carefully restart your engine and drive it to Cloverdale Auto in Winston Salem. Closely watch the temperature gauge to ensure it does not go into the red zone again. If it starts rising, pull over and let your engine cool.

DO NOT Do These Things for Car Engine Overheating

There are several key things to avoid when you notice your car engine overheating.

1. Don’t panic.

Never speed up or swerve through traffic when you notice your car engine overheating. You should also avoid slamming on your brakes.

2. Don’t keep going.

If you notice your car engine overheating but keep the motor running, you are not doing it any good. Trying to reach your destination can only make the damage much worse. Use your phone to call your destination and tell them you will be a little late.

3. Don’t immediately open your hood.

Seeing the steam rising from under your hood may urge you to open it. Instead, allow the engine to cool before taking a look. Otherwise, you can suffer steam burns or other injuries. Wait until the engine temperature gauge reads normal before opening the hood.

4. Don’t keep driving your vehicle without getting it checked out.

Car engine overheating occurs because a problem exists. This problem will not go away without the help of a skilled auto mechanic. It will only get worse. Drive your vehicle or have it towed to Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem for a quick diagnosis and repair estimate.

How to Prevent Your Car Engine Overheating

To prevent your car engine overheating, have routine maintenance performed on your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This maintenance includes having regular coolant flushes and exchanges performed by certified auto mechanics. Also keep up with radiator maintenance and routine inspections to find these problems before they get worse.

Have routine radiator maintenance, coolant flush and fluid exchange performed at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, NC now. Schedule your visit to avoid being stranded on the side of the road. Call us at 336-331-3448 for an appointment.

What Does It Mean When My Check Engine Light Comes On?

What Does It Mean When My Check Engine Light Comes On?

There are a multitude of reasons why your check engine light might turn on. You cannot know the reason, simply by looking at the light. But the common thread in these possible causes is that you need to visit your local Winston-Salem, NC auto repair shop. An auto mechanic will perform a diagnostic test to determine why the check engine light turned on. They will advise you of the appropriate solutions so they can fix your vehicle and get you back on the road in no time.

What the Check Engine Light Means

There are a variety of meanings behind your service engine warning. Below are the four scenarios typically experienced by drivers.

1. The light turns on in certain conditions or is flickering.

You may notice that your check engine light turns on in stop-and-go traffic, but turns off on the freeway. This indicates that your mechanical problem only takes place in stop-and-go or city driving scenarios. If the light flickers inconsistently and then turns off, you are experiencing intermittent engine problems. Drive your vehicle to your Winston-Salem, NC auto repair shop for diagnostic service.

2. The check engine light is steady.

If the light turns on and remains steadily lit, but you notice no performance issues, you probably have a fault in the emission control system. The light turns on and your vehicle’s computer allows operation only in lower gears. Many auto mechanics refer to this as “limp home mode.” Drive your vehicle to your auto repair shop in Winston-Salem as soon as possible.

3. The service light is on and you notice vehicle performance issues.

If your check engine light stays on and your car does not run as well as it should, your emission control and engine management system has a problem. This means that something is wrong with a component required to run your vehicle. You should not drive it at all as it risks unpredictably stalling or stopping. Instead, pull over to a safe area and have your vehicle towed to Cloverdale Auto Service.

4. The check engine light steadily blinks.

Unlike a flicker that comes and goes with vehicle operation, a steadily blinking check engine light flashes once or twice per second without changing its pattern. Or, it possibly only flashes this way when you accelerate. This is a serious issue and means you risk catastrophic failure of your emission control system. Your engine is misfiring to the degree that it is damaging your catalytic converter. This could start a fire under the vehicle, so you need to immediately pull over and have your vehicle towed to Cloverdale Auto Service.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for the Check Engine Light to Illuminate?

The check engine light commonly turns on for one of the following reasons:

  • Catalytic converter issue
  • Gas cap is loose
  • Mass airflow sensor failure
  • Oxygen sensor is faulty
  • Spark plugs or plug wires need replacement

Cloverdale Auto Provides Diagnostic Service

Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem, NC provides routine auto maintenance and auto repair services, including diagnostic service when your service light turns on. If this important warning light illuminates on your dash display, drive your vehicle carefully or have it towed to our auto repair shop. You can call us for an appointment and more information about whether it is safe to drive your vehicle, too. Call us at 336-331-3448.

5 Signs You Need Coolant System Service

5 Signs You Need Coolant System Service

Cloverdale Auto Service, a female-owned auto repair shop in Winston-Salem, NC. Our expert mechanics provide coolant system service for most all makes of cars, trucks, & SUVs. But how can you know when it is time to take your car, truck or SUV to Cloverdale Auto for this service?

The 5 Top Signs You Need Auto Coolant System Service:

  • Temperature gauge reads hot

  • Overheating

  • Rust or discoloration around the radiator

  • Low coolant levels

  • Coolant leak

Your Coolant System Temperature Gauge Reads Hot

Do not rely only on your temperature warning light to indicate you need coolant system service. If your coolant level is too low, this light may not work. The same is true if your radiator switch or cooling fan are not working properly.

A dashboard temperature gauge that reads hot means your vehicle’s coolant is too low or the thermostat, itself, is defective. You should not keep running your engine if it is too hot. Instead, pull your car over in a safe place, such as a parking lot. Turn off the air conditioner and engine to allow the engine to cool.

If you are in the middle of traffic and cannot pull over, when traffic pauses you can put your car in neutral or park to gently rev the engine. This moves coolant through the system for cooling. But do not apply your brakes. Doing so just intensifies the heat from friction.

Never add water or coolant to a hot radiator. This will crack your engine and create even bigger problems. Wait until the coolant system is cool to the touch. Then, protect your hand with a rag and open the radiator cap away from your body or face. You should never lean over toward the engine compartment to do this.

Schedule an appointment with Cloverdale Auto Service for expert coolant system service.

Coolant System Overheating

An overheating vehicle typically creates billows of steam beneath the engine hood. A fire can even start. If you see flames, walk a safe distance from your vehicle to call 911. Do so urgently to prevent an engine blow-up. But never open the hood or radiator cap until they are cool to the touch. Otherwise, you face potential steam burns or liquid burns.

If your vehicle is not drivable, call for tow service to Cloverdale Auto. Our ASE-certified mechanics can find the cause of the problem and get your coolant system serviced to get your vehicle safely back on the road.

Many manufacturers recommend getting your car or truck’s radiator flushed at regular intervals. This helps to extend the life of your engine cooling system. Thus helping to reduce the chances of needing radiator replacement or repair. Check your factory service manual for details for your particular make/model of vehicle.

Rust or Discoloration

If you notice rust or discoloration on any of the coolant system components such as the radiator, thermostat housing, water pump, radiator hoses clamps, or engine parts around it, this is a clear indication that you have a leak. This leak may be coming from any part of the coolant system, including any of the connecting hoses. The discoloration occurs when fluid squirts from the leaking area during engine operation. The fluid lands on hot engine parts erodes them. Cloverdale’s expert mechanics will find the source of the leak and provide efficient coolant system service.

Low Coolant Levels

It is best to keep some coolant in the trunk of your car for times when you experience a low coolant level. You can also review your auto manufacturer’s manual for more information about maintaining appropriate coolant levels. Of course, it is easy to bring your car into Cloverdale Auto Service for routine tune-ups and fluid changes, during which our mechanics refill your coolant level.

Coolant Leak

If you notice a bright green, pink, orange or yellow puddle beneath your car on the driveway or parking spot, this is a coolant fluid leak. You need this fluid in your car to keep it from freezing in the winter or overheating in the summer. Cloverdale Auto’s mechanics will find the source of your coolant leak as part of coolant system service repair. We will also refill the coolant level to get you safely back on the road.

Do not wait until your vehicle shows signs of problems. Schedule a tune-up or coolant system service repair and maintenance service at Cloverdale Auto Service at 2020 Cloverdale Avenue in Winston-Salem, NC. Call us today at 336-331-3448.

european auto repair

Is European Auto Repair Different from Domestic?

european auto repairIf you currently own or want to buy a European vehicle, you likely have concerns about the cost of European auto repair in Winston-Salem. Although Euro imports and domestics are similar in many ways, these two types of vehicles certainly have their differences. Imports typically have unique aspects to their systems, parts quality and mechanic training. These differences often translate to differing costs at the auto repair shop. In fact, many buyers stay away from Audis, VWs, Mercedes and BMWs because they fear steep maintenance and repair bills.

European Auto Repair Can Cost More

If you buy an Audi, Mercedes, VW or BMW, you can expect to sometimes pay more for European auto repair and maintenance than for domestic vehicles. This is because German automakers focus on making vehicles with higher engineering precision than American automakers. American manufacturers focus more on utility, reliability and economy.

It is not that one type of vehicle is better than the other. German imports just have unique attributes that make them less economical in some ways. For example, parts for BMWs, VWs, Mercedes and Audis are known for being higher quality than parts for other types of automobiles. With this quality comes a higher price tag, whether for repair, maintenance or OEM parts.

Historically, European auto repair cost more because these cars were designed to last longer than Japanese or American vehicles. This has changed in recent years. But up until the 2000s, BMWs, VWs, Mercedes and Audis were known for lasting longer than most other brands, given you regularly maintained your vehicle. But now that American vehicles also last more than 150,000 miles, the quality gap has tightened. As a result, European auto repair costs are now closer to the costs of American auto repair.

Transmission Service of European Auto Repair

European auto repair more regularly requires specialized knowledge of manual transmissions than American auto repair. In Europe, most vehicles operate with a clutch and stick shift. But in America, we drive mostly automatic transmission vehicles.

This means that your European auto repair shop must have advanced knowledge of standard transmissions and clutch repair. While not all Audis, VWs, Mercedes and BMWs in the U.S. are manual, many drivers still enjoy the feeling of standard transmissions. If you have a manual vehicle, regular clutch repair is very important. If your auto repair shop does not routinely service these types of vehicles, they are not your best bet for quality maintenance and repair. Instead, you need an auto shop with the knowledge and experience to properly fix your European car.

European Auto Repair for German Suspension

Steering and suspension on your German vehicle is more intricate than for American vehicles. This makes suspension parts and service a bit more expensive than domestic owners experience. But when you drive your Euro import, you certainly enjoy the exhilarating feeling of greater control on curves and around corners. This enjoyment makes the experience worth the cost for most BMW, VW, Mercedes and Audi owners.

High performance requires routine maintenance. This is certainly true with a European auto suspension system. They require more care from experienced European auto repair mechanics due to their higher-level calibration.

Specialized Training for European Import Mechanics

Mechanics who specialize in European auto repair require specialized training. This training is more expensive than for domestic vehicles. As a result, your Euro vehicle repair can cost more than your neighbor’s domestic car repair, even at the same repair shop.

You can save some money by taking your BMW, VW, Mercedes or Audi to an auto repair shop that provides maintenance and repair services for domestics and specific types of imports. Generalists like these have the right training and are better able to keep repair costs lower. For example, Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, North Carolina repairs domestics like Jeeps and Chevys, but also fixes German automobiles. We have mechanics trained in the precision calibration of Euro imports, as well as the nuances of domestics.

European Auto Repair Winston-Salem Trusts

Owners of German automobiles in Winston-Salem trust Cloverdale Auto for their maintenance and repair needs. Our highly trained mechanics specialize in domestics and European imports. Euro imports we service include:

Through our focused care, you can keep your domestic or import vehicle running for hundreds of thousands of miles. Schedule your auto repair or maintenance at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem by calling 336-331-3448.

synthetic oil vs conventional oil

Which is better for your car? Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil

synthetic oil vs conventional oilWhen your Winston-Salem, North Carolina auto mechanic performs an oil change on your car, truck or SUV, do you choose synthetic oil? Yes, this oil cost many times more than conventional oil. But the price is not the full story. With all that synthetic motor oil can do for your vehicle, is it worth the higher cost? So, synthetic oil vs conventional oil?

What is synthetic oil?

Synthetic oil is a man-made alternative to conventional oil, made from two types of oil and powder additives. The oils include a base fluid and a carrier fluid for even additive distribution. Like conventional, synthetic is made from refined oil pumped from deep within the Earth. It is the refining process that makes these two lubricants different. Both fluids serve the very important purpose of reducing friction in your car’s engine, also reducing sludge and improving performance.

Synthetic lubricant has been used in automobile and jet engines since 1929. It provides many advantages, including less friction, reduced deposits, better functioning in extreme weather, fewer impurities and boosted protection with engine-cleaning capabilities. Synthetics also improve fuel economy.

What are the different types of synthetic oil?

Full synthetic oil is the highest quality of synthetic oil. However, without uniform standards in place to grade these fluids, the term is more or less just a marketing catchphrase.

A synthetic blend, also called semi-refined oil, is the next grade down from full synthetic quality. Semi-synthetic blend is a mix of conventional oil with synthetic. This means that you benefit from the synthetic attributes, such as higher refinement and engine-cleaning additives. But with traditional oil in the mix, you also get the impurities. Because they are not fully synthetic, the cost is also lower.

To decide which oil to use in your vehicle, you must weigh that cost with the oil’s benefits. Your options include:

  • Synthetic oil
  • Semi-synthetic oil (synthetic blends)
  • Conventional oil

Synthetic blends provide some benefits over conventional oil while being cheaper that fully synthetic. But full synthetic oil provides the highest quality and performance of the three types.

How often do you need to change synthetic oil?

Although it costs more, synthetic oil requires fewer changes than conventional oil or synthetic blends.

Typical oil change intervals include:

  • Conventional oil: Twice yearly or every 7500 miles
  • Synthetic oil: Once yearly or every 10,000 to 15,000 miles

Older or antique vehicles may need their conventional oil changed more frequently, such as every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. New vehicles often require fewer oil changes. Your auto mechanic is your best guide in scheduling this service.

Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil

You can tell a difference in how your vehicle runs with synthetic oil vs conventional oil. The used oil is also much more sludgy and thicker when you use conventional, even after the same amount of use.

Synthetic oil helps your vehicle perform better by protecting the engine through reduced friction. Synthetic oil additives clean your engine and burns cleaner because of fewer impurities. At the same time, when considering synthetic oil vs conventional oil, the former is less likely than conventional to thicken and form deposits.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that synthetic oil helps engines perform 47 percent better than conventional oil. You have to change synthetic less often and provide your vehicle with what it needs to run its best.

Benefits of synthetic oil vs conventional oil include:

  • Fewer emissions
  • Better fuel economy and oil economy
  • Fewer oil changes
  • Improved engine protection
  • Reduced wear from lower friction
  • Reduced engine drag and engine repairs
  • Better protection in all weather
  • More predictable oil quality
  • Quicker engine starts
  • Better cleaning of engine sludge and deposits

Schedule Your Oil Change Service in Winston-Salem, NC Today

As you can see from the above list of benefits of synthetic oil vs conventional oil, it is worth the higher price over conventional oil. To find out more about your vehicle’s lubrication needs and which oil to choose for your engine, schedule your next oil change service with Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, NC. Call us at 336-331-3448 to set your appointment today.

auto maintenance myth

Why does my car heater have a bad smell?

car heaterEvery vehicle runs on energy and produces heat. They also operate using a variety of fluids, gasoline, mechanical parts and an electric system. In other words, chances are good that your car, truck or SUV will emit some bad odors from time to time. This time of year, people turn on their car heater for the first time in months. To their surprise, many are hit with a bad smell when they expect clean, warm air.

Many things create bad odors in your vehicle. Let’s look at eight of these bad smells and what they possibly mean, starting with your car heater.

My Car Heater Creates a Bad Smell

If your heater creates a bad odor, it can mean any of several problems exist. A burning leaf odor coming from the car heater is most common. So why is your heater producing this burning smell?

Dirty Vents

Your car heater’s bad smell could relate to dirty vents. In fact, you should have your car’s comfort system inspected and serviced on a regular basis, such as when you get a tune-up. This vent system gets dirty, typically accumulating debris, dust, leaves, pine needles and dirt. You may not notice any of this buildup until you turn on the heater and expect warmth, but receive what smells like the air from a brush fire. Take your vehicle into Cloverdale Auto for an inspection and service.

Debris in the Engine

A burning bad smell coming through your car heater can also mean you have debris built up on the engine. When leaves, pine needles and other debris get caught under the hood, they toast from the warmth. Then, when you turn on the heater, this characteristic odor comes through the heating vents. If you sense this smell, pull over to a safe parking area and open the car’s hood. Be careful clearing away any debris from hot elements.

Bad Heater Core

When your car heater core ages, it may require replacement. Signs of problems with this part include a burning smell from the heating vents, foggy windows and overheating engine. A regular comfort system check involves service for the heater core, making this maintenance critical. Otherwise, you can face between $600 and $900 in early replacement costs.

Other Bad Smells Detectable through Your Car Heater

Other bad odors possibly detectable through your car heater include:

  • Sulfur or rotten eggs
  • Hot oil
  • Syrup
  • Burned carpet
  • Burned rubber
  • Gasoline
  • Mustiness

The sulfur or rotten egg bad smell from your car heater can signal problems with your catalytic converter. The odor of hot oil often points to a leaky crankshaft or leaky valve cover. With this smell you can sometimes find oil on the pavement where you park or smoke coming from your exhaust pipe.

A sweet, syrupy smell often signals a leaking radiator, hose or heating system. The rich smell comes from ethylene glycol in coolant dripping on hot engine parts. Not as sweet is the smell of burning carpet, which can relate to worn brakes or a dragging brake. Burning rubber is equally unsweet in odor, pointing to loose hoses or belts.

Sometimes when refueling your vehicle, you spill gasoline. This often causes a gasoline odor to enter your vehicle. But coming through your car heater, this bad smell can mean you have a vent hose or fuel injection line leak.

Finally, smelling a mustiness creeping in through your car heater vents can tell you that there is mold or mildew growth in your air conditioner evaporator. Besides the bad odor, this can trigger headaches, itchy eyes, sneezing, breathing problems and other symptoms of allergies or sensitivities.

Inspection, Maintenance and Repair for All Car Heater Problems

Winter is certainly not the time to have a non-working heater or one that creates a bad odor. Besides being irritating, this odor can signal much bigger problems you need to repair before they grow worse. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Cloverdale Auto Service provides inspection to find the source of your heater’s bad smell. We also provide routine service and repairs to get your vehicle back on the road in top form. Call us today at 336-331-3448 to schedule your car heater inspection and maintenance.

Cloverdale Auto Service