The Importance Of Regular Oil Changes Keeping Your Engine Running Smoothly

The Importance Of Regular Oil Changes: Keeping Your Engine Running Smoothly

In the bustling city of Winston-Salem, NC, where life moves at a fast pace, ensuring your vehicle is well-maintained is essential. Among the various services your car requires, one of the most crucial is regular oil changes. At Cloverdale Auto, we understand the significance of this routine maintenance task in keeping your engine running smoothly and efficiently.

Understanding the Role of Engine Oil

Before delving into the importance of regular oil changes, let’s briefly explore the role engine oil plays in your vehicle’s performance. Engine oil serves as a lubricant, reducing friction between moving parts within the engine. Additionally, it helps to cool the engine by dissipating heat and prevents the buildup of harmful deposits and contaminants. Over time, however, engine oil degrades, losing its effectiveness and putting your engine at risk.

Preventing Engine Wear and Tear

One of the primary reasons for adhering to a regular oil change schedule is to prevent excessive wear and tear on your engine. As engine oil ages, it becomes less efficient at lubricating the various components, leading to increased friction and heat. This can result in accelerated wear on critical engine parts, such as pistons, bearings, and camshafts. Over time, this wear can lead to costly repairs and a decrease in engine performance.

Maintaining Engine Efficiency

In addition to preventing wear and tear, regular oil changes also help maintain engine efficiency. Clean, fresh oil allows the engine to operate smoothly, ensuring optimal performance and fuel efficiency. On the other hand, old, dirty oil can cause the engine to work harder, leading to decreased fuel economy and increased emissions. By staying up-to-date with oil changes, you can ensure that your vehicle operates at peak efficiency, saving you money on fuel costs in the long run.

Extending Engine Life

By investing in regular oil changes, you’re not only protecting your engine in the short term but also extending its lifespan in the long term. A well-lubricated engine experiences less wear and operates more smoothly, reducing the likelihood of major mechanical issues down the road. With proper maintenance, your engine can continue to perform reliably for years to come, allowing you to get the most out of your vehicle investment.

Ensuring Warranty Compliance

For those with newer vehicles still under warranty, adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended oil change schedule is essential to maintain warranty coverage. Failure to follow the prescribed maintenance intervals could void your warranty, leaving you responsible for any repair costs that may arise. By keeping detailed records of your oil changes and servicing your vehicle at reputable establishments like Cloverdale Auto, you can rest assured knowing that your warranty remains intact.

Choosing Cloverdale Auto for Your Oil Change Needs

When it comes to oil change services in Winston-Salem, NC, Cloverdale Auto stands out as a trusted provider of reliable automotive maintenance. Our team of experienced technicians is dedicated to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently. Here’s why you should choose us for your oil change needs:

  • Expertise: Our technicians are highly trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of automotive maintenance, ensuring that your oil change is performed to the highest standards.
  • Quality Products: We use only the highest quality engine oils and filters, ensuring optimal performance and protection for your engine.
  • Convenience: With our convenient location and flexible scheduling options, getting your oil changed has never been easier. We strive to minimize downtime and inconvenience for our valued customers.
  • Customer Satisfaction: At Cloverdale Auto, customer satisfaction is our top priority. We go above and beyond to ensure that every customer is satisfied with our services.

Signs Your Vehicle Needs an Oil Change

While adhering to a routine oil change schedule is important, it’s also essential to recognize the signs that your vehicle may need an oil change sooner than expected. Some common indicators include:

  • Dashboard Warning Light: Many modern vehicles are equipped with a dashboard warning light that illuminates when it’s time for an oil change. If you see this light, don’t ignore it—schedule an oil change as soon as possible.
  • Dark, Dirty Oil: Checking your engine oil regularly can provide valuable insight into its condition. If the oil appears dark and gritty, it’s likely overdue for a change.
  • Engine Noise: A lack of proper lubrication can cause increased engine noise, such as knocking or ticking sounds. If you notice unusual noises coming from your engine, it could be a sign that the oil needs to be changed.
  • Decreased Performance: Old, dirty oil can impede engine performance, leading to sluggish acceleration and reduced power. If you experience a noticeable decrease in performance, it may be time for an oil change.
  • Excessive Oil Consumption: If you find yourself frequently adding oil to your engine between oil changes, it could indicate a leak or burning oil, both of which warrant immediate attention.

Trust Cloverdale Auto for Your Oil Change Needs

Regular oil changes are a fundamental aspect of vehicle maintenance that should not be overlooked. By keeping your engine properly lubricated with clean, fresh oil, you can prevent premature wear and tear, maintain optimal performance, and prolong the life of your vehicle. When it comes to oil change services in Winston-Salem, NC, Cloverdale Auto is your go-to destination for reliable automotive maintenance.

With our team of experienced technicians, commitment to quality, and dedication to customer satisfaction, we’re proud to be your trusted partner in keeping your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently. Schedule your oil change with Cloverdale Auto today and experience the difference for yourself. Your engine—and your wallet—will thank you.


6 Maintenance Items You Shouldn’t Skip

Owning an automobile is a big responsibility. You know that if you want to keep everything in perfect working order, you must maintain your vehicle. Sadly, many of the repairs we service in our garage at Cloverdale Auto can be avoided. There are many things car owners do that can shorten the lifespan of their vehicles, and they don’t even realize it.

Preventive Maintenance Musts

There are some things on your vehicle that you can let slide, such as filling up that windshield wiper fluid. However, there are other things that you can’t ignore, as it can mean everything to the health and safety of your car and those that ride in it. Here are a few items you should add to your preventative maintenance checklist, and if you can’t do these things for yourself, stop by, and let us help you out.

1. Cleaning the Undercarriage

While we don’t have as much problem here in North Carolina with snow and ice as in other states, any storm or traveling to another place can cause a buildup. Many municipalities use brine to treat the roads and prevent accidents. Sadly, this mixture can build up and attach to your exhaust, muffler, and braking system.

It would help if you washed your undercarriage after driving through any inclement weather where the road was treated. Getting a car wash is more cost-effective than paying for a new exhaust system.

2. Check Tire Pressure

Tires are costly, so you must ensure your tires are in good shape. One blowout on the freeway can cause a significant accident. However, most incidents can be avoided by simply monitoring your tire pressure.

One thing many people do is try to go by visualizing to see if they look right. You can’t go by what you see, as you need to go by the specifications of your specific vehicle.

Every time the temperature drops a mere 10 degrees, it can cause your tires to lose 1-2 pounds of pressure. This is why you often see your tire light come on after a cold night. Driving on tires that aren’t adequately inflated can cost you more money at the gas pump, and it can cause uneven wear and tear on them.

3. Change The Windshield Wipers

The price of windshield wipers has increased substantially but remember that you always get what you pay for when it comes to parts like this. The economic sets won’t last long or might not properly clean your windows.

Your wipers must be replaced when you have any issues with your visual field. For instance, you should change them if the wipers won’t clear the window or it leaves streaks. The rule of thumb is these should be replaced every six months. Indeed, please don’t wait until they drag or make noise as they glide across the windshield, or they can scratch the glass.

4. Clean the Windows

Do you rely on a carwash or the rain to clean your windows? The windows of your car are essential, as they allow you to see the things around you. Have you ever tried driving at night with your front windshield dirty? It can certainly impact how well you can see the road, especially when bright lights are shining at you.

Using an ammonia-based window cleaner is essential to cut through the grime and dirt. Remember also to clean the inside of the windows. Even though they’re not exposed to the elements like the other side, they still can get filthy from the passengers and debris in the cabin.

5. Replace The Battery Every 3 Years

The life span of your battery is around three years. If you get more use out of it, you’re lucky. You’re probably running on a cheaper cell if you get less out of it. Batteries are available in all price ranges; some are better than others.

Read the reviews before you buy, just like you would do anything else. The most common time for your battery to act up is during the cold months. Remember that even though your battery seems to be doing well, it can stop and leave you stranded without warning. Though they often do give some indication of an issue, it’s not always the case.

6. Change the Oil

Your motor oil may be synthetic or traditional but must be changed periodically. The longer the oil is in your engine, the more gunky deposits will build up. When motor oil sits for long periods, it becomes thick like sludge.

Can you imagine going 10,000 miles without changing your oil? Sometimes we get people in our shop that say they keep up with their oil changes, but when we pull the drain plug, it tells another story. Oil should be a hue of amber or brown, and when the oil is black, we know it’s not been changed in a while.

While you don’t need to fear your friendly mechanic, keeping your oil changed ensures your car keeps running. An engine that doesn’t have the oil changed regularly can cease and blow a gasket from the lack of oxygen and abundance of debris.

Getting an Appointment for Preventative Maintenance

Have you kept up with all the regular maintenance items listed above? Some people are okay with changing the oil, checking the tires, and cleaning the windows, while others struggle to do these things. We’re a full-service shop that helps you with your automotive needs. At Cloverdale Auto, we want your car to keep you safe on the busy highways. We can do an inspection, fix anything wrong, and get you safely back on the road.

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.

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.

Warming Up Your Car

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.

winter road trip 2

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.

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.

Why engine light needs to be diagnosed?

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.

Six Auto Care Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Running Great

Six Auto Care Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Running Great

There are many reasons why your check engine light turns on or you experience problems with your car. But you can keep your vehicle running great forever, if you follow some simple auto care tips. Some of these are things you can do on your own. Others require the help of a skilled auto technician.

Three Auto Care Tips for You to Follow On Your Own

The key to your car running forever is in maintaining it as well as you should. Below are three auto care tips for you to start following today, on your own:

Stop Speeding

Today’s cars, trucks and SUVs go fast. But few of us ever need to reach the maximum speed an engine allows. Being able to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in a few seconds is impressive. But accelerating more slowly is better for your vehicle’s overall condition. Avoid revving the engine and remember that “slow and steady wins the race,” especially when it comes to the longevity of your car and its parts.

Do Not Store Heavy Items in Your Car

Another easy auto care tip is simply not storing heavy objects in your car, truck or SUV. Leaving heavy items on the floorboards, in the back seat or in the trunk inflicts unnecessary wear and tear on your tires. It also strains your vehicle in other ways, such as affecting your suspension. Not to mention extra weight = more fuel to move that weight.

Pay Attention to How Your Car Sounds

Get to know the sounds of your vehicle. This enables you to know when something is audibly wrong with the engine. And this seemingly simple auto car tip just might be what saves you from spending unnecessary thousands.

Just think, you’re driving down the road and you hear a knocking or clunking sound. As the responsible and intelligent driver you are, you immediately pull over and shut off your engine. This seemingly insignificant choice could save you thousands. Hearing and responding to irregular car sounds is HUGE. Pulling over and shutting off your engine could save your vehicle from overhear heating. Correctly responding to this out of the normal car sound could easily define the difference between a simple oil change and coolant flush, and a new engine!

Two Auto Care Tips for Your Mechanic to Perform

Besides doing all you can at home to keep your car running its best, you also need to visit an auto mechanic shop at least once per year. Your vehicle’s manual shows how often your car needs routine maintenance. Follow these guidelines or take the advice of your Winston Salem, NC mechanic at Cloverdale Auto Service.

Change Oil and Fluids on a Regular Schedule

Not changing your oil as you should leads to a blown engine. That is a costly problem, no matter your vehicle’s make or model. To know how often to change your oil, read the manufacturer’s recommendations in your vehicle’s manual.

Other fluids also require routine checks and changing, to keep your car running great for a long time. These include:

  • Radiator fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Air conditioning coolant
  • Washer fluid

You can keep some of these fluids topped off through home auto care. But for a system flush and replacement of old fluids, you need a mechanic’s help.

Get Routine Tune-Ups

Your manufacturer’s manual also tells you how often you should tune up your vehicle. This tune up involves an experienced mechanic checking its parts, running a diagnostic test, performing routine service and making recommendations according to specific needs. You possibly need to replace brake pads, spark plugs, tires or a fuel line, as examples. But when you get your car, truck or SUV tuned up on a regular basis, you can have confidence that it is running its best and will last a long time.

The Biggest Auto Care Tip of All? Find an Honest Mechanic.

Cloverdale Auto Service is a woman-owned local business, one taking pride in Winston Salem, North Carolina and the customers we serve. We work hard to ensure you receive the best auto service at a fair price, keeping your car running its best as long as possible. Follow the auto care tips above and bring your car to Cloverdale Auto Service for routine maintenance and repairs. Or call us at 336-331-3448 to schedule your convenient service appointment or for more information about our auto care tips.

Cloverdale Auto Service