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.

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. 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.

The Most Common Problems with Manual Transmission

The Most Common Problems with Manual Transmission

More people choose the convenience and ease of driving an automatic transmission vehicle today, instead of opting for a manual transmission. In fact, only about 10 percent of American adults own manual cars. If you drive a stick shift with a clutch, your vehicle actually requires slightly different care and attention than for an automatic car, truck or SUV.

Many people who drive cars with clutches do so because they enjoy improved car handling. They benefit from higher fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs, too.

To keep your manual transmission vehicle from giving you headaches, consider some of their special problems…

Slipping Clutch

A manual transmission clutch transfers power from the engine to the transmission, itself. In other words, this key part enables you to shift gears. If it slips, you notice the engine revving but no movement. Signs like this point to a worn clutch or its pedal requiring adjustment by your mechanic.

Clutches, like other car parts, break down. They wear out from use or misuse, just like tires and brakes. If you feel your floor pedal not working as it should, you risk safety problems. To fix it, your auto technician can replace the clutch and its flywheel, disc, pressure plate and bearing by removing the transmission. For most vehicles with a manual transmission, the clutch needs replacement every 100,000 miles or so.

Gear Shifting Problems

If you experience problems shifting gears, you need to take your vehicle to your Winston-Salem, NC auto repair shop. Not being able to smoothly shift gears often indicates you need the clutch replaced. It can mean your vehicle has worn or damaged transmission parts. It can also indicate your car has electrical problems. Other possibilities include having the wrong transmission fluid in your car or a bad gear.

Sticking Clutch

Auto technicians see many clutches that stick to the floor and do not come back up as they should. Usually, it means the master or slave cylinder has leakage at the external seal. To fix this part, you need air bled from the system and parts replaced. If this is your car’s problem, it does not require removal of the transmission.

Leaking or Dirty Transmission Fluid

Manual transmission fluid requires changing, just like automatic transmission fluid. Without doing so, you risk breakdown of internal components. Most vehicles need this fluid change at between 45,000 and 65,000 miles on the odometer. You can find your manufacturer’s recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual.

Transmission fluid helps prevent hydraulic failure. Fluid leaks often occur in components of a manual transmission clutch, such as in the hydraulic lines and the master and slave cylinder. When you take your vehicle in for routine oil changes, you should also have the auto repair tech check your transmission fluid levels.

Effects of Abusive Driving

Your car is a machine that requires care like any other machine with many working parts. To keep it in its best shape and operating as it should, you must take care of it. Part of taking good care of a manual transmission vehicle is driving it properly. Never start driving in second or third gear to reduce having to shift. Skipping gears abuses the clutch.

Another common abusive practice is riding your clutch pedal. Always ensure your foot comes off of this pedal at traffic lights by first placing the gear in neutral. Keeping your foot on it wears this critical part down very quickly.

Check Your Manual Transmission Health Today

To properly maintain your manual transmission and ensure it works as it should, bring your car into Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Our auto repair technicians check fluid levels, perform diagnostic service and repair these parts as they break down. To schedule your visit call 336-331-3448 today.

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.

Why is factory scheduled maintenance so important?

Why Factory Scheduled Maintenance so Important

We live in a time when almost everyone must own a car or have access to one. But owning a vehicle is not enough. You also have to fulfill your responsibilities of ownership. These responsibilities include maintaining an insurance policy, vehicle registration, emissions inspections and regular service. But what is factory scheduled maintenance and why must you follow these guidelines?

Why is factory scheduled maintenance so important?

The manufacturer who designed and manufactured your car, truck or SUV did so with specific operating conditions in mind. Their design works best when cared for as they specify. The automaker provides factory scheduled maintenance instructions to help you understand how to take care of the vehicle for its best performance.

If you do not keep up with this factory scheduled maintenance, you face problems with individual components and the vehicle, as a whole. Neglecting maintenance enables excessive wear and tear on its parts, forcing other components to work harder or fail. Failed parts prove much more expensive than the maintenance that keeps them running as they should.

Who comes up with the factory scheduled maintenance?

The general recommendation in the automotive industry is for major service/maintenance to occur at:

  • 30,000 miles
  • 60,000 miles
  • 100,000 miles

At a minimum

If you do not drive your vehicle very often, your maintenance should take place at two years, five years and 10 years. You can certainly choose to maintain your vehicle through visits to Cloverdale Auto more often, if you choose.

When you take your car, truck or SUV into Cloverdale Auto for its 30,000 mile maintenance, you can expect to receive several automotive services. These include an engine air filter change, oil change, brake fluid flush, cabin air filter change and tire rotation. Of course, make/model specifics do occationally vary. That’s why it’s important to take your vehicle to a mechanic that specializes in and knows your vehicle make. They will be familiar with make specifics for factory recommended maintenance intervals.

At the 60,000 mile interval or after five years of ownership, you receive the same services as for 30,000 mile maintenance. But at this time, you also need a transmission fluid flush from Cloverdale Auto.

After 10 years of ownership or at 100,000 miles, you receive all of the above services plus replacement of the spark plugs, water pump and timing belt, if needed. Cloverdale Auto’s skilled technicians also provide a differential fluid change and transfer case fluid change.

Your Maintenance Timing and Services Can Vary from Typical Recommendations

Factory scheduled maintenance is recommended for the best operation of your vehicle according to typical use, wear and tear. But within this scheduled maintenance are normal duty standards and severe duty standards.

Normal duty standards apply when you drive your vehicle for less than 12,000 miles per year. This is the typical use for someone who only drives a short commute for work. It also involves mostly highway driving, not as much stop-and-go through traffic. If this is how you drive your car, truck or SUV, most auto mechanics recommend you follow the time-based model of factory scheduled maintenance. For example, you should have your vehicle maintained at two years, five years and 10 years of ownership.

Severe duty standards apply whether you do off-roading or drive under other intense conditions. Conditions for following a severe duty maintenance schedule include:

  • Extended periods of idling
  • Stop and go driving
  • Dusty conditions
  • Extreme temperatures

Most drivers fall into the category of doing a lot of stop and go driving. So you likely fall under the severe driving conditions, even if you do not go off-roading or drive in extreme temperatures. Severe duty maintenance typically includes having your vehicle’s fluids and filters changed more often.

Cloverdale Auto Provides Your Factory Scheduled Maintenance

Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, North Carolina helps you keep your vehicle’s factory scheduled maintenance up to date. In turn, this keeps your vehicle running as it should.

Other key automotive services provided by Cloverdale Auto include:

Call Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem at 336-331-3448 for a service appointment. Be sure to ask about your factory scheduled maintenance and how to keep your car, truck or SUV on the road and driving its best.

Warning Signs of a Failing Alternator in the Honda Odyssey

Warning Signs of a Failing Alternator in the Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey gets some of the best safety and ownership reviews out of all of the minivans on the road today. Even so, it can still suffer from mechanical issues like a failing alternator that call for immediate repairs.

As the owner of an Odyssey, you need to know how to tell if your engine’s alternator could be failing. By knowing the warning signs of a failing alternator, you can act quickly and bring your Odyssey to our knowledgeable Honda mechanics in Winston Salem for a prompt diagnosis and replacement.

Warning Sign Your Vehicle May Have A Failing Alternator Include:

  • Battery Light May Be A Hint You Have A Bad Alternator

It seems like common sense to assume that an illuminated battery light means that the battery in your Odyssey is failing. However, the battery light coming on in your minivan could also signal that your alternator is going bad.

In fact, the alternator’s main job is to provide electricity to the engine while the vehicle is running. The serpentine belt turns this part and allows it to charge effectively. The power that it generates goes into the battery, which in turn stores the voltage so that the Odyssey can start without any assistance from the alternator.

An illuminated battery light alerts you to the fact that the battery is not getting enough voltage from the alternator. If you see this light, you should avoid assuming that it means that you need to change the battery. Bring your Odyssey to us and allow our mechanics to determine if it is in fact your alternator going bad.

  • Engine Stalling

Another common symptom of a failing alternator in a Honda Odyssey is engine stalling. This symptom can be particularly dangerous especially when you are driving on the interstate or busy city roadways.

If you experience engine stalling, you should immediately cut the power to all of your car’s electrical accessories like the radio, heated seats, and even the headlights. This allows all of the power to go to the battery so that you can pull over or bring your car to our North Carolina Honda repair shop for immediate service.

We can test the alternator to find out if it is low on power and needs to replacement. You should not continue to drive your Odyssey if it experiences engine stalling because of a failing alternator.

  • Dim Headlights

The headlights in your Odyssey require a significant amount of voltage from your minivan’s battery to operate. When the alternator cannot provide this power, the headlights will drain the reserve power in the battery. As the reserve dwindles, the headlights will start to go dim.

Dimming headlights are in fact one of the best ways to tell if your alternator needs to be replaced. When they are not as bright as they should be, bring your Odyssey to our Honda mechanics in Winston Salem. Because we can quickly and easily test your alternator. Then recommend replacement if need be. Or, identify the real problem if it is not a bad alternator.

  • Problems with Electrical Accessories

Like the headlights, the electrical accessories in your Odyssey require a substantial amount of power from the battery to operate. You can gauge how well your alternator is working on the power that accessories like the windows, heated seats, radio and other systems in your Odyssey perform.

When any of them start to fail, you should assume that it is because of your alternator failing in the engine. Your next move should be to bring your minivan to our Honda mechanics to have the alternator tested and then replaced with a new one if it is low on power.

  • Bearing Noises

Many Honda Odyssey owners are not aware of the fact that the engine can make bearing noises when the alternator begins to fail. It is easy to assume that the noises are in fact caused by the serpentine belt.

However, when the belt or the actual bearings go bad, they will make a metallic grinding noise. If you are not sure of what is causing the bearing noises in your engine, bring your Odyssey to us, and allow our team of skilled Honda technicians to determine if your alternator is in fact the culprit.

These symptoms are a few to be on the lookout for when you are driving your Honda Odyssey. They indicate that your vehicle may have a failing alternator that needs to be replaced immediately. Avoid any guesswork. Also, do not take your chances out on the road with a failed alternator. Entrust your Odyssey’s care to our team of licensed and experienced Honda mechanics in Winston Salem, NC today.

 

For Expert Professional Auto Repair In Winston Salem

Call Cloverdale Auto Service

336-331-3448

Cloverdale Auto Service