The 8 Benefits of Using OEM Parts for Car Repairs

The 8 Benefits of Using OEM Parts for Car Repairs

Inflation has caused an increase in nearly everything you buy, including automotive parts. At Cloverdale Auto, we must often give our customers bad news when it comes to the needs of their vehicle. Automotive repairs are often costly, but don’t let the unforeseen expenses cause you to make the wrong decision on parts. OEM parts are superior because of their quality.

When faced with costly repairs, you have two choices: aftermarket or OEM parts. While some people would never consider putting an aftermarket part on their automobile, others are looking for a cost-effective way to get back on the road without too much damage to their bank account.


Benefits of OEM Parts

There are some things in life that you can buy generic or aftermarket items, which helps to save you money. However, there are some items that you should never skimp on in quality simply because of price. There’s a reason why OEM parts cost more, and it’s due to the vast benefits that come with them. While the OEM and aftermarket parts might look the same, there are vast differences in quality.


1. They Fit Like a Glove

When installing a new part on your automobile, you want the piece to fit like a glove. The problem with many aftermarket parts is that there’s often not that seamless fit. We can make it work, but it doesn’t have the same precise fitting as OEM parts. The reason is that the OEM parts are made by the same company that initially made the components of your vehicle, so their formulation is exact.


2. Reliability

The thing that stumps most people is the cost difference between aftermarket and OEM parts. Think of it as an investment for the longevity of your vehicle. Remember, these parts are made to meet the specifications of the car’s manufacturing company. They put these parts through rigorous testing to meet high-quality standards. These tests guarantee that the part will allow us to repair your vehicle and enable it to have the same performance, safety, and efficiency for years to come.


3. Warranty Assurance

There are many warranties on a vehicle that helps to protect your investment. Some warranties last 36,000 miles, while others cover up to 100,000. Did you know you can void some warranties if you don’t repair items with an OEM part? Many manufacturers state that using aftermarket parts will automatically void all warranties and leaves you financially responsible for future repairs. Our team at Cloverdale Auto knows that opting for OEM parts keeps you covered and your peace of mind intact.


4. Performance Consistency

Your automobile is a finely tuned machine with many components that must work harmoniously. The parts used play a significant role in keeping things balanced. You want your car to perform five years down the road as it did the day you drove it off the showroom floor. When you want a reliable and predictable driving experience, OEM parts are the best choice.


5. Safety

You want to minimize your driving risks, as the roadways are dangerous enough without any added hazards. OEM parts have safety standards in mind. Whether replacing brakes or other critical components, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that OEM parts help minimize potential hazards.


6. Quality, Longevity, and Reliability 

The initial investment is what makes most people turn to aftermarket parts. However, you must stop and look at the bigger picture. OEM parts are known for three things: quality, longevity, and reliability. By spending more money upfront, you can save yourself costly repairs and downtime later. We want you to make cost-effective decisions, but it doesn’t always mean going with the cheaper option. OEM parts can equal fewer repairs and replacements later.


7. Preserving Vehicle Value

You know an automobile depreciates when you drive it off the lot, so value concerns are warranted. If you want to resell or trade your car in the future, the parts you use for repairs can impact the resell value. When OEM parts are used for repairs, a vehicle is more appealing to a potential buyer, showing you spared no expense in upkeep. A commitment to quality and care goes a long way when selling a vehicle.


8. Escaping Compatibility Issues

Today’s vehicles are complex. Various components and the complicated electronic system must be considered during repairs. When you use OEM parts, it reduces the risk of any compatibility issues that often occur with aftermarket options.


Using OEM Parts is the Wise Choice

The benefits of using OEM parts for car repairs are undeniable. At Cloverdale Auto, we pride ourselves in offering top-notch automotive repair services that deliver our customers safety and satisfaction, as well as ensuring the overall health of your vehicle. Our dedication to excellence extends to our choice of parts.

The next time you’re faced with automotive repairs, you must consider the long-term advantages of choosing OEM parts and not just the initial investment. Trust the expertise of Cloverdale Auto to provide you with the highest level of service and ensure that your vehicle receives the care and attention it deserves.

We want to help provide you with a smooth and enjoyable ride every step of the way, so consider us for all your automotive needs.

Emergency Brakes_Cloverdale Auto

The Purpose Of Car & Truck Emergency Brakes

Purpose Of Car & Truck Emergency Brakes

Being the driver of an automobile comes with many responsibilities, and one of these tasks is to know all about your car’s braking system. You know the main brake is beside the accelerator, but the emergency brake can assist you in times of trouble. This device is not just there for decoration, as it’s a stopping aid that provides an extra level of security. It’s likely you haven’t used this brake often, but knowing you have it and how to use it can be beneficial.

What if you’re hurling down the road going 70 mph, and you see the cars in front of you come to a sudden stop? You try to engage your braking system, but it’s not stopping your vehicle. What’s the first thing you do? Thankfully, there’s another way to control your car and prevent an accident. The parking brake can be the device that stands between you and a significant collision. 


The History of the Parking Brakes

The first vehicles didn’t have a backup braking system, but around the 1920s, these devices were added to automobiles. It was initially called the parking or handbrake, but before the installation of these devices, drivers had to rely on the gears of the transmission to keep their cars stationary. 

Sadly, the transmission wasn’t a reliable source when the car was on a steep incline, so having a more sophisticated method was necessary. The first emergency brakes were operated using a hand lever or foot pedal. They were connected to the original braking system through the rear wheels to stop the vehicle. 

When the parking brake was engaged, it applied pressure to the wheels, which prevented them from moving or rotating. The primary purpose is to keep the vehicle stationary.

As vehicles evolved, so did the design and placement of these devices. Now, vehicles have emergency brakes neatly fitted in the center console. Even more sophisticated automobiles utilize an electronic button that engages the system.

These days, all cars and trucks come equipped with an emergency braking system, an essential safety feature. Not only does it help in securing a vehicle when parked on an incline, but it also provides additional means of control in emergencies.


4 Purposes of An Emergency Brake

You’re not alone if you have not given the parking brake much thought. However, there are four vital functions that this additional braking system can provide you that you should know how to use.  

1. It Offers Load Control

While 18-wheelers often rely on their parking brake for safety while hauling large loads, you can also find them valuable while towing a camper or other car. Loading and unloading a vehicle can provide many dangers as the automobile can roll or shift. 

Thankfully, when you engage the emergency brake, you stop the vehicle from moving even an inch. If you ever need to stop a truck carrying a large load while driving, the parking brake can be of much assistance. 

2. It Brings the Vehicle to a Controlled Stop

While the weather in North Carolina is usually favorable, there are times when slick roads and sudden stops can leave you in harm’s way. During rain, snow, or inclement weather, having an extra brake that you can engage at a moment’s notice is helpful. 

Driving down the roadways in life puts you in the face of danger where you may need to react quickly. You may experience total failure in your ABS braking system, and you must rely on the parking brake to safely stop the vehicle. The parking brake helps bring the car to a controlled stop and alleviates the potential of accidents or collisions.

3. It’s a Backup to the Primary Braking System

When you park your vehicle, if there’s the slightest bit of incline in the ground, it can cause your automobile to roll forward or backwards. This was a common problem when manual transmissions or stick shifts were popular, but even an automatic transmission could move when parked. 

Engaging the emergency brake adds another layer of protection for your car. Since the primary ABS uses hydraulic pressure that isn’t functional while the engine is off, you can rest assured that your vehicle will remain safe and unmoved by using the parking brake instead. 

4. It’s Useful During Inspections and Maintenance

No one likes taking their vehicle to the garage to be serviced, but the emergency brake benefits your mechanic during routine maintenance and inspections. By applying the emergency brake and putting the car in gear or park, we can help to prevent the wheels from rotating during repairs. Additionally, during safety inspections, it’s commonly engaged to help protect the inspector and the owner. 


Emergency Brake Inspections

When was the last time you had your emergency brake inspected? Most people ignore it as they only worry about the primary ABS. The emergency brake is an important safety feature that helps secure your vehicle when parked, providing an additional measure of control in emergencies or while handling heavy loads. Ensuring it works properly is imperative for you and the safety of the passengers in your car. 

Proper usage of the emergency brake contributes to overall vehicle safety and prevents accidents or damage caused by uncontrolled vehicle movement. Call today to schedule an inspection on the parking brake and give yourself peace of mind that when you need to use it, it will function as it should.

Vehicles Sensors

Making Easy Sense Out of Your Vehicles Sensors

Making Easy Sense Out of Your Vehicles Sensors

Your vehicle is equipped with various sensors essential in monitoring and controlling different aspects of its performance. When one sensor fails to work correctly, it can mess with your gas mileage and even leave you stranded. The average vehicle has between 60-100 sensors, so ensuring these are all in top working order is essential.

Common Sensors Found In Modern Vehicles

If you’ve been driving for any length of time, chances are that you’ve already had to replace many sensors in your car. Here are the most common sensors and what they do to enhance your driving performance.

1. Oxygen Sensor: It’s also called the O2 Sensor, and it measures the oxygen content in the exhaust gases. It helps the engine control unit (ECU) adjust the air-fuel mixture for optimal combustion and to reduce emissions.

2. Mass Airflow Sensor: The MAF sensor measures the air entering the engine. It provides data to the ECU, determining the appropriate fuel injection and ignition timing.

3. Throttle Position Sensor: The TPS monitors the position of the throttle valve. It informs the ECU about the driver’s throttle input, allowing it to adjust fuel delivery and engine response accordingly.

4. Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor: The MAP sensor measures the intake manifold’s absolute pressure, providing information about engine load. This data helps the ECU optimize fuel injection and ignition timing.

5. Coolant Temperature Sensor: The CTS measures the engine coolant temperature. It provides feedback to the ECU, assisting in adjusting fuel delivery, idle speed, and cooling fan operation.

6. Knock Sensor: The knock sensor detects abnormal combustion, called engine knock or bang. It sends signals to the ECU, allowing it to adjust and prevent damage to the engine.

7. Camshaft Position Sensor: The CMP sensor monitors the position and speed of the camshaft. This information is crucial for proper fuel injection timing and synchronization with the crankshaft sensor.

8. Crankshaft Position Sensor: The CKP sensor monitors the position and speed of the crankshaft. It provides vital data to the ECU for fuel injection and ignition timing, and it detects misfires.

9. Wheel Speed Sensors: Wheel speed sensors are found in anti-lock braking systems and traction control systems. They monitor the rotational speed of each wheel, allowing the system to detect a wheel lockup or loss of traction.

10. Acceleration Sensors: These sensors are used in electronic stability control systems, and they can detect changes in vehicle acceleration and rotation. They help the system apply individual wheel brakes or adjust engine power to maintain vehicle stability.

These are just a few examples of the many sensors present in modern vehicles. Each sensor serves a specific purpose and contributes to the car’s overall performance, efficiency, and safety. When one is fouling out or about to go out altogether, you will certainly see a difference in the operation of your vehicle.

Signs of Sensor Failure

When a vehicle sensor malfunctions or fails, it can lead to various symptoms or warning signs. Here are some common signs that may indicate a bad sensor in a vehicle:

1. Check Engine Light: The most common indicator of a sensor issue is the illumination of the check engine light on the dashboard. A wide range of sensor-related problems can trigger this ominous warning sign.

2. Poor Performance or Reduced Power: A faulty sensor can cause the vehicle’s performance to suffer. You may experience decreased power, sluggish acceleration, or difficulty maintaining speed.

3. Rough Idling or Stalling: A malfunctioning sensor, such as the idle air control sensor or throttle position sensor, can lead to rough idling or even stalling of the engine when the vehicle stops or decelerates.

4. Decreased Fuel Efficiency: Sensors like oxygen or mass airflow play a role in optimizing fuel delivery. A faulty sensor can result in poor fuel efficiency and increased fuel consumption.

5. Transmission Issues: Malfunctioning sensors, such as vehicle speed or position sensors, can cause transmission-related problems. You may experience erratic shifting, slipping gears, or failure to use the proper gear.

6. ABS or Traction Control Warnings: Wheel speed sensors are crucial for operating anti-lock braking systems and traction control systems. If a wheel speed sensor fails, it can trigger warning lights related to these systems.

7. Erratic Instrument Cluster Readings: Faulty sensors can cause erratic or incorrect readings on the vehicle’s instrument cluster. This could include inaccurate fuel level readings, speedometer fluctuations, or sporadic temperature readings.

8. Overheating: A malfunctioning coolant temperature sensor can provide incorrect readings, leading to overheating issues. The engine may run hotter than average, and the temperature gauge may fluctuate or read inaccurately.

9. Ignition Problems: Sensors such as the crankshaft or camshaft position sensors are vital for proper ignition timing. A faulty sensor can result in difficulties starting the engine or cause misfires.

10. Unexpected Warning Alerts: Some sensors, like the tire pressure monitoring system sensor, can trigger warning lights or alerts if malfunctioning. You may receive false tire pressure warnings or be unaware of actual tire pressure issues.

Getting Help with Sensor Issues

It’s important to note that these signs can indicate various issues, not just sensor problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is recommended to have your vehicle diagnosed by a qualified mechanic or technician who can identify the specific situation and replace or repair the faulty sensor if necessary.

If you’re having issues related to one of the many sensors in your automobile, please contact Cloverdale Auto for assistance. Our well-trained technicians can quickly identify your problem and get you back on the roadway.

vehicle's shocks or struts

Is It Time To Replace Your Vehicle’s Shocks or Struts?

Recently we had a customer come into our shop here at contact-us with a strange issue. They complained that every time they put their foot on the brake, it sounded like marbles were rolling from the back to the front of the car. It was an odd problem, but it’s not uncommon to hear such noises when your struts or shocks are going bad.

See, your struts and shocks are part of your suspension system, and without these vital parts, your vehicle won’t ride smoothly and can’t distribute the weight properly. People describe the noises in various ways, but it all stems from the same problem. Do you know the warning signs of bad struts?

While this customer heard “marbles” rolling around, we’ve had others complain of squeaking noises when they turn sharply, go over a bump, or put on the brakes. While we put the vehicle on a rack and look at the suspension system, you can do a little test at home. Put your hand on the bumper and give the automobile a little push.

Does the car bounce back fast, or does it seem controlled and doesn’t have much give? If your vehicle bounces and even makes a squeaking noise, it’s a sure sign you have issues with your suspension system. You must keep this vital part of your vehicle in top shape, as comfort isn’t the only concern.

The Importance of a Good Suspension System

Most people notice a change in their vehicle when they go over a bump. When you encounter a speed bump or pothole in the road, does it feel like riding on a bucking bronco? You may also hear that classic squeaking when you go over anything, including a smooth roadway.

Your suspension system keeps your automobile from bouncing or swaying as you drive. Your car weighs a lot and must be balanced and evenly distributed. No matter what terrain you’re traveling on, the shocks and struts give you a better ride. If you let these parts go too long without repair, they can break, making the vehicle undrivable.

Understanding the Difference Between Shocks and Struts

You’re not alone if you don’t know the difference between a shock and a strut. These terms are often used interchangeably because people don’t know the significant differences between the two. The shocks help the coil springs in your suspension system absorb the impact you feel on the highways.

The shock springs into action when you hit a bump in the road. If you didn’t have this vital component, your car would bounce, and the tires would fail to keep in contact with the asphalt. You may have encountered a vehicle that bounced down the road, and you will now know poor shocks likely caused it.

Struts, on the other hand, are one unit that has both the power to absorb the shock and has coils and springs in them. They provide your automobile with structural support when it encounters bumps. A standard suspension system needs ball joints and control arms to keep things moving smoothly, but the strut replaces these parts as it’s a unit that does multiple functions.

Signs Your Suspension System’s in Trouble

First, you need to know if your car has shocks or struts, and you can find that in the owner’s manual by bringing your vehicle to your local mechanic or by looking it up online. Once you identify what your vehicle needs, you need to monitor the timing for replacement.

You can count on replacing these parts in your suspension system every 50,000-100,000 miles, depending on the types of roads you drive. Someone who lives on a gravel road and goes over many rough roads might have to replace them more than someone who only drives freeways and through urban areas.

Thankfully, unlike a fuel pump or timing chain, these parts don’t just decide to give up one day. They deteriorate over a period of time, and typically they provide some warning signs that they’re worn out. The four indications that you’re having issues with your shocks or structs include the following:

*You feel like you’re losing control of the vehicle when you hit a bump.
*You hear squeaking and other noises when going over bumps.
*The vehicle doesn’t ride as smoothly as it did, and you feel beat up driving around.
*There’s fluid on the ground that’s not oil or antifreeze. It’s likely hydraulic fluid.
*Your tires have uneven wearing and may display cupping and dips, and they also don’t hold to the road.
*The vehicle sways when you hit a bump or go around a sharp turn. This is a classic sign of poor weight distribution in your suspension system.

Replacing Shocks & Struts

While you can do a few things in your car to save money, replacing shocks and struts is a big job. It takes a qualified technician to fix them and return the vehicle to proper alignment. It’s advisable to have this system checked periodically for signs of wear.

You need to replace both if you have a bad strut on the front axle. Replacing only one will ruin your tires and cause uneven wear. Are your struts or shocks not giving you the smooth ride you need? Has it been a while since you’ve had them replaced or inspected? Call us today to see how we can help.

Auto AC Repair

Getting Your AC System Ready for Summer’s Scorching Heat

Getting Your AC System Ready for Summer

The summers in Winston-Salem, NC, are scorching hot. Now is the time to ensure your vehicle’s air conditioning is ready to tackle extreme temperatures. Should your AC stop working in the middle of a sweltering day, it can certainly put a wrench in things.

There are a few common causes of AC breakdowns, such as a leak or compressor failure. Your once icy air can suddenly turn warm and fail to cool the cabin of your car. You could be dealing with an issue like a filter clog or have problems with your cooling fan or radiator. In some instances, the freon levels are low, and your AC needs to be recharged.

Finding the Reason Behind Your AC Failure

The good news is that you don’t need to suffer in that stuffy vehicle when Cloverdale Auto Service can help. The most challenging part of handling AC failure is the diagnostic work. Everyone wants to save money these days, but buying a kit at your local automotive store to recharge the unit might not fix the problem. Throwing your hard-earned cash out the window isn’t wise. Here are some things to consider about AC failure.

1. There Could Be Leaks

Over time, the refrigerant in your AC can leak due to holes or worn fittings. Look around the AC unit for any signs of leakage on the ground. Don’t confuse the condensation water under the car for a leak, which is a common mistake. It doesn’t mean that one isn’t there if you don’t see a leak.

Cloverdale Auto Service uses a leak detection kit to put dye in the system. Using the power of UV light, we can quickly identify the area of concern. Some of the most common places that we find leaks are:

•Fittings and crimps
•Hose manifolds
•O-rings and front seals
•Pin holes in the condenser

2. The Fan Might Work, but It Can Blow Hot Air

If your fan is blasting, but the air it’s providing is warm, it can be a sign of a condenser issue. The AC system inside your car has a condenser and evaporator coil, much like you do in your home’s unit.

Since it’s located on the front of the vehicle, it’s not uncommon for leaves, twigs, and other debris to get into the system and clog things up. Anything that impedes the air from passing over the condenser can cause your air to blow warm.

3. The Compressor Engaging Is Essential for a Functioning System

When you turn your AC to the max settings, the fan should run at full capacity, and you should hear the compressor engage to provide cooling. You can tell when it kicks on because you likely feel the boost or hear it. Under the hood, the clutch engages and disengages a pulley.

We use a pressure gauge to see if your compressor runs on the low side. Commonly, a low-pressure unit doesn’t have the proper refrigerant levels. If you fail to hear the compressor engage and the fluid levels are ideal, we need to use a voltmeter to see if there’s any power. It’s possible that there’s a blown fuse, a bad clutch, or a cycling switch that’s faulty.

The compressor is the pump that sends the freon to the unit, and if it fails to do its job, your vehicle won’t cool down. The compressor is expensive to replace, as it’s common for parts inside the unit to become worn. Having professional diagnostics on this unit is wise before buying parts and trying the DIY method. It may be something that can be fixed without replacing the entire unit.

4. The Evaporator Coil Might Be Compromised

The evaporator coil takes the hot air from the cabin and allows it to pass over the coils to cool. Then, the blower motor assembly transports this cooled air to the vents inside the cabin. Several things can go wrong within this area of the AC system.

For instance, the blower motor assembly can fail to work, so when you engage the system, you feel cool air coming out, but it’s not coming out with any force. Another problem many people experience is a roar coming from the assembly.

This signifies that the unit is at the end of its life expectancy. The coils themselves can become clogged too, or a freon leak may not allow the evaporator to cool the air as it passes over them.

The Importance of AC Inspections

As you can see, diagnosing AC problems is very challenging without proper diagnostic equipment and knowledge of this complicated system. At Cloverdale Auto Service, we can quickly identify the issue to get your AC back up and running. Don’t waste precious time and money trying to fit the unit yourself, as it’s not always as easy as going to the automotive store for quick fixes.

The AC unit has electrical components that can easily be damaged if you’re not skilled in repairs. While watching videos online and trying to save yourself downtime and money is helpful, there are some things that it’s best to leave to the professionals. Is your AC unit ready for the sweltering heat we experience here in the South? If you’re not sure, it never hurts to have an inspection to reduce the chances of complete system failure.

car transmission

Are You Damaging Your Transmission?

Bad habits are hard to break, but it’s time to make a change when dealing with a vital system in your car, like your engine and transmission. The transmission is one of your vehicle’s most crucial and complex systems, so it should be adequately treated to ensure longevity. It’s just another thing to add to your long to-do list, but keeping this system in good shape isn’t that difficult.

Knowledge can go a long way regarding this vital component. If you’ve ever had a transmission fail on you, you know how expensive it is to replace them. Many people are guilty of system maltreatment and don’t know what they’re doing is so harmful. Thankfully, at Cloverdale Auto, we can help steer you in the right direction.

Bad Habits to Avoid with Your Transmission

Your vehicle either has an automatic or manual transmission, also known as a standard or stick shift. It’s not common to buy a car these days that’s a stick unless you’re buying a sports car. The automatic transmission shifts the gears for you seamlessly without you giving it any thought.

The component uses the torque behind the engine and helps to make the vehicle move regardless of its massive weight. You can go from 20 to 85 mph without putting too much strain on the motor. Thus, driving is easier as you don’t have to worry about constantly shifting gears. Here are some damaging driving habits that can cause excessive wear on your transmission.

1. Running on Improper Fluid Levels

You know what it’s like to be thirsty. Your mouth feels like cotton, and you feel like you’ll perish if you don’t get water quickly. It’s a miserable feeling, but this is the same scenario as when your vehicle is low on fluids. If you want to drive your transmission straight to the junkyard, run it without proper levels.

Your fluids are responsible for keeping your transmission cool and lubricated, and if it’s too low or gone altogether, it will overheat. Additionally, the internal parts within this component will grind and can cause damage or failure.

2. Drag Racing

It’s fun to drag race, especially for the younger generations. Drag racing on a green light produces excessive heat. The transmission heats up very quickly, and it doesn’t have a chance to cool down when it sustains this type of abuse.

Some engines and transmissions are made for drag racing, but your average vehicle lacks such capabilities. You risk ruining the driveline components within this system, which means you’ll need a complete overhaul.

3. Overheating Your Engine

An automobile is equipped to handle temperatures under the hood as high as 200 degrees, but it overheats once it exceeds this threshold. Even if you go just 20 degrees over, you’re causing unnecessary wear to your engine and transmission. Should the temperature reach 300 degrees, you’re shortening the longevity of the system.

When the oil and fluids are so hot that they’re boiling, they can’t lubricate and protect as they should. Pull over and turn off the car if your temperature gauge heads into the red zone. You need to get help before you destroy expensive components that will cost thousands to repair or replace.

4. Abrupt Stops

Sudden stops are as horrible for your transmission as sudden take-offs. Do people often lunge forward when you stop because you’re slamming on your breaks? Your transmission is a mounted system, and when you have sudden and jerky movements, it can cause damage to this part. The mounts that hold it in place can become loose or break.

After an accident requiring you to slam the brakes, things like your mounts should always be checked.

5. Not Changing Filters and Fluids

The transmission filter needs to be replaced, just like your oil and fuel filters. While it may not need to be changed as often, it shouldn’t be left to time and chance. Your filters strain out impurities that can keep the system from running efficiently.

They can become clogged and cause a system malfunction. The fluid levels are another thing that must be considered. Any fluids in the car will become dirty over time.

The fluids in your transmission should be a pink or red color and should have no smells to them. When the fluid isn’t changed in a timely fashion, it will cause the seals and gaskets to wear down, as well as internal components. Fluids that can no longer filter impurities are prone to overheating, which will cause total system failure.

6. Using Over-the-Counter Additives

Today, you try to do it yourself and save money. While it’s good to gain knowledge and learn new things, it’s not always best to practice on things that are so expensive. There are hundreds of products on the market that promise to seal gaskets and keep your systems running longer.

However, when you feel your transmission shifting poorly or see leaks, it’s not time to diagnose the issue yourself. You need to take your vehicle to a qualified specialist who can run diagnostics and fix the problem rather than putting a band-aid on it.

Schedule A Flush and Fill

Periodically, it’s advisable to flush the old fluid out of your transmission, replace the filter, and put fresh fluid in it. It’s recommended that this be done every 60,000 miles, but each vehicle has specific guidelines from the manufacturer. When was the last time you had this vital service performed on your car? Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Key Fob

Tips and Tricks for Utilizing Your Vehicle’s Key Fob

As cars become more advanced, push-button ignitions are replacing traditional keyed starters. You can power your vehicle without turning a switch using a key fob. Sure, like anything new; the fobs can be annoying, as you must replace the batteries and keep them within proximity of the vehicle.

The little box that hangs on your key ring is responsible for engaging your vehicle’s computer system. Even if you don’t push any buttons on the fob, it’s omitting a low-frequency signal to the mainframe of your automobile. You can start and stop the car with the touch of a button on your dash.

The fob allows you to open the doors or hatch, start the car, roll down windows, and adjust preferred settings. Gone are the days of fumbling through keys and getting scratches on the paint trying to gain entry.

Interesting Things You Can Do with Your Key Fob

Like most things in electronics, the key fob has evolved. Today’s fob can do way more than the first ones that hit the market. Yet, many people don’t realize all the power these little devices hold. Here are some of the key fob’s secret powers you need to understand to utilize them fully.

Access a Key Hidden

While keys are becoming obsolete in the automotive industry, they still have their place. What do you do when your electronic components are on the fritz and you need to get into your vehicle? The simple answer is that most fobs have a key hidden inside them for these moments.

Each car manufacturer is different, but most car companies put a key inside that can be accessed in an emergency. Knowing how to get to this inner key easily is advisable, as you’ll no doubt have to use it at least once.

Use It As a Personal Safety Device

Your key fob has a panic button that you can access in an emergency. Here’s something you probably didn’t know about; you can extend the fob range by using your body’s electricity. You only need to put the fob on your chin and hit the button you need.

You may want to unlock the door for your kid who ran ahead at the store. You can use your body’s electricity to extend the fob’s range. With the fob on your face, hit the unlock button. You can do this to lock, unlock, or use the panic button.

Sure, it probably doesn’t make much sense at first, but it becomes more apparent when you realize the electricity that runs through your body. Did you know some people have such a natural current that they can’t wear a watch? The electricity in their body messes with the timing.

Another indication is the old TV sets that used rabbit ear antennas. Whenever you touch the antenna, the picture becomes much clearer. It’s the electricity in your body that’s given it the boost.

Automatically Start Your Car

Automatic start is becoming a standard feature on many cars, as it sure comes in handy in the wintertime. Your fob is used to activate this perk, and you’ll wonder how you lived all those years without it. Don’t worry; no one can get in the car and drive it away. The fob must be inside the vehicle to start and drive the automobile. Additionally, it will shut down after 10-15 minutes of the warmup cycle.

Engage Auto Parking Features

You can do amazing things with the fob if you have a high-end vehicle like a Tesla. Using the summons feature, you can move the car back and forth with the touch of a button. Getting into and out of those tight spots when you don’t have someone else with you will no longer be a problem.

Dealing with a Dead Key Fob

One of the most significant issues with these new fobs is the battery. The more you use it, the more battery life you will take away from it. Replacing the batteries isn’t a big deal, but you must ensure you do it. If the fob isn’t acting as it should, you need to try replacing the batteries to ensure it’s this problem and not electrical.

How long will a battery last? The battery life depends heavily on the type of battery you buy and how much you use it. If you hit the fob 20 times a day every day, you can expect to get about 6-8 months’ worth of use from this battery. If you’re using it only a couple of times a day, it can last over a year or more.

A better battery is always worth the cost, as quality cells last longer. If you’re going through batteries quickly, it’s a sign there’s an issue. Even frugal varieties shouldn’t die too soon, as these are not low-draining devices.

Getting Help with Your Automobile

As technology continues to change, we’re constantly learning and evolving. While we can’t help you program a new fob to your car, as only a dealer can, we can help you sort out an electrical issue. Today’s technologically advanced vehicles are often more apt to have these types of problems.

The computer systems and more advanced wiring rival the ones in the cars of yesteryear. If you’ve put fresh batteries in your fob and are still having issues, it may be the electrical system. The team at Cloverdale Auto can help. Call us today for assistance.

Gadgets Every Driver Needs

8 Gadgets Every Driver Needs for Their Car

Gadgets Every Driver Needs

Do you need a holiday gift for someone special this year? Why not buy them a car gadget? Most people spend a lot of time behind the wheel of their vehicle, so buying them some devices to improve their ride is a must. There are a few hot gizmos on the market right now, as it’s the in-thing for drivers to accessorize.

Finding the Right Gadgets for Your Vehicle

While spending a ton of money on things you might use is effortless, you must ensure you need the item. Impulse buys can often be a mistake as they’re seldom used. It would help if you asked yourself a few questions before making a purchase, such as:

•Is this gadget something I will use?
•Am I getting good value for my money?
•Do I need this item, or is it purely a want?
•Will this gadget enhance my safety, or is it for pleasure?

By answering these four questions, you can make an informed decision. If you’re ready to buy, here are eight things that will make your life on the open road much easier.

1. Heated Ice Scraper

The weather here in the Tar Heel State doesn’t get as cold as in other states, but you will still have your fair share of window scraping. A heated scraper is a game changer for the early morning driver. Forget those large scrapers that give you a workout to remove the ice.

A heated scraper glides across your windows with ease. You can quickly remove any ice and be on your way. You can opt for a battery-powered one or get one that plugs into a USB port.

2. Emergency Auto Tool

Should you ever need to escape your vehicle quickly, you might need this gadget. It has a hammer that can break through the tough glass on your car and comes with a seat belt cutter. These devices also have flashlights and become emergency reflectors in an accident. They are small enough to fit in the glove box but are undoubtedly handy when you need help on the roadways.

3. Gel and Memory Foam Posterior Cushion

Back and neck pain is often aggravated by driving. Thankfully, grabbing a posterior cushion is the answer. Pillows with cooling gel can help when your back pain is unbearable, and the memory foam hugs every inch of your spine. It’s one gadget you should consider if you make frequent long trips.

4. Hands Free Devices

In North Carolina, no one under 18 can use a cell phone while driving. For adults, it’s no texting or emailing allowed. Just because it’s not illegal to talk on the phone doesn’t mean it’s safe. Many new cars are equipped with hands-free calling via Bluetooth, but not all vehicles have this feature.

Investing in a hands-free device is advisable. It allows you to focus on the road and not the phone. It takes a split second for you to have an accident, so it’s best to ensure you have no distractions. Plus, some areas have laws against cell phone use, so if you travel, you want to comply.

5. Wireless Diagnostic Code Reader

Cars have computer systems that indicate when there’s an issue. Everyone dreads seeing that check engine light illuminated on the dash. You need to know if it’s safe to drive and might need more time to go to your local mechanic. So, having a diagnostic code reader is the best choice.

These devices aren’t costly and can quickly tell you what’s going on with your vehicle. It can give you peace of mind and save on tow bills if you invest in this gadget.

6. Dash Cameras

If you’ve been on social media, you know how necessary a dashcam is nowadays. Not only can these devices help show proof in an accident, but they can protect you in court. You often need proof for all the little incidents on the roadway and having a dash cam is like a witness that provides an honest view of what happened.

7. GPS Tracker

Automobile thefts are up 41 % according to the Winston-Salem Journal. Having a GPS tracker on your car is brilliant. You can easily track your vehicle and help police find it should you be one of the unlucky ones who is a victim. Plus, if you have teenagers, it takes on a whole new level of importance.

8. USB Tire Inflator

You never know when the tire might need air. The cold weather can often mess with your PSI, but you need to be proactive. A tire inflator that can easily connect to your USB gives you the power to take care of the issue without a hassle.

Have you ever driven around trying to find a tire pump and didn’t have the correct change? This eliminates all those issues and can gets you enough air to get to the closest mechanic.

Gadgets Are No Substitution for a Mechanic

While you can buy inflators and scanning tools to make your life easier, nothing will replace the need for a skilled mechanic. At Cloverdale Auto, we help people with tire issues, engine overhauls, and everything in between. Your safety is our top concern. If you have a problem with your vehicle, give us a call at 336-331-3448.

Check Engine Codes

Common Check Engine Codes and When You Should Worry

Common Check Engine Codes

There’s nothing more ominous to a driver than the check engine light illuminated on the dash. Sometimes it comes on and goes back off before you can head to the mechanic, and other times it’s flashing that indicates you need service immediately.

Even the strongest person can’t help but feel a little anxiety when this light turns on, as the fear of the unknown can weigh heavy on the mind. The costs could be anywhere from a few dollars to thousands, and no one has time for their car to be out of commission in today’s busy world.

Learning the OBD II Codes

The computer in the car generates these codes. They help the mechanic quickly identify and fix the issue. It saves a lot of time and money on diagnostics when you can easily find out what’s wrong.

At Cloverdale Auto, we handle car troubles and engine codes daily, but we know that the public doesn’t have this knowledge. You can buy a machine at your local automotive store and scan it yourself, but you need to know what the codes mean. In most instances, you’ll still end up heading to your local mechanic for service.

Some codes are particular to a car manufacturer, but others will be universal. Codes are divided into four categories to help simplify things. They are as follows:

P: This code means something is amiss with the powertrain, such as the engine or transmission.

B: This code indicates that something is wrong with the vehicle’s body, such as the airbags, lights, or climate control.

C: A code that starts with C means something is amiss with the chassis. Your antilock brakes may be in trouble or the suspension system.

U: You will only see this code on vehicles after 2006. It means that the network is having communication issues. It could be the wiring or the modules, but it needs to be checked.

To further complicate matters, the second digit also has a significant meaning. Should the second number be a 1, this tells the mechanic that the vehicle likely needs further diagnostics. Things that won’t come up in these codes include low oil pressure, overheating, and a vehicle out of gas. These indicators have a separate gauge that helps to read them, so they don’t have a dedicated code.

Identifying Most Common Engine Codes

Most people recognize their car isn’t running quite right with or without the display of a check engine light. Here are some standard codes that you might observe and what they mean.

•P0411 – P0445

If you see any of these codes displayed, it means there’s an issue in the emissions control system or EVAP. Some of these codes are very benign, such as P0445. When we see this code displayed, we know that the most common culprit is a loose gas gap. However, if the P0442 comes up, it shows ups that there’s a vapor leak that could come from a faulty hose that’s cracked or loose, as well as a possible EVAP canister leak.

To diagnose these issues, we must pressurize the system and see where any leaks are present. If it’s something as simple as a gas cap, it will go off when we reset it or after so many times starting the engine. Other issues require a smoke generator to do the pressure test and find the problem.

•P0300 – P0305

Any code in this series indicates that the engine is misfiring. It can be something simple like a spark plug that’s fouling out, or it can be a vacuum leak. The computer has indicated an abnormality in the pace of the crankshaft while the engine is running. Sometimes, the fuel-to-oxygen ratio is off, or there’s a dirty fuel injector. It requires some diagnostic work, but we recognize that a P0301 is likely spark plugs that need to be changed, and so on.

•P0171 – P0174

Codes within this category are usually not so cut and dry to diagnose. It could indicate that the EGR valve is malfunctioning, or there’s a Mass Airflow sensor issue. Sadly, we often must do more investigation to find the diagnosis. Codes in this range mean the engine has a lean-running condition, and we need to pull out a more advanced scanning device to help uncover the mystery.

•P0420 – P0430

If the vehicle uses the OBD II standards, these codes often indicate a problem with the catalytic converter. We know that these codes usually mean costly repairs. It could be a 02 sensor, but it could mean something like a coolant leak.

Over time, the catalytic converter can become damaged. The damage can occur from an engine burning too much oil or a coolant leak somewhere within the system. This converter is essential to the vehicle as it eradicates toxic engine-exhaust pollutants from being released into the atmosphere. It’s illegal to drive without one, as it harms the environment.

•P0133 – P0141

The common culprit with these codes is a 02-sensor issue. The computer has indicated that the fuel metering needs to be adjusted, and it’s likely a failure from this sensor. The 02 Sensor will become worn out or carbon-fouled over time, so it causes the engine to misfire, much like a worn spark plug.

Getting Your Car Serviced

Seeing the check engine light is often scary, as you know it will likely mean a trip to the mechanic. However, at Cloverdale Auto, we try to get your vehicle in and out of service as soon as possible. We understand the inconvenience of a mechanical issue, so we strive to ensure our customers get fast and professional service at reasonable prices.

vehicle won't start

8 Common Reasons a Vehicle Won’t Start

Help! My Vehicle Won’t Start

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

Common Reasons a Vehicle Won’t Start

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

1. Battery Cables are Lose or Corroded

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

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

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

2. The Battery is Bad

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

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

3. Alternator

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

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

4. Broken Timing Belt

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

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

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

5. Dead Key Fob Battery

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

6. Clogged Fuel Filter

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

7. Bad Spark Plug

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

8. The Starter

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

Take Away on Vehicles Not Starting

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

Cloverdale Auto Service