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.

blown head gasket

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

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

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

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

Understanding the Function of the Head Gasket?

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

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

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

Why Does This Repair Cost So Much?

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

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

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

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

Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket

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

1. Exhaust Leak

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

2. White Smoke

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

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

3. Missing Coolant

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

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

4. Overheating

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

5. Bubbles in the Radiator

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

6. Milky, White Oil

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

7. Poor Running Engine

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

Final Thoughts on Blown Head Gaskets

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

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


5 Money Saving Gas Tips You Need To Know

5 Tips to Save Money on Gas

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

Gas Saving Tips

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

1. Keep Your Tires Inflated Properly

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

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

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

2. Follow the Speed Limit

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

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

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

3. Avoid Warming Up or Cooling Down Vehicle

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

4. Remove Things That Increase Resistance

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

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

5. Turn The AC Off

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

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

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

Final Thoughts on Tips to Save Money on Gas

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

auto maintenance myth

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

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

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

You Need an Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles

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

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

Premium Fuel Improves Vehicle Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always Replace All Tires at the Same Time

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

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

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

Flush the Transmission Fluid Every 50,000 Miles

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

Winston-Salem Auto Repair You Can Count On

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

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.

Cloverdale Auto Service