If your brakes are trying to tell you something, you should pay attention. A properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle control and operation and it should be checked immediately if you suspect any problems, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
“While an annual brake inspection is a good way to ensure brake safety, motorists should not ignore signs that their brakes need attention,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Knowing the key warning signs that your brakes may need maintenance will go a long way toward keeping you and others safe on the road.”
The Car Care Council reminds motorists to look for the following warning signs that their brakes need to be inspected:
Because brakes are a normal wear item on any vehicle, they will eventually need to be replaced. Factors that can affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Be sure to avoid letting brakes get to the ‘metal-to-metal’ point as that can mean expensive rotor or drum replacement.
Not sure if your brakes are OK? Call us at 215-699-8383 to set up your brake inspection.
Source: Car Care Aware
When is the last time you changed your headlights?
April is the perfect time to get your vehicle ready for spring and summer, when most road travel occurs. Not only does April mark the end of winter, but it’s also National Car Care Month. While many focus on oil changes, brake pads and tire pressure checks, there’s one safety element that’s critical yet often overlooked – vehicle headlight maintenance.sylvaniasky
Headlights are an active safety item and are the first line of defense on a vehicle; if drivers cannot see objects on the road, they cannot react. To prevent this, drivers must be proactive about headlight maintenance. Proper maintenance maximizes the amount drivers can see down road and side road, which can mean additional reaction time, helping you to avoid hazards that cause accidents.
To spread further awareness on automotive care, owners should follow four best practices when it comes to proper headlight maintenance, not just during National Car Care Month, but year-round:
Understand the choices in headlight performance levels: When it comes to headlights performance, many consumers should know that there are a variety of choices available on the market to help suit their individual needs. For instance, there are options available that offer brighter down road visibility or whiter light which improves contrast and helps drivers distinguish objects on the side of the road better than basic headlights.
Replace before burnout: All too often, vehicles with a burned out headlight can be found traveling on dark roads, posing a risk to both the driver and others on the road. With one headlight out, drivers are essentially seeing half as well as they potentially could. If a vehicle owner cannot remember the last time headlights were changed, it may be time for replacements.
Always replace in pairs: It’s very important to replace headlights in sets of two. Since headlights dim over their lifetime, a new bulb paired with an old bulb will create an uneven field of vision, which can be a major distraction on the road for both drivers and oncoming traffic.
Do it yourself: Changing a vehicle’s headlight bulb can be a simple process that doesn’t require a mechanic or service professional. In fact, various online guides and resources exist to help consumers swap out headlight bulbs in a matter of minutes. Consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual for bulb/headlight replacement procedures, needed tools and safety precautions. Always wear safety glasses and work gloves, as well.
Asking a simple question such as, ‘do you want to see better when driving at night,’ can help motorists understand the importance of changing their headlights for an improved on road experience. Updating a vehicle’s headlights can affect the lives of drivers and their overall experience on the road. Better headlights can help improve visibility and increasing chances of seeing objects sooner in the event of an accident or hazardous road conditions. This is a simple maintenance check that drivers of all ages should prioritize when it comes to overall road safety.
If you can’t remember the last time you changed out your headlights, now is a good time to consider an upgrade.
The slippery puddle underneath your car means more than just a stain on your driveway. An oil leak can indicate a bigger issue, and left unattended can lead to serious problems for your engine.
Engine oil is critical for the performance of your vehicle. As it moves through the engine, it keeps every moving part and component lubricated. Without the oil, friction and heat from these parts rubbing against each other cause premature wear and tear, corrosion, and damage to the engine components.
At best, you’ll be left with a car that won’t run and a costly repair bill. At worst, you’ll need an engine rebuild or a new engine, or even face a totaled vehicle.
Oil isn’t used up – it circulates through the engine, but it should never leave the engine, burn up, or evaporate. If you check your oil and find the level is low, you know you have a problem. Most likely, the oil is leaking from the engine.
Bring your vehicle into a trusted and certified auto repair shop, like Motorcar Makeovers, as soon as possible. Call our team at 215-699-8383.
If you’ve recently had an oil change, the problem may be as simple as a loose drain plug. It needs to be replaced properly after every oil change, so make sure it is tight and not cracked. The oil filter also needs to be replaced with every oil change. Check to make sure the oil filter is secured, tight, and not leaking. Other common culprits are the seals, valve covers, and gaskets. Even small holes can allow oil to slowly leak from the engine.
Bring your vehicle into an auto shop – our techs will inspect to identify the cause of the leak and repair it so you don’t face the same problem again. If another oil change is needed, we take extra care to make sure everything is in place and there are no leaks before we return your vehicle.
Left unattended, an oil leak can mean serious problems for your engine. Even a small oil leak can trigger the check engine light. Anytime this light comes on, schedule an inspection and diagnosis as soon as possible at our auto repair shop in Blue Bell, PA. If the check engine light is flashing, find a safe place to pull over and immediately shut off your vehicle and have it towed to a trustworthy auto repair shop with certified technicians.
When you bring your vehicle to Motorcar Makeovers in Blue Bell for an oil change, you’ll leave with confidence knowing we have your best interest at heart and your oil will stay safe and secure in your engine.
If you notice low levels of oil or evidence of a leak in your garage, come in right away or call us at 215-699-8383.
Oil and maintenance
Changing your vehicle’s oil is one of the most basic aspects of maintenance – every vehicle needs it regularly to continue to function properly. If you are setting up an appointment with your mechanic, chances are it’s to have your oil changed. But how much thought do you usually put into this process? Or, like many of our customers, do you simply follow the 3 months/3,000 mile rule and let our techs handle the rest?
Our technicians are here for just that – we keep track of the details, know the manufacturer recommendations, and identify the right type of motor oil for your vehicle so you don’t have to. But if you have ever wondered what makes different types of oil unique, or why you should use one type over another in your vehicle, read on!
This guide from How Stuff Works discusses 5 types of oils and how manufacturers specify oil type for your vehicle:
“Often times a manufacturer will suggest two or more motor oil viscosities for an engine, such as a 5W-20 or 5W-30, based on several different factors — including temperature. The reason for this is that engines often need a different viscosity based on operating conditions. Knowing how scientists see viscosity will help an owner determine the best oil for the engine.
Viscosity, at its most basic, is a fluid’s resistance to flow. Within the engine oil world, viscosity is notated with the common “XW-XX.” The number preceding the “W” rates the oil’s flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). The “W” stands for winter, not weight as many people think. The lower the number here, the less it thickens in the cold. So 5W-30 viscosity engine oil thickens less in the cold than a 10W-30, but more than a 0W-30. An engine in a colder climate, where motor oil tends to thicken because of lower temperatures, would benefit from 0W or 5W viscosity. A car in Death Valley would need a higher number to keep the oil from thinning out too much.
The second number after the “W” indicates the oil’s viscosity measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). This number represents the oil’s resistance to thinning at high temperatures. For example, 10W-30 oil will thin out at higher temperatures faster than 10W-40 will.
The owner’s manual will advise the best viscosity range and the owner can then work within those parameters.
With the right viscosity in mind, it’s time to start shopping for a type of oil. Most commuters follow the 3-month and 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) rule. Frequent oil changes means there’s less tendency to need other types of oil than conventional. However some car companies, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, recommend only synthetic oil in their cars. The following list, as well as the car’s owner’s manual, will provide a good idea of what type of oil to use. It’s also a good rule of thumb not to switch between types. If your car started with conventional, stick with that. If it first used synthetic, be wary about switching to conventional.
Conventional Oil: This is the oil used in bulk at dealerships and is the cheapest at the auto store, too. Most adhere to API and SAE standards but offer little in the way of additive packages. This is good oil for owners that are religious about frequent oil changes and have low-mile (but well broken-in) engines.
Premium Conventional Oil: This is the standard new-car oil. Most leading brands have one for SL, or highest level, service. Most are available in the common viscosities. Car manufacturers usually specify 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil, though some require 10W-30. These three ratings cover just about every light-duty vehicle on the road, though this is changing as engines become more precise and fussy about specific types oil.
Full-synthetic Oil: These oils are made for high-tech engines. If these oils pass stringent special tests (indicated by their labeling), it means they have superior, longer-lasting performance in all the critical areas, from viscosity index to protection against engine deposits. They flow better at low temperatures and maintain peak lubrication at high temperatures. While excellent oil, synthetics are about three times as expensive as conventional oil and not always necessary for most engines. Use the owner’s manual as a guide. If it doesn’t call for synthetic oil, using it will only be an additional expense that may not add anything to the engine’s performance or life.
Synthetic-blend Oil: This is essentially premium conventional oil hit with a dose of synthetic. They’re formulated to offer better protection during heavier engine loads and the associated higher engine temperatures. These oils are popular with pick-up and SUV drivers because they do offer better protection, but usually cost only a fraction more than premium conventional oils.
High-mileage Oil: More than 60 percent of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles (120,701 kilometers) on the odometer. Playing to this growing market, oil refiners and labs developed high-mileage oils. Seal conditioners are added to the oil (the oil can be synthetic or conventional) to expand and increase the flexibility of internal engine seals. The conditioners are very precise and can benefit some engines while not affecting others.”
To read more about types of motor oil, read the full article from How Stuff Works. To discuss the motor oil options for your vehicle, call our experts at 215-699-8383! Stop by our shop anytime, or schedule your next oil change with us today!
This month as we reflect on the people we love and the things that mean the most to us, we’re thinking about our cars — what does your family vehicle mean to you?
Sure, your family vehicle gets you where you need to go – to work and home safely, picking up the kids from soccer practice, running errands. But it also lets you discover new places, enjoy the freedom of a road trip, visit loved ones and start new adventures!
Your vehicle also keeps you safe. It carries the people you love and the things you use every day. From road trips to daily commutes, highways to back roads, your vehicle keeps your family safely on the road.
Which is why, as we celebrate with the people we love this holiday season, it’s so important to show your car some love, too!
After all, your vehicle’s been working hard all winter to keep you safe!
Your antifreeze/coolant makes sure your car will start AND keep running in any weather. When was the last time you had it flushed?
Brake fluid allows you push a tiny pedal and stop a huge car exactly when you need it to. When was the last time you had it inspected?
Engine oil has one of the hardest jobs in your vehicle. Not only does it have to lubricate hundreds of moving parts, it also helps to keep your engine cool AND cleans out microscopic soot and debris that would otherwise build up and cause malfunctions. Have you had it changed regularly this winter?
Even during frightful winter weather, it’s still important to stay on top of preventive maintenance…not to mention how important it is to take care of leaks, creaks, squeaks, and groans your vehicle uses to warn you about bigger problems.
Keeping up with your maintenance is the best way to take care of your vehicle so you can keep up with your busy lives (and one of the best ways to avoid expensive breakdowns!)
We know you love your vehicle, so we’re here to help you take care of it!
Whether your vehicle is due for an oil change, has a strange new smell, noise, or leak, or simply could use a check-up, visit Motorcar Makeovers for an inspection.
Our technicians will keep your family vehicle safely on the roads in Blue Bell. Give us a call to schedule your next appointment: 215-699-8383.
Christmas lights, evergreen trees, gently falling snowflakes… winter is in the air! But so is unpredictable weather. As the seasons change, your vehicle needs to be prepared to stop on any road condition: rain, snow, sleet, and ice.
Which is why our team of certified technicians put together this list of winter driving tips to keep you safely driving, and stopping, on the roads in Blue Bell this winter.
Check your tires. When roads are slick with snow and ice, tire tread becomes even more important. The same tires that kept you rolling on summer roads may be putting you at risk during the fall. Use a quarter to check your tread – if you can see the top of Washington’s head above the tread (with the quarter upside down), you may not have enough tread to stop in weather.
Stop early. Slick roads make it harder to stop, so pay attention and brake earlier than you normally would in good conditions. Wet roads can slow the response time of your brakes, and if combined with low tread or worn brakes, it can mean the difference between a close call and an accident. Pay attention, and put on the brakes early.
Drive slowly. When unpredictable weather strikes, ease up on the gas pedal. The faster you’re driving, the longer it will take to stop your car in an emergency. Leave a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, and slow down!
Watch and Listen for warning signs. Your vehicle will tell you when something is wrong, you just have to pay attention. Squeaking tires, screeching brakes, and vibrating steering wheel can indicate problems with your brakes that can impact your safety. If you notice changes in drivability, bring your vehicle in for an inspection or schedule an appointment online.
To make sure your vehicle can handle any conditions, bring your vehicle into Motorcar Makeovers for a fall safety inspection. Our ASE-certified technicians will inspect the major systems in your vehicle so you have peace of mind knowing your car is ready for the changing weather. Call our team at 215-699-8383.
With new technologies developing for drivers each year, there’s still some confusion about what is worth it and what is only a gimmick. One trend in the last few years is new “Flex Fuel” systems in new vehicles.
Some say convenience, some say environmentally friendly… but what is really the benefit? Is it worth getting a Flex Fuel system?
In short – probably not. From our experience with vehicle performance, flex fuel systems are not notably better than traditional gasoline powered vehicles.
The E85 debate is full of pros and cons. Here are two common themes in the arguments:
Ethanol is better for the environment.E85 burns cleaner than gasoline, meaning it might reduce air pollution. However, studies suggest these vehicles only achieve up to 3% reduction of emissions.
Ethanol is generally produced from renewable corn crops grown on American farms. Some believe this makes E85 an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative to traditional gasoline and oil reserves. However, there are also environmental concerns about the production of ethanol.
Flex Fuel vehicles perform better.A common misconception about E85 vehicles is that they get better gas mileage – this is not true. Flex fuel vehicles typically get about 15-30% fewer miles per gallon when running on E85 as compared to traditional gasoline.
Performance of flex fuel vehicles vs. traditional gasoline powered vehicles is virtually the same – in road tests, experts could not detect any notable difference in engine performance, smoothness, or sound.
If you’re thinking about a flex fuel vehicle, consider the factors above and read more about How E85 Ethanol Flex Fuel Works to determine if a flex fuel vehicle is right for your family. Weigh the pros and cons, do the research, call our experts for more advice, and make the decision that is best for your family and your values.
For more information about E85 and Flex Fuel vehicles or going green with your vehicle, contact our experts at 215-669-8383.
“Lemon” is a term for a defective car (usually new) that shows numerous and significant problems shortly after it’s been bought. Any vehicle or other product can also be called a “lemon” when it has so many issues you can’t use it the way it is meant to be used.
Lemons go to show that you never know what you’ll be getting, even with a seemingly new and pristine vehicle… which is why pre-purchase inspections are so important!
The certified technicians who work at Motorcar Makeovers are experts in the automotive field. We have seen and worked with enough cars on a daily basis that we stay in tune with changes and trends among the major cars. Even if the car history doesn’t reveal any issues, our technicians may be able to spot warning signs you would have otherwise missed.
As part of your pre-purchase inspection for your new or used vehicle, we’ll inspect the major components and key systems in the vehicle. Then we’ll sit down with you to review and explain the results so you can understand the EXACT condition of your vehicle BEFORE you purchase it.
We’ll also share any insight or trends we’ve seen with that vehicle make and model so you are armed with the knowledge you need to make the best decision for your family.
Lemons exist, so make sure you don’t get locked into a monthly payment for a car that will spend more time being fixed than taking you where you need to go! Call us at 215-699-8383 to set up your pre-purchase inspection.
When it comes to vehicle warranties, there’s a lot of mud in the water. It isn’t always clear what you need to do to get the best care, at the best price, and with the best service for your vehicle. How do you separate truth from myth when it comes to vehicle warranties?
Our team of car care experts are here to help. Here’s the TRUTH your family needs to know when it comes to your vehicle’s warranty.
MYTH: You MUST use the dealership to keep your warranty.
FACT: Dealers often claim that you must bring your car to them to preserve your warranty. This is not true! Thanks to the Magnusson Moss Warranty Act of 1975, you can have your maintenance services done anywhere without risking your manufacturer’s warranty.
Bring your car in to our shop instead of the dealership for quality service at a better price and still maintain your warranty! As long as you keep records and receipts of the services done, your warranty won’t be voided.
MYTH: The dealer will disclose any necessary work under warranty.
FACT: Unfortunately, not always. When a dealership performs a warrantied repair, they don’t make any money… which means they have an incentive NOT to tell you when your vehicle needs a repair that would be covered under warranty.
Which is why you should have your vehicle thoroughly inspected by a third-party, independent auto repair shop, like Motorcar Makeovers. Our certified technicians have your best interest at heart. We’ll provide a detailed report of our inspection including any recommended maintenance that may be covered by your warranty. Our technicians will then work with you to take your vehicle back to the manufacturer to have these repairs performed under your warranty!
MYTH: Skipping maintenance can void your warranty.
FACT: True! Thanks to the act mentioned above, you are not required to take your vehicle to the manufacture for maintenance services. However, skipping regular maintenance all together could void your warranty, so follow the recommended schedule and keep up with preventative care.
Stop by Motorcar Makeovers and our team will help you understand and follow the terms of your warranty. With a thorough inspection, our certified and experienced technicians can help you understand the condition of your vehicle and any needed repairs or services that may be covered under warranty.
When you bring your vehicle to Motorcar Makeovers for auto maintenance or auto repair, all of our services are covered by our 24 month / 24,000 mile warranty on all parts and labor. If you ever have any questions about your vehicle or your car warranty, call us at 215-699-8383.