Three Car Repairs to Leave to The Professionals

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As a car owner, one of the most important steps in prolonging the life of your vehicle is to perform routine maintenance. Following the recommended time frame and schedule in your owner’s manual is a great way to keep your vehicle running at its best, increase its life and save money on repairs!

When there is a problem, sometimes it is tempting to “do it yourself” to save money, but it’s important to leave some, like the ones below, to the professionals.

Tire Rotation

Routinely rotating your tires is one of the easiest ways to prolong their life. Did you know that all of your tires do not wear the same?

While you may think it is an easy task to jack up your vehicle to rotate your tires, it’s a job that needs to be very done accurately by someone with training. When rotating your tires, it’s important to make sure everything is re-balanced and aligned for even wear and tear of your tires’ sidewall and tread. Rotating your tires on your own could put you at risk of driving with an unsafe alignment! This is an inexpensive maintenance item; leave it to the pros.

Check Engine Diagnostics

Check engine lights make it easy to “self diagnose” with newer vehicles. You can go to your local auto store or even download an app to your phone! The problem with using those programs to diagnose your vehicle is that many check engine codes are vague. Instead bring your vehicle into a place like Fast Lube Plus where there is high level equipment to get a more in-depth read of the issue – saving you money in the long run. By letting a professional read and decipher the code, they can use their expertise to help correctly solve your problem!

Keeping Your A/C Cold

The next time you’re in your vehicle and your A/C feels like it’s just not cooling down your vehicle the way it should, you should have a mechanic evaluate what’s wrong with the system before you consider going to your local store to pick up a DIY A/C recharge kit.

While it’s tempting to just spend a few dollars on a recharge kit, you could do MORE damage to you’re A/C. If you’re A/C is low on Freon there is probably a leak. DIY kits can be a quick fix but will not fix the underlying problem. They can also overcharge the system and cause more issues to the valves and seals inside the A/C’s compressor, causing them to crack from the pressure.

If you need to get your A/C under control leave the job to the professionals at Fast Lube Plus!

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Saving money by doing it yourself can work for some fixes on your vehicle, just make sure you do your research, as you may be facing a larger financial cost if you attempt to “fix” the problem on your own. Our team at Fast Lube Plus understand what it takes to repair your vehicle to have it functioning at its best!

What Factors Could Be Causing A Decrease In Your Gas Mileage

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Do you find yourself making more frequent stops at the gas station? Whether you’re driving a car, truck, or SUV, noticing a decrease in your vehicle’s fuel economy can be a sign that there may be something wrong.

Decreased gas mileage could be the result of one factor or a combination of factors. Here are the top factors that could be causing a decrease in your gas mileage and what you should do about it.

Motor Oil

Changing your oil at the recommended interval is the best thing you can do for your vehicle’s engine to keep it running smoothly. Need an oil change? Not sure what oil to choose or how long you should go between changes? Check out your owner’s manual or speak to one of our Fast Lube Plus technicians to help you select the one that is right for your vehicle.

Spark Plugs

Have you noticed your vehicle’s lack of proper acceleration, uneven idling and vibration, or trouble starting? You may have faulty spark plugs. Spark plugs are responsible for sparking engine combustion. If they’re not performing efficiently or misfiring, you will notice a change in your gas mileage.

Bad Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors are responsible for controlling how much gas goes into the engine. If your fuel injectors have a leak, your engine will receive less fuel, and in turn, make it run less efficiently. Ask your FLP technician about a Fuel Injector Cleaning Service during your next visit!

Bad Oxygen Sensors and/or Air Filters

Oxygen sensors help keep the proper mixture of air and fuel, a bad O2 sensor can cause an unbalance mixture causing your vehicle to perform inefficiently.

Dirty air filters need to be cleaned or replaced so that the engine can work at its peak performance.

If your vehicle is experiencing reduced gas mileage, keeping up with routine maintenance is the best way to maintain your engine’s efficiency.  Stop by one of our six convenient locations today and let our technicians help you keep your vehicle performing at its best.

 

 

Essential Car Maintenance Before Your Next Summer Road Trip

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Summer is here and that could mean a family road trip is on the calendar! Before you hit the open road, it is important to make sure your vehicle is up for the trip! Make your vehicle maintenance part of your pre-trip preparation. 

 

Change Your Oil

Check your oil level and the date that you last got an oil change. If you’re close to needing new oil, stop by your local Fast Lube Plus for a quick and convenient oil change service. 

Ensuring you have enough oil in your vehicle and a fresh filter will help your car perform at its best!

 

Pack Your Summer Vehicle Emergency Kit

Summer road trips are very popular. While you may have taken all the precautions before your trip, you may still find yourself needing an Emergency Kit  if your vehicle breaks down or you get into an accident.  It’s important to make sure you have enough supplies for your entire family. 

A quick list of items to include in your kit are the following:

A flashlight, antiseptic wipes, Band-Aids, tweezers, iodine, duct tape, small tools (wrench, pliers, scissors), and road flares . You should also consider including items such as sunscreen, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks.

 

Items to Have During the COVID-19 Pandemic:  

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disposable gloves
  • A Mask
  • Disinfectant wipes

 

Top Off Your Fluids

While making sure your engine’s oil is very important when performing routine maintenance, it’s also important to make sure your brake fluid, engine coolant, windshield washer fluid, power steering fluid, and water for the radiator are filled to correct levels for safe vehicle operation.

Making sure your vehicle’s fluids are at the appropriate levels will help keep your vehicle running smoothly, as well as keep you and your family safe.

 

Make sure your AC is running COOL

North Carolina summers can be brutal. Before any long-distance road trips, take a quick test drive to make sure that your vehicle’s AC is blowing strong. If you notice a decrease in your cool air, bring your vehicle into your local Fast Lube Plus to have your AC diagnosed. 

 

Check Your Tires & Brakes

When checking your tires, make sure the vehicle has been idled and the tires are cool. Inspect all four tires for cuts, gouges, and bulges. 

You can check your tread by inserting a quarter upside down into the grooves. 

When checking the tire pressure go by the number in your vehicle manual- not the number on the tire! 

To check your breaks, take a test drive around town. If you feel a vibration when applying the brakes or hear a grinding sound, head over to your local Fast Lube Plus for a brake inspection!

 

Making a Summer Car Emergency Kit

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Inspecting your car and making sure it is in great shape is an important thing to do before any road trip. You should consider an oil change (if you are anywhere near the recommended mileage), check your tire tread and tire pressure, make sure your AC is working properly, and even check your cabin air filters. High summer temperatures can be brutal if you’re stranded or stuck waiting for a tow or roadside service; so it’s also important to make sure your vehicle has a Summer Emergency Kit.

Being prepared for a roadside emergency is important. So, what should be in your vehicle’s Summer Car Emergency Kit?

  • First Aid Kit: Make sure to include some bandages, ointment, gauze, adhesive tape and tweezers, single-use cold packs, sunscreen stick and for those with life-threatening allergies, include an EpiPen.
  • Jumper Cables: A set of jumper cables is sure to provide an effective solution and is a key item! They are beneficial to have throughout the year, not just during the colder months!
  • Flash Light: Always a great idea for owners to have in their vehicle.
  • Items to Fix a Flat Tire: Carjack, lug wrench, and a spare tire are essential to your flat tire tools and are an important component of your Summer Emergency Kit. Packing a tire sealant and gauge to repair a small hole on your own can also be quite useful.
  • Small Toolkit: You may not need a lot of tools, but keeping a small tool kit with basics such as a few different size screwdrivers and pliers and an adjustable wrench.
  • Hazard Flares and Reflective Triangles: If you ever break down and need to work on your vehicle, Reflective Triangles, and/or LED flameless flare are essential items that will help to keep you safe.
  • Non-Perishable Snacks: Car trouble can leave you stranded for a period of time. Pack non-perishable snacks that won’t melt; like crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts. Don’t forget bottles of water to stay hydrated.

Summer is here and many families will be traveling by car this year for their vacation or day trips. Prepare your vehicle and pack your Summer Emergency Kit today to ensure the safety of you and all your passengers for your next trip!

True Clean Disinfecting Service

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We are happy to announce that Fast Lube Plus is now providing the True Brand True Clean Touch-Point Service and Touch Point and Misting with Total Sterilization Package.

True Brand ALL-IN-ONE TRUE CLEAN GERMICIDE is a MULTI-SURFACE GERMICIDAL llAY with 70% alcohol formulated to clean and destroy the growth of harmful microbiological organisms on high-traffic touch areas. It removes bacteria and
disinfects inanimate objects and surfaces from organisms such as bacteria, viruses fungi while also helping deodorize.

Our team will disinfect all high traffic areas such as door handles, door panels, steering wheels, shifter knobs, seat belts and more. Contact us today!

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50% off Oil Change for Healthcare Providers and First Responders

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Now for a limited time, show your professional I.D. to get 50% Off Any Oil Change.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Fast Lube Plus is offering 50% off Oil Change for Healthcare Providers and First Responders to thank them for being on the front lines. We appreciate you! Just show your ID for 50% any oil change.

The Basics of Engine Cooling

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Your engine is a metal box with explosions inside it. Thinking about it that way helps illustrate why the things get incredibly hot; were it not for proper cooling, your engine would literally melt together under its own heat and pressure!

Naturally, your car’s engine cooling is one of the most critical parts of its operation. Luckily, it’s typically obvious when something is wrong! Here’s a breakdown of how your car’s cooling system works and how to keep it in shape.

The Basics

So why does an engine generate heat? As stated previously, your car burns gasoline many, many times per second. The heat from that burning is typically absorbed by the engine block, the giant hunk of metal that forms the shell of your engine.

Though many classic cars were air-cooled – including Porsches until 1998 – modern engines require liquid cooling. Lots of tiny channels in your engine block are filled with antifreeze, which is specially engineered to soak up as much heat as possible.

That anti-freeze – driven by your car’s water pump ­– takes a lengthy journey through your engine before winding up in the radiator, typically on the front of your car. The radiator uses the natural airflow of your car’s movement (sometimes with a fan) to cool the liquid, before returning it to the block where the cycle begins anew.

Failure Points

Because liquid cooling systems have many different parts, there are a few frequent and obvious failure points.

  • The Water Pump: because the pump turns on a bearing, eventually that bearing will become worn out and seize up. When that happens, liquid can no longer move! The water pump should be changed out any time you get your timing belt changed to prevent this from happening.
  • The Radiator: because they take quite a beating from the elements, radiators can develop leaks over time. The more leaks there are, the faster you lose coolant, and the more likely you are to overheat.
  • Hoses: the many rubber hoses connected to the cooling system can crack and break, especially in colder temperatures.
  • Fluid: certain types of antifreeze degrade over time. Other types may not mesh well with your particular car, causing a buildup of brown gunk. Make sure you only use the brand of coolant recommended by your manufacturer.

Maintenance

The best way to maintain your cooling system is also the cheapest one: look! Check for puddles of coolant under your car, check hoses for obvious cracks, and open your radiator cap once in a while to monitor rust and gunk.

Need a professional to look at your cooling system? Bring your car in for an oil change at Fast Lube Plus, and while we’re at it we’ll take a look at your cooling system! We serve customers across the Triangle. Come in today, and let’s get you rolling!

Busting Winter Driving Myths and Misconceptions

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Winter is coming! With the possibility of snow (or, here in the Triangle, mostly slush and ice) looming, you need to know how to get around responsibly. A lot of common sense advice applies for winter driving, but there are some special tricks to make it easier…and some that are merely myths or misconceptions.

Myth: All-Wheel Drive Is All You Need

Whether you have a tricked-out Jeep or a humble Subaru, the snow is a great chance to feel some well-earned smugness about your purchase. As others cower indoors, you take to the city streets without fear…right?

Well, sort of. All-wheel drive is unquestionably better in the snow for getting traction. However, it does not help you stop, which requires both driver skill and capable brakes. You can still skid on ice or lock up the brakes. Some vehicles with part-time all-wheel drive (like the Honda CR-V) are also not true AWD, and only engage it when a loss of traction is detected.

The big takeaway here? Enjoy your advantage, but be careful.pexels-photo-12875

Myth: Underinflate Your Tires for Better Traction

This myth is most amusing because it makes sense on paper. If your tires are less inflated, they’ll “sag” a bit, giving you a greater contact area with the road.

But like most armchair science, this doesn’t hold up in the real world. Where most of us live, the roads are plowed or at least pre-treated when snow’s in the forecast. So while that additional traction can help on gravel roads, even on a slightly icy road you actually lose that traction advantage. According to Car Talk, most modern tires are designed to cut through road snow at their proper inflation; underinflating them ruins that engineering and therefore their effectiveness.

Instead of DIY tricks, invest in a good pair of snow tires.

Myth: Always Warm Up Your Car

Do you let your car idle before you start it in the winter? Your heart is in the right place, but current technology means this is mostly unnecessary.

The myth comes from older cars with carburetors, devices that mix fuel and air for delivery to the engine. At chilly temperatures, carburetors could malfunction. Modern cars use fuel injection, which deals just fine with cold weather.

The myth also stems from oil circulation; many older engine oils were extra thick in the winter, and warming them up let them more evenly coat fragile engine parts. But newer oils are purposely designed for winter weather (that’s what the “W” in 10W-40 or 5W-30 means.) So while you should let your car idle for a little bit – maybe a minute – that’s all it needs. Just drive gently until the car is fully warmed up.

Caring For Your Car’s Interior

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The average American commute is a painful 26.4 minutes long! That means lots of time in your driver’s seat, lots of oily fingers touching the dials, and plenty of dirt and grime from getting in and out.

Knowing that, shouldn’t you properly maintain your car’s interior? It’s easy, affordable, and anyone can do it! Not only does it make that commute more comfortable, but it helps the cabin materials last longer and look great.

Dashboard

Dashboards are typically made from either leather, vinyl, or plastic (or a combination of the three.) Each type of surface requires its own special care, but leather is the most fickle. Your owner’s manual will likely indicate if your dash has a special material.

For vinyl, use mild water and a clean microfiber cloth. While some people prefer the shiny aesthetic of Armor All, the greasy finish is unpleasant and it can crack thinner plastics. If you have to use something stronger than water, consider a diluted all-purpose cleaner or non-greasy Meguiar’s. Be extremely careful cleaning plastics around radios and HVAC controls, as they can scratch easily.

Leather – including seats – requires special care. Get leather cleaner from a trusted brand like Meguiar’s or Mother’s, and follow up with a high quality leather conditioner. As mentioned above, always read your manual for specific pointers!

Carpet and Upholstery

The obvious solution here is to vacuum thoroughly and often. Your corner store’s coin vac works well enough, but personal models offer variable speed control and the ability to spit air out. For vacuuming hard to reach places (especially under seats) it can help to blow debris out before vacuuming it up. You should also invest in a sturdy brush for foot wells and carpet mats. Be gentle, though!

Much as house carpet requires regular shampooing, your car’s upholstery sometimes needs to get wet. While professional detailers have steam machines, you can shampoo yourself with a gentle brush and the proper soap. Just allow plenty of time, because air drying takes a while.

Glass

Good ol’ Windex works wonders on car windows, but you can also use a mixture of water and vinegar. The real key lies in the applicator; use a soft, high quality microfiber towel for the best results. To reduce streaks, make sure you buff properly: firm, in a circular motion.

Does your car need under the hood maintenance? Fast Lube Plus offers oil changes, inspections, and other routine maintenance to drivers in Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Apex, Morrisville, Garner and the greater Raleigh-Durham area. Contact us today and let’s keep your car running great!

Your NC Inspection: What We Do and Why it Matters

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Taking your car for an inspection can feel like a hassle. But in reality, your yearly NC inspection is not just a legal todo: it’s essentially a check-up. It’s an important tool for identifying early signs of wear and tear and for scheduling needed maintenance.

When the skilled technicians at Fast Lube Plus inspect your vehicle, we look at two areas: safety and emissions. Today we’re going to clarify what that means and why it matters!

Safety Inspections

Your car’s most basic functions are boring compared to your in-dash GPS or leather seats, but they’re also the most important. Any vehicle on the road is expected to have a few key parts work perfectly:

  • Brakes (including the parking brake)
  • Headlights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Signal, brake, and plate illumination lights
  • Steering

A basic list, indeed. But the safety inspection serves a much more practical purpose of getting an experienced mechanic to look at your car, and in the process of the inspection they can notice items going bad. Things like your brakes, tires, and other wear items are best replaced before they break. If they get too far, you (and your wallet) could be in serious danger!

Avoid surprises by checking for those basic functions ahead of time. Listen for squealing brakes, and have a friend look at your tail and brake lights to make sure they work.

Emissions Inspections

This is where things get a bit more complicated. Since 1995, all new gas-powered cars have come with the OBDII (On-Board Diagnostics) system. This system can detect specific faults with your car – though not necessarily the cause – and store a code in its memory. A technician or off-the-shelf reader can read these codes.

When there’s a problem, your car’s check engine light comes on. Unfortunately, a CEL is a one-way ticket to a failed inspection! Many CELs are linked to unacceptable levels of certain gases in your exhaust, which is why it matters so much.

It’s easy to ignore a check engine light when your car runs normally, but it typically indicates a problem that will either a) get worse or b) cause a failed emissions inspection. Check it out early to prevent annoyances on inspection day!

Are you due? Fast Lube Plus performs certified North Carolina State Inspections at our locations in Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, and Morrisville. Drop by anytime and our experts will take care of you!

It’s easy to ignore a check engine light when your car runs normally, but it typically indicates a problem that will either a) get worse or b) cause a failed emissions inspection. Check it out early to prevent annoyances on inspection day!
Are you due? Fast Lube Plus performs certified North Carolina State Inspections at our locations in Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, and Morrisville. Drop by anytime and our experts will take care of you!