Do I Need a Tire Rotation?

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Tires are a substantial investment for your vehicle. Like an oil change, making sure you get a tire rotation is another important regular maintenance you shouldn’t skip. When you properly take care of your vehicle’s tires, you can expect optimal tread life, as well as outstanding performance.

Routine tire rotation is done to ensure that the tires wear evenly, allowing your vehicle to have a balanced and smooth ride.

What happens if I don’t rotate my tires?

If you check your vehicle’s manual it will more than likely suggest having your tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles (or every time you have an oil change). When you don’t have regular rotations, your tires will wear out much faster than they should.

Skipping rotations can lead to things like:

  • Tire blowouts
  • Deterioration of your brake pads
  • Flat tires
  • Poor traction and skidding

Rotating the tires on your vehicle is a critical routine maintenance step because it helps extends the life of your tires, as well as increase your safety on the road.

It could also help increase your vehicle’s gas milage. Having worn down tires can put a strain on your engine, which could increase fuel consumption.

Did you know?

  • Tires can wear differently depending on their location on the vehicle and your vehicle’s drivetrain.
  • There are numerous rotation patterns for vehicle tires. It’s best to follow your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the right pattern for your vehicle.
  • Did your tires come with a warranty? Did you know that some tire makers may require routine rotations in order to keep their warranty in place?

To find out when your tires should be rotated, consult your vehicle’s owner’s handbook or stop by one of our six convenient locations and ask!

Does My Car Need a Tune-Up

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A vehicle tune-up is an important part of your car servicing. Besides your regular oil changes, performing routine maintenance can help extend the life of your vehicle. It can also help reduce the cost of future repairs.

You can check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out the recommended tune-up schedule for you. Newer vehicles can go from 25,000 miles to as many as 100,000 miles without needing a major tune-up.

Does My Car Need a Tune-Up?

Being proactive with your vehicle can help fix a minor problem before something major happens. A tune-up makes sure your vehicle functions properly and helps prevent future damage.

If you haven’t had a tune-up in a while, becoming familiar with common warning signs can save your time and frustration. Consider these common indicators that something wrong might be going on under the hood of your vehicle.

Vibrations or shaking

Noticing a shaking sensation in your steering wheel while you’re starting your vehicle, steering, or braking? This could be a sign of a number of different issues; from bad brakes and routers to your power steering. These types of problems are best to get it checked out by the professionals!

Rough shifting

Your vehicle’s automatic transmission handles how your vehicle’s gears-shift. Is your vehicle’s transmissions shifting hard, jerking, or shaking during a shift change?  If it is, your vehicle’s transmission fluid may need to be changed or the fluid level may be too low.

Stalling

There are three primary causes of your vehicle stalling: .1 lack of fuel, 2. not receiving enough air or, 3. insufficient power. These can be caused by dirty or fouled spark plugs, water in the fuel, a faulty fuel pump, a bad ignition coil, or a bad sensor. Regardless of what is causing your car to stall, the best way to avoid high repair costs is to get your vehicle checked as early as possible.

Check Engine Light

This is usually a strong indicator that something is not working properly. When check engine light  illuminates your dash, your vehicle’s computer stores a “trouble code” in its memory that identifies the source of the problem.  When your check engine light comes on, it’s important to bring your vehicle to a professional so that your vehicle can be hooked up and diagnosed by reading warning code from your vehicle’s computer.

Is your car ready for a tune-up, or is your vehicle showing signs of a problem? Did you know that all six of your local Fast Lube Plus location can help you diagnose what is happening under the hood of your vehicle? Stop by today!

 

Disinfecting Your Vehicle

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Keeping your vehicle clean has always been an important part of extending the life of your vehicle, but now it’s also important to help keep yourself and your family healthy.

Washing your hands and disinfecting high-touch surfaces are two of the best ways to defend against spreading the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Common Touch Points 

When you begin to clean and sanitize your vehicle, start by working your way from top to bottom, start with the sun visors, then moving down the console, and then to your dashboard. Touchpoints in your vehicle extend further than your door handles and steering wheel.

  • Door Handles
  • Steering wheel
  • Mirrors
  • Console buttons
  • Seatbelt
  • Radio
  • Trunk handle
  • Children’s seats
  • Armrests

How do you safely disinfect the interior of your vehicle without causing damage?

Your vehicle has a collection of various materials, fabrics and surfaces that need to be cleaned. Using cleaners like hand sanitizers and bleach wipes that would most definitely kill viruses, but would also risk damaging the various materials in your vehicle. 

According to Jeff Stout, executive director global innovation at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, nearly every interior surface of a vehicle can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol (which is the most common and widely used disinfectant within pharmaceutics, hospitals, cleanrooms, and electronics or medical device manufacturing, according to PAC Industries.)

Though the easiest way to fight against germs and the Novel Coronavirus, according to experts is to use soap and water. Most household dish soaps are made with only mild detergents, and “Kill 99.9% of Germs,” and are much less harmful on your car’s interior.

Try To Avoid These Types of Products:

  • Ammonia-based cleaners on your vehicle’s touch screens; they can damage their anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.
  • Bleach or hydrogen peroxide can ruin your upholstery, remove protective coating and dry out your interior. 

Are you looking to have your vehicle professionally cleaned and sanitized? 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. 

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!

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!

 

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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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!

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!

Suspension Maintenance: Helping the Rubber Meet the Road

Car Steering and Suspension Unit by Kevin C. Hulsey

There’s a lot of talk about your car’s tires, and rightfully so. But that rubber is guided towards the road by a complicated assortment of joints, bolts, and metal pieces. It’s what keeps your car comfortable on the highway and on twisty mountain roads: your suspension.

As one of the most hidden parts of your car, suspension maintenance is easy to ignore. It’s also one of the hardest worked. Suspension maintenance isn’t as frequent as other parts, but it still pays to stay on top of it! Here are some parts of your suspension you should know about.

Axles and CV Joints

Own a front wheel drive car? Unless you have a truck or a sports car, you likely do. All front-wheel drive cars use a CV joint (sometimes called a CV axle) to transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. The unique layout of front-wheel drive cars requires a specialized axle with a very flexible joint system, covered by a rubber boot. Over time this rubber boot can crack, removing the joint’s lubrication. Not a good thing to happen while you’re driving!

Control Arms

Your wheel is connected to your car’s frame by a forked metal part called a control arm. As your wheel bounces across the road, the control arm rapidly moves up and down to compensate for the motion. Most control arms are long-lasting, and aside from excessive salt will last a long time. The weaknesses are the rubber and metal bushings that facilitate that motion; have your mechanic check them for wear and tear.

Shocks

Shock absorbers live up to their name: they smooth the motion between your wheels and the body of your car, making bounces more graceful. But when they break, it’s more than an issue of comfort! Bad shocks cause premature tire wear, which gets expensive fast. They can also cause your car to sag, damaging your undercarriage during bumps.

Ball Joints

Your steering system’s final step is at your ball joints, small metal joints that allow steering knuckles to turn your wheels. When they break, you can lose control of your car! Signs of wear include a cracking or groaning sound when you turn the wheel. If you start hearing those noises, you need to have your ball joints checked as soon as possible.

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Fast Lube Plus offers professional automotive guidance to residents of Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Apex and Morrisville. Call us now or drop by one of our locations, and let’s get you back on the road!