Essential Tools To Keep In Your Car

tools

“A man is only as good as his tools.”

Here at Fast Lube Plus we firmly believe that preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle running at peak performance, but we also are realistic in the fact that sometimes things beyond our control can occur, possibly putting you in a position where a quick fix is necessary.  The purpose of this post is to help put together a list of some very useful tools to have around should you ever find yourself stranded.

Having access to a few essential tools can mean the difference between towing to a shop or continuing down the road on your own accord. It should be noted that you should only ever work within your comfort level when having to fix your car in a pinch.  So if you are comfortable enough to take the reigns in a pinch, here are a few good suggestions to keep tucked away in your vehicle for the occasion.

  1. Flashlight – This is perhaps the most essential piece of equipment to keep in your vehicle at all times whether you plan on working on it yourself or not.  Always keep a flashlight handy, and test regularly to make sure the batteries are charged.
  2. Jack / Lug Wrench – Your spare tire is useless without these 2 pieces of equipment.  Make sure you know the jackpoints on your vehicle, and a handy trick is to loosen the lugs (in a star pattern) while the tire is still touching the ground.
  3. Screwdrivers – You cannot do any repair without screwdrivers. It would be wise to keep a couple of these tools with different head shapes and sizes. They are necessary in loosening and tightening the different screws in different parts of your car.
  4. Vise-Grip Pliers – These lockable pliers are worth their weight in gold.  They are most useful as a locking wrench to help loosen / tighten tough bolts or nuts.
  5. Adjustable Wrench – This handy tool adjusts to fit many sizes of bolts and nuts, and with your Vise-Grip Pliers can help tighten free spinning nuts and bolts.
  6. Tire Gauge – Used to check the pressure of your tires (including your spare), this should be used monthly to keep tire pressure maintained at the correct levels to prevent unnecessary flats.

Feel free to consult with your Fast Lube Plus technician on your next visit for a demonstration of how to use each of these!

Common Reliability Issues With Popular Used Cars

One advantage of a used car is that you can learn from other owners about reliability. Even some of most popular used cars out there have small issues you should know about. Today we’re looking at four of the most popular used cars in America, and issues you should watch out for. If you need repairs or preventative maintenance, contact Fast Lube Plus today so we can help you!

Ford Escape

The Ford Escape (and its platform-mate, the Mazda Tribute) are popular choices for their interior room and car-like driving experience. Their biggest issue is shuddering above 40mph, almost always caused by poor transmission maintenance. If you don’t have this problem yet and have never changed your transmission fluid, now is the time!

The platform has a smattering of other, smaller problems. A dirty idle air control valve can cause sputtering in 2001-2006 models, and in irregularly shaped coolant tank can cause the warning light to come on even when you aren’t low. Have a shop check your wheel bearings too, as they’re an important safety feature that Escapes are known to wear out.

Chevrolet Impala

A popular fleet vehicle, Chevrolet Impalas are easy to buy used. Their prices are low and they are generally reliable.

2000-2005 models have a particularly annoying issue with servos in the gauge cluster. These little gizmos can die early, causing inaccurate readings or jumpy needles. They were also the subject of a class action settlement regarding an intake manifold gasket.

Newer models (2006-2013) often experience failed rear door locks. This is due to a poorly made actuator. Be prepared for this one, as the part can be pretty expensive.

Honda Accord

Hondas have a reputation for reliability, and rightfully so. However, they put out some unfortunately bad automatic transmissions in the early 2000s. Some of these ended up in the Accord, and are particularly notorious on the more powerful V6 model. If you haven’t changed your transmission fluid yet, make sure you do so as soon as possible. This problem is most noticeable before model year 2004.

You can also expect an oxygen sensor failure around 80,000 miles, and new spark plugs around 110,000. Both are relatively minor repairs.

Ford F-150

The F-150 has been the best-selling new vehicle in America year after year, and it maintains dominance in the used market. The trucks are available in a wide array of configurations for just about anyone’s needs.

They’re pretty solid trucks, with a few notable exceptions. The 2004 – 2008 years, popular on the used market, may exhibit an ugly idling sound. This issue only applies to the 5.4L V8, and is caused by wearing cam phasers. While your engine is safe, the noise will only get worse over time, so you should fix it.