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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs, today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions.

If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go. As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected: battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.



Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure - an inconvenience anytime it occurs - can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. A well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

Engine Performance - Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters - air, fuel, etc.

Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.

Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.

Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.

Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent - you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.

Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.

Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.

Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.

Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.

Carry emergency gear - gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.



Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too! Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.

Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.

Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.

Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended - more often in dusty conditions. Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.

Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.

Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.

Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.

Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.

Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

Emergencies - Carry some basic tools - ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first-aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.



Keeping your vehicle in tune with the environment is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer - up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians.

The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%.
  • Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Underinflation wastes fuel - your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle.
  • Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 60 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family.
  • Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm-ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage.
  • Store luggage/cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions.
  • Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

ASSOCIATIONS

  • ACDelco
  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • IDENTIFIX
  • Jasper
  • NAPA
  • ALL-DATA
  • BBB (Better Business Bureau)
  • Mitchell1
  • BG
  • Enterprise
  • Wix
  • Interstate Batteries
  • Gates
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • My car overheated and I decided to bring my car her after someone recommended them. They were beyond helpful and even printed out information for me. They explained exactly what they were doing and why. It could have been more expensive, but they only charged the standard rate. I plan on going back again! Thanks Scott.
    -William H.

  • Great service staff, friendly, and quality work. Trustworthy group that will strive for your best and not over charge you.
    -Marie C.

  • Excellent customer service and a fair price. What else can you ask for? They are great!
    -Laurel N.M.

  • Scott was patient and thorough as was Alex. They took their time to really think through solutions for a rather difficult problem and then took care of everything really well. They were caring and competent. Scott explained the problems and possible solutions in a way that even someone like me could understand. I really appreciated that!
    -Sally O.

  • A Big thank you to Scott and the excellent staff at Folsom Auto Center for solving several problems in my car in one day, including check engine light with multiple codes and engine running rough, which had been progressively getting worse. Problem identified, new part, expert fine tuning and now it is running like new. They also provided shuttle service so I could pick up my car. First rate service and repairs!
    -Cinde M.

  • Great Service! Fast and professional. I will be back.
    -Ingo S.

  • We have been bringing our ford explorer here for over 2 years. They have provided great sevice at reasonable prices.
    -T B.

  • Always the best service from them. Very thorough technicians and the best prices that I have been able to find. I have always done my own work on my car because I don't trust shops to work on it, but I happily take it to this shop.
    -Russell N.

  • Took a truck in to get a pre purchase inspection, the guys got the truck into the shop and onto a lift within two hours of me calling and they quickly discovered deal breaking issues. Everything was smoothe and professional from the beginning, I was even given a significant discount for the fact that they did their job so quickly. Could not have gone better. From now on all of my vehicles will come here for any and all issues. Customer for life
    -Lyle W.

  • No hassle smog certification with friendly, knowledgeable staff and mechanics. I was in and out within the hour as a walk-in on a Wednesday.
    -Jeff I.

  • Since 2010 I have brought my Jeep here for any repairs or maintaince. I WILL not take my Jeep anywhere else. I feel blessed to have the professional, trustworthy and excellant service provided by everyone at Folsom Auto Center! And yes I highly recommend at every opportunity. Thank you guys for giving me peace of mind!!
    -Debra D.

  • Scott makes you smile and his heart is made of Gold.
    -Linda C.

  • I went here after looking for a smog service. I think this location deserves 5 stars for being expedient and knowledgeable. I was explained in a way so that I could understand and I was not pressured to buy any service; in fact I was told to wait and save some money on a certain oil leak and that was important to me. This shop focused on safety and not unnecessary and/or costly repairs.
    -Joshua A.

  • Great, honest repair! Wouldn't trust anyone else with my vehicles.
    -Kala B.

  • Great Experience...Honest and knowledgeable guys ..Never knew about this place until my car keep failing smog test at other places and the reason they gave did not make any sense... Finally went to this place ..this guy (Alex) explained to me and fixed it without any additional cost and finally my car passed smog..
    -Ghor K.

  • They made a mistake but quickly fixed it! Good Service!
    -Drew P.

  • Really friendly staff and honest service, will definitely bring my cars back here if they have any issues. I had my car towed here because of the good reviews and I agree that they're well deserved.
    -Joshua H.

  • Love them. My family has been going to Scott for 30 some years. They are a little pricey but definitely worth it.
    -Kayla S.

  • This place is great, the guys that work there are pretty cool. Ron ( the owner) Is actually a really cool guy and Alex is really nice. The best part is that it's a family owned. These guys are doing a great job for their community
    -Akul K.

  • Went in today to because the headlights on my pickup were not working. Ron asked if I could wait while he looked into it. He then had two replacement bulbs delivered in about 10 minutes, installed them for free (no labor charge!) and all I had to pay for was the light bulbs. Yes, I will be back for ANYTHING that my car may need. Highly recommend this shop.
    -Kirk P.