Here are some of useful tips that we get from out folks at ASA (Automotive Service Association).
it might come in handy and help you save a few bucks on your next check up at your automotive service.

Understanding Your Brake System

To help prevent brake problems or failures, the following regular inspections and maintenance should be performed on your brake system.

brake servide
  • Check the fluid levels.
  • Check the line for rust or punctures. You may be able to do this, but consult a qualified technician if necessary.
  • Check the brake hoses for brittleness or cracking. This check should be done by a qualified technician.
  • Check the brake linings and pads for wear, brake fluid or grease. This check should be done by a qualified technician.
  • Check the wheel bearings and grease seals. This check should be done by a qualified technician.
  • Adjust the parking brake as required. This adjustment should be done by a qualified technician.

Some signals that may indicate a problem with your brake system are:

  • Squeals-- caused by excessive heating of brake pads or linings.
  • Rubbing -- caused by the metal brake rotor rubbing against the metal component of the brake pad. This sound means that the brake pad is completely worn away.
  • A soft brake pedal indicating that there may be a brake fluid leak or air in the lines.
  • Brake pull indicating worn linings, stuck pistons in the calipers or wheel cylinders, or saturated linings (caused by grease or brake fluid).

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What to do in case of an accident

Most drivers make costly, long-term decision errors immediately following an accident as fear gives way to anger and frustration. Questions race through your head faster than the mind can register them. Who was at fault? Will my car ever be right again? What are my rights and responsibilities? A calm and informed reaction to an accident will reduce your chances for additional grief and expense.

  • Move your vehicle to a safe place, then stop and identify yourself to the other driver. (Some state or local statutes may require the vehicle be left as is.) If it can’t be moved, turn on the hazard lights. Seek medical help if you or other parties require it, and notify the police. Tell them who you are, where you are, and about any obvious or claimed injuries.
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s) including driver’s license numbers. Get the driver’s name, address,telephone numbers and name of insurance company. Also, list any passengers and witnesses.
  • Get names and badge numbers of any police officers who arrive at the scene. If there are injuries or extensive damage, the police should file a report. Ask to get a copy.
  • Avoid any extensive discussions at the scene about who is responsible for damage. If the other person admits responsibility, offers a money settlement and you accept, any future claim against the driver may be compromised. You or the other party may later find damage and bodily injury not apparent at first.
  • Write a complete description of the accident as soon aspossible. Include weather conditions, estimated speeds, and as much precise information as you can observe. Take photographs if a camera is available.
  • Have the vehicle towed or driven to a collision repair facility of your choice. If in doubt, there are some 12,000 Automotive Service Association (ASA) member-businesses around the nation. Look for the ASA logo in the Yellow Pages or the red, white and blue ASA sign. (Search the Find Nearest ASA Shop database to find a shop in your area.)
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible.

ASA also has a Consumer Bill of Rights for Motorists available with information designed to aid you in the repair of your damaged vehicle.

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Car Care Tips

According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect. The following simple and inexpensive preventive checks will greatly extend the life of the vehicle, ensure safer operation and even benefit the environment.

    belt replacement
  • Always consult your owner’s manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil filter changed regularly, every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.
  • Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle.
  • Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel efficiency. This is the least expensive form of preventive and safety maintenance. Tires should be checked once a month.
  • Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
  • Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving components of the vehicle's suspension system.
  • Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. The battery fluid should also be checked and filled if it is low, except in the case of maintenance-free batteries.
  • Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights, turn signals, and brake and tail lights.
  • Check windshield washer blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. Replace them approximately once a year or sooner if streaking begins.
  • Inspect engine belts regularly. Worn belts will affect the engine performance. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments.
  • Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked approximately every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.

Always consult the vehicle owner's manual for individual service schedules as manufacturer maintenance requirements vary greatly.

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Important items to carry in your vehicle

In case of road-side emergencies, accidents or bad weather, always have in your vehicle the following items:

emergency car kits
  • Jumper cables
  • Pliers, an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver
  • A first-aid kit
  • Blankets
  • A supply of any regularly needed or taken medications
  • Candles and matches
  • Sand or kitty litter for climates with snow or ice
  • Clean water
  • Canned fruit or nuts and a can opener

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Frequently Asked Questions

Dealing with auto repairs can be stressful. We've included answers to some frequently asked questions to help you feel more prepared.

Tune-Up needs

    How often should I get a tune-up?
  • Most cars require regularly scheduled tune-ups yearly and require major maintenance at 60,000 miles.

tune-upOil change recommendations

    How often should I change my oil?
  • It depends on how you drive. If your car always (or nearly always) gets warmed up, and you don't drive it very hard and keep the revs down, the manufacturer's recommendation is probably fine. If, however, you drive it hard, drive it at high revs, or alternatively, if you only drive it to and from the supermarket so that it doesn't get up to temperature, then you may wish to change oil much more often, perhaps at 3000 mile intervals (given that most manufacturers are now specifying 7500 mile intervals.) If you don't drive your car much at all (say 7500 miles a year), then you probably want to change oil every six months anyway.

Brake job expectations

    What should be included in a "complete brake job"?
  • A complete brake job should restore a vehicle’s brake system and braking performance to good-as-new condition. Anything less would be an incomplete brake job. Brake components that should be replaced will obviously depend upon the age, mileage and wear. A complete brake job should begin with a thorough inspection of the entire brake system; lining condition, rotors and drums, calipers and wheel cylinders, brake hardware, hoses, lines and the master cylinder.

Belts and hoses

    How often should belts and hoses be replaced?
  • Most hose manufacturers recommend replacing hoses every four years. With V-belts, replace them every three years or 36,000 miles. The incidence of failure rises sharply after the fourth year for hoses and third year for belts. A typical serpentine belt lifespan is about five years or 50,000 miles. Serpentine belts are thinner and more flexible than V-belts. They run cooler and last longer, but they cost about twice as much to replace.

Regular Maintenance

    Do I have to go to the dealership for regularly scheduled maintenance?
  • ABSOLUTELY NOT! Your new car warranty can be applied to any independent automotive shop. We often hear dealership horror stories where customers have to keep going back to the dealer time after time to complete a simple repair. Why waste time and money? At Economy Muffler and Brake we have qualified, ASE-certified technicians that listen to you and most importantly, GET THE JOB RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

Buyer beware!

    What should I look for when purchasing a used car?
  • If you do not have a used car thoroughly checked out by a professional you could be making a big mistake. The cost is very minor and we always give a buyer more ammunition for bringing the price down. Money spent on having a qualified mechanic check out a used car is well spent.

Weird noises

    My car is making a pinging sound. What does that mean?
  • Most likely, a pinging sound coming from your engine indicates timing problems. Sometimes pinging is caused by poor quality or low octane fuel. Pinging can cause damage. We strongly advise that to have your car checked out by a professional to determine whether it’s causing damage.

Overheating problems

    What can make a car overheat?
    Overheating is caused by anything that leads to a loss of coolant, prevents the cooling system from getting rid of heat, or causes excess heat in the engine itself:
    radiator replacement
  • Coolant leaks (water pump, radiator, heater core, hoses, freeze plugs, head gasket, engine internal).
  • Weak radiator cap (does not hold rated pressure and allows coolant to boil over). Pressure test the cap to check it out.
  • Cooling system clogged (deposits built up in radiator or in engine due to maintenance neglect or use of hard water). Use a cleaner, then reverse flush system to clean it out. A badly clogged radiator may need to be rodded out or replaced.
  • Thermostat stuck shut (replace).
  • Inoperative electric cooling fan (check fan motor, relay and temperature switch for correct operation).
  • Bad fan clutch (replace if slipping, leaking or loose).
  • Missing fan shroud (reduces cooling efficiency of fan).
  • Slipping fan belt (tighten or replace).
  • Too low or too high a concentration of antifreeze (should be 50/50 for best cooling).
  • Bad water pump impeller (eroded or loose - replace pump).
  • Collapsed radiator hose (check lower hose).
  • Debris in radiator (remove bugs and dirt).
  • Late ignition timing (reset to specs).
  • Restricted exhaust system (check intake vacuum readings and inspect converter, muffler and pipes).
  • Radiator and/or fan undersized for application (increase cooling power by installing larger and/or auxiliary cooling fan).

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