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Tip of the Month

Get Your Vehicle Ready for Spring/Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic take their toll on your vehicle, you can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through preparation and maintenance.

Getting Started--The first planning guide is look at your owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's recommended service schedules.

Air Conditioning--A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather and may cause the compressor to fail. Have the system examined by a qualified technician.
The only way to properly refill an Air Conditioning system is to recover the refrigerant, measure it and then put the proper amount back in as there is no way to visually check the refrigerant level and their performance is highly dependent on having the correct amount of freon.

Overheated car

Cooling System--The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months for older cars, every 4 years for most newer cars.
Replace the thermostat if it hasn't been replaced in the last 7 years. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is recommended.)
Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled!
Inspect the front of the radiator for a build up of leaves or bugs and clean as necessary.

OIL--Change your engine oil and oil filter as specified in your manual--more often (every 3,000- 4,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer. Summer dust and heat are hard on engine oil.
Check the transmission fluid to be sure that it's at the proper level and doesn't smell burnt or look dirty, since heat can make the fluid thinner and less effective. Note: Some newer vehicles to not have a dipstick for the transmission.
This is especially important for vehicles that are used for towing. Check the owners' manual for the right type of transmission fluid to use.

Engine Performance--Check your records and verify your automobile is not due for maintenance. Air filters get dirty quicker in the summer. Heat can cause old spark plug wires to fail and is hard on ignition parts. Plug wires should be replaced at or before manufacture recommendations.

Hoses and Belts--Replace worn or cracked belts, as well as hoses that are worn, cracked, blistered, brittle or too soft. Hose problems cannot always be determined visually, it's a good idea to replace them every 6 - 7 years.

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

Tires--Have your tires rotated about every 6,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; let the tires "cool down" first. Don't forget your spare, 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.

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. Summer heat can cause brakes to run hotter and wear faster. Contaminated brake fluid can cause loss of braking in extreme heat conditions.

Battery--Since high temperatures can compromise batteries, test and replace old or weak batteries if necessary. Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections.
Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment.

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.

Interior--apply a protectant to any vinyl surface including the dashboard, seats and the steering wheel. These are all susceptible to cracking, sun damage and fading.

Emergencies--Even well maintained cars can break down, so on long trips, take along drinking water, a windshield shade, and a cell phone. Also pack a comprehensive emergency kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices such as flares, jumper cables and a first-aid kit.


Visit Wayne's Garage for your car repair and service in the Eugene and Springfield area. We are an AAA Approved Automobile Repair Facility and have been awarded the Blue Seal of Excellence by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Warning Lights


See what's happening at Wayne's!

Automotive Recalls

We often hear about auto recalls when they become big news, but recalls happen quite often and are not always publicized. Many cars running around out on the road have recalls that have never been addressed.

For those who bought used vehicles or have moved since a vehicle purchase, they may not get a notice.

How do you find out if there is a recall on your car? Go to Carfax and enter your make and VIN#. If your car is not listed you can check with a dealer or go to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.

Millions of drivers could be endangered by operating vehicles that have been recalled but have not been repaired, according to an investigation conducted by Edmunds. They found there were at least 2.7 million vehicles listed for sale last year that still were subject to unfulfilled recalls. There are no laws that require a car's owner to notify a potential buyer that the car being sold is the subject of a recall. More about recalls and 14 of the largest.starbar.gif

Ignoring that Check Engine Light
Check Engine Light When the first GM cars with onboard computers and diagnostic capabilities came out in the early 80's, they could recognize a limited amount of problems and could store less than 20 trouble codes. It's not unusual for an average car today to recognize and set 125 codes or more just for the engine and transmission.

Then there is Anti-lock Brakes, Traction Control, Air Bag, suspension and other systems that have their own codes.

Some of these engine and transmission codes are for problems that usually won't cause problems we notice while driving. We often hear, "that light has been on for years, I don't worry about it anymore" or "Since this is a minor problem, can I continue driving it and not fix it right now?"
Unfortunately you only have one check engine light. If you ignore the light because of a problem that doesn't seem to affect the way the car drives, something else might crop up that will cause big problems and you may not know until it's too late because the light is already on.

Some problems that the light can come on to warn you about can cause poor mileage or be a warning that you may be left by the side of the road soon. Other warnings can be about things that can cause catalytic converter, transmission or engine failure.


See more Automotive Service and Repair Tips at Wayne's Garage

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Many of today's cars have more than 100 million lines of software code running everything from navigation systems to braking systems.


Wayne's Garage - serving Eugene and Springfield, Oregon car and light truck needs.

Integrity, Quality and Exceptional Service.


333 Q Street
Springfield, Oregon