Here are some commonly asked questions when it comes to tire and car maintenance and repair. Please use this as a general guideline. Always refer to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. And please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or an appointment to look over your car and/or tires.
Q: How often should I change my oil?
A: Most car companies agree that you should get your oil changed every 5,000 kilometers or 3,000 miles. While it may seem like you can go longer, oil is the life blood of your car. Changing your oil means eliminating “dirty” or “corrosive” elements thus ensuring a longer life of your engine.
Q: What if I have synthetic?
A: While the common thought is that synthetic oil can be changed less frequently most will advise you to change it as frequently as other oil.
Q: What is Synthetic motor oil?
A: Synthetic oil is a lubricant consisting of chemical compounds which are artificially made from compounds other than crude oil. Synthetic oil is used as a substitute for lubricant refined from petroleum, because it generally provides superior mechanical and chemical properties than those found in traditional mineral oils.
Q: When should I change my spark plugs?
A: The recommendation is around 50,000 miles. Some will say 100,000 miles but they can be very worn out at 100,000 miles.
Q: What is a timing belt and how do I know when mine needs replacing?
A: A timing belt, is a part of an internal combustion engine that controls the timing of the engine’s valves. Your timing belt should be changed every 50,000-70,000 miles, however every manufacturer is different. You should consult your owner’s manual to determine the correct replacement interval.
Q: Does brake fluid really need to be changed?
A: The average driver uses their brakes 75,000 times per year and takes for granted that they’ll work every time. Today’s brake systems are hydraulic and use brake fluid which is hydrophilic, meaning it can absorb moisture from the air. Once the hydraulic system has moisture in it, corrosion takes place and brake components fail. Brake fluid should be flushed periodically to keep corrosion under control. This procedure is not expensive and is included in many preventative maintenance schedules. Brake fluid should be handled with care. It will melt plastics and remove paint.
Q: How often should antifreeze be replaced?
A: Antifreeze should be replaced every two years due to oxidation and deterioration of important additives. These additives lubricate the water pump and protect metal parts from rust and oxidation. They also help keep coolant hoses soft and flexible. Today we can recycle and clean old antifreeze, replacing the additives. Antifreeze is very toxic and not environmentally friendly so recycling makes good sense. The engine’s thermostat should also be replaced every 2 years to keep the engine operating temperatures in the proper range.
Q: My check engine light is on, what do I do?
A: While you don’t immediately have to pull over to the side of the road you should plan to have your car checked out based on seeing the check engine light go on. The check engine light can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine.
Q: My A/C isn’t blowing cold. Can you fix this?
A: Yes, bring your car into Eastern Tire & Auto Service and we will diagnose and repair your air conditioning unit.
Q: I have a European car, are you equipped to service it?
A: Yes. We are a full-service repair facility and offer repair and maintenance on most makes and models. Bring you car in and let Eastern Tire & Auto Service take a look.
Q: I have a flat tire, can you help?
A: Absolutely! Tires are our business. Bring in your vehicle with any tire issue, including flats. We will look to see if we can repair the tire first. Often, this can be done while you wait. If we cannot repair the tire we will work with you to replace the tire.
Q: I have an ATV that needs servicing. Do you repair small engines as well as automobiles?
A: We are currently making plans to offer services for small engines such as the ATV, snowmobile and lawn care equipment. Although these plans are not complete we are repairing on a case by case basis.
Q: My battery is dead every morning, what could be causing this and how do I fix it?
A: There could be a number of problems that can lead to a dead battery. They include but are not limited to battery age, a failure in the charging system, etc. Bring your vehicle to the shop for further diagnosis and repair.
Q: I hit a curb. Should I have the alignment checked?
A: Yes, often a little bump like that gets forgotten, especially if the car handles the same. Today’s cars are lighter with fewer and smaller suspension components and therefore less forgiving. If damage goes unnoticed, new tires may be needed. Look closely at the tread for uneven wear patterns or bald spots. Checking tire pressures helps tires last longer, improves handling and fuel economy. It’s important to set tire pressures at or just below the maximum rating on the tire.
Q: What should I do if my car starts to overheat?
A: If your vehicle starts to overheat and you are driving at normal speed turn off your air conditioning and then turn on the heater and immediately (or as soon as you can safely) pull over to the shoulder. if your car starts to overheat at highway speed it is likely to be a problem with the cooling system. Once you are safely at the shoulder, shut off the engine, open the hood and let the engine cool down for 20 minutes minimum (the car can actually get hotter before it cools off). As soon any over boiling stops and the engine has cooled, look for any obvious signs of trouble, such as a pool of coolant or a broken belt. DO NOT attempt to open the radiator cap unless the engine is off and the top of the radiator is cold. If there is no noticeable problem you can then add a coolant/water mixture to the radiator or overflow reservoir, start the vehicle and drive slowly to a service facility. Running the car when it’s overheating can severely damage the engine, to the point that a whole new engine is required.
Q: How do I know how much air pressure should be in my tires?
A: This depends on many factors including the size of the tires, how much weight is on the tires, and whether fuel economy is more important to you than a smooth ride. Review your owner’s manual or look for the decal in your glove compartment or door jamb for the recommended inflation pressures from the vehicle manufacturer. It’s important to note that the recommended inflation pressures may differ for the front and rear tires.
WARNING: Never exceed the maximum inflation pressure specified on the sidewall of the tire. This number is the maximum pressure the tire is designed to safely handle. Higher pressure increases the risk of tire damage (when hitting a bump) or tire failure.
Q: How often do I need my tires rotated?
A: Depending on the tire, most tires should be rotated between 5,000 and 7,500 miles. Rotation can often be included in the search of 4 new tires, and scheduled rotation can help you keep your tire warranty.
Q: When is the best time to check air pressure?
A: It is best to check the air pressure when the tires are “cold” or not having been driven so that the tires have not expanded from heat.
Q: I think that my tires may be low, can you check them for me?
A: Absolutely. Bring your car in and we will gladly check the pressure for you.
Q: How do I tell what size tire I have?
A:There are a series of numbers and letters imprinted on the sidewall of the tire. They look something like “P205/75R15”. We would be happy to look up the tire size for you using your vehicle information.
Q: Do I need snow tires?
A: There are several things to consider when evaluating the need for snow tires. Ultimately snow tires are made for operating in the snow. This puts their value above and beyond all “all season” tires. Depending on where you live, your commute to work, the condition of the roads, and the current tires on your car you may want snow tires. Consider investing in a set with rims making swapping for winter a piece of cake. No matter what, they will make a significant improvement in snowy weather.
Q: It is now spring time, I don’t have a place for my snow tires, can you store them?
A: Yes. We offer seasonal tire storage in our new warehouse.
Q: Do I need an appointment for an inspection sticker?
A: We recommend you make an appointment for your inspection service to obtain your sticker but most times we can accommodate walk in requests.
Q: Should I carry a jug of water in my car in case it overheats?
A: A jug of water could definitely come in handy if your car overheats. You cannot predict where this will happen and how close you will be to another source of some form of coolant. The water is also handy in other emergencies!
Q: I’m buying a new car, should I pay for a CarFax report?
A: CarFax and like reports are really best used when deciding on the purchase of a used car. All new cars come with manufacturer’s warranty and should not have the potential issues of a used car. We highly recommend a CarFax type report on used cards, and that you bring it in for us to take a look.
Q: Can you look over a car that I am looking at purchasing to make sure that it is mechanically sound?
A: Yes, we would be happy to look over your prospective car purchase. We offer a free “pre-buy” inspection. Our inspection will help you make an informative buying decision.
Q: I am having my car repaired with you, but I need to drop it off before work, do you have a shuttle service?
A: Yes, we will gladly take you to your destination of choice within the local area. Please take advantage of our local shuttle service.
Q: There is a puddle under my car, how do I tell what it is and if it is dangerous?
A: Common fluids found under you car are water from the air conditioner, engine oil, or coolant. A puddle of 3 inches or wider under your car is considered a serious leak and requires immediate attention. Please bring it in and we will check it out for you!
Q: Do you offer any warranty on your tires or your repair service?
A: Most tires have warranties from the tire manufacturer. If you have an issue with your tires we will help make sure it is repaired or replaced by that warranty.
For our car repair service Eastern Tire & Auto Service guarantees the work done to your vehicle for 2 years or 24,000 miles.
Q: What causes my car to go out of alignment?
A: There are 5 main reasons why your car can become misaligned, some happen gradually while others are instantaneous which is where we will start. At a high level they are an accident, changing suspension or steering parts, towing, worn suspension bushes or steering components, or sagging springs. Regardless of the possible reason, if you car is driving oddly, veering to the right or the left, please contact us and we will check out your car.