DIY Wheel Maintenance Tips for Your Alloy Rims

Yes, you can DIY wheel maintenance.

Alloy wheels may be stronger than the typical steel wheel but they are still affected by the same everyday roadway wear and tear. Elements such as brake pad dust, road salt and tar, can damage your wheels and cause permanent damage to your rims. Most Automobile manufacturers will recommend using soap and water as your go-to wheel cleaning method. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose the right wheel-cleaning product for your rims. So, let’s talk about how to do your own wheel maintenance.

Here are several options for you to get back that new wheel shine:

• The Lemon Juice technique is an effective method for cutting through dirt and dust on wheels that are still in fairly new shape. Just apply an even coating of lemon juice to your rims and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing
• If your rims are coated in grease, try soaking wheels in a tub of white or cider vinegar
• A great option for cutting through the tough grime is to use Oxy-Gel kitchen cleaner. However, it is an oxygenated bleach so be careful
• Avoid using the more abrasive cleaners and polishing compounds to clean your alloy wheels. Please use a wheel brush that is made specific for alloy wheels
• Another thing to remember when choosing to clean your rims is to avoid automatic car washes. They sometimes use acid-based cleaners in combination with abrasive brushes, which can permanently damage your wheels. So please check with your local car wash to avoid running your rims

Remember to protect your rims from future harm after using these cleaning methods, by applying an even coat of wax to your rims every two to three months. The best way to maintain a long-lasting and great looking wheel is to follow these tips on a consistent basis. If you’re worried your rims aren’t holding up as they should, call us and we can find the right solution for you.

Signs Your Car is Ready for a Tune Up

Sure you’ve heard of a Tune Up. But do you truly know when its necessary to get one?

Of course it is better to be pro-active with your vehicle, which means getting regular service and tune ups. However, most of us are guilty of not having regular maintenance performed on our cars. If you are one of those people who waits until the last minute to get service on your vehicle, then you have probably seen or felt the signs that your car is not performing at its best. Not Sure? Here are several indications that your car may be ready for a tune up.

1. A misfiring engine
When your spark plugs ignite at inopportune times either from excessive wear or faulty equipment it is considered to be misfiring.

2. A dirty or clogged air filter
This will greatly reduce acceleration. Filters will get dirty over time, but you will notice your car gradually getting slower.

3. Engine deposits
Low-quality or contaminated gasoline create issues causing the vehicle not to drive properly, which could be an indication that your vehicle needs a thorough fuel system cleaning.

4. Check Engine Light
The most common of them all is the infamous Check Engine Light. When something isn’t right within the emissions control system it will trigger this light to tell you there is a problem. Don’t ignore this!

5. An old oxygen (O2) sensor
Even if it has yet to trigger the Check Engine Light, an Oxygen sensor can still be hurting your fuel economy. Not to mention, the wear this puts on your engine and it’s performance.

Due to the fact that there are so many of the same signals that could be coming from different problems, it is best to bring your vehicle in for a thorough diagnosis or a tune up. Having your car checked could prevent you from costly maintenance down the road, or from having to purchase a new vehicle completely.

Having Problems with Your Shocks & Struts?

shocks

How to Know When to Replace Your Shocks & Struts

The shocks and struts in your vehicle are part of your suspension system. Your suspension’s job is to maximize the friction between the road’s surface and your tires. This provides stability when you’re steering. If the road were flat with no inconsistencies at all, a suspension system wouldn’t be necessary. These irregularities in the road apply forces to your wheels. Without a suspension system, your car would lose contact with the road completely when faced with an irregularity in the road. Your suspension is made up of many parts, but your shocks and struts in particular absorb the energy and force to give you a smoother ride. It also ensures good handling and comfort for you and your passengers. So, it should be obvious when you need to replace your shocks and struts, right? Not necessarily. Here are some signs to look out for:

• Poor steering response with noise or stiffness when steering
• Experiencing a “nose dive” or instability when applying the brakes
• Vehicle swaying or leaning on turns or when changing lanes
• Excessive vehicle “bounce”

There are other visual signs that you can look out for, such as:
• Dented or generally damaged looking shock or strut bodies
• Fluid leaks from your shocks or struts
• Uneven, cupped tire wear
• Damaged, corroded or broken mounts or bushings

If you experience a generally bumpy or uncomfortable ride, poor steering response, noise or stiffness when steering, instability upon braking or vehicle swaying you definitely need new struts or shocks. Testing has also shown that generally vehicles will need these parts replaced around 50,000 miles. If you’re still not sure, check for the visual signs. But don’t delay in getting a repair. It’s the kind of job that can’t wait. If you think you need new suspension parts, come on in to Courthouse Automotive and we’ll give you an honest quote.

Summer Car Care Tips

car care

Car care tips to ensure your vehicle does not overheat or breakdown

The weather is heating up, and the windows are being rolled down – it’s summertime! Our families may be taking a vacation from school and work, but we still need to focus our attention on car care and maintenance. While the heat of the season can pose severe challenges for our vehicles, there are steps you can take to ensure your car is properly cared for so that your vacation does not end up as a “stay-cation.”

1. Essential Fluids

Our cars need to stay hydrated, therefore it is extremely important to check the level of coolant and ensure that there are no leaks from the hoses. The hoses should also feel firm rather than soft. Along with the coolant, be sure to watch the oil, brake, power-steering, and windshield-wiper fluids.

2. Belts

The serpentine belt runs between several components of your engine and is used to keep your alternator, power-steering pump, air conditioning, and even your water pump running smoothly. A squealing sound from under the hood may hint at loosening or deterioration of the belt. It is important to watch for cracks or missing pieces. If these appear, it is time for a replacement.

3. Windshield Maintenance

Our travels can often take us off of the highways and interstates and onto dirt and gravel backroads. Excess sediment can be flung up from other cars and into our windshields. Small cracks and chips should be dealt with immediately. Any crack larger than six inches will call for a full windshield replacement. It is also important to keep your windshield clean.
Dirt and grime has a tendency to build up over extended periods of time, so we don’t typically notice it. Haze can diffuse sunlight and cause glares, making it hard to see where you’re going.
Rain will not provide a thorough cleaning job, nor will worn wipers won’t do you any good. They can leave streaks across your windshield and add to your frustration of a lack of visibility.

4. Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is not something we typically think about during the winter, and it is always fun to just enjoy the breeze flowing in through the windows. On hotter days, however, it can be frustrating when your car is only blowing lukewarm air. A lack of cold air can result from a refrigerant leak. Instead of breaking the bank to have your air-conditioning system recharged, just check with your mechanic and have them inspect the problem.

5. Air Filter

Over the winter, your air filter can become clogged with salt and road debris. It is always a good idea to check the filter to see if you can clean it out or possibly replace it with a new one. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.

6. Tires

If you should remember anything from high school, draw your mind back to chemistry. You probably learned that as temperature increases, pressure increases. In terms of car care, as the temperature rises, your tire pressure rises with it. Because of this, the chance of a blowout or accelerated deterioration is much higher. Keep your tires properly inflated and keep an eye out for any holes or punctures.

While treating yourself to a fun-filled summer, keep your vehicle in mind. Proper car care maintenance can go a long way in keeping your vehicle on the road and out of the repair shop. However, if you have any concerns, our certified technicians here at Courthouse Automotive would be more than glad to see you!

Winter Car Care Package

Winter Car Care Package

What does cold winter weather mean for you? It probably means getting those heavy sweaters and jackets out of the back of your closet, buying new fuzzy socks or slippers, and for many people, busting out the lip balm and hand lotion to battle dry skin. We all get prepared for winter in our own way. For your car, it means an oil change, getting tires rotated and checking the brakes, battery, coolant and all other fluids. We are offering this winter car care package from now until March 1st, 2016 for $149.99.

Come on in and let us get your car prepared for a winter blast.