Synthetic versus Regular Oil

By: Louis Albornoz (topspeedracer.com)

The oil we put in our engines serves multiple purposes. It coats the metal parts and allows them to run on a thin, smooth layer of lubrication, thus reducing friction and wear. It works as an additional coolant, holds by-product carbon particles in suspension until the oil filter traps them, neutralizes acids, and employs solvents to keep the engine clean. That’s a serious resumé and if there’s one thing motor enthusiasts love to do it’s debate the merits of one oil over another.

Sooner or later somebody brings up the “synthetic vs. regular oil” issue and the conversation is literally off to the races with “experts” pressing advantages and disadvantages with knowing passion. Like most arguments, there are degrees of “rightness” and “wrongness” depending on what you’re driving and how you’re driving it. The oil you use in your family car (even if you have tuned it up to breath a little life into that run to the grocery store) isn’t going to be the same oil that goes into a racing engine. Without trying to put an end to a discussion that has no end, let’s look at a few facts.

Obviously “regular” oils are mineral-based products refined from crude oil taken from the ground. Over the past 20 years these lubricants have been “refined” even further, particularly in the area of viscosity enhancers — meaning modern oils flow better over a range of temperatures. This, in combination with engines that sport tighter clearances and better machining, allow for the use of thin oils that both reduce friction and improve fuel efficiency. In the world of racing, for instance, very few teams are going to be using motor oil with single rated viscosity. (The exception would be some nitro-burners.) Racers not only want efficient operation and greater power, they want the best lubrication of engine parts as quickly as possible. (Start-ups deliver high engine wear, so you want an oil that gets to work quickly.)

Synthetic oils, which have been around since the 1970s, have the same natural ingredients as “oil oil,” but they are distilled in a chemical plant where the concept of refining goes techno-geek. Try getting your head wrapped around the concept of “synthesized-hydrocarbon molecular chains” and base fluids including “polyalphaolefin, synthetic esters, and alkylated aromatics.” Practically, what the heck does this mean?

Synthetic oils:

  • are all season and have multi-viscosity properties, some flowing as much as seven times faster than regular oil.
  • can stand extremes of engine temperature (some above 400°F) more efficiently.
  • can boost effective horsepower more effectively than thinner regular oils.
  • can be used for as much as 10,000 miles before requiring an oil change.
  • contain fewer contaminants like sulfur, wax, and other elements that contribute to sludge build-up.

Of course, these synthetic oils are more expensive and there are some things they don’t do, including:

  • eliminate the need for oil changes.
  • eliminate engine wear.
  • or improve miles per gallon received.

The major advantage of synthetics is superior lubrication that significantly reduces engine wear over the long term.

For regular drivers and performance car enthusiasts, proponents suggest there’s a place for both types of oil. Conventional wisdom now suggests that you want to use “regular” oil while breaking in an engine. At this phase of an engine’s life, you want some wear to make sure all the components get properly smoothed down. (On the other hand, there are plenty of performance cars that come from the factory using synthetic oil.) Depending on who you ask, this breaking-in period can be as short as 500 or as long as 5,000 miles.

At whatever point you choose, however, the switch from regular to synthetic oil is intended to then slow engine wear down as much as possible. (And you don’t want to mix regular and synthetic as that’s a great recipe for sludge.) At the racing level, of course, a team is going to test various oils, determine what horsepower gain is returned, gauge the viscosity and temperature tolerances — in short, make a science out of oil choice versus engine benefit.

The best answer to this debate may be that there are virtues to both types of oil. Anything you put in your engine from the new car dealer or any modification you make to your vehicle — whether it’s a racer or the family car — has to be looked at in terms of the goal you’re seeking to achieve. Without question, the chemical composition of synthetic oils have a quality and uniformity at the molecular level that just isn’t found in traditional, “regular” oils. And without question, these oils will continue to be fine-tuned in the laboratory to give even higher levels of performance and benefit. As we ask more of our engines, not only in terms of output but in the areas of clean and efficient operation, no one can afford to rule out synthetic oils as a viable option. Like everything about automobiles, lubrication techniques are evolving rapidly and the days of indiscriminately telling the guy at the gas station to “just add a quart” are definitely over.


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Why New Year’s Day is a big day for car thieves

 
By: Jerry Edgerton
(MoneyWatch) 
 
 
If you celebrate too much on New Year’s Eve, by all means take a taxi home. But make sure you aren’t leaving your own car vulnerable to be stolen.Thieves steal more cars on New Year’s Day than any other holiday, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau -2,347 last New Year’s. Many cars are sitting in parking lots or other locations away from home, some of them unlocked.

“Thieves never miss an opportunity to make a quick buck by stealing a car. They work nights, weekends and holidays,” cautions Joe Wehrle, president of the NICB.

After New Year’s Day, the holiday with the most auto theft is Memorial Day. The day with more car thefts than any other is a shifting date in the summer, usually in July or August.

If you want to have a good time on New Year’s Eve and not have a missing car be part of the hangover, follow these tips:

— Leave your car at home. Take a taxi or mass transit to your celebration. Or, if you have a selfless friend, go with a designated driver.

— If you do drive and leave your car, make sure it is locked and the alarm is activated.

— Park the car in a well-lighted, very visible place.

— Don’t leave holiday presents or other attractive targets in the car that could lure a thief to break in.

Plan your New Year’s Eve carefully. For sure, don’t get in an accident or arrested for drunk driving. But don’t get your car stolen either.

Saab Cancels All Warranty Coverage

 By Jim Gorzelany (of Forbes Magazine)
 
 
 
A Saab logo is pictured on a car at a Saab sho...
Image by AFP/Getty Images via @daylife
 
 
 
 

A leaked memo published by the website Autoblog indicates bankrupt automaker Saab has abruptly suspended warranty coverage on all its vehicles in North America, though owners may not be left as high and dry as originally feared.

Saab is apparently suspending all new car, powertrain, emissions and parts warranties, along with recall campaigns, certified pre-owned coverage and no-charge maintenance programs effective immediately. There’s no word, however, on whether this is a permanent or a temporary issue based on the automaker’s current bankruptcy proceedings, though the memo suggests that owners “keep receipts of all related warranty work done or services performed until further notice.”

Whatever stock of brand new Saab cars remains on dealers’ lots is to be sold “as is,” like some dubious merchandise advertised on Craig’s List.

Fortunately, General Motors just released a statement on the matter that should assuage recent Saab owners’ fears: “In the event Saab cannot or will not fulfill its obligations to administer the warranty programs with its U.S. and Canadian dealers through Saab Cars North America or otherwise, General Motors will take necessary steps to ensure that remaining warranty obligations on Saab vehicles marketed by GM in the United States and Canada will be honored.”

UPDATE: Consumer Reports’ website clarifies GM’s position with regard to Saab warranties, saying the company will honor them only for cars built before Jan. 1, 2010, which includes mainly Saab 9-3s, but not new redesigned 9-5s or 9-4Xs. Saab owners with models that fall within the applicable warranty period will be treated as creditors under Saab’s bankruptcy proceeding, and could be offered some coverage from Saab’s assets once they’re sold. Personally, we wouldn’t be holding our breaths over the possibility of that happening, neither would we consider buying a new “as is” Saab without warranty coverage, no matter how attractive any “fire sale” prices may subsequently become.

Here’s a link to a photocopy of the leaked memo via Autoblog.

Ways to make night driving easier: from high-tech to simple solutions

 

Night driving is difficult for many people. Driving in the dark is much different from driving during the daylight hours. The human eye’s field of vision is much smaller without the help of natural light.

Also consider that during this holiday season from December 23 to January 2, 92.3 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home, according to AAA. Much of that driving will take place before or after work hours. Last year December 21 had more darkness than any other day of the year—Hoosiers, for example, saw just 9 hours and 15 minutes of light—it’s clear as day how much driving in the dark we do during the winter months.

We all know that night driving is more challenging and unavoidable. So what can be done to make it easier? What are automobile manufacturers doing to make night driving less challenging? Are there simple ways we can make it easier as car owners? Hopefully this blog will help answer some of those questions.

New Technology to Make Night Driving Less Challenging

Auto makers are working on new ways to make night driving even easier. Many of these systems are based on newly available technology. Unfortunately, many of these options are still very expensive and are only available in high-end vehicles. Nonetheless, these advancements should be available for most cars over the next decade. Let’s review some of them.

1. Active Headlights

 

The most direct approach to making it easier to drive in the dark is simply to illuminate the road. High-intensity-discharge (or HID) headlamps began appearing on cars in the early 1990s and since then have spread across the industry. These lights most often use xenon gas and produce light up to four times brighter than traditional halogen headlights.

Brighter headlights help to illuminate the road ahead but can fall short when cars are taking corners or tackling twisty roads at night. The next step, therefore, is active lighting, which aims the headlights based on steering input and other factors. The Citroën DS featured rudimentary swiveling headlights in 1967. It wasn’t the first, though, and the modern equivalent of such systems are available on tons of vehicles today. But the latest setups, such as BMW’s adaptive headlights, use a camera integrated into the rearview mirror to detect oncoming vehicles and automatically dip the headlights so other drivers don’t get a flash of high-powered xenons in their eyes. Automakers such as Audi, Lexus, Ford, General Motors, and Infiniti offer similar systems. Mercedes even uses mirrors to redirect the headlight beams when driving in fog.

2. Night Vision with Pedestrian and Obstacle Detection

 

Even with powerful xenon headlights—and systems working to ensure they’re pointed where they need to be—there’s no way to illuminate the entire road ahead. To deal with that, a number of high-end manufacturers, including Mercedes, Audi, and BMW offer night-vision systems as options in their midrange and top-of-the-line models. Some project images onto a head-up display and some onto an LCD on the instrument panel or dash, and the newest systems in use specifically call out pedestrians or obstacles that pose an imminent threat of collision.

The latest night-vision system from Mercedes, called “active night view assist plus,” not only detects people but also objects by shining nonvisible infrared light, like military-grade night-vision tech. Other systems typically rely on the infrared generated from body heat. When a person is detected, the Mercedes system goes so far as to flash a spotlight on the pedestrian to warn of the oncoming car (although one assumes the headlights would do that already) and point out the person to the vehicle’s driver, in case the highlighted silhouette on the night-vision display wasn’t enough. At the same time, the HID headlights will dip for five seconds to avoid blinding the pedestrian. Audi’s version claims to be able to detect a pedestrian as far as an incredible 1000 feet away—more than three football fields.

3. Active Cruise Control and Braking

 

Radar- and laser-based active cruise-control systems have been available on premium cars for several years, modulating engine power and brakes to maintain a set distance behind a vehicle. But new iterations are even more intelligent and more capable. The latest systems, such as Toyota’s adaptive cruise control, can scan for slower-moving vehicles on roads with light or no traffic and apply the brakes while approaching. Some, like Audi’s, will warn a driver with a beep about upcoming vehicles, even in other lanes. The most active systems, however, can bring the vehicle to a full stop if they detect that the vehicle ahead is not moving. Volvo’s “city safety” system is active only at speeds less than 18 mph, but systems like Mercedes’ Pre-Safe, which works in conjunction with the adaptive cruise control, can completely halt the vehicle from any speed.

 4. Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane Departure Warning

 

Blind-spot monitoring systems use radar modules, usually one in each rear quarter-panel, to scan for and detect vehicles in adjacent lanes. If a vehicle is detected, the driver receives a warning. In Ford’s application, this is as simple as flashing LEDs located on the side mirror. BMW’s “active blind spot detection” will even vibrate the steering wheel as a tactile warning to drivers who begin to change lanes when another vehicle is in the blind spot. Audi’s optional “side assist” illuminates yellow LEDs in the side mirror any time the radar system detects an approaching vehicle in an adjacent lane—even before the Audi driver has flicked on the turn signal. How’s that for reading your mind?

Lane-departure warning systems are offered by quite a few manufacturers and are not limited to the most-expensive vehicles. Honda, Buick, Toyota, and Ford, among many others, use cameras to monitor lane markers. If a vehicle drifts over the line, these systems will alert the driver by vibrating the steering wheel or seat or with dash lights and beeps. In some vehicles, the computers go even further. Lexus’s system will countersteer the car to keep it in the intended lane, and Infiniti’s gently applies the appropriate brakes on one side of the vehicle to prevent drift. These systems generally do work in the dark, but as always, vigilance is best.

 5. Attention Assistance and Tiredness Alerts

 

We always suggest staying off the road when you’re tired—often the case when driving during those long winter nights—but it’s easy to become less alert over the course of a night without even realizing it. The other systems highlighted here help to avoid accidents based on physical surroundings (although there’s absolutely no substitute for careful, attentive, distraction free driving), but systems from several automakers are actually focused on determining when a driver is fatigued, before anything can happen.

The new “attention assist” system, which is standard on 2011 Mercedes E-classes, among other Benzes, monitors steering inputs to identify what Mercedes calls “erratic corrections” and will warn the driver with a tone and a message on the instrument panel, accompanied by—we kid you not—a coffee-cup icon. Volvo’s “driver alert control,” which has been on sale for several years, works differently. It depends on a road-facing camera and other sensors to determine if a driver seems inattentive by looking at the vehicle’s distance from lane markers and position on the road.

Other manufacturers are even examining drivers themselves for signs of tiredness, rather than the car. Lexus’s current “driver attention monitor” uses an infrared camera to determine the direction of the driver’s face and will lightly apply the brakes if an object is detected while the driver is looking away from the road ahead. Saab is working on technology that can scan a driver’s face for signs of fatigue, but such an advancement remains several years from production.

You might be thinking, “Wow that’s great! But what can I do on my car to make it easier to drive at night?”

  • Take your time. Allow your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness before you start driving. It takes a few minutes for the pupils to fully dilate, allowing for maximum light to enter the eye. The more light your pupils let enter the eye, the better your vision will be.
  • Minimize glare. Look to the bottom right of the road to avoid approaching headlights. (Some headlights are blindingly bright.) Also use the night setting on your rearview mirror to deflect the glare from vehicles behind you. Older drivers find it more difficult to see at night because it takes longer for them to recover from glare.
  • Keep it dark. Turn off all interior lights. Any source of light inside the car will seem extremely bright and will make it more difficult to see.
  • Slow down. Reduce your driving speed to give yourself longer to react if something happens on the road in front of you. Driving at a slower speed will also give you more confidence.
  • Tune it up. Keep your car in tip-top shape for maximum safety. Regularly check fluid levels, tire pressure and brake pads and replace windshield wipers. Thoroughly clean headlights, taillights and signal lights. Make sure all windows are clean on both the inside and outside.

Ultimately, driving in the dark is more challenging than driving at night. Vehicle manufacturers are doing what they can to make it even easier. However, with a little bit of preperation and attention, night driving doesn’t need to be difficult.

(Note: New vehicle information gathered from Car & Driver)

Car-Trip Tips for families this holiday season

It’s officially that time of the year again, and many of us will be embarking on exciting adventures across the midwest, visiting family that live out of town, or just getting away to use up our remaining vacation days before the end of the year.

If you have kids there might be some anxiety associated with the thought of being locked up together for so many hours at a time. Tantrums, arguments, boredom, constant toilet stops, “Are we there yet(s)?” are common for most long car trips.

Here are a couple of tips on how to survive your holiday road trip; or any road trip for that matter!

Prepare before you go

Preperation is key. Make a list and check it twice. Leave yourself plenty of time the night before to pack the car with your roadtrip essentials. This will help ensure that everything you need is packed and there are no last minute trips to the store. If you or any of the kids tend to get motion sickness, remember to prepare for this in advance as well.

Music

This almost goes without saying. Music will go a long way with making your trip more enjoyable and fun. Upbeat songs with a strong beat are best for keeping everyone awake and perky. If you’re feeling in the festive mood, Christmas music can be a good option (if you haven’t gotten sick of listening to carols yet!) Make sure to bring some soothing music to help with those times when things are a little tense.

Save money on food

If you stop at every café, fast food outlet or service station along the way to buy food and refreshments, your road trip is quickly going to become very expensive. Instead, pack plenty of your own food and drinks, and keep everything cool with frozen ice packs in a big freezer bag. Chopped up fruit, vegetable sticks and mini bags of air popped popcorn are great healthy snacks for everyone.

Games

Research car games before you leave and have a few ready to play once you’re on the road. There are quite a few fun ones involving the alphabet, like the supermarket game. One person starts with naming an item which can be bought at the supermarket that starts with the letter ‘A’, like “avocado”. The next player has to repeat the first person’s word as well as add on a food that starts with the letter ‘B’. If you forget a word, you’re out of the game, and the game continues until the last player to remember all the words is the winner. If you have older kids, try a more difficult topic like countries or famous people.

Emergency supplies

As well as a first aid kit, you’ll need a kit to clean up any other mess in the car. Pack plenty of moist wipes, tissues and paper towels to be safe, as well as a few plastic bags for your garbage..

Wheels

This is the most important…Make sure that you have your vehicle checked out before you leave. One of the easiest ways to make sure that you are road ready is scheduling a 60 Point (Road Trip Ready) inspection. It only takes and hour and provides you the peace of mind knowing that your vehicle be stopped on the side of the road miles from home. (Call 260.424.1630 or visit www.foxandfoxservice.com to schedule.)

In conclusion, wiith a few simple tips and a little bit of preparation, you’ll be well on your way to having an awesome road trip with the whole family.

Fox and Fox: A Fort Wayne Tradition

Fox and Fox was born in 1963 when Walter Fox and Jerry Fox purchased what was then called
“The Body and Fender Shop” from their employer. At that time, as the name implies, the shop was a complete body shop.

Walt and Jerry specialized in frame and alignment repair and immediately discontinued paint and body repair to concentrate on their specialties. Dolores, Jerry’s wife, handled the office details while they concentrated on the shop. They grew rapidly because the frames on cars were becoming more technologically advanced and required more knowledge, training and equipment to repair.

Before long they were performing these repairs for most area body shops and Insurance companies.
The large size and weight of these vehicles provided many alignment, suspension and brake repairs as well. After Walter passed away, Jerry and Dolores ran the company by themselves and continued to grow.

In 1968 Dick Fox, Jerry’s son, began to work in the summers and after school. In 1970 after graduation from high school and while going to IPFW to obtain a business degree he began to take over some office duties along with his wife Joellyn and was made a part of the business in 1973.

In the late 70s with the introduction of the “unitized body” constructed vehicles it was necessary to retool and retrain and new skills were required. Air conditioning, engine repair, drive train, and electrical know-how and equipment were required.

The shop grew and there were increased opportunities to perform maintenance repairs.

Finally in the late 80s with air bags and restraints the need for computer diagnostic skills was apparent and we decided that it would be best to make the shop full service offering oil changes, tune up, drive-train, alignment, air conditioning, services available to anyone needing them in addition to the collision services already being offered.

Once that transition was completed the next logical step for growth was to offer complete collision repairs including paint and body and in 1997 a paint booth was purchased and a painter hired.

Since that time Fox and Fox has been a complete collision repair center able to take a damaged vehicle from start to finish, working with all major Insurance companies while providing expert frame and suspension repairs for shops that do not specialize in that area. The mechanical repair shop performs every type of maintenance and repair needed on cars, vans, SUVs, and mid-size trucks.

Today, our company is proud to say that he have been serving our community for almost 50 years. Our goal is to provide complete car care for you and your family, giving you the confidence that we can service all your car needs with honesty, expertise and professionalism.

Visit our website today to schedule online: www.foxandfoxservice.com or visit our facebook page for the latest service specials:https://www.facebook.com/#!/FoxandFoxFW.

Fox & Fox, where our family welcomes the privledge to keep your family safe and on the road!

New Car Preview 2012: Hottest New Technology

By: Jerry Edgerton
(MoneyWatch) 
 
In the past decade, new cars have become rolling wonders of technology — to the extent that some new cars have actually taken a hit for being too complicated. This year, with federal gas mileage standards ratcheting ever tougher, much of the hot new tech is aimed at boosting MPG. But other advances help drivers stay more connected to the Web and social media, and new safety systems can help you avoid accidents.On the mileage front, as usual, hybrid and electric vehicles top the charts. Ford and Mitsubishi are introducing 2012 electric vehicles to compete with the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. And several new or improved hybrid models are joining the race.

Straining to meet the new federal standard — an average of 35.5 MPG by 2016 — automakers are prospecting for any feasible mileage-boosting advantage. One example: Cars as varied as the large 2013 Ford Taurus sedan (on sale in late 2012) and the 2012 Kia Rio subcompact have introduced shutters that improve aerodynamics by closing automatically when outside air is not needed to cool the engine — usually at highway speeds, when the engine is not working as hard and needs less cooling.

 
The Rio — rated at 30 mpg in city driving, 40 mpg on the highway – employs another new gas-saving technology. Anyone who has driven a hybrid like the Toyota Prius is familiar with that slightly eerie feeling when the gasoline engine shuts off completely at a stoplight or other full stop, then restarts automatically when you reach a certain speed. Now the Rio (at right) is one of the first all-gasoline cars to use a similar gas-saving system, with numerous others expected to follow.Let’s have a closer look at some of the new technology for 2012 that improves performance, mileage, entertainment and safety.Eight-Speed Transmissions
 
 
Improving the efficiency of automatic transmissions is one of the best tools that manufacturers have for boosting MPG. At Chrysler Group, reviewerssay the new eight-speed transmission has also improved performance. Putting the eight-speed into the V-6 versions of the Dodge Charger (right) and the Chrysler 300 not only improves acceleration at both high and low speeds; it also increases gas mileage to ratings of 19 MPG in city driving, and 31 on the highway.Increased Connections
Several automakers have updated their onboard technology to let drivers connect to better (or at least more) data and media. Critics of these trends — and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is a vocal one — worry that these systems promote distracted driving. But automakers say drivers can use many functions without taking their eyes off the road.Among the updates:
  • Toyota’s new Entune system — available in the redesigned Camry and other 2012 models — allows a driver to link with a smart phone and see such items as weather forecasts and stock quotes on the dashboard screen.

The improved version of General Motors OnStar service — long praised for its automatic reporting to system phone operators if your car is in a crash — now lets subscribers listen to Facebook posts and make voice posts to their own Facebook account.

  • And Ford’s SYNC system, the earliest to operate with voice commands, will now let you hear Twitter updates.
 
Avoiding Accidents
Several luxury models already carry new technology that helps drivers avoid accidents. Now this safety technology has spread further into the market, with the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox SUV picking up a couple of improvements.That expansion, say safety advocates, signals the beginning of more widespread use. “We expect these new systems to be [available] on many mainstream models within a few years,” says Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.Among the Equinox’s new features:
  • A lane-departure warning that alerts you if your car is drifting out of its lane — a possible life-saver for drowsy drivers.
  • A forward collision warning that senses if your vehicle is so close to the one ahead that a crash is likely. It makes a loud noise and automatically activates the brakes.
Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

When you can’t stop: A little information about your vehicle’s brakes

 

Good brakes are obviously very important. If you’ve ever had your brakes go out while you’re driving around the Fort Wayne area, you’ll know how terrifying it can be. Today we’ll focus on how to tell when you have a brake problem, and how to make good repair choices.

Often, the first indication that something’s wrong with the brakes is an unusual sound. It could be a squeal, chatter or grinding sound.

Some brake pads have a little piece of metal embedded in them that will make a squeal or chirping sound when the brake pads have been worn down to the point that they need to be replaced. It’s an early warning indicator.

When you hear that sound, schedule an appointment at Fox and Fox soon.

Now a chattering sound is more urgent. That usually indicates that something is loose. It could be a brake pad or even the brake calipers. If one of those parts falls off, you could have some serious trouble stopping the vehicle. It would be a good idea to park it until you can get into the shop.

A grinding noise usually means that the brake pad is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are rubbing directly on the metal brake rotor. That means the rotor is being damaged and will need some work. More on that later.

Another warning sign is that your brake pedal may feel soft and spongy – or it may even feel very hard to push in. Both could mean trouble. And of course, you may get a dashboard brake warning light.

Now when it comes time to replace your brake pads, you have a choice to make. You can get the same pads that came standard on your vehicle. You can expect the same performance and durability as with the pads that came on the car from the factory.

Now you can also get a budget brake pad. Sometimes drivers insist on lower cost pads. That’s OK if the budget demands it, but you need to be aware of the trade offs. Lower grade pads are usually noisier, so you’ll have to live with more noise when you apply the brakes. They also tend to generate a lot more brake dust, you know, that black dust that accumulates on your wheels. And they probably won’t last as long either. In our opinion, that’s a lot of compromise for just a few dollars in savings.

You can also choose to buy premium brakes pads. These perform at higher specifications than the factory pads. You can expect quieter operation, less brake dust and better stopping power.

Now, getting back to the rotors. The rotors are the discs that the brake pads clamp down on to stop the vehicle. If you’ve been driving with completely worn brake pads, you’ve scratched grooves into the rotors. If the grooves aren’t too deep, the rotor can be resurfaced. A thin layer of metal is cut off the surface of the rotor to make it smooth again.

Now, if the grooves are too deep or if the rotor has already be resurfaced before, there may not be enough material to resurface and still have a rotor that’s thick enough to safely stop the vehicle. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.

Something that is unfortuanlly sometimes overlooked is the brake fluid. Your manufacturer has a recommended schedule for evacuating the old brake fluid, cleaning the system and refilling it with fresh brake fluid. This is really important to brake performance.

So here’s the bottom line: if you suspect, inspect. If you notice any of these warning signs, have your brakes inspected. And if you aren’t sure what brakes would be best for you, talk to one of our service writers; They’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

Prolonging the Life of your Car

Considering the effort and resources that go into a car purchase, it is only apt that the same amount of effort would be given for car maintenance. Prolonging the life of a car greatly depends on how the owner performs preventative maintenance. Keeping a vehicle in top running condition requires discipline. It is important to know your vehicle both as a whole and by its individual parts. Take the time out to learn the best practices for preventative maintenance. An important first step in auto maintenance is reading and understanding the owner’s manual. In addition to that, Fox & Fox, is here to share a few tips about car maintenance. Read on and take notes:

* Brakes – Working brakes are important to ensure your safety. Make it a habit to regularly check your brakes for any malfunction. Every two years, the brake fluid should also be professionally replaced. Without proper car maintenance, brake issues such as rotted brake lines or malfunctioning anti-lock brake pumps may occur, which could be even more damaging to the car and to your budget.

* Fluids – Clean fluids are needed since it runs through the car system to keep all car parts healthy. Vehicle fluids such as antifreeze coolant, power steering, transmission, and brake fluids should be checked and replaced when needed. Check the windshield washer fluid, too.

* Oil – Regular oil change is very important in order to keep your car in proper running order. This helps improve the life of your car’s engine and also allows your car to maximize the horsepower it puts on the road.

* Gas – A cheaper grade of gas does not mean you can opt to use it. Always use the gas specifically formulated for your vehicle type. Just scout through different gas stations and choose one with cheaper gas prices in order to help you save some money.

* Upkeep – Cleaning both the interior and exterior of the vehicle regularly results to an enjoyable ride and improves the car’s resale value. Any rust bubbles or dents noticed when washing the car must be quickly addressed.

Regular car maintenance is important in order for your car to serve you well for a long time. Should you encounter more complicated vehicle issues, contact a professional auto mechanic like Fox & Fox. We dedicate ourself to providing quality workmanship alongside fair auto repair cost estimates.

Fox and Fox is one of the most notable auto repair shops in Fort Wayne. We are BBB Accredited and A+ rated.

Preventative Maintenance- It Just Makes Sense

Many of us have heard the idiom, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is an expression means that is much easier to avoid problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix them once they arise.

This concept is one that I feel can be directly tied to your vehicle and it’s maintenance. Often times big problems can be solved quickly and far less expensively early on versus when something catastrophic happens to your vehicle.

One easy way to ensure that you stay ahead of the 8 ball is to have a basic vehicle inspection with every oil change. When you do this not only are you able to catch little problems (like leaks) when they are still little problems, but you are also able to know ahead of time that larger repairs are coming (note that tie rods are wearing, or bushings are going bad, for example…).

Make sure that you partner with a service station that makes periodic maintenance a priority. At Fox and Fox we include a free 32 point inspection with your oil change. If you haven’t had your vehicle serviced here in the past, we recommend you get a comprehensive vehicle inspection to give you a good picture of your vehicle’s health.  Consider our pre-purchase inspection, family roadtrip/ back to school vehicle check up, or seasonal vehicle check up packages.

It is just common sense that a well maintained vehicle is a long lasting vehicle. At Fox and Fox we understand that and we appreciate the priviledge to be your Total Care Care Professionals.