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Common Car Parts and Repairs

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One way to avoid expensive car repairs is to be familiar with what parts are most often replaced at repair shops, and what you can do to extend their life. Generally speaking, these will be the parts you’ll need to watch out for the most, and the ones you’ll probably want to maintain with extra care. Let’s look at the top parts that need to be replaced and the main reasons why these parts tend to suffer.
  1. Oil and oil filter. These will degrade more quickly during city driving or whenever applying extra strain to your engine (e.g. hauling heavy loads).
  2. Windshield wiper blades. High temperatures and sunlight, especially if the vehicle has been sitting outside, are especially unkind to your windshield wipers.
  3. Air filter. Avoid dusty gravel roads if you want your air filter to last longer.
  4. Battery. Extremely high temperatures can reduce battery life. Another good reason to keep your car in the shade whenever possible.
  5. Brake pads. These wear out with possibly the most variance of any other part. Heavy vehicles, the type of brake pad, your driving style, and where you drive (city vs. highway) all significantly influence brake wear.
  6. Headlight/taillight bulbs. More nighttime driving leads to shorter bulb life. Bumpy roads can also be a factor if you own an older vehicle equipped with conventional bulbs (as opposed to Xenon lights or LEDs).
  7. Tires. Hard cornering and aggressive driving can significantly increase tire wear. Particularly nasty potholes might blow a tire entirely. Rotating your tires can help extend their life.

Importance of Getting an Oil Change

There’s a lot that goes into maintaining your vehicle to keep in it running shape for years, let alone decades. Some things need to be checked and changed more often than others and few things are more important than getting your oil changed. You can do it yourself or take it to a dealership or quick change outlet. No matter how it gets done, changing your oil can result in quite a few benefits.

Oil plays three vital roles within the engine block. First, it lubricates the parts that are constantly grinding against one another, effectively preventing or staving off damage. Second, it carries away any metal shaving, dirt, or grime that accumulates within the engine, preventing carbon deposits from building up. Third, it carries away some of the heat produces by the constant explosions within the cylinders.

Failing to get your oil changed consistently can result in several expensive repairs – if you’re lucky. The pistons could seize altogether or the camshafts could take damage. Both those repairs could pay for oil changes for years.

Now that you know why you should change your oil, let’s talk about how often.

How often you should change your oil depends on the brand of vehicle. Some vehicles require an oil change in as few as 5,000 miles while some high end models can run up to 15,000 miles before requiring an oil change. Your best bet is to get an oil change every six months or 7,500 miles.

Oil technology has come a long way since the late 1970s, rendering the 3,000 mile rule out-of-date. Quick change oil outlets still push that rule – usually with a sticker on the windshield – because more oil changes means more money in their pocket. Changing your oil every 3,000 miles is foolish in this day and age so save that money and treat yourself instead!

Why Does Your Car Battery Die?

It’s happened to all of us before. You get ready for work, head out to the garage, and start your car; only this time, when you turn the key, you don’t get the glorious sound of your engine revving to life—you have a dead car battery.
If this has happened to you more than once, you might be wondering what is causing your frequent battery failures. Here’s a rundown on what causes a battery to die.
  • Power drain. We all know that leaving your headlights on can kill your battery, but there are other less obvious power drains, such as your radio, trunk light, light in the glove box, or your power seats.
  • Acid stratification. This technical term refers to when the acid solution in your battery collects and concentrates at the bottom of the battery resulting in a poor acid distribution. This most frequently occurs when the battery is regularly used at a low charge (less than 80% capacity). Short distance driving while using numerous electrical features in the car like windshield wipers, heaters, and entertainment features contribute to this problem.
  • Extreme temperatures. Batteries are highly susceptible to both extreme cold and heat. Anything above 100°F or below 10°F can mean trouble for your car’s battery.
If you frequently find yourself with dead car battery, let our knowledgeable service professional here at Pfeiffer Used Cars take a look at your car and get you confidently back on the road.
Why does your car battery die?
How to Check Your Tire Pressure
If you had to guess what the most important safety feature in your car is, what would you say? If you said seatbelts, that’s a good guess, but it’s actually your tires. If your tires fail and can’t gain traction on the road, your brakes and even your stability control and other features won’t do much good.

To make sure your tires are performing the way they should, you should check your tire pressure once a month. Most newer cars have built-in tire pressure monitoring systems that alert you when your tires are too low, but it still doesn’t hurt to check them yourself.
When you need to check your tire pressure, follow these steps.
  1. Make sure your tires are cold. Driving warms them up and raises the pressure by a few pounds.
  2. Check inside the driver’s side doorjamb to see what the recommended pressure should be. Tire pressure numbers are listed in pounds per square inch (PSI).
  3. Use an accurate pressure gauge. The built-in gauge on the air hose may not be that accurate.
  4. Unscrew the cap from the valve stem and press the gauge on the air stem to release a small amount of air. Read the gauge. Double-check for accuracy.
  5. If the air pressure is not within the recommended range, add or remove air to reach the recommended pressure.
With these five steps, it will be easy to maintain your car’s tire pressure.
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