(704) 372-3885 2641 N. Graham St. Charlotte, NC 28206

Learn About Your Car

When that car battery finally gives up the ghost and it’s time to replace it – you have options. First let’s be clear that you should always get a replacement battery that meets or exceeds your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. But you may have some special needs.

When they first put the battery into your vehicle at the factory, they had no idea where it would end up over its life or how YOU would use it. That battery was chosen to meet the needs of a wide range of motorists. Replacement time is a good opportunity to talk with your service advisor about how you use your vehicle, so you can get just the right battery.

An obvious criterion is where you live. Cold starts require a lot of power from your battery. The colder the climate, the more power needed. This comes from a combination of cold sluggish oil and the slower chemical reaction within the battery itself when it is cold. If this sounds like you, ask your service advisor about a battery with more Cold Cranking Amps.

The next consideration is reserve capacity. This is the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has under a load. If your driving is mostly short stop-and-go trips, your battery may not have time to fully recharge while driving. You may need to tap into those reserves to get started again. Also, modern vehicles have a lot of always-on systems that draw on the battery – things like the security system, remote sensors, and vehicle computers. These combined with the electronic entertainment system, sensors, heated seats, and even chargers for phones, tablets, and computers put a high load on the battery. Your service advisor can give you his thoughts on the reserve capacity you might need.

Most standard batteries are “wet-cell” meaning they are filled with liquid battery acid. New Absorbed Gas Mat (AGM) batteries are “non-spill” which makes them safer. They also have a longer life span and greater cycle life than wet-cell batteries. Off-roader’s like these batteries because their performance is not affected by steep inclines and odd angles. They are also well suited for use in RV’s and boats.

A final consideration is warranty. Premium batteries often come with a longer warranty. Warranties are typically either full-replacement (the battery is replaced if it fails within the warranty period) or pro-rated (a partial credit is given for the failed battery depending on how far into the warranty period you are when it fails).

When the battery is replaced, your technician may need to recalibrate some accessories such as power windows and sunroofs. Also, some vehicles may need to have the battery registered into the engine computer.

Give us a call & we can help you decide which battery is right for you and your vehicle.

Emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So, you may always want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip.

Your close-to-home kit would have some basic items to work on your car: everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You’ll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools.

Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots. Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card.

If you live in an area with frequent severe weather or earthquakes, may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies.

For trips away from home, consider the weather and geography as you assemble your emergency supplies. You’ll need to have a source of light and heat and will want to provide protection against the elements as well as adequate food and water for everyone in the car.

Always tell someone where you are going and have a plan for checking in at waypoints. Then if you run into trouble, you can be reported missing as soon as possible and rescuers will be able to narrow the search area.

The key to safe travel is to keep your vehicle properly maintained, plan ahead, and let others know your itinerary.

You may not know much about transfer cases, but if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you’ve got one. It makes sure you have power available for both the front and rear axles. For example, if you have a rear-wheel drive SUV, power goes to the rear wheels until you need 4-wheel drive. That’s when the transfer case steps in and transfers some of the power to the front wheels as well. You might use a shift lever to go into 4-wheel drive, or it could be a button on the dash, or it might even go into 4-wheel drive automatically, depending on your vehicle.

The transfer case is serviced by periodically draining its fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid. We also check for leaks and damage. Transfer case fluid cools and lubricates the gears, chains, bearings, shafts and other parts. Over time, the additives in the fluid wear out and it doesn’t protect as well. Also, bits of metal and clutch material wear off and contaminate the fluid. Look, there isn’t a filter in the transfer case, so if the contamination stays for too long, it’ll further accelerate wear.

Now, your owner’s manual may not have a recommended interval for when you should change your transfer case fluid – so ask our service advisor. There are several things that affect how often you should change the fluid, so tell her how much you use 4-wheel drive, if you drive in wet environments like crossing streams or through mud and snow. That kind of stuff really shortens the drain interval.

Transfer case parts will eventually wear out and you’ll have to make repairs. But properly servicing your transfer case will keep that day as far in the future as possible.

A lot of Charlotte drivers wonder about how to prepare their vehicle for a trip. That's a big deal. You could be driving through NC mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas so you may be anxious to know that the car is up to the task and won't leave you stranded.

Charlotte drivers really do need to plan ahead for a major road trip – there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive to see if you can feel any vibrations. Are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok?

The next thing is a full service oil change at Joey's Truck Repair Inc. to make sure all of your fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your vehicle is older, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV valve and an engine air filter.

How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months? How are your wiper blades? There's nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip. Check your owner's manual for any other recommended service, and have your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Joey's Truck Repair Inc. do the multi-point inspection they do so well before you head out.

Consider also having the coolant system serviced here – you want to stay within the vehicles recommendations. Local drivers who are towing a trailer will want to keep in mind that they'll be going a long way under severe conditions.

A lot of local drivers overlook severe conditions like towing, NC summer heat or driving on dirt roads. Plan ahead for your next road trip – at Joey's Truck Repair Inc., we want you to get there and back.

The oil and fuel in your vehicle give off vapors that are very harmful to the environment. Evaporative emissions control systems – EVAP for short – are mandated in all cars and trucks. The EVAP system is there to capture these vapors and direct them into the engine to be burned – kind of an on-board recycling program.

The EVAP system is a complicated network of hoses, valves, filters and such. Issues with the EVAP system are in the top 5 reasons for a Check Engine light to be illuminated. Your friendly and knowledgeable Joey's Truck Repair Inc. service advisor can pull the trouble codes and begin a diagnostic procedure to isolate the fault.

With the proper equipment, your technician can test the valves in order to trace a blockage. A low pressure smoke test can be performed to find any leaks. The repairs are then made to get the EVAP system working again and to reset the Check Engine light.

While EVAP problems don't generally lead to vehicle damage, the fact that they trigger the Check Engine light can mask other more problems for Charlotte residents if left unaddressed. After all, there are hundreds of conditions that can trigger a Check Engine light, but there is only one light. So if the light is on because of an EVAP issue you haven't fixed and another arises, you won't be alerted to the new condition because the light is already on.

Of course, if you live in a jurisdiction in NC that requires emissions testing to register your vehicle, you won't pass the test until you make the repairs. An EVAP trouble code could be caused by something as simple as a loose or worn gas cap, a leak in a hose, problems with a purge valve or even a rusty fuel filler pipe.

When your Check Engine light comes on, bring your vehicle in and let us check it out. One of our ASE Certified technicians will be able to diagnose the system and work out a plan to address any problems that are uncovered. There's peace of mind for Charlotte drivers that comes from knowing what is wrong and taking care of it.