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

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Question: What do I need to do for my high mileage vehicle?

Answer: This question gets asked a lot more these days. The median age for vehicles on the road is now over 11 years. Regardless of your reason for keeping your vehicle around, the good news is that it’s capable of going 150,000 to 200,000 miles or more with proper care.

Here are some tips for making your vehicle last:

First, follow all your regularly scheduled maintenance routines. Things like oil changes, transmission and cooling system service are critical for avoiding expensive damage. This reduces your overall cost for keeping your vehicle for a long time.

Next, regular inspections are critical. Look, those parts are starting to get old and will become worn out over the miles. Thorough inspections of various systems will uncover things that are nearing the end of their service life, like suspension, brake and steering components. Replacing worn parts early not only prevents breakdowns but relieves stress on related components so they will last longer as well.

Another thing to consider is the use of special high mileage fluid formulations. For example, high mileage engine oil has special additives that condition those old seals and gaskets. It also has extra detergents to help keep that older engine clean inside. High mileage oil, transmission fluid, etc. cost a little more but can really head off some of the problems that are typical of older vehicles.

One last thing would be to consult with your service advisor about the overall condition of your vehicle and your driving routines. It may be advisable to follow your manufacturer’s severe service schedule.

Even with the occasional unexpected repair associated with an older vehicle, you can still enjoy good, reliable transportation if you take good care of your ride.

Give us a call! We'd be happy to set up an appointment to look over your high mileage vehicle!

It’s always exciting to get a new car – even when it’s used. But it can feel like you’re going out on a limb a bit when you buy a used vehicle. I mean, people sell vehicles for a lot of reasons. Maybe they just wanted a new car, maybe there was something wrong with it, and maybe there was something really wrong with it.

It’s a great idea to order a report from a vehicle history service. This can uncover title problems and may reveal serious accidents or flood damage as well as any recall notices for the vehicle. Maintenance and repair records are a plus, but most sellers don’t have them.

Of course the best thing is to get a professional to perform a used vehicle inspection. The inspection will go much deeper than just how good the vehicle looks and drives. You’ll get a feel for the vehicle’s overall condition, the status of major safety systems and an indication of how well it has been maintained. You’ll get a good idea of any work that needs to be done – and that will help you determine an appropriate value for the vehicle.

It’s pretty easy to see how a used vehicle inspection is worth the cost. If problems are uncovered, you can either steer clear of the vehicle or bargain for a better price. If everything is OK, you’ll have a plan for addressing any routine services that should be done, not to mention a whole lot of peace of mind.

It’s easy to fall in love with a vehicle – just don’t let your feelings cloud your judgment. Have us perform a used vehicle inspection so that you’ll know if you’re getting a peach, or a lemon.

You don't have to be an auto expert to know what a fuel pump does: it pumps fuel. The fuel pump happens to be one of those vital parts of your vehicle that can leave you stranded when it isn't working the way it should. Here are a few things to be aware of that might indicate your fuel pump is about to give up the ghost.

One thing to watch for is something called "heat and stall." If you see your vehicle's temperature gauge go up and then your vehicle stalls, your fuel pump could be weakening.

If you stall, but your fuel gauge shows you have plenty of fuel, that's another sign. Also, if you are giving your vehicle a stress test (hauling a big load, going uphill, going at highway speeds) and your engine sputters, the fuel pump may be failing to deliver the fuel pressure your engine needs.

Here are a couple more possible symptoms: your engine suddenly jerks or your fuel economy plummets. Finally, if you have trouble starting your vehicle, your engine may simply not be getting enough fuel to fire up, and the cause may be a bad fuel pump.

Other problems could cause these symptoms as well of course, which is a good reason to have one of our highly trained technicians to check it out. The fuel pump is located in the fuel tank on most modern vehicles, so sometimes the fuel tank has to be lowered to gain access to the fuel pump. This is a good time to clean sediment out of the tank and check for corrosion.

One thing you can do to prolong the life of your fuel pump is to keep your fuel tank at least a quarter full since the fuel cools and lubricates the pump. Don't be that person who constantly waits until the "low fuel" warning light comes on before stopping at the gas station. Running out of fuel just once can permanently damage the fuel pump. Help your fuel pump keep its cool.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, give us a call and set up an appointment for an inspection. We can properly diagnose any problems and make the necessary repairs.

Most people don’t service their air conditioning until after it fails. Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can’t cool the air as well.

Along with the refrigerant, a special oil circulates in the system. The oil lubricates air conditioning components and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil mean that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and we all know that air conditioning repairs can be costly.

Air conditioning service starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, so it’s inspected for cracks or wear.

The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it’s repaired, and the system is retested. Our technician will also perform a temperature drop test.

If needed, the old refrigerant is evacuated, and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test ensures that the air conditioner is working, and you’re on your way.

How often this should be done varies from vehicle to vehicle. Your owner’s manual will have the manufacturer’s recommendation and, of course, our highly-trained service advisor can tell you, however, it’s typically every two years. Feel free to give u a call.

Let me tell you about an experience at a well-established Italian restaurant that had changed hands a few months ago. The previous owners were an Italian couple that used old family recipes and fresh ingredients to make their pasta and sauces from scratch. They enjoyed stellar reviews for decades.

The new owners were taking a different approach. The cooks followed the same recipes, but were required to use bagged salads, canned sauces and vegetables, frozen meat and boxed pasta. Needless to say, there was a night and day difference between the before and after dining experience – and their online reviews reflected the decline.

Same chefs – same recipes. Poor ingredients.

Now, you can imagine how important high quality replacement parts are for vehicle repairs. The parts need to deliver the performance you expect right out of the box – and over the long haul. We feature quality NAPA auto parts. They meet or exceed the original manufacturer specifications so they fit and function as they should.

It’s important for a business to stand behind its work and we do everything we can to stand behind ours. We employ highly trained service technicians and equip them with the diagnostic and repair tools they need to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. NAPA Auto Parts helps us deliver on our promises to you with high quality replacement parts that help your vehicle run safely and efficiently.

Skilled technicians and quality replacement parts: that’s a recipe for motoring satisfaction!

A lot of people want custom wheels. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you're not careful. Sometimes they just don't fit right: The tires rub in turns or over bumps. Consulting our highly trained tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First they'll ask you a series of questions about your driving needs and what you want in your new wheels.

Now, not every wheel can go on every vehicle. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside. If you don't want to make any modifications to your car, you would need to focus on a wheel and tire combination that would fit. With trucks, some folks like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most drivers don't realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that's the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn't know what changes you made so it can't tell how fast you're going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong sensor information.

If you go with a different rolling diameter, your vehicle control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with our tire professionals about how big the wheel should be – and select the right tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs. The best way to do all this is to have your tire specialist see your vehicle in person so you can avoid mistakes.

Give us a call.

Let's talk water pumps for vehicles in Charlotte, NC. The engine is cooled by coolant/antifreeze mixed with water. This mixture circulates around the engine, absorbing some of the heat. The coolant then flows through the radiator where air cools it down for the return trip back through the engine. Your vehicle's water pump is what drives this process.

Cooling system problems are the number-one mechanical failure in Charlotte. So the water pump plays a pretty important role. You can't get very far in NC without a water pump.

After all that distance and years of pumping coolant, water pumps just wear out. You might notice a whining or grinding sound coming from the water pump. Or maybe see coolant leaking from the pump itself.

The precise location of the water pump varies depending on the vehicle. Some have the water pump attached to the outside of the engine where you can see it. With these, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt.

Some have the water pump driven by the timing belt. The timing belt cover often hides the water pump with this setup, so you can't see the pump without removing the cover.

When you have one of our highly trained certified techniciansWatere replace the water pump on one of these, you really should replace the timing belt at the same time. We've already gotten things taken apart and besides, the belt's likely been contaminated by coolant. And timing belts usually need to be replaced every 60,000 to 90,000 miles, or 100,000 to 150,000 kilometers, anyway, so it just makes sense to do both jobs at once.

The opposite is true too; when you change the timing belt on this type of engine, replace the water pump while you're at it. The water pump will eventually fail and getting to it is an expensive project. For not that much more you can take care of both the timing belt and the water pump at the same time.

You try to take real good care of your vehicles. But there is something that you may be overlooking: wheel bearings on your trailer. Whether it’s a small utility trailer or toy hauler up to a big work trailer, boat or camp trailer, they all have wheels with bearings that need to be serviced from time to time.

Wheel bearings allow the wheel to spin freely. They are packed in heavy duty grease that can withstand the heat generated by the spinning wheel and keep protecting the bearings.

When your technician services the bearings on your trailer, he’ll remove the wheel bearing assembly and inspect the bearings themselves. If they are damaged or corroded they will be replaced. He will then pack fresh grease around the bearings, replace the seals and put the wheel back on.

We actually expect a lot from trailer bearings. They may sit unused for an extended period of time – but when we hitch up that trailer we need the bearings to be in top shape to meet the demands of highway miles, heavy loads and even very dirty conditions. A bearing failure will sideline the work or fun you had planned.

Excessively worn bearings may result in uneven tire wear. Wheels can wobble which may hurt handling. Extremely worn bearings can even seize, causing the wheel to lock-up; obviously that can be dangerous.

Boat trailers require special attention. The bearings are quite hot after the trip to the lake and then you back into the cold water. The extreme temperature difference draws moisture into the bearings and forces out some of the grease. A good practice is to have boat trailer bearings serviced at the end of the season so that they don’t rust during the winter.

Talk with our service advisor at Joey's Truck Repair Inc. about your trailer and how you use it. He can recommend the proper bearing service.

“Emergency Shopping" is not to be confused with a “Shopping Emergency.” This one is encouraging you to go shopping for a few items that could help you out if you ever have an emergency in your vehicle. They're all things carried in emergency vehicles.

This goes beyond the old standards like a first aid kit, a blanket, jumper cables and the like, though those are all great things to have on board. But consider purchasing these additional things to keep in your vehicle in case you find yourself stranded in a dangerous spot.

Emergency vehicles carry road flares, and for a good reason. They burn a bright red light, visible both at night and during the day. Flares provide one of the most effective ways of getting the attention of drivers who are approaching a disabled vehicle. Don't be intimidated by them; they're easy to light, and they can truly save your life by preventing another vehicle from crashing into you. They come in kits with a carrying case, or you can get them individually.

Another item emergency vehicles carry is a fire extinguisher. Special smaller ones are made for non-commercial vehicles. The type to look for is one that can put out different kinds of fires, such as electrical and petroleum (oil, gasoline) since many different kinds of fires can start in your vehicle. Some have a mounting bracket to keep them from moving around.

At night, if you have a flat tire or need to attend to someone who's injured, you need to be able to see what you're doing. So, get an LED flashlight designed for automotive use. Many not only have a beam to aim at something; they also have a built-in lantern to light up a bigger area. It's a must-have light to read instructions on jacking your vehicle or helping to bandage a cut after an accident. Don't think your cell phone is going to do the job; plus, you need that for communication – save the battery.

The final item is a no-brainer, but it's a basic when it comes to staying alive. Have a supply of drinking water and some snacks on hand in your vehicle. If you are ever stranded, you don't want to have to resort to eating bugs and drinking melted snow. Power bars and bottled water are the easiest way to go on these.

Here at Joey's Truck Repair, we may have recommendations on which brands will work best for your situation and where they can be purchased. Emergency crews carry all these things for a reason. You should, too. Not only could they save your life, but they could also help you save someone else.

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 job of the EVAP system is 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. A qualified service technician pulls the trouble codes and begins a diagnostic procedure to isolate the fault. With the proper equipment, the technician can test the valves in order to trace a blockage. A low-pressure smoke test can be performed to find any leaks. The necessary 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 serious problems 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 problem arises, you won’t be alerted to the new condition because the light is already on.

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

When your Check Engine Light comes on, bring your vehicle into the shop and let us check it out. A trained technician will be able to diagnose the issues and work out a plan to address any problems that are uncovered. There’s peace of mind that comes from knowing what is wrong and taking care of it.