Archive for Car Maintenance

The Basic Steps to Changing Your Oil

changing your oil - Larry Jay Mitsubishi BlogOne of the most common car maintenance activities is an oil change. Most vehicles need an oil change once every three months or every 3,000 miles, assuming it requires a non-synthetic oil. While our professional staff at Larry Jay Mitsubishi can perform this type of maintenance for you, many drivers prefer to do it themselves. That’s why we’ve put together a post on changing your oil.

According to Edmunds, you’ll need a few tools. This includes a wrench that fits the drain plug, an oil filter wrench, oil drain pan, funnel, a jack, and jack stands. You may also prefer to use latex gloves to protect your hands. You should also have fresh oil and a new oil filter.

First, raise the car using the jack, and secure it using jack stands. Next, position the drip pan under the oil plug. Following this, you can remove the oil plug and let the oil drip from the car into the pan you have under it. You’ll need the pan when removing the old filter as well, as oil will drip from this part of the engine.

Next, replace the drain plug and the new oil filter. Many technicians suggest rubbing the gasket of the new oil filter before installing it to ensure a tight fit.

Finally, fill the car with fresh oil. You may need to check the dip stick a few times to be sure that it’s full. Then, remove the blocks and lower the car. It’s as simple as that.

Fall Car Maintenance: The Basic Checklist

fall car maintenance - Larry Jay Mitsubishi Blog

Fall is the perfect time of year to perform regular maintenance. You can do most of the work yourself, or simply bring your car into Larry Jay Mitsubishi. From changing the oil to checking the brakes, there are some basic things to keep in mind during the autumn months.

First, according to the Car Connection, you should check your tires when doing fall car maintenance. Tire pressure decreases as the temperature dips, which means you may be riding on low tires. This not only increases the risk of a blowout, but it also decreases fuel economy. Be sure to check tire pressure as soon as possible. Additionally, you should check tire tread using a tread-depth indicator or a simple penny. Invert the penny and place it in the middle of the tread—if you see above Abe Lincoln’s head, you may need new tires.

Next, replace the wiper blades and top off fluids. In addition to changing the oil (which you should normally do every three months or 3,000 miles), be sure to check and top off the coolant, wiper fluid, transmission fluid, power steering, and brake fluid if necessary. Changing the wipers in the fall is suggested because rain and snow are usually less frequent. Why wait until it’s too late?

Finally, check your heater! It can be easy to forget the heater since you’ve been using the A/C all summer, but be sure to check the heater to make sure the element and fan are working properly. These are just some of the many things you can do to help maintain your car for fall.

How to Change a Tire

Change a Tire - Larry Jay Mitsubishi BlogKnowing how to change a flat tire is one of the most essential maintenance procedures that all drivers should know. To change a tire, you need the following equipment: jack, lug wrench, fully inflated spare tire, and your vehicle’s owner’s manual. All of these items should have come with your car.

Along with those items, it is also recommended that you keep a flashlight, rain poncho, a 2×6-inch piece of wood, gloves, and wheel wedges in your car for when you do need to change your tire.

Follow these steps.

  1. Move to a safe spot. Get out of traffic and find an open area that is as close to flat as you can get. Make sure you turn on your hazard lights and apply the parking brake.
  2. Prepare the wheel. Put the wheel wedges in front of or behind your wheel to prevent your car from rolling. You will then remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts.
  3. Use the jack. Place the jack next to the flat tire. Put the piece of wood under the jack to make it more secure. Raise your vehicle until the flat tire is six inches off the ground.
  4. Remove the lug nuts.
  5. Remove the tire.
  6. Put on the spare tire.
  7. Tighten the lug nuts by hand.
  8. Lower the vehicle. Use the jack to lower the vehicle until it just touches the ground. Then, tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can with the wrench.
  9. Lower the vehicle completely.
  10. Put away all your equipment.

If you have had a flat and need a new tire, come visit us at Larry Jay Mitsubishi.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Tire Pressure

Know About Tire Pressure

When you think about the most important safety features on your car, you might think of your traction control, brakes, or even airbags. However, these features are nearly useless without your tires. That is why it is important to take good care of your tires. And, the simplest way to do that is by making sure they have the right air pressure.

Here are five things you need to know about tire pressure.

  1. Tire pressure measures the amount of air in your tires. Too much or too little air can cause undue stress on your tires making them wear out sooner than they should.
  2. Proper tire pressure is important. Not only does it prolong the life of your tires, but it keeps your fuel efficiency where it should be and helps prevent tire emergencies, like blow-outs.
  3. Your tire pressure decreases over time because of things like air slowly leaking through the rubber compound, an actual puncture in the tire, leaking valve stems, and impacts, like running into the curb.
  4. To check your air pressure, you will need a pressure gauge. Unscrew the cap on the valve stem and touch the pressure gauge to the stem until you hear a stream of air. Quickly remove the gauge and read the pressure. Repeat to ensure accuracy.
  5. Adding air to your tires is simple. Most gas stations have air pumps. The correct pressure should be indicated on your tire’s sidewall. Add air until all tires are properly inflated.

If you have any questions about your tires, stop by Larry Jay Mitsubishi and we’ll inspect them for you.

How to Get Your Car Ready for Spring

Car Ready For Spring

Spring is just a few weeks away. This means, it is time to shake off the last residue of winter and get your car ready for spring. Here are five simple steps to follow to get you prepared for the season ahead.

  1. Wash your car. Winter can leave a layer of grime and salt all over your car. Give it a thorough wash, including the underbody, to help prevent corrosion.
  2. Replace your wiper blades. Your wiper blades have spent months working hard to keep your windshield clear of frost, ice, and snow. This can make them dry and brittle. Your wiper blades should be switched out about every six months. If your blades are leaving streaks or stuttering, it’s time to change them.
  3. Check your tire pressure. Give your tires a good inspection. If you switched them out for winter grade tires, put your all season tires back on. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and check the tread depth. Look for signs of cracking and other extreme wear.
  4. Top off fluids. Check your fluid levels and make sure everything is where it needs to be.
  5. Change your oil. Start off the spring with fresh oil.

If you need help getting your car ready for spring, schedule an appointment with us here at Larry Jay Mitsubishi.

What is Camber?

camber

As a car owner, you’ve undoubtedly heard about wheel alignment. You’ve probably agreed to have your wheels aligned upon a mechanic’s recommendation, if nothing else. Wheel alignment is an important part of maintenance. It helps your tires to last longer by ensuring that they get even wear on their tread. This helps them grip the road better, and in turn keeps you and your passengers safe.

Some people, however, like to tweak their alignment for performance purposes. When this is the case, they start to get into the details about alignment, which includes three elements: camber, caster and toe. Here we’ll look at camber, what it is and how that affects performance.

Camber refers to the angle of a car’s wheel in relation to the surface of the road. It’s a measurement in degrees that explains whether the wheel is tilted inwards towards the fender wells, our outward away from them, and by how much. A 0º camber would mean that the tire is perfectly perpendicular to the ground. A negative camber means that the top of the tire tilts in, where a positive camber means that it tilts out.

Negative cambers are popular among drivers who like a thrilling performance. With negative camber, the tires grip the road better during tight corners. However, it doesn’t offer a strong grip on normal roads. For most people, a neutral camber is the best and safest bet for everyday driving.

To schedule your wheel alignment, contact Larry Jay Mitsubish!

What to Do In Case of a Dead Car Battery

preparing to charge a car battery - what to do in case of a dead car battery

Car batteries die for a number of different reasons. You may have left your accessories like headlights or the radio on while the car wasn’t running, left your car in storage without starting it for a long period of time, didn’t keep up with battery maintenance, or it might just be cold. How do you deal with a dead car battery? Here’s what to do.

Call Somebody: Whether it’s your roadside assistance service, a family member or friend, or a local towing service, there is someone in the vicinity who can come help you in your time of need. Keep in mind if you call a towing place, however, that they’ll need to charge your vehicle at their headquarters, so they’ll need to tow your car.

Jump Your Car: Whether you’re doing this with a friend or someone else, it’s easy to jump your car. You simply need jumper cables and two vehicles – the car with the dead battery and a “rescue” car. Park both vehicles nose to nose and attach the jumper cables to the positive and negative battery terminals, and turn on the ignition of the rescue car, allowing it to charge your dead battery.

Use a Charger: Having an AC Charger handy when your battery dies or is weak allows you to charge your vehicle’s battery without having to enlist the help of someone who can jump it.

A dead car battery is a frustrating emergency, but preparing – or at least knowing what to do in advance – can be a big help in a pinch.

Winter Car Prep Tips for Drivers

person cleans frozen windshield - winter car prep

Is it December already? As temperatures drop, you might want to take the time to get some winter car prep time before the freezing temperatures of January and February move in. Extreme cold can have a big impact on the inner-workings of your vehicle, so it’s best to be prepared.

Check Your Fluids

It’s best to have your vehicle in top working conditions during the colder months so you have one less thing to worry about. Keep your gas above half a tank, top off your oil, keep an eye on your coolant, and next time you get your car serviced…

Switch to Winter-Grade Oil and Wiper Fluid

As part of your fluids check, you should definitely switch over your oil and windshield wiper fluid. Winter-grade oil will be more effective in freezing temperatures, and the wiper fluid you use year-round might freeze on your windshield in extreme conditions.

Gauge Tread Depth and Tire Pressure

Having good grip between your tires and the road is crucial in hazardous road conditions. Cold also makes tires deflate faster, so keep on top of your tire pressure.

Pack a Winter Emergency Kit

Accidents still happen even if you stay on top of maintenance and do everything right. In those cases, you should have things like blankets, water bottles, a flashlight, and other emergency supplies packed and in your trunk.

Winter car prep will help you and your vehicle get through the cold winter months easier and safer than ever.

Signs of a Bad Transmission

Maintenance Worker

 

When your transmission is having problems, it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible. Without it, your car won’t start, so learn to recognize these signs of a bad transmission so you can catch problems early.

The biggest sign of transmission trouble is leaking fluid. Transmission fluid doesn’t get used up like engine oil, so running low on transmission fluid is a sign of something wrong. If you notice low fluid levels or think your transmission is leaking (you’ll see red, tart-smelling fluid on the ground), get to a mechanic or your dealership for repairs.

An easy way to spot transmission issues is smelling it. Usually tart-smelling, transmission fluid eventually starts to smell like it’s burning, which is when you need to get a fluid change. If you let the transmission fluid go like this, it could lead to your transmission burning up and needing to be replaced.

Depending on whether you have a manual or automatic transmission, you’ll hear different danger sounds. Manuals grind when you switch gears, while automatics have whining or buzzing sounds along with shaking when the car switches gears.

How Alternators Work

alternator

The alternator is one of the most important parts of your car, since it’s the part that generates electricity to keep your battery charged as you drive. If you’ve ever wondered how they do this, we here at Larry Jay Mitsubishi have created a brief guide on how alternators work.

Alternators contain several parts, including a rotor, a stator, a rectifier assembly, and a set of brushes that maintain contact with the rotor, all of which are housed inside an aluminum casing. There’s also a pulley outside the casing.

The word alternator comes from the phrase alternating current. The rotor and stator work together to produce electromagnetic power, which is then sent to the battery. The engine rotates the alternator pulley, which causes the rotor to spin past wire coils that are part of the stator. This produces alternating currents in the rotor and stator. The electricity from this is funneled through stator leads to the rectifier diodes, which send the current in the proper direction.

Alternators also require a voltage regulator that determines the amount of voltage that goes into the engine, since too much can damage it. This isn’t everything there is to know about the alternator, so read up if you’re interested!

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