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The Importance of Vehicle Maintenance

You should view routine car maintenance as another part of your mandatory chores. Many people think that cars are so indestructible, which results in thousands of vehicular -related deaths and breakdowns every year. You can prevent dangerous and potentially deadly situations from happening by keeping up with your basic car maintenance requirements. This could be as simple as remembering to change the oil or checking the tire pressure. Having proper vehicle maintenance not only extends the life of your car, but helps to prevent unnecessary damages from occuring. For help with your vehicle maintenance in Springfield and West Springfield, MA, call Spartan Auto Care at (413) 781-2480 today.

How Often Should You Take Your Car in For Maintenance?

mechanic checks oil level

A Car Inspection Can Help Determine Where You Are Lacking In Vehicle Maintenance

Knowing when to go get car maintenance can be tricky for some car owners to determine. Since cars don’t go by periods of time, but by wear and tear calculated by numbers of miles driven, maintenance times for cars can vastly vary depending on use. Since so many different parts of your car require replacing and repairs at different mile indicators, you would be constantly taking your car into the shop for vehicle maintenance, which would get expensive very quickly. For example, not all cars have to get their oil changed at 3,000 miles, with some not needing diesel maintenance until 10,000 miles. Checking your car owner’s manual can help you clarify when to get vehicle maintenance.

During your annual inspection, getting into the habit of getting routine vehicle maintenance will help prevent any damages from happening to your car and can repair any issues that are found all in one trip. You can also get your tires rotated which helps to reduce tread on only one side of your car and evens alignment. Serpentine and timing belts don’t need to be changed until every 40-60,000 miles, so having them checked every year by a professional can tell you if they are still in good shape.

How To Check Car Maintenance History

If you have just bought a used car or are unsure when the last time you have gotten your car maintained, you can request a vehicle history check. The ways how to check car maintenance history are very easy. Locate the VIN number often found on a sticker on the driver’s side door, underneath the spare tire, or on the engine block. The VIN number acts like a social security number for a car and can track down all previous owners and every last repair and accident the car has ever had. Once you have located the VIN number, you can enter it into a free vehicle history report check site like CarFax to see when the last time your car has gotten service and when to go get car maintenance. For any questions on how a vehicle history report or vehicle maintenance in Springfield and West Springfield, MA works, call Spartan Auto Care at (413) 781-2480 today.

Benefits of Good Vehicle Maintenance

By performing routine vehicle maintenance, the life of your car is extended, and it is safer to drive. Vehicle maintenance is so important because it all results in helping your engine stay properly cooled and lubricated so it doesn’t break down. And since the engine is the heart of the car, proper car maintenance from changing your oil to putting the correct amount of pressure in your tires eases the strain on your engine, which is beneficial to your car. So what car maintenance needs to be done? Below is a quick checklist of car maintenance tips to the bare minimum that needs to be routinely checked by a car owner to ensure that their car is safe to drive.

Car Maintenance Checklist

oil change

Getting Your Oil Changed Is An Important Part of Vehicle Maintenance

  • Check engine fluids: Check the fluid levels of your transmission, oil, and engine coolant. If they are running low, refill them to prevent your engine from overheating.
  • Check tire pressure: Too much air and pressure in tires can result in them blowing out, while too little can result in having a flat or uneven tread.
  • Clean engine air filter: The air filter in your engine collects dust and debris, and if it becomes clogged, it can waste up to 10% of your gas mileage. Use an air hose to blow off the grime on your engine air filter.
  • Check battery: Make sure the batter is not leaking, there is no mineral buildup, and that it is performing as it should when using a battery tester.
  • Change spark plugs: Around 30,000 miles, your spark plugs need to be replaced. If they are looking worn out or are covered in grime, they need to be replaced. You can have a professional do it if you don’t feel comfortable doing auto repairs.

Consequences of Poor Vehicle Maintenance

While normal wear and tear is natural for a car, blatant neglect that causes unnecessary damages that could have been avoided with regular vehicle maintenance is not. Knowing what to look for when inspecting and maintaining your vehicle is important so you know how to properly clean, change, or repair any damages spotted. If you need help with vehicle maintenance in Springfield and West Springfield, MA, call the auto mechanics at Spartan Auto Care at (413) 781-2480 today.

hand performing transmission flush on a car

A lot of Vehicle Maintenance Tasks Can Be Performed By The Vehicle Owner Themselves

  • Engine repair: If your car gets in bad enough shape, complete engine failure can occur as multiple parts in your engine could have malfunctioned from neglect. Engine repair is an expensive process, sometimes even more expensive than just buying a new car!
  • Cylinder failure: When fuel, air, and sparks are missing in your cylinder, it causes it to overheat and fail. Replacing a cylinder can cost up to $5,000.
  • Transmission problems:The transmission helps your car turn and involves multiple parts of your car including the transmission, wheels, suspension, and gear shift. Repairs could be upwards of $2,000 to replace the entire transmission assembly.
  • Replace cylinder head and spark plugs: Not maintaining your cylinder head and spark plugs will result in engine failure. If you notice your engine misfiring, this is causing the cylinders to heat up and get damaged.
  • Replace camshaft: Changing the oil is so important because it leads to a buildup of grime in your camshaft which causes it to fail.

3 Reasons for Vehicle Power Loss

We all love the feel and handling of a brand new car. But over time, you may notice that the power your vehicle used to have has diminished. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to keep your vehicle in top performing condition without spending a lot of money or making a lot of aftermarket adjustments.

How Can I Restore my Vehicle’s Power?

Your vehicle uses many different systems to work properly. When one system suffers, they all do. Keeping your car serviced and maintained is vital to sustaining optimal power. There are also other minimal steps that can be taken to ensure your car has the most torque and horsepower available.

  • Filters: Your vehicle uses three main filters for operation- the oil filter, fuel filter, and air filter. If any of these filters become clogged or damaged, our vehicle loses noticeable amounts of power.
  • Hoses and Seals: Each hose in your vehicle delivers a crucial formula that is needed for proper operation. Whether it’s transporting fuel or coolant, the seals and hoses in your system should be checked and maintained regularly to prevent cracking and other damages.
  • PCM (Powertrain Control Module): This small piece is the control board to your vehicle. A PCM Reflash provides a way to adjust torque, horsepower, and other variables that can help increase power.

Your Vehicle Power Experts

When you want more power from your vehicle, call the Spartan Auto Care experts at __PHONE__. We provide the expertise and skill needed to ensure you’re always getting optimal torque and horsepower from your engine. Call us today to learn about your vehicle’s power loss and what you can do to prevent it.

Maintaining Control – What to Do in Case of Tire Failure

Tire Failure

NEVER Hit the Brakes During a Blowout. Instead, Gently Push the Accelerator to Maintain Control.

You’ve probably seen it before: cars spun out on the side of the highway, with shredded tires scattered everywhere. This situation can happen to anyone. Knowing what to do in this highway emergency can help save your life. Here are some essential guidelines to help you be prepared!

What Causes Tire Failure?

Insufficient air is the number one cause of tire failure, but impact damage (striking the curb) and cuts can also produce the same situation. Worn and expired tires are much more likely to suddenly fail, which is especially dangerous out on the highway. Knowing when your car is due for tire replacement (and acting accordingly) will protect you from most of these emergencies.

What Should I Do if My Tire Blows Out?

In situations like these, gut reactions can actually be fatal. If you have a tire blowout or a split tire, try to fight the typical responses, such as…

  • Slamming the Brakes
  • Suddenly Cranking the Wheel
  • Raising Your Hands to Your Face
  • Immediately Exiting the Road

While you might be tempted to pump the brakes, this can cause your vehicle to lose control. Swerving suddenly can result in flipping the car. Any one of these gut reactions can cause a fatal accident.

Instead, begin with lightly pressing the accelerator. Your broken tire will prevent you from speeding up, but this action will help you maintain control of the vehicle. Keep the car moving as straight as possible (adjusting for the pull of the damaged tire), while allowing it to gradually slow down. Once you’ve reduced your speed, slowly pull over onto the side of the road and (again, gently) apply your brakes.

Talk With an Expert About Flat Tire Repair

When you change your tire and put on the spare, make sure you find a replacement as soon as possible. Spare tires are only designed for distances of up to 70 miles (at 50mph max). If you’re dealing with a flat tire, our team at Spartan Auto Care would be happy to assist you with flat tire repair. You can reach our Springfield, MA office at (413) 781-2480, or you can contact our West Springfield, MA location at (413) 739-2175.

15 Facts About Cars

Ever since the car was invented in 1886, improvements keep happening to vehicles quickly. While some cars facts are general knowledge, others may surprise you!

Facts About Cars

Cars Have Been A Beneficial Invention and Necessity, But Did You Know These Other Facts?

  • That new car smell that so many people love can actually be toxic! The fumes that you are breathing in is a combination of over 50 chemicals and compounds.
  • Up to 85% of a car is recyclable. A typical car has around 30,000 parts in it.
  • An average of 5 months of a person’s lifetime is wasted waiting at red lights.
  • There are more cars than there are people in Los Angeles.
  • A person will spend an average of 38 hours a year stuck in traffic in the United States alone! In 1982, the average was only 16 hours as population increase has soared.
  • In America, women were allowed to drive before they were legally allowed to vote.
  • Subaru is Japanese for Taurus, and the six stars in its logo reference the cluster of stars in its constellation.
  • Car crashes are the 9th leading cause of death around the world.
  • Car insurance companies claim that the average driver gets into an accident every 18 years of their life.
  • Seat belts weren’t installed and mandatory in cars until 1959.
  • Airbags weren’t invented until 1968.
  • Unless it is an emergency, it is illegal to honk you car horn in New York City.
  • Seatbelts save a life every 6 minutes.
  • Cars were seen as a green alternative compared to dying horses and horse poop pollution in the 1900s.
  • It costs around $9,000 a year to own and maintain a car in the United States.

If you need cars maintenance or repair in SpringfieldSpringfield and West Springfield, MA, call Spartan Auto Care at (413) 781-2480 today.

Tire Replacement: Pulling the Trigger on New Tires

Changing Tire

Learn the Signs of an Aging Tire Before It Dies on the Road.

Is it almost time for tire replacement? Not every driver knows how to tell when a tire is nearing the end of its lifetime. There are a few symptoms you can use to determine when to pull the trigger on new tires.

Symptom #1: Worn Threads

When you’re on the road with bald tires, commuting can feel less like driving and more like skiing. The limited control can even be dangerous, especially in wet conditions. You can test the state of your treads by using the Penny Test. The next time you pull into your drive way at home, take a penny and insert Abraham Lincoln headfirst into the tread. If the president’s head disappears at all, your tire still has healthy treads. If Lincoln is still completely visible after inserting the penny, it’s time for tire replacement.

Symptom #2: Damaged Sidewalls

The siding of your tires are just as important as your treads. Healthy sidewalls should appear relatively smooth, but a damaged tire can have ridges, gashes or bulges. If you spot any of these symptoms, you need to replace your tire as soon as possible.

Symptom #3: Expired Tires

Contrary to what many used tire companies would tell you, a “barely used” tire can still be too dangerous for your vehicle, but not for the reason you think. The expiration clock starts ticking as soon as a tire is manufactured; it has nothing to do with tire use. Even barely used tires can fail once their 10 year lifespan has expired. Check your tires and make sure they’re still safe.

Follow these tests, and you’ll protect yourself from an unfortunate crisis on the road. For more tips about tire replacement or any other aspect of your car, give our experts a call at __PHONE__. We’d be happy to answer any questions and relieve any concerns you might have about your vehicle.

What to Do with an Overheated Car

Overheated Car

An Overheated Engine Can Present a Serious Repair Issue.

As the temperatures begin to rise, so does the likelihood that you may have to deal with an overheated car. When you car overheats, you can find yourself in a tricky situation. Until you can see a mechanic, you car will remain quite vulnerable to additional damage. You may also find yourself stranded. To prevent a problem from turning into a crisis, make sure you do the following.

Turn Off the Engine

The first thing you must do with an overheated car is to stop driving. Pull over to a safe location, and immediately kill your engine. This can prevent extensive damage to your vehicle, as running it while overheated can cause lasting harm. If you’re close to home, you can go ahead and try to make it, though you should never drive more than a quarter mile in an overheated vehicle.

Take Care with Your Hood

Before you try and attend to the engine, keep in mind that it has overheated. This means that it has become extremely hot, so you should approach with caution and care. Wait until your car’s temperature gauge has fallen back from red, then open the hood. If you need to open the radiator cap, make sure you protect your hand with a towel or rag.

Add Extra Coolant

Every driver should make a habit to carry an extra jug of coolant or water in their vehicle. Most of the time, a car overheats due to low coolant. Simply topping off your engine can sometimes do the trick and get you back on the road. For a temporary solution, you can even use water.

You can sometimes avert overheating altogether if you turn off your AC and blast your heater. This can serve as a temporary solution to channel heat away from the engine. When your car overheats, you must visit a trusted mechanic as a soon as possible. If you have an overheated car in Springfield and West Springfield, MA, call the experts at Spartan Auto Care at __PHONE__ today.

7 Things to Check in Your Car Before Going on Road Trips

Summer is just a month away for many college students whose spring semester ends in May. That means three months of fun and relaxation for those not working. One fun summer tradition for many college students is to have road trips.Don’t have a bad memory of this summer’s trip because your car broke down.

Make sure your car is in its best shape for the long drive by checking these seven things:

Don’t Let Car Problems Ruin Your Road Trip.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze prevents your car from overheating- a common occurrence on long road trips through the countryside. Make sure the coolant surge reservoir is filled up.

Fluids

Fill up on washer fluid to wipe away all those bugs on the windshield. Be sure to check the transmission and differential fluids too!

Oil change

Oil lubricates your car’s engine and keeps everything running smoothly. Come in for an oil change even if it’s before your recommended oil change date if you are expecting a long journey.

Tire pressure

Avoid a blowout or flat tire by making sure there is enough air in your tires. Rotate them if you notice some more tread on certain tires than others.

Brakes

Make sure your brake fluid is full. This helps the gears that makes your car stop and saves your life from rusting.

Belts

If you hear loud screeches whenever you pull away from a stop sign, you have a loose or stretched belt. If a belt breaks,

Battery

Test your battery and make sure its clean and charged.

 

Contact Spartan Auto Care at (413) 781-2480 to schedule an appointment for your car check-up in Springfield, MA.

Disc Brakes vs. Drum Brakes

If your brakes squeak or grind when you step on the pedal, it is time for you to schedule an appointment for brake repair. Repairing your braking system as soon as you notice a problem is very important because postponing it could lead to a serious accident. Spartan Auto Care is here to help with your brake repair needs.

Mechanic Changing the Pads on the Brakes

We Are Able to Repair Both Disc and Rum Braking Systems.

 

What Type of Brakes Do You Have?

There are two different kinds of braking systems manufactured for cars and trucks. Each one uses friction to stop the car, but they have different designs that require different repairs from a mechanic. Here are some of the differences between disc and drum brakes.

Disc Brakes
If your car has disc brakes, there is a spinning rotor inside the wheel. This rotor spins alongside the tire when the car is going down the road. When you apply the brake pedal, a device called the caliper presses the brake pad against the side of the rotor to slow the rotation, which in turn slows the rotation of the tire. This braking method is mostly used on modern cars and is considered by professionals to be the more efficient of the two brake systems.

Drum Brakes
Drum brakes are found mostly on older cars and trucks, but some newer vehicles will have drums on the rear tires. This brake system is comprised of a rotating drum that has shoes inside. When the brake pedal is pushed, the shoes press against the sides of the drum to slow the rotation and the speed of the car.

Regardless of the type of braking system you have on your car, our staff is here to help. Contact our office at (413) 781-2480 to schedule an appointment for your brake repair in Springfield and West Springfield, MA.

3 Easy Maintenance Activities That Can Improve Your Vehicle’s Safety

Vehicle Maintenance

Are You Keeping Up With Your Vehicle Maintenance?

Nobody wants their car or truck to be a hazard on the road. Vehicles of all kinds require a significant amount of maintenance, and one of the best things you can do is keep up with all of the maintenance. Today we will go over 3 easy and inexpensive things you can do to improve your car’s condition.

Update Your Windshield Wipers

Did you know that your windshield wipers don’t last forever? If you don’t drive in the rain very often, it can be easy to forget how frequently you need to service your wipers. Be sure to take a quick look at your wipers each month. If they begin to look warped, dry, or cracked, make sure to have them replaced ASAP.

Inflate Or Deflate Your Tires

Your tires have an optimal setting at which they work best, in terms of safety and wear. If your tires are over inflated, they are less safe to drive on, and they are at risk of bursting. If they are too low on air, they will develop wear much faster than they should, and they will decrease your fuel efficiency by creating additional drag.

Check Your Lights And Lenses

Your headlights need to be nice and bright to ensure your vehicle is visible in all conditions. In order to make sure they are bright, replace the bulbs if they become dim, or polish the lenses if they have grown foggy over time. If your headlights are dim and the bulbs are new, it may be an electrical problem you’ll need to get repaired.

If you need assistance with maintenance or service, give our team a call today at (413) 781-2480!

3 Things to Check When Buying a Used Car

Used Car

Buying a Used Car Can Be Stressful, but It Doesn’t Have to Be.

If you’ve ever bought a car before, you know how stressful it can be. Buying a used car on the other hand, can be even more stressful if you aren’t careful. When you buy a used car, you are buying something that someone else had before you and unfortunately there isn’t always a way to tell how well they took care of it before you. There are however a few things you can check before you sign your name on the dotted line to put your mind at ease.

The oil dipstick- This is very important since oil is the main component to making your engine run. Take the dipstick out, wipe it off, and put it back in again. When you pull it back out, take a look at where the oil level is. If it is to high, this could be a sign that there is gas in the oil. If it is too low, that is a bad sign as well. If the dipstick has white foam on it when you pull it out, this could be signs that there is water or coolant in the oil, this is bad, don’t buy this car.

Burnt holes- Take a look around the car, do you see any spots that could have been caused from cigarettes? The smell of cigarettes in a car can be covered by a lot of cleaning or perfume. Sometimes you buy the car before the smell comes back and then a week later you’re driving around in your new car that begins to smell like smoke, awesome right, not!

Dash lights- Pay attention to the lights on the dash. Some dealerships will try to clear check engine light codes and say the problem is fixed. Take the car for a long drive around the block. Drive it how you would if it was your car. Sometimes this will give it enough time for the check engine light to show back up, or for you to hear, smell, or see, that there is a problem within the car.

These are just a few things to pay attention to when you buy a used car. We want you to have the best experience possible, but if you suspect a problem or need advice, we are always here to help, just give us a call at (413) 781-2480!