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Hitting the Brakes in Midland

Posted December 30, 2018 08:27 AM

Safety should always be an element of your vehicle care. So even if you don't care about how your vehicle looks, you should practice preventive maintenance to protect yourself — and other Midland drivers — on the road. And good safety starts with good brakes.

Brakes need a regular inspection. There are  parts that wear out or wear down, and it's best to replace them before you have serious problems.

Of course, if you are having trouble with your brakes, NOW is the time to fix them. If your brake warning light is on, that's a good sign that you need your brakes checked. You can also tell something is wrong with your brakes by the feel of the pedal or unusual sounds while braking. If the brake pedal is low, feels spongy when you press it or is hard to push, that indicates a problem with your brakes. If you hear squealing, grinding or clunking noises when you brake, that can also indicate serious problems. If vibrations accompany braking, then it is to get your brakes checked.

Brakes come in two basic types. With disc brakes, a rotor is attached to the axle of the vehicle. Padded calipers straddle the rotor and close when the brakes are applied. The resulting friction causes the rotor — and the axle — to stop turning. With drum brakes, brake pads (also called shoes) press against the inside of a drum to create friction and stop the drum, and hence the vehicle's wheels, from turning.

When West Texas Automotive services your brake system, your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor checks all of the brake pads for wear. If they are too thin, they need to be replaced. This is an inexpensive repair at West Texas Automotive compared to what procrastination will cost you. If pads wear away completely, then the rotors and drums can be damaged. They will have to be either resurfaced or replaced, and that can be expensive. But if your vehicle brake pads are worn out, then your brakes are compromised and your stopping power is greatly reduced. You could easily wind up in an accident.

Brake pads come in several different grades such as regular, metallic and ceramic. The higher grades are more expensive, but they also work better. Texas drivers who want better and smoother braking should consider upgrading. However, Midland drivers should NEVER use a brake pad that is lower than their vehicle manufacturer's recommendation.

After your brake pads are checked at West Texas Automotive, it's also wise to have your brake fluid checked. This is a critical element in your brake system. When you press your brake pedal, you are compressing the brake fluid, creating pressure that activates the brake pads. If your fluid pressure is low, it will decrease your braking power. The pads just won't be able to press hard enough against the rotor or drum to stop your vehicle. Just as with worn pads, insufficient brake fluid can lead to an accident in Midland.

Water can build up in your brake fluid, which can cause corrosion in your braking system. Eventually this can cause your brake fluid to leak. So Midland drivers should also change their brake fluid periodically. Your vehicle owner's manual will have guidelines on how often it should be replaced, or you can ask a service advisor at West Texas Automotive. 

Remember, Midland folks, safety first. It's auto advice for all Midland drivers on the road. You're not just protecting others; you're protecting yourself.

West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
432-689-5414
http://www.themobiletirestore.com



It's About Time: Following Service Intervals at West Texas Automotive

Posted December 23, 2018 01:12 AM

There are a lot of things in life that Midland residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Midland dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don't stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.

Scheduled maintenance is also part of good vehicle care. Midland drivers should take their vehicles in regularly for a good check-up. But many folks struggle to remember or actually even ignore this auto advice. When it comes to our vehicles, we're more likely to listen to, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it,” than, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.

Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze in your vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?

One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting. We can smell how dirty our clothes are. But we don't notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our vehicles is like trouble in our bodies — ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can't know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at West Texas Automotive in Midland.

Another reason we put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Midland residents don't know.

Of course, our vehicles come with owner's manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Midland vehicle owners actually read them?

The good news is that all we have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like West Texas Automotive in Midland. Like a good doctor, your friendly and knowledgeable pros at West Texas Automotive will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your vehicle needs and when. The service center can track your vehicle's maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.

Here are some guidelines to help you understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it's a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner's manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner's manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.

Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.

Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There's no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.

Fuel. Obviously your vehicle needs fuel on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.

These are the basics of vehicle maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don't need to be replaced as often.

If you are taking your vehicle in for the basics, then your Midland service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you'll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.

If you're not convinced yet that your vehicle needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased fuel economy, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to repair bills and costly accidents.

Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at West Texas Automotive in Midland can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.

West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
432-689-5414
http://www.themobiletirestore.com



Keep Your Cool in Midland: Air Conditioning Service

Posted December 16, 2018 06:25 AM

Most Midland drivers don't even think about their air conditioner.

Now here's a tip for Midland vehicle owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during Texas winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.

The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your vehicle windshield during Texas winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Midland cars you can't run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don't ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.

Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Midland drivers should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.

Texas drivers would be wise to learn the early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air's not as cold as it used to be. 2) It makes unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into West Texas Automotive in Midland before the damage gets worse.

By following the recommended service intervals in your vehicle owner's manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Midland car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it. 

West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
432-689-5414
http://www.themobiletirestore.com



West Texas Automotive Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln

Posted December 09, 2018 06:37 AM

Welcome to the West Texas Automotive automotive blog. Today, let's talk about the effect of tire wear.

Let's focus on stopping in wet Midland conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can't move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.

That's called hydroplaning. If it's really bad, Midland drivers can actually spin out of control - endangering themselves and the other drivers around them. At best, you won't stop as fast.

So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your vehicle tire and you'll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They're designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.

And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new West Texas Automotive tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your vehicle on wet Midland roads.

So that's why it's so important for Midland drivers to replace their vehicle tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.

At West Texas Automotive, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Midland streets. A safe stop from Texas speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.

There's an easy way to tell when a tire's worn to 4/32 of an inch.

Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn't cover George Washington's hairline, it's time to replace your vehicle tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Many Midland residents have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln's head - the old method. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, vehicle tires are a major purchase. Most of us in Midland want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there's a real safety trade-off. It's your choice.

West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
432-689-5414
http://www.themobiletirestore.com



PCV Valve: What Is It?

Posted December 02, 2018 09:48 AM

Most Midland drivers know something about preventive maintenance on a vehicle. We know we should routinely replace the oil and wiper blades and other fluids. But have you heard of a PCV valve ? This little car part needs to be replaced regularly or it can cause some serious problems in your vehicle engine.

PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase holds your motor oil and is located at the bottom of your engine.

When fuel is burned in your engine, it produces waste gases that are mostly vented out through your exhaust system. But some of these gases push their way past the pistons and into the crankcase. There, these gases can mix with motor oil to produce oil sludge, which can damage vehicle engine parts through corrosion and by clogging engine passages. Midland vehicle owners should be advised that if the engine is running at high speeds, these gases can also cause pressure inside the crankcase to build up. This pressure, in turn, can blow gaskets and damage seals, leading to oil leaks.

The waste gases that leave the engine are comprised of about 70% unburned fuel. They used to be vented off the crankcase into the atmosphere. But starting in 1964, laws mandated that these gases be recaptured. Manufacturers began installing PCV systems, which recycled the gases into the air intake system where they could be mixed with fuel and sent to the engine to be burned.

The PCV valve is a one-way valve attached to the crankcase. Waste gases exit the crankcase through the valve but cannot enter.

Over time, the waste gases leave deposits on the PCV valve that can gum it up. So it needs to be replaced occasionally. This is an inexpensive part of preventive maintenance that is often overlooked, but which can have very expensive consequences. It's good auto advice to keep this little valve clean and working well.

In order to maintain efficient circulation, the PCV system also has a breather tube that allows clean air to enter the crankcase. This air is usually filtered through the engine air filter. But some vehicles have a separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. If this is the case with your vehicle, proper maintenance of the PCV will include replacing this element. To find out whether your vehicle has this type of PCV system, check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at West Texas Automotive.

The PCV system reduces harmful vehicle emissions. The maintenance it requires is simple and inexpensive at West Texas Automotive. A fouled or damaged PCV system can lead to serious engine damage for Midland drivers.

Let's all learn to practice good car care. It's good for our wallets, and it's good for our Texas environment.

West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
432-689-5414
http://www.themobiletirestore.com