The Economy of Maintenance for Midland Drivers
Posted March 24, 2019 08:31 AM
Do I keep my old vehicle or buy a new one? It's a question most Midland drivers ask themselves at some time or another.
Generally, what it comes down to is the choice between a car payment and the possibility of repair bills. Most of the time, we want to choose the car payment because we don't like the inconvenience and uncertainty of vehicle repairs. But that payment has a detrimental effect on our budget and bank account.
Edmunds.com is a great website to help you with your decision. This site uses repair histories to calculate the average repair bills for specific makes and models of cars. You can plug in the information for your vehicle and get an estimate on what it will probably cost you to continue owning that vehicle.
Now, Edmunds.com isn't a crystal ball. It can't know what will happen to your specific vehicle. But it can guide you in knowing how much money to budget for the repair and maintenance of your vehicle. Ultimately, that can help you in your decision to buy a new vehicle or wait a few years.
For example, a five-year-old Camry V-6 is projected by Edmunds.com to cost about $96 a month, on average, to repair and maintain (at the time of this writing). Remember, maintenance costs are part of vehicle ownership, whether it's a new vehicle or an old one, so the projected cost for repairs on your five-year-old Camry average out to only about $50 a month. That's a whopping lot less than a new car payment.
If your vehicle is older than five years, you should also talk to your friendly and knowledgeable professional at West Texas Automotive about its future. They are more familiar with the average cost of repairs for vehicles in your area and of specific problems they commonly see in particular vehicles. More importantly, they know you and they know your car. They can give you a heads-up on what repairs you may be facing in the near future.
Remember, the older your vehicle gets, the more important preventive auto maintenance becomes. Over time, vehicles accumulate wear and debris, and we just have to give them a little more attention. Getting to know your vehicle and its peculiarities is also good auto advice for Midland drivers.
If you decide to keep your older vehicle, you may want to talk with your West Texas Automotive service advisor about fluids specially formulated for older engines. These motor oils, transmission and other fluids are designed to clean older engines and automotive systems and recondition their seals and gaskets.
Good care at West Texas Automotive in Midland will keep your older vehicle on the road in Texas. And that may be just the boost you need in this uncertain economy. It may even save you enough to be able to afford that new vehicle you've been dreaming about.
West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
Posted March 17, 2019 08:16 AM
Your vehicle has a way of letting you know when something's wrong. Consider a vibrating steering wheel. It certainly didn't do that when it was new, so that shake is trying to tell you something.
There are a few things that can cause your steering wheel to vibrate as you drive down the road. One of the most common is out-of-balance tires. You may not only feel that wobble in your steering wheel, you might also feel it in the tires. Sometimes it's not there when you're driving at lower speeds through residential areas, and sometimes it starts when you hit highway speeds.
So what is tire balance anyway? Well, you have a rubber tire that fits around a metal wheel. It should have the same weight all the way around. If it doesn't, it will start getting the shakes. Ever load your washing machine so that all the clothes are at one side of that drum that spins? When it hits the spin cycle, it can throw that washer against the wall.
That's the same thing that's happening with an out-of-balance tire/wheel combination. A technician has special equipment to figure out where to put small weights on the wheel to get things back in balance again. But it could be that you hit a pothole some time ago and bent the rim. Or your tire isn't as round and even as it once was. That could be due to age, damage or wear and tear. The technician will know and offer you options.
Another possibility for that vibrating wheel is a faulty brake, such as warped rotors or a sticky caliper. All of these issues can be evaluated as part of regular, routine maintenance with us. There are many things that cause vibrations in your wheels. But you don't want any bad vibes when it comes to your vehicle.
Tire Rotation and Balancing at West Texas Automotive in Midland
Posted March 10, 2019 10:42 AM
Tires do a lot of work for Midland drivers. They transfer engine power and braking forces to the road; they handle steering control; and they cushion all those bumps and jolts while driving around Midland. They also support the entire weight of the vehicle, including you and your passengers. With such important work to do, you want your tires to do their job well. And since replacing tires is fairly pricey, you want them to last as long as possible.
There are three keys to long, even tire wear for Midland driving:
- Proper tire inflation
- Proper wheel alignment
- Regular tire rotation and balancing
The front tires on a car take the brunt of the steering forces. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate. That's especially true of front-wheel-drive vehicles whose front tires steer and put the power to the road.
SUVs and pick-ups, especially four-wheel-drives, also tend to wear their tires more unevenly than cars because of their suspension and drivetrain set-up. Your owner's manual will likely contain a schedule for tire rotation. It's usually every 5,000 miles/8,000 km or so.
Also, there are different rotation patterns for different vehicles. West Texas Automotive will know which is right for your vehicle. That brings us to wheel balancing. When wheels are balanced, they spin on the axle evenly. When they are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear unevenly and may transmit a vibration to the car. Your friendly and knowledgeable West Texas Automotive service advisor puts weights on your wheels to balance them out so that they turn true and smooth.
Tires are a big investment for Midland drivers. They're designed for keeping you safely on the road in Midland. The cost for regular rotation and balancing is more than made up in extended tire life. And, can you really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers?
West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
To Fix or Not To Fix: That Is the Question.
Posted March 03, 2019 01:18 AM
No matter what vehicle you drive, when certain things break, you have to make a decision. Should I get it fixed now, later or never? Air conditioning is one of those things. You can certainly live without air conditioning, but it sure is nice to have on a sweltering day.
Let's say your air conditioning breaks in the fall and you live in a climate where it gets quite cold in the winter. Should you get it fixed now, wait until spring since it won't get warm until then or maybe not get it fixed at all?
That can be a tough decision. There are several reasons air conditioning in vehicles break. One is fairly simple: It could be an electrical problem, perhaps a relay or solenoid is not turning on the system. It's also a fairly inexpensive repair and doesn't require hours of labor.
Or, the problem is that the coolant has leaked out. Your service facility can find the leak and replace the parts that are leaking. With a refrigerant recharge, you're back in business. The repair costs vary, depending on the reason for the leak.
When air conditioning malfunctions involve a compressor, evaporator or condenser, the costs can be significant since parts and labor add up. Depending on the age and value of your vehicle, you may choose to simply roll down the windows and live with it.
Keep in mind that many vehicles in cold climates use air conditioning in winter. Many vehicles automatically turn on the A/C when you use the defroster. The A/C dries the heated air it blows on the windshield and side windows to eliminate fogging more quickly. Outside conditions such as snow and ice can severely hamper visibility. Add to that fogging on the inside and it can present very challenging conditions for the driver.
In order for all systems to be functioning optimally, a vehicle owner might feel it's worth it for safety reasons to get a broken air conditioner fixed, even if it is done right before the approach of cold weather. Discuss these options with your service advisor so you can make the best decision for your situation.