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Gear Up: Transmission Service at West Texas Automotive in Midland

Posted June 16, 2019 08:59 AM

The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.

How does it know when to change gears? Today's automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing and changes the gears as needed.

Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds,” are being added. Almost all vehicles have at least four speeds. Five or six is common. Some are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Midland vehicle owners: it improves fuel economy and increases performance.

But there is a drawback for drivers in Midland: more gears equal more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today's transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Midland drivers. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren't given proper care.

That's why changing transmission fluid is such an important part of preventive maintenance for vehicles in Midland. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.

Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.

New transmissions aren't cheap. Repairing them isn't cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is fairly inexpensive at West Texas Automotive in Midland. That's why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at West Texas Automotive. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren't just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing transmission repairs.

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



Don't Be Fuelish

Posted June 09, 2019 09:47 AM

If you smell gasoline in your vehicle, pay attention to your nose. That's because it has an important message for you.

Newer vehicles should never have a gasoline smell inside. One of the most dangerous conditions can come when your fuel line system has a leak or multiple leaks. Vehicles with fuel injectors are under pressure, meaning a crack or small hole in a fuel line can allow vaporized fuel to escape, sometimes around hot engine parts. Gasoline vapor and hot metal? You see the problem.

One of the most common causes of a gasoline smell inside a vehicle is a fuel tank leak. The gas tank can rot or be punctured by road debris. A West Texas Automotive technician can evaluate the condition of your fuel tank and suggest either repair or replacement.

Fuel injectors can develop small leaks around their seals or O-rings. Those can deteriorate over time as the material they are made of gets old and less flexible. A technician can replace those parts.

Modern vehicles contain something called a charcoal canister. It gathers evaporating gasoline vapors from inside your fuel tank and prevents them from venting out to the atmosphere. If that canister has a leak, you'll smell it. One hint that you have a problem is the Check Engine light may come on.

You may have a leak in your fuel tank vent hose. Or you may be smelling gasoline simply because your gas cap is loose, the cap is faulty or—yes this does happen—your gas cap is missing altogether.

Consider the dangers of gasoline fumes seriously. Inhaling them can be bad for your health or they may start a fire. Don't fool with fuel; have gasoline odors checked out right away.

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



Wiper Blades in Texas

Posted June 02, 2019 09:06 AM

If you're gonna drive around the Midland area, you've got to be able to see! So having a good set of windshield wipers is extremely important. We've all experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm or when our windshield is just dirty.

It seems like your wiper blades are always at their worst when you need them the most. But windshield wipers are like most other vehicle parts– they require regular attention in order to work their best.

You really ought to replace your wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If it's going to be a particularly harsh winter in Texas, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall. Winter blades are designed to resist freezing.

Speaking of winter and freezing conditions, if your car has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don't use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That'll just tear up the blades and cause them to wear out more quickly. It may even damage the wiper motor.

Over time, wiper blades become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don't cover the windshield effectively.

Worn wiper blades aren't just a safety hazard; they can also scratch your windshield. That may require replacing the entire windshield, a big cost for such a little part.

Replace worn blades right away. Our professionals at West Texas Automotive can provide you with a quality replacement blade. They cost about the same as they would at the store, but installation is included at West Texas Automotive in Midland.

Of course you also need windshield washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though West Texas Automotive will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home, or in the car if you are on a long trip.

Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy bottled water, may freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won't do a good job of cleaning your windows.

And remember that some vehicles have two reservoirs: one for the windshield and one for the back window, which may be under the hood or somewhere in the back.

So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road, and give us a call.

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



Automotive Tips from West Texas Automotive: Rotor Problems

Posted May 26, 2019 12:20 PM

The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your car when you are driving in Midland.

Rotors can warp, crack or become misaligned. They can also be damaged by worn out brake pads that scratch grooves into the surface. These conditions result in less contact surface for the brake pads, leaving you with reduced braking power.

Over time and miles, rotors can also wear down below safe specifications. It is important for Midland drivers to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the problem. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.

Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake problems that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your friendly and professional West Texas Automotive tech perform a thorough inspection.

Give us a call.

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



Looking Down the Road - Headlamps

Posted May 19, 2019 01:51 AM



If you've ever been driving around Midland and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness, which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at West Texas Automotive. We're at 4703 Andrews Hwy in Midland, Texas 79703. Or give us a call at 432-689-5414.

Experts at West Texas Automotive recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when Daylight Saving Time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long Texas winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and gives a very white light that's a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. Your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and to keep your lights from shining off into oncoming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Midland service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.

You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

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



West Texas Automotive Advice on Buying New Tires

Posted May 12, 2019 08:36 AM

Today's tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Midland driver's style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all Texas seasons.

Midland off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires' high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren't interested in off-roading around Texas? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

West Texas Automotive tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional at West Texas Automotive can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your vehicle on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don't forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Midland a lot longer.

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



Automotive Tips from West Texas Automotive: Signs of an Alignment Problem

Posted May 05, 2019 10:32 AM

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Midland drivers often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like an accident, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object.

While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Midland driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well.

In addition, your vehicle can lose alignment over time with just normal driving. When your wheels are out of alignment, West Texas Automotive in Midland can return your wheels to the vehicle manufacturer’s factory settings. Most owner's manuals suggest an alignment check every year or two. 

Give us a call.

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

 



Using Proper Fluids in Your vehicle

Posted April 28, 2019 07:03 AM


Today, West Texas Automotive is writing about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It's become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It's not that people in Midland are confused as much as they don't realize how much things have changed in recent years.

If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don't hesitate to stop by West Texas Automotive. You can find us on 4703 Andrews Hwy in Midland, Texas 79703.
Just give us a call at 432-689-5414.

Let's take engine oil. Twenty or 30 years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.

It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it's cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn't thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.

Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the vehicle has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas.  That means the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.

So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.

Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It's certainly in the owner's manual. Of course, West Texas Automotive in Midland can look it up for you.

It's more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.

Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.

In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.

So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn't formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you're using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won't be covered under warranty. So it's important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.

Your owner's manual or service advisor at West Texas Automotive can make sure you're using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That's OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer's recommendation for your vehicle or other auto type is always a safe bet.

In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It's important to remember that the new ones aren't better than the old ones. They're just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.

There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.

They're fine to use as long as they're a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it's also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it's the right type for your transmission.

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

 



When "Oh, no!" Turns Into, "All right!"

Posted April 21, 2019 07:09 AM

Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news.

There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors.  Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working.  The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing.

Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires.  So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months.  One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van.  The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it.

He waited for his van, and it wasn't long before the service advisor came out with good news. The doors weren't working because a switch on the overhead console had been turned off.  (It was a safety feature to allow parents to disable them.) The owner had accidentally switched it when he was unloading the van.  It was the first thing the technician had checked. Flip the switch back and all was working as usual.

Another example? A mother was driving a minivan with her two kids inside on a hot day when she felt the front end shaking violently as she drove down the road. Fearing something major had broken in the van (and fearing for the safety of her kids), she pulled into a fast-food restaurant parking lot and started to look underneath to see if it was anything obvious she could see.

She couldn't see any broken parts, but she also didn't feel safe getting back in the van with her kids.  So, she called her local service facility and asked if they could send someone to look at it.  When the technician arrived, he took it for a test drive on the same road on which she'd described having the trouble.  Then he put her van up on the lift.  His conclusion?  Nothing was wrong with her van.  It was the street she was driving on.  Crews repairing it had left the surface full of potholes, and that was causing her rough ride.

Ultimately, what these two drivers feared would be an expensive trip to the shop resulted in each driver getting different news than they had expected.  One learned something new about his vehicle.  The other?  Well, the technician saw that her tires were badly worn and convinced her to get them replaced, perhaps preventing an accident and giving peace of mind for a mom with two kids.

West Texas Automotive
4703 Andrews Hwy
Midland, Texas 79703
432-689-5414


Don't Stack the Mat

Posted April 14, 2019 10:53 AM

In the sloppy cold weather months, you might be tempted to pick up an all-weather mat and throw it on top of the mats you already have in your vehicle. After all, double protection is better, right? In this case, wrong. Here's why.

It's important to keep the accelerator and brake pedals clear so they can function the way they are supposed to. Stacking mats in the driver's side footwell can make them sit up too high on the floor. That can, in turn, jam your accelerator pedal forward, causing your vehicle to unintentionally speed up; it may get stuck in that position. Same thing applies to the brake pedal. The mats can get caught underneath it and prevent you from stopping.

Here are some other good practices when it comes to mats. It's best to get those designed for your vehicle. They are shaped to fit your specific car, truck, van or SUV. Ill-fitting mats can have the same untended consequences as stacked mats.

Good mats will have either a Velcro-type fastener on the back of them or a hook that fits into a hole in the mat. That way, the mat stays affixed to the floor so it doesn't slip and cause problems.

One more thing to keep in mind. If you have objects rolling around your vehicle, let's say under the driver's seat, just think about what happens when you jam on the brake. That object is thrown forward and can get caught in a pedal. You might find the accelerator stuck or the brake pedal inoperative.

Your service advisor at West Texas Automotive can recommend the right mat for your vehicle. The right mat may save your carpeting, the wrong one may cost you an accident.

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