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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



Serpentine Belt Service at West Texas Automotive

Posted April 07, 2019 07:21 AM

Most Midland folks occasionally have days when they've got a bunch of errands to run. Yesterday was my day off and I needed to fill the gas tank, pick up some groceries at my Midland market, swing by the ATM and get the kids from school. I could have made four trips . . . but that would have been totally inefficient. Instead I got unusually organized and planned my stops. I hit the ATM first and got gas next. Then I went to the supermarket and picked up the kids on the way home. I was proud of my wise use of time and money.

What does this have to do with your car? Well, back in the day, each of your engine's accessories, like the alternator and air conditioner, were powered by separate belts. A vehicle might have five or six belts. These days, vehicles have a single belt to run all the accessories. It's called the serpentine belt. A pulley attached to the vehicle engine's crank provides the power to turn the serpentine belt. On the engine in the video, the first accessory in line is the power steering pump, which makes it easier to steer your vehicle.

Next comes the alternator which powers the vehicle's electrical system and charges the battery. Then the air conditioning compressor. This helps make cold air to keep you comfortable all summer long in Midland. Finally, we come to the belt tensioner. Its job is to apply pressure on the belt to keep it tight. Then, back home to the crank.

This is a pretty typical setup, but it can vary somewhat. In some vehicles the water pump or radiator fan or the power brakes are also run by the serpentine belt. Some even have two serpentine belts. No matter how your engine is laid out, you're not going far without a serpentine belt. Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended interval for replacing your belt and your West Texas Automotive service technician can inspect it for damage or wear.

Several years ago, manufacturers started making serpentine belts out of a new material. It's much more durable, but it's harder to tell when the belt needs to be replaced. The old style belts would crack and chunks would fall off so you could easily see when you needed a new one.

On the new style belts, if the ribs wear too deep, it's time to replace. Your West Texas Automotive technician uses a simple gauge to tell when the belt is worn.

A worn belt stresses your vehicle engine's expensive accessories and causes them to wear prematurely. So, change your serpentine belt and belt tensioner according to your manufacturer's recommendations to extend the life of your accessories and to prevent future breakdowns.

Give us a call.

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



Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth in Midland

Posted March 31, 2019 10:43 AM

There's a segment of the Midland area population that's not committed to proper vehicle maintenance.

Now, the ignition system in your vehicle is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers). So tune-ups used to force you in to West Texas Automotive for service, and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new vehicles in Midland have been leased. These folks plan on turning the vehicle in after two or three years, so they haven't focused on the maintenance that helps a vehicle last longer.

Given all that, what's the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your vehicle will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren't just repairs that are a long way off. Modern vehicle engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At West Texas Automotive, we have been taking care of all those little things for years. Your vehicle still needs to be taken care of – it's just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Midland drivers vehicles did not go away.

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



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
432-689-5414
http://www.themobiletirestore.com

 



Bad Vibes

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. 

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


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
432-689-5414
http://www.themobiletirestore.com



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.

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

 



For Brakes' Sake (Brake Rotor Service in Midland)

Posted February 24, 2019 07:23 AM

Think of how much abuse your brakes take. Day in and day out, they stop your vehicle when it's going fast and when it's going slow. Maybe your vehicle has been vibrating when you brake, or maybe it seems like your stopping distance is a little bit longer than it used to be.

Then it's time to get your brakes checked out. After all, you have to be able to stop if you want to be safe. Nearly all newer vehicles have disc brakes on the front, and many have that type of brake on all four wheels. That makes it likely you'll be getting disc brakes fixed at some time in your vehicle's lifetime.

Knowing how disc brakes work is as easy as riding a bicycle. If your bike had hand brakes, you'll probably remember a mechanism that squeezed a couple of pads on each side of your bicycle wheel when you applied the brakes. Disc brakes are similar; but instead of the bike wheel, there's a metal disc instead. If that disc is warped or has irregularities in it, it's going to vibrate.

It used to be that rotors were thick, and when they warped, a technician could "turn" them to scrape off a layer of metal so their sides were straight again. The latest vehicles are using thinner, lighter rotors with a slightly different construction. Now, it's likely that rotors that are resurfaced this way will not have enough metal left to work safely. In fact, some manufacturers advise only replacing rotors that are worn out.

Newer designs have reduced rotor prices, and in many cases, the labor cost of turning the rotors is higher than buying new. There are times, though, where your rotors can be resurfaced and still meet manufacturer specifications.

If you have a rotor replaced on one side of your vehicle, it might be a good idea to replace rotors on the other side, too.

Maybe you're looking for the new rotors to last longer than the ones that were on there. New technologies can offer a longer lifespan in a premium rotor. Armed with knowing the type of driving you do, you and your West Texas Automotive service advisor can make the best decision on which direction you want to go with your new brakes.

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



Road Trip: Be Ready for Anything with a Trip Inspection at West Texas Automotive

Posted February 17, 2019 07:22 AM

Road trip, anyone? Nothing spoils a great vacation faster than ending up stranded on the side of the road or spending a week in a rundown motel while our vehicle sits in the shop. Long days on the road can bring out the worst in your vehicle, so before you leave, prepare it for the journey by getting a trip inspection at West Texas Automotive in Midland. After all, you wouldn't travel without clean socks, why ask your vehicle to travel with a load of dirty oil?

The first step in a trip inspection at West Texas Automotive is to look at your travel plans. What kinds of roads will you be driving on? Will you be in the Texas back country or on the freeway? Will you be crossing mountains? Off-roading? What will the weather be like? How far away from Midland will you be traveling? How much are you hauling? Will you be towing a trailer or lugging a rooftop carrier? Will you encounter dust, mud, snow or sea salt? All of these questions can help determine which services are most needed. And don't hesitate to ask your West Texas Automotive service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on what trip conditions are hardest on what systems of your vehicle and what kinds of services it realistically needs. Start with the tires and check them for tread wear and proper inflation. Replace or rotate them as needed. If you need to change them out for winter tires, then do so.

Then look at your shocks or struts for wear. Replace them if needed. You'll want that extra comfort on your trip. Be sure to check your alignment as well. Steering a vehicle that is out of alignment is tiring, and dangerous. Don't overlook your brakes. With extra passengers and baggage, your brakes are going to get a workout. You want them in top condition.

In addition, inspect belts and hoses. If any of them are close to wearing out, have them replaced before your long trip does them in.

Change your engine air filter if it needs it, or if it's close to needing it. Your car's air filter processes 12,000 times as much air as the amount of fuel it burns. A clean air filter will protect electronic sensors that affect how your engine runs.

Get an oil change at West Texas Automotive in Midland if it's coming due. Make it a full-service oil change while you're at it. That way, all of your fluids will get checked and topped off. Change any dirty or old fluids. Midland drivers don't want to overstress their cooling systems or transmissions with dirty fluid during a long trip.

Does your vehicle smell? Check the cabin air filter. The bad smell could also indicate an exhaust leak, which can be fatal on a long trip. So don't ignore bad odors; check them out.

If your air conditioning hasn't been up to snuff, then give it an overhaul. You want your vacation to be relaxed and pleasant, and that means keeping the passenger compartment comfortable.

And be sure to check your wiper blades and your headlamps. You may find yourself driving in unfamiliar territory at night after a long day. You'll want to be able to see as much as possible.

Of course, almost everything listed here is just part of preventive maintenance for smart driving. If you keep up with your vehicle care on a regular basis, a trip inspection will be a breeze at West Texas Automotive.

Taking care of your vehicle before you leave for a road trip will pay you back in safety, peace of mind, improved comfort and better fuel economy. It will also help your vacation go as planned by keeping you on the road and headed for that next great adventure. Just don't forget to pack your socks.

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



Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in Midland: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at West Texas Automotive

Posted February 10, 2019 05:53 AM

Taking care of our tires is part of vehicle care for Midland drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve and extend the life of the tires, so it's well worth the effort and expense for Midland drivers to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.

The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle's tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver's side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it's an important number for Midland vehicle owners to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction and handling on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

Don't be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also affect the handling performance of your vehicle.

Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.

For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the vehicle and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner's manual or talk to your service advisor at West Texas Automotive. Your owner's manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle's tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that's usually every 5,000 miles or 8,000 kilometers Your friendly and knowledgeable West Texas Automotive professionals can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

When it comes to tire maintenance for Midland drivers, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You'll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is important and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Midland drivers.

If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle, all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Midland, you need tires, so you need to know how to care for them. The safety of your vehicle can depend on the condition of your tires.

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