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Trickle Down Technology

Posted November 04, 2018 07:50 AM

Recently, Nissan introduced the latest version of its Leaf, the company's electric car. It has many new features, including something called e-Pedal. It allows the driver to let up on the accelerator and, unlike a gasoline engine car, the Leaf doesn't just slowly lose speed; letting off the throttle pedal brakes the car in a very controlled way, using regenerative and sometimes friction brakes. With practice, a driver can go for a fairly long time without touching the brake pedal.

Another system, similar to those found in self-driving vehicles, can steer the car to keep it in the center of the lane using a camera and radar. It literally watches the lane markers and, of course, doesn't work well in snow that obliterates those markers. But the technology is impressive and can greatly reduce fatigue on long trips.

In fact, much of this technology has "trickled down" from research on autonomous vehicles, such as adaptive cruise control that slows down your vehicle (even to a stop) if the vehicle in front of you decelerates or stops. And we can expect these features will eventually find their way into all price levels of vehicles if the past is any indication.

There was a time anti-lock brakes were only found on premium vehicles; now they are on nearly all new vehicles. Traction and stability control are also prevalent, helping drivers reduce slippage and maintain control, thanks to computers.

With SUVs and trucks so popular, rear backup cameras help drivers see behind their tall back ends, reducing injuries, deaths and property damage. Bumper sensors and cameras allow drivers to be visually and aurally aware of their surroundings with 360° protection.

Many of these features improve our vehicle's safety and efficiency, and we can expect new technologies to crop up in the future. But just like the mechanical systems in your vehicle, it's important to maintain the electronic and computerized systems. Technicians at West Texas Automotive constantly train to keep up on these latest developments. Make sure all your vehicle's components are maintained in top condition.

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



Maintaining Your Older Car in Midland, Texas

Posted October 21, 2018 10:30 AM



The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Midland, Texas: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Midland motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new vehicle.

Because new vehicles are more expensive, people in the Midland area are driving their old vehicles longer. The average vehicle is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Texas have more than 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin'.

Give West Texas Automotive a call at 432-689-5414 to schedule your next maintenance.

Some owner's manuals don't specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles (120,000km).

First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles (24,000, 48,000, 72,000 and 96,000 km) and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule; ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks; seals and gaskets dry out over time and don't hold the fluids as well as they used to.

It's also time to make sure you have a good technician, like those here at West Texas Automotive. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble's brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.

And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles (80,000 km), consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it's way cheaper than a new car payment!

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



Keys to a Long Lasting Vehicle

Posted September 02, 2018 07:25 AM



We live in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term "built to last" goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They're still a very big investment and Midland drivers want to make them last as long as possible.  We also want to make keeping them running as cheap as possible. When talking vehicles, it's all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, "A stitch in time saves nine," and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your vehicle. A great example is coolant service in Midland.

Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing, it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That's why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.

The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, Midland vehicle owners shouldn't forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.

Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don't forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs down.

Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper for Midland drivers than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don't forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent mechanical damage and improve fuel economy.

Now this is a lot to remember for Midland drivers - too much, really. But it is your Midland automotive technician's job to keep on top of this stuff. At West Texas Automotive we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which  maintenance schedule you should use - the regular schedule or the severe service schedule - depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older vehicle.

Bottom line - take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent damage and maintain your warranty coverage.

Of course, you want your vehicle to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you'll be proud to drive it longer.

Most of us in Midland can't afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient - and expensive - problems down the road, and can keep driving "old faithful" for years to come.

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



Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?

Posted May 29, 2018 07:10 AM

No matter how well they're made, vehicles are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the vehicle manufacturer to issue recall notices to Midland residents and to fix the affected vehicles free of charge. The they try to contact all Midland residents who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Midland service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:

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

These recalls always affect safety, so Midland residents would be wise to take them seriously. It's really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.


Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.

Recalls are pretty serious for Midland residents and don't happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Midland residents still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, the vehicle manufacturer issues what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Midland service centers (including West Texas Automotive) how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

Your Midland service center receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too.

Whatever your source, pay attention to Midland vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.



Synthetic Oil for Midland Autos

Posted February 21, 2018 10:55 AM

If you are a driver in Midland and you aren't currently using synthetic motor oil in your vehicle, maybe now's the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil.

Synthetic oil doesn't gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn't vaporize as easily. It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving around Midland, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil, with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.

Why is this? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why, we'd need a microscope, so we'll have to settle for using our imaginations.

The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?

Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there's less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn't sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.

Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.

Most of us here in Midland have a busy life and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead, admit it. Since we're not perfect, doesn't it make sense to use a motor oil that's got your back?

Now synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better and increases fuel economy. You'll likely save money in the long run. If you're serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.

Give us a call to schedule an oil change, or visit us at our West Texas Automotive website.

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



The Importance of Midland Drivers Following Service Intervals

Posted February 04, 2018 08:16 AM

Today in our West Texas Automotive blog, we're going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your vehicle isn't the only aspect of your life in Midland with recommended intervals: Let's start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn't follow these intervals? Well, you'd get more cavities. You may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you'd have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

Clearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don't, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Midland takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our vehicles? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don't seem that urgent. All our Midland neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It's easy to put off. The other reason is that we're just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it's a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, people in Midland don't need to memorize their vehicle owner's manuals. You can let your West Texas Automotive advisor remind you of the guidelines established by the vehicle manufacturer; he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your vehicle. You really can rely on West Texas Automotive professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Midland drivers who want to be more proactive with their vehicle care, here are some simple ways for you to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it's liquid, it's got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing and alignment. And while you're thinking tires, don't forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your vehicle go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Midland car owners remember to take their vehicle in to West Texas Automotive for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don't follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy fuel economy, your vehicle doesn't run as well, your safety is compromised and you'll spend more money in the long run. So it's the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

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

 



Keeping Your Car Young in Midland

Posted January 02, 2018 08:12 AM



As Midland consumers, we live in a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away.

New stuff comes out so fast in Texas, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff - especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough; we had to do without. 

We couldn't afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Midland penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care. The engineering's there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's maintenance schedules.

Is it really that bad for Midland motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a little longer than the recommended interval  between oil changes, you've created an opportunity for  sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don't get oiled and they start to wear out faster. 

Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged, one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It's also even more important for older vehicles in the Midland area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they're working harder anyway. But it's never too late for Midland drivers to get back on track with maintenance and to hold off further damage.

It's just another example of our parents knowing what's best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That's like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let the pros at West Texas Automotive in Midland help you keep track of the rest.

Of course, it is inevitable for vehicles that some things are going to wear out along the way, like alternators, water pumps and such; they don't last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It's like having high cholesterol; you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

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


 



The Maintenance Free Myth

Posted October 22, 2017 04:59 AM

Sometimes we hear people in Midland say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Midland drivers don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become,  fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in Texas and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. This guy took his SUV in for the Texas safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Midland inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Midland drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Midland service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was shredded and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at West Texas Automotive in Midland recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better.  Plus, it is more economical to operate in Texas. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to West Texas Automotive in Midland for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

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



West Texas Automotive: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Posted October 17, 2017 03:03 AM

Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your vehicle engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let's go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on Midland streets, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about 12,000 gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your vehicle needs a lot of air to keep going in Midland. A lot of clean air is best.

You've seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your vehicle also works better when its internals are clean. When your vehicle air filter is dirty, it simply can't trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your vehicle engine does you no good.

Replacing a dirty air filter at West Texas Automotive in Midland can improve your fuel economy by up to 10 percent. At today's Midland fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your vehicle engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in Texas. A simple visual inspection at West Texas Automotive in Midland will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.

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




West Texas Automotive On Your Serpentine Belt

Posted August 06, 2017 04:17 AM


 

Today we're going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Midland, Texas, customers. Let's start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That's the device that makes electricity to power the vehicle and recharge the battery. Then there's the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you're driving around Texas in the summer.

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Midland residents' vehicles. Those pumps provide pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Midland, Texas, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That's really a lot of work for one belt.

But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most, if not all, of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of work, but they're tough and can last for a long time.

Just how long will they last? That'll vary for each individual car in the Midland area. Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at West Texas Automotive can detect a belt that's getting close to failing.

Your friendly and knowledgeable West Texas Automotive service advisor can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that's more than half the depth of the belt - replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it. Come see us.

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