Q&A’s About Car Batteries

The battery in your car serves an important role by sending a bolt of energy to the starter motor when you crank the engine, and it helps to provide power to other electrical features in your car such as the radio and lights. While battery technology has come a long way over the years, you should still know how they work and what to do to maintain the one in your car. As you read through this list of FAQs, remember that your regular oil change and tune up is a great time to request a car battery checkup.

How Long Does the Average Car Battery Last?

Today’s car batteries average a lifespan of about three to five years. However, there are multiple factors that go into how long a car battery can actually last. For example, extreme hot or cold temperatures alter the balance in the battery, and leaving a car sitting for long periods of time can also shorten the lifespan.

Will My Car’s Engine Die While I’m Driving If the Battery Stops Working?

In most cases, you will notice a battery problem during the initial start up of your vehicle. Once your vehicle is running, a failing battery should not cause the engine to die. However, a bad battery is often a symptom of a problem with the alternator or another component on your vehicle, and these types of issues could cause your engine to die.

How Do I Preserve the Battery When My Car Is In Storage?

Batteries in cars that are stored for more than a few days can lose their charge. For this reason, battery care should be on your checklist of things to do to prep your car for storage. If you plan to leave the battery in the car, arrange to have someone start it up at least once every two weeks. Alternatively, you can use a trickle charger or disconnect the battery.

How Do I Choose the Right Battery?

There are many different types of batteries on the market, and every vehicle has a specific size and type that is designed to fit the engine. While you can check your vehicle’s owner’s manual, its best to ask one of our certified auto repair technicians to help you find the right one to suit your car’s specifications.

What Are the Warning Signs of a Failing Battery?

Fortunately, bad batteries typically give some warning signs before they go completely out. You should be concerned anytime your car experiences a slow crank or fails to turn over since this could mean that the battery is weak. A bad battery could also trigger a warning light on your dash, but this could simply be a generic light telling you to check your engine. If you look under the hood, you may also see a bloated battery case or corrosion on the terminals. Finally, a need to jumpstart your car is a definite sign that the battery needs to be checked.

Proper battery care and maintenance gives you the reassurance that comes with knowing that your car will reliably start up every time you turn the key. If you car’s battery is nearing the end of its lifespan or is displaying warning signs, bring it in to see if a replacement is necessary.

Brake Maintenance Tips for Semis

When you drive a semi, you know the importance of trusting the braking system to stop on command. Yet, long hours on the road, combined with frequent stops can put significant stress on the brakes. Since your truck’s braking system is your first line of defense against a potentially deadly accident, this is one maintenance area that you never want to overlook. Make sure to follow these brake maintenance tips for semis to ensure that you never wind up with a runaway truck.

 

Follow the Recommended Schedule

Unfortunately, there is no universal rule for when you should have the brakes inspected, and the recommended schedule for brake maintenance can vary even among the same truck makes and models. This is because multiple factors such as the frequency of stops, amount of inclines you encounter, and the distance you drive on a regular basis can all increase the amount of strain placed on the braking system. When you take your rig in for ABS brake repair, talk to the technician about your driving habits to develop a personalized schedule that keeps your semi’s brakes in top condition. Although most trucks should have their brakes inspected with each oil change, yours may need care sooner.

 

Watch Out for Corrosion

Brakes are especially susceptible to corrosion, and road crews often use chemical preparations to remove ice and snow during the winter. While this does help to keep the roads safer, the chemicals used in deicer can work their way into the braking system. Over time, this can wreak havoc on the rotors and some of the newer preparations can get into the brake shoe table and the lining. Ideally, you should rinse the bottom of your rig with water to remove the majority of the deicer. Then, make sure to have your auto repair company check for corrosion during your brake services.

 

Perform Pre-Trip Inspections

To get your CDL, you were required to demonstrate your ability to perform a thorough pre-trip inspection. However, long-term drivers have a tendency to forget essential checks before they get behind the wheel. Make sure that your pre-trip check includes inspecting the brake hoses for cracks, and the liners to make sure that it is the appropriate thickness. During your inspection, you should also make sure that the slack adjustors are properly lubricated, and that the application pressure falls within acceptable levels. While the pre-trip inspection process is tedious, it can reveal a wealth of information about the truck’s safety on the road. At the first sign of a problem, make sure to arrange for prompt certified auto repair services to prevent accidents.

 

As a truck driver, you have a responsibility to make sure that your rig is always up to the highest level of safety standards. Set up regular brake maintenance visits and keep an eye on the system in between repairs so that your truck is always road-ready.

The Ultimate Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Proper maintenance of your vehicle not only helps to get the most mileage out of it, but it is also one of the most effective ways to avoid a dreaded breakdown on the side of the road. While the maintenance requirements for your specific vehicle may vary, you should be aware of the most common tasks that are required for the majority of cars and trucks on the roads. Read through this list and make sure to take your car in for a tune-up if you notice that it is in need of professional maintenance.

Check the Oil and Coolant Levels

The fluids in your car play an essential role in temperature regulation and help to lubricate moving parts. Begin by checking the oil and coolant levels regularly to make sure that the proper amount of fluids is in the engine to keep everything running smoothly. While you can expect some fluid loss over time, you should be concerned if you notice a drastically low level, since this could indicate a leak in your system. Make sure to mention this when you take your car in for its regular oil change and tune up.

Get the Brakes Inspected

The brakes on your car are subjected to tremendous pressure every time you tap the pedal. While high-quality brake pads and rotors can last for many miles, you must schedule regular brake inspections to make sure that they are in top condition. Between servicing, keep an eye out for warning signs of wear such as squeals when you brake or a pedal that has more give than it normally would.

Assess the Safety Features

At some point, almost every driver has noticed someone driving with a taillight out, and failing lights put you at risk for an accident. Face your car toward a solid wall such as the garage door, and turn on the headlights to see if you can detect them working. You can also recruit a partner to watch as you tap the brake lights and use the turn signals to make sure that they are working properly.

Give the Tires a Lookover

The tires on your car help to maintain traction on slippery surfaces, and they must be properly inflated to keep your car steering properly. Check the tire pressure every time that you stop for gas, and inspect the entire set at least once a month. Keep in mind that your spare tire should be included in this inspection so that it is always ready in case of an emergency.

Find Out About Long-Term Maintenance Needs

While oil changes and tire inflations occur often enough that you should not forget them, there are other maintenance needs that happen after a certain number of months or miles pass by. When you take your car into the auto service center, ask about what maintenance tasks are coming up so that you can plan accordingly. For example, four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles have a transfer case that requires the fluid to be filled and replaced periodically.

Although car maintenance might not be your favorite thing to do, it is critical to stay on top of the tasks that keep your vehicle running and protect your safety on the road. When you are strapped on time, just bring your vehicle in for a professional check up so that you never have to worry about an essential task going undone.

The Most Common Car Maintenance Mistakes

Car maintenance is one of those things that some people enjoy more than others. While some people love tinkering beneath the hood and can be seen detailing their vehicle every weekend, others prefer to avoid even thinking about checking the oil. Unfortunately, overlooking car maintenance tasks is one of the main causes for requiring our auto repair and towing services. Make sure that you avoid these common car maintenance mistakes so that you never spend time waiting by the side of the road for a tow.

Forgetting to Check the Fluids

This is one task that you should be able to handle yourself, and it only takes a few seconds to see if the oil, coolant and brake fluid are all at the appropriate levels. Simply pop the hood, and check the reservoirs to make sure that the fluids fall within the proper lines. If you find this task difficult, then just ask the technician about it during your car’s next oil change and tune up. This way, you can avoid serious problems such as your car overheating due to a lack of coolant.

Overlooking the Tires

A quality set of tires will take you many miles, but you must keep them maintained to prevent blowouts and flats. Make it a habit to check out your tires before you get in your vehicle, and check the tire pressure every time you fill up the gas. The tires should also be rotated regularly to promote more even wear. Typically, this should be done every 5,000 miles or so, which makes it ideal to do when you arrange for your car’s oil change and tune up.

Failing to Notice Brake Problems

Drivers tend to understand that their car’s braking system is an essential safety component. However, this is one part of your car that tends to be overlooked until there is a major issue such as the brakes completely going out. Avoid getting into an accident by making regular brake inspections and maintenance a priority. During a professional inspection, the pads and rotors are checked for signs of wear, and the entire system is checked for leaks. Between these critical inspections, you should also keep an eye out for signs of brake problems that require ABS brake repair such as grinding noises or your car pulling to one side whenever you apply pressure to the pedals.

Skipping Recommended Procedures

Every vehicle type and model is different, which means that the schedule that you used for maintaining your old car might not work on your new one. Fortunately, every vehicle should come stocked with an owner’s manual that outlines how often you need to do things such as change the oil and replace the belts. Always read this manual, and follow the recommended schedule to ensure that your car is always in top condition for getting you where you want to go safely.

A little maintenance now is all it takes to prevent you from being stranded on the side of the road. By knowing how to check the basic features of your car and follow the recommended schedule for replacing components, you can look forward to driving your car for many miles with confidence that it can go the distance.