Every Winter Haven car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter's dirty.
Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your vehicle owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Winter Haven technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.
So between your owner’s manual and your Lakeland technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved for Winter Haven motorists.
Now, most air filters purchased in Winter Haven, Auburndale, Haines City, or Lake Alfred don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that Florida people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Stewart Auto Repair can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Winter Haven.
Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Winter Haven home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your vehicle, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more pricey Florida gas to move your vehicle around Lakeland roads.
Your vehicle actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Winter Haven at Stewart Auto Repair. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll get better fuel economy, have better performance and protect your vehicle engine.
We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Winter Haven. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps - we have to keep track of it all.
So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the essential scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.
Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Winter Haven car owners. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.
1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your essential power steering parts are protected from detrimental corrosion. Next time you're in for an oil change, ask your Winter Haven service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.
2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your vehicle pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most vehicle manufacturers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.
3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do - one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your vehicle engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your honest Stewart Auto Repair service professional.
4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Winter Haven cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.
5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Winter Haven area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of pricey engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Winter Haven service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.
6. Transmission Service
Transmission serviceis very basic, but it’s often forgotten by Winter Haven car owners. Your vehicle transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your fuel economy.
7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us Winter Haven auto owners don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in Winter Haven. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at Stewart Auto Repair in Winter Haven adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.
8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your Stewart Auto Repair technician for recommendations.
9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy for Winter Haven drivers to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded - bummer.
10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is essential. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at Stewart Auto Repair in Winter Haven will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at Stewart Auto Repair will really help your fuel economy.
There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.
Winter Haven drivers know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain a vehicle; but it not only saves cash in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.
Stewart Auto Repair can help with any of these services. Give us a call at (863)965-2526.
Your car is important to you and keeping it running properly is vital to your Winter Haven lifestyle. That's why you're smart to have it serviced regularly at Stewart Auto Repair in Winter Haven. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.
It's also very important to your Winter Haven service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Winter Haven auto service center spends annually to make sure our honest techs are properly trained.
Stewart Auto Repair offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Winter Haven centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.
And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Stewart Auto Repair technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.
Some services at Stewart Auto Repair require the use of specialized equipment. Stewart Auto Repair technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.
Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It's not only important that honest technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious (and expensive).
The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to auto owners. For example, it's one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.
Florida folks may be interested to know that service technicians (including those at Stewart Auto Repair) are trained in compliance with federal and local Winter Haven laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.
It's the goal of Stewart Auto Repair to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your honestservice specialist or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.
At Stewart Auto Repair, well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best auto service in Winter Haven.
Hey Winter Haven drivers - this is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your vehicle burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.
That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very important but inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to expensive problems. Of course, your auto manufacturer recommends how often to change your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car in Florida affects when your filter needs to be changed.
Dusty conditions around Lakeland or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your honest Stewart Auto Repair tech can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.
When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your vehicle needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel efficiency and performance.
Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters are a little more costly in Winter Haven, but they increase horsepower and may improve gas mileage to boot.
So it's essential for Winter Haven auto owners to have their air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much at Stewart Auto Repair in Winter Haven and it should easily pay for itself in better fuel economy before your next oil change.
Stop by Stewart Auto Repair at 1990 42nd Street, NW, Winter Haven, Florida 33881, and we'll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at (863)965-2526 to make an appointment.
Stewart Auto Repair
1990 42nd Street, NW
Winter Haven, Florida 33881
If you aren’t currently using synthetic motor oil in your Winter Haven 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 Winter Haven, 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 Winter Haven 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 at (863)965-2526 to schedule an oil change, or visit us at our Stewart Auto Repair website.
Sometimes busy Winter Haven residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Lakeland in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Winter Haven car owners spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.
Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Winter Haven auto owners would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Winter Haven drivers didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Winter Haven area auto service centers.
Winter Haven auto owners should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Winter Haven is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, Florida drivers can avoid many pricey vehicle repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.
Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Lakeland car owners can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.
These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Auburndale motorists know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your vehicle will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.
Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):
|Yr. 1||Yr. 2
According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more costly than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.
Just a bit of auto advice from Stewart Auto Repair: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Florida auto insurance with an older Winter Haven vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for vital preventive maintenance in Florida, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less expensive!
A lot of Lakeland car owners have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their car owners' manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for 24 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer.
Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owners' manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service'. Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time."
Foreign and domestic auto makers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all cars. In addition to your owners' manual, Winter Haven automotive repair centers (including Stewart Auto Repair) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules schedules for every vehicle - so they can help Winter Haven auto owners know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.
It's common sense for Lakeland drivers: Just a few minutes at interstate speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than ten miles when it's very cold in Winter Haven, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Winter Haven means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.
The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owners' manual, or talk with your Stewart Auto Repair service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow. Stewart Auto Repair is located at 1990 42nd Street, NW, Winter Haven Florida.
Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since Winter Haven miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the vehicle manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science."
Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly Florida highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Winter Haven auto owners just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.