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We all fear that time of spring when everything turns yellow in color and everyone we know seems to come down with hay fever. The effects of pollen on air quality during spring are obvious in indoor and outdoor settings, but it’s really important not to neglect the effects of pollen on your car.

When you think about it, our cars are on the front lines of the war on pollen. Imagine if you went out for a jog one spring day, but you magically acquired a new super power that enabled you to run at 50 miles per hour. It’d be a total blast at first, but after the first few blocks you’d be wheezing and sneezing from all the pollen suddenly rushing into your face and lungs.

Why are air filters so important?

We tend to think of our cars as solid, and totally protected from the elements like rain and wind. But lots of air flows through our vehicles when we drive, both into the interior cabin of the car where we sit, and under the hood into the engine and machinery. That’s why there are a number of different air filters to protect you and your car from the elements, and keep out large particles of dust and dirt that build up with frequent driving.

When your filter is dirty, and trust me, we see it all the time, your car’s performance really suffers.

Side effects of a dirty filter:

  • A dirty, oversaturated filter lets in less air, so your engine has to work twice as hard to burn fuel and get the job done.

  • A dirty filter is a less-effective filter. Too much dust and dirt can wear it down, and let in more dirt, pollen and you-name-it into your engine, leading to inefficiency and possible long-term damage.

  • A dirty cabin filter negatively affects your heating and air-conditioning, and in some cases will produce some terrible smells.

  • A dirty engine air filter lowers your fuel economy!

Now that pollen season is just around the corner, it’s time to check on your filters, and get them replaced as a preventative measure. The longer you wait between each engine filter replacement, the more damage and wear you can expect to see in your vehicle. Stop by Complete Truck & Auto Inc. in Chesapeake to hear how our team of experts can assist you with your air filters.

Air Filters and Your Vehicle’s Performance

A lot of people are surprised to hear that regular maintenance and replacement of air filters in your car increases your fuel economy! Your engine needs clean and pure air to function efficiently, and gas mileage is one of the first things to be affected by a dirty filter.

Air filters are important for fuel economy!

The average family car needs about 12 thousand gallons of air to burn just one gallon of gas! That’s a LOT of air!

Engine air filters are necessary because they prevent fine particles like dirt and dust from getting inside your engine and causing damage to the walls, pistons and piston rings. Air filters are your main line of defense from the hazards of daily driving.

Many drivers neglect to change air filters regularly, thinking that a dirty filter is better than no filter at all. A dirty, clogged filter starves your engine of the air it needs to work properly and causes stress on the engine- making it work harder and significantly raising the overall fuel economy of the vehicle.

With an old, dirty filter, your engine will burn much more fuel to compensate for the lack of air flow. Your mechanic isn’t just trying to sell you another part, he’s trying to help you save some of that gas money.

High pollen counts have a very negative effect on the overall performance of your engine. That’s why it’s really important to check and replace your car air filters during the spring months.

There are a number of air filters that go into your car.

  • Cabin air filters – protects and cleans the air that flows into where you sit. If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, high performance filters and regular replacements are a must. Cabin filters should be replaced every year, or every 12,000 miles.

  • Engine filters – these protect the flow of clean air into your engine. During pollen season, it’s best that you replace your air filter more often than the manufacturer’s 15,000 mile recommendation.

Air Filters- Your Main Line of Defense against Pollen

Spring into early summer are prime months for pollen season. Last year, pollen counts broke records with over 8,000 particles per square meter. Technically, a “high” pollen count on the scale is 120 particles per square meter.

To make matters worse, pollen counts ebb and flow as different species of plants bloom and release their pollen. The overall count and increase and decrease over the course of spring as different trees, weeds and flowers come into bloom. Pine pollen is generally the culprit behind massive pollen counts – just think about all the pine trees in your neighborhood!

While it’s important to keep you and your family safe and healthy during the miserable pollen season, don’t forget that your family vehicle is also a prime location for pollen saturation. As your car drives along during the day, plant particles in the air are drawn into the engine and ventilation system by the tens of thousands.

So how can you combat this massive assault of pollen during the spring?

The first place to start is to maintain a clean filtration system. Just like the air filters in your home ventilation system, or air purifier, cabin air filters in your car block harmful particles from getting into the passenger area of your car. A high quality cabin air filter will block almost all of the harmful pollen in the air, only if it’s replaced regularly.

Cabin air filters protect and clean the air that flows into where you sit. If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, high performance filters and regular replacements are a must. Cabin filters should be replaced every year, or every 12,000 miles.

Replace Your Air Filters Before Spring Comes

Be sure to check and replace both your engine air and cabin air filters before the pollen surge hits. A dirty cabin air filter will quickly become a health hazard once pollen counts reach extreme levels again.

Stop by our Complete Truck & Auto Inc. in Chesapeake to get one of these filters for your vehicle. We look forward to seeing you!

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Adjusting to the winter months takes some effort, and some of that effort should go in to winter automotive maintenance. No matter where you live, the changing seasons present a challenge to your vehicle, and probably more than you realize. A lot goes in to keeping your ride riding smoothly, and any car maintenance issues that you ignored in the summer could create an additional hazard in the winter.

Winter automotive maintenance includes anything that prepares your car for winter, from protecting sensitive components to assuring proper visibility. Auto repair shops approach the process in two ways; preparing the car for the worse possible weather conditions and making important repairs that insure the long-term functionality of your car.

You might have to grit your teeth and personally gird yourself for a long harsh winter, but winter automotive maintenance is much easier than most people think. Most importantly, any efforts you put in now can increase safety while decreasing the probability of costly repairs.

Battery Test or Replacement

Cold temperatures can reduce battery power up to 50% and shorten the batter life. When temperatures drop, have your auto repair shop test your battery for performance. If it is near expiration, it’s better to replace it than risk driving with a dying battery.

Heating System

Have an auto technician go through the heating and auto-defrost system and make sure it is in top condition. On the road is not the place to find out that a water pump has a crack or there is a short in the electrical circuit.

Brakes

Worn brakes can cause a problem at any time of year but pose even greater hazard in wet weather. Brakes are no places to cut corners, so have your auto repair shop inspect your brakes for any problems.

Antifreeze

Having proper antifreeze levels is essential to your winter automotive maintenance checklist. Make sure the level is full and the mixture is as close to 50/50 as possible.

Tires

Your tires are the point of connection to the road, so you’ll want to make sure that they are in good condition. Look for ware, cracking, cupping, or bulging. If they are in poor shape, replace them If you are in an area that receives snow, use snow tires during the winter months.

Lights, Bulbs, Wipers, Windows

Maintaining visibility is high on the list of winter care priorities. Inspect all bulbs and lenses. Replace any that are burned out and clean or replace any dirty or damaged lenses. Wiper blades only last a year, so replacing for the winter months is a great idea. Use a detail polish on your windshield to help rain or snow sheet off.

There are many important elements in preparing your vehicle for the long winter slog, and auto repair shops make sure that winterizing your car takes the chill out of future repair

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As a car owner, there are many things that you can do to extend the life of your vehicle. These forms of preventative maintenance can include changing your oil, checking your tire pressure, and getting regular check ups. Preventative maintenance saves you money and helps you catch small issues before they become a big problem. Just like performing routine activities like going to the gym or taking a shower, maintaining your car takes time and effort but will ultimately benefit the health of your vehicle. For your convenience, every time you visit Complete Truck & Auto Inc., in Chesapeake we will check under the hood to make sure all of your vehicle’s vital fluids are in proper condition. We will then make recommendations based on these observations.

Make sure you check your owners manual for an appropriate maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle, this will help you know when you need to bring your car in. Here at Complete Truck & Auto Inc. we can help you keep your car running smoothly and safely.

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How to Get Honest Auto Repairs

When you take your car in to the auto shop for servicing, you have every reason to expect to be treated with honesty and integrity. However, it’s pretty hard to know when you are lied to, over charged, or taken advantage of, when automotive care is not your expertise. So how do you know when you are getting honest auto repairs? It all boils down to the details.

What You Should Expect With Routine Maintenance

Taking your car into the auto shop for routine maintenance is always a good idea. It prolongs the car’s useful life, prevents larger repair bills, and it prevents you from having to deal with unexpected problems and expenses, or wondering whether or not you really need this repair. When you take your vehicle into the auto shop, the technician should tell you what services will be performed, how long it will take, and the cost. Honest auto shops want you to know these details and strive to perform the work as described.

What About Repairs?

Routine maintenance will extend the life of the vehicle, but like any other machine, eventually parts will fail and you will need repairs. An honest auto shop will provide a diagnosis of the problem, a description of the parts or services necessary to fix the problem, and an estimate of the time and cost. They shouldn’t start work without your authorization, and shouldn’t do anything outside of the scope of the agreement without your consent. Auto shops that deal with integrity will not have any problem being upfront and transparent in their dealings with you, and would be willing to show you broken and replaced parts, for example.

What About Additional Work?

When you bring your vehicle in for work, it’s not unusual to expect the technician to find additional problems. After all, the parts all work together to perform a task, so if one is broken or malfunctioning it will likely cause stress on another. Your repair technician should tell you  what needs to be done, and it’s urgency. Some repairs might need to be done as part of regular maintenance and could be delayed, others might need immediate attention.

Bringing up needed repairs isn’t necessarily a sign that a repair shop is somehow dishonest. In fact, it may be just the opposite! A technician may bring up a needed repair because they have the necessary area accessible and a repair now can save you on labor. Another reason they may bring up needed repairs is that not having some things fixed could lead to unsafe driving conditions and they may be required to tell you of the danger. Other times, they may suggest repairs that could be of benefit to you such as ones that would provide better gas mileage or a smoother and safer ride.

In most cases, a shop will demonstrate honesty and integrity through their willingness to communicate and provide documentation about the work. It also takes a certain amount of trust from the vehicle owner, understanding the process and why a technician would make a recommendation.

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Vehicles are extremely complicated machines, and any number of parts can malfunction. In a society that relies so heavily on their vehicles for work and recreation, an unexpected breakdown can spell disaster. However, increasing numbers of car owners are neglecting routine maintenance and ignoring the common signs of a need for engine repair that could leave them stranded and with

huge repair bills.

Getting the most out of your vehicle means keeping it in the best shape possible, and that requires knowing and acting on important warning signs that your vehicle needs engine repair or maintenance. If you want to avoid the inconvenience of a breakdown, take your vehicle in to your auto repair shop when you notice any of these signs of engine problems.

Warning Lights

That pesky “check engine” light is hard to miss, but many people do not take it as seriously as they should, especially if the light is not identifying a specific problem. Warning lights are connected to a sensitive computer with sensors monitoring important engine processes. Warning lights can signify problems that range form the relatively minor to very serious, and ignoring the light will only lead to greater problems.

Tapping, Clicking, Clunking Sounds

If your engine starts making loud and unfamiliar noises, it could be a sign of significant engine problems. Clunking sounds may indicate loose or broken parts, popping noises might signify premature detonation of fuel in the combustion chamber, and grinding might mean transmission trouble, for example. When you hear strange noises, it’s always best to let your repair shop track down the problem as soon as possible.

Jerking, Surging, Stalling

Driving should be smooth and free of lurching and stalling. If your vehicle is responding strangely, it’s a pretty strong sign that you have engine problems. Whether it’s due to clogged fuel lines, fouled spark plugs or any of a number of other problems, ignoring the issue can put you in the danger zone.

Bad or Unusual Smells

All vehicles emit smells, but when the smells are unusual or make it into the passenger compartment, it’s an important sign you need some sort of engine repair. Sometimes it might be something as minor as worn or loose belts. Other times it could be exhaust that contains dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide. Don’t take any chances and get your vehicle checked out by a technician immediately.

Even if you believe your engine is in relatively good shape, ignoring these signs of problems can lead to even more costly engine repairs. Have your automotive shop take a look and keep your car fit for the road.

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