276 N Abby St Fresno, CA 93701 559-454-1090

6 Costly Car Repairs That Are Totally Avoidable

Little Mistakes That Can Lead To Big Car Repair Bills

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be taken as a replacement for following your owners manual or the advice of a certified mechanic. These tips are a culmination from various sources widely available on the internet.

As anyone who’s ever owned a car knows, they are a huge financial responsibility. Aside from the initial purchase price, there’s insurance, gasoline, and of course, repairs and maintenance.

While some car repairs are unavoidable, there are others that are totally avoidable if you take proper care of your vehicle. Here are a few of the most costly car repairs that are avoidable with some simple preventive maintenance.

Never Ignore The Check Engine Light

Ignoring the check engine can lead to major engine damage that could have easily been avoided had the problem been addressed immediately. There are many reasons the light comes on such as a loose gas cap, bad oxygen sensor, or failed catalytic converter.

Failing To Replace The Batter When Needed

Depending on the battery's condition, most last anywhere from three to five years. If you're still driving on the original battery that came with the car, chances are it needs to be replaced. Modern vehicles are full of electronic features that put a strain on the electrical system, and an old battery will struggle to keep up.

If your battery is drained, it will take longer for your starter to turn over. Your vehicle now draws more electricity, and the alternator kicks in to throw additional amps at the battery in order to recharge it. All those things drawing current can be affected by the spikes and lows over time.

It's easy to eliminate a lot of electrical problems by replacing the battery when needed

Not Maintaining Proper Fuel Level.

Electric fuel pumps are located in the fuel tank. Running the pump dry can damage it. The debris from the bottom of the tank will also get into the fuel filter and clog it. This will reduce fuel flow to the engine and cause all sorts of drivability problems.

If you allow the fuel level to constantly run lower than a quarter tank full, you run the risk of having  to replace the fuel pump sooner than necessary. It sounds weird but gasoline has a cooling effect on the fuel pump, and running low all the time could potentially shorten its lifespan

Unnecessary Transmission Flushes

If you know the history of your car, it may be okay to do transmission flushes just as your preventative maintenance suggests. However If you don't know the history and the car is running fine, then you might reconsider getting it done.

When you fill your car with new transmission fluid, it has specially designed detergent in it to keep a transmission clean. The issue is that it can break loose debris already present in the transmission resulting in a clogged filter. If the filter gets clogged, it will restrict fluid flow and cause all sorts of problems.

Not Using The Proper Tire Size

Whether it's a spare tire or just buying tires not rated for your vehicle, putting the wrong size tire on your car will cause problems. The spare tire is rated for a limited amount of miles and speed, so you should only use it in an emergency situation.

When you drive with mismatched tire sizes, it can cause the vehicle's differential to think that the smaller tires are slipping. It then tries to compensate by sending more power to the wheels, which can cause even more tire slippage and eventually lead to differential failure.

Kicking Ice & Sludge To The Curb

You may just do it without thinking but kicking ice and sludge off your car's bumper, fender and doors can cause cracks or damage to plastic moldings. Think about it this way. When the temperature gets below freezing plastic can become very brittle.

So if you're tempted to kick your bumper, Don't. It could easily crack and need to be replaced. The same goes for plastic moldings and door handles. If possible wait for warmer temperatures, spray it off with a high pressure water nozzle at a car wash or just gently use a soft bristle brush.

Diary Of A Car - Don't Bug Me

A Tough Day In The Neighborhood

I'm just a car trying to get from Point A to Point B minding my own business. The next thing you know a swarm of bugs come out of nowhere and start running into me. Now I'm covered in bugs. Aren't bugs supposed to be attracted to light, so why are they attacking me during the day.?

I try to shake them off, but they just keep coming. I honk my horn and swerve from side to side, but nothing seems to deter them. Finally, I pull into a parking lot and come to a stop.

I really hate bugs. They're always getting in my way and ruining my day. I wish they would just leave me alone. But no, they just keep coming and coming. I can't even go for a drive without them attacking me.

It's not fair. There's a big mess to clean up. I don't know why they did it, but it was really annoying.

Good thing my owner knows how to get rid of them.

How To Remove Bugs From Your Car

Keeping a car washed and clean can help some to prevent bugs from sticking to the paint and making a mess. Waxing the car will also make it harder for bugs to stick.

If your car is already covered in bugs, here are a few ways you can remove them:

  • Try to remove them as soon as possible. If they are left to dry, they will be harder to remove.

  • Use a garden hose or a high pressure sprayer to rinse off as many of the bugs as possible.

  • Apply a commercial bug remover that you can find at most auto stores. Typically you apply the solution to the bugs with a sponge and scrub until they come off.

Preventative Measures

It's always best to take preventive measures to avoid bugs in the first place. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Regularly clean your windshield and front of the car so that bugs are less likely to stick.

  • Keep your car waxed so that bugs have a harder time sticking to the paint.

  • Install a bug deflector on the front of your car.

Electric Vehicles vs. Hybrids

Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace as more drivers abandon gas-powered cars. However, because they have not been around as long as gas powered vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs), some people find it difficult to differentiate between electric vehicles. For example, some potential buyers wonder what the differences are between hybrids and electric cars and which they should buy. Let Century Motors Fresno explain.

What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car contains two power sources for rotating the tires. It includes an internal combustion engine in addition to an electric motor. This means a hybrid has a gas tank that supplies fuel to the ICE and a battery that provides electricity to the motor.

Carmakers further break down hybrids into full hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles or PHEVs. The former has a battery charged from the ICE and energy recovered during braking, which is known as regenerative braking. You cannot plug a full hybrid into the grid to charge the battery.

PHEVs can be charged from the grid, although they can also charge through regenerative braking. You can charge the battery at home or at a public charging station. PHEVs generally have larger batteries than full hybrids and can travel longer distances on the battery power alone than the latter.

A hybrid car can have a parallel design, which means the vehicle can combine both the ICE and electric motor to power the car simultaneously. This is useful when the vehicle needs extra power, like climbing a steep incline or overtaking. Examples of models offering parallel hybrid versions include Toyota Camry and Prius, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, etc.

Another form of the hybrid electric car is the series. Here, the ICE does not propel the vehicle. Instead, it produces the electricity that is stored in the battery. The electric motor then draws energy from the battery to make the tires roll. Examples of series hybrids include the BMW i3, Ford Fusion, and Kia Optima.

Examples of PHEVs include Hyundai Ioniq and Volvo XC40 Recharge PHEV.

What is an electric vehicle?

Electric vehicles depend entirely on energy stored in the battery for propulsion. This means there is no ICE or tailpipe on board; hence, it qualifies as a zero-emission car. Electric cars, also known as EVs or battery-electric vehicles, BEVs, have larger battery packs, and you have to plug them in to charge them.

Most EV owners charge at home. If you want to charge faster than the charger that comes with the car allows, you may have to install your own home charging station or use a public charging station.

EVs can travel longer distances than hybrids can do on their batteries alone.

Some companies have formed solely to manufacture BEVs. The most popular is Tesla, which makes the Model 3 and Model Y. However, traditional automakers have also started producing BEVs, including Chevy Bolt, Kia EV6, Volkswagens ID.3 and ID.4, Nissan Leaf, etc.

EV vs. hybrid; which should you buy from Century Motors Fresno?

There are several factors that help you decide which to buy between hybrids and BEVs. For example, if you drive long distances regularly, stopping to charge a BEV when the battery depletes may be frustrating. BEVs do not offer the long driving ranges ICEs are capable of, and charging the massive batteries may take up to an hour. You may be better served by a hybrid, which offers longer ranges and quickly fills up the gas tank.

However, if most of your driving is your work commute and a few errands, you can use an electric car comfortably. You can even tackle the occasional long trip by planning your route to include as many public chargers as possible.

If you regularly tow with your car, you may consider a hybrid. This is because your BEV has to be certified for towing or you risk voiding the warranty. In addition, towing severely cuts the driving range of electric cars, meaning you will have to stop more frequently to charge on the road.

In terms of maintenance, BEVs are better because they do not break down as much as gas-powered cars. Also, electricity usually costs less than gas, and the prices are more stable.

Conclusion

Electric cars are a plus to the environment because they help reduce carbon emissions from transportation. BEVs do not produce emissions at all. However, when you purchase a hybrid, the amount of pollution you generate by burning fossil fuel reduces, which is still a win for the environment.

If you need more information about electric vehicles, please reach out to us at Century Motors Fresno and one of our EV Experts will be happy to help you.

We're Only Human But Cars Need Healthcare Too!

Who's in Better Health, Your Car Or You?

When was the last time you went in for a checkup? You might not think about it often, but just like our own health, our cars need regular healthcare too!

They need regular tune-ups to keep them running properly. And just like us, if we neglect their needs, they'll eventually break down.

While it may start as a small problem, it can quickly turn into something major if left unchecked. This is why regular car maintenance is so important.

Cars need oil changes, tune-ups, new tires, and other services to keep them running properly. Depending on the make and model of your car, you might need different types of maintenance.

Always reference your manufacturer's owners manual to see what they recommend as well as an expert mechanic to  get the best service for your car.

Get Yourself And Your Car Out Of The House

One of the best ways to keep your car running properly is to take it out of the garage and drive it on a regular basis. This helps to keep all the parts working correctly and prevents them from rusting or seizing up. It’s also a good idea to take your car on a long drive every now and then to keep

Heed The Warning Signs

Your car will usually give you some warning signs that it's time for maintenance before it completely breaks down. For example, the check engine light might come on, or you might hear a strange noise coming from the engine. These are both signs that something is wrong and that you should take your car in to be serviced.

Follow Your Recommend Scheduled Maintenance

Every car is different, and each one has its own specific maintenance schedule. This schedule is put in place by the manufacturer and is based on the car's design and how often it needs various services.

For example, some cars need their oil changed every 3,000 miles while others can go much longer between oil changes when using synthetic oil. This is just one example, but there are many different types of maintenance that need to be performed on a car, and the schedule varies from one make and model to the next.

Get Regular Inspections

In addition to following your car's scheduled maintenance, you should also get regular inspections. These are typically done once a year, but they can be done more often if you drive often or put a lot of miles on your car.

During an inspection, a mechanic will take a close look at all the major components of your car to make sure they're in good shape and working properly. This can help prevent small problems from turning into big ones.

Did The Light Flash Before Your Eyes?

Don't ignore that pesky “Check Engine.” light. It has been known to come on for lots of different reasons, but the best thing to do is not take a chance. It could be something as simple as a loose gas cap, or it could be something more serious like a problem with the engine. Either way, you won't know until you have it looked at

The Road Less Traveled.

Do you ever feel that your car is vibrating more than usual or that the steering isn’t as responsive as it used to be? These could be signs of a problem with the suspension, which is something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

A car's suspension system is what helps keep the ride smooth, so if it's not working properly, it can make for a very bumpy ride. As a matter of fact, driving on a bad suspension can actually do damage to the tires and other parts of the car, so it's best to get it fixed as soon as possible.

The bottom line is you shouldn't feel like you're going on an off-road trail every time you get into the car.

No Smoking Zone

When it comes to cars , “smoke” is never a good sign. If you see exhaust smoke, it means there's a problem with the engine. The color of the smoke can give you a clue as to what the problem might be.

For example, blue smoke usually indicates an oil leak, while white smoke is usually an indication of a coolant leak. Black smoke is usually due to a problem with the fuel system, such as too much fuel being burned.

If you see any type of smoke coming from your car, it's best to take it in to be checked out as soon as possible.

Be Sensitive And Listen To Your Car's Computer

Cars nowadays have sensors that tell you when to change your oil, as well as other fluids. These are there for a reason, so don't ignore them.

When In Doubt Get Checked Out.

It's funny how your own health  is always the last thing you think about. The same can be said for your car. Just like your body, cars need check-ups to make sure everything is functioning properly.

If you're ever unsure about something, or if something just doesn't feel right, it's best to take your car in to be serviced.

Bad Habits Are Hard To Break

Does your car feel like it's on its last leg? Is the engine making weird noises, or are the brakes squeaking, In your mind you know that you need to replace your car soon, but you don't want to spend the money. 

We'll take your old car off your hands and give you a fair price for it, whether you're buying a new or used car from us. Plus, we'll help you through every step of the process so that trading in your old car is easy and stress-free.

Didn't Recall Notice That Letter In The Mail

Are You At Risk? - It Could Be Dangerous If You Don't Recall

Have you ever gotten a letter in the mail about your vehicle having a recall? You think to yourself oh it's just junk mail and trash it. But what if that letter was legitimate and your vehicle needed a recall because of an issue with the seatbelts or airbags?

If you ignored that letter, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk in the event of an accident. So what is a recall and why do automakers issue them?

If an automaker discovers a safety issue, it will report the problem to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA investigates the issue and if it finds the problem poses a safety risk, it can order the automaker to issue a recall.

Do You Have To Pay For Recall Repairs Yourself?

Another reason people ignore recall letters is because they think they will have to pay for the repairs themselves. But that is not the case, automakers have to foot the bill for all recall-related repairs.

If you get a recall letter in the mail, don't ignore it. Bring your vehicle to a dealer and get it fixed as soon as possible. It could end up saving your life.

Do Recalls On Cars Affect Trade In Value?

According to Motor Biscuit

"A dealer may choose to offer you less for a trade-in with an open recall. But a savvy shopper can have most recalls rectified before trading. This way, recalls won’t hurt the used car’s value. Sometimes, a resolved recall can improve the value of a vehicle on the used car market. However, owning a car with a recent recall that the manufacturer has not yet solved may trap you with a low trade-in value for several months"

Regardless of how a recall notice affects your trade in value, you should still get the recall repaired as it could be a serious safety issue.

How to Check If Your Car Has a Recall

The best way to find out if your car has a recall is to enter your VIN (vehicle identification number) on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.

Text Us