Articles:

The PONTE'S AUTOCARE Basic Guide To Synthetic Oil

Synthetic motor oil has been around for a long time, and more and more new vehicles are leaving factories with synthetic in their engines. But a lot of drivers don't really know much about it.Let's start with conventional oil – the kind folks are used to. Conventional oil is made up of naturally occurring hydrocarbon chains, which means its molecules are long and have various lengths. Like a pile of pencils, some of them new and some of them used.Synthetic oil is man-made. Its molecules are more uniform and regular in shape – more similar to marbles than pencils. Some synthetic oil starts with a petroleum base that's modified and others are entirely synthesized from other materials.Synthetic motor oil works better in both hot and cold temperatures. It's more chemically stable so it doesn't readily evaporate or break down in the high heat produced inside your vehicle engine. This means it resists turning to sludge, which is a real engine killer.Remember that marbles and ... read more

Used Cars: PONTE'S AUTOCARE Advice on What to Do After You Buy

Used vehicles are certainly an economical choice for budget-conscious Wilmington drivers. But how can we know we're getting a good used vehicle and not just inheriting someone else's problems?There are good used vehicles for sale in the Wilmington area. Vehicles are sold when families upsize, when families downsize or even when someone just wants a new ride. So the used vehicle may be just fine. But some Wilmington used vehicle owners sell them because they don't want to deal with developing or existing problems.When you're considering buying a used vehicle in Wilmington, ask for service records. Check to see if the recommended schedules for preventive maintenance have been followed. If so, you probably have a great used vehicle on your hands. If there aren't any service records, then assume the worst.Check the vehicle for obvious signs of problems. Kick the tires if you want to but definitely check them for uneven tread wear. This can indicate alignment ... read more

Categories:

Older Vehicles

When "Oh, no!" Turns Into, "All right!"

Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news. There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors.  Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working.  The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing. Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires.  So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months.  One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van.  The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it. He waited for his van, a ... read more

Winter Tires

What type of technology do you use? Do you prefer an 8-track tape or an iPod? When it comes to winter tires, much of Wilmington driver's perception dates back to when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.Twenty years ago in Delaware, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. Delaware drivers called them snow tires back then, and they had big, knobby lugs that were designed to give good traction in deep snow. They had the same rubber compound as regular tires and they weren't very good on ice, packed snow or wet Delaware roads. They were not even very good on dry roads. They really helped in deep or loose snow, but they did a poor job the rest of the time. They were loud and rode hard. People couldn't wait to get them off in the spring.Then all-season tires started to appear in Wilmington tire shops. All-season tires are really a compromise between summer and winter performance. They have acceptable hot weather ride and tread life and can get Del ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Power Steering Service in Wilmington

Power Steering Service in Wilmington

Most Wilmington drivers are too young to remember life before power steering - cranking those great big steering wheels! It was a pretty good workout. Now power steering is standard. Let's look at how it works. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assist for steering. Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine; a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump.These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea for Wilmington drivers to have them inspected at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump. That is why power steering fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owner's manual for the right type - or just ask your friendly and knowledgeabl ... read more

Categories:

Steering

When "Shady" is a Good Thing

Just like your skin can burn from too much sun, so can the paint on your vehicle.  It can turn dull, oxidize and fade the more ultraviolet rays beat down on it. One solution is to park in a shady spot, or you can buy a cover for your vehicle and put it on when you know it's going to be sitting in the sun for awhile. Yes, it takes a couple of minutes to put on, but in the end, keeping the gloss on your paint will help it retain its beauty… and its value. And it's not just the sun that can damage your vehicle's paint.  Grit, bird droppings, sap, dust and dead bugs can all ruin the paint.  So, keep your vehicle clean.  Wash it with a soap made especially for vehicles. Dry it with special towels that won't scratch your paint.  Remember:  DON'T WASH YOUR VEHICLE IN THE SUN. Once your vehicle is washed, protect the paint even further with a coat of wax.  DON'T WAX YOUR VEHICLE IN THE SUN, EITHER. Don't forget the vehicle's interior.  Plastic com ... read more

Distracted Driving

When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that. Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics. Nearly 23% of all accid ... read more

Categories:

Auto Safety

To Fix or Not To Fix: That Is the Question.

No matter what vehicle you drive, when certain things break, you have to make a decision.  Should I get it fixed now, later or never?  Air conditioning is one of those things.  You can certainly live without air conditioning, but it sure is nice to have on a sweltering day. Let's say your air conditioning breaks in the fall and you live in a climate where it gets quite cold in the winter.  Should you get it fixed now, wait until spring since it won't get warm until then or maybe not get it fixed at all? That can be a tough decision.  There are several reasons air conditioning in vehicles break.  One is fairly simple: It could be an electrical problem, perhaps a relay or solenoid is not turning on the system.  It's also a fairly inexpensive repair and doesn't require hours of labor. Or, the problem is that the coolant has leaked out.  Your service facility can find the leak and replace the parts that are leaking.  With a refrigerant recharge ... read more

PCV Valve Replacement

PCV Valve Replacement

Hello Wilmington, let's talk about your often-unnoticed but extremely important PCV valve. The energy from exploding fuel is what powers your engine. But some of the vapors from the explosions escape into the lower part of the engine, called the crankcase. The crankcase is where your engine oil hangs out. These gases are about 70% unburned fuel. If the gases were allowed to stay in the crankcase, they would quickly contaminate the oil and turn it to sludge. Wilmington folks know that sludge is one of the biggest enemies of your engine, clogging it up and eventually leading to expensive failures. Also, the pressure buildup would cause seals and gaskets to blow out. Therefore, these gases need to be vented out.Pre-1963, gasoline engines had a hose that let the  fumes vent out into the air. In 1963, the federal government required gas engines to have a special one-way valve installed to help reduce dangerous emissions. (Can ... read more

Categories:

Parts

Improve Fuel Economy with Proper Maintenance at PONTE'S AUTOCARE in Wilmington

With Wilmington gas prices being what they are, many of us in Delaware are driving less and looking into purchasing smaller or more efficient vehicles. Wilmington area residents who have to drive a lot, have large families or need four-wheel drive are particularly hard hit by the cost of fuel in Delaware. But there are things all Wilmington drivers can do to save fuel: We can improve our driving habits and stay on top of preventive maintenance at PONTE'S AUTOCARE. These things make small savings possible, but they can really add up.Let's start with driving habits. One major gas-eater is jackrabbit starts. A smooth, gradual acceleration uses a lot less fuel. It's also easier on your engine and drivetrain, so you'll prolong their lives as well.If you drive with one foot on the brake, stop. That creates drag, increasing fuel usage and reducing the useful life of your brakes.Slowing down can really add up on gas savings over time for Wilmington drivers. Dr ... read more

Categories:

Fuel Economy
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