Articles:

Hold the Oil! (Oil Pan Gasket Replacement)

You've likely heard how important oil is to your vehicle's engine. Did you know that there's one part that's responsible for holding that oil so you can use it every day? It's called the oil pan, and it sits at the bottom of the engine. The oil pan is a vital, though simple, part of your engine's lubrication system. Oil circulates through parts of your engine to keep them lubricated. It reduces friction so everything works smoothly. Without oil, friction would quickly destroy your engine. The oil pan keeps that oil contained in the lubrication system, so it's important that the oil doesn't leak out. Since it's a metal part attached to another metal part, there is a gasket between the oil pan and the part of the engine it attaches to. Various things can put stress on the oil pan and gasket, including weather extremes, the speed you're traveling and the condition of the oil. You may drive over a couple of bad roads and kick up debris onto your oil pan. All this wear and tear, heat and ti ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance , Oil Change

Give me a Brake (Light)!

If that little brake warning light pops up on your dash, do you know what it means? Well, if you said no, you wouldn't be alone. You know it has something to do with your brakes, but exactly what? You're not sure. One of the reasons is that it could mean a lot of different things. It could be something simple, like you put your parking brake on and forgot to take it off. Easy fix, you're on the road in seconds. Or, it could mean there's something wrong with your anti-lock brake system. That is a pretty complex symphony of speed sensors, computers and wiring, and sometimes things get a little out of whack. You could have a defective sensor or some wiring may have gotten damaged or come loose. A trained technician at PONTE'S AUTOCARE with special equipment can sort it all out. It's also possible you have low brake fluid. That could be caused by a number of things. One simple reason is that your brake pads have worn down. Replacing them could solve the problem. Another possibility is that ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service , Brakes

Don't Stack the Mat

In the sloppy cold weather months, you might be tempted to pick up an all-weather mat and throw it on top of the mats you already have in your vehicle. After all, double protection is better, right? In this case, wrong. Here's why. It's important to keep the accelerator and brake pedals clear so they can function the way they are supposed to. Stacking mats in the driver's side footwell can make them sit up too high on the floor. That can, in turn, jam your accelerator pedal forward, causing your vehicle to unintentionally speed up; it may get stuck in that position. Same thing applies to the brake pedal. The mats can get caught underneath it and prevent you from stopping. Here are some other good practices when it comes to mats. It's best to get those designed for your vehicle. They are shaped to fit your specific car, truck, van or SUV. Ill-fitting mats can have the same untended consequences as stacked mats. Good mats will have either a Velcro-type fastener on the back of them or a h ... read more

Procrastination Prevention in Wilmington

Every one of us has a little procrastinator inside us. Some put off getting our teeth cleaned. Others put off answering our emails. Yet others put off calling friends and family (sorry, Uncle Joe). And there are those of us who put off getting our vehicle's service done, whether it's a repair or regular maintenance. You may make the excuse that you don't have time, it can wait until tomorrow, you have other things to do. Well, there are some things you should NEVER put off when it comes to your vehicle because that procrastination could have dire consequences down the road. The biggest one is changing your oil. Yes, it's one of those things you may hear somebody nag you about, but changing your vehicle's oil regularly is probably the one thing that will do the most to keep things running smoothly… and well. It's the lubricant that keeps metal engine parts from wearing out. Oil doesn't last forever and it gets dirty, so you have to swap it out for fresh every so often. How often ... read more

The Edible Engine

You may have had a friend whose vehicle was the victim of hungry rodents.  After all, mice, rats and squirrels—even rabbits—have been known to gnaw on wires in engine compartments, causing vehicle electrical systems to go haywire.  They can disable a vehicle completely and be very expensive to fix. In 2017, some drivers noticed their vehicle's wiring was being chewed and found out the automaker was using a relatively new material for covering their wires: soy.  Many of the repairs to their new vehicles weren't covered under warranty by the manufacturer when it was discovered rodents were eating the wiring.  So the owners filed a class action suit, saying the soy covering was essentially baiting the critters.  The automakers tell a different story, saying mice, rats and squirrels have been chewing through wire insulation long before it was made out of soy.  Regardless of what the insulation is made of, vehicle owners should make sure rodents are ... read more

Battery Maintenance Tips From PONTE'S AUTOCARE

Battery Maintenance Tips From PONTE'S AUTOCARE

When it comes to your vehicle, it all starts with the battery. Proper battery maintenance is important for two reasons:First, your vehicle won't start or run without it. Second, it is the key to the long life of your auto electrical system. If your battery isn't working efficiently, your alternator has to work overtime to make up for it, and other electrical components can suffer as well.A number of years ago sealed batteries were introduced to the local Wilmington, Delaware, market. They were hailed as being 'maintenance-free batteries.' While it is true that you can't get in and adjust the electrolyte levels of a sealed battery, it is by no means maintenance free.Batteries are very sensitive to changes in the weather around Delaware. Temperature really affects auto battery performance. A battery inspection is an important part of your spring and fall checkups. Next time you're under your hood, take a look at your battery. Is it clean and free of residue? A dirty battery will drain ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Wasteful Thinking

With the weather getting colder, you might be tempted to start your vehicle up, let it idle for 15 or 20 minutes and then get in the nice, cozy cabin.  Some vehicles offer remote starting that let you do that from the comfort of your home or apartment.  But is letting your vehicle idle like that good for it? Manufacturers say it doesn't harm the vehicle.  They say it's because modern vehicles are made differently from those in the past.  Just about all newer vehicles employ fuel injection which uses computers to adjust the amount of gasoline that goes into the cylinders.  The engine gets only the fuel it needs, taking conditions into account. Older vehicles, on the other hand, used to use carburetors.  When you started a cold engine, the carburetor wasn't able to adjust the gasoline amount depending on conditions.  Some of the gasoline would mix with oil and the pistons wouldn't get the same lubrication as they would with undiluted oil. So yes, you ca ... read more

Regular Schedule or Severe Service Schedule at PONTE'S AUTOCARE?

Regular Schedule or Severe Service Schedule at PONTE'S AUTOCARE?

Today's PONTE'S AUTOCARE article focuses on severe service maintenance. Many Wilmington drivers are not aware of them and yet there are also very vocal advocates in Delaware who think that severe service schedules apply to everyone. Somewhere between a complete lack of awareness and the dire blanket statements lies a reasonable approach to severe service maintenance at PONTE'S AUTOCARE.To back up a little, vehicle owner's manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance: things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil after a certain distanced traveled or after so many months. Wilmington drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The mileage and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule.Now when you hear 'severe service,' you may think it doesn't apply to you because you ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

If you drive, you know at some point, something's going to go wrong with your vehicle.  And sometimes, it's pretty easy to figure out what's wrong, like a flat tire.  But sometimes your vehicle's symptoms can be really puzzling. One driver in Delaware was heading to work on a hot July day and noticed when he pressed the accelerator, sometimes it wouldn't do anything. He also noticed his cruise control wouldn't work and his traction control light was constantly on, very unusual. He was trying to figure it out, but none of it made any sense.  His cruise control had always worked perfectly, his traction light never had gone on before and there was never any issue pressing on the accelerator. It was time to take his car in for a professional diagnosis, and boy, was he surprised that it was a freak accident he'd had the previous WINTER that was the root of his problems.  You see, in January, his car had slipped on ice when he was in reverse and had gently tapped a tree ... read more

Let PONTE'S AUTOCARE Help You Keep Your Vehicle Another Couple of Years

Wilmington area residents may remember when the U.S. government's “Cash for Clunkers” program made a splash on the news scene. People were offered incentives to trade in old vehicles for new, in the interest of better and improved air quality from reduced emissions.But a lot of Wilmington drivers want to hang onto their old clunkers. They're dependable and they're paid for. Owners would love to see the odometers on those vehicles turn past 200,000 miles (320,000 km), as long as the repair bills don't get too expensive.There are a lot of vehicles on Delaware roads that have run past the 200,000 mile (320,000 km) odometer reading. Is there something that their owners are doing that keeps these vehicles on the road? Or did they just win the “lemon lottery,” and luck out by getting a particularly good vehicle? Not surprisingly, most of these owners have something in common. They never skip an oil change. Can keeping a vehicle on the road for ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance
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