Yearly Archives: 2012

Battery Replacement at PONTE'S AUTOCARE in Wilmington

Battery Replacement at PONTE'S AUTOCARE in Wilmington

Hello, welcome to PONTE'S AUTOCARE. Today's focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Wilmington runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we're most concerned with here at PONTE'S AUTOCARE are those in our customer's vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, they wear out and need to be replaced . This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold vehicle engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in Delaware, specifically how cold it is. (Many Wilmington drivers have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your vehicle's engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. Let ... read more

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Battery

Hitting The Brakes In Wilmington

Hitting The Brakes In Wilmington

  Hello Wilmington, let's talk about brakes. But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There's also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.Let's step back. A new vehicle or truck rolls off a local Wilmington showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles/kilometers start to add up on the vehicle. Wilmington drivers tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That's because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it's not until they are worn so thin as to be out of 'sp ... read more

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Brakes

All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service at PONTE'S AUTOCARE

When all of your vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Wilmington can cause your vehicle's wheels to be out of alignment.Driving for an extended time around Wilmington when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded Delaware highway. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early. The ideal alignment for your vehicle was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at PONTE'S AUTOCARE starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything's bent or broken. Then your friendly and knowledgeable PONTE'S AUTOCARE technician will look at tire condition.From there ... read more

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Alignment

PONTE'S AUTOCARE Guide to Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

PONTE'S AUTOCARE Guide to Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Today's PONTE'S AUTOCARE post focuses on using coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won't protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your vehicle owner's manual. Of course, your PONTE'S AUTOCARE service advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.Brake fluid is confusing for some Wilmington drivers. Back when we opened PONTE'S AUTOCARE, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Wilmington residents mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That's not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your vehicle.Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at PONTE'S AUTOCARE: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in vehicle automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed t ... read more

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Fluids

Wilmington Tire Repair

Most Wilmington residents have experienced a flat tire. You know it's inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn't just a big safety issue for Wilmington drivers – it also has a financial impact. With high Delaware gas prices, we've all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to save on gas. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.  There's another danger with under-inflated tires for Wilmington residents. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don't just keep adding air every few days. You want to avoid tire damage. Wilmington residents should only hire qualified tire professionals to perform repairs - we have a whole team of them at PONTE ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

All About Your TPMS in Wilmington

Wilmington drivers know that underinflated tires wear out more quickly. Underinflation is also a major cause of tire failure for Delaware auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of underinflated tires.It's hard for many Wilmington drivers to tell when a radial tire is underinflated. If your owner’s manual recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent U.S. federal law required vehicle manufacturer’s to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System - or TPMS system - in all vehicles. Many Canadian vehicles have them as well.  The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25% below its pressure recommendations.Obviously, all of this doesn't come free for Wilmington car owner ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

Higher Mileage Service Intervals for Wilmington

Wilmington drivers have probably noticed that the government mandates a lot of equipment on cars: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the motoring public in the Wilmington area, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.Because new cars are more expensive, Wilmington residents are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. 68% of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles/120,000 kilometers. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge - but they need a little help to keep on going.Some owner's manuals don't outline service requirements and schedules at higher mileage. Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever for Wilmington drivers to stay on to ... read more

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Fuel System

Keeping Your Car Young in Wilmington

As Wilmington consumers, we live in a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away.New stuff comes out so fast in Delaware, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff - especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough; we had to do without.  We couldn't afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Wilmington penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care. The engineering's there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's maintenance schedules.Is it really tha ... read more

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Maintenance

Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment for Your Wilmington Vehicle

Imagine you've left Wilmington and you're up in the arctic on a dog sled.Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground quickly. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side.That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you're covering less ground for the same effort.You're wasting kibble.The same is true of your vehicle when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that's pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the vehicle; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed. You're wasting gas.So have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. It is important to get it checked right away if you feel the vehicle pulling to one side.Sometimes we Wilmington residents bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can tak ... read more

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Alignment

How Your Check Engine Light Works

Have you ever had an experience like this in Wilmington, Delaware? You drive through the one of those automatic car washes. When you get to the end, where the dryer is blowing, your Check Engine light starts flashing!You fear the worst, but within a block or two, the light stops flashing, but stays on. By the next day, the light is off.You wonder; "What was going on?" Well, it's actually a good lesson in how the Check Engine light works.Your air intake system has a sensor that measures how much air is coming through it. When you went under the high-speed dryer, all that air was blasting past the sensor. Your engine computer was saying, there shouldn't be that much air when the engine is just idling. Something's wrong. Whatever's wrong could cause some serious engine damage.Warning, warning! It flashes the Check Engine light to alert you to take immediate action.It stopped flashing because once you were out from under the dryer, the airflow returned to normal. Now ... read more

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Dashboard
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