Fall and Spring Inspection at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC

Posted May 22, 2017 1:58 AM

Good vehicle care for us Mishawaka residents has always meant taking our vehicles in every spring and fall for a check-up. Vehicles needed routine maintenance to prepare them for the changes in weather. Today's vehicles aren't quite as sensitive to seasonal changes. Older vehicles required different weights of oil for summer and winter. But today's engines can run on the same oil all year. Both the engines and the oils have been improved.

Antifreeze—or coolant as it's also called—protects the engine from both freezing and hot temperatures and thus is required by the engine year-round. Modern coolants don't have to be changed as often as they did in the past, but your owner's manual has a recommendation for when it should be replaced to extend cooling system life.

Getting a spring and fall checkup at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka for your vehicle is still good auto advice.

First of all, there is a lot of preventive auto maintenance involved in properly caring for a vehicle. Dropping your vehicle off twice a year at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC for a quick inspection and routine maintenance is still part of good vehicle care. The changes in the Indiana seasons can provide a good reminder that it's time to get the vehicle serviced, just as they remind us that it's time to take care of the furnace or air conditioner, purchase school clothes or bathing suits, drag out or put away the coats and boots.

There are other advantages to spring and fall maintenance for Mishawaka residents. Springtime signals the advent of warmer weather. Although modern coolant is designed to last longer than one season, it's a good idea to check it regularly to ensure you have enough. While you're at it, your vehicle should also be checked for leaks and worn hoses in the cooling system.

Summer is the time when most of us Mishawaka residents take vacations or go on road trips. So a spring check-up for our vehicles can lead to a stress-free summer and better memories on the road.

Fall, of course, signals the advent of colder weather in the Mishawaka area. This is a good time for a routine battery check. The hot weather of summer takes a toll on battery life – then comes winter. Cranking up a cold engine takes a lot more battery power than starting a warm one. So before that cold weather hits, it's a good idea to check your battery and replace it if necessary. But your tires aren't completely adapted to changing weather conditions. If you live where temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C) in the winter, or if your commute frequently takes you through snow or ice, you may want to consider changing to winter tires in the fall.

A fall check-up at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC, just like a spring check-up, can keep you on the road no matter what Indiana weather brings. Consider how much a worry-free summer vacation and a less stressful Mishawaka winter commute are worth to you. Then, spring and fall, reset your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke detectors and take your vehicle in for a check-up.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



The Economy of Maintenance for Mishawaka Drivers

Posted May 16, 2017 11:28 AM

Do I keep my old vehicle or buy a new one? It's a question most Mishawaka drivers ask themselves at some time or another.

Generally, what it comes down to is the choice between a car payment and the possibility of repair bills. Most of the time, we want to choose the car payment because we don't like the inconvenience and uncertainty of vehicle repairs. But that payment has a detrimental effect on our budget and bank account.

Edmunds.com is a great website to help you with your decision. This site uses repair histories to calculate the average repair bills for specific makes and models of cars. You can plug in the information for your vehicle and get an estimate on what it will probably cost you to continue owning that vehicle.

Now, Edmunds.com isn't a crystal ball. It can't know what will happen to your specific vehicle. But it can guide you in knowing how much money to budget for the repair and maintenance of your vehicle. Ultimately, that can help you in your decision to buy a new vehicle or wait a few years.

For example, a five-year-old Camry V-6 is projected by Edmunds.com to cost about $96 a month, on average, to repair and maintain (at the time of this writing). Remember, maintenance costs are part of vehicle ownership, whether it's a new vehicle or an old one, so the projected cost for repairs on your five-year-old Camry average out to only about $50 a month. That's a whopping lot less than a new car payment.

If your vehicle is older than five years, you should also talk to your friendly and knowledgeable professional at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC about its future. They are more familiar with the average cost of repairs for vehicles in your area and of specific problems they commonly see in particular vehicles. More importantly, they know you and they know your car. They can give you a heads-up on what repairs you may be facing in the near future.

Remember, the older your vehicle gets, the more important preventive auto maintenance becomes. Over time, vehicles accumulate wear and debris, and we just have to give them a little more attention. Getting to know your vehicle and its peculiarities is also good auto advice for Mishawaka drivers.

If you decide to keep your older vehicle, you may want to talk with your THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC service advisor about fluids specially formulated for older engines. These motor oils, transmission and other fluids are designed to clean older engines and automotive systems and recondition their seals and gaskets.

Good care at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka will keep your older vehicle on the road in Indiana. And that may be just the boost you need in this uncertain economy. It may even save you enough to be able to afford that new vehicle you've been dreaming about.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com

 



Winter Tires

Posted May 8, 2017 7:58 AM

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 Mishawaka driver's perception dates back to when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.

Twenty years ago in Indiana, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. Indiana 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 Indiana 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 Mishawaka 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 Indiana drivers through mild winter road conditions OK. But there are some really good reasons to consider winter tires.

Modern winter tires do a terrific job for Indiana driving in a wide range of winter conditions. First of all, below 45°F/7°C, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don't provide the road grip Indiana vehicles need. Even if you don't live somewhere in Indiana with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45°F/7°C in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires.

In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That's the key to traction on ice-packed snow and wet Mishawaka area roads. They use a micropore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction for Indiana drivers.

Winter tires also have a lot of sipes. Sipes are thin slits in the tread. The edge of the sipes grab ice and packed snow to provide tons of traction and to expel water and slush out of the tread. Winter tires have a rounder casing to cut into the snow's surface. The treads on regular summer tires can actually get packed with snow instead and become very slick. Winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction for Indiana drivers than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that's the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.

Now back when the 8-track was king, Indiana drivers just put snow tires on the drive wheels. That worked out OK because the rubber compound was essentially the same. Now, winter tires provide so much more traction than all-season or summer tires, that there's a huge difference between the traction at the front and rear ends of the car if you only put winter tires on the drive wheels.

For example: if you take a corner on an icy road and the rear end starts to slide out, essentially the rear is trying to pass the front because it's going faster. If you have high traction winter tires only on the front, they are going to be much more effective at transferring cornering grip and stopping power to the front wheels. This will actually cause the rear end to whip out even more.

That's why tire manufactures instruct their dealers that they must install winter tires on the rear wheels as well whenever they put winter tires on the front end of any vehicle. It's a major safety concern. It's strongly recommended that winter tires be installed on all four wheels on rear wheel drive vehicles as well. The front tires do most of the steering and braking work - it only makes sense that you provide the front end with the best traction you can.

Mishawaka drivers often assume that if they have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive they don't need winter tires on all four wheels. Would you intentionally disconnect the four-wheel drive in poor road conditions? Of course you wouldn't, but that's essentially what you do if you only put winter tires on one end. It only makes sense to have the same level of traction and control at all four corners.

The province of Quebec in Canada has issued a law requiring all passenger vehicles, taxis and rental cars with Quebec license plates to install a full set of four winter tires between November 15th and April 1. It's that important.

Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so Indiana drivers may think that they don't need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.

Look for tires with the symbol of a mountain with a snowflake in it. This means the tire complies with the severe snow standard. All-season tires will have an M&S, for mud and snow, on the sidewall.

So when the Mishawaka temperatures drop below 45°F/7°C, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance on snow, packed snow, ice, plus wet and dry roads. Your friendly and knowledgeable THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



Mishawaka Drivers: What Is the Risk of High Oil Change Intervals?

Posted May 2, 2017 5:43 AM

Mishawaka residents may have heard that vehicles don't need their oil changed as often as they used to. That's true. But it's not the whole story.

Owing to improved engine technology and higher oil quality, most newer vehicles can go longer between oil changes than their older counterparts.

So what is a good time interval for oil changes? How do Mishawaka residents know when to change it? And why do we change it in the first place?

Oil lubricates a vehicle's engine, which protects it from friction damage. Over time the oil can collect dirt and contaminants that inhibit its performance. But dirty oil isn't the only problem for Mishawaka residents. What you really want to avoid is called oil sludge.

Oil sludge is caused by moisture in the oil and by hot spots in your engine that burn off oil. This sludge is a gooey gel that can clog engine passageways, which can block lubricants from reaching vital engine parts. The result can be engine wear or even engine failure.

Sludge forms rapidly in an engine that is driven under what are termed “severe conditions.” A vehicle's owner's manual includes recommendations for oil change intervals under both normal and severe conditions. Severe conditions include towing a trailer, driving in polluted or dusty Indiana conditions, hauling heavy loads or using a car top carrier. Also, extremes in climate such as very hot or very cold temperatures constitute severe conditions for Mishawaka drivers.

Mishawaka residents may be tempted to overlook the severe conditions preventive maintenance schedule in their 's owner's manual because of the word “severe.” But consider this: the most common form of severe conditions is stop-and-go driving, or only driving your vehicle on short trips around Mishawaka.

When a vehicle only makes trips under four miles/six kilometers, or under 10 miles/16 kilometers in freezing conditions, the engine doesn't get warm enough for condensation in the oil to evaporate. The result? You get oil sludge build-up. If your driving patterns are the same as any of the conditions that count as severe, you should be changing your oil more frequently under the severe conditions schedule. 

The team at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka can help you understand what type of oil to use in your vehicle and how it can affect your oil change schedule. Some vehicles are filled with synthetic or synthetic-blend oil at the factory. The owner's manual will recommend that this oil continue to be used in the vehicle, and oil change intervals will be based on this type of oil.

Also, if your vehicle uses conventional oil, but you have some of those severe driving habits we talked about, you can switch to a premium-grade oil to give your vehicle extra protection. The answer to why we change our oil is fairly simple: to protect our engines and make our vehicles last longer and run better. But the answer to how often to change our oil is more complex: it depends on our vehicle, our driving habits, where we live in Indiana and what kind of oil we use.

When it comes to oil changes, a little information can go a long way to helping Mishawaka residents save money and extend the life of their vehicles. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC Automotive Tips: Alternator

Posted April 24, 2017 9:53 AM

Your alternator makes electricity to start and run your engine and all of the vital electrical systems in your vehicle. That’s everything from the on-board computers to the turn signals. And of course there is the entertainment system, seat heaters, power windows and everything you plug into the power outlets. After your alternator makes enough electricity to do all that, it recharges your battery with what’s left over.

When Mishawaka drivers constantly have a low or dead battery, the alternator is usually a prime suspect. However, the alternator is just one vital component of the starting/charging system, and a problem with any of the other components could be the actual cause.

In addition to the alternator, the charging/starting system includes the battery, starter, serpentine belt system and all of the electrical cables that connect them. Your THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC service advisor has a systematic process of testing components and connections to get to the source of your trouble. The initial symptoms determine where to begin the diagnostic process, and he follows the procedure until he tracks down the culprit.

For example, diagnostic tests at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC could reveal that the alternator is not generating enough electricity to keep the battery charged. Is the alternator bad? Not necessarily. A worn serpentine belt tensioner could be allowing the belt that spins the alternator to slip. So the perfectly good alternator is not spinning at the proper speed. The solution for Mishawaka drivers is to replace the serpentine belt system – not the alternator.

The good news for Mishawaka drivers is that our highly-trained technicians at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC can properly diagnose all your vehicle troubles and make the necessary repairs to get you back on the road in Mishawaka.

Give us a call.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com


At THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC we install quality NAPA replacement parts.



Ask THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC: What Happens When a Serpentine Belt Breaks?

Posted April 17, 2017 1:31 AM

The serpentine belt is aptly named since it snakes around under your hood. It may lack its namesake's fangs, but it sure packs a wallop when it breaks.

The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine systems. It runs the alternator, which charges the battery; the water pump (on some vehicles), which cools the engine; the air conditioning, which cools the driver and passengers; and the power steering pump, which allows for easier steering. When the belt breaks, all of these systems shut down.

Okay, so maybe you can live without air conditioning and power steering for a while, but your battery can't live very long without an alternator, and when the cooling system goes down, your vehicle engine will overheat. That's why Mishawaka drivers should never wait to get a serpentine belt replaced.

Serpentine belts are fairly inexpensive at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka. And they look downright cheap when you compare them to the cost of an overheated vehicle engine, a tow truck, time lost on the road, inconvenience, and the potential safety consequences of being stranded.

Good car care means never putting off preventive maintenance. Do yourself a favor. Ask your friendly and knowledgeable THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC  technician to glance under your hood and give that serpentine belt a quick look-over.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



Automotive Tips from THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC: When to Replace Your Wiper Blades

Posted April 9, 2017 6:05 AM

There are several important factors that go into how often Mishawaka drivers should replace their wiper blades. Of course, the more you use your wipers, the faster the blades will wear out – especially if you use them on an icy windshield. Whether it’s a lot of bugs and road grime from Indiana freeway driving or lots of wet weather – your blades get a work out and start to wear.

But your wiper blades break down even when they aren’t used frequently. They are damaged by sunlight and temperature changes as well. The rubber in the blades can dry out and crack and eventually fall apart. Check your wipers: If they’re not doing their important job, have them replaced at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka.

Talk to your THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC service advisor about how you drive - we can counsel you on the optimal blades for your needs.


THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



Serpentine Belt Service at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka

Posted April 4, 2017 5:10 AM

If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges the battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead after a short distance.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Mishawaka vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Mishawaka drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC.

At THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch or couple of centimeters, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny, glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC. There's a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.

All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it's not that expensive to replace at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC – so it's good to do so before it fails.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



Fuel Injector Cleaning at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC

Posted March 28, 2017 12:02 PM

In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your vehicle engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute in every single fuel-injected vehicle driving down Mishawaka roads.

Most fuel injectors for gas engines are known in the Mishawaka automotive community as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. The fuel pump provides pressure needed to squirt the right amount of fuel into the engine.

A few have recently introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines. They are now available at some Indiana dealerships. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure – many times the pressure of port injection systems.

Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel economy. Indiana motorists can expect to see more of it in the future.

High temperatures under your vehicle hood and variations in Mishawaka gas quality cause fuel injectors to be fouled with wax, dirt, water, additives and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure.

When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn't burn as efficiently resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it's wise for Mishawaka residents to keep their fuel injectors clean.

Your technician at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC can perform a fuel system service for you in which the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.

Proper maintenance of your vehicle fuel system means that you will spend less on gas, enjoy strong performance and prevent repair bills down the road.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



Automotive Tips from THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC: A Broken or Damaged Timing Belt

Posted March 20, 2017 10:34 AM

The timing belt rotates the cam shafts which open and close the valves that allow air, fuel, and exhaust to flow through the engine as it powers your car when you drive around Mishawaka.

An old timing belt can lose a “tooth” in the belt allowing it to slip. The engine could stop or misfire. Timing belt slips – or a broken timing belt – can be disastrous on some engines. In “interference” engines, open valves can get in the way of the piston when the timing belt breaks or slips. When that happens one or more valves can be bent requiring expensive engine repairs.

It is important for Mishawaka drivers to replace their timing belts as recommended in their owner’s manual to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Ask the team of professionals at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka if it’s time for your timing belt to be replaced.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com




Search


Archive

November 2011 (4)
December 2011 (5)
January 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
March 2012 (4)
April 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
June 2012 (4)
July 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
September 2012 (4)
October 2012 (5)
November 2012 (4)
December 2012 (4)
January 2013 (5)
February 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
April 2013 (4)
May 2013 (5)
June 2013 (4)
July 2013 (5)
August 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
October 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
December 2013 (4)
January 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
March 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
July 2014 (4)
August 2014 (5)
September 2014 (4)
October 2014 (5)
November 2014 (3)
December 2014 (4)
January 2015 (5)
February 2015 (3)
March 2015 (4)
April 2015 (5)
May 2015 (2)
June 2015 (4)
July 2015 (5)
August 2015 (4)
September 2015 (4)
October 2015 (5)
November 2015 (4)
December 2015 (2)
February 2016 (51)
March 2016 (4)
April 2016 (4)
May 2016 (5)
June 2016 (4)
July 2016 (4)
August 2016 (5)
September 2016 (4)
October 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
December 2016 (4)
January 2017 (5)
February 2017 (4)
March 2017 (4)
April 2017 (4)
May 2017 (4)

Categories

Air Conditioning (9)
Alignment (13)
Alternator (1)
Automotive News (8)
Battery (9)
Brakes (8)
Cabin Air Filter (8)
Cooling System (13)
Dashboard (2)
Diagnostics (5)
Diesel Maintenance (1)
Differential Service (3)
Drive Train (7)
Engine Air Filter (2)
Exhaust (5)
Fluids (12)
Fuel Economy (3)
Fuel System (42)
Headlamps (2)
Inspection (5)
Keys to a long lasting vehicle (3)
Maintenance (51)
Monitoring System (3)
Older Vehicles (3)
Parts (10)
Safety (4)
Serpentine Belt (2)
Service Intervals (6)
Service Standards (11)
Shocks & Struts (6)
Steering (7)
Suspension (2)
Timing Belt (7)
Tire Rotation and Balancing (1)
Tires and Wheels (36)
Transmission (6)
Warranty (3)
Wheel Bearings (1)
Windshield Wipers (6)