Improve Fuel Economy with Proper Maintenance at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka

Posted December 11, 2017 4:38 AM

With Mishawaka gas prices being what they are, many of us in Indiana are driving less and looking into purchasing smaller or more efficient vehicles. Mishawaka 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 Indiana. But there are things all Mishawaka drivers can do to save fuel: We can improve our driving habits and stay on top of preventive maintenance at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC. 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 Mishawaka drivers. Driving five to ten miles over the speed limit can use up 10 to 15% more gas. The time savings is only a few minutes per hour, so the cost per minute can be rather steep.

A little extra planning can save fuel for vehicle owners  in Mishawaka as well. Leave a little early so you have time to slow down and still arrive on time. Also, plan errands ahead of time and group them as much as possible. Driving shorter distances is a great way to save fuel.

Using your cruise control where safe can save on fuel. Check your owner's manual for guidelines on when cruise control is recommended and when it isn't.

Clean out your trunk. Every ounce in your vehicle translates to a bit more fuel required to drive around Mishawaka.

Many Mishawaka residents let their car warm up during the winter - a major fuel drain. Your engine doesn't benefit; modern engines don't require a warm up to get up and running, although it's best to take it easy on them for the first few miles.

Now that we've gone over a few tips for improving driving habits, let's talk about the maintenance of our vehicle. Good car care at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka actually pays for itself in fuel savings.

First, if your gas cap is leaking or worn, get a new one.

Second, keep your engine clean. Clogged fuel filters, dirty fuel injectors and plugged PCV valves all cost you in loss of fuel. Replacing them or cleaning them will both improve fuel economy and increase the power you're getting from your engine.

Third, don't ignore your Check Engine light. Problems that cause that light to come on usually affect your fuel efficiency.

Fourth, check your 's owner's manual for service that should be regularly performed on your vehicle, and follow the schedule. Or talk to your friendly service advisor at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC . Oil changes, transmission checks and cooling system service all improve fuel economy if they're done when needed. Low fluids and dirty fluids also create conditions in your vehicle that require more fuel. So routine maintenance is a must to maintain fuel economy and save cash.

Last, keep your tires inflated. Underinflated tires increase your vehicle's friction with the roadway, which increases the energy it takes to move. Keeping your tires properly inflated is great for saving gas as you drive around Mishawaka.

So if the cost of gas in Mishawaka has got you searching the sofa for extra pennies, you might want to start making a few changes in your driving habits and getting your vehicle the service it needs at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka.

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



Automotive Tips from THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC: Where Should New Tires Be Placed

Posted December 3, 2017 1:21 AM

When Mishawaka drivers need to replace tires, they need to know how many they should get and on which axle they should be placed. Replacing a damaged tire may leave you with three others with significant wear, which could affect your traction control, stability control and anti-lock brake systems.

If you can’t afford to replace all four tires at once, you should at least replace two on the same axle. New tires should always be put on the rear axle for stability in slippery conditions. Your friendly and professional THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC tire professional can help you know when your worn tires should be replaced, if you can have a damaged tire repaired as well as selecting the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call.

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



Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wheel Bearings

Posted November 27, 2017 5:15 AM



Why are wheel bearings for Mishawaka vehicles important? It's simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today's THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC post, we'll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very job while you drive around Mishawaka, Indiana.

Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They're made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles (160,000)  or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two jobs: First, they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds (1600 kilogram), each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds (400 kilograms). That's a lot of heavy lifting over those long distances.

Even though wheel bearings are pretty straightforward, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job for Mishawaka vehicles. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It's when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated, causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.

The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren't sealed can be serviced on schedule at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they're re-installed – if not, they're replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.

If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty costly – but they usually last about 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers) as long as the seals hold up.

Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that's exerting pressure on the seal. So if you've driven through hub-deep water, your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they're serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure. If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your manufacturer's owner's manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers).

If you have any sort of trailer, don't forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don't have the opportunity to rust all winter.

So what happens to Mishawaka vehicles if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don't need to tell you how that could be. So check with your service advisor at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC and see if your vehicle's wheel bearings can be serviced and when it's recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you've been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.

Visit the automotive professionals at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC for a wheel bearing inspection. 

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



Mishawaka Safety Systems: Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Posted November 22, 2017 1:08 AM

Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of driving around Mishawaka on underinflated tires. Admittedly, it's hard to tell when a radial tire is underinflated. If your vehicle manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your vehicle tires are considered significantly underinflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

New laws require all vehicles to include a tire pressure monitor system, or TPMS. This technology has been used by race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from underinflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It's up to your vehicle's manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they'll use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn't come free for Mishawaka drivers. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases.

Your safety has always been a priority at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC. We want you on the road and accident free. We've traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes at a very low cost. We've been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service and pass the low cost on to you as an expression of our good will.

Like all other Mishawaka service centers, here at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC we've had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and to update expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems. Our friendly and knowledgeable service technicians at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC  have been thoroughly trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to perform what was once a very inexpensive service for you.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC, please keep in mind that it's because of government mandated safety equipment. We want to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price. This safety equipment will help you avoid the most common types of vehicle failure in Mishawaka, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

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

 



THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC Advice on What to Pour into Your Vehicle

Posted November 16, 2017 8:00 AM

Changes in vehicle design and manufacture have resulted in changed fluid requirements for our vehicles. With the sophistication of engines, transmissions, differentials, etc., it's best for Mishawaka residents to always use the proper type of fluid for their vehicle. Using incorrect fluids can actually damage your engine.

As engines have become more sophisticated, new weights (or grades) of engine oil have been introduced. Today, there is a much wider range of weights for engine oil as well as a variety of formulations for different types of engines.

Transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant/anti-freeze have changed because the materials that go into making the systems they protect have changed. The fluids in our vehicles generally have two jobs: to lubricate and to prevent corrosion. The fluids formulated for your vehicle are specifically designed to protect the materials that make up its engine parts. Using the wrong fluid may leave some parts vulnerable to corrosion. Further, using the wrong fluids can also void your vehicle's warranty. So THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC recommends Mishawaka drivers follow the fluid recommendations in their owner's manuals.

Vehicle fluids, including engine oil, are also designed in special formulas for higher mileage vehicles. These formulas contain additives that help clean older engines and transmissions as well as recondition older seals and gaskets. These fluids are perfectly okay for your vehicle as long as you match the original fluid recommendations in your owner's manual. In other words, a high-mileage oil is fine as long as it is the same weight as the oil recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

Good vehicle care always includes proper attention to your vehicle's fluids. Understanding and using correct fluids will keep your vehicle running well and will help prevent early corrosion and wear of vital engine parts.

Talk to your THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC service advisor for more information.

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



Automotive Tips from THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC: Making a Battery Last Longer

Posted November 8, 2017 10:21 AM

One thing all Mishawaka drivers can do to extend the life of their battery is to keep it clean. A greasy, dirty battery holds in damaging heat. Same goes for removing corrosion from the terminals. THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC can help maintain your battery.

Allowing your battery to be deeply depleted – like from using your headlights when the engine is off – is very harmful to your battery. Most automotive batteries can only take that about 10 times before they are ruined.

Also, making sure you have a full charge every month or so extends battery life. Either an extended drive at freeway speeds around the Mishawaka are or using a battery charger will preserve your battery’s ability to hold a full charge.

Give us a call.

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



Should Mishawaka Soccer Moms Follow the Severe Service Schedule?

Posted October 31, 2017 12:17 PM

So you take your vehicle in for maintenance and the pro at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC tells you that you ought to change your oil more often. What? You followed the maintenance schedule – but you take a second look at that “severe service” schedule and see some of the following:


1. Most of your trips around Mishawaka are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers.
2. Most of your trips are less than 10 miles/16 km when outside Indiana temperatures are below freezing.
3. You don't do a lot of Indiana freeway driving, so you drive at low speeds most of the time.
4. You drive in an area with a lot of pollution, dust, dirt, mud or slush.
5. You frequently tow a trailer, haul heavy loads around Mishawaka or use a car-top carrier.
6. The weather in your area can get very hot or very cold.

Surprising, isn't it? Severe driving isn't quite what you'd envisioned.

Ask yourself: "Which auto service schedule should I follow?" For some of us, it's obvious. But for most of us, it's not an either/or question.

One way to decide how often to maintain your vehicle is to picture a line. On one end, imagine ideal driving conditions: year-round moderate Indiana temperatures, only freeway driving, all trips are longer than 4 miles/6.5 km and travel is always at a constant speed of 60 mph/97 kph. At the other end of the line, put the severe driving conditions. Now, stop and think about how you drive, where you live, where you go in Indiana and what you plan to do with your vehicle in the near future. Consider honestly where your driving fits on the line.

For example, if the regular maintenance schedule recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles/8,000 km, the severe schedule recommends 3,000 miles/5,000 km and you fall in the center of the driving conditions line, then 4,000 miles/6,600 km is a happy compromise. Just be honest. You don't want that happy compromise to turn into auto repairs.

Learning why our vehicles need more frequent service can also help us Mishawaka drivers determine a maintenance schedule. For example, fluids in your vehicle are depleted more rapidly the more heat there is in their environment. That heat can come from air temperatures, but also from the extra heat generated in the engine and transmission from stop-and-go driving. Towing a trailer or carrying heavy loads also generates more heat. So under these conditions, fluids must be replaced more often in order to retain their effectiveness.

Moisture naturally builds up inside of an engine because of the heating and cooling it constantly undergoes. When the engine is hot, moisture evaporates; when the engine is cool, moisture condenses. As long as the engine is getting hot enough to evaporate all of the moisture, your vehicle will remain healthy. But short trips don't allow for this and moisture can build up inside the engine. This moisture can lead to the formation of oil sludge, which in turn leads to clogged engine parts and damage.

In dusty or polluted Mishawaka area conditions, filters and fluids just get dirty more quickly. Talk with your service advisor at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC regarding service schedules and which one is right for you. Good car care means taking care of problems before they become problems. And in order to do that, you need to know how often to take your vehicle in to THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC for service.

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



How Does THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC Know What to Recommend?

Posted October 23, 2017 10:36 AM

When you drop your vehicle off at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka, they don't just poke around under your hood looking for stuff to do. THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC professionals have lists and procedures they follow for different types of service. First of all, your Mishawaka service center will note the mileage on your vehicle. They'll then check to see what inspections and services the vehicle manufacturer recommends for a vehicle of your make, model and mileage. If you are a regular customer, they will also check your vehicle's history.

If the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations go beyond the services you've ordered, they'll let you know. They'll also indicate whether those services are urgent or if you can wait a while to take care of them. The THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC pros won't do work that you don't agree to.

They will, however, perform inspections while they're servicing your vehicle. They'll check belts, filters and fluids. They'll check your windshield wipers for wear. They'll let you know if there's an urgent problem that needs taken care of, and they'll give you a heads-up about problems that might be developing. If repairs or services are in order, you are given options based on driving needs and budget.

You can think of it like a trip to the dentist for a check-up. The dentist will check if you've had x-rays recently. If not, he'll get your permission to take new ones. Then the hygienist will clean your teeth and check your gums. At the end, the dentist comes in and inspects your teeth. You'll be told if you need any work done, about problems that are developing, and if anything is urgent. You'll be given different care options and recommendations on where to get work done that is beyond your dentist's usual purview. Then you'll be sent to the front desk for appointments and paperwork.

These procedures make sure your teeth are in good working order and that you are apprised of any problems. Then you can make a decision as to what work you want done and when. THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka operates the same way. They want Mishawaka drivers to be able to make informed decisions about their car care.

Preventive auto maintenance is a lot like dental check-ups. Small problems can quickly develop into big ones. A cavity becomes a root canal. A dirty filter becomes engine damage. Skipping check-ups for either your teeth or your vehicle can lead to repairs.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC follows industry guidelines. A part is replaced only if it can no longer perform its function, no longer meets its design specifications or is missing – or if you ask for upgraded performance. Your THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC service advisor will recommend a part be replaced if it is showing signs that it will soon fail.

Dentists often offer services that go beyond routine care, such as teeth whitening. Service centers also offer Mishawaka drivers help with upgrades to a vehicle. They'll know what parts are needed and how to perform the work so that safety and performance aren't compromised. You can rely on the pros at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC for good auto advice.

The next time you're headed to the dentist's office, think about the vehicle you're riding in. Is it time for it to get a check-up, too?

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



Positive Crankcase Ventilation – PCV Valve Service at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC

Posted October 17, 2017 8:06 AM

Hello Mishawaka! Did you know that the first federally-mandated emissions control device was introduced in the 1960's? The Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve, or PCV valve, has been installed in Indiana vehicles since 1964 and represents the first legislation by the United States government to regulate harmful emissions as well as to improve performance in the country's vehicles.

The PCV valve, as you can probably guess, is located on the crankcase. The crankcase is the lowest part of a vehicle's engine. It houses the crankshaft and the engine oil. The crankshaft connects to the pistons that power the engine.

Pistons are pushed down when fuel is burned in an engine. This causes the crankshaft to rotate, which sends power to the transmission.  It ultimately turns the axles and causes the vehicle to move. Some of the gases released by the burning fuel squeeze around the pistons and down into the crankcase.

If the escaped gases mix with the engine oil in the crankcase, oil sludge develops. This sludge has the consistency of petroleum jelly and can cause damage by clogging up passageways in the engine. Further, escaped gases can build up pressure inside the crankcase that can blow out seals and gaskets.

Before 1964, a hose was attached to the crankcase that vented escaped gases out into the air. These gases contained about 70% unburned fuel as well as harmful emissions. The PCV valve was designed to curb these harmful emissions as well as recapture unburned fuel.

The PCV valve is a small, one-way valve that allows escaped gases to exit the crankcase. The gases are then routed into the intake system so they can be re-burned in the engine. Fresh air enters the crankcase through a breather tube to facilitate this circulation and keep the air in the crankcase clean.

The PCV valve, like most working parts on a vehicle, will wear out over time. Usually it simply gets gummed up. Preventive maintenance, including routine oil changes at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka, will extend the life of the valve, but eventually it will have to be replaced. A sticking PCV valve won't allow gases to circulate properly, which can increase pressure in the crankcase. Over time, that pressure will lead to oil leaks.

Your vehicle manufacturer recommends that a PCV valve be replaced every 20,000 to 50,000 miles (32,000 to 80,000 kilometers), depending on the vehicle and Mishawaka driving conditions. It's an inexpensive repair but may not be included in the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual.  So if you're looking for auto advice about the PCV valve, you may have to ask our pros at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC.

Taking care of our PCV valve protects the environment in Indiana and improves vehicle performance. It's just part of good vehicle care for Mishawaka drivers and a way all of us can do our part to improve the world we live in.

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



THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC and the Maintenance Mindset

Posted October 9, 2017 11:20 AM

When it comes to their vehicles, some Mishawaka residents don't have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Mishawaka drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance but just may not have applied it to their vehicles.

Here's something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your friendly and knowledgeable THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC service advisor will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he'll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they've got you covered. And at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC, we check to see if your vehicle manufacturer has recommended any services at your current mileage.

The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done. The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you have to remember that vehicles are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their operation. Without them, the vehicle won't run at all.

So when you come in to THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC for an oil change, you get advice from your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your friendly and knowledgeable THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC service advisor can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and helping you avoid expensive breakdowns.

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




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