Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ Category

The Super Easy Essentials of Preventative Maintenance

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Do you know simple preventative maintenance can increase your vehicle’s reliability and make the dollars in your wallet last longer? Occasional TLC goes a long way! The reason behind this is simple: when a car is running smoothly and performing as it should, the engine and other critical components are less fatigued, which means you can focus on the road instead of that worrisome dashboard light. American Car Center is here to share the basics of essential car care to enhance your ride and improve your family’s safety.

Read the owner’s manual. No, really. It is jammed with information explaining your vehicle’s features and functions, including the important maintenance that needs to be regularly done. This ranges from how and when to change your motor oil, belt inspections, changing filters, and more. The manual will also outline all safety measures to take as you go through your car tune up checklist.

The 2-minute inspection. A walkaround can reveal issues with headlights, taillights, and turn signals (have them on during the inspection), and shows underinflated tires, and body and undercarriage rust. Under the hood, do a quick car battery check, looking for any frayed cables, cracks in the casing, corrosion, dirt, and other signs of damage. It’s also important to check your fluid levels, such as motor oil and windshield wiper fluid. Should you see a leak, get it checked out right away to lessen any further damage and costly repairs. While under the hood, check that the hoses and belts are snug and free of cracks and excessive wear.

Check and change motor oil regularly. This is the most important thing you can do to ensure that your ride runs smoothly. Take the dipstick out of the holder and clean it with a cloth or paper towel. Reinsert it into the holder and remove it again to see if the level is between the two notches on the dipstick. If the level is below the bottom notch, more oil is needed. Refer to the manual for how often you should change your oil and what type is best suited for your vehicle. If the oil is really dark or muddy, have it changed. All vehicles leased from American Car Center have oil changes included for up to 3 years!

Check engine coolant, antifreeze, and steering fluid. These all come with dipsticks or gauges, making it easy to check fluid levels at a glance. Even if you have a mechanic refill them, knowing your levels can prevent unnecessary damage.

Check – rotate – change..Proper tire inflation will improve your ride and fuel economy. Using an inexpensive tire pressure gauge, it is easy to measure your tire pressure and adjust it according to the levels specified inside the driver’s door. Tires should also be rotated about every 6,000 miles according to a set pattern for tire type. By rotating regularly, the pace of wear is not increased in any given section of the tread, and traction (and safety) is increased. The lifespan of a tire has two parts: usage/mileage and time since manufacture. A typical all-season tire has a warranty of 60,000 miles, but even if the tires are only lightly used, the rubber compounds deteriorate to unsafe levels after about seven years.

Replace filters. Automobiles have filters to enable flows and catch impurities. The cabin filter cleans the air that comes into your car by keeping out dust, pollen, and more. The air filter prevents debris from reaching the engine and ensures a quality mixture of air and fuel to sustain performance. New filters keep your vehicle more efficient by preserving its systems and improving fuel economy. Replacing the filters about every 12,000 miles is easy.

Replace spark plugs. These small components help maintain engine efficiency, but gunk build-up eventually decreases their capability. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often spark plugs will need to be replaced and where they are located under the hood. They may need to be replaced sooner if your vehicle struggles to accelerate, has trouble starting, worsening fuel economy, or makes popping misfire sounds.

Replacing windshield wipers. Wipers can take a real beating. Once water starts to streak the windshield after every swipe, it may be time to swap them out for new ones. Wipers are made of two parts – the metal arm and the blade – so you may only need to replace the blade and not the arm. Lengths and sizes vary but wiper manufacturers and auto part retailers make it easy to find the proper model for your vehicle, often with online selector tools on their websites.

Regular preventative maintenance is such an easy and inexpensive way to get the most out of your vehicle to sustain its performance, reliability, safety, and value.

If your vehicle requires increasingly constant maintenance, come visit American Car Center now to find a terrific late model and low mileage used car, or SUV with a great limited warranty. All of our nearly 70 conveniently located stores have a fantastic selection of vehicles – and one just right for you!

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Improving Your Fuel Efficiency

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021
Blog - Increase Your Fuel Efficiency

Driving style affects how far a car can go on a tank of gas. To get the most out of every gallon, American Car Center has some simple driving suggestions.

Be smooth

Swap sprints to the next red light, quick starts, and sudden stops for steady acceleration, light braking, and consistent cruising. Leave plenty of room between your car and others to reduce the number of speed changes and stops you make. Your brakes will thank you, too.

Take it easy

At very high or very low speeds, vehicles use more fuel. Going easy on the gas, driving at moderate speeds, and staying within speed limits, especially on highways, are great ways to improve fuel economy.

Idle no more

Running a parked vehicle uses a lot of gas. When waiting more than a couple of minutes Turn off your engine and only re-start when you are ready to go.

Plan

Combining trips and knowing your route will reduce back-tracking and gas use. If possible, do not drive in weather such as heavy rain or strong wind or in muddy, icy, hot, or cold conditions. These conditions increase gas consumption by reducing traction and engine efficiency.

Roll ‘em up

At higher speed, keeping windows up will add miles to your tank by improving vehicle aerodynamics.

Be sweet to your car

Decrease the weight and wind drag of your car by removing unneeded items from your vehicle. Keep your tires inflated at the proper pressure. Regularly service your car according to its maintenance schedule.

American Car Center helps you save your money at the pumps and by providing a lease on a great late model, low-mileage vehicle. All our vehicles include a limited powertrain warranty and oil changes. Visit one of our convenient locations near you to find out more.

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Change Your Cabin and Air Filters with Ease

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Automobiles have filters to enable flows and catch impurities. The cabin filter cleans the air that comes into your car by keeping out dust, pollen, and more. The air filter prevents debris from reaching the engine and ensures a quality mixture of air and fuel to sustain performance. New filters keep your vehicle more efficient by preserving its systems and improving fuel economy. 

Replacing the filters about every 12,000 miles is so easy.  

The cabin filter change is simple do in minutes. If behind the glove box (check your owner’s manual), remove the stopping arm of the glove box by sliding off the pin then squeeze its front and back sides together so that it can drop down to reveal the cabin filter area. Lift the latches on the faceplate to pull out the filter. Clean the filter chamber and check the seals and gaskets for cracks. Slide in the new filter with the arrows pointing in the same direction as on the old. Last, reverse the steps taken to remove the glove box to reattach. 

Changing the air filter requires only a few tools – flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers, an adjustable wrench, pliers – and a few minutes. Under the hood, find the air filter housing connected to a large air intake hose. Remove the cover by releasing the screws or clamps with the appropriate tool. Lift out the filter, clean inside the housing, and inspect the seal and hose for cracks. Insert the new filter same as the old filter was removed and re-fasten the cover with the screws or clamps. 

And you’re done!  

American Car Center has the perfect vehicle for your summer driving dreams. With over 60 stores across the Southeast – each with a huge inventory of amazing low-mileage late model vehicles with up to a 3-year/36,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and included oil changes! – American Car Center is conveniently located where you live or work.

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DISCLAIMER: Maintain your vehicle according to manufacturer’s specifications. American Car Center is not responsible for any damages or injuries sustained while following the steps in this guide.

The Importance of Oil Changes

Thursday, March 11th, 2021
Oil Changes - American Car Center Blog

While it can be tempting to delay changing your vehicle’s engine oil, in the long run, making sure that the engine has everything it needs to run properly will save you time and money. American Car Center recommends regular oil changes regularly to ensure that the internal parts of the engine are kept cool and well-lubricated.

Without regular oil changes, a vehicle’s engine will experience greater wear and damage as its moving parts grind against one another. Sludge, dirt, and moisture can build up, sometimes causing expensive repairs. Oil change time is also a great occasion to give your ride a little TLC. For example, you might replace worn windshield wiper blades, check hoses, and belts for wear or top-up fluids. 

Different cars require different types of motor oil. Your owner’s manual will recommend the type of oil you should use and how frequently it should be changed. Changing the engine oil of your vehicle regularly will improve its performance and reliability and your own enjoyment behind the wheel.  

Luckily, American Car Center has got you covered. Oil changes are included with all our vehicles for up to three years! 

An easy oil change that you can happily circle on your calendar is one way that American Car Center makes driving better. 

American Car Center has a massive selection of great late-model, low-mileage cars, and SUVs. Let us find the perfect vehicle for you no matter your credit history. In addition to oil changes, vehicles from American Car Center also include up to a 3-year or 36,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. In just over twenty years, American Car Center has expanded across the Southeast to more than 67 convenient locations dedicated to matching hard-working Americans like you with excellent vehicles. 

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Easy Ways to Improve Gas Mileage and Save Money, Too!

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Your vehicle’s fuel economy depends on your driving style, and where and when you drive. These affect how many miles you can get from a gallon of gasoline. To get the most out of each fill-up, follow these simple suggestions from American Car Center for more money in your pocket and less time at the pump.

Be smooth. Trade dashes to the next stoplight, jackrabbit starts and sudden stops for modest acceleration, gentle braking, and steady cruising. Anticipate other road users and compensate for their behavior by creating space around your vehicle to avoid changing speed unnecessarily. Your brakes will last longer, too.

Go easy.  At very low or very high speeds, your vehicle uses more fuel. Especially on the highway, going easy on the gas pedal and driving at moderate speeds is one of the best ways to reduce fuel consumption.

Treat your tires. Keep them inflated at the recommended pressure (refer to the label on the driver’s door opening). Too much or too little inflation results in unnecessary tire wear. Check tire pressure monthly.

Be kind to your car. For better gas mileage and fewer unexpected costs, keep your car in good condition (including the wheels aligned) and regularly service your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

Go lightly. Reduce unnecessary weight and wind drag from your car to improve fuel economy. Periodically, remove unneeded heavy objects or seasonal items.

No idle. Running your vehicle when in park for long periods uses a lot of gas. When waiting more than a couple of minutes, turn off your vehicle’s engine and only re-start when you are ready to go.

Windows up. At higher speed, keeping windows up will add miles to your tank by improving vehicle aerodynamics.

Plan. Knowing your route and combining trips reduces back-tracking and gas use. If you can, avoid driving in severe weather. Heavy rain, mud, ice, crosswind, heat and cold, reduce traction and engine efficiency and increase gas consumption. In these conditions, to improve both safety and gas consumption, drive more slowly.

At American Car Center, our focus is saving you time and money, whether at the gas pump or finding a dependable late-model and low-mileage vehicle to get you to where you want to be. All our vehicles include up to a 3-year/36,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and oil changes, so come now to a convenient location near you.

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Keeping your car interior clean and organized

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Cleaning the interior of a car

Easily Keep Your Vehicle’s Interior Looking Great

Following a few simple steps, you can almost effortlessly keep the interior of your vehicle in top shape, maximizing its appeal and value – something especially important during the hectic back-to-school season.

Just like the inside of a home, the easiest way to keep a vehicle interior clean is to have a place for everything (for example, a backseat caddy to store children’s items like books, games, and crayons) or to remove unwanted items entirely from the glovebox, underneath the seats or trunk.

Keep a trash bag or canister with a lid on the door console. Empty frequently.

Keep essential cleaning supplies like clean clothes, paper towel, a microfiber dust mitt, water, and wet wipes in an enclosed container. If you are waiting to pick up the kids from practice or the library, use those minutes to give your dash and doors a shine.

The best way to keep your vehicle clean is to avoid eating or drinking inside as much as possible. When it’s necessary, sweep away or vacuum crumbs and wipe up or blot any spills with a cloth or paper towel immediately. Clear out food wrappers and empty drink containers right away.

Knock your shoes together before getting into your vehicle, especially from the dusty or muddy ground, to reduce the build-up of grime in the footwell.

Drive with your vehicle’s windows up to reduce the accumulation of road dust and pollen and improve interior air quality.

If you have a pet, use a seat cover to preserve the appearance of the vehicle’s fabric. Use an inflated balloon against the seat cushion to collect pet hair.

Visit American Car Center today for a vehicle to exceed your expectations this fall. With over 50 convenient locations across the Southeast and a vast selection of late-model cars and SUVs, covered by a limited powertrain warranty & oil changes of up to three years or 36,000 miles, let American Car Center do it for you.

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Roof Rack Basics

Monday, July 8th, 2019



American Car Center knows that you have things to do and places to be which can often mean bringing along bulky belongings. Roof rack systems are designed to safely haul oversized sporting gear, camping equipment, or other cargo safely, allowing you to enjoy an active lifestyle with less fuss and more fun. Rack manufacturers and sellers have web-based or in-store selection tools that make it simple to find the system best for your vehicle and activities. Let’s better understand your vehicle’s roof type and the parts of a base rack system.

Vehicle roof types

  • A bare roof has no built-in attachment points. A clip-fitted rack snug to the vehicle’s door jams is a reliable solution for a bare roof.
  • A raised-rail roof has rails that run parallel to the doors with space between the rail and the roof itself.
  • A flush-rail roof has rails that run parallel to the doors with no space in between it and the roof body.
  • A fixed-point roof has four (hidden) attachment points allowing for quick and easy installation of base towers. Some vehicles with a raised- or flush-rail roofs vehicles also come with these built-in mounting points.
  • A track roof is one with long metal channels or slots that run parallel to the doors.

A base rack system has only a few key parts

The tower (foot) of the roof rack carries the weight on for cargo and are placed at the roof’s strongest points.

The vehicle-specific mount or fitting kit – clips that attach the towers to the roof and rubber bottom pads that rest between the roof and tower – fasten the towers to your vehicle.

The crossbars are the usually two bars that run across the width of the roof, to which activity-specific

Accessories, such as cargo carriers, can be attached. Crossbars support the weight of all the gear you’re adding to the roof and transfer the weight to the towers.

Again, rack system manufacturers and retailers make it easy for you to find one best suited to your vehicle. Better yet, most today systems are fully complete and assembled; they are ready to be mounted right out of the box on the roof rails with all installation tools provided.

Simple Steps to Installing a Fully Assembled Rack

The commonly purchased fully assembled rack is easily mounted to a vehicle’s rails:

  • Place both tower/crossbar combinations loosely on the roof rails;
  • Adjust their placement so that they are centered on the roof for best weight distribution and ease of access;
  • Tighten and secure the four mounting points using the knob and any provided locking mechanism;
  • Check your work, making certain the connection points are solid.

Watch the American Car Center video guide, Easily Install Your Roof Rack, for an easy how-to guide to mounting a pre-assembled base rack.

A roof rack is a must for taking your lifestyle essentials with you as you explore our beautiful parks, trails, rivers or streams or your cherished possessions to new beginnings. American Car Center has more than 50 incredible locations with an amazing inventory of SUVs, cars, and trucks – each with a limited warranty of up to 3 years or 36,000 miles, oil changes included – to match your summertime adventures. Don’t delay, The King of Credit Wants to Approve You Today!

Keep Your Car Cool in Hot Weather: Inspect Your Hoses & Belts

Monday, May 7th, 2018

In summer, car and trucks are a lot like people – they are happiest when kept cool. A belt or hose failure can cause an overheated engine, the loss of power steering and loss of the electrical charging system, potentially requiring expensive repairs. Thankfully, easy preventive maintenance of hoses and belts can help keep your vehicle’s engine cool under the sun and your summer driving vacation plans on track.

Made of flexible rubber compounds which absorb vibration, hoses are the cooling system’s weakest structural component. Manufactured to hold coolant under pressure, hoses are subjected to the extremes of hot and cold, dirt, oils, acids and sludge. Hoses slowly deteriorate from the inside; a weakened hose may rupture from pressure, heat, or constant flexing. The most susceptible areas of the hose are nearest to clamps where it connects to the engine or radiator.

Simple and minor maintenance can help prevent coolant hose failure:

  • Check the white coolant-recovery tank’s markings to confirm correct the fluid level. Also check for white, pink, blue or light green, blue, or pink coolant residue in the engine bay – a sign of leakage.
  • When the engine is cool, give the hoses a squeeze near the clamps, feeling for soft spots. A good hose will be firm yet pliable.
  • Inspect for visible cracks, nicks, depressions or bulges.
  • Look for oil contamination or fraying near the connection points.
  • Inspect for parallel cracks in bends, a hardened glossy surface or abrasive damage.
  • Flush & replace the coolant according to the owner’s manual as clean coolant will lessen deterioration.


Many of the same things – heat, ozone, oil and abrasion – that damage hoses also harm a vehicle’s belts. Most cars and trucks have one multi-grooved serpentine belt to drive the alternator, water pump, power-steering pump, and air-conditioning compressor. A belt should be changed when it shows signs of excessive wear.

You can help prevent costly repairs from a worn-out belt:

  • Inspect the serpentine belt for cracks, fraying, or splits on the top cover.
  • Look for signs of excessive glazing on the belt’s sides. Glazed or slick belts can slip, overheat or crack.
  • Twist the belt to check for separating layers, cracks, or missing chunks of the grooves on the underside.
  • Listen for the sounds of a belt-tension problem: high-pitched whining, chirping and vibration.

Speak to a qualified technician about any cooling issues and always consult your owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures.

It’s that simple. A quick under-the-hood inspection of your vehicle’s hoses and belts, lends peace-of-mind that your summer driving will be smooth and carefree!  

Visit a conveniently located American Car Center today for exceptional service and let us find for you a great vehicle from our vast inventory of late-model, low-mileage cars, trucks and SUVs. We make it easy for hard-working people across the Southeast to drive a high-quality vehicle no matter their credit history.