Posts Tagged ‘car maintenance’

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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A Guide to Winterize Your Ride

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Modern vehicles are more reliable and durable than ever but for added safety and peace-of-mind there are some easy ways from American Car Center to winterize your ride:

Change the windshield wipers and refill the wiper fluid. Working windshield wipers and a solid supply of wiper fluid help to ensure clear sightlines. Replace frayed or worn wipers and top up your wiper fluid tank with a lower-freezing temperature fluid.

Check the battery. Cold weather is tough on your vehicle’s battery. Check and clean up areas of corrosion on connections and posts. Consider running a battery load test on batteries more than five years old.  

Adjust engine oil viscosity. In the winter, your engine will run more effectively with a thinner engine oil. Check your owner’s manual for information on proper viscosity levels for colder temperatures.

Check belts and hoses. Cold temperatures can weaken the belts and hoses that help make your engine run; examine them for cracks and wear and replace worn parts.

Verify the anti-freeze mixture. The ratio of anti-freeze to water in your radiator should be about 1:1 to prevent the coolant in your radiator from freezing. To check the composition of your radiator’s fluid, pick-up an inexpensive anti-freeze tester at an auto parts store.

Examine the four-wheel drive. Working correctly, Four-wheel drive can provide better traction when driving on snowy and icy roads. Have it examined by a mechanic before winter weather sets in to ensure the system engages smoothly and that transmission and gear fluids are at their correct level.

Check the tire pressure. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop. A properly inflated tire ensures the best traction essential for driving in wintry conditions.

Stock emergency supplies. You never know when you will need them so be prepared by having your vehicle ready with emergency supplies, such as, a blanket, new flashlight batteries and booster cables.

Consider winter tires. Snow tires are made of a softer rubber than all-season tires which allows them to retain flexibility in the cold and have channels and grooves designed to grip into snow and ice. Winter tires improve safety at temperatures below 44°.

When the weather is frosty, the roads are likely to be slippery. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination, slow down and keep space between your vehicle and others. Take a few simple steps to winterize your vehicle to increase safety and performance this season.       

American Car Center has more than 67 stores conveniently located throughout the Southeast. All locations have an amazing selection of low mileage, late-model vehicles each with a limited powertrain warranty of up to three years or 36,000 miles, oil changes included.  

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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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How to Properly Install a Car Seat

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Newborn babies and infants need special protection while in a vehicle. In a collision, a properly installed and used rear-facing child car seat can save your baby’s life. Vehicle safety, especially for our most precious cargo, is American Car Center’s main priority. Choosing the right car seat for your child and using it for every ride is the best way to keep your child safe. The right car seat is one that is proper for your child’s height and weight and can be correctly installed in your vehicle. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and read your vehicle owner’s manual for correct child car seat installation and use.

Car Seat

To install your rear-facing child car seat:

Install away from active airbags. For most vehicles the safest place is the back seat or the second or third row of a mini-van.

Install the base at the correct angle. The angle range will be written on the car seat itself or in its manual. Some infant car seat models feature a built-in level indicator.

Use your body weight to tighten and fasten the seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System (UAS) strap through the base. The child car seat should move no more than 1 inch in any direction where the seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System (UAS) strap is routed through the child car seat.

If needed, use a locking clip. This clip helps secure the child car seat into your vehicle, if your vehicle’s seat belts do not lock. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual to see if you need one. If so, install the locking clip on the seatbelt within one-half inch of the latch plate.

Use the harness slots to position the straps correctly. Your harness straps must pass through the correct slots. Check your child car seat manual for the correct height.

Baby in car safety seat

To use your rear-facing car seat:

Make sure the harness straps do not twist or fold. Harness straps need to be straightened out each time you secure your baby in the seat.

Adjust the chest clip on the harness. It should lie flat against your baby’s chest at armpit level.

Secure the harness straps at or below your baby’s shoulders. You should not be able to fit more than one finger underneath the harness straps at your baby’s collarbone.

Make sure the carrier latches into the child car seat base every time.

Give it a tug to ensure it is still secure each time you place your child in the child car seat.

Remove bulky clothing from your baby, such as, thick sweaters or heavy jackets to ensure that the straps fit snugly.

It is best to keep your child in a rear-facing child car seat until they reach the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight and height limits, since the rear-facing position is the safest. When your child outgrows the maximum weight or height limits of an infant rear-facing car seat, they may move to a larger convertible infant/child car seat and stay rear-facing until the child is ready to face forward. Rear-facing car seats should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle. Do not use a car seat past its expiration date or if it is involved in a collision.

Visit a conveniently located American Car Center today for your family’s unique vehicle requirements. With an inventory of thousands of top-notch late-model, low mileage SUVs and cars backed by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, you’re sure to find the right one for you. American Car Center makes it simple and easy, no matter your credit history.


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.

Regally Rotate Your Tires!

Monday, February 26th, 2018
tire rotation

Tires can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to get the most out of them that you can. Rotating your tires every 5,000 miles or so ensures that the tread wears evenly, giving your tires (and your wallet) extra life! Follow these steps to rotate your tires evenly and keep them on the road longer.

Oh, and please be extremely careful when performing any maintenance on your vehicle. Operate all equipment according to the manufacturer’s safety standards, and if you’re in doubt – go to the mechanic!

  1. Acquire new tires. You’ll also need a car jack and jack stands so that you can put your entire car up at once. Make sure that the jack stands you buy are rated for your vehicle’s weight.
  1. Make sure you’re on a level surface and set the parking brake. Also ensure that you’re not on soil, wet ground, or hot asphalt, as these can all put the jack stands at risk of falling over. 
  1. Jack up the rear of the vehicle. Use a floor jack, not the jack that comes with your vehicle, as this is generally for emergency use only.
  1. Set the jack stands in a solid part of the frame. The owner’s manual should guide you on this, but make sure the stand is NOT under the floorboards or suspension, as these won’tsupport the weight of your vehicle.
  1. Repeat for the front of the vehicle. Don’t rush! Taking some extra time to set the jack stands properly can save you a lot of trouble (and possible injury) later.
  1. Undo the lug nuts on each tire. Keep them to the side where you won’t lose them. Tip: Loosening the lug nuts slightly before you begin can make it easier to remove them when the car is on jack stands, but its not mandatory.
  1. Install the tires after rotating. Your Left Rear and Right Rear tires move directly forward. Your Left Front and Right Front tires move to the back, but switch sides.
  1. Reinstall lug nuts. It’s helpful to screw them in by hand first, attaching them diagonally (kind of like a star pattern). This makes sure they’re tightened evenly and avoids putting pressure on the brake rotor.
  1. Lower the car from jack stands. It’s just like before, but in reverse – set up the floor jack under the front of the vehicle, put the weight of the car on the jack, and remove the front stands. Repeat for the rear. Again, please exercise caution!
  1. Enjoy those regally rotated tires! Mark down your mileage so you can repeat in 5,000 miles, and then take a test drive – you’ve earned it! It’s also a good idea to check in on recently mounted tires after a couple dozen miles to make doubly sure that you’ve tightened the lug nuts firmly.

Now that you’ve got those tires rotated, come down to American Car Center and check out a huge selection of recent model, low-mileage vehicles! We approve everyone, so visit the King of Credit today!