Posts Tagged ‘maintenance’

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.  

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.

Make Your Wipers Worthy!

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

6 Steps to Replacing Your Windshield Wipers

 

Replacing your windshield wipers always seems like the last item on the to-do list, but fresh wiper blades are essential to good rainy-day visibility while driving. It’s easy and cheap to replace those wipers – why not take a few minutes to follow these steps and make your vehicle safer?

  1. Use your owner’s manual or look online to identify the correct replacement wipers.You’ll need to know the year, model, and make of your vehicle to ensure you get blades that fit.
  2. Purchase the blades from an auto parts store.Any respectable auto parts store should also have an in-store guide for different wiper brands according to vehicle make, model, and year.
  3. Lift the old wipers away from the windshield.They should fold out so they’re perpendicular to the glass.
  4. Press the small button as you pull the old wiper blades down, toward the glass.Removing the blade this way is a bit counter-intuitive – it seems like you should pull up, but these blades are attached via hook so you’ll need to unhook them.
  5. Attach the new blades by pulling them up, onto the arm.You’ll need to slide the blade onto the arm first, then pull up firmly to hook it in place. It’s just the opposite of the previous step.
  6. Test your new wipers.Use some windshield washer fluid so you don’t get that awful squeaking noise.

And that’s it! Enjoy your wiper-fresh car and come to American Car Center for a huge selection of recent model, low-mileage vehicles with windshield wipers included!