CarSmart Auto Service

Providing Saint Louis car owners with quality automotive services and repairs since 1980

CarSmart Auto Service - Providing Saint Louis car owners with quality automotive services and repairs since 1980

Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Marlborough?

Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Marlborough?

Is it:

  1. Stereo
  2. Wheels
  3. Air Bag
  4. DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Marlborough – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Marlborough.

Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

Contact Carsmart Auto Service for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 7921 Watson Road, Marlborough, MO 63119
You can reach us by phone at: 314.968.9496

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely one car part you don’t want to take a chance with, so Carsmart Auto Service recommends following these guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Carsmart Auto Service).
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
  • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

For more information, contact Dan at Carsmart Auto Service by calling 314.968.9496.

Busting Automotive Myths In Marlborough MO

Myths passed around our Marlborough MO community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the pickups of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.

To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the Marlborough area, come over to Carsmart Auto Service.
You’ll find us at 7921 Watson Road, Marlborough, MO 63119.
Give us a call at 314.968.9496 to make an appointment for your next auto service.

Let’s examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.

The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.

The truth on which this myth is based is that many new cars come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around Marlborough. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in Marlborough still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.

Another common rant you’ll hear around Marlborough is that modern cars don’t need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a ‘tune-up’, which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Carsmart Auto Service would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.

This definition just doesn’t apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Carsmart Auto Service generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles or so.

Of course you can’t lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can’t adjust a carburetor if your car doesn’t have one. You probably don’t need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles. What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?

The danger with these modern-day myths, is that they prevent people in our local Marlborough community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?

Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .

You get the picture. Your pickup is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors at Carsmart Auto Service have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your Marlborough service advisor at Carsmart Auto Service, or do some research of your own.

Talk To Carsmart Auto Service About New Shoes For Your Vehicle

Custom wheels are one way that Marlborough folks express themselves and personalize their pickup. But they aren’t as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several important factors need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the pickup, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits, and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Marlborough motorists start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.

When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require expensive adjustments to your pickup suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping in Dupo or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.

There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your pickup. Second, you can choose larger wheels, and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But, even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, but that doesn’t mean it will fit your pickup. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your pickup tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear, and other mechanical problems.

The tire and wheel professionals in Marlborough at Carsmart Auto Service on 7921 Watson Road can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your pickup. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.

Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels, but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your Carsmart Auto Service service advisor by calling 314.968.9496.

If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is essential that the package fits in the wheel well: you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your pickup engine’s computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.

As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more vital it becomes to have your courteous Carsmart Auto Service technician tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.

If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.

The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your pickup may require an upgraded brake system.

Also, you may not get the performance from your pickup that you’ve been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Carsmart Auto Service, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle’s ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose, and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Now let’s suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.

Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some money. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Ballwin auto owners to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.

Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Dupo? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on MO interstates? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.

For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won’t be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won’t be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.

At the end of the day, Marlborough car owners should always put safety ahead of appearance. That’s why you shouldn’t add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Carsmart Auto Service tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as costly repairs down the road.

The courteous auto professionals at Carsmart Auto Service want to remind Marlborough motorists of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

Check Your Shocks and Struts at Carsmart Auto Service

Today we’re talking to Marlborough drivers about shocks and struts. They’re so easy for MO folks to forget about because they last so long and wear out so slowly. But your shocks are really responsible for keeping your tires on the road – so they’re very .

Without shocks, your wheels would be bouncing over bumps and lifting in corners. The shocks push the tire down to the road to maximize traction. Good shocks equal good ride quality and safe handling for Marlborough car owners.

Visit Carsmart Auto Service to have your shocks and struts inspected by a professional service advisor. You can find us at 7921 Watson Road, Marlborough, MO 63119
Or give us a call at 314.968.9496 to make an appointment.

There’s a difference between shocks and springs. Springs support the weight of the vehicle, keeping it suspended up off the axles. The shocks moderate the rebound motion as wheels hit bumps. Now a strut combines a shock and a coil spring in one compact unit.

When your shocks are worn out you may notice degraded handling as you drive around our Marlborough streets. Your vehicle feels squirmy around corners and floaty over bumps. Marlborough auto owners may notice the rear end squatting when they accelerate or the front end diving when you brake. Your car might even be sagging at one corner. 

Uneven tire wear can also be a a vital sign of worn shocks for Marlborough auto owners. Of course, if your shocks are leaking or have a big dent, they need to be replaced. Talk to your courteous Carsmart Auto Service technician.

Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to replace the shocks and struts on your pickup. It’s usually between thirty and fifty thousand miles. Of course, if you tow a lot, regularly carry heavy loads or do a lot of driving on bumpy Marlborough roads, your shocks might wear out faster.

If those Dupo area driving conditions apply to you, you can get special shocks that are better suited to your driving.

The shocks that come from the factory are designed for the way most consumers are expected to drive that particular vehicle. If you have different needs for your driving around Marlborough, MO, you can get premium shocks that improve performance handling, off-road abilities or towing comfort. Your Marlborough, MO service specialist at Carsmart Auto Service can help you determine your needs and then give you some options.

It’s best to replace all four shocks at the same time. That way you’ll have even, predictable handling at all four corners. Anything less could be harmful.

Tire Tread Depth for Marlborough, MO Drivers




Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don’t have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Carsmart Auto Service; (just call 314.968.9496) to find out what your requirements are in the Marlborough, MO area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give Marlborough auto owners enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the important issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Marlborough motorists also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Marlborough MO, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving in Marlborough over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a detrimental condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think Marlborough car owners will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Marlborough car owners follow that far behind the pickup ahead? Obviously, this is an essential safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do Marlborough motorists know when their tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.

Tires are a big ticket item and most drivers in Marlborough, MO want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough.

Carsmart Auto Service
7921 Watson Road
Marlborough, MO 63119
314.968.9496