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

All About Your TPMS In Marlborough

Marlborough auto owners know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for MO auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard for many Marlborough motorists to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your vehicle manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required car makers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the car maker’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under-inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s auto manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Marlborough car owners. 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. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety is our priority at Carsmart Auto Service. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Marlborough car owners at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Marlborough clients as an expression of our good will. That’s why we’re concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the tech now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.

Marlborough service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

MO technicians have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you’ve noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Marlborough service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In Marlborough

Every Marlborough car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter’s dirty.

Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your pickup owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Marlborough technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.

Clean Air for Your Engine Marlborough Engine Air Filter

So between your owner’s manual and your Dupo technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved for Marlborough drivers.

Now, most air filters purchased in Marlborough, East Carondelet, Ballwin, or Fenton don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that MO people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Carsmart Auto Service can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Marlborough.

Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Marlborough home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your pickup, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more expensive MO gas to move your vehicle around Dupo roads.

Your pickup actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Marlborough at Carsmart Auto Service. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll get better fuel efficiency, have better performance and protect your pickup engine.

Suspension Service At Carsmart Auto Service In Marlborough

Suspension systems function effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually, however, pickup suspension components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive around Marlborough and Ballwin.

As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth MO highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Marlborough roads or haul heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, pickup suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, pickup car makers recommend periodic inspections.

Suspension Service At Carsmart Auto ServiceDuring an inspection at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough, your courteous automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:

First there are the springs which hold the weight of your pickup. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously critical heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your pickup dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Carsmart Auto Service.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Carsmart Auto Service for a a key suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your pickup suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your courteous Carsmart Auto Service tech because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your pickup was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Ballwin people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your courteous Carsmart Auto Service advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Marlborough, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.

Coolant Service at Carsmart Auto Service

Marlborough auto owners’ cars have to operate in a wide range of MO temperatures which requires our engine coolant to be able to perform ‘no matter what’. Think for a moment about the environment where the coolant does its thing. Very hot, high pressure, corrosive…

And all the while, it has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. These components are made from steel and aluminum, plastics and rubber. The coolant has to be formulated to protect against corrosion for all of these different materials. That’s why car makers recommend different types of anti-freeze for our Marlborough, MO vehicles.

There are several different ‘families’ of anti-freeze available to us here in Marlborough, MO. Your owners’ manual will tell you what kind you should use. Of course, the automotive professionals at  Carsmart Auto Service will know the right kind for your car.

It’s essential to stay on top of this because coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have here in Marlborough, MO. Regular service at Carsmart Auto Service needs to be done to avoid failures and also to keep your warranty in place.

While the specifics of the service required may vary from vehicle to vehicle, your courteous Carsmart Auto Service service advisor will know what to do. You’ll be advised to replace the coolant at specified intervals.

Some auto makers recommend periodic coolant system flushes. A flush adds a cleaning step to the fluid replacement process. Again, check to see what your Marlborough service specialist recommends.

Someday, you may have to deal with an overheating problem, so you need to know what to do if your coolant temperature warning light comes on or your temperature gauge is in the hot zone.

Now, overheating can be very costly. Marlborough car owners can literally melt down their engine and have to replace the whole thing. So don’t ignore warning signs.

First turn off the air conditioner. This will lower engine temperature right away. Next, crank up your heater to maximum heat and run the fan at high speed. You might need to roll down the windows, but this will take a lot of heat off the engine.

Pull over as soon as you can safely do so
, especially if you are stuck in slow-moving traffic, and shut the car off. It may take as much as 45 minutes for the engine to cool to the point that it’s safe to operate the car again.

If you need to add water or antifreeze, be sure to wait until the car cools down. Opening the radiator cap or even the overflow bottle when the coolant is hot and under pressure may result in serious burns.

After the engine has cooled for 45 minutes or so, look to see if the coolant is low in the overflow tank. If so, you can cover the overflow tank cap with a large cloth and open the lid. Then start the engine and pour in some water or antifreeze. Pouring it in when the car is running will circulate the new, cool fluid with the warmer fluid in the engine and avoid engine damage.

Of course, overheating is a serious problem and you need to get it fixed right away. Carsmart Auto Service can make sure the coolant is right before you drive home.

Those spring and winter inspections really come in handy when they head off a cooling system problem. And don’t forget that severe service driving conditions, like towing or hot, dusty driving around Marlborough, MO, mean that you’ll need to service your coolant more frequently.

At AutoNetTV, we suggest that you have Carsmart Auto Service inspect your coolant system to find small problems before they become big, and to change belts and hoses before they fail. After all, we don’t want you to lose your cool out there in Marlborough, MO.