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

Shake It Up in Marlborough!: Why Wheel Balancing

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Marlborough car owners generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Marlborough auto owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your courteous Carsmart Auto Service service specialist spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Marlborough motorists are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Marlborough car owners can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your pickup — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the freeway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the detrimental vibration. When Marlborough drivers’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and vital suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough can prevent pricey repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your pickup as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your gas mileage. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Carsmart Auto Service, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Marlborough vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your pickup. Balancing your tires is part of critical preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some costly ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Carsmart Auto Service. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Marlborough car owners’ nerves.

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In East Carondelet

There’s a segment of the East Carondelet population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the MO area over time. Many East Carondelet motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, East Carondelet drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Fenton The Maintenance-Free MythNow, the ignition system in your pickup is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Carsmart Auto Service for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in East Carondelet have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.

Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your pickup will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern pickup engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

For example, your pickup engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Carsmart Auto Service, we have been taking care of all those little things for 4 years. Your pickup still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in East Carondelet did not go away.

Coolant/Antifreeze Service At Carsmart Auto Service

Anyone that drives a car in Marlborough knows that engines get hot when they run. But did you know that engines need to be cooled to keep running? Heat inside an engine can cause the metal parts to expand, which can seize up an engine and make it stop running. It can even ruin the entire engine! Good car care requires keeping your pickup cooling system in good condition.

A vehicle’s cooling system circulates water and antifreeze (coolant) through the engine where it absorbs heat. It then flows to the radiator where the water and antifreeze are cooled by the air that flows over the radiator. Then it circulates back into the pickup’s engine to absorb more heat.

Why shouldn’t Ballwin motorists just use water? Because water boils at temperatures that are often reached inside of an engine. Steam won’t cool your pickup engine and is hard to contain within the cooling system. The antifreeze keeps the water from boiling.

So why do we call it antifreeze? Shouldn’t it be antiboil? Truth is, the antifreeze performs another critical task. Water freezes in cold MO weather. That would spell disaster for your pickup’s engine. So antifreeze also keeps the water in your cooling system from freezing in all but the most extreme cold. Pretty neat stuff!

Taking care of your cooling system is part of good preventive maintenance for your pickup. Dupo drivers should check coolant level often and regularly inspect your cooling system for leaks.

That is just good auto advice. Your pickup’s manufacturer has maintenance requirements for draining and replacing engine coolant. Consult your owner’s manual or ask your courteous Carsmart Auto Service technician for these recommendations, as they vary widely from among auto makers.

Changing your coolant is also part of good preventive maintenance. Water is great at collecting all kinds of dissolved substances, especially when it’s hot. Water circulating through an engine picks up dirt, debris, pollutants, and other stuff. It actually becomes corrosive over time. This can damage engine parts and your radiator.

Replacing your coolant regularly keeps the pickup cooling system functioning well and doesn’t allow it to sneakily become the cancer that wipes out your engine.

But don’t just slop any antifreeze into your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or ask your Carsmart Auto Service service professional if you don’t know what is the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle. Using the wrong kind can void the warranty on your pickup cooling system.

You may have noticed that different types of antifreeze are different colors. Manufacturers tint them different colors to make them harder to mix up. It’s easy to notice that you have purple fluid when you normally use green! That way, you have less chance of damaging your pickup engine by using the wrong antifreeze.

One last word of warning — a little outside the area of car care. Never, ever let anyone or pets drink coolant/antifreeze – it is deathly poisonous.

Take care of your car, and take care of yourself! Just some good car care tips from Carsmart Auto Service to keep you on the road and help your life in Marlborough run more pleasantly.

Tracking True In MO: Wheel Alignment In Ballwin

Wheel alignment is often overlooked by busy Ballwin and Fenton car owners until serious tire damage has been done. One wheel can be knocked out of alignment by hitting a curb or pothole on a Dupo expressway or surface street.

When a vehicle’s out of alignment, one or more of the wheels does not track true and pulls against the others. This causes several serious problems. First off, the tires will wear out faster and will need to be replaced prematurely. It could also lead to expensive pickup suspension problems.

Tracking True In MO: Wheel Alignment In Ballwin

But the big issue for Ballwin, Fenton, and Marlborough car owners is safety. When your pickup wheels are out of alignment, the vehicle will pull to one side, which could lead to an accident. When you’re out of alignment, you should have it taken care of right away at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough.

When undergoing an alignment service at Carsmart Auto Service, your pickup is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are checked for damage. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the factory settings.

Precision adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels going in exactly the same direction.

Fenton drivers should be aware of the signs of alignment problems. These include the car pulling to one side. Also, the steering wheel may not be centered when you’re going straight. If you see the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down, you should have your Dupo service center look it over. If you’ve been in an auto accident in MO that involved a wheel, you should get your alignment checked.

Obviously, a big jolt can seriously knock things out of alignment, but Ballwin drivers also need to understand that a series of smaller ones can add up.

That’s why auto manufacturers recommend periodic alignment checks. If your pickup owner’s manual doesn’t specify, once a year might be appropriate. Or check with Dan DeCaro or your service advisor at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough.

One thing’s for sure: the cost of the alignment at Carsmart Auto Service is cheaper for Ballwin drivers than having to buy a couple of new tires because of neglect.