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

10 Services Marlborough drivers Often Overlook

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Marlborough. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.

So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the critical scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.

Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Marlborough car owners. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.

1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your critical power steering parts are protected from detrimental corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your Marlborough service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.

2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your pickup pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most auto makers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.

3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your pickup engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your courteous Carsmart Auto Service tech.

4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Marlborough cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.

5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Marlborough area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of pricey engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Marlborough service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.

6. Transmission Service
Transmission serviceis very basic, but it’s often forgotten by Marlborough car owners. Your pickup transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your gas mileage.

7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us Marlborough car owners don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in Marlborough. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.

8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your Carsmart Auto Service technician for recommendations.

9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy for Marlborough drivers to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.

10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at Carsmart Auto Service will really help your fuel economy.

There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.

Marlborough auto owners know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain a vehicle; but it not only saves cash in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.

Carsmart Auto Service can help with any of these services. Give us a call at 314.968.9496.

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.

Commitment to Make Your pickup Last At Carsmart Auto Service

For advice on how to make your pickup last longer, visit us at Carsmart Auto Service
7921 Watson Road
Marlborough, MO 63119
314.968.9496

These days many people in the Dupo area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you’ve got to start with what you’ve got. It’d be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you’ve had the vehicle for a while, or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that’s where you start.

Go through the maintenance schedule for your pickup and see what’s been done and when. Have your Marlborough service advisor at Carsmart Auto Service do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.

Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles. You might be pretty overwhelmed.

To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there’s a failure. In consultation with your Marlborough service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you’ll be prepared for it in a few months.

Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.

Can Your Car Last Another Year?

Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at Marlborough car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and – well a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of Marlborough, MO folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more for smart Marlborough motorists.

The old adage: ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is really true for Marlborough auto owners when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.

Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Marlborough motorists have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule.

Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.

Don’t let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at Carsmart Auto Service is a great way to keep your operating costs down in Marlborough.

Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the costly damage that can be caused by failure.

We know that this is a lot for busy Dupo area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at Carsmart Auto Service keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your auto maker recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.

Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent expensive repairs and maintain your warranty coverage. Call Carsmart Auto Service today for an appointment; you can reach us at 314.968.9496.

Let us take good care of your car at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough, and it’ll take good care of you.

Carsmart Auto Service
Give us a call today at 314.968.9496.
Or stop by at 7921 Watson Road, Marlborough, MO 63119

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.

Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At Carsmart Auto Service we’ve had a lot of Marlborough, East Carondelet, and Fenton clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in MO. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Dupo folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this vital question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average drivers in the Dupo area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Marlborough. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if quick Marlborough auto owners stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto maker’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Marlborough car owners know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Carsmart Auto Service in Marlborough, for example, leaves an opportunity for dangerous sludge to build up. Talk to your courteous Carsmart Auto Service service advisor.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Marlborough are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps fuel economy from decreasing;
  2. it prevents expensive repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most essential thing auto owners can do. A full-service oil change at Carsmart Auto Service means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your courteous Carsmart Auto Service service advisor a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get pricey. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Marlborough area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your tech at Carsmart Auto Service. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Carsmart Auto Service strongly encourages Marlborough auto owners to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Marlborough auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Dupo. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

Carsmart Auto Service
7921 Watson Road
Marlborough, MO 63119
314.968.9496

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.

The Importance Of Marlborough Drivers Following Service Intervals

Today in our Carsmart Auto Service blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your pickup isn’t the only aspect of your life in Marlborough with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

The Importance Of Marlborough Drivers Following Service IntervalsClearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Marlborough takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our pickups? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Marlborough neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, Marlborough people don’t need to memorize their pickup owner’s manuals. You can let your Carsmart Auto Service advisor remind you of the guidelines established by auto makers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your pickup. You really can rely on Carsmart Auto Service professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Marlborough drivers who want to be more proactive with their pickup care, here are some simple ways for Marlborough car owners to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your pickup go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Marlborough car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Carsmart Auto Service for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy gas mileage, your pickup doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

Severe Service Requirements

A lot of Dupo auto owners have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their car owners’ manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She’s been in the automotive business for 24 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer.

Cricket says there’s so much confusion on this topic because, “Most owners’ manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called ‘regular service’ and ‘severe service’. Sometimes they’re simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time.”

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn’t one generic schedule that applies to all cars. In addition to your owners’ manual, Marlborough automotive repair centers (including Carsmart Auto Service) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules schedules for every vehicle – so they can help Marlborough car owners know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.

  • Most trips are less than four miles
  • Most trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive regularly in very hot MO weather
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the interstate)
  • Stop and go driving
  • You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
  • You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Dupo

It’s common sense for Dupo auto owners: Just a few minutes at interstate speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than ten miles when it’s very cold in Marlborough, don’t allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Marlborough means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.

The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owners’ manual, or talk with your Carsmart Auto Service service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow. Carsmart Auto Service is located at 7921 Watson Road, Marlborough MO.

Here is what a fleet manager said recently: “Since Marlborough miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the automobile manufacturer’s severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science.”

Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly MO highway driving in moderate weather, you’ll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Marlborough drivers just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.