Keep Your Concord Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter


Hey Concord car owners – this is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your SUV burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.

That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very essential but inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to pricey problems. Of course, your car maker recommends how often to change your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car in NC affects when your filter needs to be changed.

Dusty conditions around Charlotte or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service service advisor can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.

When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your SUV needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel efficiency and performance.

Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters are a little more pricey in Concord, but they increase horsepower and may improve gas mileage to boot.

So it’s vital for Concord drivers to have their air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much at Pitts Repair Service in Concord and it should easily pay for itself in better gas mileage before your next oil change.

Stop by Pitts Repair Service at 325 NW Pitts School Rd., Concord, NC 28027, and we’ll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at 704-786-6894 to make an appointment.

Pitts Repair Service
325 NW Pitts School Rd.
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-6894

Economics of Maintenance For Concord Auto Owners

Buying a new car in Concord is always a big financial decision. The allure of that new car smell is powerful, to be sure. But what if your current car is still in good shape? How do you decide?

People in Concord who’ve been used to driving a new car every three to five years may be having second thoughts in this economy. For many, the question is, how does the certainty of a new car payment stack up against uncertain repairs for a car that may be out of warranty?

For purposes of our discussion, let’s assume you live right here in Concord and have a five year old vehicle. It’s now paid off. If you keep it, you fear that there’ll be some repairs over the next five years, but you really don’t know what to expect. For help we turned to Edmunds.com.

Edmunds.com has compiled maintenance and repair information for cars and trucks. With this data, they project likely service and repair costs for a particular make and model. They’re able to use manufacturer’s maintenance schedules and repair histories for the projections.

Of course, these projections can’t predict what will happen to your vehicle in Concord, but they do give you information to use in your decision.

Let’s look at the numbers for a five year old Toyota Camry V-6. In this example, the combined maintenance and repairs for the five year period is $5,748. This works out to an average of $96 a month. The year-by-year averages range from a low of $49 a month to $124 a month.

So compare $96 a month with a new car payment. And it’s actually better news than that; you would still have maintenance expenses with a new car, so the repair element could be less than half that figure.

Here are numbers for some other five year old vehicles from around Concord:

  • Ford Escape – $116 a month
  • Chevy Silverado – $131 a month
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – $138 a month
  • Hyundai Accent – $85 a month.

Now, if your vehicle is older than five years, have a chat with your Concord service advisor at Pitts Repair Service. We see hundreds of vehicles through our bays every month and we know your car. See if there’s any particular problem common with your vehicle that you might see over the next couple of years.

And of course, the best way to keep future repair costs down is to take care of all your scheduled maintenance. This is especially important in older vehicles that have had time to accumulate some deposits.

There are special motor oil formulations that help clean older engines and protect and recondition their seals and gaskets.

We hope this eliminates some of the unknowns in the decision to keep or trade.

Give us a call if you have any questions:
Pitts Repair Service
325 NW Pitts School Rd.
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-6894

Stop It! You Need Good Brakes

Good brakes are obviously very important. If you’ve ever had your brakes go out while you’re driving around the Charlotte area, you’ll know how terrifying it can be. Today we’ll focus on how to tell when you have a brake problem, and how to make good repair choices.

Often, the first indication that something’s wrong with the brakes is an unusual sound. It could be a squeal, chatter or grinding sound.

Some brake pads have a little piece of metal embedded in them that will make a squeal or chirping sound when the brake pads have been worn down to the point that they need to be replaced. It’s an early warning indicator.

When you hear that sound, schedule an appointment at Pitts Repair Service soon.

Now a chattering sound is more urgent. That usually indicates that something is loose. It could be a brake pad or even the brake calipers. If one of those parts falls off, you could have some serious trouble stopping the vehicle. It would be a good idea to park it until you can get into the shop.

A grinding noise usually means that the brake pad is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are rubbing directly on the metal brake rotor. That means the rotor is being damaged and will need some work. More on that later.

Another warning sign is that your brake pedal may feel soft and spongy – or it may even feel very hard to push in. Both could mean trouble. And of course, you may get a dashboard brake warning light.

Now when it comes time to replace your brake pads, you have a choice to make. You can get the same pads that came standard on your vehicle. You can expect the same performance and durability as with the pads that came on the car from the factory.

Now you can also get a budget brake pad. Sometimes drivers insist on lower cost pads. That’s OK if the budget demands it, but you need to be aware of the trade offs. Lower grade pads are usually noisier, so you’ll have to live with more noise when you apply the brakes. They also tend to generate a lot more brake dust, you know, that black dust that accumulates on your wheels. And they probably won’t last as long either. In our opinion, that’s a lot of compromise for just a few dollars in savings.

You can also choose to buy premium brakes pads. These perform at higher specifications than the factory pads. You can expect quieter operation, less brake dust and better stopping power.

Now, getting back to the rotors. The rotors are the discs that the brake pads clamp down on to stop the vehicle. If you’ve been driving with completely worn brake pads, you’ve scratched grooves into the rotors. If the grooves aren’t too deep, the rotor can be resurfaced. A thin layer of metal is cut off the surface of the rotor to make it smooth again.

Now, if the grooves are too deep or if the rotor has already be resurfaced before, there may not be enough material to resurface and still have a rotor that’s thick enough to safely stop the vehicle. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.

Something that’s often overlooked is the brake fluid. Your manufacturer has a recommended schedule for evacuating the old brake fluid, cleaning the system and refilling it with fresh brake fluid. This is really important to brake performance.

So here’s the bottom line: if you suspect, inspect. If you notice any of these warning signs, have your brakes inspected. Your advisor can help you make the repair decision that’s right for you.

Following Recommended Intervals For Your SUV

If you’re reading this article in Concord, NC, then you probably care about your car and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service service professional tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say “no”, you might be harming your SUV or risking your family’s safety.

At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner’s manual. But it is not like you want to keep your SUV auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

Cars are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Concord drivers to keep them running well. That is why manufacturers have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your SUV performing efficiently and prevent pricey breakdowns. In a typical owners manual you’ll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning, and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks – yeah, it is a really long list!

Fortunately, this isn’t a test: Concord motorists don’t need to have it memorized. Your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service service advisor has access to your auto maker’s recommendations. Don’t be surprised when your tech at Pitts Repair Service reminds you something important is due. Your automobile manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let Pitts Repair Service help you stay on top of important maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We’ll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.

Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In Concord

Every Concord 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 SUV owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Concord technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.

Clean Air for Your Engine Concord Engine Air Filter

So between your owner’s manual and your Charlotte technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved for Concord motorists.

Now, most air filters purchased in Concord, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, or Charlotte don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that NC people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Pitts Repair Service can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Concord.

Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Concord home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your SUV, 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 pricey NC gas to move your vehicle around Charlotte roads.

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

PCV Valve Service At Pitts Repair Service In Concord

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does an essential job for Concord auto owners. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.

The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the SUV engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.

These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.
PCV Valve Service At Pitts Repair Service In ConcordThis can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause SUV engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Pitts Repair Service. At high speeds on Concord freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, car makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the SUV’s engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves fuel efficiency also. (Budget-conscious Concord motorists take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets detrimental gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased fuel economy.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at Pitts Repair Service in Concord and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Concord drivers don’t know about it. Check your SUV owner’s manual or ask your Pitts Repair Service service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at Pitts Repair Service when it gets dirty.

Please ask your appreciative, honest, efficient Concord service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Concord, you can avoid some very expensive engine repairs.

Can Car Scent Keep You Safe On NC Roads?

Here’s a travel tip that’ll I’ll bet you didn’t know, and, it might keep you safer…

The average American commuter in NC spends two and a half hours daily in their car.

The government says a hundred thousand auto accidents yearly are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. (Aggressive driving is the number one traffic safety concern.)

So what does this have to do with how your car smells while you’re driving around NC?

Well, which scent did you think makes drivers more alert?

Is it:

  • A. Strawberry
  • B. New Car
  • C. Pine
  • D. Warm Vanilla Breeze

It’s C. Drivers are more alert and have less fatigue with pine scent in the car, according to AroMetrics.

And, drivers were less angry with overall improved driving performance with strawberry and pine scents.

And you thought they just smelled nice.

Pitts Repair Service
325 NW Pitts School Rd.
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-6894

Arrive Alive In Concord

We’ve all seen NC motorists do crazy things while driving to or from Charlotte. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It’s a wonder we even dare drive on NC roads.

The truth is that all of us Concord drivers are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other harmful external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.

Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Charlotte, NC.

  • Concord drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Concord car owners who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Concord auto owners are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Concord drivers do to manage these harmful distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.

Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.

If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Concord drivers’ pets should also be contained.

NC motorists with kids in the car should make sure they’re clipped in their seat belts or safety seats. You may want to give them some distractions to help keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.

If you eat while driving, choose simple finger foods that aren’t messy.

Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another important way to improve your safety. Learn how to work the radio by touch. Controls located on the steering wheel can help Concord motorists keep their eyes on the road.  The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.

If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your key reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local Charlotte laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone. Never text while driving! This has already caused many deaths and injuries in NC over the last few years.

And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Concord – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Concord.

Pitts Repair Service
325 NW Pitts School Rd.
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-6894

It’s critical to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Concord.

Fuel Injection Keeps Getting Better For Concord Motorists

Concord car owners know that engines burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions and improved fuel efficiency.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization.

Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage for Concord motorists as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice for Concord motorists. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance at Pitts Repair Service in Concord. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, your fuel injectors will last for a long time.

What To Do In Case Of An Accident

If you’ve ever been in a car accident around Concord NC, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It’s hard to think straight and know what to do.

Let’s review what you should do in case of an accident in Concord, NC:

When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime in NC – even if it’s not your fault. And hit-and-run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your driver’s license or even jail time in our local Concord lockup.

Most states, including NC require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able.

Warn other Concord motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood.

Call 911 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.

Always file a police report. It’s tempting to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you won’t have an objective report to help defend yourself.

Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don’t. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of NC law, the other guy may be responsible.

Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as “I was going 35 miles per hour” not “I wasn’t speeding”. Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you.

Also get the officer’s name and badge number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.

Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and expiration
  • Insurance information

Also take down a description of the other vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number. Most insurance companies don’t record license plate numbers, so the VIN number is the best way to track the vehicle.

Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can’t wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary.

Always call your insurance agent or your NC auto insurance company’s 800 number.

Call or see your local Concord physician if you think you may have been injured.

We here at Pitts Repair Service hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy travels.