Pitts Repair Service Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Today’s Pitts Repair Service post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Significant advancements in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep modern cars operating at peak performance. This is due to both engineering advances and new high-tech materials used to build SUV automotive systems.

A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.

Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary among SUV auto manufacturers, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.

It’s essential for Harrisburg car owners to use the right coolant. Pitts Repair Service Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your VehicleIf you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your SUV owner’s manual. Of course, your Pitts Repair Service automotive advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.

Brake fluid is confusing for some Harrisburg drivers. Back when we opened Pitts Repair Service 20 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Concord people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your SUV.

Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Pitts Repair Service: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in SUV automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.

Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Harrisburg auto owners and Pitts Repair Service professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s high-tech SUV engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and (thankfully!) get better gas mileage. And along with all the complexity and sophistication, they still have to be durable.

That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those SUV engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.

At Pitts Repair Service in Concord, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.

Check your SUV owner’s manual or ask your Harrisburg service technician.
The wrong fluid can cause damage to your SUV engine. If you drive a car or truck around NC with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your SUV.

Gear Up: Transmission Service at Pitts Repair Service in Concord

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The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.

How does it know when to change gears? Today’s automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing, and changes the gears as needed.

Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds” are being added. Almost all vehicles have four at least speeds. Five or six is common. Some car makers are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Concord auto owners: it improves fuel economy and increases performance.

But there is a drawback for Concord motorists: more gears equals more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today’s transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Concord drivers. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren’t given proper care.

That’s why changing transmission fluid is such a vital part of preventive maintenance for Concord motorists. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer costly damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.

Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.

New transmissions aren’t cheap. Repairing them isn’t cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is fairly inexpensive for Concord auto owners at Pitts Repair Service. That’s why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at Pitts Repair Service. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren’t just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing pricey transmission repairs.

Brake Service at Pitts Repair Service in Concord

Brakes really aren’t optional equipment for Concord auto owners. And taking care of them isn’t optional either.

A regular brake inspection is on every NC car’s maintenance schedule. At Pitts Repair Service, our team will check your brake system and let you know if there are any vital problems. Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into your Concord or Harrisburg service center right away. And watch out for these problems:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.

There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use, and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced and that can be costly. But putting it off is dangerous because your SUV won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake fluid is also important. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and detrimental brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Concord drivers should change the brake fluid when their automobile manufacturer recommends it.

There are different grades of brake pads sold in the Concord area. There are regular, metallic and ceramic – higher grades are more costly, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the automobile manufacturer recommends.

Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it’s a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Charlotte area body shop after an accident.

Professional Fuel System Cleaning

Getting adequate fuel to your engine is very important for performance, fuel economy and safety. In order to accomplish this, your fuel system needs to be clean.

Today’s production cars have fuel injectors, rather than a carburetor. The injectors need to be cleaned from time to time in order to deliver the fuel with the correct pressure, spray pattern and volume.

Concord car owners can buy fuel system cleaners that you pour into your gas tank to help maintain an already clean fuel system, however, they can’t do a major cleaning. For that, you need to see Pitts Repair Service in Concord. They have the tools and chemicals to do the job right. The appreciative, honest, efficient team at Pitts Repair Service can remove particles, gum and varnish from your fuel system and get those injectors running cleanly and efficiently.

You’ll find Pitts Repair Service at 325 NW Pitts School Rd. in Concord, NC 28027. Or just give us a call at 704-786-6894 to schedule an appointment.

You’ll enjoy more power, better fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions. The cleaners also help prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system and lubricate vital engine parts.

And, as with all maintenance, it can help prevent expensive repairs that can happen because you didn’t take preventative steps. Check with your appreciative, honest, efficient technician at Pitts Repair Service and see when your car is scheduled for a fuel system cleaning.

Fuel Injector Cleaning At Pitts Repair Service

In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your SUV engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute in every single fuel-injected car driving down Concord, Kannapolis, and Charlotte expressways.

Fuel Injector Cleaning In Harrisburg, Kannapolis, and CharlotteMost fuel injectors for gas engines are known in the Charlotte automotive community as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. The fuel pump provides pressure needed to squirt the right amount of fuel into the engine.

A few vehicle manufacturers have recently introduced gas direct injection systemson some engines. They are now available at some Charlotte dealerships. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure – many times the pressure of port injection systems.

Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel efficiency for gas-poor Harrisburg, Kannapolis, and Concord auto owners. NC motorists can expect to see more of it in the future.

High temperatures
under your SUV hood and variations in Charlotte gas quality cause fuel injectors to be fouled with wax, dirt, water, additives and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure.

When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn’t burn as efficiently resulting in poor gas mileage and loss of power. So it’s critical for Concord drivers keep their fuel injectors clean.

Your technician ar Pitts Repair Service can perform a fuel system service for you in which the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.

Proper maintenance of your SUV fuel system means that you will spend less on gas, enjoy strong performance and prevent costly Charlotte repair bills down the road.

Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Pitts Repair Service

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When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.

Buying tires at Pitts Repair Service in Concord is a lot like buying shoes, except that Concord motorists’ vehicles don’t have changeable apparel and don’t need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of NC road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.

Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Charlotte area drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around Concord need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough NC mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.

The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the Charlotte area tire market, although prices don’t vary much from brand to brand.

Tire chain stores in Concord often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires, but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in Charlotte are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don’t hesitate to ask your Pitts Repair Service tire professional who makes their private brand.

The cheapest tires on the NC tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don’t have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, Concord folks get what they pay for.

At Pitts Repair Service, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40-thousand-mile tire,” or a “60-thousand mile tire.” This refers to the number of miles a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.

Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you’re really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It’s always better for Concord auto owners to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.

That said, if you’re driving on Tier 3 tires, it’s a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That’s the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires, and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Charlotte motorists.

So, some good auto advice for Concord motorists would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you’ll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there’s some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to purchase tires as often.

Good car care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.

What

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Would you be surprised to learn that about half of the passenger cars in Europe have diesel engines? You might also be surprised to learn that most car makers produce a variety of diesel-fueled cars for purchase abroad.

Diesel-fueled vehicles haven’t been as popular in the North American markets like NC. But that won’t be true for long. North Americans are seeing a lot more diesel-fueled vehicles on the road. And we’re not talking about buses and trucks. These vehicles will be passenger cars, pick-ups and SUV’s.

There are two reasons for this. The first is a recent change in environmental laws that have upgraded emissions standards for diesel fuel in North America. Diesel fuel in North America used to have higher sulfur content than European fuel, meaning that it was a dirtier fuel to burn. That was okay for larger vehicles, but the lighter-weight engines in passenger vehicles just couldn’t tolerate it.

But that high sulfur content is now a thing of the past. Fuel producers are now required to sell cleaner diesel fuel in Concord. That opens the North American market to more diesel-powered vehicles. The second reason we’re going to see more of these vehicles in Concord is that they’re more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel fuel has higher energy density than gasoline. That translates to more power per barrel of fuel. In your tank, that translates to better engine performance and about 20% more miles per gallon.

Concord car owners may associate diesel engines with black smoke, noise and a definite “shake, rattle and roll.” That’s also a thing of the past. Modern diesel engines are smooth and quiet and produce cleaner emissions than gasoline engines. Also, forget that three-second wait behind a diesel vehicle at a stoplight. Modern diesels are just as quick to accelerate as other vehicles on Concord roads.

Diesel engines have other advantages over gasoline engines. Diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines because they require more heavy-duty parts, but that means the engines are more durable and can last longer than gasoline engines. Also, diesel engines may be the engines of the future since they can burn many of the new bio-fuels.

Bio-diesel can be manufactured from vegetable oils, including used cooking oil from Concord restaurants. Just think, one day you could fuel your vehicle on stuff that was once considered waste—one step closer to a cleaner environment here in NC. And if you think hybrid cars are environmentally sound, consider what a diesel-electric hybrid could mean. They will soon be available for
Concord car owners.

Concord auto owners who are considering buying a diesel-fueled vehicle, should know that essential preventive maintenance and inspection schedules are different for a diesel engine than a gasoline engine. Diesel fuel is harder on emissions systems than gasoline, so the filters and other devices have to be changed and checked more often. Also, the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures for diesel than for gasoline, so keeping it clean becomes a higher priority.

When you switch from a gas vehicle to a diesel, you’ll have to learn some new rules of car care. But you won’t be alone. Most
Concord service centers are aware that diesels are coming to North America and are already prepared to provide service for diesel engines. At Pitts Repair Service, we are well-versed in diesel technology. You can rely on our team of automotive professionals to provide quality service for diesel powered vehicles.

Clean Fuel Equals Clean Performance For Concord Drivers

Hello, Concord motorists. Let’s talk fuel filters. Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine.

Concord car owners don’t need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better an engine will run.

Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your SUV ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.

The harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your SUV owner’s manual or Pitts Repair Service to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. You should change it before it becomes clogged. Your Pitts Repair Service service professional can help you with recommended replacement schedules.

If your fuel filter becomes clogged, your engine will sputter when you drive at NC highway speeds or when you accelerate rapidly. A clogged filter allows enough fuel to run the car at low speeds around town in Concord, but when you need a higher flow of fuel for faster speeds, or if you need a sudden burst of fuel, you just won’t be able to get it through the filter.

A clogged filter is actually dangerous. If you need to accelerate suddenly out of the path of danger, you just won’t have the power to do it.

Fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter becomes clogged, the valve allows some fuel to bypass the filter so the engine can keep running – just not enough to be running well.

That means, though, that dirty, unfiltered fuel is entering your engine. Instead of clogging up your filter, that dirt is now getting into your fuel injectors, where it can cause serious damage. Fuel injectors are expensive; fuel filters are cheap. It doesn’t seem like a difficult choice for Concord car owners.

Fuel filters are the epitome of preventive maintenance. They are cheap and easy to change, but neglecting them can lead to costly repair bills. Some fuel filters are inside the fuel tank and cannot be routinely serviced – your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service technician will be able to tell you if this applies to your vehicle.

Good car care for Concord motorists means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered at Pitts Repair Service and in every owner’s manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected. It may save you money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay you in improved gas mileage, safety and peace of mind.

How Your Check Engine Light Works

Have you ever had an experience like this in Concord NC? You drive through the one of those automatic car washes. When you get to the end, where the dryer is blowing, your check engine light started flashing!

You fear the worst, but within a block or two, the light stopped flashing, but stayed on. By the next day, the light was off.

You wonder; “What was going on?” Well, it’s actually a good lesson in how the Check Engine light works.

Your air intake system has a sensor that measures how much air is coming through it. When you went under the high-speed dryer, all that air was blasting past the sensor. Your engine computer was saying, there shouldn’t be that much air when the engine is just idling. Something’s wrong. Whatever’s wrong could cause some serious engine damage.

Warning, warning! It flashes the check engine light, to alert you to take immediate action.

It stopped flashing because once you were out from under the dryer, the airflow returned to normal. Now the engine control computer says the danger is past, but I’m still concerned, I’ll keep this light on for now.

Then the Check Engine Light goes off in a day or two.

The condition never did recur, so the computer says whatever it was, it’s gone now. The danger is past, I’ll turn that light off.

Now a flashing check engine light is serious. You need to get it into our Concord NC shop as soon as possible. But if it stops flashing, so you have time to see if the problem will clear itself or if you need to get it checked. How does the computer know when to clear itself?

Think of it this way. The engine control computer is the brain that can make adjustments to manage the engine. Things like alter the air to fuel mix, spark advance, and so on. The computer relies on a series of sensors to get the information it needs to make decisions on what to do.

The computer knows what readings are in a normal range for various conditions. Get out of range, and it logs a trouble code and lights up the check engine warning.

The computer will then try to make adjustments if it can. If the computer can’t compensate for the problem, the check engine light stays on.

The computer logs a trouble code. Some people think the code will tell the technician exactly what’s wrong?

Actually, the code will tell the technician what sensor reading is out of parameters. It can’t really tell you why, because there could be any number of causes.

Let’s say you’re feeling hot. You get your heat sensor out – a thermometer – put it under our tongue and in a minute or two you learn that you have a fever of 104 degrees.

You know your symptom – a fever – but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it the flu, a sinus infection or appendicitis?

You need more information than just that one sensor reading. But it does give you a place to start and narrows down the possible problems.

There are reports on the internet telling you that you can just go down to an auto parts store and get them to read your trouble code or buy a cheap scan tool to do it yourself.

There are two problems with that. First, the computer stores some trouble codes in short term memory, and some in permanent memory. Each manufacturer’s computer stores generic trouble codes, but they also store codes that are specific to their brand.

A cheap, generic scan tool, like you can buy or that the auto parts store uses, doesn’t have the ability to retrieve long-term storage or manufacturer specific codes. Your Concord NC service center has spent a lot of money on high-end scan tools and software to do a deep retrieval of information from your engine control computer.

The second problem is that once you’ve got the information, do you know what to do with it? For example, a very common trouble code comes up when the reading on the oxygen sensor is out of whack.

So the common solution is for the auto parts store to sell you a new oxygen sensor, which are not cheap, and send you off on your way. Now your oxygen sensor may indeed have been bad and needed replacing. But the error code could have come from any of a dozen of other problems.

How do you know the right solution? Back to the fever analogy, do you need surgery or an aspirin? Leave it to the pros at Pitts Repair Service. Give us a call at 704-786-6894 and let us help you resolve your check engine light issue.

Pitts Repair Service Advice On Buying New Tires

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Today’s tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Concord driver’s style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all NC seasons.

Concord off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires’ high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren’t interested in off-roading around Concord? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

Pitts Repair Service tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

The same goes for wheels. When Concord car owners shop for new wheels, they can be hard-pressed to make a selection from the thousands of styles available at NC tire stores. If they choose a wheel that is the same size as the ones that came with their vehicle, they can get them changed out and get back on the road, no worries. But if they change the wheel size, then they may need to make some vital adjustments to their vehicle.

Upsizing a wheel may mean changing the suspension on the SUV. The wheel and tire need to fit inside the wheel well without any rubbing during turns or when driving over bumps. Rubbing can cause uneven tire wear and even damage the tires or cause safety issues.

Upsizing wheels also increases the unsprung weight of the vehicle which has a major impact on braking performance. The larger wheels increase rotational inertia, as well, which translates to longer stopping distance and lower brake performance. Upsized wheels may require upgraded brakes. Further, wheel size is used to calculate the speed and mileage of a vehicle. Changing wheel size will cause the speedometer and odometer to give inaccurate readings unless the vehicle’s computer is re-programmed to compensate for the difference.

So if you want to customize your SUV with new wheels, you should consult with a wheel and tire professional at Pitts Repair Service in Concord to ensure you get the style you want without sacrificing safety or performance — and without damaging your vehicle.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your SUV on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don’t forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Concord a lot longer.