preventative auto maintenance

3 Ways Preventative Auto Maintenance Benefits You

3 Ways Preventative Auto Maintenance Benefits You

Preventative auto maintenance is one of the most important services needed to keep your car running its best. Besides finding and fixing any existing problems with your vehicle, this routine maintenance enables your mechanic to prevent future issues.

There are a multitude of parts checked as part of a tune-up or other scheduled service. They include:

  • Tires
  • Lights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Brakes
  • Fluids
  • Air filter
  • Belts and hoses

Of course, if your auto mechanic at Carolina Mobile Auto finds an issue, they discuss the problem and potential solutions with you. Then, based on your decision, they replace the parts or provide other service as requested.

Below are three ways preventative auto maintenance benefits car owners like you.

Preventative Auto Maintenance Saves You Money

Although you must pay for preventative auto maintenance when your warranty has ended or the service is not covered, there are big financial benefits to scheduling this service. Saving you money over time is reason enough to resist skipping routine maintenance.

Your vehicle has a lot of moving parts. At any time, one or more of these parts can wear out and need replacement. Through preventative auto maintenance service, your auto mechanic has a chance to find these problems before they cause more costly damage to the engine or other parts of your vehicle. Fixing the problem early also often saves you money on labor costs.

Having your oil changed on schedule helps your engine last longer. Changing tires before the tread is worn out keeps you from experiencing a tire blowout and the damage that can cause. New wiper blades help you drive safely in a rainstorm, preventing auto accidents. Changing your brake pads when needed keeps your rotors and calipers from experiencing damage and needing replacement. A tune-up can also save you money, keeping your electrical system working as it should.

Preventative Auto Maintenance Enhances Your Safety

Another major reason for scheduling your preventative auto maintenance is your safety and the safety of anyone riding in your car. It is dangerous and potentially even deadly to risk damaged parts breaking down while your vehicle is in operation. It is also dangerous to risk being stranded on the side of the road.

Most preventative auto maintenance involves small, low-cost services. But engine failure because of one malfunctioning part can put your whole family at risk. We have all heard about people and their cars being hit by passing vehicles on highways. The roadway is no place to find yourself stranded for any period of time. Nor do you want your vehicle to stop running in an intersection or when you are turning against other traffic and need your car to move.

Whether you are due for routine maintenance or not, schedule service with Carolina Mobile Auto in Winston-Salem if you notice strange smells or noises coming from your car. Also schedule if you feel your vehicle is handling differently. It is always better to err on the side of caution, than to compromise your safety.

Routine Maintenance Is More Convenient than Auto Repair

One certain truth is that it is always more convenient to drive your car to the shop for routine maintenance, than it is to break down and need a tow for major auto repair. Who has time for a broken-down vehicle?

Preventative auto maintenance ensures your car works as it should. These services also improve your vehicle’s overall performance. There is no better way to keep problems with your car from happening, than to schedule routine maintenance with a trusted auto mechanic like those at Carolina Mobile Auto.

Thanks to this routine service, you can avoid a dead battery when you are late for an appointment. Your A/C will keep working as it should in the summer heat. Your tire tread will grip the road as it should and you can avoid a blowout. When you need to stop, your brakes will work.

To learn more about preventative auto maintenance services and the services you need performed on your vehicle now, call Carolina Mobile Auto in Winston-Salem. Schedule your routine maintenance today at 336-765-8599.

anti freeze

Tips on How to Use Antifreeze

How often does my car need its antifreeze changed or coolant service?

Next to oil changes, antifreeze is one of the most common fluid changes for your car. Oil changes are easy to track because you hear so much about them through commercials and from your routine maintenance mechanic. But there is great confusion among drivers about how often they need coolant service.

You should never wait until your car has problems for coolant service. There are some signs that your car is overdue for this routine maintenance service. These five signs that you need the antifreeze changed include:

  • A higher than usual temperature gauge reading when your engine is running
  • Leaking and puddling of green or orange fluid under your vehicle
  • Grinding noise coming from the engine compartment
  • The cooling liquid has bits of rust in it
  • You smell a scent like boiling maple syrup coming from your car’s engine or see steam rising from it

What is antifreeze?

Antifreeze and coolant are the same fluid called by different names. This fluid keeps the engine cool year-round and yet keeps it from freezing in winter, too. It is a mix of ethylene or propylene glycol with water.

During routine maintenance service, your mechanic adds antifreeze to your car’s cooling system. This system pumps the fluid through the radiator and the rest of the engine as part of the cooling process. The liquid captures heat from the engine to reduce its temperature and keep it running as it should. Without this cooling, your engine overheats and breaks down. An overheating engine can damage head gaskets, the heads themselves and other parts.

Even in the lowest winter temperatures and despite containing water, antifreeze will not turn into ice. This characteristic enables the fluid that keeps your car from overheating to also keep it from freezing when it is sitting still. This makes it important to have coolant service often enough to keep the fluid levels high and the whole system running cleanly. Otherwise, you risk engine breakdown as said before, along with system corrosion problems.

How often does my car need its antifreeze changed or coolant service?

One reason why fewer people know how often to have this fluid changed when compared to an oil change is because this service is performed much less often. In fact, most late model vehicles do not require coolant service until they reach 100,000 miles. But older vehicle models may need clean antifreeze before 100,000 miles.

Letting the fluid grow old is unhealthy for your engine. As the fluid ages, it can cause acid buildup or becomes contaminated by scaling or rust. Either of these conditions break down the efficacy of the coolant, making it less resistant to temperature extremes. In turn, your engine runs too hot or does not start in the winter.

What Antifreeze and Coolant Service Includes

When you take your vehicle into Carolina Mobile Auto for coolant service, your trusted auto mechanic performs multiple checks. They inspect your radiator and the rest of the cooling system to ensure it is working as it should. They drain the existing coolant and replace it with new fluid.

You may hear the terms “coolant flush” and “coolant drain and fill” when talking to your mechanic. These are actually two methods of performing the coolant service:

  • A coolant flush involves first adding a chemical to remove buildup and debris from the cooling system. A machine then cycles out all of the old fluid, replacing it with new fluid.
  • A coolant drain and fill uses gravity to pull the fluid out of the system. It is then replaced by clean fluid refilled by your auto mechanic. This is the decades-old method used for antifreeze replacement.

Schedule Your Coolant Service Today

Do not wait until you notice any of the five signs that you need antifreeze replacement service before calling Carolina Mobile Auto for scheduling. Of course, if you have not had coolant service in the last few years or if your car is reaching 100,000 miles, it is probably a good time to bring your vehicle into our Winston-Salem auto repair shop. Schedule this essential routine maintenance today by calling 336-765-8599.

How to Make Your Used Vehicle Last Longer

How to Make Your Used Vehicle Last Longer

Every automobile comes with a factory-recommended schedule for routine vehicle maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations and tune-ups. One of the best things you can do for your used vehicle to make it last longer is to follow this schedule. These visits to your Winston-Salem auto repair shop also enable the experts to find signs of problems early. As a result, you can avoid costlier repairs and keep your used car or truck running its best for much longer.

Follow the Regular Vehicle Maintenance Schedule

Some of this routine vehicle maintenance includes:

Pay Attention to Alerts and the Check Engine Light

All of those gauges and lights on your dashboard are there for a reason. They serve to help you know when something is wrong with your car before a system breaks down. You should never ignore the check engine light or other alerts, just hoping the light will turn off and the problem will go away. In fact, doing so can lead to expensive problems, a breakdown and a shorter life span for your vehicle. Getting service quickly will avoid such issues and help you make your used vehicle last longer.

Maintain Fluid Levels and Filters

Engines have many moving parts that require fluids and filters to run properly. These fluids include engine oil, coolant and transmission fluid. Without routine vehicle maintenance, these fluids run out. They can also accumulate debris that can damage components. As a result, your engine could experience irreparable problems and your used vehicle will not last long. Take your vehicle to Cloverdale Auto on a regular schedule to check levels, change fluids and change filters.

Rotate Tires and Inspect Them Regularly

Your tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. They are essential for safety, handling, acceleration, braking, fuel efficiency and comfort. Still, many people neglect their tires until there is a problem.

To make your used vehicle last longer, it is critical that you keep your tires in good shape. Do this by having the auto repair pros of Cloverdale Auto inspect, rotate, align and replace your tires regularly. Also look for signs of problems like low pressure, uneven wear and excessive wear.

Use Quality Parts and Fluids

Avoid the temptation to buy your auto parts and fluids from internet discounters. Instead, use the quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer, those also used by your auto shop in Winston-Salem. Use the manufacturer recommended fuel at the gas pump, too. Following this advice will undoubtedly help your used vehicle last longer and keep running like new.

Practice Good Driving Habits

How you drive can wear and tear on your used vehicle and its working parts. Some of the behaviors that damage your vehicle over time include:

  • Fast driving
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Rapid braking
  • Sharp cornering and abrupt lane changes
  • Short trips less than a mile in duration
  • Not letting the engine warm up before driving away

When behind the wheel, avoid being aggressive or reckless. You will enjoy a smoother, trouble-free ride for longer and can also avoid getting into accidents.

Keep It Clean

Keeping your used vehicle clean actually plays a role in how long it lasts, too. Wash the exterior as needed and keep it waxed to avoid environmental damage to the paint and body. Vacuum the interior to help it stay fresh and looking good. Also try to keep your vehicle parked in a garage away from climate conditions. This helps keep the fluids, mechanical parts and electronics working in top form.

Involve Your Auto Shop in Your Plan to Make Your Used Vehicle Last Longer

One of the best things you can do to keep your used vehicle longer is to ask your auto mechanic for advice. Tell them you want to keep your car as long as possible. Ask your mechanic what steps you should take next to ensure it runs great for years to come. They may recommend specific part replacements or services to help you stick to your plan.

Schedule your next vehicle maintenance service at Carolina Auto Service in Winston-Salem today. Our trusted mechanics will inspect your vehicle, provide routine maintenance and explain what your used vehicle needs to keep running its best. Call us at 336-765-8599.

Does My Hybrid Auto Repair Require A Hybrid Auto Mechanic?

Does My Hybrid Auto Repair Require A Hybrid Auto Mechanic?

It is important to know that not all mechanics and shops provide hybrid auto repair. With each passing year, there are more hybrid vehicles on the road and a wider variety of models to choose from. These cars, SUVs and trucks will only become more mainstream as time progresses. If you are in the market for or already own one of these vehicles, do you have a hybrid auto mechanic?

Carolina Auto Service in Winston-Salem is your hybrid auto repair shop. Our certified hybrid auto mechanics have over 10 years’ experience working on these vehicles. As a result of this background, we have a deep understanding of required maintenance, common issues and repair needs.

Carolina Auto Service provides hybrid auto repair for all gas-electric vehicles, including:

  • Toyota Camry, Highlander, Prius and Sienna
  • Honda Civic, CR-Z, Fit and Insight
  • Lexus CT 200h, HS 250h, RX 400h, RX 450h, GS 450h and LS 600h
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Ford Fusion
  • Hyundai Sonata

These are just some of the most common hybrid cars on Winston-Salem’s roads today. Our expert hybrid auto mechanics provide service for all makes and models.

Hybrid Battery Service

One of the unique aspects of your gas-electric vehicle is its battery. Hybrid batteries are much more powerful than those of a non-hybrid. In your gas-electric car, the battery recharges when you use the brakes and supplement gasoline power to reduce fuel consumption.

These batteries differ in their size, power and maintenance. They are costlier than standard car batteries, although they require less frequent replacement. Hybrid batteries have an inverter for conversion of battery energy to fuel power as needed. With all of these intricacies it is easy to understand why you need a qualified hybrid auto repair shop.

Electrical Service Unique to Hybrids

Along with a unique battery, hybrids also feature a unique electrical system. This system can cause unique problems with the transmission and start-up, particularly in relation to the auto-start and shutoff features. Unless you work with an experienced hybrid auto repair shop, the mechanic will not know the nuances of your vehicle’s electrical system.

Brake Service for Your Hybrid

Your hybrid vehicle has a specialized brake system that enables it to recharge the battery upon braking. This system of regenerative brakes harnesses energy to recharge by absorbing the energy required to stop the vehicle. Although hybrid brakes last longer than those of a standard vehicle, they do require service by a knowledgeable hybrid auto mechanic.

Carolina Auto Service Provides Hybrid Auto Repair and Maintenance in Winston-Salem

When your hybrid car, SUV or truck requires routine maintenance or hybrid auto repair, you can trust the certified auto mechanics of Carolina Auto Service. We have over 10 years of experience in helping Winston-Salem hybrid drivers keep their vehicles running as they should. Schedule your service today by calling 336-765-8599.

Check Engine Light Diagnostic

Avoid Catastrophic Damage! If Your Engine Light Is On, Get A Diagnostic

There are a variety of reasons why you could see a check engine light illuminate within the dash board of your car, truck, SUV, or other motor vehicle.

The professional mechanics at Carolina Auto Service provide expert diagnostic service. Helping you to quickly identify the various triggers of your engine light illumination. Regardless of what kind of vehicle you drive, it’s important to seek professional help right away if you see your service engine soon light illuminate.

If you live in Winston Salem, North Carolina and see a check engine light in your vehicle, then it’s time to consult the pros at Carolina Auto Service right away.

We can quickly diagnose your vehicle’s problem. This will help you to avoid any further engine damages which could result from neglecting the check engine light.

The Purpose of Your Vehicle’s Check Engine Warning Light

To identify problems that need repair PRIOR to causing catastrophic damage to your vehicle. There are seemingly innumerable causes. Common issues are an engine problem, a problem with electronics, or a problem within your vehicle’s transmission.

New vehicles come chalk full of complex electronics. High tech computer systems which detect problems before they become threatening issues. That’s why your car is designed with this light. It is a safeguard for your vehicle. To ensure avoiding serious damage to your transmission, engine, brakes, suspension, and more. Your car will alert you that there is a high chance of failure before it happens. This is awesome, since you can prevent more costly auto repairs.

If you happen to find yourself riding down the road and the check engine light suddenly comes on, it’s no reason to lose your cool. You don’t need to immediately pull off the road and contact an auto towing service. But, you do need to find out what the cause of the check engine light is as soon as possible.

The best way to diagnose check engine lights in Winston Salem, NC is to visit Carolina Auto Service.

Our professional mechanics can verify the cause of your check engine light’s illumination. After identifying the root cause of the problem, we can create an accurate, reasonable estimate for the prices of the necessary auto repair. Then, we can provide quick auto repair service to fix all of the issues before things get any worse. Contact us today for an appointment.

Common Causes for Excessive or Uneven Tire Wear

Common Causes for Excessive or Uneven Tire Wear

Most people don’t usually think about their car or truck’s tire wear til it is too late. Like when they are on the side of the road dealing with a flat.

Regular service and maintenance is key to maximizing the life and longevity of your automobile’s tires.

Riding on properly maintained tires not only drastically reduces your chances of experiencing any flat or blown-out tires; It also helps ensure optimum fuel efficiency, traction and safety while driving.

Excessive or uneven tire wear is a clear indication your vehicle needs some sort of auto maintenance or repair. Ignoring uneven tire wear will end up costing more. This is because you will need not only the repair for whatever is causing the problem, but also very likely, new tires as well. Suspension related problems requiring maintenance are the most common culprits that cause excessive and uneven tire wear.

The location and severity of accelerated tire wear helps to determine the underlying cause. It also serves as a red flag for any potential damage being done to your automobile’s suspension system.

How Long Does Tire Tread Last?

According to Edmunds, the average driver puts between 12,000 and 15,000 miles on their vehicle’s tires annually. At that rate, most standard tire models will provide roughly three to four years of tread life. Of course this estimate is based on normal operating conditions. Keep in mind, if you are on the road more than the average motorist, drive aggressively, or operate your vehicle on unpaved roads you will accumulate tire wear at a faster rate.

Furthermore, if your vehicle’s tires are regularly exposed to harsh, tire-aging elements such as heat, sun, moisture or cold, they will also need to be replaced before the end of their projected life expectancy. Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing any tires older than six years, regardless of tire wear, or lack thereof.

Some tire models can last up to ten years. However, they usually do require a yearly tire inspection following the fifth year of their manufacture date. To find the manufacture date of your tires, locate the four-digit “POV” number located on the sidewall of the tire near its model number.

For all tires produced after the year 2000, the first two numbers indicate the week of the year the tire was produced. The second two numbers specify the year. Tires built before the year 2000 utilize a three-digit number POV number with the first two numbers specifying the week number, while the final number indicates the last number of the year. Tracking down the exact decade on a three-digit POV number can be quite tricky, especially on classic cars with much older tires.

Common Causes of Uneven or Excessive Tire Wear

Improper Inflation Pressure is One of the Most Common Causes of Excessive Tire Wear

Improperly inflated tires are the most common culprit behind most cases of uneven or excessive tire wear. Under inflation will lead your vehicle’s tires to wear excessively either on their inner or outer edges, decreasing their overall lifespan.

Conversely, if your car or truck’s tires have too much air they will wear disproportionately toward their center. You can find your automobile manufacturer recommended tire pressure levels typically indicated on a sticker found when opening the driver’s side door. Or, you can also find these specs in the owner’s manual. The auto experts at Carolina Auto Service recommend checking the air pressure on your vehicle’s tires at least once a month.

Bad Wheel Alignment

A car or truck with misaligned wheels will experience uneven, premature tire wear along either its inner or outer edges. A vehicle with bad wheel alignment will typically veer either to its left or to its right when attempting to drive straight. Of course this creates a potential safety hazard for the driver as well as other nearby motorists on the road.

Other negative effects of misaligned wheels include:

  • Squeaking or squealing tires
  • Decreased fuel efficiency
  • Shaking or vibration when steering
  • Increased strain on suspension system components

The issues in the list above will very likely lead to unnecessary/costly repairs if left without diagnosis/repair. If you are in Winston Salem and your vehicle is experiencing any of the above faulty wheel alignment symptoms, come see us!

Lack of Tire Rotation at Regular Intervals Almost Always Causes Uneven Tire Wear

Tires that haven’t been rotated regularly are a likely cause for premature or uneven tire wear. Tires that haven’t been rotated regularly typically leave patchy areas of excessive wear throughout their surface. This diminishes your tire’s overall lifespan as well as making them more susceptible to blowouts or flats while driving. Most automotive experts recommend rotating your tires every 3000 to 5000-miles, or with every oil change.

Suspension System Service & Repair

If you notice a rumbling/buzzing sound being emitting from any of your tires, or notice indentations or “cupping” on their surface, chances are one or more of its suspension system components require repair or replacement. Continuing to operate a vehicle with a suspension system damage can further exacerbate the problem leading to more costly repairs down the road. Therefore, you should bring your car or truck into an auto repair center like Carolina Auto Service as soon as possible.

Failing or Bad Tie Rods

A loose or worn out tie rod can cause your car or truck’s wheels to fall out of alignment. Which results in uneven, excessive tire wear. A tie rod is the metal component that connects your automobile’s wheels to the steering column.

Indications that it is time to repair or replace one or more of your vehicle’s tie rods include:

  • Difficult steering
  • Poor wheel alignment
  • Accelerated wear on the inner edges

You have a lot riding on your tires. That’s why it’s imperative to remain vigilant in inspecting and servicing your car or truck’s tires. Keeping your tires in proper working order is essential to maximizing the performance, longevity and value of your automobile, along with keeping you safe on the road.

Experiencing excessive or uneven tire wear in or near Winston Salem, NC?

Contact us today or stop in to set up an appointment. Our ASE-Certified mechanics know tire wear causes and solutions.

What’s That Noise? – The Five Most Common Car Noises and What They Mean

What’s That Noise? – The Five Most Common Car Noises and What They Mean

It’s usually not a good sign if your car or truck is making any strange, unfamiliar noises. Out-of-the-ordinary sounds coming from your vehicle are a telltale sign that it’s in need of service or repair. Often times you can diagnose any automotive service or repair issues based on the specific sound a vehicle is making. In this month’s blog, we’ll take a closer look at the five most common car noises and what they mean.

The Five Most Common Car Noises and What They Mean

1.) Squeaking, Screeching or Grinding Brakes

Hearing a squeaking or screeching sound when applying the brakes? This is one of the most easily identifiable, common car noises most drivers will experience.

It means one or more of your car or truck’s brake pads needs to be serviced or replaced soon. A louder, metal-on-metal grinding noise indicates that your automobile’s brake pads are completely gone. If that is the case, this means that your car’s metal brake discs and calipers are rubbing against each other.

It is extremely dangerous to drive with completely worn out brake pads. Additionally, it can become costly as well, due to damage likely being done to your vehicle’s brake rotors and discs. If you have any concerns about any abnormal sounds coming from your vehicle’s brakes bring it in to a reputable auto repair center. Our ASE-certified auto mechanics are brake experts and will resolve any problematic brake noises once-and-for-all.

2.) Buzzing or Vibrating Tires

A buzzing or vibrating noise, similar to the drone sound coming from a hive of angry bees or hornets, is one of the most common car noises that indicates tire trouble. If you hear this sound emanating from your automobile’s tire area while driving, it clearly signals that the tire is in imminent danger of blowing out or failing.

You should pull over as soon as possible and visually inspect all of your vehicle’s tires, along with measuring their air pressure. A buzzing or vibrating tire can signify a variety of different issues such as incorrect air pressure levels, out-of-balance alignment or rotation, a puncture, leak, or it is simply worn-out and needs replacing.

Driving with a buzzing or vibrating tire is a safety hazard to yourself as well as other motorists. This tire problem must be immediately repaired.

3.) Shrieking or Squealing Engine

A shrieking or squealing sound coming from your vehicle’s engine during ignition or operation normally indicates that its serpentine belt needs replacing or service. Aside from the horrible sound, a worn, damaged or malfunctioning serpentine belt can also lead to failures and problems with your automobile’s alternator, starter, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and radiator fan.

While it’s a fairly simple fix, you will probably want a highly trained mechanic to professionally service your vehicle’s serpentine belt, as well as ensure no other underlying mechanical issues were causing the shrieking or squealing noise under the hood.

If your car or truck is shrieking, squealing or making any of the other common car noises listed in this blog, don’t hesitate to make an auto repair appointment asap.

4.) Whining or Whirring When Turning

Whining or whirring sounds emitted from the steering column when turning the steering wheel. This common car noise typically points to a power steering problem. A whining or whirring steering column is normally the result of the power steering system being low on fluid, experiencing a leak, or a worn component in need of replacement.

You will want to get your car or truck off the road and have its power steering system checked out by an automotive professional as soon as you can. Continual driving may lead to further leaking or damage.

Local Winston Salem, North Carolina motorists experiencing any whining or whirring sounds coming from their vehicle’s steering column should definitely bring their automobile in for top-of-the-line power steering service and repair at Carolina Auto Service, conveniently located on South Stratford Road near the Interstate 40.

5.) Clicking, Clunking or Crunching When Turning or Accelerating

A clicking, clunking or crunching noise coming from any of your automobile’s wheel areas when turning or accelerating normally occurs when there is a problem with one of its CV axles. A CV axle is an automotive component that essentially connects and integrates a car or truck’s wheel, to its chassis and suspension system.

If the CV axle or its individual parts need to be cleaned, lubricated, repaired or replaced it will make a clicking, clunking or crunching noise when turning or accelerating the vehicle, which gets progressively worse over time and usage.

Operating a car or truck with a damaged CV axle is a recipe for disaster. It could lead to complete loss of control when driving and in a worst-case scenario, a wheel literally falling off. Needlessly to say, you will want to refrain from driving a vehicle making clicking, clunking, or crunching sounds. And of course, bring it in to an experienced mechanic right away.

Trust your gut…..

You know your own car or truck better than anyone else. If your instincts are telling you something just doesn’t sound right on your vehicle, visit a reliable automotive repair center. Carolina Auto Service in Winston Salem, NC will diagnose and repair your car or truck problem. Don’t let a minor fix snowball into costly repairs and replacements.


Get a Flat Tire

What to Do If You Get a Flat Tire in Winston-Salem

Get a Flat TireWhether it happens on the road, or while parked, odds are most North Carolina motorists have likely experienced the unwanted hassle of getting a flat tire. There are a variety of factors that can cause a flat tire, such as running over a nail or other sharp object, as well as damage from the elements, which causes a tire to prematurely age and crack. Poor alignment, hard impact due to an accident or pothole, as well as a tire simply reaching the end of its tread life are other common reasons why tires go flat. While there are a myriad of ways to get a flat tire, the solution is always the same. This month’s blog focuses on what to do if you get a flat tire in Winston-Salem.

Step 1: Remain Calm

Getting a flat tire is never fun. It can be an unsettling experience especially if it happens at night, in adverse weather conditions or in a hostile environment. The first thing to do if you get a flat tire is to remain calm. Panicking or getting upset will only make a bad situation worse and will negatively affect one’s judgement and decision-making ability.

Step 2: Pullover

If you get a flat tire while driving, safely pull over. If possible, try to pick a well-lit, flat area, safe from on-coming traffic. Remember that you will need to find a space that at a minimum provides enough room to change a tire, as well as possibly accommodating another vehicle. Don’t forget to set your parking brake and turn on your hazard lights as well.

Step 3: Call Roadside Assistance (if applicable)

In the event of a flat tire, calling roadside assistance is the easiest and most convenient way of resolving the problem. Most car insurance providers include a number of free roadside assistance calls with their coverage plans free of charge. If you get a flat tire in the Winston Salem NC area and need help, don’t hesitate to contact us at Carolina Auto Service.

Step 4: Do-it-Yourself

Not everybody has access to roadside assistance. Some may have already used their complimentary calls provided by their auto insurance companies or prefer to save them for a more perilous situation. Some of us simply prefer to change our own tires. If you are willing to get your hands dirty and have all the necessary equipment, you can save yourself the time and hassle of waiting for help to arrive. This is especially true if you get a flat tire late at night as well as an isolated or unsafe location.

How to Replace Your Flat Tire

  • You will need: road flares or reflective triangle mobile hazard signs, flathead screwdriver, lug wrench
  • If necessary set road flares or reflective triangles to alert other motorists.
  • Remove the hubcap or wheel center cap with a flathead screwdriver, if applicable.
  • Before jacking the vehicle, loosen the wheel’s lug nuts with the lug wrench. It is much easier to loosen the lugs when the vehicle is on the ground. Do not remove the lugs, simply loosen them.
  • Locate your vehicle’s hard point closest to the flat. Find a flat, solid metal point under the edge your car or truck’s frame closest to the flat. Many automobiles have marked designated jack points. If you really aren’t sure where to set the jack, you can use the end of the vehicle’s axel closet to the flat.
  • Position the jack correctly and slowly raise the car or truck. Stay alert for any movements or sounds that may indicate the jacked vehicle is unstable and might collapse.
  • Remove lug nuts from the flat tire’s wheel and remove the flat tire and replace it with the spare.
  • Tighten the lugs with the lug wrench then lower the car or truck back to the ground. Once the vehicle is stable, tighten the lugs with the lug wrench.

Step 5: Follow-up

Don’t be that person riding around on a spare tire donut for way too long. Spare tires were designed to be used “sparingly”. Even if your spare tire is a full size additional tire, driving for an extended period of time on your full-size backup leaves you vulnerable in the event of another flat tire. If you get a flat tire, make sure to make any necessary repairs or replacements as soon as possible.

To maximize performance and longevity from your tires, make sure to maintain them at the proper, manufacturers specified, air pressure level. Regularly scheduled tire rotations, along with routine balances and alignments are also essential when it comes to getting the most out of your automobile’s tires. If you have further questions regarding changing a flat, or tire care in general, feel free to contact us. If you would like to have one of our friendly, ASE-certified automotive technicians take a closer look at your vehicle’s tires or need service, drop by for a visit or set up your appointment today. We’re conveniently located in Winston-Salem, NC on South Stratford Road near Interstate 40. For other useful tips and repairs such as Timing Belt Replacement, and Water Pump Replacement contact us today!

Smog Check Advice

Smog Check Advice: Winston Salem, North Carolina

Smog Check AdviceMost states in America require that all cars and trucks pass some form of (bi) annual smog check or vehicle emission inspection to legally operate within their jurisdiction. Some states, like North Carolina, only require smog checks in certain counties, typically the more densely populated ones. Also, there are states such as Hawaii and West Virginia that don’t require smog checks, only vehicle safety inspections. We hope this article gives you great smog check advice.

While states like Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas, for the most part, don’t mandate vehicle safety or emissions inspections, except under very specific circumstances. Also, this blog entry focuses on smog check advice for motorists in the Winston Salem, North Carolina region, but for more information regarding vehicle emissions protocols in your area, the auto experts at Carolina Auto Service recommend contacting your local DMV, or visiting their web site.

Do I need a smog check in Winston Salem, NC?

All vehicles registered in Winston Salem, NC require an annual vehicle safety inspection and emissions test. North Carolina offers smog check exemptions for cars, trucks and SUVs that meet specific criteria.

Smog Check Exemption:

  • Vehicles 20 years or older
  • Some light-duty vehicles less than three years old or with less than 70,000-miles
  • Diesel-powered vehicles
  • Farm vehicles
  • Antique vehicles – Requiring special authorization for cars or trucks older than 30 years old

Here is the full list of the 22 North Carolina counties that require annual vehicle safety inspections and emissions tests. If you happen to be reading this in another state, check with your local DMV for more information regarding smog check advice, rules and regulations in your county.

North Carolina Counties that Require Smog Checks

  • Alamance
  • Buncombe
  • Cabarrus
  • Cumberland
  • Davidson
  • Durham
  • Forsyth
  • Franklin
  • Gaston
  • Guilford
  • Iredell
  • Johnston
  • Lee
  • Lincoln
  • Mecklenburg
  • New Hanover
  • Onslow
  • Randolph
  • Rockingham
  • Rowan
  • Wake
  • Union

Two Types of Smog Checks


A dynamometer is the traditional system of machinery used to measure a vehicle’s emission levels. A dynamometer consists of roller components that sit under your vehicle’s wheels. The roller apparatuses are connected to the system’s main electrical computer unit as well as a tailpipe emissions reading device. When revving the engine, the dynamometer measures the level of toxic emissions released from the vehicle’s exhaust. Dynamometers can be used to inspect any automobile make or model.

Electronic Diagnostic Scanner

All cars, trucks and SUVs produced after 1996 can be smog checked via an electronic automotive diagnostics scanner. This digital, handheld device connects directly to your automobile’s internal computer through its OBD-II port. The scanner digitally downloads and analyzes all emissions-related codes and information directly from the vehicle’s computer.

Smog Check Advice: Pre-Inspection

Regularly scheduled service and routine maintenance is the key to ensuring your car or truck will pass an emissions inspection. Conversely, if your automobile is not running so great, or experiencing mechanical trouble, your odds of failing a smog check increase. Furthermore, listed below are some useful, pre-test smog check advice that will increase your chance of passing any vehicle emissions test.

Check Engine Light

Your vehicle’s check engine light is a major red flag indicator that your car or truck is experiencing engine trouble and is an automatic failure on an emissions inspection. Also, before proceeding with a smog check, you must resolve any check engine light-related repairs or service beforehand.

Oil Change and Filter

Routine oil and filter changes not only lubricate, cool and protect an automobile’s engine components, but also significantly reduce the amount of harmful, toxins it emits. Furthermore, a smog check inspection is a great time to change your car or trucks oil and filter, if you haven’t done so recently.

Warm it Up

Warming up the engine, in particular, the catalytic converter, should be a part of any smog check advice checklist. All vehicles manufactured after 1974 include a catalytic converter, the engine component that filters harmful exhaust emissions. Also, most catalytic converters require about 20-minutes of driving to reach their optimal filtration levels. You should thoroughly warm up your engine before your scheduled inspection and even remain in idle while you wait (if possible).

If the car or truck you are bringing in for an emissions inspection hasn’t been driven for an extended period of time, the auto experts at Carolina Auto Service advise taking the vehicle out on the highway periodically two weeks before a smog check.


In terms of smog check advice and tires, it is extremely important to arrive to your emissions inspection with properly inflated tires. Furthermore, when undergoing a smog check using a dynamometer, underinflated tires can register a false reading, indicating an inaccurately high level of concentrated emissions. Also, the same goes for wet tires, excessive moisture can also register increased levels of smog. Additionally, if you have any concerns your vehicle may not pass a smog check, avoid coming in for an inspection on any wet or rainy days.

Smog Check Advice: What Happens if My Vehicle Fails a Smog Check?

If your car or check does not pass its emissions inspection, you will receive a detailed diagnostics report as to why your vehicle failed. Furthermore, after making any necessary repairs or corrections, you can then bring your vehicle back to be re-inspected. Also, if your vehicle passes the North Carolina vehicle safety inspection but fails the smog check, your automobile may be eligible for a repair waiver if it meets the following criteria.

  • Passes the vehicle safety inspection but fails the on-board diagnostic smog check.
  • Proof of repair, with a minimum amount of $200, pertaining to items on the failed smog check report.
  • The vehicle in question was re-inspected and again passed the safety element, but again failed the smog check.

Contact Carolina Auto Service Today

If you are looking for a one-stop-shop for all of your smog check needs, then look no further than Carolina Auto Service. We are an official North Carolina state-certified, vehicle safety, and emissions test and repair center, endorsed by the DMV. Also, our staff of ASE-certified automotive technicians is on-site and ready to assist with pre-inspection diagnostics, along with any post-inspection repairs or service. Located on South Stratford Road near Interstate 40, Carolina Auto Service has proudly provided the Winston Salem NC community with high quality, reliable smog check inspection services since 2004.

buy an electric vehicle

Should I Buy an Electric Vehicle?

buy an electric vehicle

The electric vehicle, or “EV”, revolution is here. According to CNBC, in 2021, global automakers are projected to sell more than 3 million electric vehicles for the first time ever, a rise of nearly 40-percent from 2020. Meanwhile, in that same timespan, overall auto sales are down roughly 25-percent compared from pre-pandemic levels. With some auto manufacturers reporting declines in sales of more than 50-percent during the peak of the lockdowns. Even before the unprecedented global pandemic and ensuing economic aftermath. New car sales were already in decline due in part to the emergence of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. In the last ten years, the amount of EV cars and trucks on the road has jumped from about 17,000 in 2010. To over 7.2 million in 2019, with those numbers expected to skyrocket even higher in the coming years.

In another sign of the changing times, the American electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla is now ranked as the most valuable car company in the world, in terms of overall net worth. The CEO of Volkswagen, currently the largest automaker in the world by volume, Herbert Diess, was quoted as saying, “The era of the classic car maker is over. We need to move faster on electric vehicles or we will follow Nokia’s fate”. Volkswagen aims to produce electric-only automobiles by 2026. With other major automakers like Toyota and GM making similar pledges to take place by the end of the decade. With EVs clearly on the rise, the question is, should I buy an electric vehicle now, or should I wait?

Why Buy an Electric Vehicle Now?


When it comes to cost, the price of EVs have dropped drastically in the past decade due to advancements in battery technology, the most expensive component in any electric vehicle. These breakthroughs in innovation and development have improved battery performance and efficiency, while dramatically reducing their cost. Electric vehicles are now comparable in price to traditional ICE cars and trucks, with costs projected to drop even lower in the coming years.

The main cost-saving of electric vehicle ownership is the fact you do not need to buy gas. According to the International Energy Agency, the average internal combustion engine automobile motorist spends about $1117 dollars a year on gasoline or diesel based fuel, while the average EV owner spends roughly $485 dollars annually on plug-in electricity.


In general, EVs require less maintenance than traditional ICE vehicles because they simply have less moving parts that wear out and need to be replaced. The most expensive component of an EV is its battery. Servicing or replacing one can be very costly. However, most EV automakers offer a battery warranty of 100,000 miles or eight years, the industry standard.


Gone are the days where electric cars are associated as being slow and underpowered; think first generation Toyota Prius. Electric engines have proven to be more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts due to the fact energy in an electric motor passes through a lot less moving parts than a traditional ICE engine, resulting in more efficiency and power. To put it in perspective, Tesla’s top-of-the-line Model S electric 4-door sedan blazes from 0-60 mph in 2.5-seconds. At a cost of $99,000 and can be purchased online today. There were only two other cars to ever record a faster 0-60 time in automobile history, a Porsche and a Ferrari, both of which were supercars that cost millions dollars and were never released to the public.


In the past, electric vehicles were criticized for not having enough range. With the evolution of EV battery technology, this is no longer the case. The average electric vehicle on the market in 2020 boasts a range of 200 miles per charge, while the average gas-powered vehicle gets 300 miles of range per tank of gas. The top EVs on the market have the capability to travel 400 miles on a single charge.

Improved Charging Network

A past knock on EVs was the lack of roadside charging infrastructure. As electric vehicle technology has matured, so has the network of electric charging stations. As of March 2020, the US now has over 79,000 EV charging outlets located at over 25,000 roadside charging stations nationwide. The number of charging stations is forecasted to grow exponentially in the next decade.

Eco Friendly

The whole idea behind driving an electric car is reduced carbon emissions as well as preserving the environment. EVs are significantly better for the environment than ICE vehicles because they do not release carbon emissions and are a lot more energy efficient than gas-powered cars and trucks.

Why Wait to Buy an Electric Vehicle?


The number one reason to wait to buy an electric vehicle is money. The longer you are able to drive your current automobile the more value you are able to get out of it. The average car on the road is twelve years old, so If your gas-powered car or truck is running fine and maintenance costs are reasonable, than driving it as long as possible is in your best interest financially.

If you find yourself regularly paying for auto repairs and service, you should consult an ASE-certified mechanic to see if your automobile is costing you more in upkeep than it would to buy an electric vehicle. Here at Carolina Auto we have delivered honest, no-nonsense vehicle inspections and assessments to the Winston Salem community for over fifteen years. If you’re looking for a reliable, trustworthy auto repair and service center in North Carolina, than contact us today or stop by for a visit.

Cheap Gas

With oil prices at historically low levels and with future demand in decline, now may not be the best time to make the switch to electric. The global pandemic and economic downturn have only accelerated the decline in oil cost and future demand.

Not 100% Sustainable

The common misconception is that if you buy an electric vehicle you are not polluting the Earth. It is true that EVs do not emit toxic greenhouse gases that harm the environment and are significantly more energy-efficient. However, when an EV is plug in and charging it is consuming electricity from the grid. Which is power in part, if not exclusively, by the burning of fossil fuels. While EVs produce less pollution while driving, EV engines, on average. Produce 60-percent more carbon emissions than gas-powered engines during the production and manufacturing process. Electric vehicles have more toxic materials and chemicals than ICE cars. Especially as it pertains to the battery.

Cheaper in the Future

In the past decade, the price of EVs has fallen to a fraction of what it once was. In that same timeframe, the performance and capability of electric car and trucks have improved considerably as well. Like any other new innovative technology, it only gets more cost-effective and advance as time goes by.


Gas powered cars are much quicker and easier to refuel. On average, an electric car takes eight hours to charge from a standard home charging unit. The absolute fastest roadside charging station can fully charge an EV in 30-minutes using the highest-speed charging outlet. You must also factor in wait times to access charging outlets. The time required for slower charging ports and the added cost of using roadside charging stations.

The future of transportation is electric. While the auto industry is rapidly switching to electric vehicles, gas-power cars and trucks will still be with us for decades to come. However, just as the world transitioned from using horses as the primary form of transportation. All cars, trucks, buses, planes and trains will eventually be all-electric.

Carolina Auto Service