Check Engine Light Diagnostic

Engine Light

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

Dynamometer

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.

Tires

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?

Cost

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.

Maintenance

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.

Performance

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.

Range

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?

Value

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.

Refills

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.

Dead Car Battery

Dead Car Battery: How to Fix

Dead Car BatteryAccording to the AAA, a dead car battery is the number one reason American motorists call for roadside assistance. If your car or truck won’t start, more often than not, the battery is dead. Dead car batteries are especially prevalent in the age of Covid social distancing. Where cars, trucks, and SUVs are driven less frequently, or not at all. Whether it’s due to drivers being out of work, working-from-home, schools. Businesses being closed or simply not having the money. People just aren’t driving as much as they used to. A decrease in overall driving activity increases the risk of a dead car battery. This is due to a reduction in the charging it receives from the engine’s alternator as a result of regular driving.

What to Do About A Dead Car Battery

Jump-Start

The most common method drivers cope with a car or truck that won’t start due to a dead battery is a jump-start. Keeping a set of jumper cables in your trunk is always a good idea. If you do not have access to any, you may be able to flag down a fellow motorist. Make sure to use your best judgement and approach any individuals on the road with caution.

After popping open the hood of both vehicles, first connect the red positive clamps to the red positive terminals on both auto batteries. Then connect the black negative clamp to the black negative terminal on the vehicle with the fully functioning battery that will be doing the jumping. Next, attach the remaining black negative clamp to any paint-free metal part or surface within the engine block. After first starting the working vehicle and letting in run a minute or two, you will then attempt to start the vehicle with the dead car battery. If it starts, make sure to drive around for a recommended 30-minutes or more, to sufficiently charge the battery via the engine’s alternator.

Roadside Assistance:

If you do not possess the necessary tools or are unable to find anyone to help, most likely you will need to call for roadside assistance for a jump-start or tow. If you are in the Winston-Salem area and you experience a dead car battery feel free to contact us here at Carolina Auto Service. We offer 24-hour a day, seven days a week roadside assistance service to assist with any battery, mechanical or any other automotive-related difficulty you may encounter on the road.

Do-it-Yourself:

If you consider yourself fairly handy, and have the necessary time and resources available, servicing or replacing your vehicle’s battery can be done as a do-it-yourself fix. First, you will need a multimeter, a handheld electronic device used for measuring electric current. After setting the multimeter to the 15 to 20-amp setting, connect the red positive and black negative contacts to the corresponding positive and negative terminals on the car battery. Did the reading registers below 12.5 amps? You will want to either charge or replace your battery depending on its overall condition and lifespan.

While your vehicle’s alternator maintains your car or truck’s battery charge through regular driving, it was never designed to fully charge the battery; for that, you will need a dedicated car battery charger. If you’ve properly charged your vehicle’s battery and it is still experiencing power loss or failure to start, then it will need to be replaced. The easiest way to figure out which battery to buy is by referencing your vehicle’s owner manual, or simply popping open the hood and taking a look. It is essential you choose the correct size and power rating. The main units of measurement when it comes to rating an automotive battery is Cranking Amps (CA), the amount of electric amperage it takes to start a vehicle at 32-degrees Fahrenheit, along with Cold Cranking Amps (CCA), the amperage required to start an automobile at zero-degrees Fahrenheit.

Dead Car Battery Causes

Lights

Leaving your automobile’s headlights or interior lights on for an extended period of time. This is a great way to return to a car or truck with a dead car battery that won’t start.

Air Conditioning

Operating your vehicle’s air conditioning. Also, climate control system is a major drain on the battery and consumes even more battery life and fuel when used with the engine running.

Electronic Devices

Any electronic device such as your automobile’s entertainment, GPS, keyless entry, security and other systems consume electricity, especially when the engine is not running and will increase the likelihood of a dead car battery.

Inactivity

Under normal conditions, regular driving is usually enough to maintain a charge in most automotive batteries. Infrequent driving, or not driving at all will gradually deteriorate your car or truck’s battery, draining its energy along with reducing its overall longevity. Did you plan to store a vehicle long-term? You may want to consider disconnecting your vehicle’s battery cables to prevent excessive energy loss.

Weather

Extreme weather conditions will prematurely age your automobile’s battery. Accelerating the time between battery replacements. Also, well as increasing the likelihood of being strand due to a dead car battery. Scorching hot weather causes battery fluid to evaporate. This reducing its ability to charge as well as emitting an unpleasant sulfur odor. On the other hand, cold temperatures diminish a battery’s capacity to transfer electric current. As evidenced by the difficulty of starting a car in cold climates.

Old Age

The average car battery lasts roughly three to five years. Did you notice significant levels of corrosion? Leaking fluid, a foul sulfuric odor, or the battery is swollen or deformed, it is time to take action. Does your vehicle battery is experiencing any of these symptoms? Then more than likely, it is nearing the end of it life and will need replacement soon.

Conclusion

Most of us will experience that helpless feeling of turning the key in your car. And pushing the ignition and the vehicle fails to start. The best way to avoid being strand with a dead car battery is proper maintenance. Battery maintenance is simple. In fact, it’s so simple, most car or truck owners never bother getting around to it. Simply visually inspecting the battery and cleaning off any dirt. Also, residue or corrosion as it accumulates can extend the lifespan of any car battery considerably. Do you have any questions or would like one of our ASE certified automotive technicians? Would you like them to inspect or service your vehicle’s battery? Feel free to contact us or stop by Carolina Auto Service today.

essential smartphone driving apps

7 Essential Smartphone Driving Apps to Take On the Road

essential smartphone driving appsAccording to the Pew Research Center, 81-percent of all Americans own a smartphone. That’s about a 120-percent increase from less than ten years ago, with the number of new smartphone owners expected to rise even further in the coming years. Smartphones have truly revolutionized the world. Providing the average person with a plethora of cutting edge, technologically advanced tools in the palm of their hand. It seems as if there is a smartphone app for just about everything, including driving. In today’s blog, we dive into seven essential smartphone driving apps that every motorist should have on their phone.

1.) Waze

This popular, free-to-use, GPS navigation app delivers real-time driving directions, traffic conditions, gas prices, and other useful information to all IOS and Android mobile devices. What sets Waze apart from the competition is its network of over 100 million active monthly users across the globe crowdsourcing up-to-the-minute traffic info and accident reports, along with alerting motorists of road hazards like potholes and police. Waze instantly processes all of this data while providing the most efficient, traffic-free routes possible, as well as seamless navigation. This easy-to-use, essential smartphone driving app is also known for its fun customizable voice options.

2.) Gasbuddy

While there is an abundance of apps dedicated to finding the best gas prices in town, Gasbuddy is the best in the breed. This free-to-download gas price app boasts an industry-leading network of over 60 million active users continuously sharing real-time fuel costs, updates, and ratings for over 140,000 gas stations across the United States, Canada, and Australia. Gasbuddy users are encouraged to report current gas prices by earning the chance to win free gas. Aside from helping drivers save money on gas, Gasbuddy offers an integrated gas station payment service, which includes a customer loyalty program.

3.) Plugshare

Plugshare supplies hybrid and electric vehicle owners with the latest prices, descriptions and alerts from more than 300,000 designated charging points located across the country. Also, Plugshare includes filters when searching for specific types of charging connections to ensure proper compatibility, as well as identifying rapid-charge stations and electric vehicle service and repair providers. This essential smartphone driving app is especially useful on road trips or cruising through unfamiliar areas, as it is not always easy to find charging or service stations for electric vehicles.

4.) Spotify

Music and driving go hand-in-hand. That’s why adding Spotify; the world’s number one music streaming service to our list of essential smartphone driving apps is a no-brainer. Just about any artist or song you can think of is available to stream on Spotify. The industry leading music app is also a podcast powerhouse, owning exclusive rights to some of the most popular podcasts on the air, such as The New York Times Daily and Barstool Sports, along with recently signing deals with celebrities like Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian. Spotify offers an ad-based, free-to-use version as a well a subscription-based premium service with enhanced features and integrates seamlessly with most modern auto entertainment systems via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

5.) Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers is the best pure road trip-planning app on the market. This handy, free-to-download smartphone app makes planning any road trip fun and easy. Allowing users to plan every aspect of their itinerary, including fuel consumption and travel time. Over five million specific locations like gas stations, restaurants, and lodging are plotted across the United States and Canada. Including detailed descriptions, reviews, and photos. The database also features other points-of-interest such as shopping, recreation, and cultural sites. Also, along with a myriad of other fun and interesting stops to break up the monotony of a long drive.

6.) Witness Driving

The only pay app on our list. For a reasonable 99 cents, you can transform your smartphone into a full-functioning dashcam with the Witness Driving app. For a fraction-of-the-cost of a dedicated auto dash camera, you can record your driving on a loop with this user-friendly app. Witness Driving is very useful for documenting evidence to be presented during insurance company disputes involving accidents. Also, fighting unwarranted traffic violations in court, as well as capturing other random events for fun. Witness Driving also logs the time, date, speed and location of every video.

7.) Repair Pal

Not all of us are “car people”. Repair Pal offers drivers a valuable resource that tracks any repairs done to your vehicle. Also, notifications for upcoming routine maintenance. In the event of a breakdown, Repair Pal can identify and contact the nearest available roadside assistance service provider. They can do this nationwide, 24-hours a day. Also, Repair Pal keeps real-time data on prices for each specific type of repair. They do this based on each individual vehicle’s make, model, and geographic location. This gives users peace-of-mind in terms of fair market value. While this app may be valuable on the road, Winston Salem locals know bringing your car or truck to Carolina Auto Service is always the right decision. Especially, if you’re looking for premium, ASE-certified auto repair service at an exceptional value.

Here at Carolina Auto Service we genuinely hope you received value from our list of essential smartphone driving apps that will not only help you save time and money but enhance your overall driving experience. With all the fancy apps and tech features available on today’s smartphones, we want to remind you to be safe. Lastly, stay alert and keep your eyes on the road.

Road Trip Tips

Five Safe & Healthy Road Trip Tips

Road Trip TipsHere are our top road trip tips! Road trips are officially back! In the age of COVID, traveling by car, truck, SUV, RV, etc. is once again en vogue. According to a recent US Travel Association survey, 67-percent of participants said they plan on taking some form of a road trip in the next six months.

Due to ongoing health concerns associated with crowds and enclosed spaces, many people are choosing to opt-out of traveling via mass transportation carriers this year. The AAA projects air, bus, train, and cruise reservations will be down 75 to 85-percent year-over-year.

Health and Safety Tips For Your Road Trip

Health risks and uncertainties related to mass transit at the moment have lowered gas prices. Additionally, government stimulus checks are contributing to the surge in demand for road trips. Many of us working remotely, or not working at all. Road trips provide an excellent way to escape the rigors of our “new normal”.

While maintaining health, safety, and social distancing protocols as possible. In this month’s blog, we break down five safe and healthy road trip tips. These are to consider in the age of COVID and beyond. After being cooped up for months, there’s no better time than the present to hit the open road. Many in search of some fresh air and excitement.

1. Always Plan Ahead During A Road Trip

Even during more “normal” times, planning ahead will always be near the top of any list of road trip tips. Mapping out your route, calculating gas mileage, and plotting out fuel/rest stops, toll booths. Additionally, planning any leisure activities along the way should be the first step in planning any road trip. Planning ahead also means making any reservations well in advance.

Also, being aware of any area closures, special operating hours, and health protocols due to the pandemic. It may seem like a bit much, but with the plethora of tutorials, apps, and online tools available nowadays. Putting together a safe, cost-efficient, and most importantly, fun, a road trip is easier than it’s ever been.

2. Routine Service & Scheduled Maintenance

Making sure your car is up-to-date on all of its scheduled maintenances is essential before any road trip. The last thing you want is to have a breakdown on a deserted highway in the middle-of-nowhere. Aside from regular oil changes, battery inspections, fluid top-offs, and more.

You or your mechanic should visually inspect your entire vehicle for any damaged or worn components. Keeping your automobile in great shape will not only help ensure a safe, hassle-free road trip. Also, it will help maintain your vehicle’s longevity, fuel economy, and overall performance. We urge all motorists to bring your car, to our ASE certified automotive technician. Do this for a quick inspection before driving off on your next adventure.

3. Don’t Forget to Rest & Hydration

Getting plenty of rest and staying well hydrated are more than just handy road trip tips, they are vital to reaching your destination safe and sound. According to the NHTSA, more than 38,000 people die each year on the road in car accidents, with more than 6,000 fatal crashes being than a direct result of drivers falling-asleep-at-the-wheel.

Getting the proper amount of rest and hydration has been scientifically proven to maximize levels of energy and alertness while driving. The experts recommend stopping every two-hours or 100-miles to rest. Maintaining a sufficient level of sleep and hydration also helps fortify your body’s immune system, which is crucial in defending yourself against the Coronavirus.

4. Pack the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

In these unprecedented times we find ourselves in, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, face shields, and any other personal protective equipment are the new “don’t leave home without it” items we carry with us whenever we leave the house. Also, don’t forget the disinfectant wipes and/or cleaning products.

At some point, you, your family, or your group of buddies will have to eventually exit your car or truck and come into contact with potentially infected people or surfaces. Whether it’s a gas pump nozzle, an ATM machine, a restaurant counter or public restroom, COVID, or not, having disinfectant wipes in your vehicle ready-to-go should be an on everyone’s list of road trip tips.

5. Healthy Snacks For Your Road Trip

Last but not least on our list of road trip tips is packing healthy snacks and refreshments. Fresh fruits carrots, jerky, nuts, popcorn, and protein bars, among many others, are great portable snacks to bring along for the ride. Munching on these nutrient-rich snacks throughout your journey will help keep you alert, energetic as well as boost your immune system.

Not to mention the fact your food options on the road typically consist of unhealthy gas station snacks or fast food. Bringing your own healthy collection of munchies will also help minimize exposure to the gas station and restaurant employees, patrons, and surfaces.

The road trip renaissance is real. In case you needed any more evidence, according to Car and Driver, RV and motorhome sales and rentals are “booming” due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Like much of the country, North Carolinians are ready, willing, and able to travel. Do you have any questions regarding your next road trip? Would like to bring your vehicle in for an inspection? Contact us today or stop by for a visit.

Money-Saving Driving Hacks

Five Recession-Proof, Money-Saving Driving Hacks

Money-Saving Driving Hacks2020 has been a turbulent year, to say the least. As the country now finds itself in the midst of an economic recession, most Carolina residents are looking to save. The average American household ranks car costs: fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc. number two overall, after housing, in terms of salary allocation. According to the AAA, the average car or truck owner spends $6650 a year, or $554 a month on operating costs, per vehicle. We explore five useful, money-saving driving hacks that will reduce vehicle-operating costs in these times of economic strife.

#1 Reduce Weight

Eliminating clutter from your car is a simple, yet overlooked money-saving driving hack that anyone can do. You’d be surprised how much all the random things in your car actually weighs. All that extra weight equals more money spent at the pump. On average, for every additional 100-lbs of weight in your ride, you can expect about a two-percent reduction in gas mileage. Smaller cars and trucks experience an even more pronounced decline in fuel efficiency when carrying additional weight.

#2 Decrease Engine Idle Time

When stuck in traffic, at a red light, a drive-thru, etc. your automobile continues to consume fuel while idling. You are essentially getting zero miles-per-gallon when your car or truck’s engine idles, burning gas as well as cash. If your vehicle is at a stop and idling for more than ten seconds, we recommend shutting off your engine. Restarting your engine is actually more cost-efficient than idling for longer than ten seconds. Shifting your car’s transmission into neutral when stopped ten-seconds is more fuel-efficient than letting your engine idle. However, is less efficient than powering down your motor.

#3 Combine Short Trips

Warming-up a car that’s been parked for more than a couple hours consumes more fuel than a freshly driven vehicle. Planning-ahead and consolidating several errands around town into one trip is a great way to maximize fuel efficiency and save money. Combining short trips also helps to reduce the risk of costly repairs caused by worn-out engine components. If possible, make sure to avoid driving routes that are prone to traffic during certain hours. Sometimes taking the “long way’ is more cost-effective than a more direct path due to road congestion, stop signs, traffic lights, or narrow, winding roads.

#4 Smarter Fuel Shopping

Knowing exactly when and where to purchase gas is often an underappreciated, money-saving driving hack. It pays dividends whether the economy is booming or going bust. According to Money.com, the price-per-gallon of gas varies around 50-cents in the average zip code. Over the course of a year, consistently filling up at the best-priced gas stations in town equals a savings of roughly $270 annually. Smartphone apps like Gasbuddy, provide a quick, convenient method of tracking down the best fuel prices. Remember, gas stations in affluent neighborhoods or located just off highways tend to charge a premium.

#5 Save Money on Auto Insurance

Shopping around for the best car insurance rates can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. Different insurance companies will charge different rates based on a wide variety of factors such as geographical location, vehicle make and model, credit score, and each individual companies’ internal data. Many insurance providers offer promotional discounts to lure potential clients away from their industry competitors.

Most reputable car insurance companies offer discounts to motorists who insure multiple vehicles or additional drivers. Many providers also offer discounts to their customers who currently pay the same company for other services like home, fire, or life insurance coverage. Agreeing to structure your auto insurance payments into a lump sum, six or twelve-month tranches, will typically lead to increased cost-savings as well.

Aside from the money-saving driving hacks listed above, you can never go wrong making sure your car or truck has undergone all of its routine maintenance services. Especially during these unprecedented times. The team at Carolina Auto Service is well aware the country is going through extraordinary circumstances at-the-moment, including an economic recession. We remain dedicated to faithfully serving the Winston-Salem community’s automotive service and repair needs as we have since 2004. We commit ourselves to do our part in making sure NC motorists are getting the best value. Lastly, we hope that these money-saving driving hacks have helped you! Call us anytime!

Carolina Auto Service