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.

Properly Disinfecting Your Vehicle in the Age of Coronavirus

Properly Disinfecting Your Vehicle in the Age of Coronavirus

As the world scrambles to deal with the fallout from the global Coronavirus pandemic, good hygiene and disinfection are paramount. In this unprecedented state-of-reality, where “social-distancing is the new-normal. And keeping all surfaces you come into contact with germ-free is absolutely essential. This would include properly disinfecting your vehicle’s surfaces for any virus particles that may have been contaminated with viral contagions. This is especially important for ride-sharing or public transportation vehicles such as taxis and buses, or app-based services like Uber. Here at Carolina Mobile Auto we have compiled a comprehensive guide on properly disinfecting your vehicle in the age of the Coronavirus.

Properly Disinfecting Your Vehicle: Where?

The steering wheel is one of the most important areas to focus on when disinfecting your vehicle. Did you know that a car or truck’s steering wheel can house up to four times the amount of germs and contagions as the average toilet seat? Aside from the steering wheel, focusing on any surface areas with high volumes of contact is key. Areas such as seats, dashboards, door handles, shifters, buttons and the seat-belt apparatus should be paid special attention. You will also want to concentrate on seat adjusters, the turn signal and wiper blade control. Additionally armrests, cup holders, storage containers, air conditioning vents and grab handles.

When cleaning any automotive touch screen displays, it is imperative not to use an excessive amount of water, which can damage electrical components. We also caution against using harsh abrasive chemicals when cleaning a touch screen, leading to the loss of its protective coating. Later in the blog, we discuss which cleaning products to use and which ones to avoid.

Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, serves as a highly effective disinfecting agen. It  eliminates most viral or bacterial contagions. Alcohol also delivers exceptional cleaning power, with the ability to break down and remove tough stains from a wide variety of surfaces. The main drawback of isopropyl alcohol is its continuous prolonged use will lead to premature wear-and-tear of vehicle surface materials.

Soap and Water

Common household soap, water and a little elbow grease are all you really need to rid your ride of any pesky virus particles. Most regular soaps on the market (think Dove or Ivory) are able to chemically break down virus cells similarly to how they dissolve oils. The friction generated from cleaning also contributes to the elimination of any virus or bacteria particles. Soap and water also serve as an effective, non-abrasive cleaning agent. Soap and water are effective on delicate surfaces such as leather, fabric and suede.

Disinfectant Wipes

Bleach-free disinfectant wipes provide a convenient, portable option for cleaning and sanitizing your vehicle on the go. Standard household disinfectant wipes deliver a quick effective way to eliminate most viral and bacterial contagions. A variety of automotive surface materials can handle disinfectant wipes to clean the surfaces.

When Properly Disinfecting Your Vehicle, Do Not Use

Here at Carolina Mobile Auto we advise all of our esteemed clients against using any bleach or hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning products. We also caution against the use of any ammonia-based blue-glass-cleaners like Windex on your vehicle’s surfaces. While the aforementioned products do a respectable job at cleaning and disinfection, they will also damage your vehicle’s surface materials. Not only will these products damage materials like leather and vinyl, they will also strip your vehicle’s surfaces of their color and protective coatings.

Wash Your Hands

The cornerstone in both fighting the spread of COVID19, as well as properly disinfecting your vehicle is washing hands. As you’ve probably heard countless times in the past several weeks, washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20-seconds eliminates virus particles from your hands. Frequent hand washing also mitigates the amount of contact any virus particles can potentially have with your vehicle’s surfaces. What’s the point of thoroughly disinfecting your car or truck, if you are constantly introducing a new barrage of viral contagions via your hands? Washing your hands on an hourly basis is a good rule that applies to staying healthy and stopping the spread the pandemic.

Hand Sanitizer

If vigilantly washing your hands frequently isn’t an option, then do the next best thing. Use an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer frequently. Sanitizing your hands helps prevent the transmission and spread of any virus cells to your car or truck. Here at Carolina Mobile Auto we recommend keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer handy when you leave your home. Practice caution when leaving hand sanitizer in your vehicle. High temperatures can cause the gases inside the sanitizer solution to expand and burst.

From the team over at Carolina Mobile Auto, stay safe, remain healthy. In these times of global crisis, we urge all citizens to remain calm and follow the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines by staying home, washing your hands and practicing social-distancing. We are all in this together, and we will get through this together.

Choosing the Right Motor Oil for Your Car or Truck

Choosing the Right Motor Oil for Your Car or Truck

Choosing the right motor oil is one of the most important decisions you can make as a car or truck owner. An automobile is only as good as its engine and an engine is only as good as the oil running through it. With an abundance of car and truck engine oil options on the market, how do you know which one is right for your particular vehicle and unique driving style? In this month’s blog, we take a closer look at the four major types of motor oil, along with deciding on which one to choose.

Motor Oil Basics

Oil is the lifeblood of any vehicle. It lubricates and cools vital engine components, allowing the engine to run smooth and efficiently, maximizing lifespan, performance and gas mileage. Routine oil changes are the single most important aspect in maintaining the health and longevity of any engine. It is essential to use the correct motor oil specified in each individual car or truck’s owner’s manual. Most automobile manufacturer’s will recommend two different oil types, one for normal operating conditions and one for cold weather environments.

Viscosity Rating

Determination of a motor oil’s viscosity rating is based on its resistance to flow at higher and lower temperatures. Each vehicle make and model requires a specific viscosity rated motor oil based on its own individual performance and operating characteristics. For example, 5W-30 is the oil viscosity rating most commonly found in cars and trucks on the road today.

  • Low Temperature Viscosity
    • The first number in a motor oil’s viscosity rating indicates its low temperature viscosity grade. For instance, the “5W” in the rating “5W-30” specifies the oil’s ability to flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, or -17.8 degree Celsius. The lower the grade, the less the oil will thicken in colder temperatures. Engines that operate in colder environments would typically do better with a lower viscosity grade. The “W” in the viscosity rating stands for “winter”.
  • High Temperature Viscosity
    • The second number is an oil’s viscosity rating signifies its high temperature viscosity grade. For example, the “30” in the rating “5W-30” denotes a motor oil’s level of flow at 212-degrees Fahrenheit, or 100-degrees Celsius. The higher the grade, the more resistant the oil is to thinning at higher temperatures.

Four Most Common Types of Motor Oil

There are four common types of motor oils used in today’s cars and trucks: Conventional, Synthetic, Blended and High Mileage. Each type of engine oil offers its own set of strengths based on price, performance and practicality.

  • Conventional
    • Also called standard motor oil is mineral-based and provides excellent, lubricant, cooling, and protection characteristics. Conventional oil is ideal for low-mile vehicles that are well-maintained and operated mainly on highways in relatively dust-free environments. The main advantage of conventional motor oil is its lower cost of operation and overall value.
  • Synthetic Oil
    • Synthetic oil incorporates advanced chemical refinement technology that delivers increased performance, lubrication and protection characteristics. Many of today’s luxury, high performance and hi-tech vehicles specifically require synthetic oil. While synthetic motor oil provides more quality, it also tends to cost roughly three times the price of conventional oil. Synthetic motor oil is a great choice for drivers who tend to drive in dusty environments. Also for drivers that do a lot of stop-and-go driving. And lastly, for those drivers that go on very short trips, as well as engage in regular towing activity.
  • Blended Oil
    • As the name suggests, blend motor oil is essentially premium-grade conventional oil and also synthetic oil. Blended oil offers a nice combination of value associated with conventional oil, along with the superior quality synonymous with synthetic oil. Blended motor oil offers better performance during high temperature, high engine workloads than conventional oil. Modern SUVs and trucks tend to use blended oils due to their combination of price and performance.
  • High Mileage
    • High mileage motor oil is highly recommended for any vehicle with more that 75,000-miles on the odometer. The design of high mileage oil is specifically to minimize wear-and-tear and increase longevity and performance in older automobiles. Formulated with seal conditioner, high mileage oil protects and rejuvenates aging seals in older engines. High mileage motor oil is also contains a ton of special fuel additives that help clean build-up and reduce wear in vital engine components.

Looking around town, you will find there are still a lot of older vehicles on the road today. More often than not, these automobiles were service history includes regular oil changes. As well, it’s very probable that the vehicle received the correct type and weight of oil as per the manufacturers recommendations.

If you aren’t sure which motor oil to use in your vehicle, bring it on down to us at Carolina Mobile Auto. We’re conveniently located in Winston-Salem NC right off the Interstate 40 near South Stratford Road. Our team of ASE certified auto technicians will quickly and reliably recommend a motor oil based on your vehicle’s specific needs as well as your own unique driving style.

How to Find a Good Mechanic in the Winston-Salem NC Area

How to Find a Good Mechanic in the Winston-Salem NC Area

For the average car or truck owner in the Winston-Salem NC area. Finding a good mechanic can be a difficult task. With a seemingly endless amount of local auto repair centers available, how do you know which one to choose? Do they deliver honest, reliable, high quality automotive service, or will you get “taken for a ride”? Whether you’re new to the area, or simply unhappy with your current service provider. Here are some tips on finding a qualified, reputable mechanic near you.

Online Reviews

In the era of information technology, which we currently live. Online reviews have become a valuable resource in evaluating auto mechanics. Websites and apps like Yelp, Facebook, Google and the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) are a great place to start any search for a good mechanic. It is important to digest the reviews from these companies with a “grain-of-salt”. At times they can be biased or inaccurate. However, if the majority of a mechanic’s online reviews are trending either positive or negative, generally you at least have some idea what to expect.

Fleet Service Mechanics

The top mechanics in any city are normally found working in fleet auto service and repair. Whether it’s corporate delivery trucks, government vehicles, taxis or any other business-related fleet, the most capable and qualified mechanics in town are usually employed by them. These are the same type of mechanics you want servicing and repairing your vehicle. Do your own research or reach out to a local city employee or delivery driver on the road and have them recommend a good mechanic.

Here at Carolina Mobile Auto, we’ve been providing top-of-the-line fleet automotive service and repair for over 15 years. We know exactly how demanding corporate and private fleet owners can be. When it comes to their vehicles, time is money. They only want the best, that’s why they come to us, because we come to you at Carolina Mobile Auto. Proudly delivering high quality, hassle-free, mobile pickup service in the Winston-Salem area for nearly two decades.

Entry-Level Service

Bringing your car or truck in for routine maintenance is an excellent way to gauge a prospective mechanic’s performance and professionalism. The best time to search for a new mechanic is when your automobile is in fine working order. A smaller, low-risk job like an oil change or tire service is an outstanding way to evaluate a new mechanic. You can get a basic feel of how honest and reliable they operate their business. It is better to be unhappy with your overall auto mechanic experience on a smaller entry-level service job, than on any costly, major engine repairs.

ASE Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Safety Excellence (ASE) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to certifying auto mechanics in the United States and Canada. An ASE certification is the benchmark industry standard when it comes to professional automotive technicians. Also, all ASE certify mechanics are formally train in every facet of modern automotive service and repair. While it is possible to come across a good mechanic without an ASE certification, and a bad mechanic with one. Are you really willing to take that risk with your own car or truck?

All of our automotive technicians at Carolina Mobile Auto are ASE certified. So we can personally attest to the high level of work and professionalism associated with ASE certified mechanics. If you’re looking for a friendly, experience, highly train auto technician in the Winston-Salem NC area that you can trust. Contact us or stop in today for an obligation-free visit at Carolina Mobile Auto. We’re conveniently located on South Stratford Road, near Interstate 40.

Warranty

Any reputable auto mechanic will gladly guarantee their vehicle service or repairs for quality assurance. A premium automotive service center will even offer a warranty on all parts and labor included with any car or truck repair. For instance, over at Carolina Mobile Auto we are an officially license AC Delco Professional Service Center. All of our work is carry out using the finest quality OEM-specify auto parts that come backed by a nationwide 24-month/24,000-mile warranty. Also included, as part of our repair service at Carolina Mobile Auto is 12-months of complimentary AC Delco nationwide roadside assistance.

In the end, you have to trust your natural intuitions and use your best judgement when selecting a prospective mechanic. A car in its essence is an extension of our own safety and security. You have to feel comfortable with any mechanic you work with because you are essentially putting your life in their hands. At Carolina Mobile Auto, we take this responsibility very seriously. Lastly, we treat every client and vehicle with the respect and dignity they deserve and go the extra mile to get every job done right. No questions asked.

7 Proven Tips to Maximize Your Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency

7 Proven Tips to Maximize Your Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency

Reducing your vehicle’s fuel consumption is one of the best ways to cut costs and put extra cash in your pocket. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the average American spends more than five-percent of their income on automotive fuel. Not only is maximizing your car or truck’s fuel economy great for your bank account, it’s environmentally friendly as well. Mitigating your automobile’s fuel usage, in turn, limits the amount of harmful carbon emissions released into the environment. Compiled below is a list of seven tips to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and save you money.

1) Routine Maintenance and Service

The first step in maximizing your automobile’s fuel efficiency is making sure it is up-to-date with all routine maintenance and service. Keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape ensures all engine components and fuel systems are functioning at optimal levels. A well-maintained vehicle will not only deliver peak performance, but retain its longevity and resale value as well. In contrast, a poorly maintained car or truck will provide significantly diminished fuel efficiency, along with costly breakdowns and repairs.

Regular oil changes are especially vital in getting the most bang for your buck in terms of automotive fuel economy. Keeping an eye on your vehicle’s spark plugs, air, oil and fuel filters are also key in minimizing fuel consumption. If you have any questions regarding your car or truck’s fuel efficiency contact us or visit us today. Here at Carolina Mobile Auto, our staff of friendly ASE certified auto technicians are here to help.

2.) Tires

Keeping your vehicle’s tires inflated at their proper manufacturer specified level is an easy yet effective way to maximize fuel efficiency. On average, under-inflated tires reduce an automobile’s fuel economy roughly 0.3-percent for every pound-per-square-inch (psi) drop in tire pressure. In addition, under-inflated tires create more friction and drag, resulting in higher rates of fuel consumption. Generally speaking, improperly inflated tires, which include over-inflated tires, are prone to premature wear along with posing a safety risk. Have one of our certified automotive experts at Carolina Mobile Auto examine your automobile’s tires for optimum efficiency, safety and performance.

3.) Drive Slower

High speed aggressive driving drastically increases the amount of fuel your vehicle consumes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reducing driving speed from 65-mph to 55-mph can boost fuel efficiency ten to 15-percent. The EPA also estimates overzealous driving behaviors such as hard acceleration, weaving in-and-out of traffic and fast braking can lower fuel efficiency by up-to 20-percent. Not only does fast, aggressive driving require more fuel, it also speeds-up wear-and-tear on your vehicle’s components. Needless-to-say, driving slower heightens your level of automotive safety by significantly diminishing the risk of any accidents.

4.) Reduce Wind Resistance

Another great way to improve your car or truck’s fuel efficiency is by reducing its wind resistance. Roof-mounted racks, lights and storage containers create additional drag that can lower your automobile’s fuel economy rating by up-to 20-percent. The same goes for open windows while driving, regarding fuel consumption. Removing any unused, exterior automotive parts and accessories makes your vehicle lighter and more aerodynamic, equaling better performance and fuel economy.

5.) Limit Air Conditioner Use

One of the most labor-intensive elements of your car or truck is its air conditioning system. Depending on your particular vehicle and environmental conditions, utilizing your automobile’s air conditioning unit can reduce fuel efficiency by 20-percent. When possible, driving with the windows open, along with relying mainly on your automobile’s built-in ventilation system for cooling are highly advisable. If you must turn on the AC, make sure to enable the re-circulate feature for optimum cooling performance and energy efficiency.

6.) Reduce Weight

Your vehicle’s fuel efficiency rating correlates directly to its curb weight. Every 200-pounds of extra weight added to your car or truck equals one less mile per gallon (mpg) of fuel economy. Removing all non-essential items from your automobile such as trash, auto accessories, sporting equipment, strollers, etc. can significantly increase fuel efficiency. Routine car washes are also essential to a good mpg rating. Removing dirt, dust and other grime from your vehicle, lowers its weight considerably, resulting in a boost in fuel efficiency.

7.) Avoid Idling

Last but not least is the energy devouring automotive phenomenon known as idling. Idling is incredibly draining on your vehicle’s fuel resources. When your car or truck is in idle mode, it is essentially providing a zero-mpg fuel economy rating. In essence, restarting your engine requires the same amount of fuel as idling for 30-seconds. Therefore, if you are ever stuck at a railroad crossing or similar situation that forces you to wait in place for over 30-seconds, we recommend turning off your engine.

If you would like to know more about vehicle fuel efficiency or have any other questions or comments, feel free to contact us. Also, if you’d like one of our experienced ASE certified mechanics to examine your automobile for any reason, stop by and see us today.

 

Six Tips to Help Purchase a Quality Used Vehicle

Six Tips to Help Purchase a Quality Used Vehicle

Buying a used car or truck is a form of art. A savvy auto buyer with the right experience and knowledge can easily purchase high quality, reliable used vehicles. Tremendous savings from its true market price no less. Conversely, inexperienced or first-time used car shoppers can easily get taken for a ride and end up with a lemon. Not knowing what to look for when buying a used car can have a devastating effect on your finances. Listed below are six tips to help you successfully purchase a quality used vehicle without getting burned.

1. Test Drive:

One of the most important phases in evaluating a used vehicle is taking it for a test drive. When taking a used car for a spin you should focus on its overall condition while taking mental notes. Is the vehicle running excessively rough? Are there any abnormal sounds, smells, leaks, or smoke being emitted from any of the engine, mechanical or electrical components?

It is essential to check a vehicle’s steering and brake responsiveness during a test drive. Fiddle with as many gauges and knobs as possible, like the radio, air conditioning, lights, etc. to verify they are in working order. Driving over bumps helps you determine the condition of the automobile’s suspension along with its overall ride quality. If possible, take the vehicle out onto the highway and see how it holds up under higher velocity driving conditions.

2. Vehicle History Report:

Obtaining a used car or truck’s vehicle history report from a reputable verification service provider such as Carfax or Autocheck is highly recommended. Researching an automobile’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) reveals crucial information about its accident and repair history, along with its ownership and registration records.

A reliable vehicle history report lets prospective car buyers know if an automobile has a branded or salvaged title. This occurs when a licensed insurance company officially designates a vehicle as a “total loss” due to a severe accident, flooding, or any other type of catastrophic disaster. Running a car or truck’s vehicle history report also confirms its odometer reading accuracy to ensure no mileage rollback has transpired.

3. Exterior Walk-Around Inspection:

When evaluating a used car or truck’s exterior, stroll around the outside of the vehicle while visually inspecting for any noticeable damage. At first glance, there should not be any fluid leaks or broken components. Here are some specific areas of a used vehicle to examine before purchasing.

Rust and Paint:

Any paint or rust damage will only get worse over time if left unchecked. Corrosion and oxidation not only eat away at your vehicle’s paint and metal parts but at your bank account as well. Minor patches of rust or paint discoloration on a used car isn’t the end of the world. However, large expansive areas of rust or damaged paint can signal big-money repairs in the immediate future.

Frame:

Visually inspecting a car or truck’s frame for any bending, warping or impact is vital when purchasing a used vehicle. Any sign of collision history should be considered a major red flag and can have a ripple effect throughout the vehicle in terms of performance, wear and safety.

Tires:

Looking over a car or truck’s wheels and tires should be a part of every used vehicle’s pre-sale inspection regime. Make sure all wheels are in good condition with no noticeable structural damage. The tires should all be the same make and model with plenty of tread remaining and no cracking on the sidewalls. Uneven tread wear on the tires is a sign of poor balance and alignment. Improperly aligned wheels and tires can signal much more serious mechanical problems, including a malfunctioning steering system, damaged suspension or frame issues.

4. Engine Examination:

When checking under the hood of a used vehicle make sure, the vehicle is not running. Glance over the engine and connected components for any obvious signs of damage. The next step will be examining the motor closely for corrosion or fluid leaks. All automotive fluid levels should be inspected for the proper measurement as well as the correct color and clarity.

5. Interior Cabin Inspection:

When stepping inside a used automobile’s interior cabin, one of the first areas to focus on is its upholstery. Closely examine the vehicle’s interior for any cracks, stains, and tears, as they can be very costly to repair or replace. All used vehicle’s electronic components including its audio system as well as it’s heating and air conditioning unit should be in solid working order.

6. Consult a Trusted Mechanic:

Most reputable automotive service centers offer used car inspection services for a small fee. Before forking over your hard-earned cash for a used vehicle why not have a highly trained mechanic give you their professional opinion on its sales-worthiness.

If you aren’t sure where to go for a used car inspection or are looking for top-of-the-line, honest, reliable service, then bring your used vehicle over to us at Carolina Mobile Auto. Conveniently located in Winston Salem, NC just off Interstate 40 and South Stratford Road, here at Carolina Mobile Auto our ASE certified automotive technicians have happily provided the local community with high quality used auto inspection service for the past 15 years.

Lastly, we look forward to servicing your vehicle here at Carolina Auto Service.  We are located at 1418 South Stratford Road Suite C Winston-Salem NC 27103.

Five Essential Winter Vehicle Preps

Five Essential Winter Vehicle Preps

It’s that magical time of the year again. As winter approaches and temperatures decline, now is the time to undergo the laundry list of winter vehicle preps designed to fortify your car or truck’s cold weather defenses. North Carolina is not particularly known for its harsh winter climate, averaging only six-inches of snow per year. That doesn’t mean you should let you guard down and not actively take measures to protect your automobile.

The past couple of winters, snowfall has surged in the state, breaking records in the process. Winston-Salem alone received over 12.5-inches of snow, in just one day, more than double the annual average. Abnormally high levels of snow in recent winters along with NC’s typical, over 40-inches of rain annually exemplify the need to always be prepared. While Winston-Salem is no Antarctica in terms of freezing weather environments, winter temperature lows do hover in the freezing range.

The Following Five Essential Winter Vehicle Preps Will Likely Save Your Car Or Truck From Harsh Winter Weather Wreaking Havoc On It…

The last thing any motorist wants is to break down on a cold winter night. There’s nothing worse than facing mechanical problems because you didn’t take the time to properly winterize your automobile. That’s why proper winter preparation is crucial in maintaining your vehicle’s lifespan, performance and overall value. Here is a compilation of five winter vehicle preps that will keep your vehicle running longer and stronger this winter and beyond.

Winter Vehicle Preps All Drivers Should Adhere To:

1. Battery

Checking your car or truck’s battery is a good place to start when going through your yearly winter vehicle preps. Colder temperatures increase strain on most powertrain systems due the fact the engine must work harder because of its cooled, thickened oil. The strain on the motor, in turn, intensifies workload on an automobile’s electrical system. What does this mean? A battery that functions perfectly fine in warm-to-mild temperatures may not have enough juice to work in the cold.

Another thing to take into consideration regarding automotive batteries is their CCA, or Cold Cranking Amps rating. A battery’s CCA indicates the amount of amps it can produce at zero-degrees Fahrenheit, for a 30-second interval. The older the battery, the more its CCA rating has deteriorated, leading to sluggish performance or complete failure in cold weather. A battery with a higher CCA rating is not necessarily the solution as they are bigger, heavier and more expensive. Visit us today at Carolina Mobile Auto and have one our certified technicians inspect your vehicle battery’s winter-readiness today

2. Tires

It is always important to have properly inflated tires on your vehicle to ensure maximum traction and overall safety. It’s imperative you actively monitor your car or truck’s tire pressure during the winter since air condenses in cold temperatures. Tires in general, lose about one PSI of air pressure for every ten degrees the temperature drops. Inadequately filled tires can spell disaster, especially on wet, slick or icy roads.

Colder weather causes the rubber components of a tire to harden, even on all-season tires. As the rubber hardens, it loses its traction properties, providing less stability and control while increasing the probability of an accident. Dedicated winter tires, featuring softer rubber aimed at mitigating cold weather hardening would be ideal. However, this is not an option or economically feasible for everyone. We recommend thoroughly inspecting and rotating your tires, replacing or servicing any that are worn or damaged.

3. Brakes

Inspecting and servicing your car or truck’s brakes is key to proper winter vehicle prep. With the increase in rain, snow, sleet and ice during winter months your automobile’s brakes are under increased distress. Moisture along with cold damp conditions leads to rust and corrosion, increasing wear while substantially decreasing performance and safety. Most brakes have a visual indicator, along with an audio signal, like screeching, to inform you it’s time for service. If you aren’t sure what to look for, bring your vehicle in to Carolina Mobile Auto and we’ll gladly examine it for you.

4. Gas

An often-overlooked aspect of winter vehicle prep is the gas tank. During the winter season, moisture collects inside a gas tank, which eventually turns into condensation. Excessive condensed water mixing into a car or truck’s fuel system can lead to an array of costly auto repairs. Condensed water that freezes inside the gas tank exponentially increases damage to the engine. Maintaining your vehicle’s fuel level at a half-tank or more is recommended to mitigate the negative effects of winter weather.

5. Windshield

A properly maintained windshield and related components are essential to winter vehicle prep along with safely navigating challenging weather conditions. Address cracks immediately as cold weather will further stress and expand them! And in doing so, will likely also decrease visibility and safety.

Inspect and replace wiper blades regularly, for obvious reasons. Also, always be certain to top off your vehicle’s windshield wiper fluid. Using the correct fluid is paramount as it has anti-freezing elements, and won’t freeze on you when you need it most.

Carolina Auto Service