Now that you're out in the real world and on your own, you're faced with new responsibilities. You have to start paying bills, stocking your fridge, and even taking care of your car. While you're away at college, it's important that you keep your car in good shape. It would be unfortunate if you were late to a class because of a dead battery or missed a final because of a flat tire. To prevent any misfortunes, Toyota of N Charlotte has created a car care guide for you!
Stick to a routine car maintenance schedule
Car breakdowns and problems are preventable if you keep your car maintained. One of the best ways to make sure your car is always caught up on auto service is to have it brought into our Charlotte Toyota Service Center regularly for service like:
- Oil changes - if using conventional motor oil, your vehicle needs a Charlotte oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. However, if your car uses synthetic motor oil, your engine needs an oil change every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Neglecting routine oil changes can cause serious damages to your engine.
- Tire rotations - prevent uneven wear with tire rotations every 5,000 miles. Our Charlotte auto service technicians remove all four tires, and rotate them from left to right and front to back.
- Brake service - a car's brake system should be inspected every time it goes in for service. Different components of the car brake system have to be fixed and replaced, like the brake pads. Brake pads should be replaced every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, or however often your car's owner's manual suggests.
- Battery tests - car batteries are made to last for about three to five years. Have your car battery charge tested every visit to our Charlotte auto service center to check if it needs replacing.
Seasonal auto service in Charlotte
Now that you're away at college, you must also learn preparation and car care tips for the changing seasons. Before the season switches, get your car ready at our Toyota Service Center in Charlotte!
- Fall - top-off any fluids that may be low from summer, wash and wax the interior to protect the paint from falling foliage, and get a tune-up for components under the hood like spark plugs and distributor caps.
- Winter - replace windshield wipers for maximum visibility in snow, check tires for proper inflation and tread wear, pack a roadside emergency kit, and replace any blown bulbs or fuses.
- Spring - wash off any remaining road salt, check the alignment and suspension, detail the interior of the car, and replace windshield wipers in preparation for April showers.
- Summer - check car tires for sufficient tread depth, have headlights restored, have your cooling system inspected and the coolant topped off, and the motor oil changed.
Signs your car needs auto repairs
If you've ignored maintenance needs for your car, it will eventually begin to show signs that it needs auto repairs. As soon as you notice that your car is trying to tell you it needs auto service, bring it to our Toyota Service Center in Charlotte. Some signs you can see, some you can hear, and some you smell! The experts at our auto service center can explain some of the indications you may experience including:
If you see it
If you're driving, and you notice something unusual, you could be in need of auto repairs. Some things you could see when driving are:Dashboard lights - if you see an illuminated symbol or sign on your dashboard, bring it to our auto repairs center. Different lights mean different alerts or problems. A few of the lights you might see include the:
- Check engine light - this could mean anything from your gas cap is loose to a malfunctioning catalytic converter. Have it checked by our Toyota-trained technicians just to be safe!
- Low tire pressure - your tire pressure is too low or could be flat. Check the air pressure in the tire and fill it up if it's below the recommended psi.
- Oil warning light -this light is triggered if your car's oil is too low or if the oil temperature gets too high. Have your car's engine inspected ASAP at our Toyota Service Center in Charlotte.
- Brake system warning light - a dashboard light with an exclamation point inside a circle, indicates that there is something wrong with the car's braking system. Consider having your car brought to our auto repairs center to avoid any risks.
Smoke - catching a glimpse of smoke billowing out from under the hood of your car is never a good sign. If you see smoke, pull over to safety immediately. Do not attempt to open the hood right away, as the smoke or steam could hurt you. Smoke coming from your hood is often an indication of the engine overheating. Do not attempt to drive your car again. Instead, call a towing service and have it brought to our auto service center.
If you hear it
Any loud or unexpected noises when driving can be alarming. However, some require immediate attention while others aren't an emergency. If you can't decipher what that noise you heard means, our car maintenance experts can help!
- Screeching and squealing - a screech or squeal is an indication of your car brakes needing maintenance. An ear-splitting sound like this when you press on the brake pedals typically means that your brake pads or brake rotors needs replacing.
- Knocking - if you hear a knocking or rattling sound coming from the under the hood, this should be addressed immediately. This sound could mean transmission or engine problems.
- A pop - a loud pop and then a constant thumping is an indication that a tire has just blown out and went flat. This sound is usually accompanied by a jerk of the steering wheel. For a flat tire, pull over to a safe place and replace with a spare tire, or call roadside assistance.
If you smell it
Has a random odor or scent just hit your nostrils while out on the road? Identifying the smell can help identify the problem your car is facing! Some common car smells include:
- Rotten eggs - a malfunctioning catalytic converter
- Burning carpet - brake system issues
- Sweet syrup - a coolant leak
- Burnt toast - electrical short circuit or melted wiring
Keep up with car maintenance at our Charlotte Toyota Service Center!
You have a lot of things to worry about when you head off to college, let our auto service center worry about your car. Between studying and attending class, stop by Toyota of N Charlotte to have your vehicle looked at by our car care experts. We'll have your car taken care of in no time!
Visit us at 13429 Statesville Road, just off of I-77 at exit 23! To save time, call us at (888) 378-1214!