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Archive for October 2020

Kingwood Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules

Posted October 25, 2020 1:51 AM

Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Kingwood drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Kingwood drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around Kingwood?
Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero TX temps?
Are most of your trips off-highway in TX?
Do you drive often in dusty Kingwood areas?
Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Kingwood?
Do you drive in very hot or very cold TX weather?


Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Kingwood on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Kingwood surface streets?

Let's suppose your owner's manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles/5,000 and 8,000 kilometers. Analyze your driving patterns and Kingwood weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you're closer to.

Why should Kingwood residents care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Kingwood or winter driving means that the engine doesn't heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn't let the oil protect it adequately. That's why TX residents need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.

Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in TX summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs. If you want some expert advice, talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Kingwood Service Center service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.

Kingwood Service Center
(281) 360-7323
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



The Sign of the Shield (Heat Shield Repair and Replacement)

Posted October 18, 2020 10:47 AM

Even in the months where temperatures are cooler, heat is still an enemy of your vehicle.  When your engine runs, it creates heat, so there are numerous heat shields that protect other parts from those higher temperatures. Heat shields are installed around several areas of the exhaust system.  Others prevent heat from reaching parts of the vehicle.  Still others prevent heat from reaching the ground (or maybe grass underneath) and starting a fire. 

If you remember your space travel history, you'll know how important a heat shield can be. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, but during that maiden orbital flight, a sensor on board was indicating the heat shield on his capsule, Friendship 7, was loose.  If it had come off, his spacecraft could have burned up upon re-entry.  Fortunately, the heat shield stayed on, and Glenn made history.

Unfortunately, the heat shields on your vehicle don't have warning systems like the space vehicles did.  So you have to maintain them.  Heat shields are constantly exposed to elements like water, salt, sand and dirt.  That makes them prone to rusting and corroding.  Here's one unfortunate fact: Materials that make them good at preventing heat transmission also are soft and vulnerable, often aluminum or special fabric. 

One sign a heat shield will give you that it's loose is noise; you'll sometimes hear it rattling underneath your vehicle when it's running. One way to locate it? Put your vehicle in park, leave the engine running and take a listen outside.  It's usually pretty easy to pinpoint the location.

Make a note of the noise when you are talking with your service advisor. It's important to have those heat shields working correctly so the heat is kept away from your other vehicle systems and combustibles on the ground. The good news is that heat shields can frequently be inexpensively repaired or re-attached.  In other cases, they should be replaced. 

Missing or loose heat shields? Let's just say they're not cool.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



Have a Ball! Know your Ball Joints (Ball Joints)

Posted October 11, 2020 9:54 AM

We all have joints in our own skeletal system, but did you know your vehicle has some joints of its own? One of the most important is called a ball joint.

One of the interesting things is that it's somewhat similar to the ball and socket joints we have in our hips and shoulders.  A ball joint allows two parts it joins together to move in more than one direction at the same time.

Think about your wheels.  They have to move up and down when there are bumps in the road but in sideways directions when you are making a turn. As you can see, the ball joints are important for your steering and handling to work correctly.

Since ball joints do so much, they can wear out and become loose.  When the ball wears down or the socket gets worn, there can be too much play in them.  It can get so bad that the ball can come out of the socket and your wheel can fall off, a dangerous situation.  Ball joints can also seize up.  Some of them are sealed and never require maintenance; others require periodic lubrication.

Here are some signs that your ball joints are going bad:

  • Your vehicle pulls to one side
  • You can hear a clunking noise coming from a wheel area
  • Your tires are wearing unevenly, especially on the inside

The earlier a failing ball joint is discovered, the better. The best way is to have regular inspections by a technician.  Your service facility will periodically check ball joints at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. The cost to replace them can vary widely depending on whether you have a vehicle with a 2-ball or 4-ball configuration.  Also, sometimes just the joints can be replaced, but other times they are part of a larger control arm assembly that has to have all the parts replaced at the same time. 

Your vehicle's proper steering, handling and tire wear all contribute to a better, safer driving experience.  Make sure your ball joints are up to the job.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



Such a Little Part (Climate Control Resistor)

Posted October 4, 2020 12:29 PM

You expect your heater/air conditioner to work like it should.  You have a control for temperature and one for fan speed.  You even have a control for what vents the air comes out of. 

Don't be surprised one day if your blower fan develops a mind of its own and starts going crazy.  Most of the time, you may find that it starts blowing at full speed, and nothing you do to try to control it does any good.  This is what may be happening.

Your blower motor has an electronic component called a resistor.  It does what its name says; it offers resistance.  When you want the fan to run more slowly, you turn the fan speed down.  That resistor accomplishes that by turning its resistance up.  When the resistor fails, the power has nothing to slow it and the fan speeds up. 

It's a small part and can fail due to age or corrosion.  It's usually not an expensive part, either, but it's often found in a location that's not that easy for the technician to get to.  That means labor costs will vary depending on the design of your vehicle. 

Occasionally, a faulty resistor can cause the blower motor not to work at all or only partially come on.  But other things can cause that as well, such as a faulty fan switch or vent control. 

This is where a technician's training comes in.  Special equipment can track down precisely where the issue is so you can be assured the correct part is being replaced.

It's just not pleasant when the blower motor isn't following orders.  Have your service facility check it out so you can be the blower's boss, like it should be. 

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



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