Eric’s Auto Service Advice On Buying New Tires

Today’s tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Hamilton driver’s style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all Ohio seasons.

Hamilton off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires’ high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren’t interested in off-roading around Hamilton? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

Eric’s Auto Service tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

The same goes for wheels. When Hamilton auto owners shop for new wheels, they can be hard-pressed to make a selection from the thousands of styles available at Ohio tire stores. If they choose a wheel that is the same size as the ones that came with their vehicle, they can get them changed out and get back on the road, no worries. But if they change the wheel size, then they may need to make some important adjustments to their vehicle.

Upsizing a wheel may mean changing the suspension on the SUV. The wheel and tire need to fit inside the wheel well without any rubbing during turns or when driving over bumps. Rubbing can cause uneven tire wear and even damage the tires or cause safety issues.

Upsizing wheels also increases the unsprung weight of the vehicle which has a major impact on braking performance. The larger wheels increase rotational inertia, as well, which translates to longer stopping distance and lower brake performance. Upsized wheels may require upgraded brakes. Further, wheel size is used to calculate the speed and mileage of a vehicle. Changing wheel size will cause the speedometer and odometer to give inaccurate readings unless the vehicle’s computer is re-programmed to compensate for the difference.

So if you want to customize your SUV with new wheels, you should consult with a wheel and tire professional at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton to ensure you get the style you want without sacrificing safety or performance — and without damaging your vehicle.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your SUV on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don’t forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Hamilton a lot longer.

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Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At Eric’s Auto Service we’ve had a lot of Hamilton, Hamilton, and Oxford clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in Ohio. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Cincinnati folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this essential question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average car owners in the Cincinnati area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Hamilton. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if astute Hamilton motorists stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto maker’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Hamilton drivers know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton, for example, leaves an opportunity for harmful sludge to build up. Talk to your Personal Eric’s Auto Service tech.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Hamilton are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps MPG from decreasing;
  2. it prevents expensive repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most critical thing car owners can do. A full-service oil change at Eric’s Auto Service means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service advisor a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get costly. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Hamilton area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your technician at Eric’s Auto Service. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Eric’s Auto Service strongly encourages Hamilton drivers to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Hamilton auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Cincinnati. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

Eric’s Auto Service
1047 Millville Ave
Hamilton, Ohio 45013
513.867.0770

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When Do My Shocks Need to be Replaced?

A good suspension system gives a vehicle a smooth, even ride while providing Hamilton car owners with good handling and control. But like any system on your SUV, critical parts of the suspension system can wear out, leading to a lower ride quality and safety concerns. So it’s a good idea for Hamilton auto owners to remember an inspection of their suspension system in their schedule of a vital preventive maintenance. Springs do most of the work of the suspension system. The most common types of springs are coil and leaf, but air springs and torsion bars are becoming more common. The body of the vehicle is “suspended” by the springs.

If springs were the only working component in your suspension system, however, you’d spend your travel time bouncing up and down like a bobblehead. That’s where your shocks come in. They keep the rebound, or bounciness, of the springs under control. Shocks also keep your tires on the road, which keeps the driver in control of the SUV. Some vehicles have struts in their suspension system. Struts are a compact combination of springs and shocks. They do the same vital job but in a single package.

Shocks wear out gradually, so it can be difficult for Hamilton car owners to notice when they need to be replaced. There’s no definitive point when a vehicle’s ride goes from smooth and controlled to a bit imprecise. To check if your shocks or struts are worn, you should first do a visual inspection on them. If they are leaking fluid, they need to be replaced.

There are other less obvious signs that your suspension system needs vital attention. For example, an uneven, cupping wear on your tires may indicate that your shocks are worn. If your vehicle feels “floaty” when you turn, or, in other words, you don’t feel that you have full control of the vehicle, you should check your shocks. Also, if the front end of your vehicle dips noticeably when you stop, it’s time for new shocks.

Your owner’s manual gives recommendations on how often the shocks should be checked, usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles (24,000-50,000 km). If one of your shocks does need to be replaced, you should replace all four. This will keep your suspension even and ensure good handling of your vehicle. If you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive on uneven Cincinnati area terrain, you might also consider upgrading to a heavy-duty shock.

Regular shocks contain hydraulic fluid. The critical fluid helps them absorb the bumps or “shocks” of the road so the impact doesn’t transfer to the SUV’s body. Premium shocks are filled with compressed nitrogen gas, which costs more but does a better job of controlling body motions. Regular shocks can develop air bubbles that reduce their effectiveness; the premium shocks don’t have this problem. So if you want higher handling performance, if you drive off-road around Ohio or if you just want added comfort, you should reflect on upgrading to premium shocks or struts.

Replacing struts can put your SUV out of alignment, so an alignment check should always follow this type of repair. Talk to your Personal service specialist at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton.

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Bouncy Bouncy

When Hamilton car owners think about preventive maintenance, what usually comes to mind is oil, fluids and brakes. We don’t generally think about our shocks or struts, but these critical auto parts keep our tires on the road.

Hamilton motorists don’t think about shocks as often as oil changes because shocks and struts last a long time and wear out slowly. They don’t need to be checked as often as our brake pads or air filters. By the time your shocks have fifty thousand miles on them, their performance will have noticeable degraded. If you want to restore the handling and ride designed for your SUV, reflect on replacing your shocks and struts.

Of course, if you drive off-road around Hamilton, carry heavy loads, tow a trailer, or put in a lot of mileage on poor driving surfaces, your shocks or struts will wear out more quickly. You’ll need to replace them more often or upgrade to better shocks.

Your suspension system uses springs and shocks to absorb the “shocks” and vibrations of driving over road surfaces. Springs support the SUV’s weight, suspending it above the axles so the body of the SUV is protected from most of the bumps on the road. Shocks control the bounciness of the springs by moderating rebound. They also push your tires down onto the road’s surface, maximizing traction. Without shocks, your wheels would bounce over bumps and lift against curbs and corners. Shocks are vital to the safe handling of your SUV as well as a comfortable ride. Struts are a combination shock and spring in one unit.

Worn shocks result in lowered vehicle handling performance. If your vehicle “squirms” around corners or gets “floaty” over bumps, then you need to check your shocks. If the rear end of your vehicle squats while accelerating, the front end dips while braking, or one corner sags, you probably need new shocks.

Uneven tire wear may also be an indication of bad shocks. If shocks are damaged or leaking, they definitely need to be replaced.

If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, you need to replace them all. This will maintain an even ride and predictable, safe handling.

If you’re unsure whether you need new shocks, or if you’re considering upgrading to a higher quality shock, then consult with your Personal Eric’s Auto Service technician. They can give you vital auto advice on the condition of your shocks and how to match your driving needs to the quality of your shocks.

Good car care is essential to the safety, performance and efficiency of your SUV. It can improve the comfort of your ride as well.

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Serpentine Belt Service At Eric’s Auto Service In Hamilton

If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your SUV hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your SUV. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Hamilton.

Serpentine Belt Service At Eric's Auto Service In HamiltonMore importantly, the belt powers the alternator
. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your SUV’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most SUVs, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Hamilton cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Hamilton car owners realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Eric’s Auto Service.

At Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton, your Personal service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your Personal technician at Eric’s Auto Service. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Eric’s Auto Service, we recommend Hamilton drivers that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your SUV.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s is critical to the operation of your SUV. And it’s not that pricey to replace at Eric’s Auto Service – so it’s good to do so before it fails.

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Direct Fuel Injection Update From Eric’s Auto Service

For those of you in Hamilton Ohio who pay attention to these things, you may have been hearing about the new direct injection engines and want to learn more about them. Some deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines the conventional V6 makes about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version of the same engine makes over 300 horsepower and gets essentially the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version makes over 350 horsepower.

So what are the differences from a conventional engine?

The core difference is in the fuel injection system. The system most vehicles use now is called a port injection system. The fuel injector squirts fuel into a port just outside the cylinder where it’s then drawn into the engine with the air.

With a direct injection system, the injector squirts the fuel directly into the cylinder. The gain in power and economy come because fuel injected directly into the cylinder during the combustion cycle is burned much more efficiently.

First, the fuel is squirted in at hundreds of times more pressure, so it’s atomized much better and burns cleaner and stronger. The other big advance is in electronics. Faster engine management computers can control the additional precision required to manage direct fuel injection.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver a precise amount of fuel at exactly the right time. The design of the engine also dictates a particular spray pattern for the fuel. If a fuel injector is dirty or gummed up, it can’t do its job as well. That means less power and worse fuel economy for your SUV and can lead to damaged fuel injectors.

Replacing fuel injectors isn’t cheap. Direct injection injectors are even more expensive because of the extremely high-pressure they use. Same thing for diesel fuel injectors; we’re talking mortgage payment-range to replace a set of diesel injectors.

A professional fuel system cleaning from Eric’s Auto Service gets out the gum and varnish in the whole system, including the fuel injectors. Keep those injectors clean and they’ll last a long, long time.

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Steer Right In Cincinnati

power steering service Cincinnati

Virtually all vehicles come with power steering so many Hamilton auto owners have never driven a car or truck without it. Power steering assists you when you turn your SUV steering wheel. Without it, it would be very hard to steer.

Now this power assist comes in a couple of forms. In recent years, a lot of Cincinnati vehicles have an electric motor that reduces steering effort and helps improve MPG.

The other kind of power steering is hydraulic. This is the kind most older Ohio vehicles, and a lot of newer ones, have. Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump and is used to assist steering. Of course, Cincinnati motorists need the right amount of fluid in the system. If it’s too low your steering is affected and you could damage your SUV pump.

Also, power steering fluid can become corrosive over time and damage the pump, hoses and connectors; leading to leaks and repairs. Power steering service at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton includes removing the contaminated fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid.

A word for Hamilton drivers about power steering pumps: Some are powered by an electric motor. Others are driven by the serpentine belt. A worn serpentine belt stresses all of the SUV components it drives, including the power steering pump, so replace the belt at Eric’s Auto Service as advised to avoid undue repairs.

Losing your power steering while driving in Hamilton can be unsettling – just remember that you can still steer, it’ll just be harder. Check with your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service professional to see if it’s time to service your SUV power steering system.

In addition to power steering service, at Eric’s Auto Service we offer comprehensive automotive services including auto repair, diagnostics and new tire sales and service.

Give us a call

Eric’s Auto Service
513.867.0770
1047 Millville Ave
Hamilton, Ohio 45013

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Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment For Your Hamilton SUV

Imagine you’ve left Hamilton and you’re up in the arctic on a dog sled.

Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground quickly. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side.

That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you’re covering less ground for the same effort.

You’re wasting kibble.

Alignment The same is true of your SUV when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that’s pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the car; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed. You’re wasting gas.

So have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. It is critical to get it checked right away if you feel the car pulling to one side.

Sometimes we Hamilton drivers bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can take the wheels out of alignment as well.

Hamilton auto owners need to make sure they’re tracking straight. You’ll get better MPG and your tires’ll last longer. Now, mush!

Eric’s Auto Service
1047 Millville Ave
Hamilton, Ohio 45013
513.867.0770

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Keep it Flowing With A Fuel Filter Replacement At Eric’s Auto Service

The function of the fuel filter is pretty self-explanatory. It filters your fuel. The fuel filter is in the fuel line somewhere in between the fuel tank and the engine. Both gas and diesel vehicles around Hamilton Ohio use fuel filters.

For more information about your fuel filter, visit Eric’s Auto Service or come by our shop located at 1047 Millville Ave in Hamilton, Ohio 45013.
Please call 513.867.0770 to make an appointment.

Generally speaking there’s not a lot of dirt in our Hamilton Ohio auto fuel supply, but there is enough that you want to screen it out. The problem actually gets worse the older your vehicle becomes. That’s because dirt, rust and other contaminants will settle out of the fuel and onto the bottom of the fuel tank. After your SUV is five years or older, it can actually have a fair amount of sediment built up.

That just means that the fuel filter has to work harder as your SUV ages. It’ll get clogged sooner and need to be replaced more often.

A symptom of a clogged fuel filter is that the engine sputters at highway speeds or under hard acceleration. That’s because enough fuel is getting through around town, but when you need more fuel for speed, enough just can’t get through the filter. Obviously, that could be dangerous if your car or truck can’t get enough power to get you out of harm’s way.

For just that reason, fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter is severely clogged, some fuel can bypass the filter all together. Of course that means that dirty, unfiltered fuel is getting through to be burned in the engine.

This dirt can then clog and damage your fuel injectors. Now injectors are not cheap to replace, so you don’t want to cause them damage just because you didn’t spend a few bucks to replace a fuel filter.

You know, in a way, the fuel filter can be the poster child for preventive maintenance. It’s a little part, it’s simple and it’s cheap to take care of. But if it’s neglected, it could lead to thousands of dollars of repair bills.

Those auto service schedules in your owner’s manual are there for a reason. If ever you don’t understand a recommended service, just ask your Hamilton service advisor at Eric’s Auto Service. We’ll be happy to explain.

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The Right Fluids for Your Vehicle

Hamilton drivers’ current vehicles have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.

It’s important for Hamilton car owners to always use the right type of fluid for their SUV. Your service advisor and your owner’s manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.

Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it’s critical to know exactly which one your SUV needs.

Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among manufacturers, they require different additives, which means there are now a number of coolants on the market. The type of coolant your SUV needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.

Most vehicles used to require Dot 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need Dot 4 or Dot 5. Some Hamilton motorists mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that Dot 4 is somehow better than Dot 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently, and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your SUV is designed for just one of them.

Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, Hamilton auto owners still need them to be highly durable.

That’s the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original, important function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.

Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your SUV has 75,000 miles or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines and essential additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and Hamilton drivers should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.

Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. Ohio vehicle owners should take care to learn their SUV’s fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for Hamilton auto owners is making sure your vehicle’s fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our SUVs become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.

Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton.

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