Easy Miles

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Have you ever noticed that your auto maker has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the vital parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Hamilton are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Cincinnati are less than four miles, you should examine using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each SUV engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of Ohio highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Hamilton all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why gas mileage ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Hamilton drivers think of severe Ohio weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Cincinnati area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Hamilton weather is also dangerous for SUVs. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot Ohio weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another essential element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Hamilton areas are detrimental to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Hamilton, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Hamilton drivers drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Hamilton drivers will ask themselves the question: “Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?” An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

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Cool Running In Hamilton

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Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your SUV engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the freeway in Hamilton waiting for your SUV engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Eric’s Auto Service, your service professional will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your SUV owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your Personal service specialist will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the SUV radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an inspection regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your SUV cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your SUV cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service advisor will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Eric’s Auto Service is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Hamilton for 16 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Cincinnati repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in Ohio.

At Eric’s Auto Service, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

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Differential Service At Eric’s Auto Service: Viva la Difference

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Every SUV on Ohio expressways has a differential, and it is important to the proper operation of the vehicle, but most Hamilton car owners don’t have a clue what it is.

The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the SUV must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.

Differential Service At Eric's Auto Service: Vive ala Difference Have you ever seen the large bugle-shaped object in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That’s the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV’s have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.

You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You’d be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.

In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the critical job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don’t want your differential to seize up. That results in pricey damage to your SUV.

So you need to have your SUV differential serviced regularly. It’s not a complicated job. At Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton we’ve been servicing differentials for 16 years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Hamilton service center will ensure you are getting what your SUV needs.

The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner’s manual or Eric’s Auto Service to find out how often your SUV differential needs to be serviced.

Generally, however, front-wheel drive vehicles need their differential serviced more often than rear-wheel drive vehicles. Also, if you spend a lot of time off-road or on Cincinnati area dirt or gravel roads, or if you drive through water, you will need to service your differential more often than the standard recommendation – check with your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service specialist.

Preventive maintenance for your differential is good car care that can spare you pricey repair bills. Knowing what your differential is and how it operates is essential and will help you understand why this is good auto advice. Remember, take care of your SUV, and it will take care of you.

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Automotive Detective Work In Hamilton

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There’s a reason we use the word “diagnose” when we talk about fixing cars in Hamilton. Figuring out what’s wrong with your SUV has a lot of similarities to figuring out what’s wrong with someone who is ill. Vehicles are a mass of complex systems that can produce a variety of symptoms when something goes wrong. As with human diagnoses, a specific symptom may be indicative of a number of problems, and figuring out the specific cause takes training and experience.

Sometimes the diagnosis of your SUV’s trouble comes down to a matter of trial-and-error. This can be frustrating for Hamilton drivers because time and money are on the line. You may feel you should only be paying for repair work. Of course, you only want to pay for the right repair – and a proper diagnosis is part of getting it right. Like at the Hamilton doctor’s office — some of what you pay for is the doctor’s time and effort to figure out what’s wrong with you, not for the actual cure.

The good news is that Hamilton motorists can do a lot to help out their Personal Eric’s Auto Service technician in figuring out what’s wrong with their SUV. Again, the medical office is a good analogy. The more information you can give your doctor about where it hurts, when it hurts and how it hurts, the more quickly he will be able to help you. In the same way, the more you can tell your Hamilton service technician about when the problem occurs, what is sounds like, how often it occurs, where it occurs, etc., the more efficiently he will be able to get you back on the road.

Good auto advice: learn how to talk to your Hamilton service specialist.

If fluid is leaking from your SUV, you should note the color of the fluid, where under the car the puddles form, and when they form (e.g. only when it’s parked for a while, only if the engine’s hot, when the weather turns cold, etc.). For example, if your SUV is making an unusual sound, you should indicate where the sound is coming from, what kind of sound it is, and when you hear it (again, be very specific). The more details you can give, the more helpful you will be. “I hear the sound when I turn left” is more helpful than “I hear the sound when I turn.” After a few conversations with your Eric’s Auto Service service professional, you should get a feel for the kind of information he needs.

If you drop your car off, leave a detailed note describing information about your SUV’s problem. A quickly scrawled “Making a funny noise” will only lead to frustration for both your technician and for you. Good communication leads to better car care for Hamilton motorists.

If your SUV is occasionally stalling or sputtering, you may need a little more patience than with other types of car trouble because these types of problems are intermittent. In order to fix the trouble, your service professional often finds it helpful to reproduce the symptoms. And if the problem is intermittent, it may take a while to do so.

In these cases, specific information can be invaluable, as it can significantly reduce the time it takes for your Personal service advisor to get your SUV to misbehave. For example, if you can tell your technician that the vehicle only acts up after it’s been driven for 20 minutes and over 50 mph, it will allow him to quickly reproduce your problem, greatly reducing the time it will take for a car diagnosis in Hamilton and then get it fixed.

Good preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping your car out of the Cincinnati repair shop, but if you need to get it fixed, good communication will get you back on the road quickly.

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Shake It Up in Hamilton!: Why Wheel Balancing

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Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Hamilton motorists generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Hamilton auto owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service advisor spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Hamilton car owners are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Hamilton drivers can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your SUV — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the expressway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the detrimental vibration. When Hamilton car owners’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and vital suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton can prevent costly repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your SUV as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your fuel economy. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Eric’s Auto Service, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Hamilton vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your SUV. Balancing your tires is part of vital preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some expensive ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Eric’s Auto Service. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Hamilton drivers’ nerves.

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Save Fuel By Watching Your Weight

Most Hamilton motorists are all talking gas mileage right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Ohio folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Hamilton auto owners all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum gas mileage. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Hamilton drivers can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of gas mileage. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Hamilton to Hamilton to Fairfield. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around Hamilton? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Hamilton neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your SUV: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your vehicle. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around Hamilton all the time.

After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some income
.

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Fuel Injection Basics For Hamilton

All modern Hamilton vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it’s a topic Cincinnati drivers need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount, at the right time; to be mixed with air and burned in the engine.

So how many fuel injectors does your car have? There’s one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in Hamilton, Ohio. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are a pretty high-tech.

Eric’s Auto Service can help Cincinnati motorists with a fuel injector cleaning service. What’s the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. It’s critical that the fuel is sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.

Over time, varnish can start to build up in the fuel injectors, effecting the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel charge. The result is that the fuel doesn’t get burned as efficiently as it could. That robs performance and hurts fuel economy.

What about dirty fuel – how does that affect the fuel injectors? The fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel system. It starts at the fuel tank. Frankly, the best way to keep your fuel injectors working well is to use high quality fuel. It’s tempting to shop for bargains in  Cincinnati with fuel prices as high as they are, but major brands in the Hamilton, Ohio area have better detergents and additives and deliver consistent quality.

What about a good fuel filter? The fuel filter is a critical component of the fuel system. Its job is to filter out the dirt and rust that collect in the fuel tank. If it’s clogged up, the dirt will bypass the filter and head upstream to the fuel injectors.

It’s important to replace the fuel filter when your vehicle manufacturer recommends it. That’s part of a comprehensive fuel system cleaning.

There are different kinds of fuel injection systems. Port fuel injection systems, the kind most gasoline engines have, operate at 60 pounds per square inch. The injectors for the new gas direct injection engines Hamilton car owners are starting to see require 10 to 30 times as much pressure. And some diesel engines for passenger vehicles have injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch. There’s no room for dirt and gum in a precision part like that.

There are a lot of good products available in Hamilton, Ohio that can clean fuel injectors. They’re best used by Hamilton car owners to prevent fouling in the fuel injectors. Many can’t clean a seriously gummed up injector – that requires a professional deep cleaning, like those we offer at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton. But putting the cleaner in the fuel tank after you’ve had Eric’s Auto Service take a look at your fuel system will help keep it clean. Be sure to read the label for directions.

Give us a call if you think your SUV may be ready for a fuel injector cleaning.

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

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On Board Diagnostics For Hamilton Motorists

Some Hamilton motorists wonder why Eric’s Auto Service and other Hamilton auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.

Think about it: When you hire a local Cincinnati HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your Hamilton doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Hamilton Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at Eric’s Auto Service for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Cincinnati area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your SUV brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy Ohio interstate, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your SUV engine, however, Eric’s Auto Service diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Cincinnati drivers’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among Hamilton, Fairfield, and Oxford drivers that the trouble code tells the Eric’s Auto Service technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge – because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The SUV computer’s trouble code just tells the Eric’s Auto Service technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Eric’s Auto Service customers. The Eric’s Auto Service service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Cincinnati service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These critical databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Eric’s Auto Service wants to figure out what’s wrong with your SUV and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

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Battery Replacement For Your SUV

Modern cars and trucks in and around Hamilton run on 12 volt electrical systems. 12 volts is enough to get the job done for Hamilton motorists without having so much power that there is danger of electrocution. But today’s vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before. This really strains your electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks, windows and sun roofs. And then us Ohio drivers have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers, and DVD players.

We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos. Plus there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the car is turned off.

Fortunately, battery technology has given Hamilton auto owners resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements. But the fact is, batteries just wear out over time. Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start your SUV. Sometimes batteries need to be replaced because they have just worn out. Or, in other cases, they have developed a leak which makes it even more important to get it replaced.

Special safety precautions are taken when working with batteries in the shop at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton, Ohio. These precautions also apply to anyone who is poking around the battery. Batteries contain sulfuric acid that can damage your eyes and burn your skin, so safety glasses and rubber gloves are a must for any Hamilton motorists working with their battery. Be careful to not spill acid on your clothes or the SUV’s paint. Of course, avoid short circuiting the battery as well.

Replacement car batteries come in all shapes and sizes. Some cars have limited space that requires a specially shaped battery to fit. Larger engines require more powerful batteries to get them started. If you live where it gets cold in Ohio you will need a more powerful battery because engines are harder to start when it is cold.

Sometimes there is quite a price range in Hamilton auto part stores for batteries that will work in a particular car. Think of it as “good”, “better” and “best”. More expensive batteries have a longer warranty and are guaranteed to last longer. As with most things, paying a little more up front saves bucks in the long run for Hamilton car owners.

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

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Fuel Saving Tip: Auto Myths Around Hamilton

With high fuel prices in Hamilton Ohio comes lots of gas saving advice. Some of it, like what you hear on AutoNetTV, is really great. Some is myth. And some is just designed to prey on Hamilton Ohio people desperate to save some money on gas.

Auto Myths When you get one of those e-mails that’s going around telling you how to save gas, try to think it through.

Does it really make sense? Does it defy the laws of physics?

Do some research on the internet or ask your Hamilton Ohio service advisor at Eric’s Auto Service.

There aren’t any magic pills you can drop in your gas tank and the government hasn’t suppressed a device you can clamp on your fuel line to make your car run on air. Not even in Hamilton!

So next time you get one of those e-mails, check it out with an automotive professional. You’ll get more bang for your buck with an oil change or an engine air filter replacement.

We’re Eric’s Auto Service, give us a call at 513.867.0770 for good honest advice about your car.

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