Breathe Free In Hamilton: Cabin Air Filter Replacement At Eric’s Auto Service

There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on Hamilton auto owners’ vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.

A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in Hamilton. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our Cincinnati atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Hamilton prone to air pollution.

Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you’ll probably want to go to your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service advisor to get it done. Check your SUV owner’s manual to find out if your SUV is equipped with a cabin air filter and how often it should be changed. Recommendations vary, but generally a cabin air filter should be changed every twelve to fifteen thousand miles.

Of course, if you are an allergy sufferer in Hamilton, you may want to replace it more often. Also, if you do a lot of driving in polluted or dusty areas in Ohio, you’ll also want to shorten the cabin air filter replacement period. Dirty air filters just don’t work well, and they can exude an unpleasant odor if ignored for too long.

Most Hamilton folks know that good car care includes keeping your SUV clean, including the air inside the passenger compartment, so changing your cabin air filter should be part of your routine preventive maintenance. It’s good auto advice as well as good medical advice that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You really shouldn’t wait until the interior of your car starts to smell and your eyes start to water before you change your filter. And trying to cover it up with a dangling green pine tree is not the right answer, either!

Cabin air filters can be a welcome relief to Hamilton allergy sufferers, but they’re also a great idea for anyone in Cincinnati who just wants to breathe better.

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The Easy Way To Save Cash In Hamilton

The hottest Ohio news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Hamilton. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things  Hamilton motorists can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Cincinnati environment. You can really improve your fuel efficiency by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one for Hamilton car owners is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Hamilton service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your Eric’s Auto Servicetech. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Hamilton gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced gas mileage. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the SUV owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with vital information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost Hamilton drivers up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s dangerous dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.

One item Hamilton residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency! And with current gas prices in the Hamilton area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Hamilton auto owners money at the pump. 

Now most Hamilton motorists aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other essential services spelled out in your owners’ manual.

Eric’s Auto Service knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Eric’s Auto Service – which may also be updated with recall notices and essential maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.

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Eric’s Auto Service Vehicle Maintenance Tips and Videos: Brake Noise

Your brake pads are the important parts that rub against the rotor (or disc) to slow and stop your vehicle. They eventually wear down.

When your pads are worn too much, they won’t stop your vehicle as well. When the friction material is worn away, metal parts of the pad are exposed and you’ll hear a squeal or grinding sound.

That’s when Hamilton car owners should replace their brake pads. Not only will new pads restore your stopping power, but replacing them on time will prevent damage to the rotor.

If your brakes are making noise, ask your Eric’s Auto Service technician to review your brakes. Addressing problems early will restore your safety and prevent pricey brake damage.

Give us a call

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

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Eric’s Auto Service Auto Tips and Car Care: Making a Battery Last Longer

One thing all Hamilton motorists can do to extend the life of their battery is to keep it clean. A greasy, dirty battery holds in damaging heat. Same goes for removing corrosion from the terminals. Eric’s Auto Service can help maintain your battery.

Allowing your battery to be deeply depleted – like from using your headlights when the engine is off – is very dangerous to your battery. Most automotive batteries can only take that about 10 times before they are ruined.

Also, making sure you have a full charge every month or so extends battery life. Either an extended drive at freeway speeds or using a battery charger will preserve your battery’s ability to hold a full charge.

Give us a call

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

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Eric’s Auto Service Smart Car Care Videos: Battery Testing

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Hamilton auto owners and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Your Eric’s Auto Service service specialist can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for Ohio drivers because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.

Give us a call

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

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The Eric’s Auto Service Auto Report: Rotor Problems

The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your car.

Rotors can warp, crack or become misaligned. They can also be damaged by worn out brake pads that scratch grooves into the surface. These conditions result in less contact surface for the brake pads, leaving you with reduced braking power.

Over time and miles, rotors can also wear down below safe specifications. It is important for Hamilton motorists to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the trouble. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.

Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake issues that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your Personal Eric’s Auto Service tech perform a thorough review.

Give us a call

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

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Hitting The Brakes In Oxford

Hello Hamilton, let’s talk about brakes. Braking, as all Ohio car owners know, is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between Hamilton, Cincinnati and Oxford.

Hitting The Brakes In OxfordBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new SUV or truck rolls off a local Hamilton showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the SUV. Hamilton auto owners tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of auto manufacturers’ specs that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around Ohio, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail – a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Eric’s Auto Service is important for your SUV and your family’s safety. At Eric’s Auto Service we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Eric’s Auto Service. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the SUV fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Eric’s Auto Service cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the SUV to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Cincinnati area expressways and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. Ohio car owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

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Arrive Alive In Hamilton

We’ve all seen Ohio car owners do crazy things while driving to or from Cincinnati. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It’s a wonder we even dare drive on Ohio roads.

The truth is that all of us Hamilton motorists are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other detrimental external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.

Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • Hamilton drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Hamilton auto owners who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Hamilton drivers are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Hamilton drivers do to manage these detrimental distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.

Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.

If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Hamilton car owners’ pets should also be contained.

Ohio auto owners with kids in the car should make sure they’re clipped in their seat belts or safety seats. You may want to give them some distractions to help keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.

If you eat while driving, choose simple finger foods that aren’t messy.

Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another critical way to improve your safety. Learn how to work the radio by touch. Controls located on the steering wheel can help Hamilton drivers keep their eyes on the road.  The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.

If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your critical reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local Cincinnati laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone. Never text while driving! This has already caused many deaths and injuries in Ohio over the last few years.

And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Hamilton – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Hamilton.

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

It’s critical to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Hamilton.

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Protecting Your SUV From Theft In Hamilton, Ohio

Every car in Hamilton, Ohio is at risk for theft. So it’s up to us Hamilton auto owners to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:

  1. Common sense
  2. Visible and audible devices
  3. Immobilizing devices
  4. Tracking devices

Let’s review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen in Ohio where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it’s against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.

And don’t leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Hamilton motorists would be wise to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.

Hamilton drivers should know that it’s vital to roll up their windows completely and avoid leaving their car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.

Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive “smash-and-grab” targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.

There are lots of important visible and audible devices available for Hamilton motorists. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what’s going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don’t approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.

And here’s a great one – immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car’s electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can’t drive your car away.

Finally, Hamilton auto owners can also get a tracking device that allows Hamilton police to track their car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Hamilton, Ohio has a great impact on your decisions. If you’re in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Hamilton, Ohio auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from Eric’s Auto Service don’t cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.

Come see us at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton for practical advice on keeping your SUV safe.

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Have You Checked Your Headlights?

Like everything on the Cincinnati automotive market, there have been great strides in headlight technology in recent years. Ohio auto owners can be safer at night because of it. Good headlights improve visibility on Cincinnati interstates, enabling you to see farther. They also improve your peripheral vision, helping you to see the sides more clearly. The more you can see, the quicker you can react to road conditions. This is important because nearly half of traffic fatalities take place at night. And as Hamilton’s population ages, everything that helps older eyes is welcome.

Most new SUVs sold in Cincinnati come with halogen headlamps. A decade ago, halogens were exotic and expensive. Now that they are standard equipment, the price has come way down. Many luxury cars are equipped with high intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps. You have probably seen them on Hamilton expressways, they’re very bright and have a bluish tint.

From behind the wheel, there is no doubt that HID headlamps are the best thing going. However, many Hamilton motorists complain about HID lights in oncoming traffic or when they approach from behind. In fact, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called for public comment, they received a record number of complaints about HIDs. This has lead to several studies – your tax dollars at work. Some expect future regulation of HID lamps.

All halogen headlamps dim over time. Your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service professional recommends that they be changed out once a year. AutoNetTV suggests you replace your headlamps in the fall at the end of Daylight Savings Time. It’s easy to remember – when you change your clock, change your headlamps. Remember to replace all headlamps at the same time – then all your lights will be equally bright. You will appreciate it during those long Ohio winter nights.

If you have an older SUV with old-school headlamps, you might be able to get a halogen replacement. You’ll be amazed at the difference this upgrade will make.

In addition to regular halogen lamps, Hamilton car owners can upgrade to premium lamps that filter some of the yellow light, making a bright white light that’s more like natural sunlight. This light’s easier on the eyes and should improve reaction time.

Now, you may be able to step up to HID headlamps, depending on the kind of car you drive around the Cincinnati area. These lamps should last the life of your car, but cost several hundred dollars a pair. If you want other Hamilton car owners to think you’re running HID lamps, you can even buy regular halogens that have a bluish tint. Does she or doesn’t she? Only her Eric’s Auto Service service advisor knows for sure.

Over time, plastic headlight covers can get cloudy or yellowed. In fact, AAA reports that nine out of ten headlights are dirty or yellowed, greatly reducing vision. In addition to helping you replace your headlamps, many service centers such as Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton, Ohio can restore headlight covers. Headlights can be restored at a fraction of the cost of replacing.

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