Hitting The Brakes In Hamilton

Safety should always be a critical element of your car care. So even if you don’t care about how your car looks, you should practice preventive maintenance to protect yourself — and other Hamilton motorists — on the road. And good safety starts with good brakes.

Brakes need a regular inspection. There are essential parts that wear out or wear down, and it’s best to replace them before you have issues.

Of course, if you are having trouble with your brakes, NOW is the time to fix them. If your brake warning light is on, that’s a good sign that you need your brakes checked. Hamilton auto owners can also tell something is wrong with their brakes by the feel of the pedal or unusual sounds while braking. If the brake pedal is low, feels spongy when you press it or is hard to push, that indicates a problem with your brakes. If you hear squealing, grinding or clunking noises when you brake, that can also indicate troubles. If vibrations accompany braking, then it is important to get your brakes checked.

Brakes come in two basic types. With disk brakes, a rotor is attached to the axle of the vehicle. Padded calipers straddle the rotor, which close when the brakes are applied. The resulting friction causes the rotor — and the axle — to stop turning. With drum brakes, brake pads (also called shoes) press against the inside of a drum to create friction and stop the drum, and hence the SUV’s wheels, from turning.

When Eric’s Auto Service services your brake system, your Personal service advisor checks all of the brake pads for wear. If they are too thin, they need to be replaced. This is an inexpensive repair at Eric’s Auto Service compared to what procrastination will cost you. If pads wear away completely, then the rotors and drums can be damaged. They will have to be either resurfaced or replaced, and that can be pricey. But if your SUV brake pads are worn out, then your brakes are compromised and your stopping power is greatly reduced. You could easily wind up in an accident.

Brake pads come in several different grades such as regular, metallic and ceramic. The higher grades are more costly in Hamilton, but they also work better. Ohio car owners who want better and smoother braking, should consider upgrading. However, Cincinnati drivers should NEVER use a brake pad that is lower than your automobile manufacturer’s recommendation.

After you your brake pads are checked at Eric’s Auto Service, it’s essential to have your brake fluid checked. This is a critical element in your brake system. When you press your brake pedal, you are compressing the brake fluid, creating pressure that activates the brake pads. If your fluid pressure is low, it will curtail your braking power. The pads just won’t be able to press hard enough against the rotor or drum to stop your SUV. Just as with worn pads, insufficient brake fluid can lead to a detrimental and pricey accident in Hamilton.

Water can build up in your brake fluid, which can cause harmful corrosion in your braking system. Eventually this can cause your brake fluid to leak. So Hamilton auto owners should also change their brake fluid periodically. Your SUV owner’s manual will have guidelines on how often it should be replaced or ask a Personal tech at Eric’s Auto Service. We have been servicing brake systems in Hamilton for 16 years. 

Remember, Cincinnati folks, safety first. It’s important auto advice for all Hamilton auto owners on the road. You’re not just protecting others; you’re protecting yourself.

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How Much is Enough for Cincinnati Auto Owners? Tire Tread Depth

Most Cincinnati car owners know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are expensive and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s important for Cincinnati auto owners to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it’s important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with Ohio auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some Hamilton auto owners are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Hamilton auto owners immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Hamilton motorists since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Cincinnati freeway in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph. That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph. Still not a good situation. But it’s better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear from 2/32 to 4/32. The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in Ohio and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use a quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32. Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32. Tires are an expensive item for Hamilton drivers when it comes to car care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 is good auto advice.

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Oxford Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?

Improved fuel economy has two benefits for Hamilton drivers: less fuel is necessary and fewer emissions are released. Oxford cars and trucks run cleaner than ever. Hamilton car owners may not realize that the first federally mandated pollution control device came out almost fifty years ago.

Ohio car owners that were around in the early 60′s may remember that the PCV Valve came out on 1964 model cars. PCV stand for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. Oxford Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.

When fuel is burned in the SUV engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.

Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to detrimental sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine leading to damage.

Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our air quality in Hamilton.

Enter the PCV valve. It’s a small, one-way valve that lets out the 
detrimental gases from the crankcase, and routes them back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the detrimental air out. As you can imagine, however, the valve gets gummed up over time.

Oxford drivers that skip oil changes now and then will notice that the PCV valve gets gummed up even faster. If the PCV valve is sticking in your SUV, the gases won’t circulate as well, leading to increased pressure in the crankcase. That, in turn, can lead to oil leaks. Fortunately, the PCV valve is very inexpensive to replace at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton. Some can even be checked by your Personal Eric’s Auto Service advisor.

Your SUV auto makers usually recommend they be changed somewhere between twenty and fifty thousand miles. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some SUV owner’s manuals, but at Eric’s Auto Service, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.

All of us Oxford car owners can do our part for the environment. Watch that lead foot, stay on top of our essential automotive maintenance and don’t forget to replace our PCV valve.

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Blind Spot Safety For Hamilton Driving

Blind spots may be a good thing when it comes to a spouse’s annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Hamilton, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it’s not good marital advice, it’s good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Cincinnati car owners’ blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn’t include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn’t designed to be a baby monitor.

Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver’s side window. Now adjust the driver’s side mirror so that it just catches the side of the SUV. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger’s side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.

Of course, you can’t eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can’t see what’s there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup’s or SUV’s blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the SUV for a few minutes before backing up, it is important to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Hamilton. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.

Once you have taken care of your own blind spots, be aware that other Hamilton motorists have them, too. And avoid them. Trucks and buses have large blind spots, and they have blind spots on all four sides, so they should always be given extra room on Oxford roads. They are also heavy, which means they need more room to stop, and their length means they need a wider area for turns, and their large size makes them less maneuverable than a car.

Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in Ohio, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Hamilton motorists learned to properly share Ohio roads with trucks.

Never follow a truck too closely. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, then he can’t see you. If you need to pass a truck, it is vital to make sure you give yourself enough time to pass the rig. Wait for the right opportunity rather than “cutting it close.” On a two-lane Ohio highway, it’s always a good idea to wait for a passing zone if they are available. A little patience could save your life or the lives of others. Turn on your turn signal so the truck knows what you’re planning, and pass on the left whenever possible. Remember those blind spots? They are much larger on the right side of a truck.

Once you’ve committed to passing the truck, don’t muck about. Pass it quickly and give yourself plenty of room to move back over. It is critical to wait until you can see both headlights in your rearview mirror before pulling back in front of the truck. Once again, use your SUV turn signals. After you pull in front of the truck, decelerate to the regulated driving speed slowly. Remember that the truck has a long stopping distance, which translates into a long slowing distance. And, since trucks are so big, we often perceive them as traveling more slowly than they really are. Trucks are a lot of weight moving at a high speed, and we need to treat them accordingly.

Never pull to the right of a truck at an intersection unless you are absolutely certain it is not going to turn. Check if its turn signals are on or if it has angled to the left or right. (Trucks often begin a right turn by angling to the left to widen their turning area.) Trucks need a lot of room on city streets, and they probably can’t see you if you pull along their right side. Too many cars have ended up in Hamilton body shops because the auto owners thought they could beat that truck to the right turn, or they only noticed the seemingly open lane, and not the truck angling into a turn.

While learning to share Cincinnati area roads and highways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good Hamilton car care. Keeping your SUV out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.

The team at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!

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Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Hamilton

A lot of people get custom wheels in Hamilton. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don’t fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your Eric’s Auto Service tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your Hamilton driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your SUV, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some Hamilton people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Hamilton drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your SUV anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your SUV engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in Ohio. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your Personal Eric’s Auto Service tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your SUV. Your Eric’s Auto Service service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Hamilton.

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The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at Eric’s Auto Service

Service to a vehicle’s power steering system is a critical part of preventive maintenance for astute Hamilton car owners. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your SUV’s wheels would have to come from you.

The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer SUVs have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.

Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.

Hamilton drivers should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.

Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner’s manual or ask your Personal Eric’s Auto Service technician to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.

When your fluid is replaced, your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service specialist will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. Your Eric’s Auto Service service advisor can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner’s manual.

Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, Hamilton car owners who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.

To protect your steering system should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.

Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough Ohio driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Hamilton car owners should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.

For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at Eric’s Auto Service. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.

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Why is My Check Engine Light On?

 

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Hamilton auto owners and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us Hamilton drivers.

Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause critical engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at Ohio freeway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Hamilton service center.

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service professional to get it checked out.

Some more Hamilton information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative for Hamilton car owners. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the SUV’s Check Engine Light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your SUV looked at. Your Personal Eric’s Auto Service tech will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

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Below 45 Degrees in Hamilton: Consider Winter Tires

Remember snow tires? They were basically just regular tires with big, knobby lugs to get them through deep snow. They were loud and rode hard, and Hamilton drivers couldn’t wait to get them off the car. Then along came television advertisements for “all-season” radials. Ohio auto owners ran out and bought some and we thought we were done with snow tires forever.

Tires have come a long way since then. Modern winter tires sold in the Cincinnati area are much better designed for the wide range of harmful conditions that come with Ohio winter weather. They are made with a rubber compound that helps them stay flexible in cold weather. Regular tires become hard and stiff at Hamilton temperatures below 45°F, which reduces their traction. That’s a vital concern in winter, especially with snowy or wet Hamilton conditions. But it also means that Hamilton car owners are better off with winter tires in cold weather even when it’s dry.

The tread design on winter tires has been improved to actually move snow, slush and water. The lugs and grooves actually throw packed snow out of the tread as the tire rotates. This means the tread is open and ready to move more snow when it rolls around again. Summer tires can actually pack up with snow, which makes them more dangerous than a bald tire.

Many winter tires use a micro-pore compound that lets the tire bite into ice and snow. They have wider grooves around the tire that help expel snow. They have a rounder casing to better cut into the surface of snow. Modern winter tires available at Ohio tire shops also have sipes, or thin slits cut into the tread. The edges of these sipes can grab ice and snow so that the tire retains traction on almost any surface. The sipes also help to expel water and slush from the tread. In short, a lot of time and engineering has gone into improving winter tires.

The all-season tire that is popular among Cincinnati drivers is actually a compromise between summer and winter performance. This means they give adequate performance for Hamilton motorists in either season, but aren’t great in either. Summer tires give great performance in hot weather, but lousy performance in winter. Hamilton drivers need to put more thought into their tire choices these days, but that also means they get a lot better performance for their income.

If you want the performance that new winter tires can give you, you should have them properly installed at your Hamilton service center or Eric’s Auto Service. It’s best to purchase four snow tires and put them on all the wheels of your vehicle. But if you only want two, you need to put them on the rear of your vehicle, even if you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle. Hamilton drivers always want to put the tires with the best traction on the rear of the vehicle.

Imagine this: You take a corner on an icy Cincinnati road and your rear end starts to slide. What happened is that the front end slowed for the turn, but the rear end hasn’t figured that out yet. If you have high-traction tires on the front of your vehicle, that makes the problem worse. You’re slowing the front end faster and harder, which makes the back end fishtail even more.

Putting the higher traction tires on the rear will give Hamilton drivers more control for turns, regardless of the type of vehicle driven. Of course, that makes putting high-traction tires on all of your wheels even smarter. Why not give all of your tires the best traction they can get? Some Hamilton assume that four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles only need winter tires on two wheels. Why? Doesn’t it make sense to give all four wheels the same level of traction and control? Four-wheel or all-wheel drive cannot compensate for poor traction.

Another false assumption held by many Hamilton drivers is that if you have traction control and anti-lock brakes, you won’t need winter tires. Traction is important for good acceleration, steering and stopping. And tires provide traction. Traction control and anti-lock brakes can only improve on that traction. The better the traction, the better the traction control and anti-lock brakes will work. In other words, the better the tires, the better those systems will work for Hamilton motorists.

A Canadian law requires all passenger vehicles, rental cars and taxis registered in Quebec to have winter tires on all four wheels from November 15th until April 1st.

If you’re shopping for winter tires and live where there is a lot of snow in Ohio, look for a mountain with a snowflake in it molded into the tire’s sidewall. This symbol means the tire complies with severe snow standards. All-season tires have an M&S stamped on the sidewall. M&S stands for mud and snow.

For more essential auto advice about tires for any Ohio season, communicate with your Personal Eric’s Auto Service tire professional. They can help you select the right tire for your area and for your driving needs. For the best performance from your tires, whatever the season, don’t forget preventive maintenance. Keep your tires up to pressure for best durability, safety and performance, but don’t overinflate them. Remember, good car care provides the safest road for all of us Hamilton car owners.

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Eric’s Auto Service Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

Hamilton service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Hamilton drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.

Eric’s Auto Service fuel system cleaning: Over time, the SUV fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.

Eric’s Auto Service headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.

Eric’s Auto Service inspections: Hamilton drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for Ohio summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used SUV and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.

Eric’s Auto Service oil change: – there are several options: Some Hamilton centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.

Eric’s Auto Service PCV valve replacement in Hamilton:
PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.

Eric’s Auto Service power steering service: Often overlooked. Your Personal Eric’s Auto Service technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the SUV system running well for a long time.

Eric’s Auto Service serpentine belt service:
That’s the belt that powers the SUV engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.

Eric’s Auto Service shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Hamilton people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.

Eric’s Auto Service transmission service:
This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.

Eric’s Auto Service tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.

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Problems with Suspension Solved at Eric’s Auto Service in Hamilton

A vehicle’s suspension system is tough. It can last for years and tens of thousands of miles for Hamilton car owners. But it can be damaged quickly by hitting a pothole, curb or rock, and it can wear more quickly if you frequently drive off-road or on bumpy roads. A workhorse vehicle — one that hauls heavy loads — is also going to be hard on its suspension system.

Because the useful life of your suspension system contains these elements of unpredictability, it is important for Hamilton drivers to have them inspected periodically. Worn, broken and missing parts can be identified during an automotive analysis. An ineffective suspension system will impair the driver’s control over a vehicle, so when it is damaged it frequently leads to the worst kind of vehicular damage — dangerous and expensive accidents.

The suspension system is composed of springs and shock absorbers (or shocks). Springs suspend the weight of the vehicle above its axles. They allow the vehicle to “bounce” over bumps, which reduces the force of the impact on the vehicle. Shocks lessen the rebound of the “bounce,” smoothing out the ride of the vehicle. They also force the tires to retain constant contact with the road. Shocks are responsible for “handling performance,” or the ease with which the driver controls the vehicle.

The springs in the suspension system are heavy-duty and rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers are tough, too, but they will wear out.

Your SUV might be equipped with struts. Struts are a combination spring and shock absorber. Struts, like shocks, have a limited life span.

Inspecting shocks or struts for damage and wear should be part of your preventive maintenance routine. Since a good suspension system is ultimately a critical safety feature of your vehicle, it’s always better to be proactive about its care. In this case, good car care can prevent accidents.

There are some signs that will warn you that your suspension system may be in need of critical attention. One of the signs might be a cupped wear pattern on your tires. This is caused by the shocks bouncing unevenly. Other essential signs of bad shocks manifest themselves in the handling performance of your vehicle. You may notice a drifting sensation when cornering, often referred to as a “floaty” feeling. If the front of your vehicle dips significantly when you brake or if it rocks back and forth after stopping, it’s time for new shocks. Your Personal Eric’s Auto Service service professional will check your shocks visually. If they’re leaking, they need to be replaced.

Any of these symptoms warrants an automotive analysis of the suspension system. You should also get your suspension system inspected if you are involved in an accident involving one of your wheels. Hamilton drivers should never put off suspension repairs. If you actually experience suspension system failure, it can cause a serious accident. If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, then replace all four of them. This allows for even handling of the vehicle. Replacing just one of the shocks is rarely good auto advice.

When you replace your shocks or struts, use parts that are equivalent to or better than the original shocks on the SUV. The original equipment was designed for the weight and expected use of the vehicle, and Hamilton car owners should never downgrade.

Upgrading, however, is another matter for Hamilton auto owners. If your suspension system gets a workout or you just want to improve your SUV’s handling performance, then you should examine upgrading to a better shock. If you haul heavy loads around Hamilton or tow a trailer, then you should definitely think about getting heavy-duty shocks.

Most Hamilton auto owners are not likely to show off their suspension system to anyone admiring their SUV, but it’s essential just the same. In the end, it’s something all of us Hamilton car owners can be zealous about.

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