Don's Complete Auto Service And The Maintenance Mindset
Posted April 9, 2013 1:29 PM
When it comes to their vehicles, some Kissimmee motorists don’t have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Kissimmee drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance, but just may have not applied it to their Automobiles.
For example: the lawn. You water it and mow it every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. There are other things that Kissimmee residents are diligent about. Going to the dentist twice a year. Clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids to your Kissimmee doctor for a checkup before school starts.
So Kissimmee motorists really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to cars. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you’ll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, most of us learn our lesson and shape up.
Unfortunately, Kissimmee motorists too often learn a hard automotive lesson when they bring their vehicle to Don's Complete Auto Service on a tow truck. So many times a little routine maintenance would have prevented a breakdown.
So how can Kissimmee motorists get into the habit of taking care of their Automobile? It’s so easy to forget. If you skip cutting the grass, you see it every time you pull in the driveway.
Here’s something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your Don's Complete Auto Service tech will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason why. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he’ll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they’ve got you covered. And at Don's Complete Auto Service, we check to see if your Automobile manufacturer has recommended any services at your current mileage. The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done. The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you’ve got to remember that Automobiles are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their operation. Without them, the Automobile won’t run at all.
So when you come in to Don's Complete Auto Service for an oil change, you get an automotive analysis from your Honest and Fair service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your Don's Complete Auto Service technician can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and helping you avoid expensive breakdowns.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Gas Savings In Kissimmee: Sharpen Your Pencil
Posted March 26, 2013 10:57 AM
High gas prices in Kissimmee increase the cost of living for Floridadrivers. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Kissimmee vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.
According to Florida news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.
In this area, we can take a lesson from professional Kissimmee vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Kissimmee folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.
Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in fuel economy may put their Kissimmee business in the red.
So what does this mean to Kissimmee drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your fuel economy. Here’s a quick reminder list:
Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up. Ring any bells? Can you honestly say that there isn’t at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done?
Let’s suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services at Don's Complete Auto Service. Figure that they combine to improve your fuel economy by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?
Well, the average personal vehicle in Kissimmee is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your Automobile, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you’d rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.
From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in Kissimmee for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in Kissimmee. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.
So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting at Don's Complete Auto Service. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of money at Kissimmee gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Keeping Your Automobile Young
Posted March 19, 2013 9:44 AM
Sometimes it seems in Kissimmee we live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away.
New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Kissimmee, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without.
We couldn't afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Kissimmee penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering's there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.
Is it really that bad to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you've created an opportunity for sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don't get oiled and they start to wear out faster.
Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.
It's also even more important for older vehicles in the Kissimmee area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they're a bit more stressed anyway. But it's never too late to get back on track with your maintenance and to hold off further damage.
It's just another example of our parents being right. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That's like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee help you keep track of the rest.
Of course, some things are going to wear out along the way, stuff like alternators, water pumps and such. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It's like having high cholesterol; you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Don's Complete Auto Service: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?
Posted February 12, 2013 9:45 AM
Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your Automobile engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on Florida highways, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?
The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your Automobile needs a lot of air to keep going in Kissimmee. A lot of clean air is best.
You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your Automobile also works better when its internals are clean. When your Automobile air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your Automobile engine does you no good.
So, we’re talking potential damage for Kissimmee drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your Automobile engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with gas mileage.
In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee can improve your fuel economy by up to ten percent. At today’s Kissimmee fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.
The verdict: When your Automobile engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in Florida. A simple visual inspection at Don's Complete Auto Service will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.
When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Don's Complete Auto Service service advisor shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Don's Complete Auto Service Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On
Posted January 15, 2013 11:50 AM
Today's Don's Complete Auto Service auto maintenance article focuses on 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. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your Automobile air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Saint Cloud .
Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your Automobile’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. All Saint Cloud drivers know that 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 and power brakes. And, on many Automobiles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures as you drive around Saint Cloud .
Now on some Automobiles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt. So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers and your service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail. Your Saint Cloud service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.
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 Don's Complete Auto Service, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt. All in all, the serpentine belt’s an important part for the function of your Automobile. And it’s not that expensive to replace in Saint Cloud – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Commitment to Make Your Automobile Last At Don's Complete Auto Service
Posted October 30, 2012 10:04 AM
For advice on how to make your Automobile last longer, visit us at Don's Complete Auto Service 508 E. Vine Street Kissimmee, Florida 34744 407-847-3427
These days many people in the Saint Cloud area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you've got to start with what you've got. It'd be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you've had the vehicle for a while, or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that's where you start.
Go through the maintenance schedule for your Automobile and see what's been done and when. Have your Kissimmee service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.
Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles. You might be pretty overwhelmed.
To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there's a failure. In consultation with your Kissimmee service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you'll be prepared for it in a few months.
Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Hey Kissimmee Drivers; What Is The Most Distracting Food?
Posted October 9, 2012 9:58 AM
So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around Kissimmee?
A Soft Drink, or
Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving, but if you chose 'coffee', then give yourself an extra two points; coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Kissimmee and around the country.
Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!
You'll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the type of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You'll thank yourself later for two reasons, one being that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and the other is that you won't have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.
Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Kissimmee road without worrying about where that spill is headed.
So; taking a food break… Or filling out accident reports. We don't have to ask you which you prefer: It's a no brainer.
Don's Complete Auto Service, along with AutoNetTV, wants you to keep both eyes on the road. Please eat safely and keep your eyes on the road.
Economics of Maintenance For Kissimmee Auto Owners
Posted September 4, 2012 9:48 AM
Buying a new car in Kissimmee is always a big financial decision. The allure of that new car smell is powerful, to be sure. But what if your current car is still in good shape? How do you decide?
People in Kissimmee who've been used to driving a new car every three to five years may be having second thoughts in this economy. For many, the question is, how does the certainty of a new car payment stack up against uncertain repairs for a car that may be out of warranty?
For purposes of our discussion, let's assume you live right here in Kissimmee and have a five year old vehicle. It's now paid off. If you keep it, you fear that there'll be some repairs over the next five years, but you really don't know what to expect. For help we turned to Edmunds.com.
Edmunds.com has compiled maintenance and repair information for cars and trucks. With this data, they project likely service and repair costs for a particular make and model. They're able to use manufacturer's maintenance schedules and repair histories for the projections.
Of course, these projections can't predict what will happen to your vehicle in Kissimmee, but they do give you information to use in your decision.
Let's look at the numbers for a five year old Toyota Camry V-6. In this example, the combined maintenance and repairs for the five year period is $5,748. This works out to an average of $96 a month. The year-by-year averages range from a low of $49 a month to $124 a month.
So compare $96 a month with a new car payment. And it's actually better news than that; you would still have maintenance expenses with a new car, so the repair element could be less than half that figure.
Here are numbers for some other five year old vehicles from around Kissimmee:
Ford Escape - $116 a month
Chevy Silverado - $131 a month
Jeep Grand Cherokee - $138 a month
Hyundai Accent - $85 a month.
Now, if your vehicle is older than five years, have a chat with your Kissimmee service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service. We see hundreds of vehicles through our bays every month and we know your car. See if there's any particular problem common with your vehicle that you might see over the next couple of years.
And of course, the best way to keep future repair costs down is to take care of all your scheduled maintenance. This is especially important in older vehicles that have had time to accumulate some deposits.
There are special motor oil formulations that help clean older engines and protect and recondition their seals and gaskets.
We hope this eliminates some of the unknowns in the decision to keep or trade.
The Importance Of Kissimmee Drivers Following Service Intervals
Posted August 21, 2012 12:32 PM
Today in our Don's Complete Auto Service blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your Automobile isn’t the only aspect of your life in Kissimmee with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental cleaning. And physical exams. How about laundry, mowing the lawn and paying the bills?
Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d probably not become aware of health issues that benefit from early detection and treatment. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your overgrown lawn and have your utilities shut off.
We all realize there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.
So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our Automobiles? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. Everyone in Kissimmee can see our dirty shirt, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.
From a practical standpoint, Kissimmee people don’t need to memorize their Automobile owner’s manuals. You can let your Don's Complete Auto Service advisor remind you of the manufacturer’s recommendations: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your Automobile. You really can rely on Don's Complete Auto Service professionals to help you make good car care decisions.
For Kissimmee drivers who want to be more proactive with their Automobile care, here are some simple ways to remember what has a maintenance interval.
First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.
Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, think brakes and shock absorbers.
And what makes your Automobile go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Kissimmee car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Don's Complete Auto Service for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.
And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You use more gas, your Automobile doesn’t perform as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.
Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Keys to Long Lasting Vehicle
Posted July 31, 2012 10:35 AM
New cars cost so much these days. Add financing and insurance and, well a new vehicle may not seem so attractive. A lot of Kissimmee, Florida people are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.
The good news is that with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacture, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more.
There is an old saying that says, 'a stitch in time saves nine' and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your car. A great example is coolant service.
Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That’s why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.
The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And your oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build up of harmful oil sludge.
Don't let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors. Preventive maintenance is a great way to keep your operating costs down.
Now this is a lot to remember. Don's Complete Auto Service can keep on top of this stuff. We can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it.
Bottom line – take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent costly damage and maintain your warranty coverage. Call Don's Complete Auto Service today for an appointment; you can reach us at 407-847-3427.
Take good care of your car, and it’ll take good care of you.
Don's Complete Auto Service Give us a call today at 407-847-3427. Or stop by at 508 E. Vine Street , Kissimmee, Florida 34744
Posted in the Maintenance category
Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Orlando
Posted July 24, 2012 12:21 PM
There’s a segment of the Orlando population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the Florida area over time. Many Orlando motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.
Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Orlando drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.
Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.
Now, the ignition system in your Automobile is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Don's Complete Auto Service for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.
Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Orlando have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.
Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your Automobile will perform better and return better fuel economy.
Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern Automobile engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.
And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.
For example, your Automobile engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.
Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Don's Complete Auto Service, we have been taking care of all those little things for 29 years. Your Automobile still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Orlando did not go away.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In Kissimmee
Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your Automobile owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Saint Cloud technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.
So between your owner’s manual and your Saint Cloud technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved.
Now, most air filters purchased in Orlando, Oak Ridge, or Pine Castle don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that Florida people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Don's Complete Auto Service can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Saint Cloud .
Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Oak Ridge home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your Automobile, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more expensive Florida gas to move your vehicle around Saint Cloud roads.
Your Automobile actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Kissimmee at Don's Complete Auto Service. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll buy less fuel, have better performance and protect your engine.
Everyone in Kissimmee Florida does our best to budget for scheduled vehicle maintenance. What's hard is unexpected repairs. The truth is that our vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before with proper maintenance. That's because of improved vehicle design and manufacturing quality. But some of those same improvements also lead to higher repairs costs.
Let's take the fuel pump. Previous generations were often stranded by the side of the road by vapor lock. This occurred when the gas vaporized between the gas tank and the fuel pump. Fuel just stopped flowing.
You had to sit and wait until the car would start again. To alleviate the problem, fuel pumps are now located inside the gas tank. This is a great solution, but when the fuel pump fails, it's a much more expensive proposition to replace it.
Sealed wheel bearing assemblies are another example. These wheel bearings can't be serviced – you just have to replace the entire assembly when it starts to fail. That costs several times as much as service on non-sealed bearings.
So we all benefit in Kissimmee Florida from design improvements, but we need to plan for repairs down the road.
There's a tool that can be found on Edmunds.com that you can use to prepare your service and repair budget.
Let's suppose you have a 2003 Toyota Camry – a very popular car in Kissimmee Florida. It's now paid for and you'd like to keep it running for the next three years. You can go to Edmunds' True Cost to Own calculator and enter your vehicle's data. The calculator will provide estimates of what it'll cost to service and repair your vehicle over the next five years. The estimate is based on where you live in or near Kissimmee Florida, manufacturers' recommendations and repair experience for your particular model.
Of course these are just estimates – there's no way to predict what'll actually happen to the car in your driveway, but it's a good starting point.
The calculator also has estimates for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel costs.
Let's focus on maintenance and repair. This table shows that the average monthly cost of maintenance and repairs is eighty-three dollars. That may sound like a lot, but compare it to a new car payment.
So if you set aside eighty-three dollars a month, you'd go a long ways towards taking care of routine maintenance and being prepared for the unexpected repairs that arise.
Of course, you can't predict when something will go wrong or what it'll cost, but at least you have a reasonable target to shoot for.
Some people around Kissimmee Florida are afraid of what can go wrong with their older car so they buy a new one. That's fine if you really want a new car, but if you properly maintain your older vehicle, you'll save a lot of money on new car payments and insurance. It just makes good economic sense.
Get with your Kissimmee Florida service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service and work out a plan for keeping your vehicle on the road.
You know, at Don's Complete Auto Service we get a lot of people asking about how to prepare their car for a trip. That’s a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas outside of Kissimmee so you may be anxious to know that the car is up to the task and won’t leave you stranded.
You really do need to plan ahead for a major road trip – there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Kissimmee to see if you can feel any vibrations: are the wheels are in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok?
The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV valve and an engine air filter.
How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?
How are your wiper blades? There’s nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Kissimmee.
Check your owners’ manual for any other recommended service and have Don's Complete Auto Service do the multi-point inspection before you head out.
Consider also having the coolant system serviced – you want to stay within the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re towing a trailer you’ll want to be keep in mind that you’ll be going a long way under severe conditions.
A lot of folks overlook severe conditions like towing, or summer heat, or driving on dirt roads. Plan ahead for your next road trip – we want you to get there and back.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Synthetic Oil For Kissimmee Autos
Posted January 17, 2012 10:46 AM
If you aren’t currently using synthetic motor oil in your Kissimmee vehicle, maybe now’s the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil.
Synthetic oil doesn’t gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving around Kissimmee, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil; with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.
Why is this? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why; we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations.
The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?
Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there’s less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn’t sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.
Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.
Most of us here in Kissimmee have a busy life and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead admit it. Since we’re not perfect, doesn’t it make sense to use a motor oil that’s got your back?
Now synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better and increases fuel economy. You’ll likely save money in the long run. If you’re serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.
The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Kissimmee Florida: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Kissimmee Florida motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.
Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Saint Cloud area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Saint Cloud have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin'.
Some owner's manuals don't specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.
First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don't hold the fluids as well as they used to.
It's also time to make sure you have a good Kissimmee Florida technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble's brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.
And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.
High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.
Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it's way cheaper than a new car payment!
Posted in the Maintenance category
Fall and Spring Checkup In Kissimmee
Posted October 7, 2011 11:00 AM
When I was a kid in Kissimmee, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Don's Complete Auto Service for my checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.
My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.
Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family Automobile, most cars used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.
Your owner's manual or Kissimmee service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service can tell you the right oil to use.
Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the Florida summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant, or as it's sometimes called; 'antifreeze', is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for more miles than most people drive in a year or two.
So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more miles driven and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.
You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant, and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.
That's pretty practical; a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.
And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.
So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.
And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service – stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?
So Spring and Fall: change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors – and get a check-up for your cars.
See, dad was right again.
Come and see us at Don's Complete Auto Service for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup. Don's Complete Auto Service 508 E. Vine Street Kissimmee, Florida 34744 407-847-3427
Posted in the Maintenance category
I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement In Kissimmee
Posted August 30, 2011 10:36 AM
About 90% of our Kissimmee Florida driving decisions are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important.
Everyone in Kissimmee Florida has experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our windshield is just dirty. In fact, it’s estimated that 46,000,000 motorists from Saint Cloud and across the nation are driving with wipers that can’t adequately clear their windshield in a storm.
It seems like your wiper blades are always at their worst when you need them the most. If that sounds like you, you’ve got plenty of company in the Saint Cloud area. 78% of drivers only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.
We need to change our thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as an important safety component. Then we’ll stay ahead of the storm.
You really ought to replace your wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of Florida, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.
Winter blades are designed to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing conditions, if your car has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don’t use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can just shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.
Your wiper blades live outside; freezing cold and blistering sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t clear the windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard; they can also scratch your windshield. That may require replacing the entire windshield – a big cost for such a little part.
AutoNetTV recommends you replace worn blades right away. Your local service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. They cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included at the service center.
Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though Don's Complete Auto Service will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle in the car if you’re on a road trip.
Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn’t cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won’t do as good job of cleaning your windows.
The Harm In Skipping An Oil Change For Kissimmee Drivers
Posted August 12, 2011 2:25 PM
People in Kissimmee have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you're wondering: What are the key issues?
Some new vehicle manufacturers in Kissimmee are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Kissimmee were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.
The manufacturers' standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.
What causes oil sludge? It's a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.
Severe driving around Kissimmee includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn't get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.
Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.
The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Kissimmee just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.
Some types of Automobile will give oil change reminders. But it's important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It's programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.
For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Kissimmee service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it's a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what's needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.
If you're realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.
So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Kissimmee?
Posted August 2, 2011 11:53 AM
Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Kissimmee?
Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Kissimmee – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Kissimmee.
Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.
Contact Don's Complete Auto Service for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced. Find us at 508 E. Vine Street , Kissimmee, Florida 34744 You can reach us by phone at: 407-847-3427
There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.
That is definitely one car part you don't want to take a chance with, so Don's Complete Auto Service recommends following these guidelines:
Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Don's Complete Auto Service).
Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.
For more information, contact Don at Don's Complete Auto Service by calling 407-847-3427.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Technician Training at Don's Complete Auto Service
Posted June 21, 2011 11:18 AM
Your car is important to you and keeping it running is vital to your Kissimmee lifestyle. That's why you should have it serviced regularly at Don's Complete Auto Service. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right.
It's also very important to your Kissimmee service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Kissimmee service center spends every year to make sure our technicians are properly trained.
Don's Complete Auto Service offers a variety of car care services to many kinds of vehicles. We need to be up to date on the latest techniques and parts so that they can care for your car properly. Our Kissimmee centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.
And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Don's Complete Auto Service technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.
Some services require the use of specialized equipment. Don's Complete Auto Service technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.
Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It's not only important that service technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to spot potential problems before they become serious.
The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to customers. For example, it's one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better service decisions.
You may be interested to know that service technicians are trained in compliance with federal and local Kissimmee laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.
It's the goal of our Kissimmee service center to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your technician or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.
Well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best service experience possible.
Posted in the Maintenance category
10 Overlooked Services In Kissimmee
Posted June 8, 2011 12:07 PM
We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Kissimmee. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Lists, PDA, calendar- we have to keep track of it all.
So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.
We have a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.
1. Power Steering Service Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Ask your service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.
2. Wheel Alignment When your wheels are out of alignment your car pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is expensive! Most owners’ manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.
3. Differential Service Okay, did you even know you had a differential? Well you do. One, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from the engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t just ignore them. Check with your service advisor.
4. Cabin Air Filter More and more Kissimmee cars these days have cabin air filters to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.
5. Timing Belt Replacement Most cars and some vans and trucks around the Kissimmee area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; absolutely look into it right away.
6. Transmission Service Transmission service is very basic, but it’s often forgotten. Your transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep running efficiently and avoid costly repairs. And it can improve your fuel economy too.
7. Air Conditioning Service Most of us don’t think about our air conditioning until it doesn’t work. Then if you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Those components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.
8. Brake Service No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your service advisor for recommendations.
9. Coolant System Another thing that’s so easy to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded.
10. Fuel System Cleaning In times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is so important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule will really help your fuel economy.
And there we have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Based on our busy lives, we’re not surprised.
We know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain your vehicle; but it not only saves money in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.
Don's Complete Auto Service On Your Serpentine Belt
Posted May 31, 2011 2:56 PM
Today we’re going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Kissimmee Florida customers. Let’s start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That’s the device that makes electricity to power the vehicle and recharge the battery. Then there’s the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you're driving around Kissimmee Florida in the summer.
The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most vehicles. Those pumps make the pressure that assists your steering and braking.
In many vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Kissimmee Florida, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.
The radiator cooling fans on some vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of work for one belt.
But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most if not all of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of work, but they’re tough and can last for thousands of miles.
Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Kissimmee Florida area. Your manufacturer will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection can reveal a belt that’s getting close to failing.
Don's Complete Auto Service can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that’s more than half the depth of the belt - replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? It’s out of there.
What’s involved in replacing the belt? First the old belt is removed. Then a new one is fitted around all the pulleys for the accessories and the drive. There’s a special pulley called a tensioner.
This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm. Its job is to apply the correct amount of tension to the belt to keep it from getting loose and maybe slipping off. Because the spring in the tensioner pulley wears out, AutoNetTV recommends replacing them at the same time as the belt. It just makes sense.
What are the warning signs that there’s a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating around our Kissimmee Florida streets. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.
What do you do if your belt breaks? If you’ve actually had that happen on our local Kissimmee Florida freeway, it can be a little scary. Often the first thing you notice is that you have no power steering or power brakes. Don’t panic – you can still steer and brake, but you’ll have to do the work. It’ll be harder to steer and you’ll need more time and effort to stop, so plan accordingly.
Your dashboard will light up will all kinds of warnings. You’ll see a warning about your cooling system if you have a water pump that’s driven by the serpentine belt. This is very critical because without your cooling system working, your engine will overheat. If you don’t stop you’ll have massive engine damage, maybe to the point that you need a new engine. Pull over as quickly as you safely can. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling and pulled over as soon as possible.
The battery light will come on because the alternator isn’t working. If your car’s water pump isn’t driven by the serpentine belt, you’re not in danger of overheating so you can drive a little further if necessary. But the battery will run down to the point where the car won’t run and will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Kissimmee Florida traffic.
Remember, this does not have to happen if you replace your serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your technician at Don's Complete Auto Service to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.
If you've ever been driving around Kissimmee and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.
To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Don's Complete Auto Service. We're at 508 E. Vine Street in Kissimmee, Florida 34744. Or give us a call at 407-847-3427
Experts in Kissimmee recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long Kissimmee winter nights.
There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that's a lot like daylight.
You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your Kissimmee friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.
Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.
You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Kissimmee service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.
You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Kissimmee Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules
Posted April 5, 2011 1:42 PM
Your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules. The regular schedule and the severe service schedule. It’d be wrong for us to tell you that everyone in Saint Cloud always needs to follow the severe service schedule – but its wishful thinking to say that the regular schedule is always good enough for your Automobile.
Contact Don's Complete Auto Service to learn more about Severe Service Requirements for your Automobile You can find us at: 508 E. Vine Street Kissimmee, Florida 34744 Or call us at 407-847-3427
At Don's Complete Auto Service we’ll give you the definitions and explain the issues, and you can be the judge. Most manufactures list the following as severe conditions:
Most of your trips are less than four miles.
Most of your trips are less than 10 miles and outside temperatures are below freezing.
The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway.
You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
Driving in very hot or very cold weather.
So think about your typical week. Do you live a block from a Florida freeway on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute to work in Oak Ridge or Pine Castle ? Or are you like the rest of us where 90% of our trips are on the severe service list?
The answer may be different at different times of the year and for the different drivers in your family. Think of the two service schedules as bookends. Let’s suppose your owner’s manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Look at your driving patterns and Kissimmee road conditions and honestly evaluate which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.
If you have a job in a neighboring town such as Orlando or Oak Ridge and most of your commute is freeway miles, you may choose the regular service schedule for your car. On the other hand, if you live within a few miles of work and only get on the highway a handful of times every month, something closer to the severe service schedule is more appropriate.
Now why is this so important? Moisture builds up in the engine oil from normal condensation. Short trips around Saint Cloud or driving when it’s really cold means that the engine doesn’t heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil leads to oil sludge that gums up your engine and doesn’t let the oil protect it as well. That’s why you need to change your oil more frequently – to get the sludge out before it causes problems.
Towing, heavy loads and very hot Florida summer weather means that your engine and transmission will operate at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Dusty conditions, which may extend also to areas with high air pollution, mean that fluids will get dirty faster and that filters will plug up and won’t work right.
All of these things can lead to premature wear and repairs down the road. They’ll also hurt your fuel economy. If you want some personalized advice, talk with your Honest and Fair Don's Complete Auto Service service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow. If you’re not sure, err on the side of protection.
Watch our informative AutoNetTV auto video tips at the top of this post.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Better Service - Better Economy
Posted March 31, 2011 1:56 PM
The hottest Kissimmee 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 Kissimmee. But we’ve found several basic things that any Kissimmee vehicle owner can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Saint Cloud environment. You can really impact your fuel economy 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 is keeping your 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 Kissimmee service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your service advisor. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you get gas in your car. Many Kissimmee 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 fuel efficiency. 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 owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.
The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s 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 Kissimmee 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 Kissimmee area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save big bucks at the pump.
Now most people 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 key services spelled out in your owners’ manual.
Don's Complete 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 Don's Complete Auto Service – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your manufacturer.
Posted in the Maintenance category
What To Do After You Buy a Used Vehicle in Kissimmee
Posted March 31, 2011 1:54 PM
So you’ve bought a used car in the Kissimmee area. How do you know what you’re getting? It is hard to know what you’re getting because people in the Kissimmee area sell cars for different reasons. Think about why you’ve sold cars. Did you just want something new or were there problems that you wanted to run away from. Maybe it was a little of both.
Used cars with 25,000 to 35,000 miles on them are often lease returns, corporate program cars or vehicles that have done duty in rental fleets. We feel pretty confident because they’re newer and may still be under warranty. But how well have they been maintained?
If you plan on owning a car for a long time, you’ll keep up on the maintenance so that you can avoid expensive repairs down the road. But, if you know you’re only going to have the car for two or three years, you may not be so committed to maintenance. It would be easy to think that skipping an oil change here and there wouldn’t ruin a brand new engine. Then it’ll be someone else’s problem when it comes time to pay for the damage.
It would be very tempting to skip the 30,000 mile service if you knew you’d be turning in your leased vehicle in a couple of months.
And if your “new” used vehicle has more miles on it, an inspection is even more important. Check your owner’s manual or talk with your service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service (call 407-847-3427) about what should have been done. Please don’t forget the timing belt; that can be very expensive if it fails.
Don's Complete Auto Service will help you with a plan to take care of critical services and get the rest caught up. If your budget won’t allow you to take care of everything right away, we can help you prioritize your needs and get it taken care of over the next several months. And remember to keep your maintenance records. They’ll help you get top dollar when it’s time for you to sell.
We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days people were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most people couldn't afford new cars very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.
It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Florida penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Kissimmee car owners making sure we follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.
Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between an oil change, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and clog passages. Then some parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.
It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your maintenance and to hold off further damage.
And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor help you keep track of the rest.
Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Don's Complete Auto Service is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Severe Service Requirements
Posted March 31, 2011 1:28 PM
A lot of our viewers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their car owners' manual. It can be confusing. Let's clear the air on this subject. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for 20 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer. Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owners' manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service'. Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time.
Manufacturers create these specific schedules for each vehicle they make. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all cars. In addition to your owners' manual, Kissimmee automotive repair centers subscribe to information services that provide the maintenance schedules for every vehicle - so they can help you know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.
Most trips are less than four miles
Most trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing
You drive in very hot weather
The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the highway)
Stop and go driving
You operate your vehicle in dusty or muddy conditions
You tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier
It's common sense: Just a few minutes at freeway speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than ten miles when it's very cold, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to breakdown more quickly. Dusty and muddy driving means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.
The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving. Look at your owners' manual, or talk with your Don's Complete Auto Service service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow. Don's Complete Auto Service is located at 508 E. Vine Street , Kissimmee Florida.,
Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since city miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science.
Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly Florida highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some people just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Maintenance Free Myth
Posted March 31, 2011 1:22 PM
Sometimes we hear people say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most folks don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.
Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize the importance of getting things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and budget. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.
The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on the highway and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been exchanged - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.
Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the Florida safety inspection to renew his registration. At the inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the $45 bucks. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a few bucks on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Kissimmee service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.
Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was hard enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.
Situation: son and wife with cars from the same manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.
We're talking about taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, your car runs better and is more economical to operate. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to your Oak Ridge or Pine Castle service center for an inspection. Take care of unperformed maintenance sooner rather than later.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Keys to a Long Lasting Vehicle
Posted March 31, 2011 1:15 PM
We're living in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term "built to last" goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They're still a very big investment and we want to make them last as long as possible - and we want to make keeping them as cheap as possible. When talking cars, it's all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, "a stitch in time saves nine" and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your car. A great example is coolant service.
Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing - it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That's why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.
The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, don't forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.
Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don't forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs down.
Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don't forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent mechanical damage and reduce fuel consumption.
Now this is a lot to remember - too much really. But it is your Kissimmee automotive technician's job to keep on top of this stuff. At Don's Complete Auto Service we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which maintenance schedule you should use - the regular schedule or the severe service schedule - depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older vehicle.
Bottom line - take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent costly damage and maintain your warranty coverage.
Of course, you want your car to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you'll be proud to drive it longer.
Most of us can't afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient - and expensive - problems down the road, and can keep driving "old faithful" for years to come.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Risk of Extended Oil Change Intervals
Posted March 31, 2011 1:14 PM
Nothing in your engine workers harder than your oil. With hundreds of moving parts, and thousands of explosions every minute, it's no wonder that engine oil needs to be changed frequently!
You've probably heard the old rule of thumb: Change your oil every 3,000 miles/ 5,000 kilometers or 3 months, whichever comes first. But some car manufacturers have introduced extended oil change intervals. They figure that a modern vehicle driven under the right conditions can go for 5,000 miles/8000 kilometers or more between an oil change.
The key phrase here is "under the right conditions". If you look at your owner's manual, you'll see two different maintenance schedules: one for "normal" driving conditions and one for "Severe Service". Severe service driving conditions include stop and go, short trips, towing, hauling, hot, cold, and dusty driving. That's why at AutoNetTV we often refer you to the severe service schedule in your owners' manual, because, for most of us Florida car owners, that's the way we use our vehicles in everyday life.
Recently, four of the largest auto manufacturers in the world have extended engine warranty coverage for engine damage caused by oil sludge resulting from longer oil change intervals. They found that real-world conditions require more frequent oil changes than the 7,500mi/12,000 km interval they were recommending. They subsequently recommended more frequent oil change intervals and proof of timely oil changes in order to qualify for the extended warranty.
Oil sludge is the culprit. Sludge is oil that has turned to a thick, jelly-like consistency. Sludge can block passages in the engine, preventing oil from lubricating vital engine parts. Parts wear more quickly and may fail prematurely.
Sludge is caused by several factors. The first one is simply - time. The engine oil is contaminated by exhaust gas that eventually leads to sludge. That is where the recommendation to change your oil at least every three months comes from. Sludge can also come from oil that gets contaminated by water from normal condensation. A few minutes of driving at Florida freeway speeds allows the oil to heat up enough for the water to evaporate. The problem is we often run errands or take other short trips that don't allow the engine to warm up enough for the water to evaporate. This is especially true in winter. Sludge also forms when the engine gets too hot, causing the oil to breakdown. Stop and go summer driving, towing and hauling are all prime conditions for creating harmful sludge. And every engine has hot spots that create sludge.
Given all of these factors, estimating when to change your oil is pretty complicated. A couple of manufacturers have computer programs built into their vehicles that record the number of cold starts, how many times the cylinders fire, engine temperature and other factors. From that, the computer estimates when you should change your oil and flashes a warning. But what if you do not have a vehicle with this feature? How do you know when to change your oil? We're not sure you really can. Which is why it is better to be safe than sorry. 3,000 mi/5,000 km or three months - whichever comes first - talk with a service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee and see if that's a good recommendation for the way you drive.