Category Archives: Auto Maintenance

Tire Maintenance

Tire Truths: How to Get the Most Out of Your Tires

Tires: the feet of your car. When was the last time you thought about your feet while you were walking? Unless you have neuropathy or an ingrown toenail or a shard of glass stuck in your heel, you probably don’t actively think about your feet at all. The same thing happens when we drive our cars. We don’t think about the health of our tires until there is something wrong. Now, a random nail is going to plague all of us at one point or another in our driving careers, but there are some crucial, preventative measures you can take to make your tires last as long as possible.

Tire pressure should be monitored frequently. In an ideal world where everyone has all of this free time to do responsible things like checking tire pressure, this would be done before and after every driving session. In the real world, though, once a week would be pretty spectacular. The proper pressure for your car’s tires can be found inside the driver’s side door frame or in the owner’s manual of the vehicle. Maintaining correct tire pressure is important because it allows the car to move with as little resistance from the friction between the tire and the road as possible, in turn taking unnecessary stress off of the engine. In addition, properly inflated tires can save up to 11 cents per gallon of fuel. It might not seem like it, but the pressure of your tires can change dramatically, even on a relatively short ride. A pot hole or a significant change in temperature outside could affect the pressure in your tires in a very negative way.

The next thing you should monitor is the tread on your tires. If your tires are aligned properly and have optimal pressure, the tread should wear evenly across the entire face of your tires—front and back. Any deviation in that wear pattern could mean your alignment is off. A good way to check your alignment is by taking your hands off the wheel while the vehicle is moving on a straight road; if the vehicle drifts left or right, then you probably have alignment issues.

Also, rotating your tires every six months helps spread the wear and tear your tires incur over time.

The last thing you might want to consider is driving safer. Not only will safe driving increase your chances of survival out on the rough-and-tumble destructo-derby that is the American road system, it can also preserve the life of your tires. Going around curves like Mario Andretti, or Dale Jr. or some other awesome leadfoot from history is not okay for your tires. Running up on curbs and sidewalks like a James Bond car chase also wreaks havoc on your tires. Taking your passenger vehicle off-roading over the giant rock boulders in the Badlands of the Dakotas is also certainly not recommended.

Just keep it at the speed limit and between the lines.

For more information on your vehicle’s tires or for any of your tire needs call Harbin Automotive’s tire experts at 256-574-1819.

Motor Oil

Motor Oil Made Simple – Your Oil Buying Guide

Motor oil is a lubricant at its most basic functional level. It coats the moving metal parts of the engine to ensure no direct contact between parts, preserving the overall health and functionality of the engine over time. Oil also serves as a cooling element for the engine, carrying heat from the combustion process away from the engine block. Modern motor oil products can include a wide variety of additives that offer different benefits to engine health. Detergents are used to clean the internal components of an older, high mileage engine. Adding dispersants to the oil can help gather soot from the combustion process, ensuring that it does not stick to the innards of the vehicle and form clots. Dispersants can also gather small metal fragments in the event of repeated metal on metal interactions within the engine. All of this aside, the viscosity of the oil, or its fluidity (thick or thin), is the most important element to consider when buying oil for your car or truck.

The viscosity index is the number or combination of numbers you will find on the front of the product container. Now, there are several different combinations of these numbers and the labeling system can be confusing if you don’t know what the numbers mean. And, purchasing the wrong oil can lead to major problems for your vehicle, like wearing out the bearings on your crankshaft, spinning bearings, bending or throwing rods, and wearing out the drive-train in your cam.

So, let’s imagine we are looking at a bottle with 10W-30 oil. The first number with the accompanying ‘W’ is the viscosity index of the oil in a ‘winter’ setting, or cold weather. The lower this number is the more fluid it will be in extreme cold conditions. The second number is the viscosity index of the oil in hot conditions. The higher this number is the thicker the oil will be in high temperature conditions. However, it must be noted that you should always consult your vehicle’s driver manual before buying any type of oil. There will be a guide that will give the optimal oil for different driving conditions.

There are four basic categories of oil: Premium Conventional, Full Synthetic, Synthetic Blend, and High Mileage. Choosing the right one is important as well.

Premium Conventional oil should only be used in light-duty cars or trucks that were made before synthetic oils became widely used.

Synthetic Blend oils should be used in vehicles that carry heavier loads at moderately high temperature environments—think SUVs, passenger vans, pick-up trucks.

Full Synthetic oil is for the sporty types with Turbo engines like Corvettes, Mustangs, Cobras, high performance models of Mercedes and BMW, and so on, vehicles that will be going to the limit, all day, every day.

High Mileage oil will usually have a higher viscosity index to compensate for the wear and tear of engine usage over time. Many high mileage oils will have seal conditioners that seep into the cracks and pores of the seals to restore their shape and increase their flexibility.

Again, always consult your car’s owner’s manual first before changing any oil in your vehicle, or talk to a certified mechanic about what you want to get out of your next oil change. Are you looking for wear protection? Cleaner engine? Durability?

The professional automotive mechanics at Harbin Automotive’s Service Center are a great resource for your local oil knowledge. So, come to Harbin Automotive in Scottsboro, Alabama, or call (256) 574-1819 to speak with a knowledgeable and friendly representative about the optimal oil for your vehicle.

Auto Maintenance Huntsville AL

How to Get Your Car to 200,000 Miles

For as much as we talk about new cars at Harbin Automotive, the simple fact is that most people aren’t driving new cars. Heck, most people aren’t even interested in buying cars, and would much rather get optimal performance from the car they currently have. If that’s the case for you, then today’s post has your car in mind. Here are our best tips to help get your car to 200,000 miles, which is totally feasible, but not without a little work. Read the rest of this entry >>

Extend Engine Life

How to Extend the Life of your Engine

Any time that someone purchases a vehicle from us at Harbin Automotive, they inevitably ask us, “What’s the best way to keep my engine healthy?” Well, this happens to be something we know quite well, and we’re happy to pass this information along. We see cars that have been on the road for ages because of work put in to keep them healthy, and relatively younger cars that seem like they’re older than they are. So what gives? Here’s how to extend the life of your engine, from the experts here at Harbin Automotive. Read the rest of this entry >>

Car Battery 101

Battery 101: Important Car Battery Information

As drivers, we certainly try to know the ins and outs of how our cars work. We know its ticks, we know its quirks. Over time, we probably become attuned to our vehicles to the point where we don’t trust others to drive it; such is the power of the car-driver dynamic. Yet, one area where we know frustratingly little is when it comes to our batteries. So, today, we’re going to divulge some important car battery information that might help during your automotive life. Read the rest of this entry >>

The Rock Ford Ad

Smell What He’s Cooking? The Rock Debuts New Ford Ad

To be totally honest, there aren’t a whole lot of celebrities we’d consider worthy of acting as an automotive spokesperson. It seems a little cynical to assume that they know what they’re talking about, or that they actually drive the cars that they’re shilling. I mean, if they’re worth millions, wouldn’t you expect that their cars are pretty outlandish as well? You would expect that — unless, of course we’re talking about The Rock. Read the rest of this entry >>

How to Get Your Tires to Last Longer

Get more miles out of your tires with these simple tips

How to Get Your Tires to Last Longer

There are so many vehicles on the road today and many of them are quite different from each other, but they all have a few things in common. No matter which type of vehicle you may own it has one thing in common with every other vehicle on the road – it has tires. There are obviously many different kinds of tires, some of them offer better fuel efficiency, some give you better traction and some of them are even designed for performance. The one thing they do have in common is that all tires can be expensive to replace. How can you save money on tires? The easy answer is to get them to last longer. So how do you get your tires to last longer? The tips below will help you get more miles out of your tires which in the end will help you save money on replacing them. Read the rest of this entry >>

should i change my brake fluid

Do You Need to Change your Brake Fluid?

For all of our talk of auto service at Harbin Automotive — and let’s admit, it’s a lot — one question we get asked pretty frequently at our Scottsboro-based dealership is, “Do I need to change my brake fluid?” There have been mixed messages for as long as there’s been brake fluid, and we’re here to say with authority that the answer is…maybe. There are different opinions and schools of thought on this, so let’s wade together into the murky depths of brake fluid. Read the rest of this entry >>

What to do when your check engine light comes on

The Top Five Reasons a Check Engine Light Comes On

It’s pretty frequent that a person comes in for service at Harbin Auto and, when asked what the problem seems to be, they simply shrug. “Don’t know,” they’ll say. “‘Check Engine’ light was on.” This begs an all-too-common question: what causes the Check Engine light to come on? We’ve seen these lights for ages, and we’re pretty confident that we know the top five reasons a check engine light comes on. Read the rest of this entry >>