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Car Repair Raleigh

Car Repair & Maintenance Raleigh NC

Your Raleigh car repair and maintenance information resource for car buyers, owners and auto mechanics. Find the local information and resources you need in Raleigh, NC. Whether you’re looking for Raleigh auto maintenance, brake repair or car parts, this page will help you get the information you are searching for.

Shock and Strut Replacement Raleigh NC

I'm sure you've probably heard this before. "Your shocks and/or struts are blown and need replacing." Some astronomical price is quoted and you immediately ask yourself, "How important are these things -- do I really need to replace them?" These are good questions that deserve attention.

First of all, it is important to note that not all vehicles have both shocks and struts. Some have just struts and some vehicles have only shocks. Shocks are part of the overall suspension, and a strut is a complete suspension assembly.

The shocks and/or struts in your car perform two functions. They dampen spring oscillation, and secondly, they aid in ride control. The springs in your car actually absorb road shocks (not the shock absorbers). Surprised? The shock absorber's function is to dampen the bouncing spring. If you did not have shock absorbers to dampen the spring oscillations from road shock, your car would turn into a "bucking bronco" every time you hit a bump in the road, making it very difficult to handle and dangerous.

The shock absorbers in your car aid in ride control by keeping the car manageable during regular driving. They do this by keeping the tires down on the road and not allowing them to bounce after hitting a bump. This allows for ease of cornering and handling.

The symptoms:

  • Vehicle rolls or sways on turns
  • Front end dives when braking
  • Rear end squats when accelerating
  • Vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding, rough road
  • Vehicle "bottoms out" (with a thump) on bumps

In addition, worn shocks and/or struts can accelerate the wear of your tires and suspension parts -- the ball joints, steering linkage, springs and C.V. joints.

Preventative checkups are the key to side-stepping the effects of worn shocks and/or struts. Have your technician check them every time you have an oil change.

Car Oil Change Raleigh NC

Even the with Jiffy Lube, Grease Monkey and other companies offering quick oil changes, the American Petroleum Institute says, over 50-percent of us still change our own oil. Do-it-yourselfers generate about 150 millions gallons of used motor oil each year. Many dispose of the used oil properly; unfortunately, too many don’t. Though illegal in many communities, used motor is poured into drains, thrown away in the trash so it ends up in landfills or simply poured on the ground. According to the EPA, over 40-percent of our nation’s oil pollution comes from improper disposal of used motor oil by DIYers.

Motor oil doesn’t wear out �' it just gets dirty. As it circulates through engines it picks contaminants including toxic materials. Labels on oil containers read, “CAUTION: Avoid prolonged or repeated skin contact with used motor oil.” Used motor oil has been shown to cause skin cancer in laboratory animals. Thoroughly wash exposed areas with soap and water." Improperly disposed of oil can find its way into lakes, streams and waterways, polluting bodies of and drinking water supplies, as well as damaging aquatic environments and wildlife. Just one gallon of oil, the quantity from a single oil change, can contaminate one million gallons of freshwater - a year’s supply of water for 50 people - or render a four-acre area of soil non-productive for farming or plant growth for up to 100 years!

Drain your oil into a clean container with a tight fitting cap. A one-gallon, plastic milk jug or water container works well. Do not mix the recovered oil with any other liquids such as antifreeze or automatic transmission fluid. Make sure the oil is free from dirt, leaves and other debris. Then take it to an oil collection location. Nationally there are more than 12,000 oil recycling locations provided by either local governments or private businesses. Many service stations, repair facilities and quick lubes will accept used oil without charge. Other might charge a small disposal fee. A good source for information on local collection centers is Earth 911 ( or 1-877-EARTH911)

And what happens to the used oil? Over half of the used oil, over 380 million gallons, is recycled annually in the U.S. Used motor oil can be re-used in one of three ways �' re-refined, reconditioned, or reprocessed. This reduces the need to refine new oil from imported crude oil as well as the environmental problem.

Engine Replacement Raleigh NC

You have a perfectly serviceable vehicle except for one major problem - the engine is worn out. Should you spend $20,000, $30,000, or much more for a replacement vehicle or just a couple of thousand to recycle the engine? Engine recyclers, that is, rebuilders or remanufacturers, have been recycling engines for as long as there have been engines. Of course the engine has to rebuildable. Engines may not be suitable for rebuilding for several reasons including broken, warped or cracked engine block or excessive cylinder wear.

Then there is the question of a rebuilt engine versus a "brand new" engine. New or "crate" engines are usually the most expensive way to go. However, many automakers and aftermarket suppliers offer "factory remanufactured" engines which, when parts and labor are considered, are quite competitive with rebuilding your engine. Both remanufactured gasoline and diesel engines are available. You will usually have to return a rebuildable engine to get a refund on the "core" charge.

Buying a "used" engine from a junk yard, now called "automotive recycling centers," can be iffy. While the engine might come with a guaranteed-to-run warranty, you could spend many hours installing the engine only to find it does not run properly and has to be returned. If you go this route, try to find an engine that can be started up and run. Then have it checked it out thoroughly - compression, oil condition, oil and coolant leaks, emissions, and so forth.

Rebuilt engines often carry longer warranty periods than new engines. A "factory" new engine will often carry a 90 day or 4,000 mile warranty, while a similar engine rebuilt by a professional engine rebuilder will usually be warranteed for 12 months or 12,000 miles. Professional engine rebuilders are highly trained machinists and many belong to the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association.

According to the AERA, when a properly rebuilt engine fails to give satisfactory service, it is usually due to several causes traceable to the engine's treatment during "break-in." These first few rpms and miles are the most critical in assuring a long engine life. Here are some tips from the AERA for breaking-in a newly installed engine.

Follow the engine manufacturer recommendations or owner's manual on the proper type of oil to be used during and after the break-in period. Use heavy-duty detergent oils which contain an EP (extreme pressure) additive right from the start. Special "break-in" oils should not be used unless specified by the manufacturer.

Auto Batteries Raleigh NC

Take any car with an old battery that is four years old, add worn spark plugs, a plugged fuel filter and a tad of water in the tank, then try and start this car on a cold winter morning. You see, a cold battery has far less power than a warm one. So if your car doesn't start in the first, second or third rahhh, rahhh of the starter, the battery runs out of power before the engine starts.

But most batteries will give us a warning before they fail, a warning most of us usually ignore. I know that when my starter just clicks or cranks over my cold or hot engine very slowly, I need to have my electrical system checked. Most shops will load test your battery, compare the CCA (cold cranking amps) it has, with what the tag says it should have. Say the test says your battery has 375 CCA, but the battery tag says it should have 650 CCA, that's a pretty strong sign this battery is going to fail soon. But your battery worries are over if it has 672 CCA and it's tag says it has a 650 CCA rating.

They will also test the alternator amp output at idle and at 2000 rpms. They will verify the diode pattern is good, make sure the regulator is working right and test the starter draw. They will also check for shorts and draws. All of this is generally around $50.

Remember, a major difference between an inexpensive and a top quality battery is generally the warranty and the weight. A battery uses lead and acid to make electricity. A battery that weighs 20 pounds is likely to have a shorter life and provide less electricity than one that weighs 32 pounds. We also find the inexpensive batteries generally have less CCA's than their tag says they should, while top quality batteries generally weigh more and have more CCA's than their tag says they should.