Is it Time to Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Is it Time to Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Although you may not think about them very often, wiper blades are pretty important! Most of us have experienced sudden snow or rain when a storm hits while we’re driving—then we turn on the windshield wipers and there’s nothing but streaks. Needless to say, this can be nerve-wracking (and dangerous), especially if you’re driving at night and have to deal with the glare of on-coming headlights. The best way to prevent this is to replace your wiper blades before they fail.

Why is it Necessary to Replace Your Wiper Blades?

It probably goes without saying, but the more you use your wiper blades, the sooner they’ll wear out. Rain, road grime, and even cleaning the bugs off your windshield will contribute to wear, but the environment does as well. Even when you’re not using your wiper blades, they’re exposed to UV rays, ozone, soap, grime, and fluctuating temperatures—all of which lead to deterioration over time.

Replacing your wiper blades isn’t just good for visibility, either. The wiper blades use rubber blades that are connected to metal arms to move rain and snow off your windshield; when the rubber gets worn down, it exposes the metal. This can cause the metal to make contact with your windshield, which can scratch the glass and eventually develop into deep grooves. Once this happens, you’ll need to replace or resurface the windshield. It’s much less expensive (and less of a hassle!) to simply replace your wiper blades before they can cause any damage. 

Fortunately, wiper blade replacement is easy to do—even if you have no automotive experience. A general rule is to replace them every 6 to 12 months. Common signs that it’s time for a replacement include:

  • The metal frames are bent
  • A streaky windshield
  • Gaps between the wiper blades and the windshield
  • Noises when the wiper blades are operating, such as grinding or squeaking
  • Visibly damaged rubber
  • The blades skip across your windshield

Wiper Blade Upgrades

Although you can swap out your old blades for the same type, there are also wiper blade upgrades (in both material and design) available. 

Traditional black rubber blades are great for clearing your windshield when they’re new, but their performance degrades over time. Silicone blades are far less affected by environmental conditions and last longer. 

When it comes to design, there are two elements to consider. First, some wiper blades have a single wiping edge; others have multiple edges. The idea is to maximize the wiping power during both swipes of the blade. 

The second element is the wiper frame—the part that applies pressure on the blade as it passes over the windshield. Conventional wiper blades have frames with four to six contact points on the blade, which apply the pressure needed to clear water and snow. The other design is called a “beam frame.” This uses uniform pressure along the entire surface of the wiper. The shape catches the wind passing over the vehicle to provide additional downforce to help get a clean swipe. A hybrid frame has four to six contact points as with a conventional blade, but also incorporates an airfoil to provide additional downforce as with beam blades.

Which blade is best? It’s always recommended to use at least the grade and design listed in your owner’s manual. However, you can always upgrade for better performance and longevity. While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to make sure you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid and that your washer nozzles are working properly. 

Need Assistance with Your Wiper Blades?

Whether you need help installing your wiper blades or recommendations on upgrades for your vehicle, EuroCar Service is here to help! We specialize in all European makes and models, including AudiBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabVolkswagenVolvoSmart CarFiat, and Jaguar. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

What is Fuel Injector Cleaning?

What is Fuel Injector Cleaning?

Are you looking for ways to save money at the gas pump? One of the most common issues we see with fuel economy is clogged fuel injectors. When the fuel injectors get blocked by carbon deposits and debris, it can cause your vehicle to use more fuel than it used to. Fortunately, fuel injector cleaning is generally all that’s needed to get your vehicle’s mileage back on track. 

What Are Fuel Injectors, and What Does Fuel Injection Cleaning Entail?

Fuel injectors are components that send fuel from the gas tank into the engine. The injectors atomize the fuel and then force it directly into the combustion chamber at the precise time in the combustion cycle. This process happens thousands of times a minute. Over time, high temperatures under the hood and variations in fuel quality can cause the injectors to collect wax, dirt, water, additives, and carbon. This can cause them to become partially clogged, which prevents them from being able to deliver the right amount of fuel at the proper pressure. 

When your vehicle’s fuel injectors are dirty, it causes the fuel to burn less efficiently, leading to a loss of power and poor fuel economy. Some other signs that can indicate when it’s time to have your fuel injectors serviced include:

  • Rough idling
  • Engine misfires
  • Engine vibration
  • The check engine light is on
  • Fuel leaks
  • A smell
  • Engine surges

If your fuel injectors are completely clogged, there’s a chance your engine won’t start at all. 

During your fuel injection service, our technicians will inspect the various components associated with the fuel injection system, including the system’s connections, vacuum lines, pressure regulator, and fuel rail. We’ll also clean the fuel injectors, so they operate perfectly and deliver the ideal amount of fuel for your engine. Although it can vary based on your make and model, fuel injector cleaning is typically recommended every 36-48 months or around every 45,000 miles. 

Keep Your Engine Performing its Best with Fuel Injection Cleaning 

For an engine to perform well, it needs a carefully balanced mix of fuel and air. If the injectors become clogged, it can disrupt the ratio of the mixture and affect the combustion process, resulting in issues with starting your engine, drivability, performance, and gas mileage. At EuroCar Service, we use state-of-the-art equipment and cleaners during our fuel injection services to restore your engine’s performance and fuel economy. We specialize in all European vehicles, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

Why is Auto Air Conditioning Service Necessary?

Why is Auto Air Conditioning Service Necessary?

Did you know most car owners don’t service their vehicle’s air conditioner until after it fails? 

Just like other systems in your car, regular maintenance is important for your air conditioner and ensures it always has enough refrigerant to do the job. When there are leaks in the system that allow the refrigerant to escape, your AC can’t cool the air as well. In addition to the refrigerant, AC systems use a special oil that lubricates the components and keeps the seals intact. If the oil or refrigerant is low, it can cause your air conditioner’s parts to wear prematurely. 

What’s Involved in Car AC Service?

The air conditioning system cools the air and removes humidity from the inside of your vehicle using three main components: the compressor, condenser, and evaporator. 

The compressor, which gets its power from the serpentine belt, pumps the refrigerant through the closed system where it’s exposed to pressure. The pressure causes the refrigerant to change from gas to liquid and passes through the evaporator, capturing heat. Then, the refrigerant moves through the system lines and into the condenser. The refrigerant releases the heat outside the vehicle and turns back into a liquid. For your AC to work properly, the system needs to have the proper refrigerant and lubrication levels, and all the components must be in good working order.

We begin your air conditioning service by doing a visual inspection of the components. Our technicians look for signs of damage or leaks and inspect the compressor and serpentine belt for cracks or wear. We’ll check that the compressor, evaporator, and condenser are operating correctly and conduct a temperature drop and leak test. If we detect a leak (which will typically be in the hose or connection), we’ll repair it and retest the system.

If needed, we’ll also remove the old refrigerant and recharge the system with fresh refrigerant. Finally, we’ll perform one last test to ensure your air conditioning system is working perfectly, and you’ll be on your way! 

How Often Should Your Car’s Air Conditioner Be Serviced?

The interval for car AC service really varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations, or ask one of our friendly service advisors. It’s typically every two years, but it may be different for your make and model. EuroCar Service specializes in all European vehicles, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! If you need car AC service or repair, call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointmentonline.  

What is Differential Service—And Do You Need It?

What is Differential Service – And Do You Need It?

When you drive around a corner in your car, the outside wheels have a slightly longer distance to travel than the inside wheels. Because of this, the outer wheels need to spin at a faster speed to keep pace with the inner wheels. The component that makes this possible is called the differential. The differential essentially allows your wheels to travel at different speeds without binding or hopping while transferring power from the engine

If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is on the rear axle; for front-wheel drive vehicles, the differential function is handled by the transaxle. All-wheel drive vehicles have differentials on both axles, as well as a center differential or a transfer case. This allows compensation between the front and the rear axles. 

Why Differential Service is Important

Since all the power of the engine is transferred through the differential(s), they’re very strong and built to last a long time. However, like other components in your vehicle, your differential needs to be serviced in order to perform its best.   

Like engines, differentials use oil to keep the internal gears lubricated and reduce friction that can cause excessive wear or heat. However, differential oil is much thicker than engine oil. It needs to be changed at regular intervals because the oil will become thin and contaminated over time. If the oil isn’t changed, the differential will start to have metal-on-metal contact, which will wear out its gears. 

What’s Involved in a Differential Service?

During a differential service, your technician will drain the old differential fluid and replace it with new fluid. They’ll also inspect the u-joints, which connect your drive shaft to the differential. In some cases, we may recommend servicing these as well. 

The interval for differential service can vary based on your vehicle, its mileage, and your typical driving conditions, but it’s generally around every 40,000 to 60,000 miles. However, if you frequently drive on dirt roads or other dusty conditions, it may need to be changed more frequently. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations on your car, or ask your service advisor. 

Differential Replacement

Although differentials last a long time, they’ll eventually wear out and need to be replaced. A failing differential isn’t something you want to ignore—it can freeze up while you’re driving and cause you to lose control or damage other parts of your vehicle, like the axle, driveshaft, or transmission. Some common signs your differential needs to be repaired or replaced include:

  • Excessive engine oil consumption
  • Reduce handling around corners 
  • Difficulty steering
  • Noises like grinding gears, clunking, whining, or howling
  • Sidewall or out tire damage
  • Vibrations that increase as you speed up

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs or you’re due for a differential service, contact the pros at EuroCar Service. We specialize in all European makes, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

Get Your Windshield Washer Fluid Ready for the Rainy Season

Rainy weather will be upon us soon, so it’s the perfect time to talk about your windshield washer fluid. Windshield washer fluid is essential for keeping your windshield clear of grime that can be kicked up from wet winter roads—and it’s one of the easiest automotive fluids to maintain on your own. Here’s a look at how to check its level and select the right fluid for your driving conditions.

How to Check Your Windshield Washer Fluid

Many newer vehicles have a dashboard warning light that will come on when the washer fluid is low. You can also check the reservoir itself. Lift the hood and look for a black cap that has a symbol that looks like the shape of a windshield with dotted lines that look like a water spout. Some cars will have a translucent reservoir that makes it easy to see how much fluid you have left. Others have an opaque reservoir with a dipstick to check the level, like oil and transmission fluid.

If you have trouble finding the reservoir, let us know! We’d be happy to point it out to you at your next appointment.

Signs Your Windshield Washer Fluid is Low

If you have a dashboard warning light, it will come on once the washer fluid level gets low. Another sign that the fluid is getting low is a delay between when you try to get the fluid to spray and the fluid spraying on your windshield. If your washer fluid has been low for a while, air can get into the hoses. While this isn’t an issue, it does mean you’ll run out of fluid soon.

If the fluid has completely run out, nothing will come out when you try to clean your windshield. You may hear the sound of the pump as it tries to pump from an empty reservoir. If you keep making the pump come on without filling the reservoir, it can cause the pump to fail—so it’s a good idea to keep the fluid topped off whenever possible.

Open your bottle of washer fluid and pour it into the reservoir until it reaches the full line. Many cars have reservoirs that hold a gallon of fluid, while others have smaller reservoirs, so be careful not to overfill it. When you use your windshield washer fluid next, it will generally take a few seconds for the fluid to make its way through the pump before it will spray.

What Type of Windshield Washer Fluid Should You Use?

You’re probably already familiar with the standard blue washer fluid, but it may surprise you to learn that there are different types of fluid available for different driving conditions:

  • Standard blue washer fluid: this is the least expensive and all-purpose washer fluid you’ll find in auto parts stores.
  • Winter washer fluid: winter washer fluid is typically orange. While it’s more expensive than the standard blue fluid, the formulation includes antifreeze—which helps prevent the fluid from freezing in the reservoir and on the windshield.
  • Summer washer fluid: Summer fluid is typically green and contains special additives that help clean insects off your windshield better than the other types of washer fluid.
  • Water beading washer fluid: Water beading fluid includes an additive that helps the water bead off your windshield as you drive—especially at high speed. One nice benefit of this type of fluid during the rainy season is that you don’t have to use your wiper blades as much.

For All Your Auto Care Questions, Turn to EuroCar Service

At EuroCar Service, we’re committed to your driving safety. If you need replacement wiper blades or recommendations on windshield wiper fluid, we’re always here to help. We can also make sure your washer mechanism is working properly. We don’t want you to be caught out in the elements with poor visibility! As your European vehicle experts, we offer comprehensive maintenance and repairs for all European makes, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Mini-Cooper, Smart Car, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Fiat.

Contact us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online!

Fuel System Cleaning—Why it Matters

Many drivers neglect their fuel system, but keeping it clean will prolong the life of your car, increase power and performance, and improve the fuel economy and drivability.

Fuel, whether gasoline or diesel, is delivered to your engine to generate the power needed to keep your vehicle moving. Unfortunately, the fuel leaves a residue as it moves through the fuel system. Although this may not seem like a big deal, it can cause significant problems. Gum and varnish build up inside the fuel lines, your throttle body, and injectors—much the same way plaque builds up inside arteries—and restricts the free flow of fuel. It can also clog your fuel injectors.

In addition, carbon accumulates on the combustion chamber, pistons, and valves, which interferes with the mixture of fuel and air and can prevent the valves from sealing properly. This leads to reduced power, wasted fuel, and the engine running rough. Over enough time, it can also cause expensive engine damage.

What Does a Fuel System Cleaning Do?

A fuel system cleaning clears out the gum and varnish from the fuel system and helps your injectors work properly again. The carbon deposits get dissolved; afterward, your engine will run like new. In general, you should have your fuel system cleaned every 12,000 miles or once a year. Some signs you may need your fuel system cleaned include:

  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idling
  • Excessive gas consumption
  • The tachometer moves quickly from low to high RPMs
  • The engine won’t start
  • Lag in acceleration
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Engine knocking and pinging
  • Increased emissions

Schedule a Fuel Cleaning at EuroCar Service

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs, schedule a fuel cleaning at EuroCar Service! As your local European vehicle experts, we see all European makes and models, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Mini-Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, Smart Car, and Fiat. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.

Why Are Wheel Alignments Necessary?

There are two main reasons to keep up with wheel alignments: safety and money. When your wheels are out of alignment, they can make your vehicle pull to one side—sometimes abruptly. One moment of inattention could put you into oncoming traffic on a busy street or completely off the road. Not to mention, misalignment will also wear your tires much faster and speed up the replacement interval.

What is a Wheel Alignment?

All four of your wheels are supposed to be pointing straight, perpendicular to the ground, and parallel to each other. When your wheels are aligned, it keeps your vehicle tracking straight on the road and helps to maximize tire life.

Wheels can lose alignment for a variety of reasons: potholes, speedbumps, hitting curbs, and accidents. Normal driving conditions can also throw off your alignment over time. Sometimes only one wheel will be out of alignment and will pull against the other tires. Not only does this cause excessive tire wear, but it also hurts fuel economy.

During an alignment, we’ll adjust the various angles of your suspension system that are responsible for the position of the tires and movement. These are called the toe, thrust, camber, and caster. We’ll also inspect the steering and suspension components; whatever cause the wheels to be knocked out of alignment in the first place may have also damaged other parts. Depending on your model, we may also reset your car’s vehicle steering angle sensor.

The type of alignment you receive is also dependent on your model. Four-wheel alignments, which involve aligning both axles, are used for four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles with independent or adjustable rear suspensions. If you don’t have 4WD or AWD, your car will likely only need a front-end alignment or a thrust-angle alignment.

Your owner’s manual will have recommendations for how often you should have your alignment checked, or you can check with your service advisor. In general, it’s usually around every 6,000 miles, although this can vary based on the type of vehicle you own, typical driving conditions, and tire type. However, if you noticed signs that your alignment is off, it’s best to schedule an alignment sooner.

Signs Your Wheel Alignment is Off

Here are some common signs it’s time to have your wheels aligned:

  • Noisy steering
  • Rapid or uneven tire wear
  • The steering wheel looks crooked, even though you’re driving straight
  • Your car pulls to the left or right
  • Squealing tires
  • Drifting to one side while driving
  • Loose or vibrating steering wheel

When you come in for an appointment, we may ask you some additional questions to help diagnose the issue faster. These include:

  1. When did you first notice the issue? Was it after hitting a curb? Or has it been gradual?
  2. How often does the issue happen? Is your vehicle only pulling on certain road conditions or during a turn?
  3. When was the last time you had your tires rotated? Have you kept your air pressure at the right level? Both of these factors can contribute to faster tire wear.
  4. Have you ever had your tires or steering components replaced?

The Benefits of a Wheel Alignment

Beyond safer driving and longer-lasting tires, wheel alignments offer several other benefits:

  • Better fuel efficiency. According to Investopedia, misaligned tires can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 10%.
  • A smoother, more comfortable ride. If your alignment is off, it can make your ride bumpy, jarring, or vibration-filled.
  • Fewer repairs. Misalignments can cause damage to your suspension system if you ignore them for too long. It’s far more cost-effective to keep up with alignments rather than waiting until you need a repair.

What’s the Difference Between a Wheel Alignment and Balancing?

It’s common for drivers to think wheel balancing is the same as wheel alignment, but these are two different services. Wheel (or tire) balancing corrects uneven weight distribution in the wheels. When your wheels aren’t properly balanced, it can lead to some of the same issues as misalignments: excessive tire wear, vibration, and damage to the suspension.

Regardless of what your vehicle needs, you can always rely on the skilled team at EuroCar Service to steer you straight. As your local European auto repair shop, we can help you with alignments, rotations, tire services, suspension repair, and more. We specialize in all European makes, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Mini Cooper, Smart-Car, Fiat, Jaguar, Volvo, Saab, and Volkswagen. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.

Tread Depth: Why It Matters and How to Measure It

When it comes to stopping power, many drivers tend to focus on their brakes. However, our tires are where the rubber meets the road. Having good brakes isn’t enough; we need to have tires with enough traction to turn braking power into actual stopping power. If the tire tread depth isn’t deep enough, your tires can lose their grip on the road, leading to longer stopping distances.

How Does Tire Tread Work?

To understand how tire tread works, let’s focus on how it helps you stop in wet conditions. To have good contact with the road, the tire has to be able to move the water out of the way. If it can’t, the tire will ride on top of the water’s surface, instead of the surface of the road. This can lead to “hydroplaning”, a potentially dangerous situation that reduces the ability to steer and brake.

Each tire has channels for the water to flow through, known as tread, which helps move the water out of the way. Take a look at your tires, and you’ll see the channels run around and across them. The tread is designed to direct water away from the tire so that the tire can grip the road better.

The deeper the channel, the more water it can move. Brand new tires have very deep channels, allowing them to move a good amount of water with ease. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. Once they’re worn down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop on wet roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 11,000 accidents occur annually from bald tires.

How Much Tread Should My Tires Have?

Since tire tread wears down, it’s important to monitor the tread depth of your tires. Washington state law requires drivers to have a tire tread depth of 2/32 of an inch or more. However, Consumer Reports and other advocate groups recommend replacing your tires when the tread is worn to 4/32 of an inch or 3.2 millimeters.

Once the tread depth is worn to 2/32 of an inch (1.6 millimeters), the tread wear bar will be visible. The recommended standard has twice the tread depth as a completely worn-out tire—and that additional tread makes a huge difference. A safe stopping distance from freeway speeds could result in a crash with bald tires.

4 Ways to Check Your Tire Tread

Fortunately, there are four quick and easy ways to check your tire tread, and they can all be done from home.

  • The Penny Test

Take a penny and insert it into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it means you have less than 2/32 inches of tread left; it’s time to replace your tires.

  • The Quarter Test

The quarter test works exactly the same as the penny test. Put the quarter into the tread, with George Washington upside down and facing you. If the tread touches his head, you have at least 4/32 inches of tread left. If the tread doesn’t cover Washington’s hairline, schedule a tire replacement appointment.

  • The Tread Wear Bar Indicator

Most tires have tread wear bar indicators, which are evenly spaced through the main grooves in the tire’s tread. When the tread is worn down enough that it’s flush with the wear bars, the tires should be replaced.

If you use winter tires, it’s important to know that they have deeper tread depths than all-season or summer tires. The winter wear indicators help you see whether you have suitable tread depth for driving in the snow or other wet, slippery conditions. The wear bars will be visible once the tread has worn down to approximately 5/32 inches. Although the tires may have a legal amount of tread left, they may not provide the traction you need for winter driving.

  • Tread Depth Gauge

Tread depth gauges are an easy way to accurately measure your tire tread depth. You can find them in almost any auto parts store. To measure the depth of your tread, insert the gauge’s probe into the tire’s tread grooves; press the gauge down and then read the results.

In general, it’s recommended to check your tread depth every 3,000 miles or once the tread reaches 4/32 of an inch deep.

Since tires can wear unevenly, it’s always a good idea to check the tread depth at various spots on the tire. While checking your tread, make sure to inspect your tires, too. Pay attention to things like whether the wear is uniform or if there are any signs of damage, like cracking, bulging, or other signs of wear. Even if you have adequate tread depth, excessive wear can cause a tire to fail.

Time to Replace Your Tires? Head Over to EuroCar Service!

Replacing your tires as soon as they’re worn is the best way to protect yourself and your passengers from accidents or blowouts. At EuroCar Service, we offer a wide selection of tires to choose from. If you’re unsure whether you need new tires, we’re happy to take a look and give you recommendations.

We also offer every service you need to keep your vehicle’s wheels and tires in excellent shape, including new tire installation, balancing, rotations, and more. Our ASE-certified technicians specialize in all European makes, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Mini-Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, Smart Car, and Fiat. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online.

Which Fluids Are Right for Your Vehicle?

Have you ever walked through an auto parts store and noticed the overwhelming number of automotive fluids they carry? How do you know which ones are right for your vehicle?

Fluids play a large role in how your car runs—they lubricate moving parts, provide pressure for hydraulic systems, and help keep things under the hood cool. Your manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for everything from the engine and cooling system to brake fluid. If you know which types of fluid your vehicle takes, selecting the right fluids becomes much more manageable!

Why Are There Different Varieties of Automotive Fluids?

So, why are there so many varieties of automotive fluid? Let’s start with motor oil. Manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the engine’s needs. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil. Many newer vehicles come straight from the factory with synthetic oil, with the recommendation to use it for the rest of the vehicle’s life.

Regardless of whether your car uses conventional oil or synthetic, the safest bet is always to use what the factory recommends because it’s been proven to work in function and durability tests. The oil type is also a factor when it comes to determining your oil change interval schedule. Higher-quality motor oil has more additives, which are engineered to clean and protect the engine. Although they cost a bit more, it’s worth the extra protection they offer. If you buy budget oil, you should consider getting oil changes more frequently.

Some fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. One example of this would be coolant. The materials used to build cooling systems can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so different types of coolant are formulated to protect those parts from corrosion. You can even find manufacturer-specific coolants for various vehicles, including Volkswagen.

More recently, this has also become the case for transmission and brake fluid. The good news is you can find the right types of fluid listed in your owner’s manual—or check with us. This takes all the guesswork out of buying the correct fluid for your car. If you have special needs, like a high-mileage or performance engine, our service advisor can also recommend upgrades or additives that will address your needs while also staying consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

When Should My Fluids Be Changed?

Every vehicle will have its own fluid change intervals; you can find the recommended service intervals for fluid changes in your owner’s manual, or we’re happy to look them up for you. However, here are some general guidelines on the different types of fluids you’ll need to have changed from time to time.

  • Motor oil – Motor oil lubricates your engine and prevents friction that can wear down moving parts and contribute to overheating. In most vehicles, it should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
  • Transmission fluid – Transmission fluid lubricates all the moving parts in the transmission. There are different types of transmission fluid for automatic versus manual transmissions; in general, it should be replaced every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on the type of car you drive.
  • Coolant – Coolant helps transfer heat and prevents engine damage from freezing or overheating. Depending on your make, the coolant should be changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.
  • Brake fluid – Brake fluid is used to transfer force into pressure so you can brake effectively. It should be changed every 2-3 years or 24,000 to 36,000 miles.
  • Power steering fluid – Power steering fluid allows you to have smooth steering and the ability to turn your wheels with ease. It should be replaced every 75,000 to 100,000 miles.
  • Differential fluid – The differential compensates for the distance the inner and outer wheels travel when you’re making a turn. It should typically be changed every 25,000 to 30,000 miles.
  • Transfer case fluid (4WD and AWD) – Transfer cases are only found on four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles; it keeps all the small gears and other moving parts in the transfer case lubricated. Typically, it should be changed every 30,000 miles.

Keep Your Fluids in Check

Each fluid in your car plays an important role in the way your vehicle functions; if the fluids get too low, dirty, or contaminated, they aren’t able to do their job as well. In some cases, neglecting a fluid change can lead to other issues—putting off oil changes for too long, for example, can cause excessive wear on the engine and thick sludge that can gunk up your engine. Keeping up with the recommended service intervals is the best way to keep your vehicle running smoothly and prolong its road life.

During an oil change, we’ll make sure to top off your other fluids, but it’s also a good idea to have a little of everything at home in case you need to top anything off yourself or to take on a trip. Ask your service advisor or check your owner’s manual. And if you’re not comfortable checking or topping off your fluids yourself, EuroCar Service is always here to help! We see all European makes, including Audi, Fiat, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Smart Car. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online.

Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Your Vehicle’s Tire Pressure Monitor

Having the right tire pressure is important for safe handling, traction, tire life, fuel economy—and for preventing accidents and blowouts. If your vehicle is a 2006 model or newer, it’s equipped with a handy monitoring system called the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, or TPMS for short. When your tires aren’t properly inflated, the TPMS will display a warning light on the dashboard that looks like a cross-section of a tire with an exclamation point in it. Some vehicles also have a digital readout that shows the pressure of each tire in pounds per square inch (psi).

Obviously, this is a very handy feature! What many people don’t realize, though, is that the TPMS isn’t a replacement for checking your tire pressure regularly.

Why the TPMS isn’t a Replacement for Checking Your Tire Pressure

The TPMS tracks tire pressure using a series of either direct or indirect sensors, depending on the model of the vehicle. When the tire reaches 25% below the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, the warning light will come on. The problem is, once this light comes on, your tire is severely uninflated. The purpose of the TPMS is essentially to let you know your tire pressure is dangerously low, so it’s not a warning you should ever ignore.

Regardless of whether your vehicle is equipped with a TPMS, it’s always a good idea to have a high-quality tire pressure gauge in your roadside kit. Ideally, tire pressure should be checked at least once a month. The best time to do it is generally first thing in the morning when the tires are cold. You can find the recommended tire pressure printed somewhere on the driver’s door jam and in your owner’s manual.

Other Things to Know About the TPMS

It’s also important to know that extreme variation outside air temperature can affect the air pressure in your tires. For example, in some climates, the temperature can vary by as much as 40°F in a single day. That’s enough to change the air pressure in tires by as much as four psi, which could cause the TPMS warning light to display, depending on what the starting tire pressure was. This can cause some drivers to think there’s a problem with their tires or TPMS, but it may just be caused by the variation in the outside temperature.

The TPMS warning light will also appear if there’s something wrong with the system itself. If a sensor’s battery dies or becomes damaged, it will need to be replaced. The TPMS system also needs to be reset any time you get new tires or have your tires rotated.

In any case, if the TPMS warning light displays, make sure to check your tire pressure!

What to Do if Your TPMS Warning Light Comes On

If the TPMS light comes on while you’re driving, find a safe place to pull over and check the pressure on all tires. Even though only one of them may need air, it’s always a good idea to get into the habit of checking all four of them.

If the light flashes but doesn’t stay on, your TPMS could be malfunctioning. Driving on a spare tire can also cause the light to flash, because the sensors don’t sense the original wheel. If you think your TPMS is having a problem, have the system checked out as soon as possible.

Keep an Eye on Your Tire Pressure

An under-inflated tire can fail and endanger your safety. When a tire doesn’t have enough air pressure, it causes the tire to flex more, which generates friction that can cause the components in the tire to overheat and break down. In addition, low tire pressure can add stress to your vehicle and cause it to lose fuel efficiency—plus, underinflated tires wear out sooner. Nip all those issues in the bud by keeping an eye on your tire pressure!

For assistance with your tires, you can always rely on the pros at EuroCar Service! We specialize in all European makes, including BMW, Audi, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini-Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, Smart Car, and Fiat. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.