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    Tue 8:00AM - 5:00PM
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704-633-2223 | 1616 Jake Alexander Blvd S Salisbury, NC 28146

General Vehicle Maintenance

General Vehicle Maintenance

The long-established centerpiece of the automobile sector, known as the "tune-up," has experienced significant transformations over the years. Despite certain misconceptions, contemporary vehicles still necessitate tune-ups for optimal functioning.

With the swift advancement of technology, the methods involved in conducting a traditional tune-up have undergone a considerable evolution. Sophisticated ignition and fuel systems have become standard, integrating one or more onboard computers to regulate critical engine and transmission functions.

Neglecting proper vehicle maintenance can impede your ability to reach your intended destination. For modern vehicles, a thorough inspection of various systems is essential during the 21st Century Tune-up, including the battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.

To ensure peak performance, fuel efficiency, and reduced emissions, the Car Care Council recommends that drivers invest time in familiarizing themselves with their vehicles. Study the owner's manual meticulously to grasp the operation of all systems, paying special attention to indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Some of the ensuing advice can be managed by any do-it-yourselfer, while others necessitate the expertise of a professional auto technician.

Mechanical Troubles

An inconvenience at any time, mechanical failure can be perilous during winter. Preemptive maintenance is imperative. A well-maintained vehicle not only offers a more enjoyable driving experience but also has a longer lifespan and may command a higher resale value.

Engine Performance

Resolve any engine drivability issues (like hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) at a reputable repair shop. Replace clogged filters, such as air and fuel filters.

Fuel

Add fuel de-icer to your tank monthly to prevent moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Maintaining a full gas tank also deters moisture build-up.

Oil

Follow the manual and change the oil and oil filter as directed, especially if your driving primarily consists of frequent short trips or stop-and-go traffic.

Cooling Systems

Regularly check the coolant level, condition, and concentration, and ensure a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water. Refrain from removing the radiator cap until the engine has cooled down. Have a professional examine the drive belts, clamps, and hoses.

Windshield Wipers

Replace worn wiper blades with rubber-clad (winter) ones to combat ice build-up. Always keep a sufficient amount of windshield washer solvent, and carry an ice-scraper.

Heater/Defroster

Ensure that the heater and defroster are functioning correctly for passenger comfort and optimal driver visibility. Remember to replace the cabin air filter periodically.

Battery

Detect a weak battery accurately with professional equipment. Routinely remove corrosion from posts and cable connections and check the fluid level if the battery caps are removable.

Lights

Regularly inspect all lights and bulbs, replacing any burnt-out bulbs and cleaning lenses as needed.

Exhaust System

Elevate your vehicle and examine the exhaust system for leaks. Inspect the trunk and floorboards for small holes as exhaust fumes can be dangerous.

Tires

Worn tires are ineffective in winter weather. Check tire pressure monthly, examine tread life and for uneven wear, and rotate tires as recommended. Also, ensure the spare tire and jack are in good condition.

Emergency Kit

Stock up on essential emergency gear such as gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flashlight. Keep some high-energy snacks in the glove box as well.

Preparing Your Vehicle For Summer

The heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic of summer can take a toll on your vehicle. Combine that with the wear from the previous winter, and you might be at risk of a breakdown. However, regular maintenance can reduce the chances of mechanical failure, ensuring that your vehicle lasts longer and retains a higher resale value. Some of the following tips can be easily implemented, while others may require the expertise of a skilled auto technician.

Air Conditioning

Have your air conditioning system examined by a qualified technician, especially if it's showing signs of marginal operation. Check and replace cabin air filters as directed in the owner's manual.

Cooling System

The primary cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. Ensure that the cooling system is flushed and refilled regularly, with a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water. Check the condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses.

Oil

Adhere to the manual and change the oil and oil filter as recommended, especially if you frequently make short trips, travel with heavy luggage, or tow a trailer.

Engine Performance

Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended, and address any engine drivability issues promptly.

Windshield Wipers

Keep a clear windshield by replacing worn wiper blades and ensuring an adequate supply of windshield washer solvent.

Lights

Routinely check all lights and bulbs, replacing any that are burnt out and cleaning lenses as needed.

Tires

Rotate your tires regularly, check tire pressure monthly, and inspect them for tread life, uneven wear, and cuts. Have your alignment checked if there's any uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.

Brakes

Regularly inspect your brakes as per the owner's manual, and address any minor issues promptly to avoid major problems.

Battery

Battery failure can occur at any time. Use professional equipment to accurately detect a weak battery. Maintain your battery by cleaning corrosion and ensuring the proper fluid level if the battery caps are removable.

Emergencies

Carry essential tools and a first-aid kit. Include flares and a flashlight, and consider having a cellular phone on hand.

Also being able to maintain your vehicle in harmony with the environment is a mutually beneficial strategy. A well-maintained and efficiently operated vehicle is safer, lasts longer, and according to ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians, can have a 50% longer lifespan.

The following tips can guide you toward wallet-friendly car care practices:

  • Ensure your engine is well-tuned, as a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30%.
  • Adhere to the service schedules outlined in your owner's manual, replacing filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Regularly check your tire inflation, as underinflated tires lead to wasted fuel and increased engine workload.
  • Address any issues with wheels that are out-of-line, as uneven tread wear and vehicle pulling can cause unnecessary strain on the engine.
  • Observe speed limits, as mileage drastically decreases above 60 mph.
  • Adopt a smooth driving style, avoiding sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go movements. Use cruise control on open highways to maintain a steady speed.
  • Avoid excessive idling, shutting off the engine while waiting for extended periods.
  • Modern vehicles warm up quickly, so avoid prolonged warm-ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove unnecessary items from your vehicle to reduce weight and enhance fuel efficiency.
  • Store luggage and cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to minimize air drag.
  • Plan your trips efficiently, consolidating errands to reduce unnecessary driving. Opt for travel during lighter traffic times to avoid stop-and-go conditions.
  • Consider participating in a carpool to further reduce car costs.

Remember that how your car runs, how you drive it, and how you handle its fluids, old parts, and tires all have significant implications on your finances.

Discover More About Maintenance and Repair Services At Central Automotive in Salisbury

Inspections & Emissions
Emissions And Smog Testing
General Auto Repair Services


What Our Customers Are Saying

I was at Central Auto at or around this date, it was about a month ago. I had an appt for a tire sensor, ended up having a flat the next day from a previous auto place's shoddy work (and obnoxious claims of immediately needing over 2k in parts just by touching one tire on our SUV). Central was great and allowed us to come in early morning and not wait until our afternoon appointment time to get our tire patched and sensors reprogrammed. I was there a time before and we will be getting work done shortly on our terrain that was not immediate. We've had nothing but great experiences since we've gone and the owner has been open and honest about work that does need to be done.

, 09/15/2023

Servicing my vehicles for years. Recently installed new engine in truck. They have bent over backwards to make sure everything is right. Fun friendly crew. Thanks for all you've done!!!!!!

, 08/02/2023

reviewiconProfessional Auto Repair

They know their business, and the price wasn't too bad, I take my cars there cause I know I don't have to worry about any issues after, they fill you in on all your car repair needs



reviewiconHonest and Dependable

The staff was phenomenal and extremely helpful. Very informative and honest. The previous reviews definitely helped and I would recommend them



reviewiconAmazing Service

Great service, great people, highly recommended!



reviewiconHighly Recommended

Great shop, great people. Cashier was beyond professional with a great personality. Definitely will be back.



  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • NAPA
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Car Care Aware
  • Call Us For Service: 704-633-2223