90% of our driving decisions are based on vision. Anything that impedes your vision can affect your driving safety – including a dirty windshield. In that sense, your wiper blades are an important safety system. Most Corvallis drivers will wait until their wipers have failed before they replace them. Then they find themselves in a driving situation around Oregon when they really need forward visibility only to discover that their wipers are worn or maybe even torn and can’t clear snow or rain from the windshield.
As an important safety system, wiper blades should be replaced BEFORE they fail. Test your wipers at least once a month. If they are not doing the job, your friendly and professional Clayton's Auto Service service advisor can replace them for you.
Wiper blades are critically important to Corvallis drivers for good driving visibility and safety. When it’s time to replace your wiper blades, there are a number of different wiper blade designs and grades. Corvallis drivers should always use at least the design or grade that came with their vehicle.
If you live in Oregon where there is a lot of wet weather, flying insects, or you do a lot of highway driving, you may want to upgrade to a more advanced design or premium quality wiper blade. Your friendly and professional Clayton's Auto Service service advisor can share the options available for your vehicle and help you decide which wiper blades are optimal for you.
A lot of Corvallis drivers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their vehicle's owner's manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for over 30 years and is a speaker, a trainer and a writer.
Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owner's 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."
Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all vehicles. In addition to your owner's manual, Corvallis automotive repair centers (including Clayton's Auto Service) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules for every vehicle - so they can help Corvallis drivers know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.
Most trips are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers
Most trips are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing
You drive regularly in very hot Oregon weather
The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the freeway)
Stop and go driving
You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Corvallis
It's common sense for Corvallis drivers: Just a few minutes at higher speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than 10 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 break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Corvallis 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 habits. Look at your owner's manual or talk with your Clayton's Auto Service service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow.
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 Oregon highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Corvallis drivers just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.
Ask us for help evaluating your driving and service needs.
There is no escaping it: things work better when you take care of them. Something most of us in Corvallis can relate to is our computers. You've probably noticed how they get slower and slower over time. It takes longer to start up and programs take forever to load. Eventually, many of us just get a new computer at our nearest Corvallis computer store. But computer experts know that there are things you can do to delay the need for a new computer purchase. You can run utilities that clean off temporary files and clean your memory registry. You can optimize your hard drive and a number of other things.
What you're doing is maintaining your computer to make it efficient. It's the same thing with your vehicle. You maintain it to make it more efficient. It works the way it was designed to and that means it uses less fuel while you drive around Corvallis. And you save money.
To help organize our discussion, let's think of things that rob us of fuel economy in two ways: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion.
Friction. Anything that increases friction increases drag or load on the vehicle engine. It has to work harder to overcome the drag – and that takes more fuel. The first thing that comes to mind is engine oil. Low oil means there's not enough to fully lubricate the engine so there's more friction. Dirty oil won't lubricate as well as clean oil. The same principles apply to transmission fluid. Getting your oil changed and transmission serviced on schedule at Clayton's Auto Service will reduce friction and help you get better fuel economy.
Another friction related problem is underinflated tires. When your vehicle tires are low on air, it's like driving on Oregon highways through sand – your vehicle has to work harder to move every mile. Check your tire pressure at least once a month.
Wheels out of alignment and dragging brakes also increase friction. And your tires and brake pads will wear out much sooner as well. At Clayton's Auto Service, we provide quality brake and wheel alignment services.
Let's move on to Fuel. You have to get the right amount of clean fuel to the combustion chamber at precisely the right time. A dirty fuel system has varnish and gum interfering, and the fuel injectors may be unable to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right pressure — and in the spray pattern — that the engineers intended. A vehicle fuel system cleaning at Clayton's Auto Service will get all of that working right and really improve fuel economy.
Replacing your fuel filter on schedule will help keep your fuel clean. Replacing a sticky PCV valve will allow unburned fuel from the engine to be returned to the intake system to be used. Replacing worn spark plugs will burn your fuel as efficiently as possible.
The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your car when you are driving in Corvallis.
Rotors can warp, crack or become misaligned. They can also be damaged by worn out brake pads that scratch grooves into the surface. These conditions result in less contact surface for the brake pads, leaving you with reduced braking power.
Over time and miles, rotors can also wear down below safe specifications. It is important for Corvallis drivers to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the problem. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.
Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake problems that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your friendly and professional Clayton's Auto Service tech perform a thorough inspection.