Are you a new driver in San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, or any other Hays County, TX community? If so, there’s a good chance you feel intimidated by the very idea of auto repair. Vehicles need all kinds of repair and maintenance services to keep running smoothly, and it’s not like your car came with a guide on where you should get this work done. Consequently, even experienced motorists can have trouble planning auto repair.
Despite this, you won’t be able to avoid your auto repair demands for long. The best way to get started is to research this topic and know where to turn when it’s time to schedule this work. Read on for Reliable Automotive’s ultimate guide to auto repair services.
Why Do You Need Auto Repair and Maintenance?
When left to its own devices, even the most well-designed vehicle won’t be able to stay in perfect condition indefinitely. Eventually, something will go wrong with your car — and looking the other way when that happens isn’t a good idea.
Instead, your first move should be to set up an appointment for complete auto repair. After all, repair services are the only way to resolve the issues plaguing your vehicle. If you put off this work for too long, the situation will only become more expensive to fix.
The best way to deal with car problems is to prevent them from developing in the first place — and that’s why auto maintenance is essential. The tasks that fall under this umbrella don’t focus on fixing things that have gone wrong with your car; instead, they are regular services that can promote your vehicle’s overall well-being. Taking auto maintenance seriously can significantly reduce your risk of getting stuck with pricey car repairs.
Should You Get Auto Repair Services at a Shop or Dealership?
Two types of businesses can effectively provide auto repair and maintenance services: dealerships and auto repair shops. Dealerships are often seen as the default for auto repair, and they can consistently supply original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. But these manufacturer brand names aren’t necessarily a guarantee of quality; too often, these recognizable brand names serve as an excuse to jack up prices.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through your dealership for auto service, as dealerships are legally prohibited from altering warranties based on where their customers go for service. Instead, there’s a good chance you’d have a better experience visiting a local auto repair shop. Unlike dealerships, these businesses can work on all vehicle makes and models, and the services they deliver usually cost less than they would at the average dealership.
Motor Oil Varieties: Which One Is Right for You?
No vehicle can function adequately without motor oil. This fluid is responsible for cooling, lubricating, and cleaning your engine, but it won’t last forever. Motor oil collects dirt and debris over time; as it does, it gradually loses functionality. When it reaches a certain point, you’ll need to replace it to keep your car running smoothly.
Before you schedule an oil change, you should know what type of oil you need. Your options include:
While conventional oil is still the most common oil on the market, it isn’t as effective as other types of oil. Although it’s technically cheaper than alternative oil types, conventional oil’s short lifespan prevents it from outdoing its competitors in terms of long-lasting value.
Instead, it’s in your best interest to go with synthetic or high-mileage oil the next time you need an oil change. These oil varieties last longer and perform better than conventional oil, making them the best choice for most Hays County drivers.
How Brake Repairs Can Keep You Safe
Whether you’re gearing up for a cross-country road trip or heading out for groceries, your vehicle needs a reliable brake system to keep you and other drivers safe. Brakes are arguably your car’s most critical safety feature, making brake repair an indispensable part of any complete car repair routine.
That means you can’t afford to neglect the well-being of your brake system — and as soon as you notice symptoms like vibrations and unusual noises, it’s time to get your brakes a check-up. Depending on the state of your braking system, you might need brake repair services like:
- Brake rotor turning
- A brake fluid flush/replacement
- New brake pads or shoes
- Wheel bearing repacking
- Brake caliper lubrication
Even if your brakes seem fine, it’s wise to get this system inspected every so often. For most drivers, scheduling brake inspections every 6,000 miles or six months is ideal.
How Does Your Auto Electrical System Work?
Modern vehicles include countless modules, sensors, and switches — and all of these parts rely on electricity to do their jobs. Under normal circumstances, your car’s electrical system should easily be capable of powering these components.
As you might expect, your car’s electrical system is quite complicated. Still, it can be broken down into three main parts:
- The battery provides power for all of the car parts that rely on your electrical system to function. That includes your headlights, blinkers, stereo, and power windows.
- The starting system is responsible for starting your vehicle when you turn it on. Believe it or not, this process consumes more electricity than anything else your car does.
- The charging system consists of an alternator, a voltage regulator, and circuits — all of which contribute to recharging your battery and powering the electrical system while your car is running.
Of course, any of these parts can encounter problems if left unchecked for too long. If that happens, you’ll need to schedule an auto electrical service at a nearby Hays County auto shop.
What Transmission Repair Services Do You Need?
When your gears shift smoothly, you probably won’t spend much time thinking about the system that makes this possible. That will change as soon as you notice red puddles under your vehicle, hear noises when you shift from one gear to another, or find yourself dealing with less-than-smooth gear shifts. In that case, you’ll know it’s time to set up transmission repair.
Based on your transmission’s condition, you might need one of several different transmission services — a quick transmission flush, a complete transmission overhaul, or something in between. Entrusting your car to qualified technicians is imperative, no matter what services you need. The transmission is one of the most complicated systems in any vehicle, so you shouldn’t count on just anyone to work on your car or truck’s transmission.
Find Out What Your Check Engine Light Is Telling You
When you’re dealing with engine problems, there’s a good chance that the check engine light on your car’s dashboard will activate. However, this light isn’t equipped to tell you precisely what you’re dealing with. A few of the many car problems that can trigger the check engine light include:
- Bad spark plug wiring
- Water in the engine
- Faulty spark plugs or a faulty ignition coil
- Unusually high fuel consumption
- An engine vacuum leak
- Catalytic converter failure
- A loose gas cap
As you can see, these issues vary significantly in terms of severity. But since an active check engine light could signal any of these matters, you should visit a trustworthy Hays County auto shop for engine repair as soon as it turns on.
How AC Systems Can Lose Their Cool
The weather in Texas can get hot — especially during the summer months. Because of that, people in this part of the country should always have functional air conditioning systems in their vehicles. Unfortunately, the AC systems in cars can become less effective over time due to refrigerant leaks and other challenges. You’ll need to schedule an auto AC repair service to fix them.
A qualified auto repair shop can deliver many services related to your AC system. As part of that, they should be ready to recharge this system, clean your condenser, test for refrigerant leaks, or manually inspect the system’s belts and hoses, among other tasks.
Get Ready To Pass Your Next Emissions Test
In many Texas counties, all registered gasoline vehicles between the ages of two and 24 must undergo annual inspections. Your vehicle’s emissions will be tested during this inspection. Some common reasons why cars fail their emissions tests include:
- Misrouted vacuum lines
- Inaccurate ignition timing
- A faulty gas cap
- Catalytic converter failure
- Fuel metering out of specification
- Inoperative thermostatic air cleaner or injection system
- Issues with the positive crankcase ventilation system or exhaust gas recirculation system
Since even minor issues can cause vehicles to fail their emissions tests, it pays to think ahead by visiting an auto shop for emission repair work.
How To Find a Qualified Diesel Repair Shop
Gasoline-powered cars aren’t the only vehicles on the road in Hays County. Diesel vehicles are also relatively common, largely thanks to their high level of reliability and fuel efficiency. But like other vehicles, diesel-powered cars and trucks need regular repair and maintenance work to demonstrate their full potential.
If you drive a diesel vehicle, you should focus on finding an auto shop that provides many different services at highly affordable prices when your car needs service. There’s only one real difference: you’ll need to look for a shop whose employees are equally skilled at working on gas-powered and diesel-powered vehicles.
Commercial trucking is one of the most well-known use cases for diesel trucks. Because of that, the best diesel shops go beyond furnishing services to individual diesel vehicles. Try to find a shop that offers maintenance and repair services for entire diesel fleets — even if you don’t need this level of work, there’s a good chance that the shop takes diesel repair seriously.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Light-Duty Truck
Owning and driving a light-duty truck can be a gratifying experience. These vehicles can efficiently tow heavy loads, navigate treacherous terrain, and offer quite a bit of storage space. But to truly enjoy these perks, you need to keep up with your light truck repair requirements.
To take good care of your light-duty truck, you should:
Pay Attention to Your Truck’s Brakes
The brake systems in light-duty trucks are just as susceptible to wear and tear as those found in any other vehicle. Make a point of getting regular brake inspections and taking care of necessary brake repairs right away.
Look Out for Signs of Engine Trouble
A well-thought-out maintenance and inspection schedule can reduce the risk of engine failure. Your engine checks should include inspections of your vehicle’s oil pressure, wheel alignment, coolant levels, compression, and exhaust temperature.
Prioritize Oil Changes
Getting oil changes every 5,000-7,000 miles is enough for some vehicles. But considering the conditions light-duty trucks often deal with, it’s wise to schedule this vital service more regularly than that timeline suggests. Additionally, be sure to keep your drivetrain, steering, and suspension systems thoroughly lubricated.
Take Steps To Prevent Corrosion
While corrosion can undoubtedly reduce your truck’s visual appeal, that’s not the only trouble it can cause. Corrosion can eat away at your truck’s body, actively shortening your vehicle’s lifespan. To keep corrosion from becoming an issue, get your vehicle washed once every ten days, avoid large puddles of water, and repair dings in your vehicle’s paint immediately.
Why Radiator Repair Is Essential
Your car’s engine works incredibly hard to keep your vehicle running, and that effort creates quite a bit of heat. If that heat had nowhere to go, your engine would fail within minutes — and that’s where your radiator comes in. This component, which is responsible for dissipating engine heat, is at the heart of your vehicle’s cooling system.
Have you noticed your engine’s temperature gauge getting dangerously high lately? If so, you may need professional radiator repair. Since this component plays such a crucial role in protecting your car’s overall well-being, it should only be worked on by ASE-certified mechanics. That way, you can rest assured that your reconditioned radiator will be as good as new.
How To Keep Your Steering System on Track
It goes without saying that Hays County drivers need to be able to steer in the right direction. Because of that, your steering system is as essential as your brakes when it comes to safe driving — without a reliable steering system, there’s no way you can be safe on the road.
When your steering system is inaccurate or develops other problems, it should be inspected and repaired by professionals. Regular steering system maintenance can help you avoid these issues entirely. Some of the jobs that come with power steering maintenance appointments include:
- A complete power steering fluid flush
- Bleeding the steering system to get rid of residual fluids
- Checking for leaks and testing for additional irregularities
- A power steering fluid refill
- Steering system testing to check for any other trouble
How Does Your Suspension System Work?
How often do you usually think about your car’s suspension system? If you’re like most drivers, the answer is “rarely” — until this system starts to display warning signs. You and your passengers are in for a bumpy ride when that happens.
Fixing a suspension system is one of the most challenging auto repair jobs out there. That’s mainly because this system includes many different components, such as:
These parts absorb the impact created by driving on surfaces like potholes and bumpy roads by bending.
Your shock absorbers work alongside your springs to prevent you from bouncing up and down while on the road.
Though you might not usually think of tires as part of your suspension system, they play an integral role. Fun fact: your wheels are the only suspension system component that makes contact with the ground.
These metal links connect every part of your suspension system. They’re highly durable, and should only break if you’re involved in a serious collision.
Joints, Bushings, and Bearings
All of these parts help to connect your rods to the various components of your suspension system. They also allow for the twisting and sliding motions needed for this system to function.
Technically, the steering system isn’t part of the suspension system. That said, the two systems work together to allow your tires to drive and turn as they should.
Finally, your frame carries your suspension’s weight and keeps everything together.
While your suspension system is intricate, you can still count on highly-experienced mechanics to handle suspension repair for you. These people will know what part of your suspension system has encountered issues — and they’ll be able to fix your suspension problems for you.
What to Look For in a Hays County Auto Repair Shop
Any resident of Hays County knows there are quite a few auto repair shops in the area. Because of that, choosing just one of these businesses for your complete auto repair needs can be tricky — and picking the wrong shop could make your existing car problems worse. When you’re searching for an auto repair shop in this part of Texas, prioritize businesses that:
- Employ highly-qualified mechanics. Not every auto shop can hire the best of the best. To be sure you’re getting the level of expertise you deserve, look for shops that advertise their ASE-certified mechanics.
- Are a part of the local community. Shops that have been a local fixture for a decade or longer have a reputation to uphold, which means they have a vested interest in offering the best possible service to their customers.
- Offer a full range of maintenance and repair services. It’s impossible to predict what hiccup your vehicle will develop next, but you shouldn’t have to look for a different auto shop for every problem with your car. Instead, your shop of choice must be ready to deliver all kinds of car repair services.
- Provide more than a single location. No matter where you experience car trouble in Hays County, you need an auto shop that can meet you where you are. That means looking for shops with multiple locations in the region.
- Help you save on auto repair work. Auto service will always cost you something, but the best shops can minimize the financial impact of this work by offering online coupons.
To get all these benefits and more, give Reliable Automotive a try! We’ve been Hays County’s number-one auto shop since 2012, offering a broad selection of car and truck repair services. Take the first step towards getting the complete car repair service you need by scheduling your appointment today!