Auto Maintenance

oil change in Philadelphia, PA

What Kind Of Oil Do You Need In An Oil Change?

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Did you know there are choices for the oil you put in your car? Just like anything else, there’s a variety of options out there and when you get your next Philadelphia, PA oil changeyou can request a certain type of oil. If you don’t say anything, the technician will probably use the oil that the manufacturer recommends and that’s usually best for your vehicle. But you do have a say in the situation so it’s important to know the difference in the different types of oil you can have in your vehicle.  

Consider Viscosity 

Viscosity is how thick the oil is and how well it retains its properties at various temperatures. Synthetic oil is superior in this case because conventional oils will thicken when the weather gets cold and get thinner when it’s hot. Viscosity in synthetic oils is more uniform. Some new models might run better on lower-viscosity oil and the rating is expressed numerically. The lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many vehicles are designed to work at various levels.  

Premium Conventional Oil 

Most vehicles run just fine on premium conventional oil, which does a good job at protecting the engine from overheating and from everyday wear. There are additive packages available for different vehicles, but as long as you stick to a regular oil change schedule, conventional oil is usually a good option for most vehicles.  

High Mileage Oil 

Vehicles are lasting longer today, especially with good maintenance habits, and high mileage oil is formed to stop leaks and swell gaskets around valve corners that might have cracked over their years of use. There are better viscosity properties in high mileage oil, which can help things stay quieter and provide better protection for parts that might be loosening up a bit due to age and wear.  

Synthetic Blend 

This synthetic blend splits the difference between synthetic oil and conventional oil. Synthetic blends are better for SUVs and trucks and while they aren’t as costly as full synthetic, they do cost more than conventional oil. If your vehicle hauls heavy loads, this is something to consider.  

Full Synthetic 

This oil outperforms conventional oil in every way and is purer and more stable as well as more uniform. The viscosity properties are better, and this oil is factory-recommended for most new vehicles to protect and seal items within the engine. They are, however, also more costly, but they also last longer and don’t have to be changed out as often.  

If you want to know more about what you need for your next Philadelphia, PA oil changecheck your owner’s manual or ask your technician for details on what’s best for your vehicle. Contact Schafer’s Auto Center the next time you need an oil change at (215) 755-1270. SAR is here to recommend the right oil for your vehicle to make it run the best for as long as possible. We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148.  

auto repair in Philadelphia, PA

Questions To Ask Auto Mechanics—Have No Fear

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If you don’t know a lot about cars, you might feel a bit mystified about what goes on under the hood. Your Philadelphia, PA auto mechanic might feel a little intimidating to you. But they shouldn’t. Your auto mechanic is someone who has specialized training in cars. They don’t know about your line of work just like you don’t know about theirs and that’s okay. It takes all sorts of people to make the world work the way it does. If you have questions for your auto mechanic, ask them. Don’t have any fear about asking something they think is obvious. They’ll understand that you’re not an expert, just as they aren’t an expert in your field. Here are a few questions to ask your auto mechanic before you take your vehicle in.  

What Types Of Vehicles Does Your Shop Work On? 

Some shops take any and every type of vehicle while others might specialize in high-end cars like BMWs and other certain makes. Certain cars take specialized tools and proper training while others are more run of the mill. If you find a shop that accepts your type of vehicle, you’re in luck and can take it to them for service. If they don’t work on your type of car, you can ask for recommendations for a shop nearby that does.  

What Kind Of Equipment Do You Have In The Shop? 

Every time a car manufacturer comes out with a new vehicle, there are new systems that go with it. These systems are getting more and more sophisticated and many take updated equipment and diagnostics for repair. Your auto mechanic should have the latest technology so it’s worth you asking what they do have. You want your car to have the best repairs and diagnostics and you’ll never know what it’s getting unless you ask.  

What Type Of Replacement Parts Do You Use? 

Not every replacement part is the same and there are generic brands and plenty of options, just as there are in every other facet of the car industry. You often get what you pay for in this region and if you get factory-quality parts, your car will operate better. You have the right to ask where the replacement part comes from and whether or not the brand is recommended by the car’s manufacturer. It’s your car—you get to say what goes on it.  

There are plenty of other questions you can ask a Philadelphia, PA auto mechanic, but be clear about one thing—you should have no fears about asking. If your auto mechanic makes you feel bad about anything you ask, it’s time to look for a new mechanic. The professionals at Schafer’s Auto Center are here to answer your questions, no matter what they might be regarding. Give us a call at (215) 755-1270 or stop by and see us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148. We’re honest and we understand not everyone knows auto mechanics like we do. We’re here for you when you need us. 

oil change in Philadelphia, PA

Don’t Get Oil Changes Too Often In Philadelphia, PA

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If there’s one thing you know about your vehicle, it’s likely that it needs a Philadelphia, PA oil change at a certain interval. It used to be that people would try to come in every 3,000 miles to get the oil on their vehicles changed, but as technology changes, so do vehicle needs. While you may know the benefits of getting your oil changed when it is necessary, have you heard reasons not to change the oil too often? Here are a few to consider:  

Philadelphia, PA oil changeYou’re Wasting Money 

If there’s anything you can do to put more money into your budget without wasting anything, you’d like to do it, right? When you get your oil changed before it needs to be done, you’re wasting money. You have “oil to burn,” so to speak and getting the oil change done before you need it start burning new oil when you had old oil left to burn. No one wants to waste money on car maintenance unless it’s necessary.  

You’re Not Guaranteeing Anything 

Some drivers use oil changes as somewhat of a cheap insurance on their vehicles. If they change the oil often, nothing else will go wrong on the car, right? No, that’s not right at all. You can ensure that your oil is in good condition and that helps a number of things, including the engine, but it doesn’t ensure that everything is lined up perfectly all the time. All it really does is spend your money. Things might still break down later.  

Other Things Could Be “Found” 

Have you ever gone to a quick service oil change place only to learn that the mechanic thinks you also need new filters, new brakes, or any number of other things? Getting your oil changed too often won’t hurt your vehicle, but if you visit the wrong place, it could hurt your pocketbook even more with unnecessary fixes.  

If you really want to know how often you need an oil change, it is best to consult your owner’s manual. If you don’t want to look into anything car-related, ask a trusted mechanic for an estimate. Most vehicles are good today until about 5,000 miles. While you don’t want to get an oil change too soon, you also don’t want to go in too late. Finding the perfect balance spends your money in the appropriate way and gets the most out of the oil you have placed in your vehicle.   

Are you ready for an oil change? Do you need help finding a good balance on mileage between the oil changes? Contact the experts at Schafer’s Auto Center by calling (215) 755-1270 for an appointment. We’re here to help you get the oil changes you need—when you need them. We never tell you something needs to be done on your vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary. Visit us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 for your next Philadelphia, PA oil change. 


Philadelphia, PA auto mechanic

Auto Mechanic Tips For Lower Gas Mileage

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There are a lot of things you think about when you purchase a vehicle. You need something big enough to accommodate your family, but you also need something within your budget. Budget goes a lot farther than just the initial sticker price. Your Philadelphia, PA auto mechanic will tell you that gas mileage is another very important element of price on a vehicle long-term. There are plenty of things to do to keep the gas mileage as low as possible.  

auto mechanic in Philadelphia, PACheck The Tires 

Every tire has a certain level of air pressure that is good for that tire. If you don’t know what that is for your tire, ask your auto mechanic or check on the tire. Learn how to check the tire pressure or ask someone to show you so you can pull into a gas station and make sure the tire pressure is good every now and then. If it’s off, fill or let out some air. The tire pressure helps you get good gas mileage when it is at the right level. Plus, it will help the tires last longer.  

Driving Right 

You use a lot of gas by starting and stopping your vehicle. If you want to save as much as you can on gas mileage, it is a good idea to accelerate and stop gradually. Instead of slamming on the breaks, make it a habit to slow down earlier. Don’t slam down the accelerator, either, even if you are late. This will add up over time and the wear and tear on your car will be lessened as well.  

Visit Your Auto Mechanic 

You want your gas mileage to be as good as possible so visit your auto mechanic for oil changes, regular maintenance, and repairs. Visiting the auto mechanic costs money, but you’ll save quite a bit in gas as you take care of your vehicle. Your auto mechanic will also have tips and tricks for you to follow to get the best gas mileage possible.  

Follow The Book 

Every vehicle comes with an owner’s manual and if you follow what the vehicle needs in that manual, you will get better gas mileage. That means spacing your oil changes out just right and getting other maintenance done at the right time. This manual is in place for a reason—use it.  

If you want more tips on getting good gas mileage, ask the professionals at Schafer’s Auto Center by calling (215) 755-1270 with your questions or to make an appointment. We’re here to help your car stay in the best possible shape for as many years as possible. Visit us at our shop at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 as well. We will help you with your gas mileage, minor or major repairs, or any question you have. The experts at SAR want to help you with any car-related issue and gas mileage is one that will affect your life greatly. 

Leave Certain Car Maintenance to Pros

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Some people just love to tinker around the garage. And since the car is generally in the garage, they might tinker with that as well. Whether they like to change the oil to feel handy or try out a few repairs, there are some items that are best left to the professionals at SAR. Because of the complexity within cars today, some things are just too complicated to handle on your own. Keep these items in mind as you consider a DIY approach on your vehicle in Philadelphia.

-Brake Repair
If you’ve noticed your brakes are taking longer to stop the vehicle, or you hear a squealing noise, you might recognize that it’s time for brake repair. Sure, it might just be the brake pads and that would be great. It’s the most inexpensive part to replace. However, when it comes to your brakes, you never want to mess around. Brakes are an important (if not the most important) safety element. You don’t want to miss anything or mess anything up and put your life and the lives of others with you and around you, at risk.

-Engine Diagnostics
The engine is one of the most fun parts on a vehicle to tinker with. It’s what makes everything run! You can look all you want, but when it comes to taking parts out and putting things back in, you should really leave it up to SAC. If your check engine light comes on or you start hearing unusual noises, you might want to get things checked out. Sure, you can take a look at your owner’s manual and see what you can figure out, but the pros at Schafer’s Auto Center have sophisticated equipment that helps you get to the bottom of the story. They can hook up computer programs that get an in depth look at the engine and their education will enable them to decipher the codes they get to allow the root cause of the problem to come out to be cured.

-Tire Balancing
Tire rotations sound easy enough, and you can easily jack up the car and swap the wheels around, but balancing those tires and checking for uneven wear is very important to the health and well-being of your vehicle and the overall safety you get when driving. Rotate your tires on your own and try to balance them, but you are taking a risk that things might not be so safe. IT’s really best to leave the job to the pros at SA.

If you need professional help with any of these things, or just a simple oil change in Philadelphia and tune-up, contact Schafer’s Auto Center at 215-755-1270 for an appointment. We’re here to help with anything from simple to complicated! Our shop is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’d love to have you come visit and ask questions. We want your vehicle to be as safe as possible and that starts with knowing what to do and when!

Beginner Tire Maintenance

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When you took driver’s education courses, you may have learned how to change a tire or where to keep the spare, but other than that, you spent more time on rules, simulators, and driving experience. Even if you did go over more than that, you probably don’t remember much. The rules of the road take over and how to maintain your vehicle properly stays in the background. As a driver, there are a lot of things to remember and keep in order so you can remain safe. But whether you just started driving or you have been driving for years, it’s always good to go back to the basics and start with the one part of the car that touches the road…the tires.

Tires are the only part of the vehicle that touches the ground, which makes them crucial. They are a safety feature, they help determine fuel economy, and they are something that should be maintained with vigilance. Make your tires last with this advice from SAR.

#1: Know Tire Pressure
You need to know not only how to check tire pressure, but also what pressure your tires should be at. You also need to know how to add and take air out in case you need to make an adjustment. IT’s really a simple process and if you don’t know how to do it, the technicians as SAC would be happy to show you during your next visit.

#2: Know When Routine Maintenance is Necessary
You need to have your tires rotated on a regular basis. You will be able to get a mileage in your owner’s manual or a local mechanic can give you a good idea. You can then base that maintenance around other items, like oil changes. If you get your oil changes at a certain mileage point too, you can then get your tires rotated every other oil change, or whatever is best for their mileage.

#3: Keep an Eye on the Tread
When you visit SAR for regular maintenance, we’ll keep an eye on the treads of your tires as well. But it’s always good for you to know what to look for yourself so you know when tire replacement is coming your way. A new set of tires is an investment and you might need to budget and save for it.

With this tire advice, and the help of true professionals, you can make the most of your tires and keep them as safe as possible in the meantime. Tire maintenance plays a big role in your vehicle’s safety and efficiency. Your tires won’t last forever, no matter what you do, but maintenance will help them last longer in a safer manner. If you need tire advice, contact Schafer’s Auto Center for an appointment at 215-755-1270. We’re here to help with advice, maintenance, new tires, or anything else you need for auto service in Philadelphia. Stop by and see us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and let’s work together to keep your tires and vehicle safe.

Car Maintenance for Professionals Only

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There are a number of things that handy people can do to their vehicles on their own. While it’s something that some use as a pastime, it’s not something that just anyone can do. And there are some things that should only be left up to a professional auto repair shop. Here’s a short list of car maintenance items that only professionals should do for you.

Diagnose Engine Issues
When the check engine light comes on, it can be any number of things. However many people think they can diagnose the issues because there are smartphone apps and other devices that allow you to talk to the computer in your car. But some of the codes are vague and really require more sophisticated equipment. Plus, they can leave a lot out as well. You don’t want to figure out how to turn the light off on your own only to leave the problem uncured. Let the pros figure out what’s going on using their education to decipher the codes they get. This will help you get to the root cause of the issue that needs to be addressed.

Internal Engine Repair
Sure, there are plenty of people who understand internal combustion within an engine, but newer engines have tight tolerances and specific torque on their nuts and bolts. Add on to that a bunch of other new technology and electronics and what you have is something beyond many people’s understanding. Modern cars are different than those you may have played around with as a kid with your dad.

Tire Rotations
It sounds simple enough to jack up a vehicle and swap the wheels into different positions, but when professionals do it, they also re-balance the tires and look for tread damage, uneven wear and other items. These things require a trained eye and equipment that is too expensive for most people to have on hand. If you rotate your own tires, you might be driving on tires that are unbalanced and unsafe. This maintenance item is inexpensive when you take your vehicle to an auto repair shop so leave it to the experts.

Air Conditioning Fills
If your air conditioner isn’t working on your vehicle, you might think you can get a can of Freon and solve the issue. But the system is sealed so if it’s leaking, there’s a problem somewhere. Filling it with Freon is like putting a small bandage on a big problem. Plus, adding Freon can burn the compressor up in no time flat. Leave it to the auto repair shop to figure out what’s up.

If you know quite a bit about cars, that’s great! You can help Schafer’s Auto Center by giving detailed descriptions about what’s going on with your vehicle. But you’re still in better hands when you bring your vehicle to a Lexus auto repair shop in Philadelphia for the major items. SAR is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’d be happy to help you. Give us a call at 215-755-1270 to make an appointment.

What You Need to Know Before You Buy New Tires

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There are probably plenty of things you would like to buy. You might even have a nice long list. But most people don’t place “tires” on that list of wants. While you may not want to buy tires, sometimes you simply have to. And when that time comes around for you, there are a number of things you should consider before you make the investment. The professional auto experts at Schafer’s Auto Center want to help you put everything into place so you can drive away knowing you got the best option for your vehicle, whether you wanted new tires or not!

Do you need new tires?
The first thing you need to determine is whether or not you actually need new tires. There are some auto repair shops in Philadelphia that are going to tell you that you need new tires when that is not the case yet. You should know how to tell on your own so you can be the judge. Look at the treads to tell the full story. Measure the depth of those treads with a penny. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head because it isn’t covered by tread, you need new tires.

Where do you buy new tires?
There are plenty of options when it comes to a place to buy tires. One option is the car dealer where you purchased your car, but they will be the most costly. You might want to try a local tire retailer or local auto shops in Philadelphia, PA. Check for special promotions going on in the area. You might catch a special on balancing, tire rotations, and mountings when you get a new set of tires. And you can always count on SAC to give you the best possible deal.

What size do you need?
Just because you know what size shoes you wear doesn’t mean you know what size tire your vehicle needs. Tires are branded with the number that tells you about their type, width, diameter, and so on. There’s a lot of information on the small space of a tire and it can be confusing. However, any tire shop will let you select your make, model, and vehicle year to help you find tires that fit.

What lifestyle elements do you need?
Beyond size, you also need to know what your preferences and driving habits are like. If you have to drive a lot in the Philadelphia winds, you might want all-season tires. If you want a comfortable ride, durability in hot temperatures, or the ability to carry heavy loads, you need to know that as well.

Whether you know everything you need to know about tires or not, the professionals at Schafer’s Auto Center can help you find the tires you need. Give us a call at 215-755-1270 to make an appointment and we’ll take a look at your current tires and find a good deal on new ones. You can also stop by and look at the variety of tires we carry at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

What Do You Need to Know about Wheel Alignment?

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When you visit Schafer’s Auto Center for new tires, we also offer a wheel alignment as a big part of our service. Of course you might have questions about what that does for your vehicle. One thing you’ll always get from us is the answers you need about your vehicle! Don’t hesitate to ask if you want to know! In the meantime, perhaps we can help answer some of your questions about wheel alignment and what that has to do with your tires.

First, what is wheel alignment?
When your car rolls off the line at the factory, the wheels are set at angles in relation to one another and the frame of the vehicle. Engineers have set these angles to give you a high ride quality and a good steering response. With enough wear and tear to your vehicle over time, these components can drift and your car will start to show wear on its tires and handling issues.

If the front end is vibrating, does it mean that wheel alignment is necessary?
Vibrations are hard to diagnose, but they aren’t usually due to alignment issues. There might be a wheel balancing issue. When tires wear and their weight distribution changes, vibrations could occur. You might not need alignment, but tire balancing could be in order.

If the car is pulling to one side when the steering wheel is in the center, does it need wheel alignment?
When your vehicle pulls to one side, you might have an underinflated tire on that side. Check the tire pressure in every tire to make sure they are even. If that is not the case, it could very well be an alignment issue.

What are other alignment signs?
If you look at the front tires and see they are wearing unevenly on the inside or outside edge, that’s a sure sign that you have an alignment issue. If your steering wheel doesn’t go back to the center on its own fairly quickly after you take on a corner, you may have an issue as well. If steering feels rather heavy or the tires squeal even when you turn on smooth pavement, alignment could be the cause.

What causes alignment issues to arise?
Plenty of things can cause alignment issues and there’s not always anything you can do about it. Simple wear and tear over time can do it. Of course, getting into an accident or driving rough can knock the vehicle out of place as well.

If you suspect that your vehicle is out of alignment, you really should let the professionals at Schafer’s Auto Center, one of the best auto maintenance shops in Philadelphia, to take a look and get things fixed for you as soon as possible. Call Schafer’s Auto Center at 215-755-1270 and bring your vehicle in for a look. Your tires will last longer and your car will drive smoother when alignment is correct. We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’re here to help with any tire issues you might have!

Timing Belt Replacement Advice

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Timing belts started to replace chains in vehicles back in the 70s and 80s as auto manufacturers looked into ways to produce vehicles that were less expensive and lighter all around. Lighter weight vehicles increased mileage, which is never a bad thing for consumers. But many drivers in Philadelphia still have a lot of questions about timing belts and timing belt replacement. Learning a bit about the timing belt, what they do, and when they should be replaced can help your vehicle run well, and allow you to avoid a breakdown that will end up costing you a lot of money. Remember that not all cars have timing belts, but if you have one, you’ll want to know about it.

The Timing Belt’s Job
The timing belt keeps the crank and camshaft turning at the right rate. The crankshaft moves pistons up and down for compression and exhaust cycles. Depending on the type of car you have, the belt can also run the oil and water pumps, as well as the injection pump. The camshaft controls the valves that have to open and close for intake and exhaust. These valves have to open at the right time to get fuel into the chamber. They then have to close to allow compression to occur. If that timing cycle is off even a little bit, fuel might not come in as needed or could escape too quickly. The power’s engine can be lost without the right cycling.

Timing Belt Replacement
The timing belt is important on vehicles that have one, and if your vehicle has it you might wonder when you need to replace it. The old rule of thumb was to replace the timing belt every 60,000 miles or so, depending on your vehicle’s style. But technology has improved over the years and some manufacturers say you can wait as far as 100,000 miles. You will want to check into the recommendations for your vehicle. Faulty timing belts can cause a loss of power and fuel economy, and you could feel a vibration. Noise can happen as well, but it’s not the most common indicator.

When The Belt Breaks
In the easiest situations, when the timing belt breaks, your engine stops. There’s no connection between vital parts. In harder situations, valves and rods can push through the engine, crash oil pans, and do other damage. In these cases, the engine is ruined. You never know what’s going to happen when the belt breaks, so it’s best to have timing belt replacement before that occurs.

The Professionals at Schafer’s Auto Center are here to help you with your Philadelphia timing belt replacement. We can also help you figure out whether or not you need the replacement at this time. Call SAC at 215-755-1270 to make an appointment. We’re here to answer your questions! Our shop is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148. We want to ensure that you have a vehicle that works at its best level at all times.