Philadelphia auto repair

Performing Safety Checks On Your Tires

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If you were to be asked what part of your car keeps you the most safe, you might say the brakes. There really isn’t just one part as a lot of things have to work well together to keep your safety intact. But your Philadelphia auto repair shop would like for you to put your tires on your to-do list when you are running safety checks on your vehicle. Of course, any time you bring the vehicle in, the professionals can check things out for you. But between those maintenance checkups, it’s a good idea for you to keep an eye on several things yourself. Here are a few things to put into a tire safety checklist:  

  • Check The Tread Depth 

This is something you probably already know how to do. Worn out tire treads can prevent you from maintaining traction on the road, which is especially bad in snowy, wet, or rainy conditions. You might not be able to brake fast enough if you need to, either. To check your tread’s depth yourself, get a penny and put it between the treads with Lincoln’s head down. You won’t want to be able to see the top of his head. If you can, your tread is too worn and you need new tires. If you’re getting close, you can plan ahead for the expense.  

  • Check For Cracks 

Cracks happen in tires when the rubber starts to break down from wear and tear and exposure. You might see cracks on the tread blocks or sidewalls and that’s normal. But you should never see cords and you shouldn’t see tread separating from the rubber. Those signs will tell you that you are in need of new tires.  

  • Check Tire Pressure 

You should keep a handheld tire pressure gauge in your vehicle so you can check it when you get gas. Your ideal tire pressure can be found in your owner’s manual. Some newer vehicles will even warn you when the tire pressure gets too low, which can often happen when the temperatures drop in Philadelphia. Instead of driving on underinflated tires, throwing off your gas mileage and causing uneven wear, check them out and add air as necessary.  

If you are in need of new tires, or you want to have yours checked over for safety reasons, contact Schafer’s Auto Center at (215) 755-1270. Our Philadelphia auto repair shop can help you with anything vehicle-related. We can do oil changes and maintenance checkups, get you new tires, service older tires, and check the vehicle from front to back for any issues. We want you to maintain your safety on the road at all times and regular vehicle maintenance is a big part of that. Whether you’re in the market for new tires or just need an oil change, stop by SAR at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 for help. Our friendly professionals will get you taken care of and back on the road as quickly as possible. 

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Auto Repair Shop Pothole Warnings

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The winter months can be hard, not only on our backs from shoveling, but also on the roads. When the weather starts to warm up and the snow and ice melt away, we start to notice more and more potholes. The sneaky holes are annoying, but they can do major damage to your tires. If you hit a pothole and want to have things checked out, contact a Philadelphia, PA auto repair shop. In the meantime, take this advice to heart and do your best on those roads.  

Keep An Eye Out 

Potholes can be tricky because they hide on the road where you least expect them. Even though they are large or small holes, they are often covered with water, which could blend right into the road. Try to watch for them, especially on the roads you travel often. On those roads, you might learn where they are and what to avoid. You may not be able to avoid every instance, but don’t hit them if you don’t have to.  

Hit Potholes Slowly 

If you see a pothole coming and you can’t avoid it because it’s too large or you can’t swerve into another lane, slow down and take it as slowly as you can. Dipping into the hole and back out will be easier on your tires of you don’t hit it at a higher speed.  

Keep A Spare Handy 

Potholes are a major road hazard at any time of the year, but especially during and after the winter months. They are also a leading cause of blown tires. If you can’t avoid the potholes, you could end up on the side of the road with a tire issue. Keep a working spare tire in your vehicle at all times and brush up on your tire-changing skills so you are ready if the worst occurs.  

Stay Calm 

When you hit a pothole, especially if you blow a tire, you might try to overcorrect or jerk the wheel, which can land you in ever more trouble. Remain calm and don’t slam on the brakes. Just take your foot off the gas and turn into the skid if you’ve started one. Slowly pull over to assess the damage. Slamming on the brakes will just make the skidding worse.  

Check Tires Out After Major Hits 

If you’re lucky enough to hit a pothole, but not blow the tire, you’ll still want to visit a local auto repair shop to have things checked out. You don’t want to drive a misaligned vehicle or a car with tires that aren’t safe.  

Potholes are the pits but the professionals at Philadelphia, PA auto repair shops can help you avoid as many mishaps as possible with these tips. If you need new tires, a repair after a pothole incident, or a tire or vehicle checkup, contact Schafer’s Auto Center at (215) 755-1270 to set up an appointment. You can also stop by our shop after an incident at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148. We’re here to help. 

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Auto Repair Shops Explain The Check Engine Light

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What happened the last time your check engine light came on when you were driving? Did you get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? If you aren’t a car expert, the feeling can be even worse. But the experts at auto repair shops in Philadelphia can help de-mystify the light for you so you aren’t as wary when it comes on.  

The check engine light on your vehicle can mean a variety of things. It could very well mean there’s a costly problem, like a bad catalytic converter. But it could also mean something as simple as your gas cap is loose. Most people feel better when they take the vehicle into the auto repair shop to get things checked out, but no one wants to go in only to be told their gas cap was loose, right?  

Before you go to the auto repair shop, tighten your gas cap and restart the vehicle. If the light still comes on, it’s time to take the vehicle in. The check engine light is also known as the malfunction indicator lamp. It’s a signal from the engine that something has gone wrong. Since newer vehicles have computers that can communicated problems, this light comes in handy. And your auto repair shop can hook your vehicle up to yet another computer and run diagnostics on this issue.  

There are other lights you might see on occasion, including the service required light. Some people confuse ‘service required’ with ‘check engine,’ but they mean two completely different things. Service required might mean that you simply need an oil change or new filters. There’s no need to panic when you see that light. And really, don’t panic over a Check Engine light either. Just make sure you get the vehicle checked out.  

In most vehicles, the check engine light is orange or yellow, but if the light is flashing and not steady, it can indicate a more serious issue. Your engine could be misfiring and overheat, for example. It is best to get the vehicle in as soon as you can, especially when you see the light blinking.  

Whatever you do, don’t ignore the check engine light and assume it just turned on for its own good. It has a purpose and it’s there to protect you. Visit a local auto repair shop in Philadelphia when the light turns on and keep your fingers crossed that it’s something minor. Even if it’s a larger issue, wouldn’t you rather know than drive in a vehicle that could be a danger to you or others? Schafer’s Auto Center is here to help you with all of your vehicle’s needs. Whether you need regular maintenance, or you want to have a check engine light diagnosed, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (215) 755-1270 to make an appointment or to ask questions. When you’re in dire need, stop your vehicle at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’ll take care of you right away. 

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What Can Auto Repair Do For Gas Mileage?

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Cars are capable of getting better gas mileage today than ever before, even if you don’t have a hybrid vehicle. Many car owners will want to get that high gas mileage, so they aren’t at the pumps filling up all the time. Philadelphia, PA auto repair can help prevent high gas mileage from occurring in a vehicle that used to get decent gas mileage. Here are a few common reasons that you might see a decrease in the gas mileage you’re getting in your vehicle:  

Reason 1: A Change In Your Oil Type 

While oil changes are good for your vehicle, you could see a decrease in your fuel economy if you choose the wrong type of oil for your engine. If you use traditional oil and you don’t like the dip in mileage you receive, swap it out for synthetic or a synthetic blend. This will decrease friction and increase the performance you get form your vehicle.  

Reason 2: Your Driving Habits 

It’s easy enough to get lax about the way you drive, but keep in mind that your driving habits are important to your safety as well as the efficiency of your vehicle. If you drive in an aggressive manner, accelerating fast and revving your engine, you will waste fuel. Idling your car is wasteful as well. Engines usually warm up in 30 seconds so you don’t have to run the vehicle for several minutes on a cold winter morning. Change these habits and you’ll get your vehicle back on track for mileage.  

Reason 3: Bad Spark Plugs 

If your spark plugs aren’t firing or functioning well, it will affect your mileage. Have them checked on a regular basis and if you notice your mileage decreasing, get in for auto repair right away before more things go wrong.  

Reason 4: Using The AC 

If it’s decent outside, roll the windows down instead of running the air conditioning in your vehicle. The AC wastes fuel in powering the system. If you’re driving around a neighborhood and in town, roll the windows down and enjoy fresh air. When you hit the interstate, however, roll the windows up or you’ll create drag, which will lower your mileage.  

Reason 5: Bad Air Filters 

If you have dirty air filters, you can see a huge decrease in your MPG. The air filters give you a proper balance of air and fuel into the engine, which will help maintain efficiency. When they are dirty, the engine doesn’t perform well. Take your vehicle in for checkups and listen when the technician tells you that your air filters are lacking.  

If you need advice on the MPG your car is showcasing, contact Schafer’s Auto Center about Philadelphia, PA auto repair by calling (215) 755-1270. We can give your vehicle a full checkup and see what’s going on. Tune-ups are important to the longevity of your vehicle and the technicians at SAR want your car to be as efficient as possible as well. Visit us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148.

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What Auto Repair Shops Say About Mixing Tires

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It’s usually best to buy a set of four tires and have them all match so your vehicle is in the best possible driving condition. Tires wear out and you’ll have to get new ones at some point. However, your Philadelphia auto repair shop understands that things don’t always work that way. You never know when you’ll get a nail in one tire, ruining just that one tire. You have to replace it, but not the other three. You’re certainly not going to buy four tires when you really only need one. What should you get for that one tire? Should you get the cheapest one you can find? Probably not.  

It’s always best to get a tire that matches your other tires. Get a match that is as close as possible. Matching tires will have the same size, construction, and even tread pattern. There are a number of ways in which drivers will mismatch tires. They might get a tire of a different size, something made be a different manufacturer than the others, one with a different tread pattern, or one that is made for a different season, like summer or winter tires.  

Every tire has a unique job and it has been designed to fulfill that job. They have a specific way of handling and they are meant to work together as a team on a vehicle to get the best performance for the buyer. If your tires are mismatched, however, the car might be unpredictable in the way it handles or even in the way it brakes. Plus, mismatched tires won’t wear evenly, so you’ll probably have to replace them all sooner than you thought.  

While it’s best if you can replace all four of your tires at once to keep your car as safe and high-performance as possible, life just doesn’t work that way all of the time. If you’re just replacing one or two, get the same brand and model you already have on the vehicle to get the best from the new tires. If the tires you have aren’t around anymore, you’ll want to get tires in the same performance category that have the same speed, handing, and load ratings along with similar treads as what you already have.  

Using tires that don’t match should only happen in an emergency situation, like if you have a flat and the spare isn’t the same as the rest of the vehicle’s tires. Switch the spare out for a tire that is a match as soon as you can.  

If you aren’t sure what tire you have or what you need, contact the experts at Schafer’s Auto Center by calling (215) 755-1270. At our Philadelphia auto repair shopwe can easily examine your tire and let you know exactly what brand and model you need to get a perfect match. SAR is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 so you can stop by and show us your tires, so we can search out the right match for your vehicle. 

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What Auto Repair Shops See In Flat Tires

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Flat tires are never convenient. When was the last time you had one and thought, gosh, this really happened at a good time? Never. Flat tires are something everyone would like to avoid. They’re never expected and always happen when you’re on your way to something important. Your local Philadelphia, PA auto repair shop sees flat tires all the time and there are many reasons they occur. Here are some of the most common that might be able to help you avoid such an incident:  

Extreme Temperatures 

If there’s a huge drop in temperature, which certainly can happen in this region of the country, the low-pressure light might come on the dash board when you start up the car in the morning. Tires gain or lose 1 pound of pressure per square inch for every ten degrees the temperate changes. In extreme heat, tire pressure expands and that can go beyond what your tire can handle, which could cause it to fail. The best thing you can do is avoid driving during the most extreme times and keep an eye on the tire pressure. If your tires are too low, pump them up. When they get too high, let air out.  

Leaking Valve Stem 

The valve stem on a tire is what opens to allow you to fill or let air out of the tire. It should automatically seal to keep pressure in the tires, but if it’s dirty or damaged, the tire could be losing air without you knowing it. If you notice your pressure keeps dropping, stop by an auto repair shop to get it replaced or repaired before it gets worse.  

Tire Bead Leak 

Every now and then, the edge of the tire where the rim rests might cause air to leak out. Spray the wheels with soapy water and if you see bubbles in that area, you probably have a leak.  

Road Debris 

We’ve all hit things on the road like potholes, boards, scraps of metal and other items. These hazards can be hard to see or impossible to avoid. You can usually fix the tire with a patch if it starts to leak, but sometimes, the item ruins the tire and you have to get a new one, so the leaking will stop.  

Avoiding a flat tire isn’t always possible and when it happens to you, visit a Philadelphia, PA auto repair shop to make sure your tire is in the best possible condition for the roads. You don’t want to drive on a tire that explodes, putting you into a dangerous situation. Contact Schafer’s Auto Center at (215) 755-1270 to have professionals look over the tire that has been giving you trouble. One of the above things could be happening or it could be something more uncommon. SAR will figure it out one way or the other and make sure you get back on the road with a safe, efficient vehicle. Come visit us at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’ll take a look at all of your tires. 

What’s Leaking From My Car?

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auto repair in Philadelphia, PAWhen you notice fluids on your garage floor or in your parking spot when you pull away, it’s alarming. What is it and what do you need to so about it? You may need auto repair in Philadelphia, PA or the leak could be normal. Before you panic and worry about huge costs, you first need to figure out where the leak is coming from and what it looks like.  

When you start to look into where the fluid originates, first make sure it’s really coming from your vehicle. If you see it in your garage and you’re the only one that parks in that spot, you can be pretty certain. If you see it in a public parking lot, it could be you, but it could be dozens of other cars that have been in that spot. If you’re not sure either way, get a flashlight out and look under your car.  

Once you know for sure the leak is coming from your vehicle, stuck cardboard or a big sheet of paper under your vehicle so you can catch some of what is leaking and determine what it is. The color of the fluid will tell you a lot.  

Red or pink fluids are generally transmission or power steering fluid. Those are two things you really don’t want to leak and you should get auto repair right away. Orange fluid could be an indicator of rest in the radiator or it could be transmission fluid. Neither is a great sign for your vehicle and you want to get it in for repairs right away instead of ignoring it as well. Yellow is usually a coolant which, if you use the wrong kind, there could be more leaks form the radiator. Brown fluids can come from several areas like brakes, the motor and so on. If it’s light brown, it’s probably motor oil. Dark brown is more often brake fluid, but either way, you need a mechanic.   

Then there’s clear fluids. This is the one you want to see because it’s usually nothing to work about. Clear fluids are condensation from the air system in your vehicle and totally normal. If you see clear fluid, you can still get things checked out if you’d like, but it’s not always necessary.  

If you can’t identify your leak, it’s best to get into a Philadelphia, PA auto repair shop sooner rather than later so you don’t take any chances. Small repairs now can save you a lot of money down the road and you don’t want to take a vehicle around that isn’t going to be reliable. Contact Schafer’s Auto Center at (215) 755-1270 to set up an appointment. You can also just stop in and talk to the technicians at SAR. We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148. Tell us what the fluid looks like or bring in the sample you’ve collected, and we’ll pinpoint what’s going on and make recommendations to you. We want your vehicle to run as well as you want it to. 

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Tips To Avoid Traffic From Auto Repair Shops

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The holidays are the busiest travel season of the year and while you might deal with traffic regularly when you drive to and from work, it can be even more stressful when you are trying to get somewhere you really want to be. Use the tips from a Philadelphia auto repair shop to avoid as much traffic as you can when you travel.  

Tip 1: Plan Ahead 

If you’re on a flexible schedule, try to avoid major highways during rush hour and check GPS to identify the least busy routes. The more flexible you can be, the easier the trip will feel.  

Tip 2: Stay Alert 

There’s nothing worse for your driving skills than being distracted or drowsy. You need to stay on task to react to changing road conditions, vehicles around you, and other hazards that could cause you to need auto repair.  

Tip 3: Prevent Breakdowns 

You certainly don’t want to be the reason for a traffic jam and breaking down in traffic can also delay your own trip. Get an inspection before you head out so you know your vehicle is in best working order.  

Tip 4: Check Weather 

Weather conditions can throw the trip off quite a bit as well and cause traffic delays. Try to leave early is a snowstorm is coming or wait until it’s over and the roads are cleared. If you have to drive in unideal conditions, allow for extra time and drive slower.  

Tip 5: Be Prepared 

Before you take a road trip, especially in winter weather, prepare an emergency kit. You want to have a spare tire and things to change it with, blankets, water, snacks, and other such items in case something happens to your vehicle when you are on the road.  

Tip 6: Relax 

Of course, holidays can be stressful and you want to get where you need to be as soon as possible, but traffic is out of your control. Your attitude, however, is in your control. Be a courteous driver and remember that even small acts can help the drivers around you avoid auto repair and frustration as well.  

Getting where you need to go over the holidays and in winter weather conditions can be tough, but the tips from Schafer’s Auto Center can help you make the best out of it. Philadelphia auto repair is a good idea to book before you leave so you can rest assured that your vehicle is in good working order. Give us a call at (215) 755-1270 to get a maintenance schedule check for your vehicle. If you know everything has been tuned up and is in good working order, you’ll have more confidence when you hit the road. SAR is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’re here to change your oil, rotate your tires, and check things over before you head out on your holiday travel plan. We want your vehicle to be as safe as possible for your adventure so you can get where you want to be. 

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Avoid Holiday Auto Repair

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When your vehicle breaks down, it’s likely an inconvenient time. Philadelphia auto repair is always available, but there are some times that you’d rather not have to get it. The holidays are one such time. When you are driving to get to a family member’s house or another holiday celebration, you don’t want to end up in the cold, at the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck and holiday repair. Here are some tips to help you avoid those kinds of repairs.  

Get An Inspection 

Before you set off on a road trip, especially in the winter when vehicles are under more stress, stop into an auto repair shop for an inspection and tune up. If there’s anything small wrong with your vehicle, the technician can fix it for you quickly before it turns into a bigger deal that has you stranded at the side of the road.  

Keep Up With Maintenance 

You know when your vehicle needs an oil change and you know it’s best to rotate the tires as well. There are other maintenance items you should keep up with as well, but you may not know about them all. Take a look at your owner’s manual and see what needs to be done and when. If you’re nearing needed maintenance, don’t avoid it, but rather get it done before the trip takes place.  

Plan Around Weather 

The weather conditions are going to happen, whether you like snow or not. Try to plan around those weather conditions. Go early before the snow starts to fall or wait until it’s done, and the roads are cleared. These are good ways to avoid accidents that could cause more auto repair items to be necessary.  

Drive With Care 

If your vehicle is in good working order, you’ll still want to keep yourself in check in order to get to your destination safely. Don’t drive when you are tired and don’t let things like phone calls and texts distract you. The vehicle is an important part of your safety, but your driving is the other half of the circle and does a lot to get you there without the need for auto repair.  

You can’t control every aspect of your holiday travels and even if you do everything right, Philadelphia auto repair may become necessary. If that’s the case for you, contact Schafer’s Auto Center at (215) 755-1270 to get in as soon as you can. If you’re just trying to plan your trip, get in for an inspection and tune up and we’ll take care of any maintenance items that you need to address before you hit the road. SAR is located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’re here to do our best to foresee anything that could happen with your vehicle and fix it before it does. We want you to get to your holiday parties and we want you to be as safe within your vehicle as possible while you do. Trust SAR with your tune ups, auto repairs, and maintenance needs. 

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Avoiding The Auto Repair Shop In Extreme Conditions

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It’s nice that most of the time when you drive, the roads are in decent conditions. If there were always perfect driving conditions, there would be a lot less accidents and a lot less need for the Philadelphia, PA auto repair shop you use for oil changes. While your auto repair shop is glad for your business, we never want you to get into trouble on the road. That’s why we have put together this outline of various hazardous and extreme road conditions to help you know how to drive in them.  

Rain 

Rain happens and it’s more regular during certain seasons of the year. It might not normally bother you, but wet roads can be slippery and cause hydroplaning. It can also increase fog outside and even inside your vehicle. Stay up to date on your windshield wipers so you have clear visibility and check your headlights to make sure other drivers can see you.  

Ice 

Ice is something that happens more in Pennsylvania than some of the southern states, so you may be more used to it than some drivers. Ice greatly increases your chance of accidents and you’ll want to especially watch out where ice can accumulate, like on bridges and overpasses. Check your brakes and tires for traction so you can handle the slick roads and drive slower than you normally would.  

Mud 

After the rain, sometimes you’ll run into a lot of mud. Mud is slippery as well and makes a car hard to steer. Make sure your steering and brakes are in good working condition and your alignment should be perfect to avoid wheel damage as well. Take things slow, but not so slow that you risk getting stuck.  

Traffic 

Philadelphia certainly has plenty of traffic and if you compound heavy traffic with any of the above road conditions, things can get even worse. Get regular inspections to ensure your vehicle is safe in any road condition and avoid the times of day when traffic is the worse, if at all possible. When you do get stuck in traffic, bring your patience. Yelling at others never speeds things up and can make your stress levels higher.  

You never know what’s going to happen when you drive on the mud, in the rain, or on ice. You never even know what’s going to happen in perfect conditions when you drive in heavy traffic. You can’t control everything, but you can control how well your vehicle can handle those things by keeping up with its maintenance. Visit a Philadelphia, PA auto repair shop for regular inspections and keep everything on the level within your vehicle. It’s hard to say what you will avoid since you never know what will happen, but wouldn’t you rather be on the safe side of any scenario? Contact Schafer’s Auto Center by calling (215) 755-1270 for an appointment. We’re located at 1924 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148 and we’re here to help you with any vehicle issue you might have.