Why You Need Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is an essential part of regular car maintenance. If you don’t rotate your tires on schedule, they can wear down faster, and they won’t provide the even traction you need to stay safe on the road.

Tire Rotation

Maximize control over your vehicle’s handling and ask your mechanic to rotate your tires at your oil change appointment. If you don’t remember the last time you had a tire rotation, now’s the time.

Why Is it Necessary?

Depending on the positioning of your tires and the quality of your car’s suspension system, your vehicle’s tires will wear at different rates. Tire wear is also dependent on how you drive.

Once tires wear down, hydroplaning is a real threat. In rainy or snowy weather, you want to be able to depend on your car’s ability to navigate a dangerous roadway. This ability has nothing to do with the vehicle’s engine — it’s all about the tires. If they have no traction, you can get into trouble.

How Often Is it Required?

You’ll probably hear different from every mechanic you ask, but in general, plan on getting a tire rotation every 5,000 miles — this is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recommendation. Check your owner’s manual in case it’s different for your make and model.

If you get an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, just make sure you rotate your tires at the same time, or at every other visit.

How Is it Done?

A tire rotation doesn’t take much time, and it doesn’t require a specialist. The one piece of equipment it does require is a car lift. It’s not a job you can do on your own in the garage, unless you dabble in auto mechanics.

Tire rotation doesn’t follow the same pattern for every vehicle. If you have a four- or rear-wheel drive car, the back tires should be moved to the front. The front tires should be moved diagonally to the rear.

On front-wheel drive cars, the tire rotation pattern is reversed. The front tires are moved to the back and the back tires are switched diagonally to the front.

Are Your Tires Wearing Unevenly?

You don’t have to be a mechanic to diagnose uneven tire tread wear. You might start to feel a subtle change in vibration when you hold the steering wheel. When you run your hand along the surface your tires, you might feel feathering. This is when one side of the tread is worn smooth and the other side is sharp and high.

Besides a tire rotation, consider repairing an out-of-sync alignment and making sure your tires are always fully inflated. Trust the mechanics at State Automotive in Midvale, Utah, to advise you on all issues related to tire maintenance, and get a tire rotation at your next service visit.

Get Transmission Service if You Notice These 3 Issues

When’s the last time your car had transmission service? If you’ve never had your vehicle’s transmission flushed or even examined and it’s starting to demonstrate one of the following three problematic signs, it’s time to make an appointment at your mechanic.

Transmission Service

1. Your Car Makes Noises When it Shifts

Do you hear a grinding noise when you put your car into gear? Does the car whine when you shift? Do you hear a low humming or buzzing that is out of the ordinary?

All of these noises could point to a worn clutch, and it’s a sure sign you should have a trained professional take a look.

2. The Vehicle Won’t Shift or Falls Out of Gear

When transmission fluid gets excessively dirty, the car won’t shift easily. You may get a delayed reaction when you step on the gas pedal. In manual transmissions, you might find it difficult to shift at all.

The car also might fail to stay in gear because of a lack of hydraulic pressure, another side effect of a dirty transmission.

3. You Have a Transmission Fluid Leak

Transmissions are closed systems that should never leak. If you notice your car is leaking fluid, place a container underneath to catch the drops and examine the color. Transmission fluid is normally red or brown.

Make an appointment with a mechanic and ensure he or she resolves the source of the leak and replaces the fluid.

Is Transmission Service Always Necessary?

Some cars don’t require a transmission flush until 100,000 miles or more, but some drivers should change the fluid as often as every 15,000 miles. It’s best if you go by the manufacturer’s recommendations, but keep in mind that certain types of driving are going to wear down your transmission fluid faster.

If you tow heavy loads frequently and do a fair amount of stop-and-go driving, you may need to replace your transmission fluid sooner rather than later. Failing to ever flush your transmission and replace the fluid will shorten the life span of the system and result in a repair or replacement down the road.

Transmission service isn’t always needed to correct issues with your vehicle. Vehicle engines are complex, with many moving parts that must function properly for your car to run smoothly. However, since it’s one of the most vital and expensive components in your car, take transmission maintenance seriously.

You can depend on State Automotive for transmission service if your vehicle is acting strangely — we give you a free diagnosis and quick repairs to get your car back on the road.

Need Brake Repair? Look for These 5 Signs

Brake repair is essential when the pads wear down or the rotors warp — otherwise you could run into serious trouble if you need to stop quickly.

Brake Repair

It’s hard to tell how long brakes will last, since their life span is mostly determined by driving style, where you drive and the make and model of the car.

No matter how old your brakes, stay on the lookout for these five clear signals that you may need brake repair:

They Feel Spongy

You push down on the pedal as usual, but your foot sinks to the floor. That spongy feel isn’t a good sign. It could mean that you have either an air or fluid leak in the system. That reduced responsiveness is only going to get worse and put you in danger, so get professional brake repair as soon as possible.

They Squeal When You Use Them

That high-pitched screech you hear coming from your brakes is a built-in warning sign designed to alert you to a worn-out pad. Don’t ignore it, or else you could wear completely through the pad, causing damage to the rotors. Once this happens, that squeal will turn into a grinding sound and it will cost much more to repair.

Your ABS Warning Light Comes On

When the anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light on the dashboard comes on, this usually means you are running low on fluid. If you read the owner’s manual, you may be able to add fluid on your own, but if the light stays on, it could mean you have a leak in the lines, which requires professional brake repair.

Your Car Pulls to One Side When You Brake

It’s frustrating to have to jerk your steering wheel back into position every time you brake, but if your car is pulling to one side when you stop, don’t write it off as a mere annoyance. Get a professional brake inspection right away. This is a sure sign that your brakes aren’t properly adjusted, you have a fluid leak or the pads need to be replaced.

Your Vehicle Vibrates When You Brake

Strong vibrations that come from the brake pedal or the steering wheel signal a serious issue — warped rotors. When you ride the brake as you go downhill or when you stop while towing a heavy load, the friction generates high heat — enough for the metal rotors to warp.

When it’s necessary, make sure you get brake repair from the best: State Automotive in Midvale, Utah’s premier auto mechanic and brake repair shop.

3 Ways to Tell if You Need Radiator Repair

Radiator Repair

Radiator repair is unavoidable when this essential component of your vehicle’s cooling system breaks down. If left unaddressed, the problem could cause serious engine damage. Your car’s engine must have a working cooling system, or you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Here are three signs you need radiator repair:

Coolant Is Leaking

Stay on the lookout for leaks. Check underneath your car, and if you can see or smell coolant, make an appointment with your mechanic. Coolant should never leak. Not only is it dangerous because it is poisonous to animals, it’s a sign your vehicle’s engine is at risk.

Without the right amount of coolant, your system will be unable to function properly and keep your car running smoothly.

Coolant Levels Drop Regularly

It’s smart to check the amount of coolant fluid in the reservoir on a regular basis. While it is normal for coolant levels to fluctuate slightly, a sharp decline in coolant supply is not good.

If you constantly have to fill up the reservoir, you either have a coolant leak you haven’t discovered yet, or coolant is evaporating out of the system. Either way, this breakdown in the cooling system’s function must be repaired immediately.

Frequent Rising Temperature or Overheating Engine

Watch your car’s temperature gauge on the dashboard. If you notice the temperature climbs to the hot range, your vehicle could have major engine damage if you don’t stop driving and get help right away.

A hot temperature gauge may be accompanied by an overheating engine, another clear sign that you should investigate whether radiator repair is needed.

Radiator Repair or Replacement?

When your mechanic investigates the source of the cooling system breakdown, he or she is going to look at the radiator and test its functioning. It could be cracked or corroded, and this may be affecting its performance.

Your auto mechanic may be able to repair the part if the damage is minor, especially if the fix is as straightforward as plugging a leak, but it might be better to simply replace the entire component.

Radiator repair can be worthwhile, but get the opinion of a qualified professional before spending your money. In some cases, radiator replacement may be the better, more cost-efficient decision for the long-term.

Rely on Experience for Radiator Repair

You need an auto mechanic you can trust for radiator repair, because he or she will be able to accurately identify if the radiator is responsible for your car problems or if your cooling system has other issues that must be addressed.

Make an appointment with State Automotive and make sure your vehicle gets the professional attention it needs. Diagnose cooling system issues and get quality radiator repair that puts your car back on the road quickly, all for a straightforward, affordable price.

Neglecting an Oil Change Can Seriously Hurt Your Car

Neglecting Oil Changes

What’s so important about an oil change? Isn’t getting an oil change optional, more like a suggestion than an absolute? You can drive your car for an extra 10,000 miles without expecting any issues, can’t you?

The answer is most definitely no. If you never change your vehicle’s oil, don’t expect your car to last very long. The oil is the lifeblood of the engine, and without a refresher, the oil will eventually burn out, becoming a thick sludge that does your car no good. Your engine can seize and you’ll be facing an extensive, costly repair.

What’s an Oil Change Even For?

Oil keeps your engine parts lubricated. It helps reduce the friction in the engine, thereby lowering the temperature. It keeps your engine working efficiently, and you will get better gas mileage when it’s clean. Overall, your engine will last longer and you’ll be less likely to experience a breakdown if you have clean oil in it.

Check Your Owner’s Manual

Before you assume you have to change your oil every 3,000 miles (or once every three months, whichever comes first), take a look at the manufacturer recommendations for your car. While 3,000 miles has long been considered the standard amount of time vehicles should travel between oil changes, modern technology and more efficient engines have altered this number.

In many cases, your car may not need an oil change until it reaches 5,000 or even 7,000 miles, but pay attention to the fine print. These longer recommendations are usually prefaced with “under normal driving conditions.” If you tow a trailer or drive constantly in heavy traffic, you may be better off sticking to the 3,000-mile rule.

Beware of Warranty Coverage Requirements

Another reason never to neglect this service? It could void your warranty. If you bought a vehicle with extended warranty coverage, read the paperwork. You are required to maintain your car, and that includes getting oil changes when needed. If you don’t and an engine component fails because of your neglect, your warranty may not do you any good.

Get an Engine Inspection

It’s not every day that you have a trained mechanic inspecting your vehicle’s engine. When you get regular oil changes, your auto technician looks over the inner workings of your vehicle and can spot issues before they turn into larger, more expensive problems.

A responsible auto repair shop checks all fluid levels, not just your oil, and alerts you when you need a new air filter or when a belt is getting worn. An oil change isn’t just an opportunity to keep your car running smoothly, it is also a preventive measure against additional repairs.

Increase Your Car’s Resale Value

When you can prove you’ve kept your car in good working order with meticulous records of each oil change, you can easily sell it for its uppermost projected value. It’s a good return on investment.

Contact State Automotive to schedule an oil change, and feel good about the way you care for your vehicle’s engine — you’ll get years of dependable service when you trust the skilled mechanics at State Automotive to keep your vehicle in excellent condition.

Signs Your Car Needs Transmission Repairs

Transmission Repair

Transmission repairs are high on the list of repairs that drivers hope they do not need. When you drive an automatic transmission, repairs can be costly, especially if your transmission needs to be replaced or rebuilt. As with most car repairs, these services will be less expensive if you deal with problems when they first start rather than letting them become worse.

Problems to Watch For

Long before your transmission gets to the point where you need to think about replacing it or having it rebuilt, it will exhibit signs that it needs attention. There are several transmission problems you should not ignore:

1. Transmission slipping

When your transmission slips, you may be driving in one gear when the transmission changes for no reason. You may notice that the engine appears to whine. Suddenly, your car seems like it is underpowered or fails to accelerate as it should.

2. Rough shifts

When your car will not shift gears as it is supposed or when shifting between gears is not smooth, you have another sign of trouble that calls for transmission repair. You may be able to hear a clicking sound during shifts. Even more noticeably, your car may have difficulty getting up to speed.

3. Delayed engagement

When you attempt to shift from Park to Drive, you may notice a delay before the car starts moving.

4. Fluid leak

When you notice red, dark red, or brown stains on your driveway or garage floor, you probably have a transmission leak. As you are transmission is a sealed system, they should never happen. Before refilling your transmission with new fluid, you may need a transmission repair.

5. Transmission warning light

When your check engine light comes on, there could be a variety of problems, including a problem with the transmission. Especially if you are having any of the other problems described above, you may have an issue with the transmission. When you take your car in for repairs, the mechanic will check your diagnostic code. If code P0700 shows, he will know you have a need for transmission repairs.

When any of these problems occur, you should go in for a checkup immediately. If you do not feel comfortable driving your car, have it towed to your transmission repair facility.

Transmission Repair Considerations

While minor transmission repairs might be in the $100-$150 range for a bad transmission solenoid, they can exceed $2500 if you need to repair, rebuild, or replace an entire transmission. Fixing problems as they occur may save you from major transmission repairs.

Major transmission repairs are specialized services that not all auto service shops perform. If your mechanics diagnoses major transmission issues, verify that the shop is experienced doing them. Most reputable shops will refer to a transmission specialist if your car needs work that outside their scope of services.

When you need transmission repairs, pay a visit to State Automotive of Utah for competent, reasonably priced service.

Will Radiator Repair Make Your AC Work Better?

Radiator Repair

For proper temperature control in your car, radiator repair, as well as maintenance for the heater core and the air-conditioning system, is important to keep your car the proper temperature all year round. Your radiator, a heat exchanger which cools your engine, works with two other heat exchangers, your heater and your air-conditioner, to make you and the passengers in your car comfortable all year round

How Your Radiator, Heater Core, and A/C Work Together

In vehicles with liquid cooled internal combustion engines, the radiator is connected to channels that run through the engine and cylinder head. Usually positioned to receive airflow as the vehicle moves forward, the radiator transfers heat from the liquid to the air outside, which cools the fluid enough to cool off the engine. It also cools off the air conditioner refrigerator, intake air, automatic transmission fluids, and even power steering fluid.

To do its job, the radiator is part of a cooling system, which also includes a series of channels cast into the engine block and cylinder head that surround the combustion chambers and carry the liquid through them, a water pump, a thermostat, and a fan to draw air through the radiator. The channels that supply the radiator also supply the heater core, a small radiator that pulls in the heat from the fluid to bring hot air into the passenger compartment.

While the air conditioner is not part of the same cooling system, it works in conjunction with the heater, especially when there is a need to dehumidify the air in the cabin. Mounted in front of the radiator, it has an evaporator filled with refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air that enters the vehicle.

The Importance of Radiator Repair and Air Conditioner Service

Keeping all systems ready to perform their important function in your car requires regular service. Both your car’s radiator and heating system require flushing every couple years to remove blockages, rust, and corrosion that can impede their function. Any of the parts can wear out or fail, while hoses can develop leaks. For best results, you should have your mechanic check your car’s radiator, caps, and hoses every few months to make sure that it is keeping your engine running right.

Your air-conditioner most often needs repairs to the condenser, which can leak refrigerant. When your car no longer gets as cool as it should be or the air conditioner does not appear to be working, you should take it to a repair shop to measure the air pressure and have the condenser inspected for leaks. Leaks indicate that you may need your condenser repaired or replaced. To do that, the technician will remove any remaining refrigerant to fix the part, check for any other system leaks, and properly refill the system with refrigerant. If you don’t attend to a failing or broken air conditioner, you risk throwing off the temperature regulation system of your whole vehicle.

For best results, trust your heater core and radiator repair, as well as your AC maintenance, to State Automotive.

Why Modern Braking Systems Need Professional Care

Modern Brake Service

The braking systems found in modern cars are unlike the brakes of old that were easy for you to replace yourself. If you were handy, even if you were new to car repair, replacing the disc brake pads or drums and replacing hoses and cables might have been a manageable job. With modern cars that have disc brakes on all four wheels and many other features, maintenance and repair are often best left to the professionals.

In a world more conscious of safety, fuel efficiency, and energy usage, braking systems are often enhanced with intricate upgrades. To help retain control, for example, most cars now have antilock brake systems (ABS) with sensors on the wheels to detect that the car is skidding so that it will close the brakes to slow down the vehicle and help keep you on the road. Additional features such as electronic stability control (ESC), adaptive cruise control (ACC) and brake assist (BA) add additional complexity that might be beyond your skill set to repair and adjust.

When do You Need Brake Service?

Car manufacturers often suggest how often you should check your braking system. The brake pads are often the first to show wear, especially if you are on the road a lot. An average driver needs to check (or have a mechanic check) every 6 to 12 months or every 8 to 12 months if you drive very little. A heavy driver needs a check every three months. Regardless of the timing, if your brakes do not respond quickly, you hear scraping or squealing, the brake light comes on, the brakes seem to pull your car from one side to the other when you try to stop, or the brake pedal feels spongy, you should immediately take the car for service.

What Brake System Inspections can Reveal

A more thorough brake inspection goes beyond quickly looking at the pads and can encompass dozens of points. The brake pedal, master cylinder, brake booster, fluids, hoses, and intricate parts of your ABS or other system can cause your brake pads to wear more frequently or may cause the brakes to not function properly. A technician with state-of-the-art training and equipment should be able to analyze and fix your problem. After making the repair, the technician will also test drive your car to make sure that the problem you mentioned is gone.

One reason that professional brake inspection is important has nothing to do with the brakes at all. When your car makes noises or acts in a peculiar way, what you think may be due to the brakes may be due to some completely different system. Worn tires, poor alignment, or suspension problems all produce symptoms similar to brake problems. A good mechanic should be able to zero in on what the problem is and save you the expense of hit or miss, which can cost you in parts, while not solving your problem.

When it’s time to get your braking system checked, State Automotive has the trained personnel and the equipment to quickly diagnose and repair your problems.

What to Know About Car Inspection in Utah

State car inspection in Utah requires that owners with cars that are four, eight, and ten years old bring their car in for a safety check, while cars over ten years old must pass a safety inspection every year. Utah lawmakers are currently considering whether to abandon the inspection policy as ineffective and as discriminatory to the poor, but the requirement draws attention to the importance of driving a roadworthy car.

Two Types of State Car Inspection in UtahState Inspections

There are two types of inspections required in the state, one for safety and one for emissions.

Safety inspections in Utah are managed by the state and apply to cars, trucks, and on-highway motorcycles. An inspection covers systems and components such as:

  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Belts and hoses
  • Tires tread wear
  • Headlights and brake lights
  • Seat belts

Someone with an older car who was unable to have problems repaired, or who claim economic hardship, might be able to have test requirements waived.

In Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, and Cache counties, vehicles less than six years old are required to have an emissions test less frequently, while those more than six years old must pass a test every year or two. Vehicles with a model year of 1967 and earlier are exempt from the admissions requirements. The fees range from $20-30 depending on locale.

The Move to End Safety Inspections

While emissions testing is required in many urban areas by the Clean Air Act of 1990, the necessity for safety inspections is left up to the states. Many states are abandoning their safety inspection programs; in 2010, New Jersey became the 30th state to eliminate the program. These states, and ones like Utah who are considering abandoning the program, do so based on reports from the U.S. Accountability Office that show little relationship between crash data and the type of safety checks done by states.

A car might fail a safety inspection because it had cracked or tinted glass or a problem with the windshield wipers. There is no data linking accidents to these causes, and local police seldom have time to investigate the relationship between crashes and minor safety infractions. Proponents of ending the inspections cite human behavior, such as failing to wear seat belts or driving too fast as the real causes of accidents. What the state saves on inspections could be redirected toward enforcement of traffic laws.

In Utah, the Department of Public Safety, the Highway Patrol, and many local service facilities that conduct inspection oppose ending inspections, which encourage car owners to maintain their cars. The fact remains that whether the state requires inspections or not, keeping your car in good condition can save you money and prevent unplanned breakdowns.

Visit State Automotive for the currently-mandated state car inspections as well as for routine checkups and planned repairs to keep your car in great running order.

Do You Need Snow Tires in Utah?

Winter Tires

With winter approaching, adding snow tires to your car may seem like a sound idea. Designed with a special tread pattern that can hold the road when it is icy and snowy, these tires work because they are made of a softer rubber compound that stays flexible in cold temperatures and can better conform to the road’s surface.

Unlike regular tires that harden and become less flexible in the winter, specially designed snow tires will keep the car on the road, improve your ability to stop and start, and help you avoid getting stuck. Some tires have studs embedded in the rubber to increase road grip even more.

Are Special Winter Tires Necessary?

If you have good quality all season tires on your vehicle, do you need to go the extra mile and purchase snow tires? In many areas, all season tires will do the job. Their title implies that you can use them in all types of weather, which means they are not optimized for particular weather conditions. They do not conform to the road as well in very cold or snowy weather as snow tires do.

To save money, some drivers opt to put snow tires on the front tires of front-wheel-drive cars and or just on the rear tires of rear wheel drive models. The problem with this approach is that you may not be able to control the back wheels of a front-wheel-drive car that has only two winter tires, while with a rear wheel drive car, you might not be able to make the car respond when you turn the steering wheel.

Where Utah Law Requires Snow Tires

In some areas of Utah, snow tires are required by Administrative code R920-6 between October 1 and April 30. These requirements are not in effect for the whole state, but if you travel on certain highways in Utah, you must have mounted snow tires with or without studs, steel chains, or elastomeric tire chains for radial tires. While putting snow tires on just the drive wheels of your car is generally a bad idea, the law requires that four-wheel-drive vehicles have at least two mounted snow tires. These regulations do not apply to the whole state, but mostly for roads near ski resort areas such as Snowbird, Alta Park, Deer City, Brighton, and Solitude.

If you are found driving in these areas without snow tires, you could be fined, and even worse, be considered negligent in case of an accident.

Making Winter Tire Usage Easy

Some drivers object to changing to snow tires because it means having your car repair shop take your regular tires off the rims and putting on the stone tires. Smart drivers make their life easier in this respect by buying a matching set of rims in the correct size from a salvage yard and having the tires for inclement weather installed on them.

State Automotive of Utah can mount your snow tires and check out your brakes and other systems that are important for a well-performing vehicle in the winter.