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Duffy’s Repair Service And The Maintenance Mindset
When it comes to their vehicles, some Richmond motorists don’t have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Richmond drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance, but just may have not applied it to their SUVs.
For example: the lawn. You water it and mow it every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. There are other things that Richmond residents are diligent about. Going to the dentist twice a year. Clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids to your Richmond doctor for a checkup before school starts.
So Richmond auto owners really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to cars. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you’ll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, most of us learn our lesson and shape up.
Unfortunately, Richmond auto owners too often learn a hard automotive lesson when they bring their vehicle to Duffy’s Repair Service on a tow truck. So many times a little routine maintenance would have prevented a breakdown.
So how can Richmond car owners get into the habit of taking care of their SUV? It’s so easy to forget. If you skip cutting the grass, you see it every time you pull in the driveway.
Here’s something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your Duffy’s Repair Service tech will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason why. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he’ll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they’ve got you covered. And at Duffy’s Repair Service, we check to see if your SUV manufacturer has recommended any services at your current mileage. The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done. The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you’ve got to remember that SUVs are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their operation. Without them, the SUV won’t run at all.
So when you come in to Duffy’s Repair Service for an oil change, you get an inspection from your friendly service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your Duffy’s Repair Service technician can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and helping you avoid expensive breakdowns.
When Are Your Tires Worn Out?
Hey Richmond, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our Virginia streets? How can you tell on your SUV?
While there may be legal requirements for the Richmond area, there are safety concerns that go beyond meeting minimum replacement mandates.
2/32 is the depth of the tire tread wear indicator bars that US law has required to be molded across all tires since August 1, 1968. When tires are worn so that this bar is visible, there’s just 2/32 of an inch – 1.6 millimeters – of tread left. It’s that level of wear that’s been called into question recently.
We’re referring to the Consumer Reports call to consider replacing tires when tread reaches 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 millimeters. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies.
The issue is braking on wet surfaces in and around Richmond. Most of us think of our brakes doing most of the work, but if you don’t have enough tread on your tires, the brakes can’t do their job. When it’s wet or snowy, the tread of the tire is even more critical to stopping power.
Picture this: you’re driving over a water covered stretch of road near Richmond, Virginia. Your tires must be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means that the tire has to move the water away from the tire so that the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water.
Floating on the surface of water is called hydroplaning. So if there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.
In the study a section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to cover it.
A car and a full-sized pick-up were brought up to 70 miles per hour, or 112 kilometers an hour and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths:
New tire tread depth
4/32 of an inch
2/32 of an inch
So what happened with the 2/32 tires on the car? Get this – when the car had traveled the distance required to stop with new tires, it was still going 55 miles an hour. Stopping distance was nearly doubled to 379 feet and it took 5.9 seconds.
Wow! That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, you would hit the car in front of you at 55 miles an hour with the worn tires.
Now, with the partially worn tires – at 4/32 of an inch – the car was still going at 45 miles an hour at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. It took nearly 100 feet more room to stop and 1.2 seconds longer. That’s a big improvement. We can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.
Of course, stopping distances were greater for the heavier pick-up truck.
How do you know when your tires are at 4/32 of an inch? Easy; just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.
You may remember doing that with pennies. A penny gives you 2/32 to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new recommendation – 4/32.
How do people feel about replacing their tires earlier? Well, tires are a big ticket item and most people want to get the most wear out of them that they can. But do you want that much more risk just to run your tires until they are legally worn out?
For us, and we would guess for many, the answer is “no”.
Have you ever gone to Richmond to listen to an orchestra? The musicians take the stage early and tune their instruments. Each individual instrument must be in tune, but the critical thing is for the entire orchestra to be in tune with each other. That’s why they tune up together.
Now this is no surprise; I’m going to relate the orchestra to your car. Your engine has many component systems that each need to be working properly. And the components need to be working in sync, all timed up together in order for the engine to work efficiently.
We call this, (ta-da) a tune-up. When an orchestra’s out of tune you get a bad concert. When your vehicle’s out of tune you get bad performance and bad fuel economy.
So check your owner’s manual for recommended tune-up intervals. Or ask your Ashland service advisor at Duffy’s Repair Service what he thinks.
…Just be careful not to say you want to make beautiful music together – that kinda makes us uncomfortable.
Battery Replacement At Duffy’s Repair Service In Ashland
Hello, welcome to Duffy’s Repair Service. Today’s focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Ashland runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we’re most concerned with here at Duffy’s Repair Service are those in our customer’s vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, car batteries wear out and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Ashland drivers should know when looking for a new battery.
Look for two measurements that come into play: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity.
Let’s start with cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold SUV engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in Virginia, specifically how cold it is. (Many Virginia motorists have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your SUV’s engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.
The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. At Duffy’s Repair Service, we consult the table shown below. Let’s say it’s eighty degrees Fahrenheit in Ashland. At that temperature, 100% of the battery’s power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at eighty degrees.
As you can see from the chart, the colder it gets, more power’s needed, but the available power drops.
Percent of Power Available
So if you live where it’s cold in Virginia, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your SUV was based on averages. At Duffy’s Repair Service, we like to remind Ashland drivers that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their vehicle manufacturers recommend, but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.
And the type of engine you have will impact the battery you need: A six-cylinder engine requires more cold cranking amps than a four. An eight cylinder needs even more. And diesel SUVs require more than a gasoline engine with the same number of cylinders.
Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important to Ashland motorists these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off in your SUV. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.
Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Ashland. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine. So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer or Duffy’s Repair Service and upgrade if you need more.
Talk with us at Duffy’s Repair Service about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger, heavy-duty battery may be called for. At Duffy’s Repair Service in Ashland, we remind our customers that it’s very important that the new battery fits your SUV: the terminals can’t be touching other parts.
Batteries are a big ticket item for most Virginia drivers, so the warranty gives piece of mind. There’re two kinds of car battery warranties: pro-rated and free replacement. With the pro-rated, you get a credit for a portion of the battery if it fails during the warranty period. With a free replacement warranty, you get just that, a free replacement. Be sure to ask us at Duffy’s Repair Service about the warranty so you know what you’re getting.
Professional Fuel System Cleaning
Getting adequate fuel to your engine is very important for performance, fuel economy and safety. In order to accomplish this, your fuel system needs to be clean.
Today’s production cars have fuel injectors, rather than a carburetor. The injectors need to be cleaned from time to time in order to deliver the fuel with the correct pressure, spray pattern and volume.
Ashland car owners can buy fuel system cleaners that you pour into your gas tank to help maintain an already clean fuel system, however, they can’t do a major cleaning. For that, you need to see Duffy’s Repair Service in Ashland. They have the tools and chemicals to do the job right. The friendly team at Duffy’s Repair Service can remove particles, gum and varnish from your fuel system and get those injectors running cleanly and efficiently.
You’ll find Duffy’s Repair Service at 9974 Lickinghole Road in Ashland, Virginia 23005. Or just give us a call at 804.798.5922 to schedule an appointment.
You’ll enjoy more power, better fuel efficiency and reduced exhaust emissions. The cleaners also help prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system and lubricate vital engine parts.
And, as with all maintenance, it can help prevent costly repairs that can happen because you didn’t take preventative steps. Check with your friendly service advisor at Duffy’s Repair Service and see when your car is scheduled for a fuel system cleaning.
We are a NAPA AutoCare Center in Ashland Virginia, providing the following services:
OIL CHANGE & LUBE
VEHICLE PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
FULL BRAKE SERVICE
AIR CONDITIONING SERVICE
VEHICLE CLEANING & DETAILING
TRAILER SERVICE & REPAIR
FULL ELECTRONIC SERVICE
DIESEL SERVICE & REPAIR
FRONT END WORK
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION REPAIR
STABILITY & TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM
SRS/AIR BAG DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
COOLING SYSTEM FLUSH
COMPLETE DIAGNOSTIC SERVICE
PCM & MODULE REPROGRAMMING
REPLACEMENT CAR BATTERY
BELT & HOSE REPLACEMENT
SMOG & EMISSION TESTING
SUSPENSION & SHOCK REPAIR
24 HOURS TOWING
MAKE & REPAIR HYDRAULIC HOSE
EQUIPPED TO HANDLE LARGE VEHICLES INCLUDING MOTOR HOMES