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Maintenance Tips

Midtown Auto Service & Car Care Tips

Knowing some basics about your vehicle and scheduling regular maintenance work can really help you save money on repairs. We've put together some commonly asked car care questions and answers for your convenience. Just click on the question link for a quick answer.

Car Care Q&A

Here are some commonly asked car care and repair questions. Click on the link for a quick answer.

  • Are my car tires properly inflated? For the proper car care or service / repair? Houston, TX
  • How long should car wiper blades last? For the proper car care or service / repair? Houston, TX
  • How often should I have my car engine oil/filter be changed? For the proper car care or service / repair? Houston, TX
  • How can I tell if my automotive / car engine coolant is OK? For the proper car care or service / repair? Houston,Tx
  • Why is heat coming out of my air conditioner? For the proper car care or service / repair? Houston, TX
  • What can I do if my car overheats? Houston, TX
  • How often should my car get a tune-up? Houston, TX
  • Why are my brakes making noise? Houston, TX
  • Does my transmission ever need service? Houston,TX
  • Techtips: Automotive / Car Repair Tips Getting the Most Out of Your Repair Shop Houston,Tx
  • Techtips: Choosing the Automotive / Car Best Repair Shop Houston,Tx
  • Techtips: Getting Your Automotive / Car Ready for Summer. Houston,Tx
  • Automotive / Car Ignition Key Will Not Turn Houston,Tx
  • Automotive / Car No Start and No Sound. Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car brake warning lights is on. What does that mean? Houston,Tx
  • Automotive / Car Starting and engine Backfiring. Houston,Tx
  • Automotive / Car: The Shakedown on Engine Vibration Issues, Underhood Service Houston,Tx
  • Automotive /Car No Start and a Normal Sound. Houston,Tx
  • Automotive / Car No Start and Grinding Sound Houston,Tx
  • Automotive /Car No Start and Spinning or Whirring Sound. Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car "CHECK ENGINE " light is on. What does that mean? Houston,Tx
  • My automotive /car engine oil pressure warning light is on. What should I do? Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car front-wheel drive car makes a clicking sound when turning. Is anything wrong? Houston,Tx
  • What's the difference between a automotive /car U-joint and a constant velocity (CV) joint? Houston,Tx
  • How often do I need to have my automotive / car wheels aligned? Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car engine has too much compression due to excessive carbon buildup. Houston,Tx
  • What is a automotive / car " valve job " and when is it necessary? Houston,Tx
  • Is it necessary to replace my automotive / car belts periodically? Houston,Tx
  • My Automotive /Car engine has a steady miss and gets terrible fuel milage. What's wrong? Houston, Tx
  • Automotive / Car Fuel injectors are dirty and need to be cleaned. Houston,Tx
  • How can I tell if my automotive / car fuel filter needs to be replaced? Houston,Tx
  • How often should I change my automotive /car fuel filter? Houston,Tx
  • How can I tell if my automotive / car catalytic converter is working properly? Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car keeps blowing fuses. Should I install a larger fuse? Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car has two fuse panels,one under the instrument panel and one in the engine compartment. Houston,Tx
  • On my automotive / car I have a bad voltage regulator, and do I have to replace my engine alternator? Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car battery keeps running down. Does that mean I need a new battery? Houston,Tx
  • Is there any danger to me or my automotive / car vehicle if I give someone a "jump start"? Houston,Tx
  • Does a replacement automotive /car battery have to be the same size as my old one? Houston,Tx
  • Pulsation or vibration in the automotive / car brake pedal. Houston,Tx
  • Replacing the automotive / car tires,do I have to use the same size as the originals? Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car brakes are squealing. Does that mean I need a brake job? Houston,Tx
  • How to Jump Start a Automotive / Car with a Dead Battery. Houston,Tx
  • Tips for Maintaining your Automotive / Car Battery. Houston,Tx
  • Automotive / Car No Start and Clicking Sound Houston,Tx
  • My automotive / car suspension is not adjustable. Does that mean the wheels can't be aligned? Houston,Tx
  • Do my automotive / car wheels need to be realigned after the struts have been replaced? Houston,Tx
  • Driving down the highway, my automotive / car pulls to one side. Houston,Tx
  • Finding a auto repair shop You Can Trust. Houston,Tx
  • 10 tips to improve fuel milage for automobiles / cars. Houston,Tx
  • Important items to carry in your vehicle in case of road-side emergencies. Houston,Tx
  • High Water Headaches for car / auto floods. Houston,Tx
  • Car / Auto Preventive Maintenance That You Can Do Yourself . Houston,Tx
  • Save Money at the Pump for auto / car. Houston, Tx
  • Be Aware of auto /car Tire Wear. Houston,Tx
  • Car Care Tip of the day

    Is it necessary to replace my automotive / car belts periodically? Houston,Tx

    Yes. Although the auto makers dont usually specify a replacement interval for V-belts or serpentine (flat, multi-ribbed) belts, most belt manufacturers do recommend periodic replacement for preventative maintenance. Heres why: the incidence of belt failure rises sharply in the fourth year of service for the typical V-belt, and the fifth year for serpentine belts. Whats more, eight out of ten V-belt failures and ten out of ten serpentine belt failures end up causing a breakdown! Thats because belts have the uncanny knack of always picking the worst possible moment to fail -- like when youre heading out of town on that long-awaited fishing trip, when youre hurrying to pick up a hot date who told you NOT to be late, or when youre giving your dear mother-in-law a ride to church. A broken belt is always bad news because when it snaps, all drive power to whatever it turns is lost. That means the water pump quits circulating coolant through the engine, the alternator quits producing amps, the power steering pump ceases to assist steering, and the air conditioner quits cooling. Many newer vehicles have a single serpentine belt that drives all of the engines accessories, so when it fails everything stops working. The good news is that replacing the belts periodically can go a long way towards minimizing the risk of a breakdown caused by belt failure. After all, its a lot easier to replace a belt at your convenience than having the belt fail unexpectedly Heavens knows where. For optimum protection, most experts recommend replacing V-belts every three to four years, or every 36,000 to 48,000 miles. A recommended replacement interval for serpentine belts would be every four or five years, or 50,000 miles. Belt Life The service life of a V-belt depends on mileage as well as load, tension and heat. Every time a belt passes around a pulley, it bends and flexes. This produces heat which age hardens the rubber over time. The wear process can be greatly accelerated if the belt is loose and slips because any added friction between belt and pulley makes the belt run even hotter. This can cause glazing on the faces of the belt and cause it to slip even more. So one of the most important factors that affects belt life is making sure it is properly tensioned when it is installed and that the proper tension is maintained throughout its service life. Symptoms that may be the result of improper belt tension include: Belt squeal, especially on the fan, A/C compressor or power steering drives. A battery that keeps running down (due to belt slippage). Excessive sidewall wear on a V-belt that causes it to ride lower than normal in the pulley grooves. Severe cracking along the underside of a V-belt. Noisy alternator, power steering pump, air pump, A/C compressor or water pump bearings (from excessive belt tension). Belt Replacement Replacement V-belts must be the same length and width as the original. A belt thats too long or too short may not allow enough adjustment for proper tension. A belt thats too wide or too narrow will not ride at the right depth in the pulley grooves. CAUTION: When installing a new belt, do not attempt to "stretch" it over pulleys. Doing so can break the internal cords causing the belt to fail. Always loosen the pulleys so there is adequate clearance to slip the belt over the pulleys. Once the belt has been installed on the pulleys, a belt gauge should be used to adjust belt tension to factory specifications. The old rule of thumb of allowing 1/2 inch of "give" between the furthest pulleys is not a very accurate guide for todays engines. So follow the manufacturers recommendations for belt tension. Once tension has been adjusted, it should be rechecked and readjusted (if necessary) after a short break-in period (say after 500 to 1,000 miles of driving). It should then be checked twice a year or every 5,000 or 6,000 miles thereafter. On vehicles with a single serpentine belt, tension is usually self-adjusted automatically via a spring loaded tensioner. No additional adjustment is necessary. If your engine has been eating or twisting belts, misaligned pulleys may be your problem. Alignment can be checked with a straightedge. If a pulley is bent or not in the same plane as the rest, the problem should be corrected otherwise the "bad" pulley will continue to ruin belts.
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