Don’t Wait – 5 Repairs that Can Cost More Later

Posted August 4th, 2016 by admin and filed in Brakes, Car Care Tips, Maintenance, News

We’ve all been there – certain circumstances often cause us to ignore a troubling sound, odor, or sign of wear on our vehicles. Whether it’s finding time in your schedule or funds in your checkbook, it’s easy to put off maintenance or repairs, but that can lead to more expensive work down the road. Here are five examples of vehicle maintenance alerts and repairs you should not delay:

1. Squeaking/squealing brakes

Built-in indicators on disc brake pads warn when they’re worn, and ignoring them could lead to more expensive brake repairs. Catch ’em early and you might just get away with replacing only the pads.

2. Vibrating/pulsing brakes

In addition to the squealing brake pads, you might feel a slight vibration or pulsing when you press the brake pedal. It’s a probable indicator that the brake rotors are beginning to warp. Servicing them right away might require only
less-expensive machining. If the warping gets too severe, the rotors will have to be replaced.

3. Battery/charging light

Has the battery/charging light come on intermittently lately? If so, it could indicate a problem with the alternator’s ability to charge the battery. Have it checked right away, because if the alternator dies while you’re driving, the battery will soon follow – and you could be stranded, while adding a towing charge to your repair.

4. Low coolant level

Has the low-coolant light been on in your car? Don’t ignore it. An engine that’s low on coolant has a much greater risk of overheating, which can severely damage the engine. Topping off the coolant is easy and inexpensive. Visit us if you’re unsure about adding coolant, and ask us to inspect the system for leaks.

5. Timing Belt

Check your Owner’s Manual for the recommended replacement interval for the engine’s timing belt. Having it replaced is one of the more labor-intensive and therefore costly maintenance procedures, but risking the belt breaking could cost much more. For one thing, you’ll never know when it will break, which could strand you and incur towing charges. And on some engines a broken belt can cause severe – and expensive – engine damage.

If your vehicle is making an unusual sound or has provided an alert, don’t wait to schedule an appointment as the problem may get worse as time goes on. Call us at 239.939.2500 to schedule a service appointment or inspection today!

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center
239-939-2500
3811 Fowler Street
Fort Myers, Florida 33901

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Fort Myers Car Owners

Posted March 4th, 2015 by admin and filed in Maintenance

A generation ago, Fort Myers auto owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your sedan in to your Fort Myers shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Fort Myers used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the sedan was in for a tune-up at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our sedans don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Fort Myers drivers need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Fort Myers service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Terry Wynter Auto Service Center in Fort Myers, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and gas mileage. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern sedan engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of critical parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the sedan isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your sedan engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the sedan engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this costly damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Fort Myers drivers than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to essential engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Fort Myers who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Fort Myers folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Fort Myers auto owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel efficiency, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

Budget For Maintenance in Fort Myers

Posted November 11th, 2014 by admin and filed in Maintenance

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Sometimes busy Fort Myers residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Fort Myers in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Fort Myers drivers spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Fort Myers auto owners would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Fort Myers car owners didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Fort Myers area auto service centers.

Fort Myers drivers should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Fort Myers is simply more pricey than it used to be. So if you think about it, Florida car owners can avoid many expensive sedan repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Fort Myers motorists can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Cape Coral car owners know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your sedan will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
225      
794     
1767  
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more expensive than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Terry Wynter Auto Service Center: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Florida auto insurance with an older Fort Myers vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for critical preventive maintenance in Florida, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less expensive!

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

Posted February 13th, 2014 by admin and filed in Maintenance

Fort Myers service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Fort Myers drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center fuel system cleaning: Over time, the sedan fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center inspections: Fort Myers drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for Florida summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used sedan and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center oil change: – there are several options: Some Fort Myers centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center PCV valve replacement in Fort Myers:
PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center power steering service: Often overlooked. Your honest Terry Wynter Auto Service Center technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the sedan system running well for a long time.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center serpentine belt service:
That’s the belt that powers the sedan engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Fort Myers people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center transmission service:
This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.

The Importance Of Fort Myers Drivers Following Service Intervals

Posted June 19th, 2013 by admin and filed in Maintenance

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Today in our Terry Wynter Auto Service Center blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your sedan isn’t the only aspect of your life in Fort Myers with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

The Importance Of Fort Myers Drivers Following Service IntervalsClearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Fort Myers takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our sedans? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Fort Myers neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, Fort Myers people don’t need to memorize their sedan owner’s manuals. You can let your Terry Wynter Auto Service Center advisor remind you of the guidelines established by car makers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your sedan. You really can rely on Terry Wynter Auto Service Center professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Fort Myers drivers who want to be more proactive with their sedan care, here are some simple ways for Fort Myers car owners to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your sedan go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Fort Myers car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Terry Wynter Auto Service Center for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy fuel efficiency, your sedan doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

The Harm In Skipping An Oil Change For Fort Myers Drivers

Posted May 2nd, 2013 by admin and filed in Maintenance

People in Fort Myers have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you’re wondering: What are the key issues?

Some new vehicle manufacturers in Fort Myers are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Fort Myers were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.

The manufacturers’ standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.

Visit Terry Wynter Auto Service Center in Fort Myers, Florida 33901

Severe driving around Fort Myers includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.

The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Fort Myers just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.

Some types of sedan will give oil change reminders. But it’s important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It’s programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.

For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Fort Myers service advisor at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what’s needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.

If you’re realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.

So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.

Fall and Spring Checkup In Fort Myers

Posted March 26th, 2013 by admin and filed in Maintenance

When I was a kid in Fort Myers, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it’s about time to get into Terry Wynter Auto Service Center for my checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don’t need seasonal service.

My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.

Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family sedan, most cars used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today’s modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.

Your owner’s manual or Fort Myers service advisor at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center can tell you the right oil to use.

Of course, you’re concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don’t want to overheat in the Florida summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant, or as it’s sometimes called; ‘antifreeze’, is up to doing both very well. It’s designed to last for more miles than most people drive in a year or two.

So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let’s start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more miles driven and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.

You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant, and that you don’t have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.

That’s pretty practical; a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.

And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.

So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you’ve got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees or you have ice and snow, you’ll want to consider changing to winter tires.

So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.

And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service – stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?

So Spring and Fall: change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors – and get a check-up for your cars.

See, dad was right again.

Come and see us at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
Terry Wynter Auto Service Center
3811 Fowler Street
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
239-939-2500

Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In Fort Myers

Posted February 14th, 2013 by admin and filed in Maintenance

Every Fort Myers car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter’s dirty.

Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your sedan owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Fort Myers technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.

Clean Air for Your Engine Fort Myers Engine Air Filter

So between your owner’s manual and your Fort Myers technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved.

Now, most air filters purchased in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Bonita Springs don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that Florida people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Fort Myers.

Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Lehigh Acres home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your sedan, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more expensive Florida gas to move your vehicle around Fort Myers roads.

Your sedan actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Fort Myers at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll buy less fuel, have better performance and protect your engine.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Posted January 22nd, 2013 by admin and filed in Maintenance

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Your sedan engine really needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving around Cape Coral, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your sedan needs a lot of air to keep going in Cape Coral. A lot of clean air is better.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?You’ve seen the pictures of the crowds in Asia wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your sedan also works better when its internals are clean. When your sedan air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the dirt just passes through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the engine itself. And burning dust and pollen in your sedan engine does you no good.

So, we’re talking potential damage for Cape Coral drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your sedan engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with fuel efficiency.

In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center can improve your fuel economy in Cape Coral by up to ten percent. At today’s fuel prices in Cape Coral, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your sedan engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on how dirty the air is where you drive in Cape Coral. A simple visual inspection at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.

When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Terry Wynter Auto Service Center technician brings out your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and change it out.

Hey Fort Myers Drivers; What Is The Most Distracting Food?

Posted January 3rd, 2013 by admin and filed in Maintenance

So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around Fort Myers?

Is it:

  1. A Hamburger;
  2. Coffee;
  3. A Soft Drink, or
  4. Gummy Bears?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving, but if you chose ‘coffee’, then give yourself an extra two points; coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Fort Myers and around the country.

Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!

You’ll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the type of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You’ll thank yourself later for two reasons, one being that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and the other is that you won’t have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.

Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Fort Myers road without worrying about where that spill is headed.

So; taking a food break… Or filling out accident reports. We don’t have to ask you which you prefer: It’s a no brainer.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center, along with AutoNetTV, wants you to keep both eyes on the road. Please eat safely and keep your eyes on the road.

Terry Wynter Auto Service Center
3811 Fowler Street
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
Give us a call at: 239-939-2500