Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Lincoln

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A lot of people get custom wheels in Lincoln. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don’t fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your Southside Auto Tech tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your Lincoln driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your sedan, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some Lincoln people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Lincoln drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your sedan anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your sedan engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in Nebraska. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your honest Southside Auto Tech tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your sedan. Your Southside Auto Tech service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Lincoln.

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Why is My Check Engine Light On?

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The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Lincoln drivers and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us Lincoln drivers.

Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause key engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at Nebraska freeway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Lincoln service center.

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your honest Southside Auto Tech tech to get it checked out.

Some more Lincoln information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative for Lincoln drivers. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the sedan’s Check Engine Light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your sedan looked at. Your honest Southside Auto Tech service advisor will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

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The Southside Auto Tech Guide To Caring For Your Transmission

Most cars and trucks have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of Omaha auto owners only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in Omaha. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there’s an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you’re doing.

Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That’s what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on Nebraska freeways. And automatically shifts back down to climb Omaha hills, pass or start up again.

sedan automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: the base is four speeds, five is very common.

At Southside Auto Tech, we routinely service transmissions with six speeds and several have seven or even eight speeds. As you can imagine, this means more parts. Any they all have to fit into roughly the same space.

Transmissions are computer controlled these days, with some high end transmissions having two or three computers. Transmissions are engineered to last. But they are also engineered to tighter tolerances. If a portion of the transmission is starved for lubrication, it can lead to failure.

Not enough fluid can starve the transmission or dirty transmission fluid can clog small passages in the transmission, then the lubricant is blocked and can’t get to all the parts to protect them, so they wear out prematurely. The technicians at Southside Auto Tech see far too many transmissions that needlessly failed due to neglect.

And, as you can imagine, repairing one of these new transmissions at any Lincoln service center can be quite costly. That’s why manufacturers have a schedule for how often you should change the fluid and what type of fluid to use.

It’s really important for Omaha motorists to carefully follow the manufacturer’s transmission service schedule.

At Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln, we hope you never become shiftless in Omaha because you didn’t take care of your transmission.

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Southside Auto Tech Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

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Lincoln service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Lincoln 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.

Southside Auto Tech 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.

Southside Auto Tech headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.

Southside Auto Tech inspections: Lincoln drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for Nebraska 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.

Southside Auto Tech oil change: – there are several options: Some Lincoln 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.

Southside Auto Tech PCV valve replacement in Lincoln:
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.

Southside Auto Tech power steering service: Often overlooked. Your honest Southside Auto Tech 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.

Southside Auto Tech 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.

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

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

Southside Auto Tech 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.

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Emergency Items For Lincoln drivers

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Safe Nebraska travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at Southside Auto Tech. But there are other things Lincoln car owners can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here’s some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else’s.

First, Lincoln auto owners should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some vital items you should carry in your sedan include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.

But taking care of your sedan is only part of emergency preparedness. It is vital to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in Nebraska and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.

Depending on where you live, you may need to add other critical items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy Nebraska season, some salt, a hand shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your Nebraska area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your sedan for emergencies.

When you travel away from your Lincoln home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave, and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light, and food.

When you travel, it is key to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.

The automotive professionals at Southside Auto Tech want Lincoln motorists to be safe
. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.

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The Right Fluids for Your Vehicle

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Lincoln car owners’ current vehicles have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.

It’s important for Lincoln car owners to always use the right type of fluid for their sedan. Your service advisor and your owner’s manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.

Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it’s critical to know exactly which one your sedan needs.

Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among car makers, they require different additives, which means there are now a number of coolants on the market. The type of coolant your sedan needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.

Most vehicles used to require Dot 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need Dot 4 or Dot 5. Some Lincoln car owners mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that Dot 4 is somehow better than Dot 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently, and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your sedan is designed for just one of them.

Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, Lincoln drivers still need them to be highly durable.

That’s the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original, important function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.

Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your sedan has 75,000 miles or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines and critical additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and Lincoln drivers should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.

Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. Nebraska vehicle owners should take care to learn their sedan’s fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for Lincoln drivers is making sure your vehicle’s fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our sedans become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.

Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln.

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Automotive Detective Work In Lincoln

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There’s a reason we use the word “diagnose” when we talk about fixing cars in Lincoln. Figuring out what’s wrong with your sedan has a lot of similarities to figuring out what’s wrong with someone who is ill. Vehicles are a mass of complex systems that can produce a variety of symptoms when something goes wrong. As with human diagnoses, a specific symptom may be indicative of a number of problems, and figuring out the specific cause takes training and experience.

Sometimes the diagnosis of your sedan’s trouble comes down to a matter of trial-and-error. This can be frustrating for Lincoln car owners because time and money are on the line. You may feel you should only be paying for repair work. Of course, you only want to pay for the right repair – and a proper diagnosis is part of getting it right. Like at the Lincoln doctor’s office — some of what you pay for is the doctor’s time and effort to figure out what’s wrong with you, not for the actual cure.

The good news is that Lincoln auto owners can do a lot to help out their honest Southside Auto Tech service professional in figuring out what’s wrong with their sedan. Again, the medical office is a good analogy. The more information you can give your doctor about where it hurts, when it hurts and how it hurts, the more quickly he will be able to help you. In the same way, the more you can tell your Lincoln service technician about when the problem occurs, what is sounds like, how often it occurs, where it occurs, etc., the more efficiently he will be able to get you back on the road.

Good auto advice: learn how to talk to your Lincoln technician.

If fluid is leaking from your sedan, you should note the color of the fluid, where under the car the puddles form, and when they form (e.g. only when it’s parked for a while, only if the engine’s hot, when the weather turns cold, etc.). For example, if your sedan is making an unusual sound, you should indicate where the sound is coming from, what kind of sound it is, and when you hear it (again, be very specific). The more details you can give, the more helpful you will be. “I hear the sound when I turn left” is more helpful than “I hear the sound when I turn.” After a few conversations with your Southside Auto Tech technician, you should get a feel for the kind of information he needs.

If you drop your car off, leave a detailed note describing information about your sedan’s problem. A quickly scrawled “Making a funny noise” will only lead to frustration for both your technician and for you. Good communication leads to better car care for Lincoln car owners.

If your sedan is occasionally stalling or sputtering, you may need a little more patience than with other types of car trouble because these types of problems are intermittent. In order to fix the trouble, your service professional often finds it helpful to reproduce the symptoms. And if the problem is intermittent, it may take a while to do so.

In these cases, specific information can be invaluable, as it can significantly reduce the time it takes for your honest service advisor to get your sedan to misbehave. For example, if you can tell your technician that the vehicle only acts up after it’s been driven for 20 minutes and over 50 mph, it will allow him to quickly reproduce your problem, greatly reducing the time it will take for a car diagnosis in Lincoln and then get it corrected.

Good preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping your car out of the Lincoln repair shop, but if you need to get it fixed, good communication will get you back on the road quickly.

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Clean Fuel Equals Clean Performance For Lincoln Drivers

Hello, Lincoln drivers. Let’s talk fuel filters. Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine.

Lincoln motorists don’t need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better an engine will run.

Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your sedan ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.

The harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your sedan owner’s manual or Southside Auto Tech to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. You should change it before it becomes clogged. Your Southside Auto Tech service specialist can help you with recommended replacement schedules.

If your fuel filter becomes clogged, your engine will sputter when you drive at Nebraska highway speeds or when you accelerate rapidly. A clogged filter allows enough fuel to run the car at low speeds around town in Lincoln, but when you need a higher flow of fuel for faster speeds, or if you need a sudden burst of fuel, you just won’t be able to get it through the filter.

A clogged filter is actually dangerous. If you need to accelerate suddenly out of the path of danger, you just won’t have the power to do it.

Fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter becomes clogged, the valve allows some fuel to bypass the filter so the engine can keep running – just not enough to be running well.

That means, though, that dirty, unfiltered fuel is entering your engine. Instead of clogging up your filter, that dirt is now getting into your fuel injectors, where it can cause serious damage. Fuel injectors are expensive; fuel filters are cheap. It doesn’t seem like a difficult choice for Lincoln motorists.

Fuel filters are the epitome of preventive maintenance. They are cheap and easy to change, but neglecting them can lead to pricey repair bills. Some fuel filters are inside the fuel tank and cannot be routinely serviced – your honest Southside Auto Tech service advisor will be able to tell you if this applies to your vehicle.

Good car care for Lincoln auto owners means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered at Southside Auto Tech and in every owner’s manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected. It may save you money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay you in improved fuel economy, safety and peace of mind.

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Fuel Injection Keeps Getting Better For Lincoln Motorists

Lincoln auto owners know that engines burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same fuel efficiency. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions and improved fuel economy.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization.

Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage for Lincoln drivers as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice for Lincoln auto owners. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance at Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, your fuel injectors will last for a long time.

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Fuel System Cleaning at Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln for Better Performance

A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.

Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.

The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.

Vehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine.

Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in gas mileage and loss of engine performance.

So it’s key to keep your fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name Nebraska fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel than do bargain stations in the Lincoln area.

The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.

Check your owner’s manual or Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln to find out how often you should change your fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle, your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use.

If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at Southside Auto Tech in Lincoln that will result in better fuel economy and improved vehicle performance.

Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.

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