Does My Vehicle Have Shocks or Struts?

Friday, December 7th, 2018
Does My Vehicle Have Shocks or Struts?

When people speak casually about vehicle suspension, they often throw around the terms “shocks” and “struts” as if they are the same thing, or interchangeable. They’re not.

Every wheel on your vehicle has either a shock or a strut – never both, never neither.

However, you may have struts on your front wheels and shocks on your rear wheels. To determine what combination of shocks and struts you have on your vehicle, first we need to learn a bit more about what they are.

What do shocks and struts do?

The reason these components are sometimes thought to be the same thing is because they perform essentially the same task. Both shocks and struts work to dampen the movement of your wheels to inhibit any swinging or bouncing. Although these components perform the same task, you can never replace one for the other. Whether it’s suspension for a Toyota Camry or for a Chevy Silverado, each of your vehicle’s wheels are designed to work with a shock or a strut, and it will have to stay that way.


As for the differences, a strut is a key structural element of your steering system while a shock is not. Your camber and caster angles are typically adjusted on the strut itself, and your strut and its characteristics will greatly affect your alignment. A strut acts as a pivot point for the steering system and includes integrated coil springs.

Because a strut is such an integral part of your suspension system, without it your vehicle would fall straight down to the ground. This is not necessarily the case with shocks.


While a shock is also designed to absorb and recover from bumps on the road, this component does not shoulder the weight of the vehicle. A shock houses a piston within a sealed tube and is usually filled with gas or liquid which works as a buffer against bumps.

In principle, a shock absorber works the same as an oil pump. As pressure is applied, hydraulic fluid or gas is forced through a series of small holes. By only allowing a tiny amount of material to come through these holes, the force of a bump is greatly weakened, providing the driver with a smoother ride.

How to tell if your vehicle has shocks or struts?

While it can vary from model to model, the best way to determine what your vehicle has is by general appearance. Shocks are more likely to look like a spring or a pumping mechanism and are almost always installed standing upright.

Struts on the underhand tend to be installed horizontally and can be more difficult to see. Once you locate them you’ll know, because struts appear to be extensions of the wheels themselves and are clearly essential components for keeping your axles off the ground.

As always, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual for the most accurate information about your particular make and model of car, truck, or SUV. As a general rule, it’s recommended you replace your shocks every 12,000 miles, and replace your struts every 50,000 miles.

Some signs of failing shocks or struts include taking potholes and speed bumps especially hard, a front-end nose-dive when braking, and any signs of leaking hydraulic shock fluid.

Check out all the steering and suspension parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information answering the question “does my vehicle have shocks or struts?”, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

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Know How Notes: 2018 Holiday Gifts For Every Driver

Thursday, December 6th, 2018
Know How Notes: 2018 Holiday Gifts For Every Driver

The holidays are fast approaching but NAPA has the right gifts for every driver on your list. Simply swing into your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store to see all the deals going on right now. We’ve picked a few of our favorites that we think will be a big hit in 2018.

Dual Cam 2-in-1 Sports Action / Dash Camera

This 1920×1080 full HD camera can serve double duty as either a dash camera or a sports action camera. The built-in 1.5″ TFT LCD screen makes it easy to review recordings instantly. An ultra wide 120-degree angle high-resolution lens captures all the action. The built-in shock sensor locks in the video clip when the camera detects an accident, preventing overwriting vital information. Plus the included underwater waterproof case is ready for adventure!

Bluetooth Portable Wireless Speaker

Take the party anywhere with this rechargeable Bluetooth speaker. Not just a Bluetooth speaker, it also features a built-in FM radio, a USB port, TF card slot, 1/8″ auxiliary input, and even a 1/4″ microphone jack for karaoke fun! The USB port doubles as an audio input and a phone charger.

Folding Aluminum Ramp

Make loading  ATV’s, lawn tractors and dirt bikes easier with a sturdy metal ramp. Tru-Grip wide rungs with round traction cutouts provide better wheel support. The folding design makes for easy storage. Sold separately, so grab two for maximum functionality.

26-Piece Screwdriver Set with Stand

The perfect holiday gift for the person who likes to be prepared for any task. This screwdriver set includes five different drive types: (7) Phillips, (8) Slotted, (3) Poz, (5) Star, and (3) Square. What makes this set great is the included workbench ready storage stand. Neat and tidy!

LED Light Bar



This LED light bar does more than just chase away the night, it also changes colors! Rated at 7600 lumens, this light bar is built with cutting edge LED technology and features a compact aluminum housing for a rugged, water resistant design. Requires RGB controller module 735-0098 or 735-0099.

78-Piece Master Socket Set

Having a variety of sockets on hand can make the difference in a quick repair versus a frustrating afternoon. This 78-piece socket set includes the most common metric and SAE socket sizes in both shallow and deep well options. It also includes 1/4 in. and 3/8 in. drive ratchets with extensions. The handy blown plastic molded case keeps everything in place between projects.

DeWalt 20V MAX* Lithium Ion Compact Drill/Driver Kit

This compact 1/2″ drill/driver kit packs plenty of power in a compact design. The two-speed transmission (0-450 & 0-1,500 rpm) makes it easier to use the right RPM for the job. Bit changes are easy thanks to the keyless chuck. It include two batteries, a battery charger, and a handy contractor bag.

DeWalt 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 1/4″ Impact Driver Kit

One of the most useful power tools in the garage is a cordless impact. This compact driver delivers a stout 117 ft-lbs of torque to make quick work of stubborn hardware. It includes one battery, a battery charger, and a handy contractor bag.

WeatherTech Rubber Floor Mats

WeatherTech all weather floor mats feature deeply sculpted channels designed to trap water, road salt, mud and sand. Anti-skid ridges prevent shifting in your vehicle and the protective, non-stick finish makes cleanup quick and easy.

Jump Starter / Portable Power Supply

This 2,000 amp jump starter is a perfect addition to any emergency kit. It features reverse connection warning, a 12-volt power outlet, and a USB port for charging electronics on the go. The multi-function digital display can show either the attached battery voltage or the jump starter battery charge level.

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on holiday gifts for every driver, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of pxhere.

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3 Signs of a Radiator Leak

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
An old radiator in a car.

A radiator leak is a fairly serious problem to have with any vehicle. While it might be tempting to just keep adding coolant to the top-up line and continue driving, your car or truck’s cooling system has one of the most important jobs under the hood, and an issue like this one can’t be ignored for long.

Rather than running the risk of suffering a more catastrophic failure that could leave you stranded, let’s take a look at the three signs that the leak is indeed coming from your radiator, and examine at how you can best deal with the issue until you have time to visit a trusted mechanic for a repair.

Puddles of Coolant

The most obvious sign of a radiator leak is a puddle of antifreeze underneath the car. Of course, not all puddles indicate a coolant problem, and not all coolant pooling is related to the radiator itself.

Take a close look at the puddle. If it’s got a green, yellow or blue tinge, it’s most likely coolant, but you can double check by seeing if it feels greasy on your fingers. Coolant also often has a sweet smell, which is another strong indicator that you’re not dealing with simple water condensation from your air conditioning system.

Locate the Drip

Your vehicle’s cooling system is composed of a number of hoses and clamps that could all be the source of the puddle you’re seeing on the ground, so the next step is to try to locate where the drip is coming from. Typically, a radiator leak starts within the cooling fins themselves, along any plastic or welded seam, at the filler neck/spout or at the bottom where the drain petcock can be found. With the vehicle’s engine off and cool, check each of these areas to see if they are wet, dripping or showing any signs of having been wet in the past.

Watch With the Engine Running

Sometimes, you might be dealing with a leak that only occurs when the engine is hot and the system is pressurized. In this case, you’ll need to do the same inspection as above, but with the vehicle warmed up to its operating temperature. Be sure to take the necessary precautionary methods and wear safety glasses when doing this, because a pressurized leak can squirt or spray out of the radiator unexpectedly. Be careful not to come into contact with any hot parts of your car.

What Should You Do?

There are a few options to keep your leaky radiator running long enough to get to the shop for a real repair. Some antifreeze manufacturers offer a stop leak product that you can pour directly into your cooling system, which works to gum up any existing holes temporarily. Think of this as a last resort, because once that fluid is in your system you’re going to want to completely flush it and remove it after a more permanent repair has been done. You may also be able to fix a radiator leak with a commercial epoxy, but the radiator will have to be cool and empty for this to have the best chance of working. If you’re feeling ultra-handy, a brass, copper or aluminum radiator can also be welded to fix a leak.

If you notice a radiator leak and you’re in a tough situation, using a temporary fix may be the best solution to get you back on the road and to a professional shop. Getting a permanent fix as soon as possible, though, is crucial as it will ensure that a leak doesn’t happen again in the future and that your vehicle continues to run smoothly.

Check out all the heating and cooling products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the effect of a radiator leak, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

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5 Common Power Steering Problems

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018
A man holds a steering wheel.

Your car’s power steering system plays an important role in vehicle handling, making it easier to turn corners and maneuver in tight spaces. In cars with a hydraulic-controlled system, a dedicated pump transfers fluid from a reservoir to the steering gear. However, when power steering problems arise, turning can become a chore. Identifying the related symptoms can lead to a quicker repair solution.

Signs of Power Steering Problems

Like most emerging car problems, your vehicle often provides one or more signs of hydraulic power steering issues, including the following telltale behaviors.

1. Screeching upon ignition. Start your car and you may hear a high-pitched squeal coming from somewhere in front of you. That noise could point to a loose belt, particularly the one motivating the power steering system. A similar sound may occur while you’re driving, especially when you make an abrupt turn. This kind of noise indicates your power steering pump is failing, which causes the belt to slip and make this unpleasant racket.

2. Inflexibility while steering. You’re familiar with how your vehicle operates, including the weight and feel of the steering wheel. If you detect stiffness while managing the wheel, then that inflexibility may point to a problem with the power steering. Keep in mind that if your vehicle has a drive mode selector, then those settings can impact steering input, too.

3. Slow in responding. A steering wheel should respond the moment you move it. If there is even the slightest bit of hesitation, it could point toward a malfunctioning power steering pump that needs to be replaced.

4. Moaning while turning. A moan, grumble or whine while turning the steering wheel indicates that there’s something wrong with your vehicle’s power steering system. The pump is the likely culprit, as it may be leaking or simply failing.

5. Groaning while driving. In some situations, you don’t even have to turn the steering wheel to hear a complaint uttered from somewhere under the hood. Just like a person unceremoniously aroused from a deep sleep, the pump may offer a constant groan. That’s a sure sign the pump isn’t holding enough power steering fluid.

Power Steering System

Power steering fluid is usually reddish or light brown and may also be the same color as transmission fluid. The former typically leaks at the front of the vehicle, while the latter usually pools under the middle of the car. Checking fluid levels will help you pinpoint which one is escaping.

As for electric-assist steering options, these do not come with a pump. Instead, a small electric motor that doesn’t utilize fluid gives it power. When these systems fail, steering becomes difficult and an instrument panel warning light comes on.

Check out all the chemical and lubricant products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on power steering fluid, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Flickr.

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5 Common Oil Change Questions Answered

Monday, December 3rd, 2018
A pan waits to receive engine oil during a change.

Engines have evolved — they need less maintenance, produce more power and require less fuel. With a reduced maintenance regime, oil change services become even more important. Here are five common questions regarding engine oil change services.

1. When Does the Engine Oil Light Come On?

All cars have an oil warning light, usually red, which illuminates when the oil pressure or oil level is too low. Don’t ignore the engine oil pressure warning light. Shut the engine off immediately to prevent catastrophic damage.

If equipped, your dash may hold a second light that reads “maintenance required” or “oil life monitor.” The first light is straightforward: It simply illuminates after 5,000 miles. But when you reset an oil life monitor, it uses an algorithm to estimate oil wear, considering operating temperature, idle time, engine speed and engine load. The estimate is usually conservative, because changing engine oil too often is better than not often enough. It’s critical to take both lights seriously.

2. What Do Experts Say About Oil Changes?

Regular oil changes are the single most important thing you can do to maintain the life of your engine. Neglecting engine oil changes will inevitably lead to catastrophic engine failure. According to Road & Track, modern engines and oil companies are extending oil life up to 20,000 miles and beyond, during which time it’s exposed to the hottest parts of your engine. Today’s engine oil lasts longer than ever, but it still wears out faster than other engine components and fluids.

3. Does Year, Make or Model Make a Difference?

Yes. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended engine oil type, viscosity and change interval. Generally, newer engines use lighter oil viscosities and allow for longer intervals. For years, the old rule of thumb was an oil change every 3,000 miles, but a 2019 Camry uses 0W-16 or 0W-20 every 10,000 miles, according to Toyota. Oil condition is critical for modern turbocharged engines, too.

4. What About Driving Conditions?

Driving conditions absolutely affect engine oil. That’s why monitors judge oil life based on engine temperature, idle time and engine load. The harder you push your engine, the more it impacts engine oil life. Engines love to be run, and highway cruising delivers the best combination of engine load and cooling. Short trips, stop-and-go traffic and aggressive driving increase wear on engine oil, so you’ll need to renew it more often.

5. What Happens If You Wait Too Long?

Extending oil change intervals is a bad idea. First, engine oil wears out over time. Oil additives help modern engine oils function in a variety of operating conditions, but these eventually burn off. Then, you’re left with the base oil and insufficient protection.

Second, all engines burn engine oil increasingly with mileage. If your five-quart engine burns a half-quart every 1,000 miles, and you wait 8,000 miles to change the oil, then just one quart of extremely abused engine oil remains.

Engine oil changes are more important than many drivers realize. However you change your oil — in a shop or on your own — do it on time, every time. Make sure to replace the engine oil filter at every oil change, too. Finally, check the oil level every 1,000 miles, topping it off if necessary.

You can save up to 20% off on select filters (air, cabin, oil) when you reserve online with participating stores or buy online ship to home.* Just remember, it’s a big job for an unassuming object, so don’t skimp on quality.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on oil changes, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

*Offer ends 12/31/18. May not be combined with other offers. Store participation and discount may vary. Exclusions apply. For warehouse items, availability may vary. For Reserve Online, please call store to verify before pickup; additional actions and shipping charges may be required. We may cancel, modify, or deactivate this offer at any time and it is subject to change. We reserve the right to limit quantities and correct errors without notice.

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3 Signs Your Differential Mount Needs Replacing

Friday, November 30th, 2018
A SUV with a working differential mount tackles some rough terrain.

Does your differential mount need to be replaced? You might not think about it often, but it’s crucial to both the comfort and the safety of your daily driving experience. By supporting the differential in place, it cushions the car from vibrations on the road and also positions the component so that it plays nicely with other crucial driveline pieces, such as driveshafts, transmissions and axles.

These three signs will let you know if it’s time to replace it.

Continuous Shaking

The most obvious sign that your

This often manifests as a shudder or shake when the vehicle is accelerating, but it can occur over such a long period of time that you eventually adjust to the fact that you no longer have a smooth ride — right up to the point where the mount disintegrates and begins shaking and chattering much more aggressively. It may also only be noticeable at certain speeds, so keep that in mind when hunting down a driveline shake.


Once a differential mount loses its tight hold, the diff itself will begin to interact with rest of the driveline in ways that are out of the ordinary. One of the most common manifestations of this newfound freedom of movement is a “clunk” that is typically heard at the initial moment of acceleration, as well as when lifting off of the gas pedal to decelerate. If you have a car with a manual transmission, you could hear this clunk when shifting gears.

What you’re hearing is the sound of the differential moving as it goes from “loaded” to “unloaded” under acceleration and immediately after coming off of the gas pedal, in terms of driveline stress. Since the mount’s cushioning has degraded, it’s making contact with other parts of the chassis or it could be moving in relation to the driveshaft or the vehicle axles, with the resulting noise coming from the joints.

Puddles Underneath the Car

If your differential mount has been shaking and clunking long enough, it might have undergone enough stress to begin leaking out of its seals. A puddle of fluid underneath your diff is a sign that something is wrong back there and that it’s time to inspect the mount, the axles and the driveshaft. A loose differential can also potentially have an impact on a transmission’s output shaft seal if it pulls and tugs hard enough for long enough. Therefore, any fluid pooling near the gearbox — in combination with the other symptoms discussed here — could also be linked to a bad mount.

Don’t put off inspecting and replacing this component if you notice these three signs with your car. You’ll end up saving yourself further potential driveline damage down the road and gain a much smoother ride to boot.

Check out all the driveline parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on your vehicle’s differential mount, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

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What Causes a Blown Head Gasket?

Thursday, November 29th, 2018
An engine's head gasket.

You’ve probably heard it can be an expensive repair, but do you know what causes a blown head gasket? Here’s what your head gasket does to keep your engine running smoothly, common causes of a faulty one and what you should do if you suspect something is wrong.

What Is a Head Gasket?

A head gasket is a relatively straightforward part. It’s basically a seal that sits sandwiched between the engine block and the cylinder head. The head gasket doesn’t look like much, but it’s one of your engine’s essential components.

The head gasket does two things. First, it creates a seal to keep the internal combustion process contained. Second, it keeps coolant and oil from mixing as they circulate through your engine near each other.

Getting to a head gasket can be tricky and that’s what makes this a difficult repair. Replacing it means removing the engine’s head, which is a challenging job that’s not for everyone.

What Causes a Blown Head Gasket?

There are several possible causes, including engine age, but two common culprits are overheating and preignition issues.

1. Overheating: When an engine overheats, the metal expands and pinches the head gasket so it no longer seals properly. A telltale sign of this problem is white smoke coming from your exhaust, which is from coolant leaking around the head gasket.

2. Pre-Ignition Problems: If the timing of the combustion process is off even slightly, it can send too much pressure into the cylinder head. This can cause the head gasket to fail. If this happens, you may notice the car running roughly, especially when you first start the engine or at idle.

Preventing a Blown Head Gasket

The best way to prevent a blown head gasket is to ensure your coolant system is functioning properly. Start by checking the radiator and the coolant overflow tanks whenever you check the oil. While you’re under the hood, inspect the radiator hoses, too. If there are splits, frays or any signs of damage, get them replaced promptly.

Also, take note of any leaks under your car. If you see a puddle of coolant or if you find yourself refilling the coolant frequently, those are signs of an issue with your coolant system that need to be addressed.

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Blown Head Gasket?

If you think you have a blown head gasket, you should get it repaired as quickly as possible. A blown head gasket left alone can cause additional engine damage that will only add to your repair costs. Don’t wait it out.

Check out all the engine parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on engine placement, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

When considering winter preparation plans this season, many look for forecasts to get an idea of what to expect. Earlier this year, the NOAA‘s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Climate Prediction Center predicted higher-than-average precipitation across the northern States, including the northern Rocky Mountains, eastern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

Interestingly, most NOAA predictions oppose those from the Farmer’s Almanac, another popular guide. Still, people in those northern climes know that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, which is why NAPA Know How suggests forgetting the forecast and making winter preparation plans right now. Here’s how.

Snow Tires

Getting caught on a snowy road in summer tires could cost you much more than good all-season or snow tires. Make sure all-season tires have at least 6/32″ tread depth remaining. Summer tires should be replaced with all-season or snow tires, as summer tires offer less traction when temperatures drop.

Charging System

Cold temperatures put a car’s electrical system to the test. A weak battery might start a car in the summer, but winter-cold oil could be too much. Have the battery tested for SOC and SOH (state of charge and state of health), and replace it if it fails the tests. Check the charging system output and the generator drive belt condition and tension, and don’t forget to clean up power-robbing corrosion.

Air Conditioning

Forget, for a moment, that air conditioning cools the air, and remember that it also dries the air. The best way to keep your windshield fog-free is with hot dry air. Have your air-conditioning system checked for proper pressure, cycling and drive belt condition. For the outside, get a pair of winter wiper blades.

Driving Tactics

Driving on dry, sunny roads is different from driving on cold, wet roads, and icy roads can be particularly dangerous. Brush up on winter driving tactics, and maybe practice in an empty parking lot, if there’s snow on it. If it does snow, remember the single best practice is to simply slow down.

Emergency Kit

In case you’re unexpectedly caught in poor conditions, having a winter emergency kit will get you back on the road and could even save your life. Because of the cold, this goes beyond the typical first-aid kit and warning triangles. A battery booster or jumper cables might make up for a weak battery, and a snow shovel and salt can help you get unstuck. Don’t forget blankets, bottled water and trail mix.

Winter preparation is all about getting ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you and expecting the unexpected. If the NOAA says more snow for your area, but Farmer’s Almanac says less, then prudence demands preparing for the unforeseen. The truth is no one really knows what’s going to happen this winter, so prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on winter preparation, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Monday, October 2nd, 2017
Oil barrell

Curious about the bottles of high-mileage oil you’ve seen on shelves or the advertisements you’ve seen on television? Wondering if there’s a real benefit to using this type of oil in your engine, and if there is, when your vehicle crosses the threshold from standard oil to high mileage? We cut through the hype to bring you the straight answers you need to make the right decision.

What’s Inside Your Oil?

Modern engine oil is far more sophisticated than you might think. In addition to the actual petroleum-derived lubricant designed to keep everything rotating safe and smooth inside your engine, each bottle of oil also includes a package of additives. Additives are chemicals designed to further reduce engine wear and prevent corrosion, and detergents that help to keep oil passages clean and clear of sludge. In fact, it’s these additives that wear out over time, not the lubricant itself, requiring you to regularly change your vehicle’s oil.

Special Circumstances, Special Additives

As your engine accumulates miles, the additives required to keep it operating in peak condition can alter. Specifically, as interior seals begin to wear out due to heat and time, and sludge begins to accumulate more aggressively, standard engine oil might not offer the same level of performance as it once did.

Enter high-mileage oil, which contains unique additives such as seal conditioners that can rejuvenate gaskets and help prevent leakage, as well as stronger detergents designed to scour passages of sludge more effectively than a “normal” oil. This unique additives package is also why high-mileage oil is often a mix of synthetic and standard oil, as synthetic can offer a better anti-wear barrier between metal components that may no longer be in perfect factory-spec alignment inside an engine.

When to Make The Switch

Don’t assume that just because your car has passed its warranty period that it’s automatically time to make the switch to high-mileage oil. While some bottles might advertise the lubricant as being intended for vehicles with 75,000 miles or more, if you don’t see any oil leaks or drips or notice any blue smoke in the exhaust system that could indicate a seal problem, there’s probably no need to purchase this special oil. If you are well over the 100,000-mile mark, however, or have noticed evidence of leaks, then it’s probably worth talking to your mechanic about its benefits.

Making the right engine oil choice doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these tips, and your high-mileage car will stay healthier.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on high mileage oil, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Friday, September 1st, 2017

Finally. The car is packed, swimsuits safely stowed in the luggage, salty snacks at the ready in the red food bag, and 24 cans of that oh-so-good soda are chilling in the cooler. Your mind is off of work for the next 10 days, nothing but sun, family, friends, and open road for you. The engine roars to life and off you go. As Murphy’s Law would have it, halfway to your fun-filled destination, that little red needle has crept up on the temperature gauge. As your engine sputters and wheezes you pull over to the side of the road  and it hits you – you prepared for all the fun, but forgot to prepare for your transportation.

We have all passed by some sad sap on the side of the road, hood up, steam rolling out, driver just standing there with a hand on their head wondering how they got there. Usually, we just think to ourselves “phew, glad that isn’t me” as we glance at the gauges just to check and make sure they are all good. While breakdowns happen, there are things you can do to help make sure that you are less likely to experience one.

To assist with your summer road trip, we have assembled a group of products that can help you prep your car for summer travel and make sure that if you do have a problem, you have what you need to get you back on the road so you can get a permanent repair.


Make sure that your cooling system is properly filled and functional. Before you head out for that road trip, now is a good time to flush your coolant system and refill it with the correct coolant. There are some concerns when it comes to engine coolant, the main one is that you must have the right stuff for your vehicle. Some GM vehicles used Dex-Cool, which is orange antifreeze. If you mix non-universal green antifreeze with Dex-Cool, it turns into gel and basically ruins your engine’s cooling system. Don’t make that mistake, check with your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store on which type you need.

NAPA RTU1DEX is the perfect solution for GM vehicles with Dex-Cool coolant. This is a pre-mixed coolant, so you don’t need water. Make sure you have a gallon or two in your trunk before you head out on the road.

For every other vehicle on the road, and including GM Dex-Cool vehicle, NAPA’s universal coolant RTU1EXT is formulated for compatibility with all makes and models, regardless of the coolant color. This is also a pre-mix coolant, so you don’t need any additional water. An additional benefit of this coolant is the fact that it is extended life, so it will last up to 150k miles or five years, whichever comes first when a flush and fill is performed on the cooling system.

Emergency Service

OK, so you prepped but life happened and now you have a problem. You noticed the small green puddle at the gas station. You know what it is, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking it is nothing. It probably isn’t, and ignoring it very well could leave you on the side of the road. Open your trunk, console, or glove box and grab one of the following products that you bought with this problem in mind. You will be glad you did. Remember that any time you have a leak in the coolant system, you must replace the lost coolant, hence keeping a gallon or two of 50/50 mix coolant in your vehicle at all times.

Coolant System Sealer

Once the engine cools, open the radiator cap or reservoir and pour it into the radiator. You may never need it, but you will be glad you had it on hand when you do. There are many products available to do this job, we have selected the following four products for you to consider.

Blue Devil Radiator and Block Sealer – This product bonds with plastic, cast iron, aluminum, and other alloys and metals. It is compatible with gas or diesel engines. This product does not have any solids or fibers and is guaranteed to make a permanent repair (until you can get a proper repair that is). BlueDevil radiator and block sealer guarantees a permanent repair of your leaking cooling system.

K-Seal – If you just had a major engine cooling failure, K-Seal is there to help fix it so you can get down the road to the nearest NAPA AutoCare Center. K-Seal repairs cracked heads, blown head gaskets, cracked blocks, radiators, heater cores, and water pumps. It is compatible with all coolant types and you don’t have to flush the coolant system before or after use. If your issue is in the head gasket, engine block, or radiator, then K-Seal can treat it so you can get on down the road.

Prestone Stop Leak – If you have big hole, you need Prestone Stop Leak. This stuff repairs leaks as small as .016” and up to 1/2”. If your radiator has a hole bigger than a half-inch, you will probably be needing a tow truck. Formulated with Kevlar fibers, Prestone Stop Leak will fix leaks without obstructing coolant flow. Since 1927 Prestone has been making quality oils and fluids for vehicles. That same quality goes into their Radiator Stop Leak

Valvoline Zerex Super Sealer – The only product authorized by Cummins to repair Cummins Diesel engine cooling systems, Zerex Super Sealer is a must for any diesel-powered vehicle. The water based formula seals your cooling system leak within one hour while the engine is running using all natural components (plant fiber, clay, and water) and is non-clogging. If you are working with a Diesel engine cooling leak, then Zerex Super Sealer is what you need. It works for all Diesel and gas engines alike.

With your leak sealed, you can get back on the road. Make sure that you have the damaged assessed by a NAPA AutoCare Center to determine whether you can make it back home or if you need to have repairs made while on your vacation. Nobody wants to have a breakdown, but if you do, NAPA AUTO PARTS is there to help you get back on the road as soon as possible.

For more information on how to avoid engine overheating, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Check out all the heating & cooling parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to avoid engine overheating, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.