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FILTER MAINTENANCE: WHEN SHOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR FILTERS?

Monday, March 4th, 2019

Proper filter maintenance is essential for keeping your car in working order and each needs to be changed following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Even following those guidelines, how you use your vehicle might mean you need to change some filters more often.

If you drive in harsh conditions, then your filters may need more frequent attention. Here’s an explanation of what the filters in your car do and when they need to be changed.

Cabin Air Filters

cabin air filterThis filter keeps the cabin air clean and helps minimize dust, smoke and odors. Each manufacturer has guidelines for how often the cabin air filter should be replaced, so start by checking your owner’s manual. Usually, it’s around every 15,000 to 25,000 miles.

If you drive someplace where there’s more dust in the air, like a desert or a city, you may want to change it more often. At a minimum, change your air filter once a year.

Your owner’s manual will tell you where your cabin air filter is located. Checking it is as simple as giving it a good look. If it’s dirty or covered with debris, then it’s time to swap it out for a new one.

Engine Air Filters

Your engine needs air and it runs best with clean air. An engine air filter removes dust particles that would otherwise be sucked into your engine. If your engine air filter is dirty, then it can cause all sorts of problems.

It leads to reduced power, poor performance and lower fuel economy. That’s if you’re lucky. Over time, a dirty air filter lets dirt into your engine, which can cause expensive damage.

There are a variety of filters available at a range of prices. Most are made of a paper-like material folded into pleats, but foam filters are also available, and even some that are soaked in oil to grab more dirt and last longer.

Always check with your owner’s manual to see what is recommended for your vehicle and follow the maintenance schedule suggested. If you drive in heavy traffic, the desert or off-road, then you’ll want to change this filter more often rather than risk having it get clogged with dirt.

Fuel Filters

It’s not just the air coming into your engine that needs to be clean and free of dirt. The fuel coming into your engine also needs to be clean. The fuel filter catches any impurities in your fuel, which otherwise could impact performance.

This filter lasts longer than the cabin air filter, but once again you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often it needs to be changed. Wait too long and you risk sluggish performance and engine damage.

Oil Filters

Clean engine oil keeps your engine lubricated. Keeping the oil clean is the job of the oil filter. When oil gets dirty it gets sludgy and this can cause a multitude of engine problems.

This is an easy one to remember. Simply have the oil filter changed whenever you get an oil change. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended intervals for oil changes and you’ll keep your oil clean.

Filter maintenance is an essential part of routine car maintenance. Make sure you check your filters at the recommended intervals to keep your engine running smoothly. When was the last time you checked your filters?

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

Photo Courtesy of Flickr.

WINTER PREPARATION 2018 — FORGET THE FORECAST

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
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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.

WHAT IS HIGH-MILEAGE OIL?

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.

WE’RE CONSOLIDATING OUR KNOW HOW

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017