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The Maintenance Free Myth

Sometimes we hear people in Augusta say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Augusta drivers don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become,  fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in GA and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. This guy took his SUV in for the GA safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Augusta inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Augusta drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Augusta service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was shredded and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at The C & C Auto Show in Augusta recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better.  Plus, it is more economical to operate in GA. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to The C & C Auto Show in Augusta for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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New School: Automotive The C & C Auto Show Technician Training

Augusta consumers are demanding. We want a safe, reliable vehicle that handles well and is comfortable to ride in. Oh, and we want good fuel economy, too. We also want vehicle repairs that are cheap, fast and easy. Unfortunately, one usually comes at the cost of the other.

Today's vehicles have made significant improvements in reliability and performance over the last few decades. They also deliver more power to Augusta drivers more efficiently than ever before. For example, some of today's 4-cylinder engines are equal to yesterday's V-8's. Our vehicles also offer an amazing range of features that make them more comfortable and convenient than ever before.

But all of that improvement has come at a price for Augusta vehicle owners. Our vehicles are more complicated and difficult to repair than ever before. They have numerous mechanical and electrical systems. Fuel systems are so complex they have to be run by a computer. Our vehicles are covered with sensors and high-tech electronic equipment. Our dashboards rival the control panel of the first manned space flight.

With all that complicated equipment, it's no wonder we call mechanics service technicians these days. You can't learn to repair vehicles in the backyard with your dad anymore. Today's The C & C Auto Show technicians have to go to school. School may come in the form of classroom instruction, online courses or both. Technicians are also trained on-site at the Augusta service centers where they work (including The C & C Auto Show) to keep them abreast of constant improvements in vehicle engineering, diagnostic equipment and repair techniques.

Today's technicians need to be certified to work on our vehicles. They can earn a variety of certifications in GA, but the highest of these is Master Technician. It's like a graduate degree in auto repair.

Vehicle repair at The C & C Auto Show in Augusta requires more than just training and certification, though. It also takes information and creative thought. Augusta area auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and online repair communities in order to get the information they need to: work on various makes and models of vehicles, get recommended maintenance schedules, learn about non-standard features and locate hard-to-find parts in an unusual engine. They also use this information to help diagnose rare or difficult vehicle problems. Many auto repair problems also require a bit of creative thinking for the team at The C & C Auto Show to solve. Augusta service technicians at The C & C Auto Show act much like doctors in these situations. They're given a set of symptoms, and they have to come up with a diagnosis and treatment that will fix the problem. This process becomes as much of an art as it is a science.

A proper diagnosis, even by a highly qualified technician, can take time. And a technician's time is going to cost us. It's just the price of progress.

Of course, the best vehicle care for Augusta vehicle owners is planned preventive auto maintenance. This is also the least costly way to keep your vehicle in good repair. Regular inspections and replacement of worn parts will prevent most repairs from ever being needed in the first place.

And with the amazing complexity of today's automobiles, isn't it good to know there's someone out there with the knowledge, training and skill to give us good auto advice? Whether we need preventive maintenance or repairs, the team of automotive professionals at The C & C Auto Show can help us keep our vehicles on the road. We just can't do it on our own anymore.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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Technician Training at The C & C Auto Show

Your vehicle is important to you, and keeping it running properly is important to your lifestyle. That's why you're smart enough to have it serviced regularly at The C & C Auto Show in Augusta. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.

It's also very important to your Augusta service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Augusta auto service center spends annually to make sure our friendly and knowledgeable technicians are properly trained.

The C & C Auto Show offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Augusta service centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. The C & C Auto Show technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

Some services at The C & C Auto Show require the use of specialized equipment. The C & C Auto Show technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It's not only important that friendly and knowledgeable technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious.

The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems. For example, it's one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles/48,000 km and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.

GA folks may be interested to know that service technicians (including those at The C & C Auto Show) are trained in compliance with federal and local Augusta laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

It's the goal of The C & C Auto Show to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your friendly and knowledgeable technician or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.

At The C & C Auto Show, well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards and, of course, great people, combine to give you the best auto service in Augusta.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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Which Item Is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Augusta?


 

Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Augusta?

Is it:

  1. Stereo
  2. Wheels
  3. Air Bag
  4. DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in GA – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in GA.

Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

Contact us at The C & C Auto Show for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 990 Telfair St., Augusta, GA 30901
You can reach us by phone at: 706-863-5800

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely one car part you don't want to take a chance with, so The C & C Auto Show recommends following these guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at The C & C Auto Show).

 

  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.

 

  • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

 

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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Make Your Vehicle Last



We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, GA folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most Augusta drivers couldn't afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.

It's a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us GA penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Augusta vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.

Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and for clogged passages. Then some vehicle parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.

It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.

And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Augusta at The C & C Auto Show, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor at The C & C Auto Show help you keep track of the rest.

Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at The C & C Auto Show is cheaper than a new car  payment for Augusta drivers. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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Looking Down the Road - Headlamps



If you've ever been driving around Augusta and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness, which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at The C & C Auto Show. We're at 990 Telfair St. in Augusta, GA 30901. Or give us a call at 706-863-5800.

Experts at The C & C Auto Show recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when Daylight Saving Time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long GA winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and gives a very white light that's a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. Your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and to keep your lights from shining off into oncoming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Augusta service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.

You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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Severe Service Requirements

A lot of Augusta drivers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their vehicle's  owner's  manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for over 30 years and is a speaker, a trainer and a writer.

Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owner's manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service.' Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time."

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all vehicles. In addition to your owner's manual, Augusta automotive repair centers (including The C & C Auto Show) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules for every vehicle - so they can help Augusta drivers know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.

  • Most trips are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers
  • Most trips are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive regularly in very hot GA weather
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the freeway)
  • Stop and go driving
  • You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
  • You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Augusta

It's common sense for Augusta drivers: Just a few minutes at higher speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than 10 miles when it's very cold, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Augusta means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.

The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owner's manual or talk with your The C & C Auto Show service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow.

Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since city miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science."

Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly GA highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Augusta drivers just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.

Ask us for help evaluating your driving and service needs.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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The Engine Gets a Boost (Turbocharged Engine Maintenance)

If someone told you that your vehicle could have the same power but with a smaller engine, wouldn't that sound like great idea? Just think, a smaller engine would save you money at the gas station and you'd still get the same horsepower.

The technology to do just that has been around for a long time. It's called a turbocharger.

Race cars and other performance vehicles have been using turbochargers for years. It gives them a power boost without the need of a bigger engine, saving them fuel and pit stops.

Automakers have offered turbo gasoline and diesel engines for years, but there were problems with durability. Plus drivers had to make some driving adjustments with the way turbos delivered power. Newer turbos, though, have been vastly improved, and manufacturers are including them in more models. For example, Jeep offers its 2019 Cherokee with a choice of two engines that each make about 270 horsepower. One is a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and the other is a 6-cylinder conventional gasoline engine. The general rule of thumb is: the fewer the cylinders, the better the fuel economy.

A turbocharged vehicle uses a turbine that is turned by exhaust gas. That compresses air that goes into the engine, which then allows it to use more fuel per second, increasing power. One advantage of a turbo is that it is only engaged when the driver demands more power from the engine by stepping on the throttle harder.

One thing to remember, though, is that turbocharged engines have additional parts and are more complex. That means they can be more expensive to maintain. The upside? You'll likely save fuel.

Like any complex machine, it's important that you maintain your turbo vehicle so it will give you more years of service. The C & C Auto Show technicians are trained to inspect and service the systems associated with a turbo engine. If you already drive a turbocharged vehicle, keep up your regular maintenance schedule to get the longest life and performance out of it.

Because of the advantages these powertrains offer, turbo engines are definitely here to stay.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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Following Recommended Intervals for Your vehicle

If you're reading this article in Augusta, GA, then you probably care about your vehicle and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your professional service advisor at The C & C Auto Show tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say "no," you might be harming your vehicle or risking your family's safety.

At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner's manual. But it is not like you want to keep your vehicle auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

Vehicles are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Augusta residents to keep them running well. That is why they have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your vehicle performing efficiently and prevent breakdowns. In a typical owner's manual you'll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks - yeah, it is a really long list!

Fortunately, this isn't a test: Augusta residents don't need to have it memorized. Your friendly advisor at The C & C Auto Show has access to your manufacturer's recommendations. Don't be surprised when your service advisor at The C & C Auto Show reminds you something is due. Your manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let The C & C Auto Show help you stay on top of maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We'll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.

The C & C Auto Show
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901
706-863-5800

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Augusta Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules

Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Augusta drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Augusta drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around Augusta?
Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero GA temps?
Are most of your trips off-highway in GA?
Do you drive often in dusty Augusta areas?
Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Augusta?
Do you drive in very hot or very cold GA weather?


Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Augusta on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Augusta surface streets?

Let's suppose your owner's manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles/5,000 and 8,000 kilometers. Analyze your driving patterns and Augusta weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you're closer to.

Why should Augusta residents care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Augusta or winter driving means that the engine doesn't heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn't let the oil protect it adequately. That's why GA residents need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.

Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in GA summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs. If you want some expert advice, talk with your friendly and knowledgeable The C & C Auto Show service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.

The C & C Auto Show
706-863-5800
990 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901

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