Sometimes busy Chesapeake residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Chesapeake in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Chesapeake auto owners spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.
Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Chesapeake drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Chesapeake motorists didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Chesapeake area auto service centers.
Chesapeake auto owners should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Chesapeake is simply more pricey than it used to be. So if you think about it, Virginia auto owners can avoid many costly van repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.
Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Chesapeake drivers can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.
These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Portsmouth motorists know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your van will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.
Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):
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According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more expensive than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.
Just a bit of auto advice from West Service Center, Inc.: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Virginia auto insurance with an older Chesapeake vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for important preventive maintenance in Virginia, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less expensive!
When your car breaks down in the Chesapeake, Virginia area, or just needs some routine service, it can make Chesapeake drivers a little nervous. Because your car’s so important to your life, you need to be back on the road as soon as possible. And with the problem fixed right the first time.
We’ve been checking into some of the critical training our Chesapeake Virginia technicians receive, and we’re very impressed. It’s amazing how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. So it’s not like when your uncle worked on his hot rod over weekend.
Today there are four cylinder engines around Chesapeake that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars 20 years ago. A new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to 60 mph.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their gas mileage keeps inching up. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the benefits come to Chesapeake motorists at the price of simplicity. Modern cars are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin.
Then there’s the electronics. Some cars on Virginia freeways area have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Chesapeake auto owners take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks.
It’s a real challenge for the service advisors at West Service Center, Inc. and other Chesapeake auto service centers to keep up. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the auto technician and the service center as well. In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools as well.
So where do Chesapeake service specialists go for training? There’re many sources. It’s usually a combination of formal classroom training, training provided in the service center by auto parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses. There are many independent certifications available all the way up to Master Technician.
And AutoNetTV produces monthly training for Chesapeake automotive service centers called The Pro Channel. If you were to watch the Pro Channel segment on re-flashing the engine control computer, you’d be amazed at how much is involved: special software, hardware interfaces and a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill.
Service centers in Chesapeake, Virginia have a lot of other resources available as well. No one can know everything, so service centers like West Service Center, Inc. subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them with they run into a difficult problem.
It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. Chesapeake drivers want everything to be simple, straight forward and cheap – and sometimes it just isn’t.
So, be more relaxed next time you take your van in. Chesapeake motorists can trust their honest West Service Center, Inc. technicians. You’re in good hands. The more you know, the more comfortable you can be with your automotive service decisions at West Service Center, Inc.. Visit AutoNetTV.com to see more great auto tips videos about many service topics.
At West Service Center, Inc., we provide quality automotive service including brakes, fuel system cleaning and alternator replacement.<br><br>
People in Chesapeake have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you’re wondering: What are the key issues?
Some new vehicle manufacturers in Chesapeake are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Chesapeake were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.
The manufacturers’ standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.
What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.
Visit West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
Severe driving around Chesapeake includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.
Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.
The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Chesapeake just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.
Some types of van will give oil change reminders. But it’s important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It’s programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.
For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Chesapeake service advisor at West Service Center, Inc. and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what’s needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.
If you’re realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.
So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.
A generation ago, Chesapeake car owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your van in to your Chesapeake shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.
For example, almost everyone in Chesapeake used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the van was in for a tune-up at West Service Center, Inc., the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.
Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our vans don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.
Modern Chesapeake car owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Chesapeake service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and fuel efficiency. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”
Modern van engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of essential parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the van isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.
As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your van engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the van engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this costly damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.
Timely oil changes are more critical for Chesapeake auto owners than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to important engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.
One word of warning to anyone in Chesapeake who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Chesapeake folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.
Chesapeake drivers can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel efficiency, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.
For advice on how to make your van last longer, visit us at West Service Center, Inc.
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
These days many people in the Chesapeake area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you’ve got to start with what you’ve got. It’d be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you’ve had the vehicle for a while, or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that’s where you start.
Go through the maintenance schedule for your van and see what’s been done and when. Have your Chesapeake service advisor at West Service Center, Inc. do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.
Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles. You might be pretty overwhelmed.
To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there’s a failure. In consultation with your Chesapeake service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you’ll be prepared for it in a few months.
Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.
Your car is important to you and keeping it running properly is essential to your Chesapeake lifestyle. That’s why you’re smart to have it serviced regularly at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.
It’s also very important to your Chesapeake service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Chesapeake auto service center spends annually to make sure our honest service professionals are properly trained.
West Service Center, Inc. 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 Chesapeake 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. West Service Center, Inc. technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.
Some services at West Service Center, Inc. require the use of specialized equipment. West Service Center, Inc. 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 honest 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 (and expensive).
The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to auto owners. For example, it’s one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles 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.
Virginia folks may be interested to know that service technicians (including those at West Service Center, Inc.) are trained in compliance with federal and local Chesapeake laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.
It’s the goal of West Service Center, Inc. to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your honesttech or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.
At West Service Center, Inc., well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best auto service in Chesapeake.
When it comes to their vehicles, some Chesapeake car owners don’t have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Chesapeake drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance, but just may have not applied it to their vans.
For example: the lawn. You water it and mow it every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. There are other things that Chesapeake residents are diligent about. Going to the dentist twice a year. Clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids to your Chesapeake doctor for a checkup before school starts.
So Chesapeake auto owners really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to cars. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you’ll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, most of us learn our lesson and shape up.
Unfortunately, Chesapeake drivers too often learn a hard automotive lesson when they bring their vehicle to West Service Center, Inc. on a tow truck. So many times a little routine maintenance would have prevented a costly breakdown.
So how can Chesapeake auto owners get into the habit of taking care of their van? It’s so easy to forget. If you skip cutting the grass, you see it every time you pull in the driveway.
Here’s something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your honest West Service Center, Inc. tech will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason why. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he’ll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they’ve got you covered. And at West Service Center, Inc., we check to see if your van vehicle manufacturer has recommended any services at your current mileage.
The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done. The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you’ve got to remember that vans are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their operation. Without them, the van won’t run at all.
So when you come in to West Service Center, Inc. for an oil change, you get an automotive analysis from your honest service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your honest West Service Center, Inc. technician can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and helping you avoid expensive breakdowns.
At West Service Center, Inc. we get a lot of Chesapeake motorists asking about car trip preparation. That’s a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas outside of Chesapeake so it’s important to know that the car is up to the task and won’t leave you stranded.
Smart Chesapeake car owners plan ahead for a major road trip – there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Chesapeake to see if you can feel any vibrations: are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? Come to West Service Center, Inc. for a peace-of-mind trip inspection.
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your critical fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV valve and an engine air filter.
How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?
How are your wiper blades? There’s nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Chesapeake.
Check your owners’ manual for any other key recommended service and have West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake do the multi-point inspection before you head out in Virginia.
Consider also having the coolant system serviced at West Service Center, Inc. – you want to stay within the auto manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re towing a trailer in Chesapeake you’ll want to be keep in mind that you’ll be going a long way under severe conditions.
A lot of Chesapeake folks overlook severe conditions like towing, or Chesapeake summer heat, or driving on dirt roads in Virginia. Plan ahead for your next road trip – West Service Center, Inc. wants you to get there and back.
We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Chesapeake. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.
So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the vital scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.
Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Chesapeake drivers. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.
1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your important power steering parts are protected from harmful corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your Chesapeake service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.
2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your van pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most manufacturers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.
3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your van engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your honest West Service Center, Inc. service specialist.
4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Chesapeake cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.
5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Chesapeake area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of pricey engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Chesapeake service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.
6. Transmission Service
Transmission serviceis very basic, but it’s often forgotten by Chesapeake motorists. Your van transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your fuel efficiency.
7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us Chesapeake drivers don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in Chesapeake. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.
8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your West Service Center, Inc. technician for recommendations.
9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy for Chesapeake drivers to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.
10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is essential. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at West Service Center, Inc. will really help your fuel economy.
There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.
Chesapeake drivers know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain a vehicle; but it not only saves cash in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.
West Service Center, Inc. can help with any of these services. Give us a call at 757-487-4420.
If you’ve ever been driving around Chesapeake 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 West Service Center, Inc.. We’re at 904 Cavalier Blvd in Chesapeake, Virginia 23323. Or give us a call at 757-487-4420
Experts in Chesapeake recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Chesapeake 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 give 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 Chesapeake 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. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming 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 Chesapeake 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.