Lucas Auto Care Video Lessons

Deciphering the Lucas Auto Care Menu Board

Let’s talk about deciphering the auto service menu board. Houston, TX service centers like Lucas Auto Care have a board that lists the routine services they provide. But some people don’t know what these services really are unless they ask. Let’s go down a typical list, in alphabetical order, starting with air conditioning service.

Feel free at any time to give Lucas Auto Care a call at 281.379.5800 to learn of the many services we offer, or stop by our Houston, TX auto center at 12600 Grant Road 77429.

First remember that all of these services are recommended by vehicle manufacturers. They set how often or at how many miles the service should be done.

Air conditioning service involves purging the old refrigerant and capturing it for proper disposal. Then fresh refrigerant is installed. The fresh refrigerant will lubricate the system and will also help it cool better.

Alignment. Service centers like Lucas Auto Care make sure all four wheels are lined up and track with each other. This reduces tire and suspension wear and improves safety and handling.

Battery service. Service centers like Lucas Auto Care inspect the battery for corrosion, leaks or damage. Test the battery’s ability to hold a charge. If the battery’s still strong, clean it up. If not, replace it.

Brake service. This could be two things. A brake inspection to see if the brakes are working well mechanically and to see if the pads are still safe. If not, replace the pads and make any repairs that might be in order.

The other thing is to evacuate the brake fluid, clean out the system and replace it with fresh fluid. This is important, but often over looked.

Cabin air filter. The cabin air filter is the filter that cleans the air that comes into the passenger compartment. It works like the filter on your furnace at home. It gets dirty and needs to be changed often.

Cooling system. This is the cooling system for your engine. Replace the old coolant with fresh to protect your radiator and other cooling system components from corrosion.

Differential service. Every vehicle has at least one differential. They don’t require service very often, so people don’t think of them much. The differential transfers power from the drive train to your wheels. Drain the old fluid and add fresh lubricant.

Engine air filter. This filters the air that’s burned in the engine. It also gets dirty and needs to be replaced often.

Fuel filter. This filter cleans the fuel before it gets to the engine. Like the other filters, it too gets clogged and needs to be replaced in order to maintain good flow.

Contact Lucas Auto Care, your Houston, TX auto repair center, by calling us at 281.379.5800.

Tracking True In TX: Wheel Alignment In Tomball

Wheel alignment is often overlooked by busy Tomball and Spring auto owners until serious tire damage has been done. One wheel can be knocked out of alignment by hitting a curb or pothole on a Houston highway or surface street.

When a vehicle’s out of alignment, one or more of the wheels does not track true and pulls against the others. This causes several serious problems. First off, the tires will wear out faster and will need to be replaced prematurely. It could also lead to expensive European Car suspension problems.

Tracking True In TX: Wheel Alignment In Tomball

But the big issue for Tomball, Spring, and Houston drivers is safety. When your European Car wheels are out of alignment, the vehicle will pull to one side, which could lead to an accident. When you’re out of alignment, you should have it taken care of right away at Lucas Auto Care in Houston.

When undergoing an alignment service at Lucas Auto Care, your European Car is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are checked for damage. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the factory settings.

Precision adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels going in exactly the same direction.

Spring motorists should be aware of the signs of alignment problems. These include the car pulling to one side. Also, the steering wheel may not be centered when you’re going straight. If you see the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down, you should have your Houston service center look it over. If you’ve been in an auto accident in TX that involved a wheel, you should get your alignment checked.

Obviously, a big jolt can seriously knock things out of alignment, but Tomball drivers also need to understand that a series of smaller ones can add up.

That’s why manufacturers recommend periodic alignment checks. If your European Car owner’s manual doesn’t specify, once a year might be appropriate. Or check with Tyger Lucas or your service advisor at Lucas Auto Care in Houston.

One thing’s for sure: the cost of the alignment at Lucas Auto Care is cheaper for Tomball drivers than having to buy a couple of new tires because of neglect.

Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At Lucas Auto Care we’ve had a lot of Houston, Cypress, and Spring clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in TX. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Houston folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this key question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average drivers in the Houston area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Houston. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if quick Houston motorists stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto manufacturer’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Houston motorists know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Lucas Auto Care in Houston, for example, leaves an opportunity for detrimental sludge to build up. Talk to your honest Lucas Auto Care technician.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Houston are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps gas mileage from decreasing;
  2. it prevents expensive repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most vital thing drivers can do. A full-service oil change at Lucas Auto Care means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your honest Lucas Auto Care service professional a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get pricey. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Houston area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your service specialist at Lucas Auto Care. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Lucas Auto Care strongly encourages Houston auto owners to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Houston auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Houston. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

Lucas Auto Care
12600 Grant Road
Houston, TX 77429
281.379.5800

Air Conditioning Maintenance At Lucas Auto Care In Houston

Warm weather or cold, Houston drivers still need to think about their European Car’s air conditioning. Most Houston people don’t service their air conditioning until after it fails. At Lucas Auto Care, we can advise you on your ‘s preventive maintenance schedules for air conditiong service, just as we do for transmission service, oil changes and so on.

air conditioningMaintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the European Car’s air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can’t cool the air as well. We see that a lot at Lucas Auto Care in Houston.

The refrigerant also contains a key oil that lubricates air conditioning components, and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and all Houston car owners know that air conditioning repairs can be costly. At Lucas Auto Care, we recommended that the air conditioner be run regularly, even during winter months, to keep the parts and seals lubricated.

Corrosion is what leads to many air conditioning system failures for Houston motorists. The small leaks mentioned earlier also mean that air and water can leak into the air conditioning system. This can lead to rust and dirt in the internal workings of the air conditioning components. This greatly accelerates wear and, ultimately, failure.

Air conditioning service at Lucas Auto Care starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, so it’s inspected for cracks or wear. The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it’s repaired and the system is retested.

Then the old refrigerant is evacuated and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test insures that the European Car’s air conditioner is working, and you’re on your way.

How often this should be done varies from vehicle to vehicle. Your European Car owner’s manual will have the manufacturer’s recommendation and, of course, your Lucas Auto Care service advisor can tell you. It’s typically every two years.

If you’re not getting enough cool air out of your AC you know something’s wrong. Also, if you hear strange sounds when you turn the air on, there might be a problem with the compressor and you should get it checked out at Lucas Auto Care. Replacing a bad A/C clutch in a European Car is cheaper than waiting for it to ruin the compressor.

Houston drivers need to be aware that there’s one more thing that isn’t directly related to air conditioning service, but does impact the quality of the air in your European Car. And that’s your cabin air filter. This filter cleans dust, pollen, pollution and other impurities in the air that comes from the heater and air conditioner. The cabin air filter needs to be replaced when it’s dirty. If you don’t it’ll start to smell. Not all vehicles have one, so ask your Lucas Auto Care service advisor to check your cabin air filter at the same time they’re doing your air conditioning service.

Fuel Saving Tip: Auto Myths Around Houston

With high fuel prices in Houston TX comes lots of gas saving advice. Some of it, like what you hear on AutoNetTV, is really great. Some is myth. And some is just designed to prey on Houston TX people desperate to save some money on gas.

Auto Myths When you get one of those e-mails that’s going around telling you how to save gas, try to think it through.

Does it really make sense? Does it defy the laws of physics?

Do some research on the internet or ask your Houston TX service advisor at Lucas Auto Care.

There aren’t any magic pills you can drop in your gas tank and the government hasn’t suppressed a device you can clamp on your fuel line to make your car run on air. Not even in Houston!

So next time you get one of those e-mails, check it out with an automotive professional. You’ll get more bang for your buck with an oil change or an engine air filter replacement.

We’re Lucas Auto Care, give us a call at 281.379.5800 for good honest advice about your car.

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