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Looking Down the Road - Headlamps

Posted October 7, 2015 3:04 PM

If you've ever been driving around Centralia 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 LeDuc's Service Center. We're at 1417 Kresky Ave in Centralia, Washington 98531. Or give us a call at 360-736-0123

Experts in Centralia 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 Centralia 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 Centralia 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 Centralia 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.

Posted in the Maintenance category

LeDuc's Service Center Car Care News and Information: Serpentine Belt Tensioner

Posted September 30, 2015 11:23 AM

The serpentine belt tensioner applies pressure to the serpentine belt, maintaining optimal tension to drive the accessories like the alternator and A/C compressor. The service life of the belt tensioner is the same as the belt itself, so they should always be replaced together. A worn tensioner prevents the accessories from spinning properly, leading to premature wear and noise.

Your car maker has a recommended mileage interval for serpentine belt replacement. A complete accessory drive system service replaces the serpentine belt, the belt tensioner and any idler pulleys your vehicle might have. Your professional, friendly & honest LeDuc's Service Center service advisor can review your system and let you know if it’s time for a replacement.

Give us a call

LeDuc's Service Center
1417 Kresky Ave
Centralia, Washington 98531

Posted in the Serpentine Belt category

LeDuc's Service Center Car Care Advice for Centralia Motorists: Tire Replacement Overview

Posted September 25, 2015 2:18 PM

Tires are an expensive purchase so knowing when tires should be replaced is important for Centralia car owners. Tires will just wear out with normal use. The depth of the tread on your tire determines how well it will stop, start and steer – especially in wet conditions. 4/32th of an inch of tire tread is considered a safe amount of tread.

Uneven tread wear can be a symptom of other problems and simply replacing your tires will not prevent the same uneven wear from happening to the new tires. We can inspect your tires for excessive or uneven wear. Unusual wear may lead to further analysis of steering, suspension or alignment problems. We can help with necessary repairs and with getting you the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call

LeDuc's Service Center
1417 Kresky Ave
Centralia, Washington 98531

Posted in the Tires and Wheels category

Fuel System Cleaning at LeDuc's Service Center for Better Performance

Posted September 17, 2015 9:35 AM

Hi Centralia car owners. Let's talk fuel injectors. A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.

Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.

The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline sedan engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.

Fuel System Cleaning at LeDuc's Service Center for Better PerformanceVehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine. Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel efficiency and loss of engine performance for Centralia auto owners.

So it’s to Centralia drivers' advantage to keep their fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel to Centralia auto owners than do bargain Tacoma area service stations.

The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.

Centralia auto owners should check their owner’s manual to find out how often they should change their fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle between Centralia, Chehalis and Littlerock , your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners at LeDuc's Service Center that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use. If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia that will result in better MPG and improved vehicle performance.

Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.

Posted in the Fuel System category

Serpentine Belt Service At LeDuc's Service Center In Centralia

Posted September 11, 2015 8:35 AM

Don't you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you're zipping down a busy Centralia interstate? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator - which charges the battery; the water pump - which cools the engine; the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All pretty critical parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components.

Serpentine belts are amazingly tough. They can last for years and go for tens of thousands of miles. Like all critical moving parts, however, they eventually wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving around Centralia, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You need to stop the sedan immediately or it will overheat, potentially causing pricey engine damage. You can be sure that it won't happen at a convenient time or place. (As if there was a convenient time or place!) You might even need to get your sedan towed to LeDuc's Service Center. It's no wonder that manufacturers recommend a belt replacement on schedule. It's one of those "have-to's."

Centralia car owners who hear a squeal when accelerating or a slow, slapping sound at idle, should have their serpentine belt looked at. Your service professional at LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia will visually inspect your belt to see if it needs to be changed sooner than scheduled. If the belt has more than three or four cracks an inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

Serpentine belt replacement is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the cost and inconvenience of being stranded or getting a disabled sedan back to LeDuc's Service Center for essential repairs.

You're mom was right: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

LeDuc's Service Center
1417 Kresky Ave
Centralia, Washington 98531

Posted in the Parts category

Time Out: Suspension Problems in Centralia

Posted September 3, 2015 4:20 PM

Your vehicle’s suspension system has two vital jobs: to prevent the passengers from getting tossed around inside the vehicle every time it hits a bump in the road and to keep the tires firmly planted on the road around every corner and over every bump.

To see your suspension system, you’ll have to look under your vehicle. Anything that connects the wheels to the vehicle’s frame is part of the suspension system. They’re heavy-duty parts that work hard while you’re driving and take a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, you should have your professional, friendly & honest LeDuc's Service Center service professional look at them once a year as part of your preventive maintenance routine. A good time for an inspection is every time you get your alignment checked.

If your suspension is in trouble, you often feel it in how your vehicle drives. If the vehicle pulls to one side or wanders, if the steering is erratic, if your ride isn’t as smooth as it should be, or if your vehicle handles poorly, you should get a diagnostic examination of your suspension system. Uneven tire wear can also indicate worn parts in your suspension system. If your shocks are leaking oil then they definitely need to be replaced. All in all, if you don’t feel in control when you’re driving, go get your suspension inspected.

Shocks and struts wear out. Wheel bearings may need to be repacked every few years. Some parts of your suspension may need to be lubricated whenever you change your oil. Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle under control. Good car care can prevent accidents for Tacoma auto owners.

If you are in an accident, even a minor one, it can damage your suspension system or knock your wheels out of alignment. Even hitting a curb, pothole or large rock can damage your suspension. A wheel balancing or alignment won’t correct a suspension problem, and after any suspension work, you’ll may need to get an alignment.

At LeDuc's Service Center, we advise Centralia motorists never to procrastinate vital repairs to their suspension system. A damaged suspension system can lead to loss of control of a vehicle in an emergency situation and serious accidents.

Potholes are unsightly nuisances around Centralia, but they’re also a major cause of suspension damage for Centralia drivers. To avoid this, Centralia car owners should always keep their tires properly inflated. This gives the tires maximum resiliency. When you’re driving around the Tacoma area, avoid potholes if possible. If you can’t avoid one, then slow down before driving over it. Slower speeds limit pothole damage. But if you’re a little late detecting a pothole, don’t brake on top of it. This will throw the vehicle’s weight forward and increase the damage.

The suspension system may not be pretty to look at, but it provides Centralia auto owners with a safe, comfortable ride — as long as they maintain it properly. You don’t have to show it off, but you should be proud of it.

Posted in the Suspension category

LeDuc's Service Center Service For Your Exhaust System

Posted August 26, 2015 11:51 AM

Your sedan’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your sedan. Maintaining it is good LeDuc's Service Center auto advice for Centralia car owners, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.

The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Tacoma area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most auto makers recommend that you have your sedan exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified service professional at regular intervals.

The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. LeDuc's Service Center Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the sedan engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is essential that Tacoma auto owners keep their exhaust system in good repair.

The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air. So it is important that exhaust pipes get a diagnostic examination regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next vital component of your sedan exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in Washington. Call LeDuc's Service Center at 360-736-0123 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the sedan engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your sedan exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your sedan from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is important for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Centralia automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Centralia neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your sedan by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The important components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and pricey damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last critical piece in the exhaust system — and of your sedan, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your sedan through the tailpipe.

If your sedan has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your sedan to LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.

Caring for your sedan exhaust system yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.

Posted in the Exhaust category

Deciphering the LeDuc's Service Center Menu Board

Posted August 20, 2015 9:45 AM

Let's talk about deciphering the auto service menu board. Centralia, Washington service centers like LeDuc's Service Center 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 LeDuc's Service Center a call at 360-736-0123 to learn of the many services we offer, or stop by our Centralia, Washington auto center at 1417 Kresky Ave 98531.

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 LeDuc's Service Center 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 LeDuc's Service Center 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 LeDuc's Service Center, your Centralia, Washington auto repair center, by calling us at 360-736-0123.

Posted in the Service Intervals category

Helping Centralia Drivers Get the Right Tires

Posted August 12, 2015 4:19 PM

Every Centralia vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy Washington roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.

Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Tacoma temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.

All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Centralia weather.

So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in Washington and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.

For serious winter driving in Washington, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.

Your second essential consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at Washington tire stores. Centralia auto owners will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your LeDuc's Service Center tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.

Centralia drivers who drive off-road around Washington may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Centralia streets and highways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

New wheels can be purchased in Centralia as a statement of style or to add personality to your sedan. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your sedan, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your LeDuc's Service Center service specialist for more information about tires.

Posted in the Tires and Wheels category

Budget For Maintenance in Centralia

Posted August 6, 2015 4:24 PM

Sometimes busy Centralia 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 Tacoma 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 Centralia car 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 Centralia auto owners would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Centralia car owners 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 Centralia area auto service centers.

Centralia motorists 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 Centralia is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, Washington motorists can avoid many expensive sedan 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. Tacoma 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 Chehalis car owners know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your sedan 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):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

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 pricey than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from LeDuc's Service Center: 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 Washington auto insurance with an older Centralia vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for essential preventive maintenance in Washington, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less pricey!

Posted in the Maintenance category

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