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Clean Air for Your Engine: A New Engine Air Filter at LeDuc's Service Center

Posted December 16, 2014 9:42 AM

All of us Centralia auto owners know we have to get the oil changed in our sedans periodically. That’s just part of good car care. But when Tacoma technicians change your oil, they also usually inspect your air filter. That’s why they sometimes let you know that your air filter needs to be changed before releasing your sedan.

Don’t just chock this up to trying to sell you something else. Winlock motorists really do need to change their air filter when it gets dirty. You can check your owner’s manual to see how often your air filter should need to be changed, but remember, if you live in an area in Washington with poor air quality, or if you drive a lot or drive under harsh conditions in the Tacoma area, you may need to change that filter more often than is recommended.

Changing an air filter isn’t guesswork. If a filter’s dirty, it needs to be replaced. Air filters aren’t very expensive at LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia. But the problems they cause if Centralia auto owners don’t change them can get to be expensive.

For every gallon of gas your sedan burns, it needs 12,000 gallons of air. Clean filters allow better airflow into your engine, which means that your engine will get more air more quickly. That means your sedan engine runs more efficiently.

Dirty air filters cut airflow to your engine. All the debris in the filter clogs up the spaces the air needs to pass through to get to the engine. This dirty air can damage expensive electronic components.

If you are in tune with your sedan, you’ll notice a difference when you change a really dirty air filter for a clean one. Your sedan may actually purr for you again. Its performance improves when it has a new, clean filter. So remember, changing your air filter is one of the most vital elements of preventive maintenance. At LeDuc's Service Center, it’s inexpensive, it’s effective, and it’s essential.


Posted in the Engine Air Filter category

Hitting The Brakes In Centralia

Posted December 9, 2014 3:28 PM

Safety should always be a key element of your car care. So even if you don’t care about how your car looks, you should practice preventive maintenance to protect yourself — and other Centralia drivers — on the road. And good safety starts with good brakes.

Brakes need a regular inspection. There are important parts that wear out or wear down, and it’s best to replace them before you have troubles.

Of course, if you are having trouble with your brakes, NOW is the time to fix them. If your brake warning light is on, that’s a good sign that you need your brakes checked. Centralia car owners can also tell something is wrong with their brakes by the feel of the pedal or unusual sounds while braking. If the brake pedal is low, feels spongy when you press it or is hard to push, that indicates a problem with your brakes. If you hear squealing, grinding or clunking noises when you brake, that can also indicate troubles. If vibrations accompany braking, then it is essential to get your brakes checked.

Brakes come in two basic types. With disk brakes, a rotor is attached to the axle of the vehicle. Padded calipers straddle the rotor, which close when the brakes are applied. The resulting friction causes the rotor — and the axle — to stop turning. With drum brakes, brake pads (also called shoes) press against the inside of a drum to create friction and stop the drum, and hence the sedan’s wheels, from turning.

When LeDuc's Service Center services your brake system, your professional, friendly & honest technician checks all of the brake pads for wear. If they are too thin, they need to be replaced. This is an inexpensive repair at LeDuc's Service Center compared to what procrastination will cost you. If pads wear away completely, then the rotors and drums can be damaged. They will have to be either resurfaced or replaced, and that can be expensive. But if your sedan brake pads are worn out, then your brakes are compromised and your stopping power is greatly reduced. You could easily wind up in an accident.

Brake pads come in several different grades such as regular, metallic and ceramic. The higher grades are more costly in Centralia, but they also work better. Washington motorists who want better and smoother braking, should consider upgrading. However, Tacoma drivers should NEVER use a brake pad that is lower than your car maker’s recommendation.

After you your brake pads are checked at LeDuc's Service Center, it's important to have your brake fluid checked. This is a critical element in your brake system. When you press your brake pedal, you are compressing the brake fluid, creating pressure that activates the brake pads. If your fluid pressure is low, it will curtail your braking power. The pads just won’t be able to press hard enough against the rotor or drum to stop your sedan. Just as with worn pads, insufficient brake fluid can lead to a detrimental and expensive accident in Centralia.

Water can build up in your brake fluid, which can cause harmful corrosion in your braking system. Eventually this can cause your brake fluid to leak. So Centralia auto owners should also change their brake fluid periodically. Your sedan owner's manual will have guidelines on how often it should be replaced or ask a professional, friendly & honest service professional at LeDuc's Service Center. We have been servicing brake systems in Centralia for 54 years. 

Remember, Tacoma folks, safety first. It’s critical auto advice for all Centralia motorists on the road. You’re not just protecting others; you’re protecting yourself.


Posted in the Brakes category

LeDuc's Service Center Engine Air Filter Replacement

Posted December 4, 2014 7:48 AM

When your experienced LeDuc's Service Center service advisor technician changes your oil, he will also inspect your air filter. You shouldn’t need a new filter at every oil change, but you will need to change it regularly. Heed your tech’s auto advice if they tell you to change your filter. It’s not costly, and it makes a big difference to your sedan.

An air filter does what its name implies: it filters stuff out of the air. Air is drawn into your engine through the filter because your engine needs air to burn fuel. If the filter weren’t there, a lot of dust and debris would come into the sedan engine with the air. That dust and debris would get hot, burn, and produce all kinds of ash and gumminess that would eventually clog up your engine.

Drop in an air filter and voilá! Problem solved.

But air filters themselves get clogged up with all the junk they clean out of the Tacoma air. This doesn’t allow the junk into the sedan engine, but it does block up the airflow. A blocked airflow will reduce engine efficiency.

An engine needs about 12,000 gallons of air to burn just one gallon of gasoline. Think of a runner. If he is breathing well, he can run well. But if he has a lung condition, he won’t be able to generate the oxygen necessary to keep his cells powered up. He won’t be able to run at peak efficiency.

Or consider a vacuum cleaner. Even without the light, you can tell when the vacuum bag is full because the machine just doesn’t clean anymore. Change the bag and its efficiency immediately improves.

So keep your sedan breathing well by keeping its air filter clean. That’s good car care.

Centralia auto owners who get a charge out of the feeling of power in their engine might consider upgrading their air filter. Talk to your professional, friendly & honest LeDuc's Service Center service specialist. Premium air filters have been proven to increase horsepower and torque. So with the cost of a premium air filter, you can increase the horsepower in your engine — there’s no cheaper way to do that!

It’s also one of the least pricey and simplest elements of important routine preventive maintenance – and protects against damage to expensive sedan electronic systems. No Centralia resident should have an excuse to drive around Tacoma roads and freeways with a dirty air filter.


Posted in the Engine Air Filter category

Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?

Posted November 26, 2014 11:46 AM



No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the auto maker to issue recall notices to Centralia residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The car maker then tries to contact all Centralia car owners who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Centralia service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
LeDuc's Service Center
1417 Kresky Ave Centralia, Washington 98531
360-736-0123

These recalls always affect safety, so Centralia drivers would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.

Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.

Recalls are pretty serious for Centralia auto owners and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Centralia car owners still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, auto manufacturers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Centralia service centers (including LeDuc's Service Center)  how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

Your Centralia service professional receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. Centralia auto owners can buy access to these for an annual fee.

Whatever your source, pay attention to Centralia vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.


Posted in the Maintenance category

Battery Basics For Centralia

Posted November 19, 2014 1:11 PM

Tacoma Battery Service

It's important for Centralia drivers to know battery basics. First, let’s talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold Washington weather. Most Tacoma motorists think it’s cold weather because that’s when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold sedan engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Centralia trips because the alternator doesn’t have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Centralia car owners can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the Washington summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren’t capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your sedan alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you’re pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your professional, friendly & honest LeDuc's Service Center technician for a battery test to see if it’s recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery, but you’ll save unnecessary wear and tear on your sedan alternator.

Give us a call

LeDuc's Service Center
360-736-0123
1417 Kresky Ave
Centralia, Washington 98531


Posted in the Battery category

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At LeDuc's Service Center

Posted November 11, 2014 12:34 PM

Hello Centralia drivers. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Centralia motorists?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious sedan engine trouble. That’s why Tacoma motorists often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at Washington freeway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result expensive repair bills for Centralia motorists who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Winlock motorists. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Centralia automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your sedan in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Centralia engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Centralia auto repair center center or LeDuc's Service Center.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the sedan engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the sedan engine’s computer. Your service advisor scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the service professional exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your sedan’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific sedan engine, for driving conditions in your Littlerock area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Centralia auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Tacoma mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your sedan out of your Centralia auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.


Posted in the Check Engine Light category

A Cool and Smooth Transmission in Centralia

Posted November 4, 2014 4:51 PM

When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Centralia car owners remember to get our oil changed. But LeDuc's Service Center services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is a critical part of car care for Centralia car owners. A poorly maintained transmission will diminish fuel efficiency and lead to costly repairs.

The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it’s clean and well - lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your gas mileage will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.

Transmission fluid has two jobs: to cool and lubricate the transmission. The transmission operates at high temperatures. It can get 100-150°F degrees hotter inside your transmission than inside your engine. Transmission fluid transfers some of the heat away from the transmission. Transmissions work hard. Their parts need constant lubrication to prevent excessive wear and keep them running smoothly for Centralia drivers.

The constant shifting and movement of gears inside the transmission cause bits of the gears and clutch material to wear off. These bits of harmful grit get into the transmission fluid. This grit increases friction inside the transmission and causes even more wear – it’s like liquid sandpaper. Also, the high temperatures inside the transmission cause the transmission fluid to break down over time, making it a less effective lubricant. The fluid can actually become sludgy, which can gradually plug up the maze of passages inside the transmission. Gradually, the transmission loses efficiency and stops operating smoothly. Eventually, the transmission will be damaged or fail altogether.

This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner’s manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this important service. Or, you can speak with your professional, friendly & honest LeDuc's Service Center tech. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your sedan may be shorter or longer.

Of course, if you give your transmission a real workout, you’re going to have to change the fluid more often than the auto manufacturer recommends. If you drive in hot, dusty Washington conditions, if you tow a trailer around Centralia, if you haul heavy loads or if you do a lot of stop-and-go Tacoma driving, then you need to change transmission fluid more often. Also, if you demand frequent bursts of speed from your engine — especially shooting away from stops — your transmission is working harder and will need more frequent care. Check your owner’s manual for the “severe conditions” service interval.

Transmission fluids vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you’ll also need to check your owner’s manual to know what kind your sedan needs, or talk to your professional, friendly & honest LeDuc's Service Center service professional.

At LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly costly. Compared to the cost of pricey transmission repairs or a new transmission, it’s downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at LeDuc's Service Center and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in improved fuel efficiency and a longer, smoother ride.


Posted in the Transmission category

It

Posted October 30, 2014 11:52 AM

Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our sedans.

Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Centralia drivers maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.

Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of vital automotive performance for Centralia car owners: protection of the vehicle itself, fuel efficiency, and safety.

Protection

Your vehicle’s components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by products. Protective components include filters and fluids.

Most of the fluids in your sedan are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your sedan.

For example, motor oil lubricates your engine, when keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle’s engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Centralia auto owners should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.

Over time, the important additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.

Efficiency

Over time, your vehicle’s systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of fuel economy and power output.

For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine’s efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore fuel economy and improve gas mileage.

Safety

Some of your sedan’s systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents for Centralia motorists.

Your owner’s manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your sedan. Of course, you can consult with a your LeDuc's Service Center service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.

Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like fifteen or twenty thousand miles. The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your sedan. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.

The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better gas mileage and fewer pricey repairs. It may even save your life.


Posted in the Inspection category

Exhaust Service at LeDuc's Service Center: Passing the Smell Test

Posted October 21, 2014 5:39 PM

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Centralia car owners realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All Washington folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so essential. We can help you with that at LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your sedan passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at LeDuc's Service Center for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other Tacoma roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your sedan exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Centralia auto owners don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Centralia with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your sedan engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your sedan healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the sedan, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your sedan owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all Centralia motorists and their families.


Posted in the Exhaust category

Easy Miles

Posted October 14, 2014 12:16 PM

 

Have you ever noticed that your automobile manufacturer has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the essential parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Centralia are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Tacoma are less than four miles, you should reflect on using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at LeDuc's Service Center in Centralia will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each sedan engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of Washington highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Centralia all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why fuel efficiency ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Centralia auto owners think of severe Washington weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Tacoma area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Centralia weather is also harmful for sedans. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot Washington weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another critical element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Centralia areas are dangerous to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Centralia, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Centralia auto owners drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Centralia drivers will ask themselves the question: "Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?" An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.


Posted in the Service Intervals category

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