Five Service Tips from McLarty Daniel CDJRF Service Manager Anthony Reed | McLarty Daniel CDJRF of Springdale
With more than 25 years as a mechanic in his rearview mirror, McLarty Daniel CDJRF Service Manager Anthony Reed has seen it all, fixed it all, and has probably forgotten more about cars than most people will ever know. Not only does he understand how to diagnose and fix even the most complicated problems, he knows the simple tricks you can take to keep your car, truck or SUV alive longer, even if you don’t have a quarter-decade of experience, thousands of dollars worth of tools and a fully staffed service center at your disposal.
We recently stopped in with Mr. Reed and asked him for some basic tips folks can use to help the service techs at McLarty Daniel CDJRF keep their cars, trucks and SUVs healthy for more miles. After thinking about it for a bit, Reed came up with five service tips to help get the most out of your car, no matter how many miles are on the odometer. If your vehicle is clunking, rattling, clattering or otherwise “making a noise,” come see us at McLarty Daniel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat in Springdale. We work on all makes and models, and know more about the brands on the sign than anybody. If your ride has a hitch in her git-along, Anthony and his team will set it straight at a price you can afford. Read on for some tips to make sure your trips to the service center are as few and far between as possible.
1) Change your oil regularly: Even Reed admits this one sounds like a no brainer, but keeping your oil changed at a regular interval is crucial to helping your vehicle be all it can be for as long as it can. “You think this is common knowledge,” Reed said, “but I’ve got a car sitting out here that belongs to a guy who didn’t have this common knowledge: change your oil frequently. I know the manufacturers these days say go up to 10,000 miles. I’m just now getting in my mind where I can stomach 5,000 miles between oil changes on my cars. I grew up with a 3,000 mile interval. Now we’re using synthetic blend oils, we have better oil technology than we have. But frequency and consistency of oil changes is one of the best thing you can do for your car.”
2) Keep your tires inflated to factory-specified pressure, and have them rotated: Rotating your tires and religiously checking your tire pressure is such a “Dad” thing to do that it’s almost become a punchline, but Reed said that with today’s modern cars, all systems need to be within factory tolerances for everything to work as designed. That includes your tires. “People who don’t keep their air pressure in the right poundage get less life out of their tires, and they’re going to lose some fuel economy from it. The cars are all designed these days with such close tolerances. Tires are supposed to be at 32 pounds and it’s set there for a reason: to get the best performance out of your car. Rotating your tires keeps your tires wearing in a nice, even pattern. The tires on the back are being drug around. They’re going the same way all the time, but the tires on the front are turning, they’re going around curves, they’re catching wear on the outer edges. To keep an even wear, you have to rotate, or otherwise you’ll wear out your front tires first. If you rotate your tires properly and do it right, can add 5,000 to 10,000 miles to the life of your tires.”
3) Unless you’re driving a high performance car, skip the high octane gas: When it comes time to fill up, drivers of gasoline-powered cars are faced with three buttons, three different octanes, and a dilemma: does my car really need higher octane gasoline to work its best? Reed says no, and that choosing a higher octane fuel than the basic unleaded could actually be doing more harm than good. “Regular unleaded gas is all you need,” he said. “None of the cars today are designed to need anything other than the lowest octane rating, which is 87. Hardly any of them, except for like the [Dodge Challenger and Charger] Hellcat need it. The Hellcat says you have to run Super Premium in it. That engine is designed to need that extra octane and extra heat. It does absolutely no good to put high octane fuel in your pickup truck with a Hemi. It can actually cause more problems in the long run because it allows for carbon buildup because the engine can’t burn off all the fuel. That creates carbon deposits and will eventually cost you fuel economy. Use what the manufacturer says.”
4) If your car is still under warranty, get it repaired and serviced at the dealership: This one isn’t just Reed’s way of slyly drumming up business. Not only does McLarty Daniel CDJRF know your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram or Fiat better than anyone, taking it to another shop where they might use inferior parts, filters or fluids can indeed void your warranty. As for the supposed higher cost of taking a car to the dealership, Reed said doing so can actually save you thousands in the long run. “My guys are factory trained,” Reed said. “They know everything about your model car. They know the quirks, they know anything that might look odd or shouldn’t be there, and they recognize it. If you go somewhere else, an aftermarket shop, those guys are working on several different models. They don’t always know your car, they don’t always know your maintenance needs. They look at cars at one-size-fits all. We go by the manufacturers recommendations. We’re knowledgeable about your car. It is not true that the dealership is always more expensive. We price to be competitive, especially on all our maintenance stuff. We’ve got people looking at the market for that. We don’t have to be the cheapest, but we do want to be the best. On a lot of things, we are less, though. Our oil changes are less than most places for what we’re offering. We’re a solid, full-synthetic dealership. We only carry synthetic blends or full synthetic oils. We stock no conventional oils, except for [use in] the Cummins diesels. We’re what they call a Gold Dealer because of that. It’s all we offer. I’ve see several instances where someone has gone somewhere else and they’ve replaced all these parts and spent $1,300 or $1,400 dollars, and they come here. They’ll tell me what it’s doing, and i’ll already kinda know what it is before they get it to me, because I’ve seen it before or I’m knowledgeable about it. I’ll get it and fix it for $300, and the problem goes away. That’s because my guys know what’s going on with these cars.”
5) Inspect your air filter regularly, and change it more often than you might think you need to: Try to imagine wearing the same dust filtering mask over your nose and mouth for months and months at a time, and you’ll quickly understand why keeping the air filter in your vehicle changed is so crucial to engine performance. Just like you, to work at peak performance, your car needs to be able to take a clean, deep breath. Reed said keeping the filters replaced is one of the best things you can do for your vehicle’s long term upkeep. “The whole operation of the engine is air coming in to get mixed with fuel in the chamber and combust,” Reed said. “If you’re not getting the right amount of air in, you start losing fuel economy, performance and all kinds of things. Constant inspection — and we do it during our inspections — is important. An air filter can get dirty even in between even oil changes depending on the conditions you’re driving in. Usually, you’re going to need to inspect the air filter every other oil change. That’s a safe bet. I don’t know if that’s average, but you should definitely inspect it that often. We inspect every filter every time. I’m not saying replace it every other oil change, but you should inspect it every other oil change. It can affect your performance, lower your fuel economy, and if you allow it to get dirty enough and go un-replaced for a long enough period, you can start causing engine damage. Dirt and debris will start getting by that filter and get into your engine. The whole purpose of having a filter there is to keep that out. I see a lot of diesels with that problem. It’s a condition we call ‘dusting.’ You’ll see that dust going right down the intake, right into the engine. That’s not good. It’s like fine sand. It’s like sandpaper inside your cylinders.”
As a car owner, you’re constantly fighting a battle between time, friction, heat, and the delicate moving parts that help keep your vehicle running at tip-top condition. Performing a little basic maintenance can help keep your four-wheeled buddy around a little longer, and these tips from McLarty Daniel CDJRF Service Manager Anthony Reed will definitely help you in that task. Whether you need basic service or a major repair, come see Anthony Reed and the rest of us at McLarty Daniel CDJRF right here in Springdale. With a full service center, parts counter, collision center and sales lot all under one roof, we can definitely fix what’s ailing your ride, at a price you can afford.