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Demystifying Car Maintenance Terms

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Between shuttling the kids to school on the way to the office to completing errands on the way home, people’s days are often packed, and more than a little chaotic. Drivers begin to think about an oil change as the miles accumulate, and eventually they swing by the auto shop and check that item off the list.

Proper car maintenance is more than just an oil change every few thousand miles and a car wash, though. To keep the car functioning, drivers need to have regular maintenance service. Think of it like a checkup. The car does the heavy lifting and shuttles people around a lot, and it experiences quite a bit of daily wear. It won’t be in optimal shape if its components are grimy and its systems are clogged. Here are some important terms and their services that will help vehicles take people where they need to be:

Throttle Plate Cleaning
The throttle plate, a small swiveling component of the engine, controls the flow of air and fuel vapor that passes through the engine’s cylinders when the accelerator is pressed. It can be susceptible to grime buildup, which will affect the engine’s operability and peak performance. A grimy plate will lead to a sluggish uptake, which is the last thing people want when they’re late for the office or an appointment. Throttle plate cleaning is available in the 30, 60 and 90K Services, as well as the Fuel System Package.

Transfer Case Service
Transfer case refers to the specialized box next to the transmission that controls power sent to the front and rear axles, and when engaging or disengaging the 4WD. The transfer case houses gears or chains, and it is found in all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, which make up the majority of new vehicles today. The transfer case relies on lubricated components, and the fluid can become dirty and contaminated easily. What might happen? Drivers might notice harsh resistance when shifting, or they might experience fluid leaks. Costlier repairs could even affect the transmission itself. Transfer case service is handled in the 4WD Transmission Package.

Fuel Injection Cleaning
Fuel injectors are responsible for pressurizing the engine’s incoming fuel, turning it into a mist that will burn more easily. As with other parts of the engine that rely on fluid, sludge can build up along crevices and block the injector’s nozzle, leading to reduced flow and choppy engine start up. Newer models are designed better, and they don’t build up sludge as quickly. However, no engine is ever immune, and it will benefit from the service provided in the Fuel System Package.

Rear Differential Service
The rear differential is similar to the transfer case, in that it controls the speeds of the wheels via the transmission, but this time the control is restricted to the rear axle. The gears it contains require fluid, and they can be damaged if the fluid is too low or is dirty. The 4WD Transmission Package, as well as the 30, 60 and 90K Service, can replace the fluid to keep any car content.

The breather is the duct reserved for engine air flow, and it’s connected to the engine crankcase and contains filters and baffles to block vapors and fumes. Now, why is a clean breather important? Without proper air flow, the engine can build up engine sludge rapidly, leading to potential malfunctions like leaking oil, faulty components and costly repairs. Drivers can help prevent these repairs when they get the 30, 60 and 90K Service, which includes inspecting the breather.

When was the last time you had your car serviced? Mr. Clean Car Wash can help keep your car in great condition, inside and out, with our car maintenance packages and car wash services. Swing by for friendly service today.

Image Source: Flickr

Benefits Of Using Pennzoil Oil In Your Car

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

A shiny car exterior may be your number one priority with your car care. A flawless body on the outside is great, but making sure that everything is in working order under the hood is vitally important. This starts with routine car maintenance that the pros at Mr. Clean Car Wash and Pennzoil oil can provide. The blood that runs through the veins of your vehicle is the motor oil. We use only the best, with Pennzoil brand oil being the only product we use. Here are some benefits of using Pennzoil and having routine maintenance done on your car to keep it in tip-top shape year round.

Achieve Better Gas Mileage
Be sure to stop by a Mr. Clean Car Wash before you venture out on your next road trip. The specialists at Mr. Clean Car Wash will help you choose an oil change package that will reduce engine sludge and protect your motor while you put extra miles or strain on it. Fuel economy is improved when an engine’s mechanical parts operate more efficiently. Pennzoil synthetic motor oil keeps pistons cleaner than other oils, so your vehicle runs at top performance through a variety of weather and terrain. Pennzoil synthetic oil is created from pure natural gas and then converted into a synthetic base auto oil. It is better for the environment while helping you save money on your vacation by filling up your tank less often.

See Your Vehicle Through Temperature Changes
When warmer temperatures skyrocket, a lot more stress is placed under your car’s engine. This can affect performance. Pennzoil uses PurePlus technology in their synthetic and ultra synthetic motor oil to help protect your engine as it heats up perform under extreme temperatures . This reduces sludge and clogging—which are both factors for early engine failure. Make an appointment today to have the right oil change maintenance package applied to your vehicle.

Improve Engine Power
As your vehicle ages, the power of the motor can tend to wind down as well. Vehicle wear and tear and not getting frequent Pennzoil oil changes can slow your speeds and make your car run sluggish. Pennzoil offers a full range of motor oils that help your engine to run more smoothly and brings back the feeling of power that you first had when taking your car out on the open road.

Increase The Life Of Your Engine
The more miles and years on an engine, the closer it is to its demise. Help preserve and save your vehicle’s engine with an ultra synthetic oil change from Mr. Clean Car Wash. Pennzoil pure synthetic will relieve the burden of damage caused from driving in extreme heat or cold. Using hyper cleansing technology, it will actually clean your engine’s pistons and create a lightweight flow of oil that constantly runs through and nourishes the components of your engine.

Feel Protected
Feel confident that your engine will last longer with regular Pennzoil oil changes. Only Pennzoil offers a 500,000 mile/15 year engine warranty with regular Pennzoil Ultra Synthetic Oil Changes.

Stop by a Mr. Clean Car Wash today to reap the benefits of Pennzoil brand oils for your vehicle.

Oil Changes And Mileage: How High Miles Affect Your Vehicle

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

It’s no secret that many factors go into determining if a vehicle is running out of life and that it’s time to upgrade to a newer model. High mileage, age and daily wear and tear all count toward the demise of a vehicle and its engine properties. Motor oil is the blood that an engine needs to thrive and survive. The more miles it has, the harder it works, so keeping fluids in check, especially oil, will help ease the stress on the motor. It’s very important to routinely care and address issues that could potentially lead to engine failure as you tack more miles onto your odometer. Keeping up to date on oil changes and vehicle servicing on a frequent basis is the best way to make sure your engine starts every time. Here are a few things to pay attention to with your high mileage vehicle so that you get the most out of every mile.

Lock Up Of Engine Components

One of the main threats to your vehicle, especially if you have over 75,000 miles on the odometer, is engine failure. Many vehicle models can withstand well over 150,000 miles with minimal problems as long as routine engine maintenance is performed. Choosing a high-mileage oil helps prolong engine life and prevents part failure due to additional lubrication. Specialized high mileage oil contains additives and conditioners that prevent oil sludge, over-consumption of oil and additional engine wear and tear. Visit a Mr. Clean Car Wash today to treat your engine to a high-mileage oil change.

Prevent Valve Leakage To Conserve Engine Oil

Cars with a lot of mileage are at a higher risk of leaks. As the engine ages and becomes worn, seals can easily leak. This can quickly lead to engine failure or cause parts and components to break or require repair. Using oil like Pennzoil which controls engine oil additives and conditioners to each oil change can help prevent erosion within a high mileage engine’s seals. This will keep a high mileage vehicle on the road longer. Ask a car care pro at Mr. Clean Car Wash what the best type of Pennzoil oil would be to boost the longevity of your car’s engine performance.

Rust And Wear Leads To Oil Loss

You may think that rust has nothing to do with the mechanics of your car’s engine, but that’s not true. High mile, older model vehicles are prone to rust. Once you have erosion inside of the engine, can result in broken seals, bearings and more wear on the oil pump. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is by frequent washing to remove salt, dirt and other environmental contaminants that eat away at paint and metal. As part of a normal maintenance plan, don’t forget to replace the oil filter and have the oil pump checked every 3,000 miles if you have a vehicle with higher mileage.

Pulling and Towing

You may be thinking that you can wait a little longer than 3,000 miles to have an oil change on your vehicle, but don’t put off an oil change or servicing, especially if you will be towing or traveling. If you routinely pull or tow trailers or other items behind your high-mileage vehicle, it’s at a greater risk for parts and engine breakdown due to oil sludge buildup. With high mileage motors, it’s important that you take special care of your vehicle both inside and out. Consider:

  • Frequent car washes to remove under body dirt and clean your engine
  • Complete oil system flush and high-mileage oil change to prevent oil sludge buildup
  • Coolant servicing and fluid top-up

Dropping by and talking with a Mr. Clean Car Wash specialist will help you get the right care based on your specific vehicle engine needs. No appointment necessary.

Frequent oil changes is the best way to keep your high-mileage car on the road for years to come. Contact a Mr. Clean Car Wash near you and ask about specials and savings to help get your vehicle on track.

When Car Maintenance Goes Wrong During Winter Travel

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

It was a dark and stormy night. Snowy, too. And cold. Add those elements up and you have the perfect formula for a real-life horror story. That’s because the risks of winter driving are all too real. A breakdown that would be an annoyance in mild weather can become life-threatening in winter. Since staying home in front of the fire isn’t an option for most people, it’s important to know what could go wrong and what to do about it. Here are a few tips for staying safe on the roads this winter through proper car maintenance:

Running out of gas
Running out of gas is inconvenient – and embarrassing. But fixing it is usually no more complicated than using a smartphone to call for help. But winter weather changes everything. Sometimes drivers get stranded for hours and have to choose between saving gas and staying warm.

Solution: Always keep the tank, at least, half full during the winter months.

Dead battery
At zero degrees, a battery has only about half of the cranking power it has at 80 degrees. In addition, engine oil thickens when it gets cold, making the car harder to start and putting additional strain on the battery.

Solution: Inspect the battery to make sure it’s in good shape: no cracks, no loose cables, and a full charge.

Carbon monoxide poisoning
When drivers get stranded during snow storms, they typically worry about staying warm. But there’s actually a bigger concern: carbon monoxide poisoning. When drifting snow piles up around the exhaust pipe, the results can be catastrophic.

Solution: Stranded drivers who keep their cars running for warmth need to regularly clear snow away from the exhaust pipe.

Limited visibility
Driving through snow and ice is hard enough without being unable to see the road ahead. Drivers might not have any control over how fast the snow is coming down, but they can control other factors that affect visibility – like wiper blades that freeze and become stuck to the windshield.


  • Remove all snow from the car before leaving. Snow on the roof can fall onto the windshield, blocking visibility at a crucial moment.
  • Make sure wipers are in good shape and that wiper fluid (which also needs to be rated for cold weather) is topped off.
  • Keep an ice scraper in the car, even if it’s usually parked in a garage.
  • Verify that the car’s defroster is working properly.
  • For frozen wipers, running the defroster for a few minutes usually solves the problem. Be patient: Don’t try to force the wipers when they’re still frozen.

Frozen coolant system
Although it seems counterintuitive, a car’s coolant system is still important during winter months. An improper antifreeze/water ratio can cause a car’s system to lock up, leading to costly and time-consuming repairs.

Solution: Check the owner’s manual for the proper antifreeze/water ratio.

Flat tires
Tires lose one to two pounds of pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop, and low tire pressure can lead to blowouts

Solution: Monitor tire pressure closely during frigid temperatures.

Driving during winter weather always carries risks. But proper preparation can minimize those risks. Mr. Clean Car Wash and Oil Change Plus is ready to help keep you and your family as safe as possible during your winter travels. Visit the location nearest you today to find out more about the car maintenance services available to help keep your car running and you safe in winter weather or to take advantage of current promotions.

Oil Change No No’s – The Dangers of Waiting Too Long Between Changes

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Without a doubt, the quality of your vehicle’s motor oil is one of the most important elements in keeping your car running reliably. While this may be, it is often times one of the most overlooked factors in car maintenance and something that people let go longer than they should. Letting your oil change stretch out or skipping over them entirely can damage the engines internal components and shorten its lifespan. Thinking of going past that sticker in the top corner of your windshield? Here’s a quick look at what can happen if you do.

Slip And Slide
At its most basic purpose, motor oil lubricates the moving parts of your engine. Without it, metal-on-metal parts would generate so much heat and friction that they would weld themselves together and seize the engine. According to Pennzoil, today’s motor oil is designed with special additives that coat moving parts and helps reduce drag, which helps your engine operate efficiently and quietly.

Keep It Clean
Along with providing lubrication for your engine’s components, motor oils today are designed to prevent sludge build up and keep dirt and debris from collecting on the inside of your engine and causing blockages and damage. Your engine’s oil system has a filter that collects the dirt from the oil and extends its lifespan but in time, the filter will fill up and clog causing the oil to bypass it. The dirty oil and the debris within can be abrasive and damage parts more than it protects them.

Get Dirty
When it comes to corrosion, think of your engine like the Tin Man in the Wizard Of Oz. Motor oil lubricates and cleans your engine but it also protects it from corrosion and oxidization which can eventually cause damage to its moving parts. A regularly scheduled oil change ensures that the oil in your engine keeps your engine from building up corrosion, which could damage it.

Hot Stuff
Your engine’s oil also acts as part of its cooling system in a sense. By drawing heat away from extra hot areas such as pistons and cylinder heads, the oil spread the heat more evenly throughout the entire engine and allows the coolant to draw it away more efficiently. Changing your oil regularly ensures that the oil is stable enough to consistently move heat away from specific areas and keep them from warping or breaking down entirely.

Changing your vehicle’s oil regularly may not be the first thing on your mind but it’s crucial to keeping the engine running in top form. The oil within helps lubricate moving parts, cleans dirt and debris, prevents corrosion and helps transfer heat away from vital areas of the engine. For more information on oil changes, see your local Mr. Clean Car Wash & Oil Change Plus and check the Promotions page for savings on your next oil change.

Image courtesy of Flickr