BMW

Headlamp Replacement

Way too many accidents happen at night on NC roads. There are a lot of factors, but a big one is simply visibility: if you can’t see something, it’s hard to avoid hitting it.

There are some things Apex auto owners can do to make sure they can see as much as possible when they’re driving in the dark. First of all, keep your windshield clean. Glare from oncoming headlights can obscure obstacles in the road. Clean off that film that builds up on the inside of your windshield. And make sure you have good wiper blades and plenty of washer fluid.

HeadlampsNow it could be that your headlights aren’t as bright as they used to be. It happens – the bulbs just dim over time. If it’s been a couple of years since you replaced your headlamps and they aren’t lighting up the road like they used to, get some new ones. They make upgraded headlamps too that give you a brighter light and a larger field of vision so you can see better and further down the road. Check with your cheerful North Hills Exxon service professional if you want to up your headlamp performance.

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car headlamp

Headlamp Restoration Saves Money & Lives

Question:
My headlight lenses are all cloudy. I checked with my Raleigh dealership about replacing them and it is very pricey. What else can I do?

North Hills Exxon Answer:
You are right – replacing a headlight assembly can cost hundreds of dollars. Luckily there is something Raleigh drivers can do about cloudy headlamps.

1964 OldsFirst let’s talk about why the headlamps are so cloudy. Back in the day, Raleigh drivers’ headlights were glass. These were heavy, could crack, and had practical limits as to their shape so auto makers started using plastic headlight lenses. NC road grime and UV light take a toll on the plastic surface. Over time the lenses get cloudy and discolored. Just look at the trucks in any Raleigh parking lot and you’ll see a lot of that.

Because a disproportionate amount of traffic accidents happen at night, smart Raleigh motorists make sure they have maximum visibility. Cloudy lenses diminish the amount of light that gets out on the road, which in turn can really hurt the time you have to respond to hazards in the road.

Fortunately, your Raleigh service center (or North Hills Exxon) can restore your lenses. Using a combination of special cleaners and polishes, the cloudy and discolored layer is removed. This important service costs a fraction of replacing the headlight assembly.

How costly it is will depend on the size of the lens and how badly it is clouded. The program can be used on brake lights, turn signals, and tail lights as well. If it’s been over a year since you replaced your headlamp bulbs, they may have started to dim. You can talk to your cheerful North Hills Exxon service professional about options to replace or even upgrade your headlamp bulbs.

Give us a call

North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609

919 787 2432

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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Photo source: John Gately – 1960 Olds and 1964 Olds Cutlass

What Can I Do To Avoid A Broken Timing Belt?

timing beltA broken timing belt can lead to one of the most expensive engine repairs car owners will ever face. The good news is that replacing your timing belt on its recommended schedule can help avoid those problems. Here’s a brief overview of what the timing belt does:

Air is drawn into the cylinder of the engine through the intake valves. After the air and fuel mixture is burned, it’s pushed out through the exhaust valves. The timing belt, which is driven by the engine, turns the camshafts which control when the intake and exhaust valves open and close. It is vital that the opening and closing of the valves take place at exactly the right time for the engine to run properly.

Beyond that, on some truck engines the valves actually extend into the combustion chamber far enough that they can be hit by the piston as it moves up and down in the cylinder. When everything is timed just right – no problem. When the timing is off, the piston will slam into the valves and cause big (costly) damage for Raleigh drivers.

The timing belt makes sure everything is timed just right. However, the belt does have a useful life. Beyond that it can break or slip – and that’s when the damage can be done. If your vehicle has a timing belt (some have metal timing chains) it will have a recommended interval for replacing it, typically in the 60,000 to 90,000 mile range. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or with your North Hills Exxon service professional to make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced: there is a lot at stake.

Now, getting to the timing belt requires a lot of labor so it is a steep service item, but it is certainly less costly than repairing a damaged engine. If your timing belt drives your water pump, change them both at the same time to save labor costs down the road. Ask your North Hills Exxon service professional when you timing belt should be changed and get an estimate for what it will cost so you can budget for this critical service.

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QUESTIONS??? – Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.

North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609

919 787 2432

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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What Tire Tread Depth Is Safe?

Safe Tire Tread DepthTire Deals In Raleigh

Raleigh racing enthusiasts have probably heard of racing slicks. Now, slicks have no tread, but they give race cars maximum traction on dry NC racetracks. Insert a little water into the equation, however, and slicks can’t maintain control. Because there is nowhere for the water to go, the tire rides on top of a thin film of water and slides all over the place.

Apex street tires have treads that are designed to move water out from under the tire so that it can grip the road. The deeper the tread, the more water it can move. As car tires wear they have progressively less traction on wet Raleigh roads. That means longer stopping distances and less traction in corners.

So having enough tire tread is vital for the safety of Raleigh motorists. There have been tests comparing stopping distances of vehicles with new tires and those with worn tires. The vehicle with worn tires is still traveling at a high rate of speed at the point at which the vehicle with new tires has already stopped. That could be the difference between getting home safely and a serious accident on a surface street or interstate.

Many NC safety experts recommend you replace your tires when your tread is worn down to a depth of 4/32ths of an inch. That’s the distance to George Washington’s head when a quarter is inserted upside down into the tread of a properly inflated tire.

You may have heard of the same test using a penny. That gives you about 2/32ths of an inch of tread. The studies have shown a significant safety benefit in replacing tires with the quarter standard. Ask your cheerful North Hills Exxon service adviser to have your tires checked to see how much life you have left in them.

Also see: Consumer Reports on Tire Wear & Safe Wheels

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QUESTIONS??? – Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.

North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609

919 787 2432

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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How Do I Maintain My Car Battery?

car brokenCar Maintenance Ensures Safety

Well, the fist question really to ask is, “Why should I maintain my car’s battery?” Simply put, you don’t want to be left stranded at work, at home, or, heaven forbid, on the side of the road because your automobile electrical system stopped working. It’s not just a convenience matter, it also a matter of personal safety.

It’s not a good feeling to sit behind the wheel of your car to discover it won’t start. Even worse if it’s late at night in a not well populated area. To avoid the potentially scary scenario, here’s a few ways to take better care of your vehicle.

Five Ways To Maintain Your Car Battery

  • Visually inspect regularly
  • Keep the terminals clean
  • Top off the battery fluid when needed
  • Keep a set of jumper cables
  • Secure your battery

Visual Inspection - If you observe any bulges, cracks or vents in the battery’s case, it is an indication that the battery is failing and that you should replace it.

Minimize Corrosion - Terminal connections should be corrosion free and tight at the point they connect to the battery. If the battery cable ends or clamps have accumulated a white powdery substance, they can be cleaned with a solution of water and baking soda.

Top Off Battery Fluid – Battery fluid is simply distilled water. That is water that has been treated to contain no foreign chemicals or contaminants. Some older batteries have cell covers that can be removed, where distilled water can be added. Newer batteries are self-contained and required no fluid maintenance. If you’re unsure, ask your auto mechanic.

Keep a Set of Jumper Cables – If in the event you do need a boost due to a low (left lights on) or weak battery, having jumper cables makes it easier to ask for help for a jump. Not everyone carries jumper cables, but most peoples cars that are functioning can lend you the use of their working electrical systems, via a jump.

Secure Your Battery – If your battery is jiggling around, it could tip over. A loose battery bashing against other parts of your engine is bad. Battery acid spilling all over your motor is also bad. Keep the battery tray clean. Make sure the battery sits correctly.

Other Guides To Battery Maintenance

http://northhillsexxon.mynapasa.com/2013/10/01/north-hills-exxons-guide-to-battery-maintenance/

http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1053924_how-to-maintain-your-cars-battery

 http://www.wikihow.com/Maintain-Car-Batteries

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QUESTIONS??? – Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.

North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609

919 787 2432

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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Why Doesn’t My Car Start In The Cold?

Man with broken car in winterThere you are, up early in the morning, frost is on the ground, and you’ve got an important meeting first thing at the office. You insert your key in the ignition, turn it, the engine ‘whirs & chugs’ a few times, and nothing; your car won’t start. Bummer, “What’s the problem now?”

There are a number of reasons for your car not starting when it’s cold, in the winter months, especially when you live in harsher climates. Why do car problems seem more pronounced when there’s a chill in the air? Or more specifically, why doesn’t my car start in the cold? Let’s explore a few reasons for these mechanical troubles.

Thicker oil

During cold, whether the oil becomes thicker so when a person tries to start a cold engine, it has first to try pushing away the cold. One solution to this problem is to use synthetic, or a lighter weight, motor oil because it will stay more fluid in the cold weather. Engine block warmers are common up north; keeping them plugged in overnight ensures easy start ups each morning. If available, keeping your car in a warm garage overnight helps too.

Weak or Dead Battery

In cold temperatures, the battery chemical reaction take place more slowly, making it produce fewer electrons, especially for older batteries. This leads to the starter motor having less energy to work with causing an insufficient rotation of the engine for starting. Keeping a trickle charger on the battery can pose an interim solution, but replacing the battery with a stronger newer one can help prevent other mechanical failures, including damage to the starter diodes and voltage regulator.

Lack of fuel or bad fuel mix

Having run out of gas, well, what else can be said? :) A bad mix of fuel can be another reason for your car not starting; this makes your fuel line to be clogged up. If your car does not have the right mixture of fuel to air, it will not ignite properly leading to your car not starting. Using ‘gum out’ in your carburetor and ‘dry gas’, or high-octane, gas additives can also provide a helpful solution.

Why doesn’t my car start in the cold? – Other Possibilities

Distributor failure

The distributor is responsible for passing out voltage to the spark plugs and engine cylinders. It is possible for them to wear out or fail overtime naturally; older distributers, with rotars, can get gunked up as well. Therefore, regular maintenance and tune ups are the best preventatives for this concern.

Worn out Water Pump & Bearings

Water pumps and engine crankshaft each have bearings that can wear out, specifically with older vehicles. If this happens to your car, your only remedy is to have the bearings or water pump replaced immediately.

Lack of Compression

Your car needs a certain amount of compression to enable the fuel mixture to ignite. Worn out piston rings as well as intake and exhaust valves that are not sealing the proper way bring about lack of compression. The solution to this problem is to replace the worn out piston rings and ensure that the intake and exhaust valve are properly sealing.

Extreme cold weather wreaks havoc on any car making it difficult to start. However, by following the above tips, starting your car during the cold weather will be greatly minimized.

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QUESTIONS??? – Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.

North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609

919 787 2432

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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What is a Good Car Maintenance Schedule?

woman-checking-oilYou must make sure that your automobile is taken care of the right way. However, it can be confusing to get your vehicle treated right because of all those parts. You might even become real confused if you look under the hood because there are so many things to keep track of.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot get your car maintained with a smart maintenance schedule. You’ll find that you can take care of all sorts of things in your car if you just create a schedule for car maintenance. It gives you a better idea of what you can do to maintain your car.

What to Regularly Schedule For Your Car

How can you tell when it’s time to take care of some things in your car? Just use your schedule! It’s easy to create one but you have to space everything out at the right times.

Be sure to repeat these procedures on a monthly or occasional basis; some inspections take longer than others based on how long ago it’s been since certain things were done.

Monthly Car Maintenance

Check all lights on the front and back of the car to see if they’re working. Check each tire’s air pressure and add new air as needed. Examine all belts and hoses for wear.

What To Check Every Three Months

Replace the engine’s oil and filter every three months. The air filter may also need to be treated. Test the battery and its cables; the battery must have a positive readout. Check and replace all brake and transmission fluids.

What To Check Every Six Months

Inspect the overall chassis to see if it’s lubricated. Clean off or replace the wiper blades; be sure to look at their rubbery parts to see if they’re sturdy and flexible.

What To Check Every Twelve Months

Replace the antifreeze or engine coolant. Inspect the brakes to see if they are worn out or if they need to be polished. Replace any spark plugs that may not be working. Replace the air filter for the cabin. Don’t forget your annual car inspections.

What To Check Every Two Years

Replace the fuel filter next to the fuel tank.

car-checklistYour Car Maintenance Checklist

Every inspection has a few staples to it. You’ve got to use these ideas to keep your car running:

  • Oil level
  • Fluid Containers (antifreeze, brake fluid, washer fluid, transmission)
  • Belts
  • Filters (air, fuel, etc.)
  • Tires
  • Tune up (wires, cap, plugs)

Look at the oil level on the dipstick inside your car. The oil level has to be at an appropriate height; this means that the oil is moving fun. If you don’t have much then you have to add oil. Take a look at any fluid containers inside your car. Even if you don’t have a need to replace any fluids, you should still check to see if they’re pure. Your car could be harmed by contamination in some fluids. Any contaminated fluid must be emptied. See any unusual colors under your hood? The odds are they’re from your belts wearing out. Sometimes a worn-out belt might have a lighter or darker look. Test your tires for air; most cars will list the appropriate air amounts for each tire within a space on the inside of the gas cap lock.

Car Maintenance Tips

An ounce of prevention is always important like they always say. You can use these maintenance tips to protect yourself:

You may need to take your car out to a professional oil change place with more professional tools to help replace the oil in your car.

Your tires must be thick. Always see if there are any problems relating to the tires on your car wearing out. They must be fixed soon.

Are you use the right fuel? Detonation can occur if you don’t. This is where heat and pressure levels in the car can change. Always use the right fuel to maintain your engine.

Don’t touch any glass materials as it can cause small bits of oil or grease to build up in them. Hold all glass items at their non-glass bases.

Check everything as soon as the check engine light goes off no matter how long ago it’s been since you last did certain things with your car.

Get a Car Maintenance App

Don’t forget to keep yourself in tabs with what you have to do. An app like aCar or Car Maintenance Reminder can take in information based on what you do with your car. You need an application if you want up to the minute info on what you have to do. It’s easy in today’s busy world to forget about what you need to do. A good app can remind you of it so you won’t be lost.

QUESTIONS??? – Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.

North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609

919 787 2432

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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Car Repair Costs Must Be Checked

Car RepairThe unfortunate part about owing a car is that it will definitely struggle with mechanical issues over time. The worse part is that it can cost more to repair a car than what you might want to spend. Fortunately, you might not have to pay too much to get your vehicle repaired at North Hills Exxon.

In fact, you might be surprised at how the average cost of repairing a vehicle has declined over time. It’s estimated by CarMD that the average person who owns a car spent $334 on car repairs in 2011. This is in spite of how individual car parts have started to increase in value. The fact is that today’s cars are more reliable and don’t wear out as easily. Still, there is always a potential for a car to break down. With that in mind, you’ll certainly have to prepare for such a case.

 It’s also easier to afford car repair costs because the procedures used for repairing cars are easier to perform these days. The parts for repairs are easily available and what used to be hard for some mechanics to do is now routine work. CarMD estimates that the cost for repairing an inverter assembly in a hybrid vehicle has gone from $7,000 in 1996 to around $4,000 these days.

Regular Maintenance Helps Reduce Car Repairs

Of course, there is the hypothetical concern that some people might not spend much on car repairs because they feel that they cannot afford it or that their cars can keep working just fine with one or two minor issues. This is not recommended as it can put your car at the risk of suffering from serious damages. This could make repairs even more expensive once your car stops working altogether.

The threat that comes with your vehicle being damaged or likely to wear out over time can be a real burden. You have to take a careful look at car repair costs just to see what can be done for your vehicle and how taking care of a problem right now may end up being better to do than if you just let it go free without repairing it.

Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.

North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609

919 787 2432

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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Got Truck Repair?

car repairBreakdowns Happen…

Your car’s so important to your life in Raleigh: when it breaks down, you need it back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time. If you’ve ever check into some of the training technicians at North Hills Exxon receive, you may be surprised at how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car in Raleigh.

Our vehicle engines are more and more powerful, fuel efficient and reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. Modern cars in Raleigh are so much more complex from a mechanical and electronics standpoint that it makes your head spin. Vehicles have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Raleigh motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks.

It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technician and North Hills Exxon as well. In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment by North Hills Exxon to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools as well.

The ability to repair your car or truck requires a strong combination of training and resources. So try to relax next time you bring your vehicle in to North Hills Exxon. You’re in good hands.

At North Hills Exxon in Raleigh NC (27609) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 919.787.2432. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com.

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Guide To Selecting Tires & Wheels

The North Hills Exxon Guide To Selecting Tires And Wheels

Tires & WheelsSome Apex, Cary & Raleigh motorists love driving, love their vehicles: To them, picking out the right tire is just as important – and just as much fun – as finding the right shoes is to a runner.

Now not everyone in the Triangle is like that. Many NC people have found that shopping for tires is overwhelming because there are just so many choices. So let’s break it down: there are four main categories of tires, depending on the kind of driving you do.

First, there are summer tires. You would buy summer tires if you’re looking for maximum summertime performance. The rubber is a little softer to help you stick to the road in fast corners. The tread has wide blocks at the shoulder to stiffen the tire in turns. The tread design can handle rain, but really isn’t set up for snow and ice.

Next comes winter tires. You would buy winter tires if you still like performance driving when it’s cold and slippery out, so you need a tread design that’ll really bite into ice and snow. The rubber compound is formulated to stay pliable when temperatures drop below 45 degrees so you get great traction even on dry roads. On the other end of the winter tire spectrum are tires designed to handle severe ice and snow conditions.

The third category is all-season tires. Now, most new cars come with all-seasons in Apex. The idea is a tire that you can use all-year round in NC. Naturally, the tread design and rubber compound is a compromise that won’t give you the extreme capabilities of summer or winter tires, but if your driving and weather conditions aren’t at the extreme ends of the spectrum, all-season tires might suit you just fine.

The last category is all-terrain tires. These tires are designed for both Raleigh interstate and off-road use. If you need a tire that gets good traction in the dirt and is tough enough for rocks and ruts and stuff, but still performs well on the road, an all-terrain tire might be just what you need.

Do you have low tread on any or a few of your tires? Talk with your cheerful North Hills Exxon tire professional in Raleigh about how and where you drive and get his suggestions for tires that’ll work for you.

Give us a call

North Hills Exxon
919.787.2432
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

At North Hills Exxon in Raleigh NC (27609) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 919.787.2432. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com.

Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Sunday:  9 a.m. –  8 p.m.  

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North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Rd. Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-787-2432