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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

What People Say About Us


  • -Bud S.

    A first class operation in all respects. They go out of their way to be helpful in providing needed information. The quality of their work has always been 4-5 stars.


  • -Cheri T.

    I love Jimmy's - they are trustworthy & will even lend a car when your's is gonna take overnight. Any major work on my car is done by them.


  • -Forrest A.

    Very professional. Worked with me to get my car up and running on my budget.


  • -Chris P.

    These guys are the best, honest and trustworthy, a must for a service business.


  • -Miriam F.

    TJ and Jimmy's Automotive are fantastic! TJ is always very helpful when I take our 12 year old van in for service. On my last visit he went above and beyond and I am extremely grateful. Thank you, TJ, and go SC State Bulldogs!


  • -Erin O.

    I continue to be blown away by the service, prices, and positive demeanor of the employees at Jimmy's. This is the first time I have EVER written a review about anything and its because I feel obligated to write about quality like this. Mom & Pop shops and common human courtesy are a thing of the past in Corporate America, so experiences like I continue to have at Jimmy's are very refreshing to me! Go see for yourself! You won't be disappointed.


  • -Lynn C.

    My husband and I have been customers of Jimmy's Automotive since we moved to Weaverville. They run a well oiled business (pun intended). They are so professional. They treat me as a woman with respect and never look down on me for all my crazy questions! They have even helped us with printing off invoices for our taxes!! TJ is amazing! You should take all your auto troubles to Jimmy's!!


  • -Lisa G.

    Our family has been coming to Jimmy's for years. We have three vehicles and have taken them all to Jimmy's for maintenance and repairs. TJ and Brian are so helpful & friendly. They go out of their way to accommodate! We have had some major repairs done over the years but when these guys are done the problem is fixed-they really know what they are doing! I highly recommend the mechanics at Jimmy's.


  • -Wanda G.

    ...Waiting room is CLEAN; internet service is available, so I could check email and facebook while I waited and Brian was very friendly and helpful as I checked out. I am so GLAD and RELIEVED to have them near by for help and service!


  • -Teri N.

    Having recently moved to NC, and having had the most wonderful mechanic for over the past 20 years in my old hometown, my husband and I wanted to find a garage we could trust. We seem to have found it at Jimmy's! They are AAA approved and came with lots of recommendations from others we have met. We have had to take two of our cars there for repairs within the last couple weeks, and we found TJ to be very friendly and helpful. Before any work was done, he explained the cars' issues and what the cost would entail (which was also very reasonable). He talked with us as if we were long time customers, and with a respect that indicated he appreciated our business. Both of our cars turned out to be emergency situations, and Jimmy's was able to fit us in and get the work done asap. Wonderful garage! Highly recommended!


  • -Julianne A.

    I love this shop because they are honest. I had engine mounts replaced a bit over a year ago and the car was starting to shake again. They told me the warranty had expired for the mounts, but that mounts should last longer than a year and they picked up the cost of parts and labor to put 3 new ones in. I know nothing about cars and I didn't ask them to pay for it. They offered because they take pride in their work, want to do right by people, and have a business model based on providing exceptional, honorable service. They have been keeping my 2005 Mazda 3 road worthy for three years now and I couldn't be happier.


  • -JD G.

    ...Great service, professional in every sense yet very personable. When I came in for the service, I mentioned I was starving and hadn't eaten breakfast and I was told about a local diner. They didn't have to tell me, but they genuinely care about their customers. Give them the opportunity to earn your trust and your business. You won't regret it!


  • -Carolyn S.

    In the 15 years that Jimmy has serviced my cars, I have had not one complaint. They are always honest as to what is needed and discuss the cost before they do any extensive repairs. I really appreciate their professionalism. I recommend them highly!!!


  • -Dennis M.

    Got inspected in no time, without an appointment. Great shop.


  • -Anonymous

    I've taken a few vehicles here for alignment. Done correctly and on time.


  • -George Z.

    Brian & T.J. answered all my questions and where helpful in explaining what needed to be done on my Saturn. Both T.J. and Brian now and in the past explained what need to be done. I have confidence in your technicians to resolve problems with my car. We have confidence in your auto center to repair put us back on the road with a safe car for our family. From beginning to end thank you for your quality service.


  • -Brad F.

    I moved here from Southeastern PA almost three years ago. A neighbor recommended Jimmy's to me when I need a car inspection. Best advice I have gotten since moving here. Very easy to work with, honest and good service too.


  • -George K.

    It was found that I needed more work. I was given a ride home and picked up later that day.


  • -Happy Camper

    We have been very satisfied with the service and care Jimmy's has given us. We have been going to them for about three years and have had two cars serviced consistently over that time. We appreciate that they only do the work that is necessary. They have provided loaner cars for us as needed too.


  • -Dan C.

    I have been going to Jimmy's for the last four years. I am always very satisfied with the professional work and their customer service is exceptional.


  • -Bryan Y.

    Very friendly and fast service. I highly recommend them if you need auto repair in Asheville


  • -Jim S.

    I'm a new loyal customer - Best auto repair experience since moving to Asheville 8 years ago. My 2004 GMC Envoy needed new A/C compressor assembly. Expensive item, but I trusted Brian's knowledge and "no pressure" style explaining my options. In fact, I found the entire staff to be professional, friendly and proud of their excellent reputation - Keep up the good work, guys!


  • -Toni

    Nice people and efficient service. I had expensive repairs, but they made it as painless as possible. I was unable to get estimates from other shops, so I don't know if their prices are comparable to other shops or not. But they took the stress out of my experience and that is valuable. The loaner car was a tremendous help. I wasn't inconvenienced while waiting for repairs. They only did repairs I authorized but did give me a list of repairs I may need later.


  • -Bud S.

    A first class operation in all respects. They go out of their way to be helpful in providing needed information. The quality of their work has always been 4-5 stars.

Call us for service: 828-658-3030

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IATN (International Automotive Technicians' Network)
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