Straight And True In Franklin: Wheel Alignment

Most Franklin folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by Franklin car owners is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more pricey than an alignment check in Franklin. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Franklin.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents, and can seriously damage your truck. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident, since the truck may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your truck can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Franklin street. An accident, even a minor one, that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday Otto driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your truck, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any Welch Automotive technician will give you that piece of auto advice. But good car care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Welch Automotive in Franklin, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner’s manual or Welch Automotive technician can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot, then you may want to consider a diagnostic examination more often. Ask your honest service professional for a recommendation.

If your truck is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your truck pulls to one side when you drive around Franklin. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Franklin motorists should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get an automotive analysis, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for Sylva auto owners, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Franklin residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

Smart Franklin Drivers Protect Against Overheating

Engines get hot when they run. This heat can build up and damage vital engine parts, so engines need a cooling system to keep them running. Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles. This is unfortunate, because these failures are usually easy for Franklin drivers to prevent.

The radiator is the best-known and most recognizable part of the cooling system. Hoses filled with coolant (also known as antifreeze) connect the radiator to the engine. The coolant draws heat from the engine, and then flows to the radiator. Air passing through cooling fins on the radiator cools the coolant. The coolant then cycles back into the engine to start the process over again.

The most critical component of the cooling system, however, is the coolant itself. A mixture of water and coolant/antifreeze helps keep it both from freezing and from boiling away. Either can result in serious engine damage.

Different engines require different types of coolant/antifreeze. The owner’s manual will list what kind a vehicle requires. Using the wrong type or mixing different types of may void the warranty on the cooling system and may damage it as well.

Insufficient coolant can lead to engine failure. Coolant levels need to be checked regularly and topped off as necessary. If coolant levels drop quickly or consistently, the cooling system should be inspected for leaks. Coolant/antifreeze contains additives that protect the radiator and other coolant components from rust, scale and corrosion. Over time, these additives are depleted, so it is necessary for Franklin drivers to replace coolant at specified intervals. Changing coolant should be part of routine preventive maintenance for any vehicle.

This service is often ignored, though, since old coolant still cools the engine. Vehicle owners don’t realize there is a problem until the system fails. They are left with major repairs and possibly a damaged engine, which could have been prevented with a cooling system service at Welch Automotive in Franklin.

If your truck sends a warning message to check its coolant or if the temperature gauge is reading in the red or hot zone, then the cooling system needs an automotive analysis. This service is important and should not be put off since the potential for damage is high.

In an emergency situation, water or antifreeze can be added to your truck so that it can be driven to a service center for proper car care. For this reason, owner’s manual contains instructions for how to top off insufficient coolant – allow 45 minutes for the engine to cool before attempting to add coolant or water. However, the fluid should be added to the coolant overflow bottle, not to the radiator itself. Removing the radiator pressure cap can result in severe burns.

Topping off in an emergency, however, does not fix the problem. The vehicle should immediately be taken to your Franklin service center or Welch Automotive where they can inspect the cooling system, repair any leaks, and clean it if necessary. They can identify what caused the emergency situation in the first place and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Regular maintenance of a vehicle’s cooling system is just good auto advice for Franklin car owners. Cooling system service is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take long at Welch Automotive. Lack of it, however, can put a vehicle in the scrap heap.

Talk to your Welch Automotive service professional for more information.

Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Welch Automotive

When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.

Buying tires at Welch Automotive in Franklin is a lot like buying shoes, except that Franklin motorists’ vehicles don’t have changeable apparel and don’t need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of North Carolina road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.

Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Franklin area drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around Franklin need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough North Carolina mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.

The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the Franklin area tire market, although prices don’t vary much from brand to brand.

Tire chain stores in Franklin often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires, but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in Franklin are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don’t hesitate to ask your Welch Automotive tire professional who makes their private brand.

The cheapest tires on the North Carolina tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don’t have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, Franklin folks get what they pay for.

At Welch Automotive, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40-thousand-mile tire,” or a “60-thousand mile tire.” This refers to the number of miles a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.

Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you’re really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It’s always better for Franklin drivers to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.

That said, if you’re driving on Tier 3 tires, it’s a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That’s the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires, and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Franklin auto owners.

So, some good auto advice for Franklin auto owners would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you’ll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there’s some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to purchase tires as often.

Good car care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.

Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in Franklin: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at Welch Automotive

Taking care of our tires is an essential part of car care for Franklin drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some important preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve gas mileage and extend the life of the tires, so it’s well worth the effort and expense for Franklin motorists to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.

The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle’s tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it’s an essential number for Franklin car owners to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to pricey tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction, handling and fuel economy on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

Don’t be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also impair the handling performance of your vehicle.

Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.

For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the car and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner’s manual or talk to your honest Welch Automotive technician. Your owner’s manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle’s tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that’s usually every 5,000 miles. Your honest Welch Automotive service professional can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

When it comes to tire maintenance for Franklin motorists, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You’ll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is essential and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Franklin car owners.

If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Franklin, you need tires, so Franklin drivers need to know how to care for them. The safety of your truck can depend on the condition of your tires.

Using Proper Fluids In Your truck Or Other Vehicle

Today Welch Automotive is talking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It’s become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It’s not that people in North Carolina are confused as much as they don’t realize how much things have changed in recent years.

If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to stop by Welch Automotive. You can find us on 1108 Depot St. in Franklin, North Carolina 28734.
Just give us a call at 828.524.3117

Let’s take engine oil. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.

It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it’s cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn’t thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.

Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the car has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas and the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.

So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.

Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It’s certainly in the owner’s manual. Of course, your Franklin North Carolina auto service center can look it up for you.

It’s more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.

Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.

In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.

So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn’t formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you’re using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won’t be covered under warrantee. So it’s important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.

Your owner’s manual or your Franklin North Carolina service advisor at Welch Automotive can make sure you’re using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That’s OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer’s recommendation for your truck or other auto type is always a safe bet.

In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It’s important to remember that the new ones aren’t better than the old ones. They’re just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.

There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid, and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.

They’re fine to use as long as they’re a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it’s also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it’s the right type for your transmission.

Watching Your Check Engine Light

Did you know that most of the cars driving around Franklin, North Carolina carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?

New cars sold in the Franklin area have as many as twelve networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle’s functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Franklin motorists know when there is a problem?

It’s simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for Franklin car owners when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Welch Automotive in Franklin to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your honest Welch Automotive technician has special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you’re check engine light is on.

Welch Automotive
1108 Depot St.
Franklin, North Carolina 28734
828.524.3117

Fuel Injection Basics For Franklin

All modern Franklin vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it’s a topic Franklin motorists need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount, at the right time; to be mixed with air and burned in the engine.

So how many fuel injectors does your car have? There’s one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in Franklin, North Carolina. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are a pretty high-tech.

Welch Automotive can help Franklin auto owners with a fuel injector cleaning service. What’s the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. It’s vital that the fuel is sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.

Over time, varnish can start to build up in the fuel injectors, effecting the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel charge. The result is that the fuel doesn’t get burned as efficiently as it could. That robs performance and hurts fuel efficiency.

What about dirty fuel – how does that affect the fuel injectors? The fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel system. It starts at the fuel tank. Frankly, the best way to keep your fuel injectors working well is to use high quality fuel. It’s tempting to shop for bargains in  Franklin with fuel prices as high as they are, but major brands in the Franklin, North Carolina area have better detergents and additives and deliver consistent quality.

What about a good fuel filter? The fuel filter is a critical component of the fuel system. Its job is to filter out the dirt and rust that collect in the fuel tank. If it’s clogged up, the dirt will bypass the filter and head upstream to the fuel injectors.

It’s critical to replace the fuel filter when your auto maker recommends it. That’s part of a comprehensive fuel system cleaning.

There are different kinds of fuel injection systems. Port fuel injection systems, the kind most gasoline engines have, operate at 60 pounds per square inch. The injectors for the new gas direct injection engines Franklin drivers are starting to see require 10 to 30 times as much pressure. And some diesel engines for passenger vehicles have injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch. There’s no room for dirt and gum in a precision part like that.

There are a lot of good products available in Franklin, North Carolina that can clean fuel injectors. They’re best used by Franklin motorists to prevent fouling in the fuel injectors. Many can’t clean a seriously gummed up injector – that requires a professional deep cleaning, like those we offer at Welch Automotive in Franklin. But putting the cleaner in the fuel tank after you’ve had Welch Automotive take a look at your fuel system will help keep it clean. Be sure to read the label for directions.

Give us a call if you think your truck may be ready for a fuel injector cleaning.

Manager: John Welch
Welch Automotive
1108 Depot St.
Franklin, North Carolina 28734
828.524.3117

Cool Running In Franklin

Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your truck engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the expressway in Franklin waiting for your truck engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Welch Automotive, your technician will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your truck owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your honest service specialist will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the truck radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an inspection regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your truck cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your truck cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your tech will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Welch Automotive is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Franklin for 12 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Franklin repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in North Carolina.

At Welch Automotive, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

Fall and Spring Checkup In Franklin

When I was a kid in Franklin, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it’s about time to get into Welch Automotive for my checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don’t need seasonal service.

My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.

Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family truck, most cars used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today’s modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.

Your owner’s manual or Franklin service advisor at Welch Automotive can tell you the right oil to use.

Of course, you’re concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don’t want to overheat in the North Carolina summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant, or as it’s sometimes called; ‘antifreeze’, is up to doing both very well. It’s designed to last for more miles than most people drive in a year or two.

So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let’s start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more miles driven and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.

You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant, and that you don’t have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.

That’s pretty practical; a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.

And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.

So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you’ve got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees or you have ice and snow, you’ll want to consider changing to winter tires.

So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Welch Automotive are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.

And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service – stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?

So Spring and Fall: change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors – and get a check-up for your cars.

See, dad was right again.

Come and see us at Welch Automotive for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
Welch Automotive
1108 Depot St.
Franklin, North Carolina 28734
828.524.3117

Clean Air for Your Engine: A New Engine Air Filter at Welch Automotive

All of us Franklin drivers know we have to get the oil changed in our trucks periodically. That’s just part of good car care. But when Franklin 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 truck.

Don’t just chock this up to trying to sell you something else. Otto drivers 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 North Carolina with poor air quality, or if you drive a lot or drive under harsh conditions in the Franklin 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 Welch Automotive in Franklin. But the problems they cause if Franklin motorists don’t change them can get to be costly.

For every gallon of gas your truck 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 truck 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 costly electronic components.

If you are in tune with your truck, you’ll notice a difference when you change a really dirty air filter for a clean one. Your truck 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 Welch Automotive, it’s inexpensive, it’s effective, and it’s essential.