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.

Fuel System Cleaning at Welch Automotive for Better Performance

Hi Franklin auto owners. Let’s talk fuel injectors. A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.

Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.

The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline truck engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.

Fuel System Cleaning at Welch Automotive for Better PerformanceVehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine. Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel efficiency and loss of engine performance for Franklin auto owners.

So it’s to Franklin auto owners’ advantage to keep their fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel to Franklin motorists than do bargain Franklin area service stations.

The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.

Franklin car owners should check their owner’s manual to find out how often they should change their fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle between Franklin, Highlands / Cashiers and Sylva , your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners at Welch Automotive that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use. If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at Welch Automotive in Franklin that will result in better fuel efficiency and improved vehicle performance.

Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.

E-85 Fuel Safety Advice From Welch Automotive

Today at Welch Automotive we want to talk with you about a very important safety issue. This automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: fire fighting experts. You’ve probably heard of E-85 gasoline being offered in the Franklin area. Some newer vehicle models are specifically built to run on E-85 – the rest are not.

Does your vehicle use E-85 gasoline? Bring it down to Welch Automotive at 1108 Depot St. in Franklin, North Carolina 28734 to find out, or give us a call to make an appointment by calling 828.524.3117.

E-85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption. E-85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, a grain-base alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E-85 gas. The result is lower detrimental exhaust emissions to our local Franklin community.

All gas engines can run with up to 10% ethanol and in fact a lot of gasoline sold in the Franklin, North Carolina area does contain some ethanol. The problem comes when well meaning motorists without Flex Fuel certified vehicles put E-85 into the tank.

At a 15% concentration, the potential for problems arises. Because of the chemical differences between ethanol and gasoline, special seals and gaskets are needed for Flex Fuel vehicles in Franklin North Carolina. In a normal engine, the ethanol in E-85 gas will eat away vital seals and gaskets. This leads to gas and oil leaks.

You Franklin car owners can imagine the fire hazard caused by leaking gasoline. North Carolina fire fighting experts caution drivers to only use E-85 if they know they vehicle is certified to handle it. They expect vehicle fires to increase because of using the wrong fuel in non-Flex Fuel vehicles.

So are drivers who don’t have a Flex Fuel vehicle but use E-85 to help the environment actually putting themselves at risk? Yes. In fact, service and repair centers in Franklin, North Carolina are being warned to purchase fire extinguishers that use the special foam needed to extinguish ethanol fires as a precaution in case starting-up an ethanol damaged engine leads to a fire.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want to have in your Franklin, North Carolina garage at home, either. If you have a Flex-Fuel certified vehicle, feel free to protect the environment by using E-85 gasoline. If not – please do not use E-85 in an engine that’s designed to run on unleaded gasoline only. At Welch Automotive we are concerned about your safety. If you have questions or want to find out how to determine if your vehicle can safely use E-85, go to www.e85fuel.com for more resources.

Take a look at our attached auto safety tips video from Auto Tips Videos.

Keeping Your Car Young in Franklin

As Franklin consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.

New stuff comes out so fast in North Carolina, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Franklin, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without. 

Franklin drivers couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Franklin penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the auto maker’s maintenance schedules.

Is it really that bad for Franklin motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for dangerous sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster. 

Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Franklin area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Franklin auto owners to get back on track with critical maintenance and to hold off further expensive damage.

It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service professional at Welch Automotive in Franklin help you keep track of the rest.

Of course, it is inevitable for Franklin car owners that some things are going to wear out along the way – essential stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

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

Water Pump

Your cooling system is very important. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your car from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

  • the radiator
  • the radiator cap
  • the hoses
  • the thermostat and
  • the water pump

The cooling system is critical for Franklin drivers. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your truck from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

the radiator
the radiator cap
the hoses
the thermostat and
the water pump

The water pump’s like the heart of your cooling system, circulating the fluid throughout your truck. It’s a small pump that’s driven by the engine; usually by belt, but sometimes by a chain or gear.

The water pump only operates when the engine’s running. Water pump failure is pretty routine. We see it often at Welch Automotive. Some start failing at around 40,000 miles, but most fail by 100,000 miles. Consult your auto maker’s owners’ manual or honest Welch Automotive tech to see what’s recommended.

Since a water pump either works or it doesn’t, you need to change it when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It’s possible to have a leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine.

So how can Franklin car owners tell when the water pump is failing? If you can hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump – it’s got a problem. If you can see coolant in that area, you’ve got a leak.

Some water pumps are driven off the timing belt. They might be under a plastic cover so you can’t see the water pump. Look for coolant on the driveway. If you see some, have your Welch Automotive service advisor check it out.

Most timing belts need to be changed at 60,000 miles – some longer. It’s a good idea to change your water pump at the same time if it’s one of those that’s driven off the timing belt. To start with, 90% of the work’s already done with the timing belt change. And, if you don’t, and develop a leak later, you’ll have to change the belt again along with the water pump because the belt will have been contaminated by the leaking coolant.

Franklin auto owners can replace a failed water pump with a brand spankin’ new one or with a rebuilt pump. Rebuilt will save you some income, but ask your honest Welch Automotive technician what he thinks. Don’t feel too bad if your water pump gives out. They will all wear out eventually. Your Welch Automotive technician can get you back on the road and on with your life.

Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Welch Automotive

A lot of us Franklin car owners like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We’re picky about color and body style. We’ll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for North Carolina car owners to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.

Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.

Fifteen or sixteen-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, But today, because a lot of Franklin motorists like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with seventeen or eighteen-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of twenty inches or more are also available in Franklin.

If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it’s not a do-it-yourself project. There are important factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn’t jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.

First of all, it’s essential for North Carolina drivers to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don’t rub in turns or over bumps. If that’s more work than you’re willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.

It’s not as hard for Franklin car owners as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can’t make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.

Rolling diameter is vital because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You’ll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Franklin drivers who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.

Further, many vehicles in Franklin are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as dangerous safety concerns.

Your honest Welch Automotive tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle’s computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.

So to maintain rolling diameter, you’ll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.

To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you’ll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many North Carolina auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Franklin, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.

Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Franklin roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few critical adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.

Welch Automotive tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help Franklin car owners select wheels and tires that will suit their driving needs and habits.

For example, if you drive off-road around Franklin, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from pricey damage while you’re bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around North Carolina, you’ll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your honest Welch Automotive tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.

Once you’ve got your new wheels, have your honest Welch Automotive service advisor check to see if you need an alignment. You don’t want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Welch Automotive in Franklin.

Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need slightly higher pressure. You’ll need to stay on top of vital preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to check their pressure at least once a week. If you don’t keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also curtail your braking and handling performance.

So smile and show off your vehicle around Franklin. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!

Welch Automotive Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

Franklin service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Franklin drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.

Welch Automotive fuel system cleaning: Over time, the truck fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.

Welch Automotive headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.

Welch Automotive inspections: Franklin drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for North Carolina summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used truck and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.

Welch Automotive oil change: – there are several options: Some Franklin centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.

Welch Automotive PCV valve replacement in Franklin:
PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.

Welch Automotive power steering service: Often overlooked. Your honest Welch Automotive technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the truck system running well for a long time.

Welch Automotive serpentine belt service:
That’s the belt that powers the truck engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.

Welch Automotive shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Franklin people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.

Welch Automotive transmission service:
This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.

Welch Automotive tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Highlands / Cashiers

There’s a segment of the Highlands / Cashiers population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the North Carolina area over time. Many Highlands / Cashiers motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Highlands / Cashiers drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Otto The Maintenance-Free MythNow, the ignition system in your truck is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Welch Automotive for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Highlands / Cashiers have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.

Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your truck will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern truck engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

For example, your truck engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Welch Automotive, we have been taking care of all those little things for 12 years. Your truck still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Highlands / Cashiers did not go away.