Get Better Gas Mileage And Save Money

Nowadays we are trying to find as many ways to save money as possible because every time we turn around someone is trying to get into our pockets and take our money.


We all need certain things like food, water, a place to lay our heads and a place to work to pay for all of this. We also need some kind of vehicle to get us to work so we can make the money to pay for all these things. Plus we want to be able to enjoy some of the fun things in life.


If you really want to save some money, keeping your car in good running condition is a great place to start. With gas prices going up all the time and higher gas prices driving up the cost of everything else, saving money at the pump is something you can do right now to reduce your spending.


Keeping you car in good running condition is simple. Some of these items you can do yourself. Unfortunately many people won’t do them until there is a problem. The issue with waiting until there is a problem is that it will cost you more money if you wait.


The first thing you should look at is any extra items you have in your car. Clean out any unnecessary clutter. This is easy to do yourself.  Any extra weight in your car makes your car burn more gas.


I’ve seen cars come into my shop with so much junk in them that I’m surprised the car even moves. It is uncomfortable saying something to the owners of these cars but feel it is important to say something because I know that they are just wasting fuel. They are wasting their money by hauling all that extra junk around in their car.


The funny thing is that when I tell them they often say to me that they no idea they were wasting fuel and thank me for saying something.


So take out those extra tires you have been carrying around in your trunk or those golf clubs you haven’t used in three months. The lighter you keep your car the better gas mileage you will get. The better gas mileage you get the more money you will save.


Also something you can do once a month that is very important and will help you save money at the pumps is to check your tire pressure. Make sure you have the proper air pressure in your tires. Your owners manual will tell you how much air pressure you should keep in the front and rear tires.


Buy yourself an air pressure gauge at your local auto store. Keep it in your car so you will always have it with you. Get into the habit of checking your tire pressure and it will save you money. It will also reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle.  


When you go to get your regular oil changed make sure you get your air filter checked also. If it needs to be replaced, replace it. Your car, like humans, needs to breathe air. The difference is that when your car does not get enough air to breath it will suck up fuel like a camel sucks up water.       


Also have your mechanic check your fuel filter. When the fuel filter gets dirty your car will have to work harder to get fuel. That means your vehicle will burn up more fuel and cost you money at the gas station.


Once every three to four months you should use a fuel system cleaner to help keep your fuel system clean. Ask your mechanic what type to use for your car or truck.


People always ask me about when they should change their spark plugs and wires. The timing of changing spark plugs depends on what kind of plugs are in your car. If you have platinum plugs they might get 100,000 miles. If you don’t have platinum plugs you may want to have them changed every 30,000 to 40,000 miles.


Your spark plug wires should be looked at every time you get your oil changed. Wires do last a long time. But if you get them checked regularly you won’t have to worry about them letting you down at the wrong time.  


These are just a few things you can do to help you save money at the gas pumps and reduce costly repairs later. Nobody likes to get their car or truck worked on but it is necessary to keep them running in tip-top shape.


If you have any other questions stop in to Forest Hill Car Care and say hay. We will answer any questions that you have about your vehicle and car repairs.

Winter Readiness For Maryland Cars

Winter Readiness For Maryland Cars

Your Maryland auto repair shop can help get you ready for the cold and wintry weather. While it has been a mild start to winter here in Maryland the temperatures are once again dropping. This makes it a good time to think again about whether your vehicle is ready.

Not only can some preventative car maintenance save you money but it can also reduce your stress.

One item to consider is the battery in your car. When the temperature drops your car battery must work harder to start your vehicle. Also the cold can reduce the charge on your car battery. If you don’t know when you last replaced your battery now is the time to check. Open the hood of your car and look at your battery. It should have a sticker with the date right on the battery.

Having a dead battery in your car won’t damage your vehicle. However, jumping your car to get it started can be dangerous. It also seems that a dead battery happens at the worst possible time. It usually happens on some frigid cold day when you are in a hurry to get the kids to school and yourself to work. These are the same days that the auto road services take longer to respond because there will be a lot of people with similar issues on a very cold day. Being late for work is not good and a dead battery is preventable if you take the time to replace your battery if it is getting old.

If you have not had the antifreeze checked in your car then make sure you get this done. Without the right levels of antifreeze some fluids in your vehicle can freeze and cause major damage to your vehicle. This damage is expensive to repair and may not even be repairable. Your auto repair shop can check the antifreeze to let you know if it is low or the solution is not sufficient for the upcoming cold temperatures.

Next to consider are your tires. If the cold weather brings precipitation you will want tires that can handle the conditions. Tires that are wearing unevenly, are low on tread or are not the right tread can create dangerous situations when driving. As if winter driving was not dangerous enough already. Visit your auto repair shop and have them check your tires to make sure you are ready for winter precipitation.

In Maryland winter precipitation means roads that have been treated with salt. Check the fluid in your windshield washer. When you have to drive in these conditions it is important to be able to effectively clear the salt residue from your windshield. Salt on your windshield can make it difficult to see clearly and create a dangerous driving situation. Having a full reservoir of windshield washer fluid will make sure you can keep the window clear and be able to safely see out when driving.

After a storm check the windshield washer fluid again. You can use up a lot of fluid in a short time when cleaning salt off of your windshield.

During the winter weather the oil in your car will get thicker from the cold temperatures. Be sure to let your car warm up a little longer on cold mornings so that your oil is at a consistency that can properly lubricate your engine. This will reduce wear and tear on your engine and help you to prevent other car repairs.

A trip to your local service shop can check these and other items on your vehicle to make sure you are ready for what winter sends our way. At Forest Hill Car Care you’ll receive personal and helpful service when you need auto repair service. If you live in Forest Hill, Bel Air, Fallston or the surrounding area inHarford County,Marylandthen please give us a call for your car repair and car maintenance needs.

How To Check And Fill Your Fluids

How To Check And Fill Your Fluids

Everybody that owns a vehicle should know how to check and fill their vehicle’s fluids. There are a few major fluid levels to check on most vehicles. By checking the fluids in your vehicle regularly you can help to save yourself from costly auto repairs.

Lets start with the windshield washer fluid: Have you ever noticed when you use your windshield washer that the fluid is blue? The fluid solution is a combination of solvents with a detergent. The solution may also contain antifreeze. It’s pretty simple to fill and if you have a funnel it can make it even easier to fill. The washer fluid reservoir is under the hood. If you can not locate where the reservoir is, check your owners manual it should show you how to find it. After you have located the reservoir just fill it to the top.

The next thing you want to check is the brake fluid. This pretty easy to check also because most vehicles will have a level mark on the reservoir and as long as the brake fluid is to the level line it’s good. This way you do not have to open the cap that is on the master cylinder.

If you look and see that the fluid is not at the level line just open the cap on the master cylinder and put enough fluid into the reservoir to reach the level line. Be careful with brake fluid because it will eat the paint of your car if is spilled and left on the paint. Always keep a nice clean rag with you when filling the brake reservoir. If you don’t have any brake fluid go to you local auto store and pick some up and make sure it’s for an automobile. If you are not sure ask the guy behind the counter.

Let’s move on to the power steering fluid. Before you check the power steering fluid make sure that the vehicle engine has been warmed up or as some would say to the proper operating temperature. Power steering fluid looks red and most of the time you can check it by simply un-screwing the cap right from the pump itself. The cap usually has a small dip stick attached to it. The dip stick will have a fill line on it. Use a funnel and pour the fluid in slowly so you don’t over-fill. Sometimes the reservoir is not attached to the pump but has a separate reservoir.

When checking the engine coolant, “CAUTION” is the firt rule of thumb. Never, ever open a radiator cap when the engine is hot. This is a great way to get burned. There is a lot of pressure that builds up when the engine is hot.

You can check the fluid by looking at the level line on the over flow reservoir. If it needs coolant just un-screw the cap from the over flow reservoir or bottle and fill to the level line.

Again never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot. That is one of the reasons why there is an over flow reservoir. If your vehicle, for some reason, does not have an over flow then wait until the engine cools down before you open the radiator cap.

To check the transmission fluid the vehicle needs to be in park or neutral with the brake on. The vehicle also needs to be running. You also want the engine warmed up before you check the fluid. To check the fluid, locate the dip stick which will most likely be towards the back of the engine on the passenger side.

With the engine running pull out the dip stick and wipe it off with a rag, then stick it back into the tube were you just pulled it from. Make sure you push the stick all the way down. Now pull the dip stick out and look on the stick for the level lin. If you need fluid add a little at a time and fill to the level line. Before you push the dip stick back down the tube be sure to wipe it off each time in order to will get a proper reading. Use a funnel when filling with fluid.

Note: If you have a manual transmission you need to get under the vehicle and remove a plug. Check the owner’s manual before you attempt checking the fluid. With transmission fluid you may be better off to let your mechanic check this. Checking it once a year should be fine unless you start hearing noises coming from the transmission.

Last but certainly not least is the engine oil. This is also checked with a dip stick and it is usually found towards the front of the engine on the passenger side. It should have the word “oil” on it. To check the oil turn the engine off and wait a few minutes to let the fluid drain into the oil pan so you can get a good reading on the dip stick. Another good time to check the oil is before you start the engine.

When you pull out the dip stick wipe it clean and look for a minimum and maximum level marking on the dip stick. Then put the dip stick into the tube push it all the way down. Wait a second and pull the stick back out and look and see where the oil level is on the stick. If the oil is at the minimum mark add a quart of oil. If it’s at the maximum you are good to go. If it’s in the middle you can add a half a quart. Use a funnel when putting oil into your vehicle.

You should check the oil at least once a month but preferably once every two weeks.

By taking the time to do these simple checks you can save yourself a lot of money. Checking the fluid and filling them properly now and not waiting until something goes wrong is a lot less painful for your pocket book when it comes to auto repairs.

Car Maintenance VS Car Negligence

Car Maintenance VS Car Negligence

With the increasing cost of car repairs and the hefty fees charged by your local mechanic, it’s easy to just ignore problems you’re starting to experience with your car. Many drivers do not pay attention to the signs that their car is telling them unless they experience a real trouble. However, you must know that car repair negligence has its price.

Car problems often start small, than grow bigger as you neglect them.

Failing to address the problems in your vehicle early on will result in more costly problems later on, such as:

• Serious damage: because you have been ignoring that puddle of fluid that you see under your car that could be an oil leak, and ignoring it won’t make it better. When a car loses it’s oil which is the blood line of the vehicle it will cause major problems that could easily cost you thousands of dollars in motor repairs or motor replacement.

• Accidents: If you’ve been hearing your brakes squeal every time you step on the brake pedal to stop, that’s a good sign that the brake pads are already worn-out. If you don’t take action and don’t replace the pads, you may experience brake failure that may lead to a serious accidents or death.

• More expenses: Smaller problems will always turn into bigger problems any time you ignore problems with your vehicle. Your car is one thing you should not skimp on. You rely on it to keep you safe when driving it, so don’t ignore things that are happening with your vehicle or you may one day find yourself facing a bigger expense due to neglect.

How To Save On Car Repair and Maintenance

While you may think that you’re stuck with huge expenses on your car, you’ll be glad to know that this isn’t so.

There are a lot of ways by which you can save on your vehicle, Here are a few.

1.) Perform Routine Maintenance and Inspection. Always, follow the routine maintenance schedule of your car, no matter how busy you are. Check the level of your car fluids regularly. Check the air pressure in your tires, check for proper tire wear, and try to keep your vehicle clean.

2.) Learn some maintenance basics of your vehicle so that you can do some of the checks yourself like how to check the oil, or the water in your radiator, even learn how to check your tires’ air pressure. You would be surprised that just doing these simple things can save you money down the road.

3.) Look around for a local family owned car service shop, not a brand name shop. A family owned shop will treat you better and you will get better service and better prices.

Delayed Auto Repairs Cost More

Delayed Auto Repairs Cost More

Your car is an important part of your life. Sometimes we don’t realize how important until it stops working. Here in Harford County, Maryland it is hard to get anywhere without a vehicle. Hi, my name is Bob Hines. I’m the owner of Forest Hill Car Care with my partner Dave Quante. Between the both of us we have over 80 years of experience in car repair. That’s a lot of years taking care of vehicles. We understand how important it is to find a good and honest mechanic that will take care of your vehicle without taking advantage of you.

Here at Forest Hill Car Care we give you “Peace Of Mind”. You want someone to look after you? You Got It!!

If you need a simple oil change or need major engine work we will be there for you. If you need a car inspected bring it in – we are Certified State Inspectors. We will make sure that the car is safe for you to drive. If you have problems with emissions we are also Certified in Emissions.

The best way to take care of your car is to bring it in for an oil change. While we are doing the oil change we will take a look at your brake system, balls joints, exhaust system and other import things. It’s better for you to get those items checked so you really don’t have to worry about them. But you do have to bring it in for first time so we can look at it.

With today’s economy many people are putting off necessary maintenance on their vehicles. They are also delaying necessary repairs. Unfortunately that is leading to them to spending even more money for more serious repairs. It saddens us to tell people that they have a major repair bill knowing that if they had brought their car in sooner it could have been repaired for much less.

Delaying necessary car repairs really does cost more in the long run. A small needed repair on your vehicle that is delayed can turn into a major repair bill in a very short time.

Some times it’s hard to trust someone with your vehicle that you don’t know and I can understand that. Would you rather trust someone that says we can do an oil change in 10 minutes for you or would you rather have someone that is very experienced and will take the time needed plus look over your car for you and let you know what he finds?

Don’t think that when we look over you car we are going to try to sell you on something else. We are only looking out for you and letting you know if there are any problems that you may or may not want to take care of or plan to have done. It’s your vehicle and we want you to be well-informed/

If you have any questions about your car we would be glad to talk to you about them. It’s important that you understand what your car needs and we will explain anything to you in terms you can understand.

You are very important to us here at Forest Hill Car Care. Take the time to come out and see us at 2403 Rocks Road Forest Hill, Md 21050 or call us at 410-838-3116.

You can even just stop by to meet us. Ask for Bob, I’m friendly and I look forward to meeting you.

Why Get An Oil Change?

Why Get An Oil Change?

Your vehicle’s owner’s manual recommends regular oil changes and so does your auto repair mechanic. Many vehicle owners change their oil for this reason alone but when you’re watching your budget you may question whether or not you need to have the oil changed in your car.

Changing your oil regularly can be one of the best investments in maintenance for your vehicle. It can save you from costly repairs to your engine.

Your engine operates at high temperatures. Over time this causes thermal breakdown in the oil in your engine. Parts of the engine can rub together and wear out when not properly lubricated.

The oil also absorbs water, duct and combustion byproducts. Over time the oil will get saturated and will not be able to absorb any more of these items. Once this happens this stuff remains in the engine and can cause corrosion.

In addition, oil contains additives that can neutralize acids. Eventually these additives get used up and are no longer effective.

Without regular oil changes your engine will not last as long as it could. An oil change is pretty inexpensive so it is a good investment to protect yourself from major repair costs caused by the lack of oil changes.

So the question isn’t so much whether or not you should change your oil but how often you should change it. Your owner’s manual states the proper intervals for your specific vehicle. However you should take into account other factors also.

You may want to change your oil even more frequently if you do a lot of high-speed driving, have a habit of taking off quickly from a stop or have periods of heavy acceleration.

If the climate is extremely hot or cold your oil may need changing more often. Already here in Harford County we have had some early cold temperatures. And this summer we had some extremely hot temperatures. So you should be thinking of changing your oil now.

If you drive on any dirt roads, even a dirt or gravel driveway, consider changing the oil more often. Your engine has to deal with more dirt and your oil helps to filter this dirt and keep it out of your engine.

If your vehicle is old and it burns oil, change the oil more frequently. And if you carry heavy loads – towing a boat, towing a trailer or regularly carrying additional weight in your vehicle – this would be a good reason for more regular changes.

When the oil is changed the oil filter is also replaced. This is a great way to help you avoid more costly repairs. So even if you’re watching your budget more carefully these days, an oil change is a must to help you avoid those budget-busting car repairs. If you would like to receive great service and still get a great deal on your oil change visit us a Forest Hill Car Care where we understand providing old-fashioned service at competitive prices. Located in Forest Hill, Maryland we provide auto repair service to many of your Forest Hill, Bel Air, Fallston and Harford County neighbors.

Vehicle Maintenance And Sensible Driving Habits For Harford County

Vehicle Maintenance And Sensible Driving Habits For Harford County

Regular vehicle maintenance and sensible driving habits will help the environment and save you money in the long run, according to the pros at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Well-maintained vehicles pollute less, last longer and command greater resale values. Follow these tips from ASE to become a more savvy and environmentally conscientious car-owner.

* Keep the engine running at peak performance. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent, for instance. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the owner’s manual to keep your vehicle in peak condition.

* Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to reduce the effort required by the engine. This reduces gasoline consumption.

* Find a good technician. Forest Hill Car Care in Forest Hill, Maryland has ASE certified technicians and a strong and solid reputation for good service.

ASE-certified auto technicians have passed one or more national exams in specialties such as engine performance and air conditioning.

* Have your vehicle’s air conditioner serviced only by a technician certified to handle and recycle refrigerants. Older air conditioners contain ozone-depleting chemicals, which could be released into the atmosphere through improper service.

* Avoid speeding and sudden accelerations. Both of these habits guzzle gas.

* Don’t let the car sit idle with the engine running. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine to conserve fuel.

* Consolidate errands to eliminate unnecessary driving.

* Remove excess items from the vehicle to reduce weight and improve gas mileage. A lot of people carry around a lot more weight in their car from excess stuff in the trunk then they realize. Also, be sure to remove that rooftop luggage carrier after vacations to reduce air drag.

ASE was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. Its certified technicians wear a blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia. They also carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the ASE sign – look for the ASE sign when you visit Forest Hill Car Care.

3 American Muscle Cars Extraordinaire

3 American Muscle Cars Extraordinaire

The Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevrolet Camaro are muscle cars extraordinaire. Only the Mustang is currently being produced. There may be plans to bring back the Challenger and Camaro. Is this the new age of Aquarius or are we witnessing a new muscle car era?

Bear with me as I step back in time to formulate what I believe are three terrific American built performance cars: the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger, and the Chevrolet Camaro. Currently, the Mustang ,Challenger, and the Camaro are in production..

So, what is it about American performance cars that set them apart from the rest? In one word: muscle. Read on as I compare and contrast these three vehicles and share with you my feeble attempts to explain the culture behind the cars.

So, you think I forgot the Chevy Corvette and Dodge Viper when talking about performance cars? No, I did not. Both models are performance cars as well as race cars. On the other hand the Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro are mass produced performance cars with muscle. There is a difference in the way a typical race car handles, rides, and performs vs. a muscle car.

Typically, a muscle car was a coupe version of some of the larger cars that were pervasive on U.S. highways in the 1960s and 1970s. The Mustang and Camaro, however, were designed separately [although they both heavily borrowed parts from other models] and these “pony” cars were a category all to themselves. For comparison’s sake, they join the Dodge Challenger, a performance version of Mopar cars of its time. All three were compared by critics of that time and all three will once again be compared in a few years when production has been ramped up.
Ford Mustang – Step back in time with me to April 1964 to an era when America was heavily involved in the space race, Lyndon Johnson was president, and General Motors ruled autodom.

Ford, for its part, had been nipping at GM’s heels for years, but the failed Edsels of the late 1950s had cost the company dearly. Still, it was the time of the New York World’s Fair and Ford used the fair and television technology to promote its newest offering, the Mustang. A 2+2 coupe borrowing parts from the Fairlane and Falcon, the 1964 ½ model was the first one sold and is widely credited with being the best introduction of a new vehicle ever. With a V6 engine standard and V8 optional, the all new Mustang quickly broke sales records and has been a hot seller ever since. Indeed, with the introduction of the “retro” look Mustang in 2005, the car once again has spawned interest in the muscle car segment as both DaimlerChrysler and General Motors craft competing models of their own.

Dodge Challenger – After the success of earlier muscle cars including the Dodge Charger and Plymouth Cuda, the Dodge Challenger was launched as a 1970 model. The car borrowed heavily from the Cuda although the sheet metal was somewhat different and the wheelbase was stretched by a couple of inches. Because the muscle car era was in decline at the time of its introduction, the Challenger lasted only five model years before it was cancelled. The concept Challenger currently on display at many auto shows is based on the 1970 design and is the talk of message boards and blogs across the nation. Look for Hemi powered engines as being favored by many owners; the car is likely to share some technology with the Magnum wagon and Charger sedan.

Chevrolet Camaro — GM was asleep at the wheel when the Mustang came out. It took nearly three years before the company could respond and when it did the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird were the result. Although both cars sold well over the years, neither one could match the Mustang’s sales levels and by the time the last cars were sold in 2002, production dropped to a trickle. Still, the end of the Camaro after 35 years stirred renewed interest in the name and thanks to the retro Mustang, the entire muscle car category is growing once again.

So, just who can be expected to purchase a muscle car these days? People just like me: middle aged men who grew up with the original models. In addition, a whole new generation of younger drivers tired of the “me too” look of so many of the compact cars out there. Muscle cars of today are so much different from earlier era cars as they incorporate the look of the originals while harnessing today’s technology. Thus, fuel savings will be decent without sacrificing performance: a true win-win situation.

Ball Joints Are Important To Your Car’s Suspension System

Ball Joints Are Important To Your Car’s Suspension System

Got ball joints? Yes, your car does. Maintenance has changed, but ball joints must still be inspected for wear, otherwise you risk causing tire or steering problems.

An important part of your car’s suspension system is its ball joints. Made of extra tough steel, ball joints act as the pivot point between two parts, the suspension and your car’s tires. Ball joints help support your car’s weight and, as is the case with some vehicles, ball joints may be used to help set the alignment. Let’s take a closer look at this key component of your car’s suspension system.

Enclosed in a steel housing, ball joints are used on the front end of almost every car, truck, SUV, and minivan. As might be expected, ball joints are subject to a lot of wear and tear. To properly protect them, the ball joints are housed in an enclosed boot to keep dirt away from the joint assembly.

There are two types of suspension systems that use ball joints. The first is a conventional system that uses an upper and lower ball joint. The second is called a MacPherson strut system that uses a single lower ball joint and an upper strut bearing. No upper ball joint is needed as the upper strut bearing does the job instead.

Maintenance for ball joints has changed over the years for most cars. Many vehicles are equipped with ball joints that are permanently lubed. Lubrication is not necessary nor is it even possible as the pack that holds the lubrication is permanently sealed. When ball joints wear out or are damaged, you can find replacement ball joints that come with lubrication fittings. In this case you would need to lubricate your ball joints on a regular basis as in when you change your vehicle’s oil.

When performing an inspection of your car’s suspension, your ball joints should be looked at too. Have a complete wheel alignment performed and make certain that the ball joints are not worn. If the ball joints wear out and are not changed, you will soon experience uneven tire wear or unreliable steering, such as wandering. Clearly, worn out ball joints are a safety issue that must be tended to and fixed immediately.

Ball joints are developed for the specific make and model of your vehicle. Many models share the same suspension system as other models within the brand. But to be sure check your vehicle’s repair manual for the right replacement ball joints. Certain manufacturers, such as Moog, develop ball joints for many makes and models and can be used by mechanics that prefer this particular product. Check online to find out more information about Moog ball joints and whether they are right for your car.

Remember, ball joints are an important part of your vehicle’s suspension system. Annual check ups of the suspension can head off costly problems and can help to keep you and your family safe.

Forest Hill Car Care Appreciates Their Customer’s Reviews

Forest Hill Car Care Appreciates Their Customer’s Reviews

Forest Hill Car Care would like to thank Colleen and Pat for taking the time to post a review. You deserve to have good customer care when you have you car serviced.