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Toyota of Abilene Maintenance Tips

Five Early Warning Signs You Need New Brakes

It’s a new year, which unfortunately means your car is officially one model year older. That also means your brakes have amassed another year of wear and tear.

Gaging the the state of your brakes can be tricky, but by staying vigilant for the subtle signals they send you, you can get ahead of any costly estimates your vehicle stands to inherit this year. Recognizing these signs and moving quickly to address them can also greatly extend your vehicle’s lifespan. 

Courtesy of the service technicians at Lithia Toyota of Abilene, here are five warning signs that suggest it’s time to replace your brake pads or rotors.

High-Pitched Screeching 

Often, you hear brake problems before you see or feel them. That’s thanks to the high-pitched screeching sound that emits from your brake pads when they’re wearing thin. Interestingly, the screeching isn’t a direct result of wearing brakes; manufacturers intentionally insert a piece of metal into the brake pads in order to alert you when a replacement is imminent.

If the grating sounds continue despite new brake pads, there’s a chance that your rotors may be glazed. This occurs when metal heats up and burns due to excessive braking. Check your rotors for blue marks for a dark ring; either could indicate that the rotors also need replacement. 

If the squealing is replaced by a grinding, metallic noise, that means your brake pads have completely worn down past the point where replacing them is possible. Take it to us for brake service immediately if this sound emerges, as it could lead to larger safety issues. 

The Eye Test 

Sometimes it’s easier not to overthink things. If your brake pads look like they have a problem, they likely do. You can find them wedged between the wheels’ spokes, pressed up against the rotors. Measure the pads, and if you find they’re less than a quarter of an inch thick, it may be time to schedule a service appointment with us.

Performance Anomalies 

When your brakes stop responding as quickly as they should, it may be a sign of a leak in your braking system. If your brakes are sending out vibrations (the kind that causes your steering wheel to quake, not the Beach Boys kind), either the brake pads or rotors are in need of replacement.

Your brakes are always sending messages like these to alert you to their condition. The more in tune you are with your vehicle, the better you’ll become at assessing when and why your vehicle is behaving abnormally. 

Extreme Sensitivity 

Perhaps you started your Camry today only to find your brakes acting unusually sensitive, jerking you to a halt at the slightest tap of the brake pad. This could be due to either the rotors wearing down unevenly or the brake fluid needing replacement. 

Alternately, you might have a problem when your brakes prove too insensitive and only engage when you apply excessive pressure. This could be a symptom of low brake fluid, thin brake pads, or even a sign that something is amiss with your car’s hydraulic system.

Puddle of Doom 

The last thing you want to see on a bright, sunny day is a puddle formed beneath your idle car. Unless it’s residue from an overnight shower, it’s most likely your brake fluid dripping out of your car due to a leak. You should be able to tell the difference between regular motor oil and brake fluid, which is notably thinner. 

Give Me a Brake

Life may be full of stops and starts… but you should have as much autonomy over them as possible. Don’t leave your fate to the whims of worn-out brake pads, glazed rotors, or a faulty hydraulic system. We’re here to assist you with all your brake needs, along with battery service, oil changes, and more.

Visit us at Lithia Toyota of Abilene today, where we never put the brakes on a good deal. With our extensive inventory of new and certified pre-owned vehicles at your disposal, your dream car is just a stop away.

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Toyota of Abilene Maintenance Tips

A Guide to EV Tire Buying and Maintenance

The rise in popularity of electric vehicles can be attributed to various factors, such as a growing focus on environmental sustainability and increased availability of charging infrastructure. However, if we had to identify a single key factor, it would be the significant improvement in range capacity. Initial versions of EVs were constrained by limitations in battery technology, resulting in limited distances before requiring a recharge. Nowadays, the average range of electric vehicles has expanded substantially, spanning from 250 to 500 miles.

Just like with regular gas vehicles, there are many factors that can affect your car’s performance. But when it comes to maximizing the range of your electric vehicle, your tires play a major role. EVs perform at their best when the car and tires work together seamlessly, so when you’re in the market for EV tires, it’s important to consider their compatibility.

In this guide, Lithia Toyota of Abilene helps optimize your range by explaining what you need to know about EV tires. 

Switching From Your Original Tires: The Risks 

Keep in mind that the tires initially installed on your electric vehicle were specially developed for that specific car. EV manufacturers understand the unique requirements of their vehicles, so the tires are designed to maximize range while maintaining preferred performance.

With that being said, each and every car owner has their own personal preference when it comes to the accessories they choose for their vehicle. It’s completely fine to trade in your tires for ones that better suit your taste, but it’s important to be mindful of the potential performance changes that may result from such a switch.

Let’s say you want tires that provide better grip to improve performance and braking. This might come at the cost of a quieter driving experience, which is usually what you want in an electric vehicle. Plus, if you decide to switch to different tires than the ones designed for your EV, you risk reducing the vehicle’s range. On the other hand, if you go for tires with low wear to increase the range, you might notice a drop in performance.

Finding the perfect balance is definitely achievable. However, switching to different tires comes with its own set of unforeseen problems, diverging from the recommended EV tires. Reach out to our tire experts, who will guide you in selecting the ideal option that caters to both your needs and your EV.

Watch Your Tires’ PSI 

If you’ve ever owned a gas-powered car, you probably know that having low tire pressure can lead to increased fuel consumption. And the same idea applies to electric vehicles. Even a small decrease in PSI can greatly affect the rolling resistance of your EV, which directly impacts its range. That’s why many EV owners choose low friction tires—they decrease rolling resistance and enhance range, efficiency, and sustainability.

When it gets colder in winter, it’s crucial to keep in mind that tire air pressure fluctuates more. Make a point to check your car’s PSI levels at least once a month during this winter period, and even more often if possible. If you notice consistently low PSI levels, you might want to think about getting a portable tire inflator to keep at home.

And if issues still arise or persist, make an appointment with our Service Department as soon as possible.

Put a Charge in Your Life 

Here at Lithia Toyota of Abilene, we pride ourselves in being at the forefront of modern ingenuity, with electric vehicles and hybrids ranging from the 2023 Toyota Crown to the Sequoia to the Prius.

Whether you’re looking to join the EV revolution or are interested in our entire, vast inventory of new and used vehicles, we have everything you need to help you roll smoothly into 2024 and beyond.

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Toyota of Abilene Maintenance Tips

How to Jump Start a Car: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reviving Your Dead Battery 

If your car battery has died, you’re not alone. It’s a common issue that can happen to anyone. Luckily, jump-starting a car is a simple process that can save you from having to call a tow truck or mechanic. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the steps to jump-start your car safely and easily. 

Step 1: Check Your Battery 

Before you begin, inspect your battery to ensure it is properly attached and free of corrosion or leaks. These issues can cause the battery to fail, so be sure to address them before attempting to jump-start your car. 

Step 2: Gather Tools 

You’ll need a few items to jump-start your car, including a set of jumper cables and a working car with a charged battery. Jumper cables are typically black and red with clamps on both ends and can be found at your local auto parts store or here at Toyota of Abilene. Park the working car close enough to your vehicle so that you can safely attach the jumper cables to both batteries with ease. 

Step 3: Attach Cables 

Start by ensuring both cars are turned off before attaching the jumper cables. Locate the positive and negative battery terminals on each car, terminals are usually color-coded and labeled with a plus (+) or minus (-) sign. 

Attach one end of the positive (+) cable (usually red) to the dead battery’s positive terminal. Do the same for the support car’s positive terminal. Take one end of the negative (-) cable (usually black) and attach it to the good battery’s negative terminal. Finally, attach the other end of the negative cable to the dead car’s negative battery terminal or an unpainted piece of metal on the car. 

Step 4: Start the Working Car and Wait 

With both vehicles properly connected, start up the working car and let it run for 15 to 20 minutes. As it runs, the charging system will begin to charge the dead battery on your vehicle.  

Step 5: Try Starting Your Car 

After fifteen to twenty minutes, attempt to start your own car. If it starts up, congratulations – you’ve successfully jump-started your vehicle! Next, disconnect the cables in the opposite order you connected them, taking care not to touch the metal parts of the cables together as you remove them. Remove the negative (-) cable from your car’s battery, then the negative cable from the support car’s battery. Do the same for the positive (+) cable on each vehicle.  

Once you disconnect the jumper cables, you’re done! Wasn’t that easy? 

Step 6: If Your Car Doesn’t Start 

If your car still won’t start, try repeating the process. If it still doesn’t work, you may need to get a new battery or have your car inspected by a mechanic here at Toyota of Abilene. 

Final Thoughts 

Jumpstarting your car is easy and a practical skill that every driver should know — but prevention is always better than cure. Ensure that you turn off all lights and electronics in your car when the engine is not running. This will help prevent your battery from draining. Regularly maintaining your battery by cleaning it and checking for leaks or corrosion will also help prolong its lifespan. 

With the right tools and knowledge, knowing how to jump start a vehicle can put you back on the road quickly and avoid a costly tow truck call. Remember to always handle jumper cables with caution, as they contain electricity that can be dangerous if not used correctly. Follow these steps, and you’ll be more than ready to jump-start your car the next time your battery dies on you.