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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 Listicles

5 Easy Ways to Extend Your Battery’s Lifespan This Fall

As the autumn winds sweep in and the weather turns colder, there’s nothing more frustrating than abandoning the warmth of your bed, only to find that your car refuses to start. This problem can often be attributed to a drained battery, which becomes more vulnerable to power loss as temperatures decrease, potentially leaving you stranded in the chill.

To address this issue, here are five simple and affordable strategies to help ensure that your battery remains in good health until the relief of spring warmth arrives:

1. Avoid Short Drives

Contrary to popular belief, frequently running your engine for brief periods can exhaust your battery faster than taking it on a lengthy journey. In essence, short bursts of driving do not allow ample time for your battery to recharge properly, as the process of starting your car puts a strain on it. If you turn off your car just five to ten minutes later, the battery won’t have sufficient time to recuperate, leading to rapid discharge.

It is therefore advisable to plan for extended trips, particularly on the highway, when possible. This strategy allows your battery an extended opportunity to recharge. Opting for a slightly farther grocery store could add a few extra miles to your trip, but the marginal increase in fuel cost is considerably less than the expense of buying a new battery.

2. Don’t Remain Parked in One Spot Too Long

Despite their modern conveniences and innovative technologies, current vehicles are equipped with a plethora of electronic devices that could unwittingly deplete your battery. Even when your vehicle is not in use, features like security systems and keyless entry continue to draw a minimal yet constant current, a phenomenon known as parasitic drain.

If you foresee your vehicle being idle for an extended period, such as when you park at an airport to depart on a holiday vacation, try to minimize parasitic drain by deactivating as many of these features as feasible. Moreover, if you plan to stay home for several consecutive winter days, consider making the journey to your car and running the engine for about 20 minutes daily. In doing so, your battery can stick to its regular charging cycle.

3. Don’t Leave Electronics On with the Engine Off

It’s never a good idea to leave your dashboard active after switching off your car engine, regardless of the season. However, this act poses a greater risk to your battery during the colder months. Always ensure that all electronic devices, including your heater, radio, and headlights, are switched off when you turn off your car. If you happen to be sitting in your car for an extended period of time, it’s more beneficial for your battery to just keep the engine running.

4. Have a Pair of Jumper Cables Handy

We know that your trunk space is precious, but donate at least part of it to a pair of jumper cables. When you find yourself stuck on the side of a wintry road, there’s no guarantee that the first driver to happen upon you will have cables of their own.

At minimum, make sure each time you leave the house that your phone is charged. Hopefully you’re able to jump your car and avoid making a call for a tow, but it’s best to keep every available option open.

5. Monitor Your Battery More Frequently

If you still find yourself frequently worried about the condition of your car battery this Fall, it might be wise to purchase a car battery tester. Regular voltage monitoring can alert you to any impending signs of drain. After each examination, confirm that your battery is securely anchored to avoid potential internal damage caused by vibrations, especially in uneven, rural terrains. If you observe any corrosion, gently clean the battery terminals with cold water and dry them thoroughly with a cloth.

And if all else fails, remember that Toyota of Abilene is here for all your battery service needs. Our comprehensive diagnostic tests will leave no doubt as to what’s ailing your battery and what steps need to be taken next.

Throughout the Fall, stop by our showroom and check out our new and used inventory. And don’t neglect the rest of your vehicle just because your battery is now humming comfortably! From oil changes to parts and more, Toyota of Abilene has everything you need to stay on the road this holiday season.