Categories
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.

Categories
New Toyota Vehicle

The Toyota Tacoma Levels Up for 2024

The Toyota Tacoma has long been regarded as one of the sturdiest midsize pickup trucks on the market. However, it seems the Tacoma is no longer content with resting on the laurels of its reliability. Enter the 2024 Toyota Tacoma, which has received a notable glow-up, emerging as a faster, stronger vehicle by every measure.

At first glance, it may appear that little has changed with this year’s Tacoma. But while its cosmetic upgrades are subtle, this Tacoma is an feat of engineering ambition. In terms of comfort, performance, and technology, the 2024 Tacoma is a complete evolution from previous models. 

Overhauled and Ready to Haul 

The changes in the latest Tacoma may not be fully apparent when you see it, but you’ll detect them once you get behind the wheel. It sports a new i-Force turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With the same 278 horsepower, this 2.4-liter engine replicates the power output of the 3.5-liter V-6 it’s replacing. Additionally, the i-Force engine redistributes the torque dramatically, as the Tacoma is now able to hit 317 lb.-ft. from as low as 1,700 rpm. For the first time, the Tacoma feels nimble.

Most impressively, the midsize truck doesn’t sacrifice its hauling and towing numbers for the sake of its enhanced performance. If anything, the Tacoma’s payload ratings have also been elevated, now up to 1,447 – a 300-lb. improvement from the 2023 model. Towing, meanwhile, remains consistent with previous numbers at 6,400 pounds. 

And the Tacoma TRD Off-Road excels when it comes to off-road adventuring, as it’s able to easily traverse any terrain. From sand dunes to deep mud to uneven, rocky surfaces, there isn’t a challenge the newest Tacoma isn’t equipped to face. 

A Brand New Beast 

The cosmetic and interior changes to the new Tacoma may be less apparent than its performance enhancements… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t significant. For one, it marks the debut of Toyota’s new Audio Multimedia System, which runs alongside standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The high-mounted, 14-inch touchscreen features conveniently large app icons, perfect for on-the-move tapping.

The interior is noticeably more spacious than past models, with more lenient headspace for taller drivers. For a more decadent experience, consider the Premium package, which includes additional interior features such as:

  • Heated power front seats. 
  • A heated steering wheel. 
  • A sunroof. 
  • Surround-view camera system. 
  • 10-speaker JBL audio system. 

Drive a New Ride Into 2024

The Toyota Tacoma will continue to be known for its world-class reliability – but that’s no longer its sole, defining feature. By addressing and upgrading the Tacoma’s performance, driving dynamics, hauling, technology, and interior cabin, Toyota has created an evolved truck that looks like the 2023 Tacoma… but feels like the future.

Here at Lithia Toyota of Abilene, an evolutionary driving experience awaits you regardless of the type of vehicle you prefer, from the sporty 2024 GR Supra to the family-friendly 2024 Sienna. Abilene’s preeminent Toyota dealership also has you covered when it comes to servicing your current vehicle. Whether you need tires, brakes, batteries, or an oil change, we’ll keep you on the road until you’re ready for your next new car-buying adventure. 

Categories
New Toyota Vehicle

Checking in on the Toyota Corolla Cross

When Toyota unveiled their compact crossover SUV the Corolla Cross hybrid in 2020, it seemed to fill a logical hole in Toyota’s SUV lineup. Longer and wider than the subcompact C-HR and taller than the Corolla hatchback, the Cross was more akin to a hybrid version of the RAV4.

The Corolla Cross rolled out alongside a new Toyota motto: “everyday, reinvented.” Taken at face value, the slogan seems to promise excitement; here is a vehicle so dynamic that it has the capacity to change the very fabric of virtually any day.

But with nearly a half decade of hindsight, it’s easy to look at that motto another way. The Corolla Cross was never designed to reinvent life itself. Rather, it was meant to literally reinvent your everyday routine, offering a sustained measure of practicality that took all that was burdensome about life’s day-to-day trials and streamlined it.

Recently, MotorTrend completed their yearlong test review of the 2022 Corolla Cross. In the end, they also arrived at the same descriptor: practicality. Let’s look at where the Corolla Cross stands and where it figures to go from here.

The Year-Long Findings

Although the Corolla series launched way back in 1966, the Corolla Cross was the very first hybrid crossover introduced to Toyota’s lineup. Initially, it was powered by a standard 1.8-liter inline-four with 138 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque.

After spending a year with the 2022 Corolla Cross, MotorTrend kept coming back to the little details that coalesced into a practical whole: the enormous trunk and cargo capacity, the rubber floor mats, the wireless charger-storing cubby beneath the HVAC controls.

The magazine also praised the Corolla Cross’s lifetime fuel economy of 29 mpg, citing minimal spending at the pump and low maintenance costs. In terms of fuel economy, the Corolla Cross comfortably outpaced rivals such as the CX-30, Soul, and Mazda 3.

And while the Corolla Cross admittedly offered little in the way of surprises, MotorTrend deemed it a great fit for daily commutes and errands, as its slight frame made parking in tight spots painless.

Crossing Into 2024

Toyota has been a key part of the global movement towards electrification since its outset, and the latest edition of its crossover hybrid continues their green effort.

Since the 2022 model, the Corolla Cross has added standard all-wheel drive. Its engine has been upgraded to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with three electric motors combining for 196 horsepower. For the 2024 model, the Corolla Cross SE and XSE trims receive updated wireless smartphone charging pads.

Though changes to the Cross have been incremental, its foundation has held solid. You’ll still find the same affordable starting price, the same level of fuel efficiency, and the same level of dependability.

Sometimes it’s better to know what to expect when tackling everyday life. The overtly practical Corolla Cross hybrid is peace of mind on four wheels. And as we get an early look at the redesigned 2025 model, it doesn’t appear as though that core philosophy is changing, regardless of how sleek the Cross becomes.

Your Next Toyota Experience Awaits

The new year is upon us, and that means it’s time for resolutions. In 2024, resolve to get behind the wheel of a new or used Toyota vehicle. Whether you’re interested in the Cross, new models such as the 2024 Toyota Tundra, or just in need of an oil change, Lithia Toyota of Abilene is here to keep for all your practical – and occasionally indulgent – auto needs.

Categories
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.

 

Categories
Service Center

What is Synthetic Oil and How Often Should I Change It?

Some may say that the engine is the most important part of your vehicle, but the truth is, it isn’t the engine itself, but what runs through it that is the most important part of your vehicle. Engine oil is the most important part of your vehicle, as it protects vital components of your engine that keep your car running right. Through short trips, weekend joy rides, and long cruises, the oil in your engine heats up and cools off multiple times, and must not degrade during this process as that could cause engine wear and tear, and eventual failure.

To keep engine oil from degrading quickly, oil manufacturers turned to synthetic oil blends which degrade at a slower rate and even provide improved protection to the engine. Synthetic oil is far more refined than traditional oil, resulting in less engine friction, reduced sludge buildup, and even better engine performance.

If you’re located in Abilene or the surrounding areas and wondering when you should change your oil, you’ll want to read the rest of this blog!

What is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil is an artificial lubricant that was designed to reduce friction and wear of internal combustion engines, as well as replace traditional motor oil. Developed from chemically modified petroleum instead of crude oil, synthetic oil provides better performance by reducing friction and wear of your engine, far better than a traditional motor oil can. Synthetic oil tends to degrade at a slower rate than traditional motor oil, making it an attractive choice to auto manufacturers attempting to keep their vehicle maintenance costs low.

One of the best benefits of synthetic oil that often goes overlooked is it’s reduced impact on the environment. With synthetic oil usage on the rise, the world’s reliance on crude oil has decreased, thus reducing the environmental impact that oil has. If you want to reduce your vehicle maintenance costs, wear and tear, and environmental impact, using synthetic oil in your car is the way to go!

Why Should I Use Synthetic Oil?

The use of synthetic oil isn’t just about reducing your environmental impact or stopping the use of crude oil throughout the world, its best trick is increasing the performance of your engine! Synthetic oil is great to use in your engine, as it can withstand a wider range of temperatures, is more stable, and causes less engine sludge. Using synthetic oil also means your internal engine parts will stay better lubricated, meaning less wear and tear on your engine and better performance too.

With a longer lifecycle, synthetic oil allows you to stretch the time between changes, as they last anywhere from 7,500 to 15,000 miles. This longer lifecycle means you can save money and not worry about your engine’s performance degrading or being at risk. If you own a newer car with a turbocharged or hybrid engine, using synthetic oil is a must as these engines have higher compression ratios which cause extreme wear and tear.

How Often Should I Change My Oil?

Each vehicle and engine has different requirements for oil change intervals, but its been a general rule of thumb to change your oil every three months or 3,000 miles. These days, however, oil change intervals seem to be growing, with most manufacturers making the switch to synthetic or fully synthetic oil. Since synthetic oil takes far longer to degrade and can withstand higher temperatures, you should be able to stretch out the time you take between oil changes.

With most synthetic oil manufacturers claiming to get tens of thousands of miles between each oil change, it’s easy to get confused about when you should be swapping out your oil. The best way to know when to get an oil change is to read your car’s owner’s manual, as it will list all the various service intervals needed to maintain your car properly. If you’re unsure of when to change your oil, simply call up the parts and service experts here at Toyota of Abilene, we’ll be happy to provide you with that information.

Where Can I Get Synthetic Oil?

You can purchase synthetic oil from your local auto supply store, or you could stop in here at Toyota of Abilene as we stock the widest variety of synthetic oils around. Not only will we have the exact synthetic oil and filter you’re looking for in stock, but we’ll have it at the best price as well.

Is it time to change your oil? Have it changed here at Toyota of Abilene, as we have the best team of expert mechanics and the lowest prices in the Abilene area. Don’t waste your precious weekend beneath your vehicle, let our certified mechanics here at Toyota of Abilene Service Center, located in Abilene, TX.