Olde 8 Automotive

9805 Olde Eight Rd.
Northfield, Ohio 44067
HOURS: Monday - Friday 7:30-5:30

(330) 467-3427
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Olde 8 Automotive

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To repair or replace? That is the question.
Fix That Ailing Car or Replace It? Tips to Help You Decide

While you’re out at your favorite dealer pining for the sleek, new vehicles on the showroom floor, “old faithful” is probably parked in your driveway, longing for new tires and a brake job. But she’s paid for. And so the story begins.

When an aging car needs repairs, drivers often take the quickest route to their nearest new car dealer. But what if you spent your down payment on your old car, instead, and made it serviceable for another year or two? Today, more owners are fixing and driving their older cars. Average car ownership is up to 9 years—the longest it’s been since the
early 1950s.


There are plenty of pros and cons to consider when deciding if you should repair or replace. Here are some points in favor of repairing:

  • No big car payments (an opportunity to save for the down payment on a future new car purchase) 
  • Less sales tax to pay
  • Lower insurance premiums
  • No major depreciation (a new car loses an average of 25% of its value when it leaves the showroom, and 40% of its value in four years)
  • You know your old car’s problems and quirks—that’s not true if you buy another used car

Of course, there is a point of diminishing return to every financial decision. Changing cars is no different. If the cost of the combined repairs far exceeds the value of your old car, chances are you should trade up. Consider the following pros regarding a new car investment:

  • You may need a new car if your lifestyle (family size, business, recreational interests) changes to the extent that “old faithful,” even if fully restored, would no longer meet your needs
  • If your car needs several major repairs, such as both engine and transmission overhauls (possibly as a result of neglected maintenance), a new car may be best

It also may be best to buy new if:

  • Body and interior repairs would be costly even if the mechanical systems could be restored for a reasonable price
  • State-of-the-art safety features and the highest possible fuel economy are important to you
  • It means a lot to you to have a new vehicle parked in your driveway

In the end, you are the only person who can put pencil to paper and decide if it’s time to buy a new car.


If you would like to know more about vehicle price information, we suggest you visit www.edmunds.com.

Once of Prevention

For the past five years or so, Ben and his friend, Shirley, both have owned the same car model and have driven about the same number of miles. Their driving habits are similar, so it would stand to reason that the repair histories for both vehicles should be about the same, right? Wrong. While Shirley has never had a major problem with her car, Ben has had numerous malfunctions, breakdowns and unexpected repair bills.


Could Ben's car simply be a "lemon"? Maybe, but Ben’s luck probably has more to do with the difference in the way Shirley and Ben care for their vehicles.

Shirley faithfully follows the suggested maintenance schedule for her car, while Ben has a tendency to forget about, procrastinate, or otherwise neglect his maintenance recommendations. Ben has an “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude.


Shirley knows that practicing good preventive maintenance is the best way to avoid major mechanical breakdowns and to protect the substantial investment she made when she purchased a quality vehicle. Her goal is to drive a safe, dependable vehicle that will maintain its full market value.


In the meantime, Ben seems unaware that driving a neglected vehicle can pollute the atmosphere, waste fuel, increase ownership costs and pose a safety hazard to himself and other motorists. It is also difficult to budget for car repairs when you don't know when they might occur or what is likely to go wrong. Ben still does not realize that if small problems are not found and corrected, they turn into major problems that can get expensive and shorten the life of the vehicle.


Preventive maintenance is recommended to prevent major problems by ensuring the vehicle's various systems are properly inspected and serviced at regular intervals. Unfortunately, some motorists are under the impression that "preventive" means "optional" or "not really necessary." They put off these procedures, and then they can't figure out why their vehicles are not delivering the reliability, fuel economy and trouble-free performance they expected.


Let’s take an example: tire maintenance. Shirley checks her tire pressure every few weeks. She makes sure her wheels are properly aligned and balanced, and she gets her tires rotated every 6,000 to 7,000 miles. As a result, she can expect them to last up to 20% longer than the neglected tires that are wearing unevenly on Ben's car.


As far as her pocketbook is concerned, that's the equivalent of getting a 20% discount on a set of four tires. As a bonus, she gets better gas mileage, performance and handling to boot!

Here's another example: Many motorists assume their car's thermostat is working fine as long as the engine doesn't overheat. But a thermostat’s primary function is to help keep the engine at its most efficient operating temperature--neither too hot nor too cold. Any deviation from that temperature can produce a drop in efficiency, fuel economy and performance. The problem is that a thermostat, like most other parts on your car, does not last forever. After a few years, it begins to lose its ability to regulate operating temperature. This can result in increased engine wear that will shorten the life of the vehicle. So for Ben, a simple component like a thermostat can become an invisible drain on his wallet if it's not replaced at the appropriate interval.


What about severe service?

When you review your car's maintenance schedule, you must determine if it falls under the use category known as "severe service."


Many people assume this category pertains only to taxicabs, police cars and tow vehicles. They're often surprised to learn that under most manufacturers’ definitions, about 70% of all vehicles may fall into this group! The determining criteria often include common situations such as short-trip driving, stop-and-go driving, driving in extremely hot or cold temperatures, excessive idling and driving in dry or dusty conditions. If your vehicle meets any of these criteria, you may need to follow your manufacturer’s schedule for severe service.


Preventing breakdowns

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that as many as 5,000,000 roadside breakdowns could be prevented each year if motorists would simply ensure their belts, hoses, tires and batteries are checked on a regular basis.


In Ben's case, if service is not performed on his vehicle for 10,000 miles, that means no one is inspecting his belts; hoses; battery; charging, cooling, fuel and ignition systems; brakes; tires; transmission; steering; suspension; exhaust; etc. Ben can’t know if potential problems are developing in any of those areas.


Have your vehicle serviced at the appropriate intervals to control your car's repair and maintenance needs—don’t let those needs control you! For recommendations regarding the proper service intervals for your vehicle, consult your owner's manual or ask your service technician.


Onboard Diagnostics
Why can't that computer tell me exactly what's wrong with my vehicle?

Let's say your vehicle just isn’t running properly. The "check engine" light is glowing, your gas mileage has dropped and you've got a rough idle when you come to a stop. A no-brainer, right? It must be time for your technician to do an analysis to find the problem.


In this age of high-tech, low-polluting automobiles, modern diagnostic procedures involve things like digital code scanners, computer data streams and electronic engine analyzers. As a result, motorists sometimes assume the "computer" will have the answer to every problem. It’s not that simple; this electronic device is just another tool to help technicians diagnose and repair your vehicle as quickly and accurately as possible.


An accurate diagnosis requires a combination of the proper knowledge, skill, training and equipment and an up-to-date information base that provides quick access to thousands of pages of technical reference data. Let's look at how the diagnostic process works, and why it's not always as simple as it might seem.

Any vehicle built since the early 1980s has an onboard diagnostic (OBD) system that monitors various sensors located throughout the vehicle (the newer the vehicle, the more sophisticated the system). These sensors report data such as vehicle and engine speed, coolant temperature, manifold pressure, throttle position, etc., to the central computer. By continuously monitoring this data stream, your car’s computer can make adjustments to optimize the vehicle's performance, fuel economy and emission levels. That is, until something goes wrong.


Suppose one of those sensors sends a signal that's out of the normal range, or perhaps no signal at all. Recognizing this as a sign of possible malfunction, the computer may do one or more of the following, depending on which of the vehicle's systems appears to have the problem:

1. It may store a fault code or diagnostic trouble code (DTC) in its memory.

2. It also may illuminate the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) on the instrument panel (sometimes known as the "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" light). This alerts the driver that a possible malfunction has been detected.


If the missing or corrupted signal is one that's essential if the engine is to continue to operate, the power train control module (PCM) may decide to switch to a fail-safe or "limp" mode. This allows the computer to ignore the faulty signal and use preset generic data instead. On some vehicles, this may be called the limp-in mode. Once a vehicle has switched to this mode, the engine may perform poorly, but at least it will run. (This may explain your rough idle and reduced fuel economy.)


In rare cases, loss of a sensor signal could disable the engine completely. If the PCM has no way to monitor engine speed, for example, it may have no other choice except to shut down the engine.

Okay, so now your OBD system has caused the MIL to light up, your PCM has stored a DTC and your engine is running in limp mode. Are you thoroughly confused yet? It's time to "limp" to Olde 8 Automotive (WAC), where a technician will identify and solve your problem.

We usually begin the troubleshooting process by connecting your vehicle's computer to an electronic code scanner or diagnostic computer. Putting the OBD system in diagnostic mode allows retrieval of any store fault codes.


The method for retrieving the codes may vary, but the important thing to realize is that a fault code seldom reveals exactly what's wrong with your vehicle. Instead, it gives the technician a starting point from which to begin an analysis. A fault code only reveals that something abnormal has occurred in a particular circuit. It does not reveal exactly what caused the abnormality. Was it a bad sensor? A failed part? A short in the wiring? A loose connection? A false code that shouldn't be there at all, or perhaps a malfunction in the PCM itself? These are some questions the technician must answer.


Armed with the DTC codes, your technician can then refer to a diagnostic chart that lists step-by-step tests and procedures to follow in sequence so the faulty component can be identified and either replaced or repaired.


Depending on the nature of the problem, testing procedures may be time-consuming, often involving an analysis of the data stream from the sensors while the engine is running. This may require a "flight test," in which the car is driven on the road while connected to portable hand-held diagnostic equipment.


The process can be complicated when it works exactly like it's supposed to. And when it doesn't? That's when our training technicians, skills and information resources are taxed to the fullest.

When troubleshooting a specific problem, a variety of mysterious "glitches" that might hamper the diagnostic process may occur. For example, a fault code may not be present, either because it was never stored or has already been erased by the PCM. The technician may have to get it to reappear before the problem can be isolated.


If a "false" code is found, it may be caused by a voltage spike, an improperly grounded circuit or a failure to erase and old code. If this is suspected, the solution may be to erase the code from memory and then test drive the vehicle to see if it reappears.

If a problem occurs intermittently, there may not be any codes or clues to follow until the malfunction occurs again. ("Gee, I'm sure it was doing it last week!")


Sometimes a problem cannot be detected by the OBD system. A timing belt that has "jumped" slightly out of position may be unrecognizable to the PCM, for example.


Some vehicles have problems that may not appear until they've been driven for a few years. If these problems generate false codes in a particular model of car or truck, the manufacturer may issue a technical service bulletin (TSB) to alert technicians about the glitch and save them from hours of fruitless testing. Your WAC technician may need to check a TSB information source to check for bulletins pertaining to your car’s problem.


Computers are certainly an essential part of the diagnostic process, but they don't have all of the answers--at least not yet. Isn't that why you bring your car or light or medium truck to us?



Winterizing Your Vehicle Can Save Cold Cash

Bethesda, MD – November 9, 2010 – The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. Winterizing your vehicle should be a top priority, according to the Car Care Council, saving you from the inconvenience of being out in the cold and with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.

“The thought of a breakdown, an engine not starting or otherwise being stranded is stressful as it is, but those things happening in freezing winter weather are extra stressful and costly,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “An investment of an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during harsh weather.”

The Car Care Council recommends the following steps for winterizing your vehicle:

  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to a “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  • If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and that headlights are properly aimed.

Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication. 


Free Loaner Vehicles
If there’s no time to wait for your vehicle to be serviced, Olde 8 Automotive offers FREE and convenient local shuttle service and FREE loaner vehicles to get you where you need to go. More Info


Our warranty starts with the NAPA AutoCare Peace of Mind Warranty, good for 12 months or 12,000 miles.  Then Olde 8 takes you even further, extending this warranty for two more years or 24,000 more miles to be a 36 month or 36,000 mile warranty on our work at any NAPA AutoCare Center nationwide.

Lots of folks like the peace of mind of having even more coverage, and purchase an extended warranty for their vehicles.  An extended warranty can make sure any vehicle is always safe and reliable.  On the other hand, they can be expensive and they're not for everyone.  In some cases though, the pay back and convenience is worth it.

If you are thinking about purchasing an extended warranty, please consult us first. Sometimes the paperwork can be confusing, and since we work with these companies often, we can help you decide which warranty would fit your vehicle the best.


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