FAQ: Answers to some of Cary Car Care’s most frequently asked questions!

5 FAQ that are at the top of everyone's mind when it comes to car care this time of year!

The winter months are coming! What do you need to be concerned with or what can wait until after the colder weather? Here are Cary Car Care's top FAQ to help you make those determinations:

1. Does my car need a winter check up?

Although the days are gone of having your vehicle "winterized," it's certainly a good idea to have your vehicle checked before the cold months hit. Those winter months bring snow, ice and freezing temperatures so we want to pay extra attention to your tires, battery, and coolant. We recommend assessing the tires to be sure they are in good condition to handle any adverse weather as well as test the battery and coolant to ensure they can handle the colder temperatures.

2. Are all brake noises the same?

The quick answer is "no". Different types of vehicles are equipped with brake squeal indicators that make noise when the brake pads are low and in need of service. This noise is usually a high-pitched squeal that means brake service is necessary immediately. The brakes can also make noises that may be inherent to the pads without indicating any safety concerns. If you hear a noise when braking, we recommend having the brake inspected to find out how immediate the needs are.

3. What does that light mean?

Here's a few funny light interpretations! Here is the real thing! A few of the most common:
  • SES/picture of an engine = Service Engine Soon / Check Engine Light **If this light is on steady with no driveability symptoms, it is safe to drive and handle at your earliest convenience. If light is blinking, you could be causing further damage to your vehicle by driving and we recommend immediate assistance.**
  • VSC = Vehicle Stability Control
  • Picture of a wrench = regular maintenance due
  • Exclamation point surrounded by a "U" = Tire Pressure Monitor System/Tire pressures need to be checked
  • Oil percentage = oil life remaining **This does not correlate to the oil level**

**The color of the light is important as well. Green or white lights can be taken care of on your own schedule or as needed. Yellow indicates some urgency and that you should call your mechanic to schedule when you are able. Red indicates immediate attention and it should be handled as soon as it is safe to do so.**

4. When do my tires need to be replaced?

When it comes to tires, all are not created equal. The length of time a tire will last and how it performs are dependent on lots of factors including the type of tire (brand and model), the type of driving, if the alignment is within specification etc. However, all tires have the same measurement scale. Most tires start at about 10-12/32 of an inch. When the tire reaches 4/32", it becomes more slippery in wet weather and when it reaches 2/32" it becomes a safety issue (the tires will also fail the annual NC state inspection if they are below that tread depth). To help, here is a visual of the tread depths: Cary Car Care recommends having the tread depth checked at every regular service to anticipate when tires are necessary and to give you peace of mind when they are not.

5. Should I replace or restore my headlights?

With winter months come shorter days and longer nights. You want to be prepared to handle the darkness with bright lights! As cars age, the headlight lenses deteriorate from the time spent in the sun on the inside and the outside. This leaves a film that reduces the light that permeates the lens. Cary Car Care can assess if the headlights are in good enough condition to restore or if they are beyond that point and in need of replacement. If they can be restored, the process includes sanding down the headlights with a lot of elbow grease and waxing them to create a clean, protective coat to help prolong their life. Do you have a burning question about car care that you want featured in our FAQ segment? Let us know! We look forward to helping and as always, call if we can be of service!

Written by Cary Car Care