car repairs

5 Signs it’s Time to Have Your Vehicle Serviced

Having car repairs done on time is essential for the safety of you and others on the road. According to Zippia, in 2022, the total value of the U.S. car and automobile manufacturing market was estimated to be $100.9 billion. It’s a clear indication of the importance of car repairs and maintenance. Here are five signs that you should take your car in for service.

1. Dashboard Warning Lights

If your car’s dashboard has any warning lights, you must take it to a car repair shop as soon as possible. Ignoring the lights could lead to more serious problems down the line. Dashboard warning lights may indicate several car issues such as low tire pressure, an overheated engine, or that the car needs an oil change.

2. Unusual Noises

Unusual noises range from loud thumping or crunching sounds to car rattles and vibrations. These noises may indicate a worn-out suspension, faulty brakes, or a misfiring engine. Auto professionals will be able to pinpoint the source of the noise and can provide car repairs that could fix the problem.

3. Reduced Performance

Reduced car performance can be caused by several issues, such as worn-out spark plugs, dirty fuel filters, or a faulty car battery. Failure to get service can result in car breakdowns and costly car repairs. Signs of reduced performance include decreased car acceleration, difficulty starting the car, or a car that is sluggish when driving.

4. Odd Smells

Do you notice unusual car smells like burning rubber or gasoline? The car’s air filter might be clogged, the car might be leaking oil, or there may be an electrical issue. Leaking oil is dangerous and can cause car fires, so it’s important to take the car in for repairs as soon as you notice any strange odors.

5. Excessive Vibrations

Excessive car vibrations can be caused by worn-out tires, uneven tire pressure, or brake issues. A vibrating car is unsafe and distracting to the driver. It can cause the car to lose control and increase the risk of an accident.

Overall, car maintenance is essential for everyone’s safety. Pay attention to any warning signs it’s time to have your car serviced to avoid costly car damage. Our local auto team at Melton Automotive is always available to help, so contact us to get started.

auto repair

5 Benefits of Regular Auto Maintenance

In 2022, 80.4 million cars and trucks were manufactured worldwide, according to Forbes. That’s a lot of cars on the road that require regular attention and maintenance. Regular auto maintenance is one of the most important investments you can make and it has some significant benefits. Read on to find out why you should be a regular visitor at your local auto repair shop.

1. Increase the Lifespan of Your Vehicle

Regular auto maintenance helps increase your vehicle’s lifespan. The parts in a car consist of metal and other materials that can wear down over time, leading to potential issues if left unchecked. Regular oil changes and other preventative maintenance will help keep these parts running smoothly and efficiently for a longer period. Regular check-ups will also help detect any underlying issues that could become more costly if left untreated.

2. Enhance Safety

Safety is an important factor to consider with auto maintenance. Regular tune-ups and check-ups will help to ensure that your vehicle is up-to-date on any necessary repairs or replacements. It’ll help reduce the chances of an accident or malfunction while driving, keeping you and your passengers safe. Additionally, regular maintenance helps keep all the components in good working order to respond properly when needed.

3. Boost Fuel Efficiency

Auto repair professionals also help to increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Regular tune-ups and oil changes will help maintain your engine’s power, allowing it to use less energy and save you money in the long run. Additionally, inspections will help identify any issues that may cause your car to use more fuel than necessary, such as a clogged air filter or worn spark plugs.

4. Avoid Costly Repairs

Going to your auto repair shop can help you avoid costly repairs down the line. With regular check-ups and maintenance, your auto technician can identify and address issues before they become major problems.

5. Keep Your Vehicle’s Value High

Regular maintenance can also help you maintain your car’s value. Good auto work will help keep it looking and running like new, which is essential if you’re planning on selling or trading it in.

Your car is an investment. The more you care for it, the safer you’ll be on the road and the longer it will last. Contact Melton Automotive today to give your car the upkeep it deserves.

get an oil change

5 Reasons Regular Oil Changes Are Critical for Your Vehicle

According to Nerd Wallet, a typical vehicle will require you to get an oil change at least once every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, if not earlier. You’re likely aware that oil changes are important, but you might not know exactly how they benefit your car. Here are five reasons why scheduling regular oil changes is essential.

1. Better Mileage

When your car’s engine isn’t properly lubricated, it can place a lot of strain on your vehicle, leading to poor fuel efficiency. This can result in a lot of wasted time and money from frequent trips to the gas station. Getting an oil change whenever you need one helps to ensure that your car utilizes gas efficiently so you can get the best mileage out of a full tank.

2. Fewer Repairs

If you neglect to get an oil change when needed, the condition of your car’s engine can suffer. The wear and tear your car endures may end up requiring costly repairs in the future. Being proactive in scheduling oil changes helps to prevent these problems, saving you money in the long run.

3. Longer Lifespan

If you love your car, you’ll want to prolong its lifespan as much as possible. Dirty oil can cause a variety of problems for a vehicle, but frequent oil changes lessen the risk of these problems occurring. Simply taking your car to the mechanic for routine maintenance can help keep it on the road for years to come.

4. Compliance With the Law

While Alabama doesn’t mandate fuel emissions testing on a state level, some cities and municipalities may have laws requiring yearly smog tests. Regular oil changes will make it easier for your vehicle to pass these tests.

5. Increased Resale Value

If you plan on selling your car in the future, regular oil changes are a must. Oil changes play a major role in keeping your vehicle in good condition, and taking proper care of your car will make buyers more likely to pay a higher price for it.

If your vehicle is due for an oil change, it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible. Contact Melton Automotive today to schedule an oil change appointment. Our auto repair and maintenance experts will get the job done quickly and efficiently, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about how to take good care of your car.


Summertime Vehicle Maintenance

Whether you’re about to head up to the mountains, on a lengthy road trip vacation or just around the corner for some ice cream, driving in the summertime can present a set of unique challenges for your vehicle. Intense sunlight, oppressive heat, etc. can take its toll on your car, meaning the more on top of your maintenance you are the better prepared you’ll be to handle whatever challenges you might face while cruising around in Alabama this summer.

Here are three easy ways to help maintain your car this summer driving season under these conditions.

Bring your car into Melton Automotive for an inspection
Certain parts and systems of your car take just a little more maintenance during the summer than what is normally required throughout the rest of the year. Bringing your car in to have it checked out by an ASE-certified technician is extremely important.

Your battery in particular can be affected as fluid inside the battery can evaporate, eventually causing it to stop working altogether. It’s important that you get your battery testes as part of your summer maintenance checkup.

The cooling system is also susceptible to summertime wear. Having a mechanic take a look at the hoses and seals for cracks and wear and tear are critical. Furthermore, you may want to a cooling system flush performed and your fluids changed out.

Pay attention to and maintain your tires
Over the course of a hot summer, your tires endure a fair amount of wear and tear. While this may decrease the lifetime of a tire in the long-term, it can also put you or your loved ones at risk for a tire blowout on the road in the short-term.

It’s important to have your tires rotated and to have a mechanic check for indications of unusual wear and tear, especially with increased driving during the summer months in warmer temperatures than normal.

In addition, hot weather can cause the pressure in your tires to increase. Check your tire pressure periodically, ensuring that it’s filled correctly and according to the manufacturer’s technical specifications.

Don’t forget about the exterior
The summer heat and sun can also take its toll on the exterior of your car as well. Regular washing of your vehicle will remove unsightly bird droppings, unwanted tree sap, etc. and help protect the paint of the car.

Of higher importance is your windshield wipers and their condition. Rain storms during this time of year can be particularly violent and it’s critical to have your wipers in good condition.

Keeping these maintenance tips in mind will not only help you enjoy your summer months, but keep your car in proper shape for the rest of the year as well!

brake failure

Brake Failure Indicators

One of the scariest scenarios that can happen to a driver is brake failure. You do NOT want to be driving down a steep hill and all-of-a-sudden lose your ability to stop.
As such, if you’re a car owner you should always be on the lookout for signs of brake failure, including the following:
If you put your foot on your brake pedal and it starts to vibrate or shake, your rotors are most likely warped, and you should head to a mechanic ASAP.
Squealing of Brakes
This warning sign can potentially be missed if you drive with your windows up, a/c on and stereo blaring, so try to make a point to roll your windows down and switch off your air/music every once and a while. The squealing can also be soft at first but the louder it gets, the worse shape your brakes are in. Be sure that the squealing is persistent though since sometimes a noise similar to mild squealing can come about after a rain storm or carwash.
Grinding Brakes
When you push on your brake pedal and you hear a deep grinding, this is a clear indicator that your brake pads are damaged or worn beyond safety limits and need to be replaced quickly.
ABS Light On
There are several reasons that your ABS light may come on at odd times, including having metal particles in the brake system or complete brake system failing. Either way, this is an obvious indicator that something is wrong.
Brake Pedal Touching Floor
One potential problem with your brake system is that it may start to lose fluid and fluid pressure, allowing you to push the brake pedal all the way to the floor. This is a possible indicator of a leak in your brake system.
Brakes Grabbing
While you are driving and if you ever feel your vehicle pull to one side or another when you apply your brakes, this may be an indicator of your car’s brake lining wearing unevenly or in need of a complete flush of the brake fluids.
If any of these brake failure indicators sound familiar, click HERE give us a call at (205) 663-6088 and schedule an appointment with our ASE-certified technicians!

tire inflation

The Importance of Proper Tire Inflation

What supports the weight of your vehicle? If you answered your tires, you are wrong. It’s the air pressure inside the tires that supports the weight. This is why proper tire inflation is so important.
The correct tire pressure can help you save money on fuel because over- or underinflated tires can cause your engine to work harder. It’s hard to say which is worse, over- or underinflated tires as both can cause serious problems.
Underinflated tires. Underinflated tires will have you driving on the sidewalls. The sidewall part of the tire is normally thinner than the part of the tire you drive on – that being the tread. If you are driving on an underinflated tire, a puncture could easily rupture the sidewall and result in a tire blowout. Underinflated tires increase the area of the tire you are driving on and can result in the sidewalls wearing out, since you are now driving on them. Also, fuel mileage can be reduced by one MPG or more.
Overinflated tires. Overinflated tires will cause uneven wear on the tread as all the wear is concentrated in the center. An overinflated tire is stiff and unyielding and the size of its footprint on the road is reduced. If weather conditions are less than optimal, you are reducing the amount of control you are exercising over your car. Overinflated tires cannot isolate road irregularities (potholes or debris) as well and will result in a harsher ride.
Best Practices. You cannot set tire pressure and forget about it. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month and before starting on any long trip. You need to make sure the ravages of time, changes in ambient temperature or a small tread puncture have not caused it to change.
The recommended tire pressure is the vehicle’s recommended cold tire pressure. Tire pressure should be checked when the vehicle is cold, let’s say in the morning before you drive more than a few miles or before rising ambient temperatures. Checking your tire pressure is a very simple process and takes only one instrument. You can buy a tire gauge at any auto parts store, big- box store, or online. A good gauge will cost anywhere from $5 to $15.
Use the tire pressure recommended by your car’s manufacturer, not the “max pressure” numerals found on the tire sidewall. By using the recommended pressure, you will get the best combination of performance, ride comfort, tire life, and fuel economy.
If you have any questions about tire inflation or anything else related to your vehicle’s health, be sure to give us a call at 205-663-6088. If you suspect any issues with your vehicle, please come into Melton Automotive and have our trained ASE-certified technicians take a look!

oil loss

Oil Loss Prevention

The vast majority of vehicles on the road today will experience some form of oil loss at some point during their lifespan. More often than not, it’s just usually minor dripping and smaller leaks that are preventable but, sometimes, more significant oil leaks occur which require the attention of an experienced mechanic.
Most commonly, improperly-sealed drain bolts are the cause of a small oil leak. When having an oil change performed, your oil pan is drained and then resealed, often with a new washer being fastened around the drain bolt. Cheap “quickie lube” oil change services may not include a new washer, which may result in new leaks after the service is performed. If you notice a leak shortly after having an oil change done and it persists for a couple of days, there’s a good chance you could need a new washer.
Small oil leaks are also common in older vehicles because of mechanical motion as well as dramatic temperature fluctuations that occur within combustion engines. Frequently checking oil levels is important. If the oil stains pavement, kitty litter or crushed drywall will absorb the oil.
In a worst-case scenario, oil loss will seemingly come out of nowhere. Most modern vehicles come equipped with tools that notify drivers when oil pressure drops, usually in the form of a light or computer-based alert. When you receive a notification like this, you should stop driving ASAP since friction from oil loss can damage vital motor components and potentially lead to engine failure.
Abnormal oil loss without any indication such as oil stains or an oily engine may indicate a much deeper problem. This could be a signal that oil is being burnt internally or possibly seeping past the pistons into the combustion chamber. A broken head gasket could also be in pay. These problems are quite serious and will lead to reduced fuel efficiency as well as power loss issues for your vehicle.
If you think you might be losing oil, bring your vehicle to an ASE-Certified Technician who will diagnose the problem and will offer solutions based on the nature and severity of the oil leak. If you have any questions/concerns about oil loss or anything else related to your vehicle, swing by our shop in Alabaster or give us a shout at 205-663-6088!

car battery

Is It Time For A New Car Battery?

Car batteries are one of the most important components of a vehicle’s engine. It must provide the electricity to start your car and power your accessories. Without a working battery, you’re going nowhere. But how do you know when it’s time for a new car battery?

You should always have an one of our certified technicians take a look at the battery as part of a thorough vehicle inspections. Heat, cold, and temperature swings can affect the battery’s performance, so check your battery at the change of seasons.

Watch for warning signs, including:
-Fraying cables
-Corrosion on the terminals
-Trouble starting your vehicle

An average car battery usually has a lifespan of 3-5 years. Keep track of the age of your battery and have it tested more frequently as it gets older. We recommend keeping the vehicle’s maintenance records for all services, including purchasing a new battery. Our technicians will also keep track of the maintenance schedule for your vehicle.

Between routine inspections, periodically check the battery yourself at home. Look for fraying cables, corrosion, and white or green powdery substance on the battery itself. Battery acid is very corrosive. If you find evidence of a leak, including the powder-like corrosion at the terminals, bring your vehicle and battery into Melton Automotive.

Our technicians will inspect your battery to determine if the corrosion can be cleaned and the leak fixed. If the damage is severe enough, your vehicle may be due for a new battery.

Even young batteries can be damaged in the summer heat we’ll be getting soon here in Alabaster. Don’t be left high and dry on the side of the road. Keeping track of your battery’s age, watching for warning signs, and regular inspections can help you ensure your vehicle has the power it needs to keep you safe on the roads in Shelby County.


Don’t Neglect Your Vehicle This Fall!

It’s a frequently-seen sight when you are on the road today: a car on the side of the road. When you see this it’s more than likely that the car has broken down, leaving the car owner stranded waiting for a tow truck to come and take it to a shop… They probably wish they’d kept up with their vehicle maintenance schedule!
Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common for motorists to hold off on what would should be considered routing maintenance for their cars. While this may save you time/money and seem harmless in the short term, over time this can cause serious trouble with your vehicle. Eventually, seemingly insignificant things like general maintenance on your spark plugs, batteries and fluids add up and can mean the difference between breaking down on your way home from work or getting home hassle-free. Simply because an issue isn’t blatantly obvious doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be taken care of on a specific timetable.
Often, problems with your car don’t give any warning ahead of time but just pop up when regular maintenance goes unattended. The vast majority of breakdowns can be avoided easily and at a low cost if routine inspections and tune-ups are conducted. It’s important to keep in mind that these inspections are nominally-priced compared to what a towing bill will be, not to mention the financial-cost of major repairs and the time-cost of being without your vehicle for an extended period.
If you are able to keep up on your car maintenance schedule, your vehicle will be healthy and thus more likely to go breakdown-free, saving you time/money in the long-term and keeping you and your family safe on the roads! Be sure to call us at 205-663-6088 or click HERE to set up a maintenance schedule for your car at your earliest convenience.


steering wheel

Steering Wheel Shakes

In an ideal world, when you hit the road in your vehicle the surface you’re driving on is even and smooth and you cruise along without any issues whatsoever. Unfortunately, roads are rarely perfectly smooth and even when they are, you can still have issues steering and navigating the terrain you’re driving on.
The components in your vehicle all wear out and will need to be replaced at some point. Several components are connected to your steering wheel, which means that when you feel shaking of any degree there could be several possible reasons for it.
Here are a few reasons why your steering wheel might be vibrating while you’re driving:
If your steering wheel is shaking violently whenever you stop or slow down, there’s a good chance that your rotors are worn out or warped and you should have your brake system inspected immediately.
If you have an issue with your engine that causes vibrations to emanate, you’ll probably feel the tremors throughout your vehicle, but the steering wheel will feel them the most. Fuel delivery and air induction are two of the potential issues that can lead to engine vibrations.
If your car has been in a fender bender or been involved with an impact of any kind lately, there is a decent chance your axle has been affected and might be bent. When you’re driving with a damaged axle, your steering wheel will shake more violently the faster you go but there will be vibrations no matter what your speed is. If your steering wheel is jerking to the left or right, your driveshaft is most likely damaged and you should have your vehicle towed to a garage ASAP.
Given that your steering wheel is responsible for telling your wheels which direction to go, when your tires are improperly configured you’re liable to feel it while you’re steering. If your tires aren’t properly inflated or if they have bald spots, worn out tread, etc., your steering will be affected and you should have your tires changed or rotated in the near future.
Other components that could affect your steering if they’re damaged in any way include wheel bearings, tie rods and ball joints. If you have any concerns about your vehicle’s health or safety, be sure to give us a call at 205-663-6088 or get in touch with us online – our ASE-certified technicians can answer any questions you might have!