Have You Checked Your Headlights?

Like everything on the Mankato automotive market, there have been great strides in headlight technology in recent years. MN motorists can be safer at night because of it. Good headlights improve visibility on Mankato interstates, enabling you to see farther. They also improve your peripheral vision, helping you to see the sides more clearly. The more you can see, the quicker you can react to road conditions. This is important because nearly half of traffic fatalities take place at night. And as Eagle Lake’s population ages, everything that helps older eyes is welcome.

Most new sedans sold in Mankato come with halogen headlamps. A decade ago, halogens were exotic and expensive. Now that they are standard equipment, the price has come way down. Many luxury cars are equipped with high intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps. You have probably seen them on Eagle Lake expressways, they’re very bright and have a bluish tint.

From behind the wheel, there is no doubt that HID headlamps are the best thing going. However, many Eagle Lake drivers complain about HID lights in oncoming traffic or when they approach from behind. In fact, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called for public comment, they received a record number of complaints about HIDs. This has lead to several studies – your tax dollars at work. Some expect future regulation of HID lamps.

All halogen headlamps dim over time. Your honest Hughes Automotive Inc service advisor recommends that they be changed out once a year. AutoNetTV suggests you replace your headlamps in the fall at the end of Daylight Savings Time. It’s easy to remember – when you change your clock, change your headlamps. Remember to replace all headlamps at the same time – then all your lights will be equally bright. You will appreciate it during those long MN winter nights.

If you have an older sedan with old-school headlamps, you might be able to get a halogen replacement. You’ll be amazed at the difference this upgrade will make.

In addition to regular halogen lamps, Eagle Lake drivers can upgrade to premium lamps that filter some of the yellow light, making a bright white light that’s more like natural sunlight. This light’s easier on the eyes and should improve reaction time.

Now, you may be able to step up to HID headlamps, depending on the kind of car you drive around the Mankato area. These lamps should last the life of your car, but cost several hundred dollars a pair. If you want other Eagle Lake auto owners to think you’re running HID lamps, you can even buy regular halogens that have a bluish tint. Does she or doesn’t she? Only her Hughes Automotive Inc service advisor knows for sure.

Over time, plastic headlight covers can get cloudy or yellowed. In fact, AAA reports that nine out of ten headlights are dirty or yellowed, greatly reducing vision. In addition to helping you replace your headlamps, many service centers such as Hughes Automotive Inc in Eagle Lake, MN can restore headlight covers. Headlights can be restored at a fraction of the cost of replacing.

Using Proper Fluids In Your sedan Or Other Vehicle

Today Hughes Automotive Inc is talking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It’s become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It’s not that people in MN are confused as much as they don’t realize how much things have changed in recent years.

If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to stop by Hughes Automotive Inc. You can find us on 109 E LeRay Ave in Eagle Lake, MN 56024.
Just give us a call at 507.257.3730

Let’s take engine oil. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.

It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it’s cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn’t thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.

Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the car has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas and the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.

So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.

Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It’s certainly in the owner’s manual. Of course, your Eagle Lake MN auto service center can look it up for you.

It’s more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.

Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.

In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.

So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn’t formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you’re using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won’t be covered under warrantee. So it’s important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.

Your owner’s manual or your Eagle Lake MN service advisor at Hughes Automotive Inc can make sure you’re using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That’s OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer’s recommendation for your sedan or other auto type is always a safe bet.

In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It’s important to remember that the new ones aren’t better than the old ones. They’re just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.

There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid, and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.

They’re fine to use as long as they’re a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it’s also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it’s the right type for your transmission.

Hughes Automotive Inc Car Care News and Information: Signs of An Alignment Problem

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Mankato motorists often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like an accident, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object.

While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Eagle Lake driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well.

Moreover, your auto  can lose alignment over time with just normal driving. When your wheels are out of alignment, Hughes Automotive Inc in Eagle Lake can return your wheels to the vehicle manufacturer factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest an alignment check every year or two. 

Give us a call

Hughes Automotive Inc
109 E LeRay Ave
Eagle Lake, MN 56024

Get Where You’re Going With Power Steering Service In Eagle Lake

Today we’re going to talk about power steering service in Eagle Lake. If you took an informal poll around Eagle Lake you’d probably find that most have never heard of power steering service. That’s not surprising. Even though power steering is standard on every vehicle, most people in Eagle Lake aren’t aware that it needs periodic service.

If you’re younger than a certain age, you’ve probably never driven a car or truck without power steering. To get an idea of the difference; if you’ve ever cut a board with a hand saw, you know it’s a lot of work. Using a power saw is easy-peasy by comparison.

Without power steering, your arms have to do all the work to steer the wheels, and that’s hard, especially around downtown Eagle Lake. That’s why old cars had such big steering wheels; to get enough leverage to steer.

Steering Most vehicles in Eagle Lake have a hydraulic power steering system. The serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid. This actuates a hydraulic cylinder that provides power to help steer.

Some vehicles in Eagle Lake use an electric pump to pressurize the fluid rather than a belt driven pump. We’re also seeing vehicles with electric motors providing the power assist, not using power steering fluid at all. We’ll see a lot more electric systems as more hybrids and electric vehicles hit the market.

At least for now, the vast majority of power steering systems use power steering fluid that needs to be serviced. The fluid needs to be changed for a couple of reasons. For one, it attracts moisture. Water has different hydraulic qualities than power steering fluid, and that makes a difference in steering performance. Water is also corrosive and can damage power steering components. The fluid also just gets dirty and needs to be changed. Removing the old fluid and flushing out the system gets rid of dirt and deposits. The clean, fresh fluid lubricates and provides better corrosion protection.

So ask your Eagle Lake service advisor at Hughes Automotive Inc or check your owner’s manual to see when power steering service is recommended. It’ll extend the life of your power steering components.

Hughes Automotive Inc Engine Air Filter Replacement

When your experienced Hughes Automotive Inc service professional technician changes your oil, he will also inspect your air filter. You shouldn’t need a new filter at every oil change, but you will need to change it regularly. Heed your service professional’s auto advice if they tell you to change your filter. It’s not pricey, and it makes a big difference to your sedan.

An air filter does what its name implies: it filters stuff out of the air. Air is drawn into your engine through the filter because your engine needs air to burn fuel. If the filter weren’t there, a lot of dust and debris would come into the sedan engine with the air. That dust and debris would get hot, burn, and produce all kinds of ash and gumminess that would eventually clog up your engine.

Drop in an air filter and voilá! Problem solved.

But air filters themselves get clogged up with all the junk they clean out of the Mankato air. This doesn’t allow the junk into the sedan engine, but it does block up the airflow. A blocked airflow will reduce engine efficiency.

An engine needs about 12,000 gallons of air to burn just one gallon of gasoline. Think of a runner. If he is breathing well, he can run well. But if he has a lung condition, he won’t be able to generate the oxygen necessary to keep his cells powered up. He won’t be able to run at peak efficiency.

Or consider a vacuum cleaner. Even without the light, you can tell when the vacuum bag is full because the machine just doesn’t clean anymore. Change the bag and its efficiency immediately improves.

So keep your sedan breathing well by keeping its air filter clean. That’s good car care.

Eagle Lake auto owners who get a charge out of the feeling of power in their engine might consider upgrading their air filter. Talk to your honest Hughes Automotive Inc service specialist. Premium air filters have been proven to increase horsepower and torque. So with the cost of a premium air filter, you can increase the horsepower in your engine — there’s no cheaper way to do that!

It’s also one of the least expensive and simplest elements of essential routine preventive maintenance – and protects against damage to expensive sedan electronic systems. No Eagle Lake resident should have an excuse to drive around Mankato roads and interstates with a dirty air filter.

Hughes Automotive Inc Car Care Advice for Eagle Lake Motorists: A Broken or Damaged Timing Belt

The timing belt rotates the cam shafts which open and close the valves that allow air, fuel, and exhaust to flow through the engine as it powers your vehicle.

An old timing belt can lose a “tooth” in the belt allowing it to slip. The engine could stop or misfire. Timing belt slip – or a broken timing belt – can be disastrous on some engines. In “interference” engines, open valves can get in the way of the piston when the timing belt breaks or slips. When that happens one or more valves can be bent requiring expensive engine repairs.

It is critical for Eagle Lake motorists to replace their timing belts as recommended in their owner’s manual to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Ask the team of professionals at Hughes Automotive Inc in Eagle Lake if it’s time for your timing belt to be replaced.

Give us a call

Hughes Automotive Inc
109 E LeRay Ave
Eagle Lake, MN 56024

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Hughes Automotive Inc

Hello Eagle Lake drivers. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Eagle Lake auto owners?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious sedan engine trouble. That’s why Mankato motorists often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Hughes Automotive Inc in Eagle Lake ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at MN highway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result pricey repair bills for Eagle Lake auto owners who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Janesville motorists. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Eagle Lake automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your sedan in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Eagle Lake engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Eagle Lake auto repair center center or Hughes Automotive Inc.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the sedan engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the sedan engine’s computer. Your service specialist scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the tech exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your sedan’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific sedan engine, for driving conditions in your Mankato area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Eagle Lake auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Mankato mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your sedan out of your Eagle Lake auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

Auto Videos for Eagle Lake Drivers: Alignment Inspection

Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Eagle Lake car owners that their wheels may be out of alignment.

When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor will survey your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He’ll also compare your current alignment with the car maker’s settings.

Your vehicle owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in collision, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Eagle Lake, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your Hughes Automotive Inc service advisor complete a vital alignment check.

Give us a call

Hughes Automotive Inc
109 E LeRay Ave
Eagle Lake, MN 56024

Maintenance for High Mileage Vehicles In Eagle Lake MN

Before the recession hit, the median age for cars in the Eagle Lake MN area (zip code: 56024) was over nine years. And two-thirds had over 75,000 miles. At Hughes Automotive Inc we hear reports that those numbers continue to rise.

If you have a high-mileage vehicle in the Mankato area, bring it in for high-mileage maintenance:
Hughes Automotive Inc
109 E LeRay Ave
Eagle Lake, MN 56024

Many people in Eagle Lake are keeping their vehicles longer. The economy has influenced that, but the fact that modern sedans are more durable and reliable means that owning a high mileage vehicle doesn’t have to be a painful experience.

Local car owners in Eagle Lake with over 100,000 miles on their vehicles often ask which service intervals they should follow. Let’s start with the special needs of the older vehicle…

The reality is that time and mileage will take its toll. The engine and transmission will have more sludge. The fuel, steering and brake systems will have gum and varnish built up. There’ll be more dirt and contaminants in the fuel tank. Corrosion and deposits in the cooling system. And seals and gaskets will start to dry out.

All of this, plus normal wear and tear, means that the engine might not be as strong as new, so it just has to work harder to get the job done.

So we need to compensate. Consider high-mileage formulations for oil changes, transmission service, etc. These special formulations contain additives that condition the seals and gaskets to prevent leaks. They also have more detergents to clean sludge and other deposits. They cost a bit more, but they’re worth it.

In general, if an auto service was recommended every 15,000 miles when the car was new, you should continue to get the service done every 15,000 miles.

Talk with your Eagle Lake service advisor at Hughes Automotive Inc about the condition of your engine. See if he thinks you should adjust your auto service intervals for oil changes or other auto maintenance to account for the older engine working harder.

Expect the oil filter to get dirty faster. Same goes for the fuel filter. And some leaks are to be expected so you need to keep a closer eye on fluid levels.

If anything, following recommended service intervals for your sedan is more important in a higher mileage vehicle. Skipping oil changes or other services can lead to problems much more quickly than with a newer vehicle.

So, have your Eagle Lake auto service advisor at Hughes Automotive Inc help you with an assessment of your older car or truck. If you haven’t gotten around to a fuel system cleaning, or replacing power steering or brake fluid, a differential service or transmission service – it’s time to start taking care of those things. It’ll help keep you on the road for many more happy miles.

Hughes Automotive Inc Car Care News and Information: Serpentine Belt Overview

Your serpentine belt drives important engine accessories like your alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering. In some vehicles it may also power the power brakes or water pump. The serpentine belt is powered by the engine and winds around pulleys and the accessories. Some cars have two serpentine belts.

The serpentine belt, the belt tensioner (which maintains the appropriate tension on the belt) and the idler pulleys are together known as the accessory drive system.

Now your serpentine belt and the belt tensioner will just wear out over time – that’s why your automobile manufacturer has a scheduled belt replacement interval. The team at Hughes Automotive Inc in Eagle Lake can survey your serpentine belt for wear and get it replaced if it’s time.

Give us a call

Hughes Automotive Inc
109 E LeRay Ave
Eagle Lake, MN 56024