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The drive train in your vehicle includes all the vital components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.
Let’s start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.
Kevin’s Car Care service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.
Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.
Kevin’s Car Care service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.
All-wheel drive sedans provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.
Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.
Servicing an all-wheel drive at Kevin’s Car Care involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Barnhart motorists encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.
Barnhart motorists would be wise to check with their owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to service their sedan drive train. It’s also good auto advice to check with your trustworthy Kevin’s Car Care service advisor as well. You may live in an area in Missouri where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.
If you drive off-road, it is critical to service your driveline more often frequently than the typical recommendation. Conditions encountered off-road around the St. Louis area are particularly hard on your driveline.
Good car care at Kevin’s Car Care in Barnhart always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your sedan becomes a very large paperweight.
Kevin’s Car Care is located at 7590 US Highway 61-67 in Barnhart. We provide comprehensive auto repair and maintenance services for residents of Barnhart, Arnold, Festus, Imperial and St. Louis.
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When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Barnhart car owners remember to get our oil changed. But Kevin’s Car Care services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is an essential part of car care for Barnhart motorists. A poorly maintained transmission will impair MPG and lead to pricey repairs.
The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it’s clean and well – lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your gas mileage will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.
Transmission fluid has two jobs: to cool and lubricate the transmission. The transmission operates at high temperatures. It can get 100-150°F degrees hotter inside your transmission than inside your engine. Transmission fluid transfers some of the heat away from the transmission. Transmissions work hard. Their parts need constant lubrication to prevent excessive wear and keep them running smoothly for Barnhart auto owners.
The constant shifting and movement of gears inside the transmission cause bits of the gears and clutch material to wear off. These bits of detrimental grit get into the transmission fluid. This grit increases friction inside the transmission and causes even more wear – it’s like liquid sandpaper. Also, the high temperatures inside the transmission cause the transmission fluid to break down over time, making it a less effective lubricant. The fluid can actually become sludgy, which can gradually plug up the maze of passages inside the transmission. Gradually, the transmission loses efficiency and stops operating smoothly. Eventually, the transmission will be damaged or fail altogether.
This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner’s manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this important service. Or, you can talk to your trustworthy Kevin’s Car Care technician. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your sedan may be shorter or longer.
Of course, if you give your transmission a real workout, you’re going to have to change the fluid more often than the car maker recommends. If you drive in hot, dusty Missouri conditions, if you tow a trailer around Barnhart, if you haul heavy loads or if you do a lot of stop-and-go St. Louis driving, then you need to change transmission fluid more often. Also, if you demand frequent bursts of speed from your engine — especially shooting away from stops — your transmission is working harder and will need more frequent care. Check your owner’s manual for the “severe conditions” service interval.
Transmission fluids vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you’ll also need to check your owner’s manual to know what kind your sedan needs, or meet with your trustworthy Kevin’s Car Care tech.
At Kevin’s Car Care in Barnhart, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly pricey. Compared to the cost of pricey transmission repairs or a new transmission, it’s downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at Kevin’s Car Care and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in improved MPG and a longer, smoother ride.
Suspension systems function effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually, however, sedan suspension components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive around Barnhart and Arnold.
As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth Missouri highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Barnhart roads or haul heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, sedan suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, sedan vehicle manufacturers recommend periodic inspections.
During an inspection at Kevin’s Car Care in Barnhart, your trustworthy automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.
Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:
First there are the springs which hold the weight of your sedan. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously critical heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.
You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your sedan dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Kevin’s Car Care.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Kevin’s Car Care for a an important suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your sedan suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.
When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your trustworthy Kevin’s Car Care technician because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.
There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your sedan was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Arnold people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.
For example, if you want increased handling performance, your trustworthy Kevin’s Car Care advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Barnhart, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.
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Hello Barnhart auto owners! Let’s talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly in Barnhart.
It can even damage your suspension system, which is an expensive repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Barnhart drivers and their passengers.
It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday Missouri driving. Barnhart road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, even the bumps and bounces of normal St. Louis highways and surface streets can gradually put your sedan tires out of alignment.
So it’s good auto advice to have your sedan’s alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your sedan tires might be out of alignment, you should take your sedan into Kevin’s Car Care now.
When you take your sedan in for an alignment in Barnhart, your trustworthy Kevin’s Car Care technician will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be corrected in order to get good alignment of the wheels.
If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the sedan will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the auto manufacturer’s specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.
There are three types of essential adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle’s tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.
The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you’ll be able to steer where you want to go in St. Louis. Drive safely.
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If you’re interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your sedan, there are a few things you should know first.
Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many Barnhart motorists have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don’t fit right and the tires rub against the sedan when they turn or go over a bump.
To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your Kevin’s Car Care tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your sedan. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you’ll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.
But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you’re willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you should seek a knowledgeable St. Louis professional’s help ahead of time. For example, if you want a bigger set of wheels on your pickup truck, you can get a suspension lift so they will fit the truck. A professional Barnhart custom wheel shop can help you get the work done right.
The anti-lock brakes and stability control system on your sedan are engineered to work with a particular height of tire. This is another reason drivers should be careful when purchasing custom wheels in Barnhart. The new wheel and tire combo needs to match the height of the tires that came with your vehicle.
Your car’s computer gauges your speed by the revolution of your tires and sends commands to the brakes and traction control based on that speed. If you put larger or smaller tires on your sedan, your computer is calculating the wrong speed and, consequently, sending incorrect commands to the brakes and traction control. This can have serious consequences as it may result in costly damage to your vehicle or, worse, an accident.
If you change the size of your wheels, you need to get your engine’s computer reprogrammed at Kevin’s Car Care to accommodate the new tire size. New wheels shouldn’t just fit your vehicle, they should also fit your lifestyle. There are hundreds of styles and sizes to choose from. You should do a little research about which wheels and tires will best fit your personality, give you the performance you want, and meet your handling needs. We’re not saying you shouldn’t personalize your ride, we just want you to be happy with the result. Talk to us at Kevin’s Car Care in Barnhart.
After all, good car care isn’t just about preventive maintenance. It’s also about making good choices.
Did you know that most of the cars driving around Barnhart, Missouri carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?
New cars sold in the St. Louis area have as many as twelve networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle’s functions.
Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Barnhart drivers know when there is a problem?
It’s simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.
It can be pretty disturbing for Barnhart auto owners when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Kevin’s Car Care in Barnhart to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.
Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.
Your trustworthy Kevin’s Car Care technician has special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.
Stop by if you’re check engine light is on.
Kevin’s Car Care
7590 US Highway 61-67
Barnhart, Missouri 63012
Hey St. Louis, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our Missouri streets? How can you tell on your sedan?
While there may be legal requirements for the St. Louis area, there are safety concerns that go beyond meeting minimum replacement mandates.
2/32 is the depth of the tire tread wear indicator bars that US law has required to be molded across all tires since August 1, 1968. When tires are worn so that this bar is visible, there’s just 2/32 of an inch – 1.6 millimeters – of tread left. It’s that level of wear that’s been called into question recently.
We’re referring to the Consumer Reports call to consider replacing tires when tread reaches 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 millimeters. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies.
The issue is braking on wet surfaces in and around St. Louis. Most of us think of our brakes doing most of the work, but if you don’t have enough tread on your tires, the brakes can’t do their job. When it’s wet or snowy, the tread of the tire is even more critical to stopping power.
Picture this: you’re driving over a water covered stretch of road near St. Louis, Missouri. Your tires must be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means that the tire has to move the water away from the tire so that the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water.
Floating on the surface of water is called hydroplaning. So if there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.
In the study a section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to cover it.
A car and a full-sized pick-up were brought up to 70 miles per hour, or 112 kilometers an hour and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths:
- New tire tread depth
- 4/32 of an inch
- 2/32 of an inch
So what happened with the 2/32 tires on the car? Get this – when the car had traveled the distance required to stop with new tires, it was still going 55 miles an hour. Stopping distance was nearly doubled to 379 feet and it took 5.9 seconds.
Wow! That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, you would hit the car in front of you at 55 miles an hour with the worn tires.
Now, with the partially worn tires – at 4/32 of an inch – the car was still going at 45 miles an hour at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. It took nearly 100 feet more room to stop and 1.2 seconds longer. That’s a big improvement. We can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.
Of course, stopping distances were greater for the heavier pick-up truck.
How do you know when your tires are at 4/32 of an inch? Easy; just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.
You may remember doing that with pennies. A penny gives you 2/32 to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new recommendation – 4/32.
How do people feel about replacing their tires earlier? Well, tires are a big ticket item and most people want to get the most wear out of them that they can. But do you want that much more risk just to run your tires until they are legally worn out?
For us, and we would guess for many, the answer is “no”.
Kevin’s Car Care
7590 US Highway 61-67
Barnhart, Missouri 63012
There are some things Barnhart auto owners should know about Barnhart car service and repair. First and foremost, Kevin’s Car Care cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. Kevin’s Car Care in Barnhart wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come.
Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The trustworthy service professionals that work for Kevin’s Car Care need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other technicians to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed.
The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time in Missouri and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. Average Barnhart or Arnold motorists may not realize the business and environmental regulations Kevin’s Car Care must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any Missouri business, overhead is a big factor.
When you go into your favorite St. Louis restaurant you don’t value the meal by what the food would cost at the grocery store. The restaurant has rent, wages, insurance, taxes, utilities, professional fees, equipment, supplies – you get the picture. The restaurant has to charge enough to not only pay for the ingredients, but for all these other things as well while making enough profit to remain in business. If you value the meal and are satisfied with your dining experience, you’ll come back and tell your friends.
It’s the same for Kevin’s Car Care. The value of its service is not the cost of the parts they replace, but in your satisfaction with the results. If they deliver a good product at a fair price, Barnhart customers are happy to see them succeed as a Missouri automotive business.
Contact Kevin’s Car Care to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
7590 US Highway 61-67
Barnhart, Missouri 63012
Or call us at 6364641200
At Kevin’s Car Care, we love to see our Barnhart customers whenever they come in, but we would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. We want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your St. Louis area friends and family to come in for their vital scheduled maintenance too. That lowers our marketing costs and helps keep its labor rates down. That’s good for everyone in Barnhart.
Kevin’s Car Care appreciates this great review of automotive service from AutoNetTV.
Everyone in Barnhart Missouri eventually replaces their tires, whether it’s because they’re worn out or they’re just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Barnhart Missouri, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let’s group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.
One category is often referred to as “summer tires”. Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees. Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads in Barnhart Missouri and they’re also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.
Now the rubber compound gets a little hard and stiff as temperatures drop below 45 degrees as it occasionally does here in Barnhart Missouri. And the tread which handles dry roads so well, can get packed with snow or mud – which provides very little traction in those conditions.
So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you’ll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.
Summer tires can be purchased with an emphasis on handling performance, smooth ride or long life. Your Barnhart Missouri tire professional at Kevin’s Car Care can help you find the right tire for the way you drive.
As you can imagine, winter tires are designed to work very well in snow and ice. Their tread is designed with many channels and grooves that throw the snow out of the tread as the wheel turns. This means the tire is always be able to bite into the snow.
The rubber compound used in winter tires is specially formulated to be flexible at temperatures below 45 degrees. This maximizes cold weather traction. When it gets warmer, the softer rubber will wear faster on warm dry pavement than summer tires, so change them out once the weather has turned.
There’s a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.
For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Barnhart Missouri roads.
Within the all-season category, there are many choices that you tire advisor can help you evaluate.
Kevin’s Car Care
7590 US Highway 61-67
Barnhart, Missouri 63012
Outside of these three main categories, some people in Barnhart with trucks and SUVs like a tire that is designed for both on-highway and off-highway use. They can handle the rocks and bumps off-road, but still work well on the street. Again, many options depending on the relative emphasis on on-road verses off-road.
You may want new wheels to go with your new tires – well, there are hundreds and hundreds of styles to choose from. That’s a matter of personal taste. If you want to change the size of your wheels and tires, do get some professional help.
The computers on your vehicle are programmed to the size of wheel and tire combination that comes from the factory. Tire size affects various computer controlled functions like anti-lock brakes, traction and stability controls, speedometer and odometer. Of course, you want these systems to work properly. The computers can be re-programmed for different tire sizes.
And if you want to increase the size of your wheels and tires, you’ll want so help to make sure they’ll fit in the wheel wells of your vehicle without rubbing during turns or over bumps.
One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Kevin’s Car Care in Barnhart Missouri is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.
Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.
Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your Barnhart Missouri technician find clues to what’s wrong.
We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Kevin’s Car Care and your car is making a funny sound.
- Q: Where’s the sound?
- A: Around the right front wheel.
- Q: What kind of sound?
- A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
- Q: When do you hear the sound?
- A: When I turn and accelerate.
- Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…
Do you see where we’re going? You’re gathering additional information to help your Barnhart Missouri technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.
You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.
When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking”, tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.
Things like ‘the car is stalling or sputtering’ are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.
Your Barnhart Missouri technician at Kevin’s Car Care will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like ‘it stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour’.
If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.