The Superior Auto Service Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

November 19th, 2014 by shopdan

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The team at Superior Auto Service in Bryan College Station and Texas car owners are all talking gas mileage right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Bryan College Station auto owners want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.

And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize fuel economy. But is there something more Bryan College Station drivers can do? After all, some of us Bryan College Station folks can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Bryan College Station to Bryan. And that means buying more gas in Bryan College Station and producing more emissions.

Of course, your car or SUV’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car or SUV. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around Texas? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Bryan College Station home? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your car: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your Bryan College Station. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around Bryan College Station in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire—the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in your Bryan College Station when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around all the time. After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money in Bryan College Station
.

Drive Defensively In Texas

November 13th, 2014 by shopdan

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Car care is a vital part of auto safety in Bryan College Station. But the most important thing we can do to improve safety on Texas roads is to drive safely.

Defensive driving is safe driving. And defensive driving is all about attitude. You have to decide that you will be a safe driver in Texas, no matter what anyone else is doing.

Bryan College Station motorists can start with awareness. Always maintain awareness of your surroundings, the road conditions, other vehicles on the Bryan College Station road or expressway and road hazards. Have you ever suddenly realized that you have arrived somewhere, but you don’t really remember driving there? That is unsafe driving.

Never assume that other Bryan College Station drivers are paying attention. You be the one on alert. You be the one to take initiative to stay out of the way of other Texas drivers. And don’t let familiarity dull your alertness. Remind yourself to pay as close attention while driving on the roads near your Bryan College Station home as you would in unfamiliar territory around Texas.

Prepare your car or SUV so you can give the road your full attention. Secure passengers and pets before leaving the driveway. Secure loose items in your car or SUV so they can’t become projectiles if you have to brake suddenly. If children or pets become a distraction while driving, pull over and take care of the problem before re-entering traffic. Unclutter your windows. Take down the danglies from your rearview mirror. And don’t use your car or SUV dashboard as an office. Move distractions and clutter to the backseat. Keep your windshield clear.

Properly maintain your car or SUV. Preventive maintenance doesn’t just prevent repairs; it prevents unsafe vehicles. Make sure your tires, lights, brakes, suspension, alignment and steering get regular check-ups at Superior Auto Service. Also, listen to your honest and friendly Superior Auto Service service specialist when he gives you auto advice about other systems in your car or SUV. Knowing about the wear and tear on your car or SUV can help you avoid dangerous situations.

Avoid driving when you are sleepy or angry. Get a good night’s sleep before a road trip in Texas, and learn to set aside relationship, job or other issues while you are in a vehicle. Again, you have to take charge of your own safety. Don’t daydream in your vehicle. Also, talking to passengers can be a distraction. Keep your mind on the road. Conversations may keep you from daydreaming or excessive boredom on a long trip, but always keep your driving foremost in your mind.

Maintain a proper speed. Driving too fast is dangerous on crowded Bryan College Station roads, but driving too slowly can cause accidents, too. At night, don’t overdrive your headlights. Your stopping distance needs to be shorter than the distance your headlights are illuminating.

Never drink and drive. Alcohol plays a part in half of all fatal accidents in Texas and nationally. Also, don’t drive drugged. Pay attention to the warning labels on any medications you are taking.

Other College Station motorists need to see you and know what you want to do. Use your car or SUV turn signals, and stay out of other Texas drivers’ blind spots.

If you can, avoid driving over debris in the road. You can damage your car or SUV or end up in an accident. Of course, if swerving to avoid the debris is dangerous, then slow down and navigate as best you can. Do what you can to alert other drivers to the problem. You may want to pull to the side of the Brazos Valley road and report the debris or move it to the side of the road, if you can do so safely.

Never follow too closely on College Station roads or expressways. Observe the two-second rule. Choose an object ahead such as a tree or traffic sign. As the car in front of you passes it, start counting: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand. If you reach the object before you’re done, you’re too close. Back off.

If you are on one of the Texas highways, or if you are hauling a heavy load, or if you are tired, or if in any way you are not the model of the alert and attentive driver, then increase that two-second rule to three seconds. Give yourself an added measure of safety. If the College Station weather is bad, increase the rule to five seconds.

Inevitably, someone always pulls in front of you when you are trying to follow the “seconds” rules. Don’t get mad. Just back off and leave them to their bad driving habits. Remember, you are not going to give up your safety for anyone else’s cussedness. It’s always a bad trade.

If someone is following you too closely, pull over and let them pass. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. If you’re late, worry about it after you’re there, not while you’re on the road.

If you see a vehicle driving erratically in Bryan College Station, stay away. Take the next right or the next exit off the interstate. Notify the Bryan College Station police as soon as you are safely stopped.

And of course, don’t be the idiot driver we all complain about in Bryan College Station. Don’t contest your right-of-way, don’t race to beat someone to a merge, and don’t cut into someone else’s two seconds of space. Winning these types of ego trips may end up losing you your car or SUV—or worse, your life or the life of a friend.

The professional automotive team at Superior Auto Service wants all Bryan College Station car owners to stay smart and stay safe.

Gear Up: Transmission Service at Superior Auto Service in Bryan College Station

November 6th, 2014 by shopdan

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The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.

How does it know when to change gears? Today’s automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing, and changes the gears as needed.

Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds” are being added. Almost all vehicles have at least four speeds. Five or six is common. Some auto manufacturers are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Bryan College Station auto owners: it improves gas mileage and increases performance.

But there is a drawback for Bryan College Station car owners: more gears equals more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today’s transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Bryan College Station drivers. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren’t given proper care.

Transmission FluidThat’s why changing transmission fluid is such an important part of preventive maintenance for Bryan College Station motorists. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer expensive damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.

Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.

New transmissions aren’t cheap. Repairing them isn’t cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is a great value for Bryan College Station drivers at Superior Auto Service. That’s why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at Superior Auto Service. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren’t just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing expensive transmission repairs.

Give us a call (979) 846-5344

Superior Auto Service

 

Exhaust Service at Superior Auto Service: Passing the Smell Test

October 31st, 2014 by shopdan

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The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Bryan College Station auto owners realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All Texas folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so vital. We can help you with that at Superior Auto Service in Bryan College Station.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your car or SUV passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at Superior Auto Service for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other College Station roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your car or SUV exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Bryan College Station car owners don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Bryan College Station with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your car or SUV engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your car or SUV healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the car or SUV, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your car or SUV owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as Superior Auto Service in Bryan College Station.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all Bryan College Station car owners and their families.

A Cold Day In Bryan College Station

October 23rd, 2014 by shopdan

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Most Bryan College Station car owners worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy Texas highway but don’t worry too much about failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown at the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during College Station rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot car or SUV.

A lot of Bryan College Station drivers judge their vehicles’ air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keeps the car or SUV running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very costly in Bryan College Station.

Brazos Valley auto owners should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system’s components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing costly repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

AAA Approved Auto RepairInadequate refrigerant indicates a leak in the air conditioning system. Over time, seals in the system can crack, causing the refrigerant to leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system. Replacing these seals will keep your car or SUV air conditioning system at its best, and, again, will help you avoid more expensive repairs.

At Superior Auto Service, we advise our Bryan College Station customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your car or SUV owner’s manual or with your Bryan College Station technician for information about how often your car or SUV air conditioning system should be serviced.

Another piece of good auto advice: if your car or SUV air conditioner isn’t working or is starting to show signs of breakdown, NOW is the time to get it fixed at Superior Auto Service in Bryan College Station. Waiting will only increase the chances that you are in for major repairs and a costly repair bill.

On a final note, if you own an older vehicle, you should check into upgrading the air conditioning system. Vehicles manufactured before 1993 often contained a refrigerant known as Freon. The manufacture of Freon was outlawed in 1993, leading to an ever-dwindling supply, which leads to an ever-steeper price for Bryan College Station car owners in Texas. If your vehicle still uses Freon, you should have it retrofitted to use the new, EPA-approved R134A refrigerant. The retrofit will actually pay for itself by reducing the cost to recharge the refrigerant in your car or SUV.

Remember, preventive maintenance — of your entire car — will keep you on the road. And, in this case, it will help you keep your cool!

Superior Auto Service

Clean Air for Your Engine: A New Engine Air Filter at Superior Auto Service

October 17th, 2014 by shopdan

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All of us Bryan College Station car owners know we have to get the oil changed in our car or SUVs periodically. That’s just part of good car care. But when College Station service advisors change your oil, they also usually inspect your air filter. That’s why they sometimes let you know that your air filter needs to be changed before releasing your car or SUV.

Don’t just chock this up to trying to sell you something else. Brazos Valley drivers really do need to change their air filter when it gets dirty. You can check your owner’s manual to see how often your air filter should need to be changed, but remember, if you live in an area in Texas with poor air quality, or if you drive a lot or drive under harsh conditions in the College Station area, you may need to change that filter more often than is recommended.

Changing an air filter isn’t guesswork. If a filter’s dirty, it needs to be replaced. Air filters aren’t very pricey at Superior Auto Service in Bryan College Station. But the problems they cause if Bryan College Station motorists don’t change them can get to be pricey.

For every gallon of gas your car or SUV burns, it needs 12,000 gallons of air. Clean filters allow better airflow into your engine, which means that your engine will get more air more quickly. That means your car or SUV engine runs more efficiently.

Dirty air filters cut airflow to your engine. All the debris in the filter clogs up the spaces the air needs to pass through to get to the engine. This dirty air can damage pricey electronic components.

If you are in tune with your car or SUV, you’ll notice a difference when you change a really dirty air filter for a clean one. Your car or SUV may actually purr for you again. Its performance improves when it has a new, clean filter. So remember, changing your air filter is one of the most vital elements of preventive maintenance. At Superior Auto Service, it’s inexpensive, it’s effective, and it’s essential.

Helping Bryan College Station Drivers Get the Right Tires

October 10th, 2014 by shopdan

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Every Bryan College Station vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy Texas roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.

Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at College Station temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.

All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Bryan College Station weather.

So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in Texas and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.

For serious winter driving in Texas, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.

Your second vital consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at Texas tire stores. Bryan College Station drivers will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Superior Auto Service tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.

Bryan College Station motorists who drive off-road around Texas may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Bryan College Station streets and expressways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

New wheels can be purchased in Bryan College Station as a statement of style or to add personality to your car or SUV. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your car or SUV, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Superior Auto Service service advisor for more information about tires.

Wheel Alignment

September 30th, 2014 by shopdan

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Hello Bryan College Station motorists! 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 Bryan College Station.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is a significant repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Bryan College Station auto owners 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 Texas driving. Bryan College Station road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, even the bumps and bounces of normal College Station highways and streets can gradually put your car or SUV tires out of alignment.

Wheel Alignment System

Wheel Alignment System

So it’s good auto advice to have your car or SUV’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 car or SUV tires might be out of alignment, you should take your car or SUV into Superior Auto Service now.

When you take your car or SUV in for an alignment in Bryan College Station, your honest and friendly Superior Auto Service tech will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be repaired in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the car or SUV will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the auto maker’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 important 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 caster. 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 College Station. Drive safely.

Superior Auto Service

Cool Running In Bryan College Station

September 26th, 2014 by shopdan

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Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your car or SUV engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the interstate in Bryan College Station waiting for your car or SUV engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Superior Auto Service, your technician will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your car or SUV owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your honest and friendly technician will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the car or SUV radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need a diagnostic examination regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your car or SUV cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your car or SUV cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service professional will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Superior Auto Service is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Bryan College Station for 32 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the College Station repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in Texas.

At Superior Auto Service, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

Superior Auto Service

Viva la Differential At Superior Auto Service In Bryan College Station

September 17th, 2014 by shopdan

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There are a lot of Bryan College Station people who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in Texas these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Bryan College Station folks don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind. So it’s not uncommon for Bryan College Station people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any Texas high school. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside car or SUV wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a car or SUV moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.

Your honest and friendly Superior Auto Service service technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He’ll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Superior Auto Service service advisor can look up the car or SUV manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual.

At Superior Auto Service, we’ve been providing quality automotive service for our valued Bryan College Station customers for 33 years. If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at (979) 846-5344.

Superior Auto Service