• Beat the Summer Heat!

    Posted on 01, July, 2018

    Have you prepared to weather the summer heat wave predicted for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex this year? Remember how hot and humid it was heading into early June here in Euless, Bedford, Hurst, North Richland Hills, Colleyville and other Mid-Cities communities? Parra Car Care, your trusted auto repair, and maintenance shop does. We’re geared up and ready to help your vehicle keep its cool all summer long.

     

    Often when we hear a heat wave is coming, let alone living in the midst of one, we hear lots of sound advice about looking after ourselves, by being prepared, staying hydrated and protecting ourselves from the effects of the sun. But one thing we often overlook is where we spend much of our time during summer months — our family vehicle.

     

    Like our bodies, automobiles have a number of different fluid systems. Like our bodies, proper fluid chemistry in those vehicle systems matters at all times, and especially so during extremes of heat or cold here in North Texas. Now is the perfect time to let your expert and experienced auto mechanics at Parra Car Care check out your vehicle, prepare it for summer, and ensure your family’s comfort and safety wherever you travel.

     

    To help you understand which vehicle systems need to be summer-ready, here’s are some of the fluids in your vehicle that merit your attention to avoid having vehicle heat stroke issues:

     

    • Refrigerant — When it’s hot outside, it’s the refrigerant fluid in your air conditioning system that transfers the heat from the air inside your vehicle’s passenger cabin to go outside your vehicle through the properties of evaporation. Similar to the coolant, the correct type and amount of refrigerant matters. Like coolant, the refrigerant is part of a separate vehicle system comprised of costly components, such as a compressor, so regular inspections and preventive maintenance are essential strategies to help you save your money and keep your cool.

     

    • Coolant — Engine coolant helps remove heat from your vehicle’s engine by transferring it to your radiator. To perform optimally, the coolant is a precise blend of a specified type of antifreeze and distilled water. Like many of your car’s other fluids, coolant and the protective additives it contains have a limited life, so having coolant condition checked periodically is prudent, as is the condition of the system’s hoses and belts. One more thing: Never top up your coolant with ordinary tap water or the incorrect antifreeze, as cooling efficiency and component wear will be compromised. In addition, even if you do top up properly, you may be ignoring a leak in the air conditioning system that needs attention before it becomes a major headache.

     

    • Motor Oil — During operation, let alone summer heat, your vehicle’s engine is one of the most stressed systems. The correct motor oil in good condition not only ensures proper lubrication to keep your engine durable, it also helps optimize the removal of heat from engine operation. In addition, motor oil features protective additives and other properties, such as your oil’s viscosity, that lessen over time working to keep your hard-working engine clean. If it’s been a while since your last oil service, and especially If you’ve planned a vacation or some upcoming road trips, it may be time to consider recharging your engine system with fresh motor oil.

     

    • Transmission Fluid — The other half of your vehicle’s driveline is the transmission. It too depends on specially formulated transmission fluid to remove heat during operation. Driving in hot weather is taxing, and if your vehicle is heavily loaded with family, luggage, and supplies, your transmission is under a heavier load than normal. If you’re pulling a trailer or boat, even more stress is present. Even road construction delays, where you are stopped or moving very slowly, can lead to unexpected overheating of your transmission fluid. Make sure your transmission fluid is at the correct level and in good condition, because if your transmission fluid “cooks,” the odor can signal an expensive auto repair that could have been avoided.

     

    • Brake Fluid — You have a lot riding on your brakes. Your family for one; your car’s ability to stop, for another. While your brake system is comprised of a lot of hardware, the proper functioning of those parts relies on a relatively small amount of quality brake fluid that is in good condition and has the correct chemical composition. One of the key safety systems that enable you to keep mobile, but stop on demand, brake fluid is often overlooked by drivers, as we’re more attuned to hearing squeaks and grinding sounds or spotting a leak under our car, than being able to discern what condition our working brake fluid is in.

     

    Having the correct type and quality of fluids is part of the vehicle care equation. The other part is timely preventive maintenance of the hardware involved, such as belts, hoses and more. Here’s a brief example:


    With school out and our summer bake on, now’s the time to check the health of your vehicle fluids. Our teams of service advisors and auto mechanics at Parra Car Care in North Richland Hills, Parra car Care in Euless, and Mid-Cities Service Center in Euless are ready, willing, and able to serve motorists in North Richland Hills, Hurst, Colleyville, Bedford, Euless, and surrounding communities. We invite you to call us, schedule an appointment online or visit us.  We’d be honored to provide you with the outstanding customer experience you expect and deserve!

  • Is Your Car Computer Up To Date?

    Posted on 01, June, 2018

    Customers of Parra Auto Care in Euless and North Richland Hills, as well as Mid-Cities Service Center in Euless may not realize this, but your shop is standing guard for you and your vehicle. Specifically, keeping your car’s computers up–to-date is critical, and we want to explain why.

    Software Updates Ramp-up

    In recent months, you may have noticed increasingly more frequent notifications that your home computer or mobile phone needs a software update. The reasons for the updates include functionality, security, and others. As the Internet of Things and smart device connectivity become more pervasive, expect more updates going forward.

    Modern automobiles generally have 25 to 50 computer modules onboard, fueled by 100 million lines of software code, that communicate vehicle data across approximately 2.5 miles of wired vehicle networks. Software can have many bugs, most of them not identified until after new vehicles are purchased. Updates provide the remedies to bugs, but only once they have been properly downloaded and installed.

    Raw Numbers

    Automakers say more than 70 percent of 1995 and newer vehicles could benefit from one or more updates to the onboard computer modules. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), up until three years ago, the vast majority of vehicle recalls were due to mechanical issues. But in the last three years, more than three-quarters of all vehicle recalls have been due to software related issues, most of which require an update to be installed.

     

    Then in May 2018, FBI Special Agent Paul Schaaf submitted a report to the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) that added fuel to the need for car owners to protect themselves. “Vehicles today are rolling networks. Over the past two years, the FBI determined more than half of all vehicle cyberattacks were initiated through personal mobile phones and tablets connected to a vehicle, not the vehicle itself. Once connected, the vehicle and the hacker can both crawl address books, emails, SMS messages, most visited locations and more. online in the last month, and vice versa. It’s then easy to steal your personal and financial data, as well as gain control of your car and/or all the data sources and connected devices inside it for theft, ransomware, or other malicious purposes.”

    Not sure of how your vehicle could be hacked? Watch the Consumer Reports video, co-produced with NHTSA.

     

     

    How Can Parra Auto Care and Mid-Cities Service Center Help You?

    This massive shift warrants your attention as a vehicle owner for performance, security and personal reasons. The bottom line is there are some things auto shops can do to help car owners and some things we cannot.

     

    • First, the bad news — Currently, no shop can address the threats your personal devices present. That control is solely yours to exercise. It’s your choice whether to use apps on your connected phone to text, surf, play music or navigate. But now that you’re informed and aware, realize such conveniences come with risks.

     

    • Some encouraging news — Automakers and the industry are now actively beefing-up security measures to protect vehicle and personal data. Chrysler and NASTF already moving toward two factor authentication, which would require all devices and users to be vetted and approved before any access to vehicle data networks is allowed. Some other automakers are developing the capability to deliver updates over-the-air (OTA), wirelessly and remotely via the Cloud, again subject to authentication protocols.

     

    • The good news — As your trusted auto repair shop, we can easily install the missing software updates your vehicle and get your car computers up-to-date. We highly recommend you have this service performed on your vehicle, to ensure your vehicle’s operating system still has the functionality you expected and paid for at purchase.

    Parra Car Care in North Richland Hills, Parra car Care in Euless, and Mid-Cities Service Center in Euless serve motorists in North Richland Hills, Hurst, Colleyville, Bedford, Euless, and surrounding communities. If you would like your vehicle’s software updated, or you have some other auto repair concern, please call us, schedule an appointment online, or visit one of our convenient locations.

  • How To Prepare For Your Summertime Road Trips

    Posted on 16, May, 2018

    When the kids get out of school and the weather turns warm, many of us in the Fort Worth region get an itch to hit the road. Road trips are an essential part of American culture, and we can talk for days about where to go and what to do. But to help your road trip go along smoothly, we want to focus on some safety tips in our May blog.

    A lot of people are on the move during the months of May - September. Grade school kids accompany their parents on family vacations in the car. Many college kids drive long distances to begin their internships. We want to make sure they stay safe, so here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

    Know what to do when the torrential rains begin flooding the roads you’re driving.

    Torrential downpours are common in May and you want to be sure you remain safe. Here are seven helpful tips to keep you safe while driving in the rain:

    Tip #1 -- Give yourself more time to travel when it’s raining.

    Tip #2 -- Keep a safe following distance between your car and the cars in front of you.

    Tip #3 -- Obey the speed limit. Drive under the speed limit as needed. Fast driving during rainstorms is dangerous because the roads are slick.

    Tip #4 -- Turn your headlights from the auto mode to "On" position. Many times the daylight during a torrential rain will keep the lights off.

    Tip #5 -- If you are stuck in a torrential downpour and you cannot see much past the front of your vehicle. Turn on your emergency flashers. The flashing amber lights glow and can be seen better than just the red parking lights.

    Tip #6 -- Read the Signs. Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the road through it. Do not drive around barricades or you might find yourself trapped on a washed out road or bridge.

    Tip #7 -- Scared of being trapped in your vehicle? Doors and windows will not open? Use your driver seat headrest! Remove it and you will see the steel prongs. They are designed to punch out the door glass.

    Learn what to do when your car begins to hydroplane.

    Here are the steps you need to take if you find your car has lost contact with the wet road:

     

    Step 1 -- Stay calm and remove your foot from the accelerator pedal.

    Step 2 -- Avoid slamming on the brakes because that could create a spin out.  Gently pump the brakes only after your tires regain connection to the road.

    Step 3 -- If you do being to spin out, turn the wheel in the same direction the car is going. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and look out an open space off in the distance. Keep your eyes on that open space as you guide your vehicle out of the spin out.

    Step 4 -- Watch this video for expert instruction on what to do when you start hydroplaning.

    Are your hazard lights working and do you know how to use them?

    There’s a lot of road construction going on around the Fort Worth region. Accidents increase around road construction sites, and your hazard lights can help you and other drivers reduce the risk of an accident. Use your hazard lights whenever you feel uncertain about the road in front of you. They alert other drivers to slow down and give you space.  Watch this video to find out when to turn on your hazard lights while you’re on your road trip.

    Fuel is fairly pricey right now in Texas.

    How can you save money on gas during your road trip? Here are the top three things we recommend so you can stretch your gas money:

     

    Tip #1 -- Make sure your tires maintain the recommended tire pressure. Underinflation can cause extra drag, which erodes your gas savings.

    Tip #2 -- Service your vehicle on a regular basis. Preventive maintenance helps your car operate the way it was designed, and gets rid of the gunk that can slow down your engine’s performance.

    Tip #3 -- When driving with your A/C on, remember to use the Recirculate button. By using recirculate mode you are only cooling the air inside the vehicle. This will improve gas mileage and wear and tear on the a/c compressor.

    Speaking of air conditioning, road trips aren’t as fun without comfort.

    How can you avoid problems with your air conditioning system? It’s all about the preventive maintenance. Be sure to have your automotive A/C unit serviced on a regular basis. If you feel your car’s A/C blowing hot or smelling funny, drive to an auto repair shop as soon as you can to have it repaired.

    When you are preparing for a road trip this Summer, we invite you to Mid-Cities Service Center in Euless and Parra Car Care in Euless and North Richland Hills. We’ll be happy to provide a bumper-to-bumper inspection so you can drive confidently; knowing that your vehicle is ready to safely transport you and your family.

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