When to Get an Oil Change for Your Car

When it comes to caring for your vehicle, routine and regular scheduled maintenance are among the most vital necessities. In order to sustain the value and performance of your vehicle, consistent oil changes, tune ups, tire rotations, and other factory scheduled services are required.

Continue reading to learn how the frequency of changing your oil affects the overall status of a vehicle.

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The Importance of Oil Changes

Cars, trucks, and other vehicles have different requirements when it comes to oil changes. Depending on the make or model of the vehicle, oil change frequencies will differ. Typically, we measure the length of time between scheduled auto services in distances. For example, most manufacturers suggest cars should have their oil changed every 3000 to 5000 miles, depending on the make and model.

Size and vehicle type also influence the rate of which a person should have their oil changed. For instance, diesel engines will have a contrasting oil change schedule compared to a gasoline fuel engine. Larger engines and vehicles burn more fuel, which may require them to have the oil changed more often. Small gasoline-fueled engines get better fuel mileage, resulting in less frequent routine maintenance.

Ask a Pro to Be Sure

The best way to accurately determine how often you need to change your vehicle’s oil is to ask a professional. This could be the manufacturer of the vehicle in question, or a professional Indianapolis auto repair shop or technician. Either way, these sources are professional references that can offer truthful tips, answers, and advice.

Where To Get Trusted Auto Service Near You!

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Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for professional automotive service and repair in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are ASE licensed and certified car mechanics who provide a wide range of foreign and domestic auto repair services, as well as, free estimates, automotive service coupons, and more. Request a free estimate, today.

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5 Automotive Warning Lights You Need to Know

There are many types of warning lights that will notify you when a mechanical issue is underway within your vehicle, including problems with tire pressure, the engine, the brakes, and more. The exact types of warning lamps you have in your ride depends on the actual make and model. Older model vehicles may only have one or two types of warning lights, while newer models are typically manufactured to have most, if not all, of the most common warning lights.

The top 5 most common automotive warning lights are for anti-lock brakes, engine, oil pressure, tire pressure, and battery. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about them all.

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Screen display of car status warning light on dashboard panel symbols which show the fault indicators

Top 5 Automotive Warning Lights

💡 ABS Lights – ABS stands for anti-lock brakes. This means when a driver needs to suddenly brake, the ABS system will prevent the wheels from locking and losing traction on the road. It allows a vehicle to retain tractive contact with the road in order to come to a sudden stop. The ABS system is an important one for all vehicles because it significantly reduces the chances of wrecking a car or causing an accident. It is also great for winter weather and precipitation.

💡 Check Engine Light – Most drivers are familiar with the check engine light, also known as the malfunctioning indicator lamp (MIL). When this light illuminates, it could be for a variety of reasons, ranging from minor to serious. For example, a lit check engine light can signify something small like a loose gas cap, or it can signify something much more serious like a needed catalytic converter replacement. If this light comes on, have your vehicle inspected by a licensed car mechanic as soon as possible. It is strongly recommended to not drive a car when the engine light is on.

💡 Oil Pressure Light – This light comes on when a vehicle’s oil levels are low. A car needs motor oil to keep the engine lubricated and prevent overheating. Without proper oil levels, a car or truck can experience significant and irreversible damage to its engine. This is a very costly repair that can easily be avoided with regular factory scheduled maintenance.

💡 Battery Lights – There are several reasons why a vehicle’s battery light may illuminate. It could signify a problem with the alternator drive belt, the slack starter, or complete alternator failure. These are serious and should be addressed immediately before driving the vehicle again.

💡 Tire Pressure Lights – When this light comes on, a driver can assume that their tires need more air. Low tire pressure can reduce gas mileage, but more seriously, can cause tire blowouts, hydroplaning, and car wrecks. Always be sure your tires are in good condition and full of the appropriate amount of air. Never over-fill tires with air because it can cause them to pop or blowout as well.

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Top 3 Signs You Need Catalytic Converter Repair

Your vehicle is arguably one of your top-most important assets. Without it, you sacrifice freedoms of all kinds; not to mention the challenge of finding transportation to work, school, and other vital responsibilities. So when your car or truck begins to show signs of trouble, it is critical that you pay attention to the message it is trying to convey. As for a catalytic converter, the same theory applies.

Continue reading to learn the top three signs of a bad catalytic converter, and what you need to do to get your vehicle back to a safe and operational condition.

Catalytic Converter Repair

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In most cases, your vehicle will tell you when it is having trouble with a primary component, such as the engine, brakes, or catalytic converter. In fact, it the catalytic converter is acting up, one of three signs will surely become evident to you. Here is what to look out for:

Check Engine Light

The check engine light is one of those components that gives you anxiety every time it illuminates. Although most often, it is something simple, like a loose gap cap, it can also be a sign that your catalytic converter is malfunctioning. You see, the oxygen and air-fuel ratio sensors monitor the efficiency of your vehicle’s catalytic converter by watching the gas levels in the exhaust. So when your catalytic converter is improperly catalyzing the exhaust gases, it can prompt your vehicle’s computer system to catch on and warn you of the defect.

Reduced Engine Performance

Your catalytic converter is a big partner to your vehicle’s engine since it is a part of the exhaust system. So it is expected to have poor engine performance if your vehicle’s experiencing catalytic converter problems. Signs to look out for include engine stalling, overheating, reduced acceleration, poor fuel economy, and power issues. Common defects that causes these problems are mostly due to a clogged, obstructed, or cracked catalytic converter.

Rattling Noises

Car’s make noise. However, when the noise becomes concerning, it could be a sign that your catalytic converter is on the outs. Rattling sounds should be the most alarming to you. Old catalytic converters, or ones damaged by rich fuel mixtures, can experience collapsed or fragmented meshes, which can cause rattling sounds while driving or in the parked position.

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Three Basic Types of Torque Wrenches for Auto Repair

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Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846

Whether you are experienced with implementing your own car maintenance and repair, or just like to change your own tires every now and then, a torque wrench is a must-have for the tool box. Although there are countless varieties of torque wrenches available, there are three basic kinds that are used specifically for automotive applications. These would be the perfect go-to options for a car care tool kit! Continue reading to learn more about each type!

Flex Bar Torque Wrenches

Also referred to as “scale” or “beam” type torque wrenches, these are easily distinguishable by their stationary needle that runs along the length of the shaft handle. The needle visually specifies the applied torque against a scale at the base of the handle.

Dial Indicator Torque Wrenches

Like flex bar wrenches, dial indicator torque wrenches also come with a visual display that indicates the applied torque. They are also admired for the quality control in monitoring and verifying torque measurements.

Sound-Indicating Torque Wrenches

Sound-indicating torque wrenches are also called “micrometer” wrenches because they read on a micrometer scale. When the preset torque value is reached, they will make an audible clicking noise by briefly releasing the wrench a few degrees.

Torque Wrench Tips:

🔧 Be very delicate with your torque wrench. You do not want to upset the balance or accuracy of this precision instrument.

🔧 Do not over-tighten an adjustable torque wrench. When used in a low setting, you may not be able to hear the clicking noise.

🔧 Never read the visual display on a flex bar or dial torque wrench at an angle. For accurate measurements, read the display straight on.

🔧 For safety and accuracy, hold your torque wrench at the center of the grip handle. Do not try to use handle extenders, and do not place your hand too close to the wrench head.

🔧 For adjustable torque wrenches, always keep them on their lowest reading when not in use. Failure to do so can result in inaccurate measurements and readings.

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3 Ways to Improve Vehicular Performance

If you want your car or truck to last a long time, all the while performing at its best, you need to take good care of it on a daily basis. Continue reading to learn the top three ways you can improve your vehicle’s performance and ensure your safety as a driver.

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ASE Certified Car Maintenance 317-475-1846

Just like our own bodies, our vehicles contain a collection of systems that must work together in order to remain in a healthy functioning state. Although there are countless ways you can take good care of your vehicle, if you want to improve its performance, these three will get you what you want:

Fuel Additives

Fuel additives are a great option for improving fuel quality and performance. You will find a wide range of products on the market, all of which ranging in price, quality, and type. Once you choose the right one for your vehicle, simply pour it in your car’s coolant reservoir. Fuel additives work as a wetting agent and reduce coolant temperatures as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. When you add it to your vehicle’s antifreeze, it instantly improves heat transfer. They also protect against internal corrosion and rust formation. Best of all, these products come cheap, and average around $8 a bottle.

Aside from additives, you might want to reconsider your motor oil. It is suggested to make the switch to synthetic oil if you want a better performing vehicle. Synthetic oil provides the most protection and lowest friction for diesel and gasoline engines. It is much cleaner than standard oil and provides for more efficient lubrication because it breaks down at a much slower rate. This product is also inexpensive and available in any automotive store or department.

Factory Scheduled Maintenance

If you want your vehicle to run great for a long time, you must adhere to its manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule. This schedule differs in minor detail among all make and model vehicles, but all cars in general require the basic routine services, like fluid changes, brake inspections, tune ups, and more.

If you want instant engine performance improvement, have your vehicle’s spark plug wires changed. High-performance spark plug wires have extremely low resistance without electronic interference; and carry a much stronger signal to the spark plugs. Refer to your vehicle’s owners’ manual for information on factory scheduled maintenance. You can also contact a local Indianapolis auto repair shop for advice.

Minor Auto Repairs

When we get sick, we need treatment to get better. If we let an infection go untreated, it will start to affect the rest of our bodies. The same applies to your vehicle. Do not let minor defects and malfunctions to go unresolved, or else you risk jeopardizing the other systems within your vehicle. Be sure to get small repairs fixed right away to reduce further vehicular wear and tear.

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How to Safely Throw Away Your Old Gasoline

Whether for the lawn mower, scooter, or truck, it is common for vehicle owners to have a stash of gasoline lying around. Having an emergency supply of fuel is great for times when you forget to fill up the tank, but there are some important facts you need to know about old gasoline.

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Indianapolis Auto Repair and Service 317-475-1846


After sometime, gasoline loses its combustibility properties, making it quite difficult to get a car engine to turn over or stay fired up. Depending on the age and quality of the fuel, it may even be totally useless. But low combustibility does not mean non-flammable. Although gas will lose enough combustibility to render it useless for powering motors, it is still combustible enough to be a fire hazard. In fact, gasoline is still extremely flammable even if it is really old.

For this reason, tossing out your old gasoline is not as simple as taking out the trash. The degree of flammability makes gasoline a dangerous hazard, so it is vital to learn the safe and responsible way to dispose of it in your town.

Legalities of Fuel Disposal

You can’t just toss gasoline into trash receptacles, sewers, drains, bodies of water, or even down toilets. Not only can this put yourself and others at risk of fire hazards, explosions, and chemical exposure, there are laws that govern the legal disposal of private gasoline supplies. If you fail to meet these requirements, you will potentially face legal repercussions, such as fines, restitution, and even jail time. You should check with your county clerk’s office to learn your state’s ordinances regarding gasoline disposal.

Your Options for Fuel Disposal

Your first option for discarding old gasoline safely and responsibly is to combine it with your good gasoline. Although it has low combustibility, old gas can still contribute to ignition, and even extend the life of your good gasoline. If your old gasoline is especially dark and mucky, you should not use the first option. Instead, it will need to be entirely discarded.

To reuse old gas with new gas, just pour the remainder of old fuel into anything that takes it, such as lawn mowers, weed whackers, scooters, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and vans. For vehicles, you may want to consider using a fuel additive for best results, such as octane boosters, injector cleaners, and similar automotive products.

If you still have leftover fuel, or your fuel is too old to reuse, try this next option!

Your other option for safe and proper gasoline discarding is to contact a nearby disposal center. Simply track down a hazard waste collection and disposal center in your town that accepts contaminated gasoline. Keep in mind that these centers are usually only open to the public once or twice a week, so be sure to schedule accordingly.

Start by contacting your county or city waste management agency. They can give you leads for all the nearby centers that offer this service. You can also contact your local fire department or Indianapolis auto repair shop for information on safe gasoline disposal services.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Car Transmissions

Do you suspect that your car’s transmission is on the outs? If so, you may be full of questions. Continue reading to learn some important information about automotive transmissions, including common signs of transmission trouble.

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Indianapolis Transmission Repair 317-475-1846

What Does a Car Transmission Do?

Automotive transmissions are designed as automatic or manual. Cars with manual transmissions are also referred to as clutches or stick-shift vehicles. Automatic transmissions are the most common, and probably the type you drive. In basic terms, a transmission’s purpose is to convert speeds and torques along a vehicle’s drive train. This means it automatically changes a vehicle’s gear ratios, allowing it to drive within its narrow range of speeds, but still also providing a wide range of torque and output speeds.

What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

One of the seven essential automotive fluids is transmission fluid. Without it, your transmission cannot operate smoothly. Transmission fluid is intended to lubricate all these inner working parts, while also controlling and reducing heat produced from friction. It cools and lubricates so that everything stays in sync and in optimal working condition. It is an oil-based liquid with a red-like color, and can be purchased at any auto parts store or automotive store. As a car owner, you do not need to check your transmission fluid levels. Instead, have your car or truck serviced regularly, every 6 months or 5,000 miles, by a licensed mechanic.

When Should I Change My Transmission Fluid?

There are several different suggestions for transmission fluid changes, all of which vary depending on your driving style and the conditions in which you drive. This makes it difficult to know which recommendation is right for your vehicle. For automatic vehicles, most manufacturers will suggest changing the transmission fluid every 100,000 miles or so, but professional mechanics recommend doing so every 30,000 to 40,000 miles for optimal safety and performance. For manual transmission vehicles, most manufacturers will suggest changing the transmission fluid every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, but professional mechanics recommend doing so every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Refer to your vehicle’s owners’ manual or your local Indianapolis auto repair shop for advice.

Do Car Transmissions Require Routine Maintenance?

Proper maintenance is vital for dependable transmission performance and longevity. Routine automotive services like regular inspections and tune-ups are important routine prevention tactics. Also, using proper fuel and fuel additives can greatly increase the performance and longevity of a car engine and transmission.

What are the Signs of Transmission Problems?

There are hundreds of symptoms a vehicle can experience when there is a problem with its transmission. However, there are 3 signs that you should always be on the lookout for. These include burning odors, transmission fluid leakage, and an illuminated check engine light. If you notice a puddle of red fluid beneath your vehicle, your transmission has a leak. If your check engine light comes on, it could be from a transmission problem. And if you smell a burning odor while driving, it could be a result of dirty transmission fluid.

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Common Types of Car Brake Fluid

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Car Brake Repair 317-475-1846

Braking fluid is one of the seven essential fluids needed for all vehicles to operate smoothly, safely, and efficiently. Without brake fluid, not only do your car brakes suffer greatly, you could cause a serious accident without the ability to come to a stop. This is a very dangerous situation which is why no one should ever operate a motor vehicle without a sufficient amount of brake fluid.

There are several different brands of brake fluid on the market to choose from, but there are only three primary types of brake fluid available for cars and trucks. These are classified as either “wet boiling point” or “dry boiling point” and referred to as DOT3, DOT4, and DOT5 braking fluid.

Standard Brake Fluids

As mentioned before, the three primary brake fluids are DOT3, DOT4, and DOT5. The first two, DOT3 and DOT4, are glycol-ether-based fluids. These two glycol-based fluids absorb water, which at the same time, decreases their boiling points. DOT3 has a minimum dry boiling point of 401 Fahrenheit, and a minimum wet boiling point of 284 Fahrenheit.

DOT4 has a minimum dry boiling point of 446 Fahrenheit and a minimum wet boiling point of 311 Fahrenheit. Although they are similar in function, separate types of braking fluids should never be combined in a brake fluid reservoir. It can cause substantial corrosion to your vehicle’s braking system, as well as, let off toxic fumes that are harmful to respiratory health. Also, never allow DOT3 or DOT4 to touch or spill onto car paint. It will eat paint away quickly, leaving you with a hefty vehicle paint job bill.

DOT5 Brake Fluid

In contrast to DOT3 and DOT4 brake fluids, the DOT5 brake fluids are silicone-based and DO NOT absorb water. This means the boiling point for DOT5 fluid remains steady and doesn’t change. Since it doesn’t absorb water, any water that gets inside can cause pure water pockets to form, resulting in major brake corrosion.

DOT5 is actually an older version of what’s used on the market today since it causes high compressibility. DOT5 was used in antique cars and vehicles that needed to be water-corrosion resistant, like military vehicles. Now, a newer more applicable version is available called DOT5.1 braking fluid.

Be sure to always discuss your car brake repair needs or concerns with a licensed Indianapolis automotive mechanic. They can give you professional information regarding factory scheduled maintenance for your vehicle.

Indianapolis Car Brake Repair

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General Factory Scheduled Maintenance for Cars and Trucks

Factory scheduled maintenance services for cars and trucks are an important part of vehicle care and preservation. It is crucial to regularly care for your car or truck to promote longevity, sustainability, and performance. There are several routine maintenance cars and trucks require; some blatantly obvious, while others not as much.

Continue reading to learn about some different types of factory scheduled maintenance services recommended for cars and trucks.

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Oil Changes

Having the oil changed in a car or truck is mandatory in order to achieve safe and proper vehicle performance and functionality. Oil changes should happen once a year or every 7000 miles; depending on the make and model vehicle. In larger vehicles, such as semi-trucks and diesel powered engines, an oil change should be made every 3,000 miles or twice a year.

Additional Fluid Changes

Oil is not the only fluid that requires changing in a car or truck. Brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid, coolants, power steering fluids, battery fluid, and more are all examples of liquids that require changing in vehicles.

Tire Rotations

Tire and wheels need to be rotated and balanced on a professional balancing machine every five thousand miles. This process ensures even tire wear and tear. The weight on the front and rear axles of a car or truck differ, which means the wear and tear will be uneven. Switching places and balancing the wheels promotes better drivability and avoids running a flat.

Battery Replacements

When a vehicle begins requiring jump starts, or has dimmer headlights than usual, it may be time to change the car battery. Most people can accomplish this at home, themselves because it is a relatively easy project. A car or truck battery basically just snaps and plugs right in place, making it an easy DIY job for anyone. Typically, car and truck batteries need changed every 3 to 5 years, give or take. It also just depends on the vehicle make, model, and condition.

Filter Replacements

Along with fluids and batteries, filters in a car or truck need replaced after some time. Air filters, fuel filters, cabin filters, and more all require replacement after a few thousand miles.

Coolant Flushes

Coolant fluid is a viscous liquid that supports the temperature levels in a car or truck engine. Flushing the coolant, also called antifreeze, promotes maximum performance in vehicle’s heating and cooling systems. A vehicle’s manual will retain information about when to change out the anti-freeze and how often to flush the coolant.

Bulbs, Hoses, and Belts

Headlights, tail lights, indoor lights, rear lights, check engine lights, and more all need bulb changes every so often. On top of bulb replacements, hoses and belts require a small degree of regular maintenance as well. For example, belts can become squeaky overtime, and hoses can start to leak. These areas and more require minimal routine maintenance for optimal performance and sustainability.

Indianapolis Car and Truck Repair

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Is Your Transmission Trying to Telling You Something?

If you think you hear your transmission making noise, don’t waste any more time and drive directly to an auto repair shop. Never ignore an issue with a transmission. This is because a simple little problem can turn into a large costly one if neglected. Have a small issue fixed before an entire transmission replacement is needed. The type of issue and repair can often times be determined by the type of noise your transmission is making.

Continue reading to learn the common problematic noises and sounds a transmission makes when it needs service or repair.

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Indianapolis Transmission Repair 317-475-1846

Noisy Transmission

One of the most common causes of noisy transmissions is defective or corroded gears. The inner workings of a transmission can sometimes experience mounting issues, corrosion issues, and loose or faulty parts. All of these potential issues can happen one at a time, or in combination with each other.

In this case, the noises coming from the transmission would be a result of defective or loose pieces and parts moving around, and the friction they create while doing so. This is certainly a repair that needs immediate attention before an accident occurs or the transmission is destroyed completely. Keep in mind that replacing a transmission can cost anywhere from $800 to well over a thousand dollars, depending on the make and model, and whether it’s new or used.

Loose Transmission

Another common culprit behind strange and unusual transmission noises has to do with the way it’s connected to the vehicle. When a transmission is installed, it needs to be positively secured to the vehicle for safe and optimal performance. Over time, natural wear and tear or careless driving can cause the transmission connections to come loose, creating odd rattling noises. This also should be addressed as soon as possible.

If a transmission comes entirely loose from a vehicle while on the road, it can cause a fatal accident to other car and drivers. It will also require professional Indianapolis transmission repair and replacement, and ample time to have your vehicle put back together again.

One of the seven essential automotive fluids is transmission fluid. Without it, your transmission cannot operate smoothly. There needs to be ample lubrication for all the moving parts and gears within a transmission system. Without lubrication, intense friction and heat causes the parts to burn out and defect. This also causes loud screeching noises.

A simple and speedy transmission fluid re-fill is all your vehicle needs, every three to six months. Be sure to also check the filter to ensure its preventing debris from entering the transmission fluid. If the filter gets clogged up, it can cause weird noises too.

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