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716-896-8060 | 1840 William St Buffalo, NY 14206

Auto Repair Tips & Guidance

Auto Repair Answers You Can Rely On

We remember our customers and their vehicles. At R & J Service we know you have high expectations. To exceed them we provide a monthly blog post offering cost saving auto maintenance resources with economizing suggestions for unavoidable expenses like fuel and cost-conscious repair tips. Get more help by asking one of our pros! Call 716-896-8060 or stop by our service center at 1840 William St, Buffalo, NY 14206.

5 Indicators Your Suspension Requires a Check up


A vehicle's suspension system comprises various components, including springs, shock absorbers, ball joints, and struts, among others. Ever wonder if your suspension needs an inspection? Here are five indicators to watch out for, helping you decide whether your suspension needs any work done:

1. Noticeable Drifting or Pulling While Turning:

  • During turns, if you experience unusual pulling or drifting, it could signal potential suspension issues. A car with suspension problems can pull to one side or drift out of its lane, even when the steering wheel is held straight. This can be caused by worn or damaged suspension components affecting wheel alignment.

2. Uneven Tire Tread Wear:

  • Uneven tire tread wear, characterized by sporadic bald spots instead of a uniform pattern, may indicate significant suspension problems. If you notice uneven wear patterns on your tires, particularly excessive wear on the inside or outside edges, it could indicate suspension issues. Misaligned wheels or worn suspension components can cause uneven tire wear in a vehicle.

3. Sensation of Dips or Dives Upon Braking:

  • Experiencing lurching or dips and dives when braking may indicate worn-out shock absorbers, a vital component of your vehicle's suspension system. These symptoms suggest that your shock absorbers are no longer effectively dampening the movement of your vehicle's springs, affecting its stability and braking performance. To address this issue, it's crucial to have your shock absorbers inspected and replaced if necessary.

4. Difficulty in Steering:

  • Experiencing difficulty in steering your vehicle could be a sign of underlying suspension issues. Proper steering functionality is essential for safe and effective maneuvering on the road. If the issue is left unaddressed, your ability to make turns will be severely impacted. Seeking assistance from a reputable car repair service is advisable to diagnose and address any suspension-related concerns promptly.

5. Strange Noises:

  • This includes clunking, knocking, or creaking sounds when driving over bumps or during steering maneuvers. Noises such as these can indicate problems with suspension components like bushings, ball joints, or control arms. These noises may suggest loose or worn parts that need expert attention sooner rather than later.

Require Suspension Work?

At R & J Service, we're your go-to specialists for suspension inspection and repairs. We understand how crucial a healthy suspension is for a smooth and safe driving experience. That's why we offer comprehensive services to diagnose and fix any suspension issues your car may have, ensuring a comfortable and confident ride on the road.

Visit us today at 1840 William St, Buffalo, NY or call at 716-896-8060 for a complete suspension inspection and get back to enjoying your ride!

5 Tips to Get Your Car Ready for Spring


These past months haven't been kind to your trusty vehicle - snow and/or rain, chilly temperatures, harsh winds and salt can leave their mark. As Spring approaches, it's the perfect time to shake off the winter rust and give your car some much needed attention. Here are the top 5 things car owners should focus on to prepare for the warmer weather:

1. Tire Tune-Up:

Check & adjust air pressure:

  • Warmer temperatures cause tire pressure to fluctuate. Topping up the recommended PSI for your tires is an excellent idea. Underinflated tires are likely to wear unevenly and reduce fuel efficiency, while overinflated tires can make your ride harsher. Be sure not to forget about the spare tire!

Inspect tread depth:

  • Worn tires pose a safety hazard, especially in spring showers. Check the tread wear indicators built into the tire or use the penny test. Take a penny and place it with Lincoln's head upside down between two ribs on your tire. If part of the head is covered, your tires are still in good shape. If you can see his entire head, your tread is worn and it's time for new tires.

Balance and rotate:

  • Uneven wear not only impacts handling and fuel economy but can also pose safety risks. Proper tire balancing addresses weight distribution issues, while regular rotation ensures a more uniform tread wear pattern, ultimately extending the overall life of your tires and promoting a safer driving experience.

2. Fluid & Filter Check:

Oil change:

  • Winter residue accumulates in oil, diluting its effectiveness. A fresh oil change ensures smooth engine operation, protects against wear and tear, and improves fuel efficiency. Don't wait for the warm weather to hit - schedule your oil change now to avoid the spring rush and ensure your car is ready for the season!

Top up other fluids:

  • Check and refill brake fluid, coolant, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid as needed. Low fluid levels can affect performance and compromise important safety systems.

Replace air and cabin filters:

  • Dirty air filters restrict airflow to the engine, reducing performance and fuel economy. Cabin filters block dust and pollen, improving air quality and your breathing experience. Replacing them regularly keeps your engine running smoothly and protects your health.

3. Check the Battery:

Test battery voltage:

  • Cold weather can drain batteries. Get your battery tested to ensure enough cranking power for spring mornings. A weak battery can leave you stranded, so proactive testing prevents headaches.

Clean terminals:

  • Corroded terminals reduce conductivity and hinder starting. Clean them with a wire brush and apply protective coating to prevent future corrosion. Simple maintenance keeps your battery functioning optimally.

Consider a replacement:

  • If your battery is more than 3-5 years old, consider replacing it preemptively. Batteries have limited lifespans, and proactive replacement avoids unexpected breakdowns and delays.

4. Spring Clean the Interior:

Tackle the clutter:

  • Winter gear, crumbs, and dust accumulate. Remove everything from the interior, vacuum thoroughly, and consider shampooing carpets and upholstery for a deep clean. A clutter-free and clean interior feels more inviting and reduces allergens.

Wipe down surfaces:

  • Disinfect high-touch areas like dashboards, door handles, and steering wheels with a suitable cleaner. Don't forget cup holders, air vents, and window switches. Regular cleaning keeps germs at bay and maintains the interior's quality.

Freshen the air:

  • Replace old cabin air filters (usually behind the glove compartment). They trap dust and pollen, improving air quality and reducing allergies. A fresh filter eliminates musty odors and makes your car's interior more enjoyable.

5. Schedule Maintenance Checkup:

Manufacturer-recommended service:

  • Follow your car's maintenance schedule (found in the manual) and address any overdue services like tune-ups or brake inspections. Regular maintenance prevents problems down the road, saving you money on repairs and ensuring your car runs safely and efficiently.

Visual inspection:

  • Check for visible signs of wear and tear, leaks, or rust around the car. Look for fluid leaks under the engine, or suspicious rust spots. Early detection of issues allows for timely repairs and prevents further damage.

By focusing on these key areas, you can ensure your car is in tip-top shape for a safe and enjoyable spring season! Remember, it's always best to consult your car's owner manual for specific recommendations and maintenance schedules.

Don't wait any longer to get your car ready for spring. Visit our Buffalo location at 1840 William St. For more information, call 716-896-8060.

Preventive Auto Maintenance For Severe Driving


Reduce the Effects of Severe Driving On Your Car

Are you an "aggressive" driver? Everyone answers "no" to this question because "aggressive" has become associated with road rage incidents. Today we replace "aggressive" with the word "severe." Severe driving is often unavoidable.

8 Types of Severe Driving

  1. Moving quickly through curvy roads in and around Buffalo
  2. Traversing gravel or sandy roads
  3. Driving in extreme heat, on icy roads or roads with a deep snowpack
  4. Executing multiple lane changes in stop-and-go traffic
  5. Consistently driving 10 mph or more over the speed limit
  6. Short time dependent commutes around Buffalo
  7. Truncating a safe following distance resulting in frequent braking
  8. Driving with heavier loads such as a cargo or passenger van or towing a trailer

While most motorists have experienced "severe" driving on occasion, for other drivers it is an unavoidable part of their daily commute. If you are a severe driver, take extra care to avoid excessive wear and tear on your car, SUV or truck. Severe drivers are more likely to experience an inconvenient breakdown.

Increase Your Preventive Maintenance Intervals On These Six Important Items:

  1. Replace your motor oil and oil filters
  2. Top off or replace your coolant
  3. Have your brake pad thickness and brake fluid inspected regularly
  4. Check your tire tread depth
  5. Replace your windshield wipers
  6. Monitor your transmission and steering fluid

Other ways to avoid excess wear and tear on your car from severe driving involve slowing down, avoiding quick starts and stops, and removing heavy items left in your car's trunk or truck bed. Remember gas mileage decreases rapidly when you drive above 60 mph.

Stop by R & J Service in Buffalo and let our pro mechanics help you develop a preventive maintenance plan that matches your driving style. Call today at 716-896-8060 or come by the service center at 1840 William St, Buffalo, NY, 14206.

5 Regular Auto Maintenance Items That Save Real Money


Save Money And Time With Simple Preventative Maintenance From R & J Service

A little auto maintenance goes a long way toward protecting your wallet from high-cost auto repairs in the future.

Schedule regular auto maintenance for these five essential systems

  1. Brakes, including brake pads, brake fluid, calipers and rotors
  2. Tires, including tread wear, proper inflation, front end alignment and balancing
  3. Belts, including serpentine, starter and timing belts
  4. Hoses, including cooling and radiator hoses
  5. Fluids, including oil, transmission, steering, brake, antifreeze and wiper fluids

At R & J Service in Buffalo we keep your car running smoothly and efficiently to save you both time and money in and out of the repair shop. Many drivers overlook how services such as a simple oil change can increase fuel efficiency and save you money at the gas pump.

Come by R & J Service at 1840 William St, Buffalo, NY, 14206 and discuss an annual vehicle maintenance plan with us today. Spreading maintenance items out over the course of the year can help make auto maintenance expenses more affordable. Ask us about R & J Service coupons and rebates on items such as tires for additional savings.

Call R & J Service today at 716-896-8060.

Should I Replace My Car's Spark Plugs?


The Two Instances When You Should Always Replace Your Spark Plugs

Let's talk spark plugs. A common question we hear at R & J Service is, "Should I replace my spark plugs?"

A spark plug performs a critical task for your vehicle's engine. Without a spark plug your car or truck's engine cannot work. Properly working spark plugs also deliver added fuel efficiency. Most owners manuals say to replace the spark plugs every 80,000 to 100,000 miles. In many cases spark plugs last longer than the driver's ownership of the car.

So, when should you replace your spark plugs?

  1. If you just purchased a used vehicle
  2. At least every 80,000 miles

Spark plugs are one of the hardest working parts of a vehicle. If you just purchased a used car, it is best to go ahead and replace the spark plugs. You have no idea if the previous owners were "severe" drivers. A spark plug can fire 400 times per minute per cylinder or 1,600 times a minute on a four-cylinder engine. Severe driving can place even higher demands on the spark plugs and engine.

Many used car dealers boast an extensive multi-point inspection plan prior to the sale of any car but many of these plans don't cover spark plug integrity. Because a failed spark plug can mean disaster for your new purchase it is best to get them replaced by the qualified technicians at R & J Service in Buffalo.

At R & J Service we recommend replacing spark plugs before they reach the 80,000-mile mark. Many car owners delay spark plug replacement until the engine starts "missing." An engine that is "missing" will typically result in a jerking feeling when accelerating. Spark plugs that are severely worn out will create a pinging or knocking sound. These fouled, worn-out spark plugs can lead to extensive engine damage that is expensive to fix. Therefore, replacing spark plugs before they reach the 80,000-mile mark is very important.
Three Indicators Your Spark Plugs Need To Be Replaced

  1. Rattling, pinging or knocking noises when accelerating
  2. Missing, hesitating or jerky feeling when driving
  3. Slow acceleration or chugging

Sluggish and reduced performance also causes poor fuel economy. Save money at the pump by taking care of your vehicle's spark plugs.

Come by R & J Service in Buffalo if you just bought a used car or your vehicle is approaching the 80,000-mile mark to have your spark plugs replaced by one of our qualified pro mechanics. Call today at 716-896-8060 or stop by our service center at 1840 William St, Buffalo, NY, 14206.

Don't Forget to Replace Your Car or Truck's Belts


Remember to Change Your Belts

Drivers in Buffalo are busy and it is easy to forget that belts are tirelessly working to keep your engine running. A worn-out belt is a break down waiting to happen. Avoid being stranded on the side of the road and get your belts inspected each time you get an oil change at R & J Service in Buffalo.

Your car or truck's belts are essential for many of the vehicle's critical components such as water cooling, air conditioning and the alternator. Serpentine belts are used to turn the alternator, power steering and air-conditioning compressor. Often when serpentine belts brake your vehicle will stop working completely.

Come to R & J Service to get worn or frayed serpentine belts replaced. Replacing belts when cracked, frayed or showing signs of excessive wear is very inexpensive when compared to having your car or truck towed to our repair shop.

Listen for signs of belt problems. Noise like rattling or slipping in the belt system is a sign of wear. Use your nose to tell you if a belt problem is imminent. The smell of burnt rubber can indicate a slipping belt.

At R & J Service when we replace a worn serpentine belt, we check all the components in the serpentine system such as tensioners and pulleys. A typical serpentine belt replacement is 60,000 to 90,000 miles.

Why risk being stranded when a bad belt can be diagnosed with simple routine maintenance? Get R & J Service to replace your car or truck's serpentine belts as directed by your owner's manual and avoid the hassle and expense of a sudden breakdown.

Call R & J Service in Buffalo today at 716-896-8060 to schedule regular maintenance such as belt inspection.

Owning A Car Is A Hidden Cost For College Students


Car Ownership - A Hidden Cost for College Students in Buffalo

Public transportation, Uber or Lyft may be an option for students attending college in large cities but for students attending colleges in small towns the only option may be owning a car. This is particularly true for students attending community colleges where commuting to campus is the only option.

College is expensive and owning a car while attending school is an added expense. Here are the top six expense categories college students should plan for:

  1. Fuel
  2. Financing
  3. Parking permit, annual taxes and registration
  4. Insurance
  5. Maintenance
  6. Tires

Parking permits, licensing, registration and taxes are unavoidable. However here are some recommendations for managing other costs.

  • Consider using a gas app that helps you track down the best price in town for gas. Many local gas and convenience stores offer a reward card just for gas.
  • Revisit your auto loan. College may be a good time to consider a less expensive car. Call your local credit union and ask them about financing. Some financial institutions offer lower interest rates for car owners who sign up to have their monthly payments deducted directly from their bank account each month.
  • Shopping for car insurance may also create a significant savings. If you switch to a less expensive car you may need less coverage. If you are driving less on average this may also lower your insurance costs. Keeping a clean driving record while you are in college can help keep your insurance rates low.
  • Come by R & J Service in Buffalo and let us help you create a solid auto maintenance plan. No one wants to miss class because their car wouldn't start. Regular maintenance on your car will help prevent high-cost car repairs in the future. Maintenance items such as oil changes can also increase fuel efficiency saving you additional money at the gas pump.
  • The cost of tires can be a jolt to a college student's budget. Plan to buy tires by setting aside a little money each month. Save on tires by taking advantage of manufacturer rebates.

Call R & J Service in Buffalo today at 716-896-8060 or stop by our service center for preventive auto maintenance services at 1840 William St, Buffalo, NY, 14206.

R & J Service Knows What Older Cars and Trucks Need


Take Your Older Car or Truck To R & J Service in Buffalo For Preventative Maintenance

The consumer price index for used cars and trucks jumped up by 40.5% from January 2021 to January 2022. As a result, the average age of vehicles on the road is rising as many owners of older cars decide it is cheaper to hang on to them than to buy one today.

As cars get older, they need more maintenance and repair. Drivers in Buffalo must be more diligent about preventative maintenance. Replacing a bad O2 Sensor costs $250.00 on average. This may increase or decrease based on the make and model of your car or truck. However, performing recommended auto maintenance such as air filter replacement and spark plug replacement can extend the life of your O2 sensor.

Kelly Blue Book reports the average vehicle age in the US is 13.5 years. After five years of ownership the chances of a breakdown or service issue increases dramatically unless drivers are vigilant about preventative maintenance. Come by R & J Service in Buffalo and let us help you set up a preventative maintenance plan for your car or truck. Sticking to a maintenance plan will minimize the chances of breakdowns, increase fuel efficiency and decrease any future repair costs.

The Top 6 Auto Preventative Maintenance Items to Plan for Today

  1. oil change
  2. oil and fuel filters
  3. belts and hoses
  4. brake system components
  5. brake and transmission fluid flushes
  6. tires and alignment

R & J Service in Buffalo is dedicated to helping busy car owners prioritize preventative maintenance. We make it easy with convenient, affordable and friendly service. Call today at 716-896-8060 or stop by our service center at 1840 William St, Buffalo, NY, 14206 and speak to one of our technicians.

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