How Much Should I Pay for an Oil Change?

Getting an oil change is essential for proper engine functioning and maintenance. Fresh oil provides proper lubrication to moving components, preventing wear and tear as you drive. Depending on how much you drive and the age of your vehicle, you probably get between one and three oil changes per year. You might be wondering, how much should I be paying for an oil service?

Oil Change Components 

An oil service doesn’t vary all that much in terms of supplies and procedure. When you get an oil change, you are paying for labor, new oil, and a new oil filter.

Oil

Oil brand and type (synthetic, synthetic blend, or conventional) can impact the price, with a full synthetic oil change generally being more expensive.

Another factor that can impact prices is the size of your engine. A lot of shops will advertise a flat rate for an oil change up to five quarts. If you drive a car with a large oil capacity, the cost will be more. This is simply due to the amount of oil required to fill your engine.

 Oil Filter

There are a few different varieties of oil filters, screw on and cartridge. Conventional screw-on filters (when you think of an oil filter, this is probably what you imagine) are generally less expensive.

screw-on-oil-filter
Screw-on oil filter

Many modern vehicles use cartridge filters, which sit inside of a housing. This variety will typically cost more.

cartridge-oil-filter
Cartridge oil filter

Your repair shop will know the type of oil filter your car needs.

Oil Change Cost

You may have seen varying prices advertised at different shops. Some shops offer extremely cheap oil services, under $50. Other shops may charge $100 or more. What gives?

Quality Parts

Typically, places that offer low-cost oil services are using lower-quality filters. Lower quality filters do not offer the same protection as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) quality one. While it’s better than nothing, you are getting what you pay for.

Courtesy Inspection

An oil service at Matson Point S includes a courtesy inspection of your vehicle. We can’t say this is the case at every shop that charges more for an oil change, but typically, if you are paying a higher price your car will get looked over.

Experience 

Getting an oil change at a reputable shop that charges a bit more money typically means the technicians working on your car are experienced and have a knowledge of vehicles beyond a standard lube tech. This means mistakes are less likely to happen. We have seen instances, particularly on more complicated European vehicles, where simple mistakes during an oil service have led to at best, a car needing to be towed to another shop to be completed, or at worst needing an engine replacement.

How Much Should You Pay for an Oil Change?

Ultimately, it’s up to you. A $35-$60 oil change will get you oil and a new filter, but the filter may not be OEM quality. Additionally, you probably won’t be getting a courtesy inspection, and you run the risk of mistakes being made by less experienced technicians.

Oil Changes at Matson Point S

An oil change at Matson Point S will get you OEM quality parts, fluids, and a courtesy inspection performed by ASE-certified technicians with years of experience. We serve the communities in and around Riverton, Utah. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

My Car Heater Isn’t Working, What Should I Do?

During the hot summers in Utah, the last thing you are thinking about is whether or not the heat in your car works. As the seasons start to change and the weather gets colder, most drivers expect no issues when they turn the heater on in their car. Sometimes, after months of no use, you may turn the heater on to find cold air, or no air at all, coming through the vents. If you find yourself in this situation, you are probably wondering what went wrong?

How does the heater work in a car?

The hot coolant is sent to the heater core once the engine is up to operating temperature. A fan then blows over the heater core, pushing the hot air into the car. 

Why is my car heater not working?

If your heater isn’t working, there are several potential reasons why. Repairing this issue can vary in difficulty and cost. A certified technician will be able to tell you the exact cause of your heating issue.

Low coolant

The coolant that enters the heater core is also used to keep your engine at the proper operating temperature and prevent overheating. If you are not feeling the heat coming through the vents once your car has warmed up, the first thing to check is your coolant level. Low coolant will prevent the heater core from filling, reducing its effective heat distribution.

If you want to check your coolant level yourself, BE CAREFUL. When the engine has been running, the coolant is pressurized and extremely hot. Read your vehicle’s owner’s manual and check the level without opening the reservoir if possible.

Low coolant can indicate a coolant leak. With the hood up, examine visible hoses for signs of seeping or leaks. Be sure to check the ground under where you parked for drips or coolant puddles.

Heater Core Issues

Heat issues can stem from a problem with the heater core. A miniature version of the radiator found in the dash, the heater core is a component in the engine cooling system and is filled with hot coolant. The heat emitted from the heater core is blown into the cabin, keeping you warm.

Your car is far less efficient when the engine is cold and can emit a lot more pollution. The thermostat keeps coolant circulating through the engine when it’s cold to warm it up quickly. This is why you don’t feel the heat coming through the vents when you first start your car. 

Once the engine is warm, you normally feel the heat coming through the vents as the thermostat opens and allows hot coolant into the heater core. However, if the coolant is unable to flow freely through the heater core, your heater will not work as it should.

Infrequent coolant flushes can lead to corrosion and rust. These particles can clog the heater core and prevent the free flow of coolant. Regular coolant flushes can prevent this condition from occurring.

Another cause of heater core failure is electrolysis. Electrolysis occurs when there is a chemical imbalance in the coolant system, creating an acidic environment. Under these conditions, electrical energy is generated within the system much like a car battery. 

Electrolysis causes corrosion, which may lead to your heater core leaking and clogging. This condition can also damage other parts of your vehicle’s cooling system. Electrolysis can be prevented with regular coolant flushes, and typically happens on older vehicles.

If you notice a sweet smell or fogged windows when the heater is on, you may have an issue with your heater core.

Failing Thermostat

The thermostat regulates the flow of coolant to the radiator, allowing your engine to heat up/cool down as needed during operation. Thermostats can fail in two ways. If it ends up stuck in the open position, coolant is allowed to flow through the radiator regardless of engine temperature. If this condition occurs, your engine will have trouble getting up to and maintaining operating temperature. You will feel this in the heating system as well, as the coolant in the heater core will not be as warm as it is when the thermostat is functioning properly.

Broken Heater Controls

The buttons and knobs that control the heat and AC in your car can become gummed up, wear out, and stop working as they should. If you have enough coolant and your heater core appears to be issue-free, your problem may be as simple as a stuck button.

Heater problems? Matson Point S Can help!

 Our team of expert technicians will diagnose and repair your heater issue the first time. Give us a call or schedule an appointment at our Riverton repair shop today!

Are All-Season Tires Good For Snow?

Do you need a dedicated snow tire? Will all-seasons work in the snow? This common tire question gets asked by many drivers as winter approaches. Tires have a variety of different tread patterns and rubber compounds that make them more effective in certain road conditions. Understanding these differences can help you decide whether you need a committed winter tire or if an all-season will work for you.

What conditions are all-season tires good for?

All-season tires offer some of the smoothness and comfort of a summer tire with some of the traction of a true winter tire. They offer better traction on variable roads but retain comfort and better fuel economy that winter tires lack. In general, all-seasons work well on wet roads, mild winter weather, and temperatures at or above 45° F.

The rubber compound is impacted by temperature

One of the main reasons all-season tires are not as effective in cold, wintery conditions is because of the rubber compound they use. Below 45° F, the rubber gets significantly stiffer. With less flexibility, the tire does not offer the same level of grip. Combine this with ice, snow, and slush, and the tire becomes much more likely to break traction.

Winter tires use a rubber compound that retains its flexibility in sustained cold temperatures. Because of this, snow tires can provide effective traction on snow and ice regardless of temperature.

Tire construction allows for more traction

Winter and snow tires are designed differently than all-season and summer tires. They typically have wider, deeper, and more jagged tread that gets better purchase on snow and ice. Snow tires also have significantly more siping. Sipes are small slits in rubber tread blocks. When you drive, the sipes open up, moving slush and water out of the tire’s contact patch. They allow for drastically improved traction on variable roads.

Should I get winter tires?

It all depends on where you live and the conditions you drive in. If you live in a place that sees regular heavy snow and extended periods of freezing temperatures, snow tires are highly recommended. Every trip you make in the winter will be safer for you and those around you.

If you live in an area that is a bit milder, but you frequently make trips into the mountains for skiing or other activities, snow tires are still your best bet. While you may not need the extra traction at home or during the week, having it when you are driving a hazardous mountain will ensure you don’t get stuck or go off the road.

Lastly, if you live in an area that stays mild in the winter with light snow and a few days of really cold weather, all-season tires may be a better option. If you do not need the extra traction, the fuel economy and comfort of an all-season will be beneficial.

tire in snow

Isn’t changing between summer and winter tires a pain?

Not having to change tires twice a year is what makes all-seasons so appealing to so many drivers. While it may seem inconvenient, there are things you can do to make the change over less of a hassle.

Use a set of winter wheels

Purchasing a set of inexpensive wheels to mount your winter tires on will make your yearly tire change easier. Instead of removing a set of tires from the wheels and mounting another set, you simply have to swap out the “summer wheels” for the “winter wheels”. Having a set of inexpensive winter wheels also protects the expensive alloys your car may have from corrosion due to road salts/other debris.

Time your tire changes with vehicle service

Instead of making an appointment just to get your tires changed in the fall and spring, have it done when your vehicle is getting an oil change, brake service, or other regular maintenance. It’s a good idea to service your vehicle before and after winter anyway!

Yearly changeovers extend the life of your tires

Having a set of summer and winter tires means they are each used for half the year. This extends the life of your tires, meaning you won’t have to buy new ones for several seasons.

Come visit the tire experts at Matson Point S! 

Utah drivers should have a set of proper snow tires to handle the winter weather we see in our state. If you need help selecting the best winter tire for your car or budget, or need to schedule a tire changeover, give us a call, or schedule an appointment. Our skilled technicians will make sure your car is ready for the winter.

How Do I Check the Transmission Fluid In My Car

Most drivers know the importance of checking the engine oil level in their car regularly. This habit can help you identify leaks and prevent engine damage. Checking transmission fluid levels is another important routine maintenance item that lets you keep tabs on the condition of your vehicle and stay ahead of damage and expensive repairs.

You don’t need to be a mechanic to keep an eye on the fluid levels in your vehicle. Checking your transmission fluid is an easy task you should add to your other vehicle maintenance routines.

Why Should I Check My Transmission Fluid?

For the same reason, you check your engine oil. Transmission fluid lubricates and cools the moving components within your automatic transmission, allowing it to reliably shift gears while you drive.

Prepare To Check

Get a paper towel or white rag and put on some clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Park your car on a flat surface and start it. Let it get up to temperature, then pop the hood (the hood latch is normally found on the left-hand side of the driver’s footwell).

Set the emergency brake and put the transmission in the park. With the car still on, get out and open the hood. Be careful, components under the hood can be very hot.

Yellow transmission dipstick handle

Find The Transmission Dipstick

Depending on the orientation of your motor, the transmission dipstick may be toward the back of the engine or to the sides of it. On some vehicles, the dipstick will be marked. Don’t mistake the oil dipstick for the transmission one.

The transmission dipstick is further back than the oil dipstick

Check The Condition Of The Transmission Fluid

Next, lay the dipstick back on the white cloth of the paper towel and observe the color of the transmission fluid. The condition of the fluid can be indicative of the condition of your transmission. New, healthy transmission fluid will have a red or pink color. Fluid that is on the brink of needing replacement may appear brownish-red.

Dipstick covered in pink transmission fluid

Black transmission fluid may mean you have a more serious issue. Brown or black fluid may have a burnt smell, which is never a good sign. If you see metal shavings in your transmission fluid, get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. Metal in the transmission fluid indicates a much more serious issue.

Pink transmission fluid on paper

Keep Track Of Your Transmission Fluid Level Over Time

Regularly checking your transmission fluid will allow you to stay on top of leaks and consumption issues. If the fluid was low, continue to check weekly to get an idea of how quickly your transmission is leaking or consuming fluid. Always look on the ground where you were parked for signs of leaking fluid.

Time For Transmission Service? Come To Matson Point S!

Like the engine, the transmission requires proper lubrication to function properly. Keeping track of your transmission fluid is a good preventative maintenance practice that takes very little time. If it turns out you need a fluid change or other transmission services, give Matson Point S a call or schedule an appointment online. Our team of skilled technicians would be happy to take a look!

What Does a Bad Wheel Bearing Sound Like?

Hearing any abnormal noise while you drive is stressful. With so many moving parts making up your car, it can be nearly impossible to tell where that humming, whining, or whirring noise is coming from. A common issue that many drivers run into is a failing wheel bearing, which can present in a variety of ways. While many potential issues can cause an unusual noise while you drive, a bad wheel bearing is one possibility.

First, what is a wheel bearing?

Wheel bearings are a set of steel balls contained in a lubricated metal ring located in the hub. They support the weight of your vehicle and allow the wheels to rotate freely while you drive. In normal conditions, the bearing accomplishes this without making any excessive noise. If the grease lubricant escapes the bearing or debris as water or sand enters it, the bearing will wear out and fail quickly.

inside of a wheel bearing with metal balls

What sound does a bad wheel bearing make?

Being part of the hub assembly, noise caused by a bad wheel bearing will only occur when you are moving. The sound may increase or decrease when you pick up speed or go around a turn. Paying attention to changes in noise or volume when going around corners. These changes can give insight into which side has gone failed. A bad wheel bearing can make any of the following noises depending on the cause or severity of the failure:

  • Humming
  • Grinding
  • Grating
  • Clicking (when turning)
  • Growling
  • Howling

Remember, a bad bearing will make the same noises no matter what road surface you are on. If you hear a noise that changes when you get on a more smooth or more rough road, you might be hearing tire noise.

A bad wheel bearing only makes noise when the car is moving

If the noise you are hearing continues when you come to a stop, it is likely not caused by a bad wheel bearing. To produce noise, the wheels of your car need to be rotating.

That being said, when you are moving, the sound will not cut in or out. If you only hear a noise when you are accelerating, decelerating, or braking, there may be another drivetrain issue. 

Can I drive if my wheel bearing is making noise? 

The short answer is no. You should not drive your vehicle if you believe you have bad wheel bearing. The long answer is yes, but with the understanding that driving with a failed or failing wheel bearing can lead to serious safety issues as well as severe damage to your car.

A lot of the time, your car may not feel any different when the bearing is making noise. It’s easy to overlook or put off an issue that is not directly impacting your daily driving.

Your car is not as stable

When the bearing fails and comes apart, it will cause play in the wheel. This can lead to severe instability when driving at high speeds and can come on suddenly if the bearing completely fails while you drive.

The brake pedal can by soft

The brake discs on your car are part of the rotating assembly connected to the hub and wheel bearing. When your wheel bearing has failed to the point of lateral play, the disc will no longer be aligned correctly. This means when you press the pedal, it may feel soft and take longer for your car to stop.

The wheel can come off

This is an extreme case, but if you drive on a bad wheel bearing for long enough, the wheel could come off. If this were to happen on the freeway or at high speeds, it could be catastrophic for you, your car, and other drivers.

Get your wheel bearing replaced at Matson Point S!

When in doubt, bring your car to a technician. When it comes to wheel bearings, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you aren’t sure whether the sound you are hearing is a bad wheel bearing, the technicians at Matson Point S will take a look and let you know exactly what is wrong with your car. Give us a call or schedule an appointment at our Riverton, Utah location today!