FAQs

You’re Asking, We’re Answering


Check out our answers to some popular vehicle FAQs

Brakes

Brakes


How long do brake pads last?

On average, your brake pads will last anywhere between 20,000 and 65,000 miles. A lot of factors go into determining longevity, including the quality of installation as well as your driving habits. One helpful tip to ensure longevity is to do your best to avoid sudden stops that require you to slam on the brakes.

Why does my car shake when I brake?

There may be a number of reasons for this, but a common reason for shaking or vibration when you brake is your rotors. Since your rotors get pressed when you step on the brakes, it’s possible your rotors are out of balance and causing small tremors to surge through your vehicle when braking. Often the shaking is felt in your steering wheel.

Why are my brakes squeaking?

Squeaky brakes are often caused by worn-down brake pads, which can cause your brake discs and rotors to warp. Noticing squeaky brakes is a good sign it’s time to bring your vehicle in for a service or inspection. To help avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your brake pads, brakes, and rotors, avoid hard and sudden braking as much as possible.


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Engine

Engine


Can a vehicle pass inspection with the check engine light on?

It depends. If a vehicle’s check engine light is on, it will fail the annual emission inspection (though it may pass the safety inspection). This is to ensure both the safety of the driver and other drivers on the road. To pass emission inspection, a diagnostic and repair must be performed, and the light must reset. Because requirements can change based on where you live, we recommend giving your local K&W Tire Store a call, and we’ll help you out.

PA Safety Inspection Program PA State Emission Inspections Vermont Vehicle Inspections

Can I Use My Vehicle’s Engine as a Brake?

Selecting a lower gear on a long downhill stretch of road gives increased braking to your engine. This can actually help prevent excessive use of the brakes, which in turn will help prevent them from overheating and wearing down prematurely. It also can allow for enhanced control on downhill slopes as it allows you to apply the brakes at much lower speeds for a short period of time.

How Does a Vehicle’s Engine Work?

In short, an internal combustion engine converts energy from the heat of burning gasoline into torque. The torque (which is the force) is applied to the wheels, and, just like that, the car moves.


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Exhaust System

Exhaust System


What happens if my exhaust system is leaking?

An exhaust leak can decrease fuel efficiency, causing your engine to work harder (and your wallet to get lighter). Some telltale signs your exhaust system may be leaking is if your vehicle is shaking violently while idling or your gas pedal vibrates while driving.

What does an exhaust system do?

Your exhaust system controls noise, directs exhaust fumes away from your vehicle, and improves the engine’s performance.

How long does it take to install an exhaust system?

Typically, installing an exhaust system isn’t all too intensive of a process. Usually, installations can be completed in about half a day.


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Fuel Injection System

Fuel Injection System


Is fuel injection service necessary?

Cleaning fuel injectors is a good way to ensure your car is running as efficiently as possible. Around every 60,000 to 90,000 miles is typically when fuel injectors need to be cleaned. If you’re under that mileage and haven’t noticed a sharp decline in fuel economy or the power of your car, then you’re probably fine.

How long does fuel injection service take?

Cleaning fuel injectors is typically a service that can be completed in a day.

What is fuel injection and throttle body service?

Throttle body service involves cleaning carbon deposits that can accumulate on the throttle valve and throttle body over time, preventing it from opening correctly. Your vehicle’s fuel is delivered through the throttle injection system by an electric pump, so while throttle body service isn’t typically part of regular maintenance, it’s not a bad idea to consider if you’ve never had it done.


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Transmission

Transmission


How often should I get my transmission fluid changed?

You should aim to get your transmission fluid changed around every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you do a lot of city driving, you may want to consider getting it checked a bit sooner.

Do electric cars have transmissions?

Electric cars don’t require multi-speed transmissions. They instead have a single-speed transmission that regulates the motor.

Will a transmission flush hurt my car?

A transmission flush is a critical part of vehicle health as it rids the transmission of dirty fluid. However, If you’ve gone 100,000 miles or more and have never had a transmission flush, there’s a chance the flush could cause the transmission to fail.


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Oil Change

Oil Change


How often should you change your oil?

With modern lubricants, most engines today only require an oil change in intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If your car requires full-synthetic motor oil, it can go as far as 15,000 miles.

How long does it take to change oil?

Oil changes are a pretty quick service when you have the setup, tools, and team to get the job done right. Typically, an oil change is a service that can be completed in a day.

What happens if I don’t change my oil?

Continually putting off an oil change can cause a lot of problems to your engine. The lack of lubrication between the parts can cause engine components to warp and wear out. If you go long enough neglecting an oil change, your vehicle’s engine can overheat and shut down.


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Wheel Alignment

Wheel Alignment


How long does a wheel alignment take?

Typically, a wheel alignment takes about one hour to complete. If there’s a lot of wear and tear or damage to the suspension, it can take a bit longer.

Will a wheel alignment fix a crooked steering wheel?

An off-center steering wheel can be a result of misalignment. By restoring proper wheel alignment, the steering wheel can go back to a centered position.

How do I know when I need a wheel alignment?

Telltale signs that you need a wheel alignment are:

  • Off-center steering wheel.
  • Steering wheel vibration.
  • Uneven tire tread wear.

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State Emissions Inspection

State Emissions Inspection


Do you need state emissions inspection in Pennsylvania?

Certain counties require an emissions test. To learn more about this, check out the following resource: PA State Emission Inspections

Do you need state emissions inspection in Vermont?

Vermont has had required emissions inspections since 1997. For more information on this, check out the following link: Vermont Vehicle Inspections


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State Vehicle Safety Inspection

State Vehicle Safety Inspection


What states require vehicle safety inspections?

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Does a state inspection require vehicle safety inspections

In the following states, a vehicle safety inspection is required in an annual inspection: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.


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Air Filters

Air Filters


How often should my car’s air filter be changed?

It’s best to consult your owner’s manual for this information, but typically air filters should be replaced around every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.

What do vehicle air filters do?

A vehicle’s air filter helps filter debris like dust, leaves, and bugs to help preserve your engine’s health and only allow pure air in.


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Alternator Replacement

Alternator Replacement


How long does it take to replace an alternator?

Replacing a vehicle’s alternator is typically a service that can be completed in a day.

How often should an alternator be replaced?

An alternator only needs to be replaced around every 7 years, or about 100,000 to 150,000 miles.

Can you replace just the alternator pulley?

It’s often possible to remove and install the alternator pulley while the alternator is still on the engine.


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Ball Joints

Ball Joints


How long does it take to replace ball joints on a car?

Replacing ball joints is typically a service that can be completed in a day.

How long do ball joints last?

Ball joints will typically last for about 70,000 to 150,000 miles.

What happens if I don’t replace my ball joints?

Continually neglecting to replace ball joints can lead to ball joint failure, causing your vehicle’s suspension to collapse and you to potentially lose control of your vehicle.


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Battery Replacement

Battery Replacement


How often to replace a car battery?

A car battery should generally be replaced about every 3 years.

How long does it take to replace a car battery?

Replacing a car battery is typically a service that can be completed in a day.


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Catalytic Converter

Catalytic Converter


What does a catalytic converter do?

A catalytic converter reduces the amount of pollutants by taking gases and converting them into water vapor.

How long does a catalytic converter last?

A catalytic converter will typically last about 10 years.

How long does it take to install a catalytic converter?

Replacing a catalytic converter is typically a service that can be completed in a day.


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Clutch

Clutch


How long should a clutch last?

With good driving habits, a clutch can typically last for at least 50,000 miles. Some drivers may even be able to get around 175,000 miles out of their vehicle’s clutch.

How long does it take to replace a clutch?

Replacing a clutch is a service that can typically be completed in a day.

How long should clutch fluid last?

Most vehicles that have a recommended fluid replacement interval say clutch fluid should be replaced every 30,000 miles.


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CV Boot & Joint Replacement

CV Boot & Joint Replacement


How long does a CV boot last?

CV boots usually last about 80,000 miles.

How long does a CV joint last?

CV joints typically last between 70,000-130,000 miles


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Cooling System Flush and Fill

Cooling System Flush and Fill


When do I need a cooling system flush and fill?

If you’re noticing your temperature gauge is consistently high, and your engine is overheating, you may need a coolant flush.


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Differential Fluid Service

Differential Fluid Service


How often should you service the differential fluid?

Most manufacturers recommend differential fluid to be replaced about every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

What happens if you don’t service differential fluid?

If you neglect servicing differential fluid for too long, the differential can become noisy and eventually fail. From there, gears can seize, causing the rear wheels to lock up.


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Four Wheel Drive Service

Four Wheel Drive Service


How often should you perform four-wheel drive service?

Anywhere between 30,000 to 36,000 miles, and in some cases earlier. If you keep up with regular maintenance, your mechanic can tell you when it’s time to perform the service.

What does service four-wheel-drive light mean?

The “Service 4WD” light indicates there’s a problem with your 4WD system, and you should take it to a mechanic for diagnostics and testing.


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Heater Hose Replacement

Heater Hose Replacement


When should I replace my heater hose?

A heater hose can last from 5 to 10  years. Getting your heater hose periodically checked is very important to monitor its performance and health.


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Parking Brakes

Parking Brakes


What happens if I drive with the parking brake on?

Driving with a parking brake on even for several miles can warp a drum or disc. If the brake overheats, it can cause the lining’s adhesive to fail and, in serious cases, cause the linings to crack or even separate from the pads or the brake.

When to replace parking brake shoes?

With normal usage, you can typically expect to get about 50,000 miles out of your parking brake shoes.

Does my parking brake need to be replaced?

If your parking brake gets stuck when trying to release it, there is likely a problem with your system. Also, if your car can still move/roll with the parking brake engaged, then it’s time for a replacement.


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Radiator

Radiator


How long do radiators last?

A radiator can last anywhere from 8-10 years.

How long does it take to replace a radiator?

Replacing a radiator is a service that can typically be completed in a day.

How long can radiator flush be left in?

Running your vehicle for about 3-6 hours with the radiator flush in can provide a deep clean to your vehicle’s cooling system, helping restore efficiency. Typically this is only done about once every 5 years.


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Serpentine Belts

Serpentine Belts


How long does a serpentine belt last?

Typically, a serpentine belt can last anywhere between 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

What happens to a car when the serpentine belt breaks?

A broken serpentine belt immediately leads to a loss of the power steering system. Since your serpentine belt drives your vehicle’s water pump, do not drive with a broken one as your car will immediately overheat.

When should I replace a serpentine belt?

Around every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Even if it looks okay, it’s important to replace the belt during your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance to avoid it breaking while you’re on the road.


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Shock Absorbers

Shock Absorbers


How long do shock absorbers last?

A shock absorber will generally last about 50,000 miles. A major factor in the longevity of your vehicle’s shock absorbers depends on how you drive and where you drive.

How do I know if my shock absorbers are worn?

If your vehicle is making unusual noises, excessive body lean or sway while turning, and delivering an increasingly bumpy ride, it’s probably time for you to replace your shock absorbers.

Can I drive with a broken shock absorber?

A car with one or more broken shock absorbers will bounce a lot. Never drive a vehicle with a broken shock absorber at highway speeds, as it can prove extremely unreliable when turning or stopping.


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Spring Check-Up

Spring Check-Up


Why do I need a spring check-up?

Since summer is road-trip season for many, it’s a good idea to get your vehicle checked out before the long drives to make sure you ensure safety and reliability for the coming months.


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Starting and Charging Systems

Starting and Charging Systems


How do I check my vehicle’s starting and charging systems are working properly?

The best way to check is to bring your vehicle to a professional to run a diagnostics test. Each of our 6 K&W locations offers diagnostic testing for charging and starting systems.


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Struts

Struts


How long should struts last on a vehicle?

If you generally take good care of your vehicle, struts can last about 10 years. If you drive your car a lot or are exceptionally hard on it, you may be looking at about 5 years.

 

Can bad struts make a vehicle hard to stop?

Struts absorb the weight of your vehicle coming to a stop, so when your shocks are worn, your car will take longer to stop.

Do all vehicles have struts?

Not all vehicles have struts. Some suspension designs use separate springs and shock absorbers.


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Suspension Inspection

Suspension Inspection


Can a bad suspension cause me not to pass my vehicle’s inspection?

If your suspension is inoperable, then you won’t be able to drive your vehicle, and you won’t be able to pass inspection.

How do I know if my suspension is bad?

Some telltale signs your suspension is bad is:

  • Your vehicle pulls to one side while driving.
  • You feel every bump while driving.
  • You’re having difficulty steering your vehicle.
  • One corner of your vehicle is sitting lower than the others.

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Sway Bars

Sway Bars


How long should sway bar links last?

Typically, most owners only need to replace their sway bar links once during the ownership of their vehicle.

Can you drive without sway bar links?

Driving without sway bar links can be dangerous because the vehicle will not steer correctly. Since sway bar links help stabilize a vehicle when turning at high speeds, you should not drive at highway speeds without them, and it’s best to take your vehicle into a shop to get your sway bar links replaced ASAP.


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Tie Rods

Tie Rods


How to tell if a tie rod is bad?

Inability to steer, uneven, excessive tire wear, misalignment on the front end of your vehicle, and a squealing sound when you turn are all signs your tie rod needs replaced.

How long do tie rods last?

Tie rods can last for a long time, and some owners may never need to replace their vehicle’s tie rods. Try avoiding potholes and driving carelessly on poor road conditions to ensure longevity.

What happens when a tie rod breaks?

A broken tie rod will result in whatever wheel it was attached to to move and flop around randomly depending on tire wear, pressure, and vehicle speed.


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Timing Belts

Timing Belts


How long does a timing belt last?

This all depends on the manufacturer, but a timing belt can last anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 miles (6-10 years for the average driver).

What happens when a timing belt breaks?

When the timing belt breaks, the engine will no longer work. This can cause serious damage to your engine.


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Windshield Wiper Blades

Windshield Wiper Blades


How often to replace windshield wiper blades?

It’s generally recommended you replace your wiper blades every 6-12 months. While it may not seem like a major issue, you definitely don’t want to get stuck in a heavy storm with worn-down wiper blades.

Are windshield wiper blades universal?

No. Check your owner’s manual to see what size wiper blade is recommended for your vehicle.


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Vehicle Winterization

Vehicle Winterization


How to winterize a vehicle?

  • Switch to winter tires.
  • Maintain tire pressure.
  • Make sure the gas tank doesn’t fall below half full.
  • Bring your vehicle in for winter servicing and have your belts, hoses, spark plugs, and battery checked.

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Stop into one of our K&W Tire store locations, and we’ll be happy to help you out.

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