Home > Cruising with Cruise Control: The Essential Do’s and Don’ts

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Cruising with Cruise Control: The Essential Do’s and Don’ts

When taking long road trips, using cruise control can help make those long drives a little easier. It can even help you save money on gas (and prevent speeding tickets!) while you’re at it. Keep reading to learn more about how to safely use cruise control!

driver using cruise control during road trip


What Exactly Is Cruise Control?

Cruise control lets you drive at highway speeds without constantly applying pressure to the gas pedal. That’s a tremendous relief when you’re facing seemingly endless miles of driving! You can simply set the cruise control for the speed you want to maintain while your right foot remains relaxed but ready to take over as needed.

How Cruise Control Works

Cruise control works by controlling the amount of air your vehicle’s internal combustion engine gets. More air means more power and thus more speed. Instead of your foot on the accelerator pedal controlling the throttle, the cruise control uses a cable hooked up to an actuator to do the same thing.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cruise Control

  • DO maintain a safe distance from other cars. If your car is traveling at a constant speed but the vehicle in front of you isn’t, an accident can occur. Pay attention and disengage your cruise control as needed to maintain a safe distance.
  • DO keep your foot on or near the pedal so you can react quickly if needed.
  • DON’T use in heavy or stop and go traffic. You’ll spend a lot of time setting and disabling it just when you need to pay extra attention to the surrounding drivers.
  • DON’T use cruise control during wet driving conditions! Doing so greatly increases the danger if your vehicle begins hydroplaning and hitting your brakes to disengage it can cause a dangerous skid.

Custom Complete Automotive Can Keep You Cruising

At Custom Complete Automotive, we strive to keep your ride as comfortable as possible. If you’re noticing problems with your cruise control or any of your vehicle’s other electrical systems, contact us today for friendly, reliable service!

How to Maintain Your Car During COVID -19

It might not look like it now, but the COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on more than just the people. As you stay home as often as you can and play your part in flattening the curve, your car is sitting idle outside, patiently waiting for the next time you use it.

Unfortunately, cars are not designed to sit idle, and although you’re not driving it often, it’s important to keep up with routine maintenance to ensure the car runs smoothly when you get back on the road.

To help you keep your car in its best shape, save yourself some money and frustrations in repairs down the road and consider these tips to help you maintain your vehicle during the pandemic.

properly maintained car during covid

Battery Maintenance

Your battery will eventually lose its charge if the car sits idle for too long. Starting the car and letting it run for several minutes can help to keep your battery charged. Alternatively, you can have a trickle charger or battery tender with an automatic shut-off feature installed to keep your battery in good condition when you’re not driving.

Keep Your Car Clean

Sitting cars outside can become target practice for birds. Bird droppings are acidic and can damage the paint job on your vehicle. A nice clean once in a while should keep the paint job protected and looking its best.

Keep Up with Oil Changes

Your oil might not be working hard to keep your engine lubricated, but it’s still getting oxidized inside the reservoir. Therefore, it’s important to keep up with any necessary oil changes even when you’re not driving your car.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  • Brakes and tires — Once a week, jump inside the car and take a short trip to keep the brakes and tires in pristine condition. We recommend taking your car for a spin once every 2 weeks for 20 minutes.
  • Wipers — As soon as you park the car, lift the wiper arms off the windscreen.
  • Tire pressure — Use a tire pressure gauge to check the inflation pressure before driving the car.
  • Fluid levels — regularly check your car’s fluid levels.

To learn more about how to keep up with regular maintenance during COVID-19, or for more information on our auto services, contact us at Custom Complete Automotive today!

Making the Summer Switch: Change Your Motor Oil

Conventional, synthetic, synthetic blends… there are so many decisions when it comes to choosing motor oil. Knowing which type of oil is best for your car is essential in keeping your car in good condition. However, knowing when to switch your motor oil is also important.

mechanic switching engine oil in car for summer

Helping Your Vehicle Keep Its Cool

Motor oil lubricates the moving parts in your car’s engine so there’s less heat-producing friction. That’s especially important in summer when engines are already fighting the heat. The last thing you need is more friction, heat, and wear caused by under performing engine oil! You need an oil that will perform like it should, keeping your hardworking engine clean, cool, and well lubricated.

That means choosing a thicker motor oil for warmers temperatures. Oil thins as it warms up and if it gets too thin, it won’t protect your engine as well as it should. Starting with a thicker oil allows room for that summer thinning without compromising performance. This is the exact opposite of what happens in winter when cold oil can thicken to the point of becoming sludgy. During cold temperatures, you’ll need a thin oil just to keep things moving at all!

These seasonal differences in oil viscosity are why it’s important to change your car’s oil every time the seasons change. A car heading into hot weather needs all the engine lubrication and protection it can get!

Choosing a Thicker Oil

When choosing an oil for your car, you’ll want to pay attention to the oil weight number. These numbers are an indication of how well the oil flows at a particular temperature. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sets the numbers after careful testing. Most engines operate at approximately 210° F so that’s the temperature they use for testing.

The number an oil is assigned reflects its viscosity (or how well it flows) at that temperature. Lighter oils flow faster while heavier oils take their time. A higher number means slower-moving, thicker oil.

Treat Your Ride to Regular Oil Changes

Is your car showing signs of needing an oil change? Bring your vehicle to one of our six service locations for an oil change. We’ll perform a complete oil, lube, and filter change as well as provide a free comprehensive maintenance inspection. For more information about our services, contact us today!

6 Signs It Might Be Time to Replace Your Car’s Battery

One of the worst starts to your day is the morning you turn the key in the ignition or push the start button and hear a low grinding sound or nothing. The battery is dead, and you will be late for work, school, or an appointment. Maybe you left the lights on and recharging it will solve the problem. Or maybe it is time for a new battery.

mechanic inspecting car battery during routine maintenance inspection

Keep Your Battery in Good Condition

In an ideal world, a car battery will last six years. In reality, you can count on your battery lasting between three and five years. If your battery is not subjected to high temperatures and humidity, you can expect it to last longer.

Proper battery care will lengthen your battery’s lifespan. Remember these simple rules:

  • Keep your battery fully charged.
  • Making many short trips can actually hurt your battery, so try to keep short drives to a minimum.
  • Ensure the lights and radio are off and any accessories are unplugged when the engine is not running.
  • Have your battery checked during every vehicle maintenance check and be sure to have your vehicle checked as often as the manufacturer or your mechanic recommends.

Warning! Signs Your Battery Could be Failing

Be alert for these signs of a failing battery:

  1. Your car begins to take longer to start.
  2. Your car lights are growing dim and your electrical components do not work properly.
  3. Your “check engine” light comes on.
  4. When you open the hood, you smell rotten eggs. This usually means the battery is leaking.
  5. Your connectors are corroded. You will see a white, ashy substance on the metal parts of your battery.
  6. Your battery case is cracked or misshapen.

If you notice any of these signs, have your battery checked by a professional as soon as possible.

At Custom Complete Automotive, our highly qualified team of technicians will help you extend the life of your car battery and replace your battery as needed. To learn more about our auto servicescontact us today with your car care questions and concerns. We look forward to serving you!

Pros and Cons of an Electric Vehicle

Many factors should be considered when deciding to purchase a new vehicle. If you are considering an electric vehicle for your next car, check out this list of benefits and a few drawbacks.

electric vehicle charging battery

Pros: Lower Usage and Maintenance Costs

Owning a car comes with a day to day cost of fuel and occasional maintenance, but an electric vehicle can save you money in both of these cases. The efficiency of the components of an electric vehicle contributes to a larger mileage limit than traditional diesel vehicles. Fuel economy in 2019 listed the Honda Accord Hybrid as having a fuel economy of 48 MPG, compared to around 33MPG for the 2018 Accord with a traditional four-cylinder, automatic car.

Electric vehicles are also easier to maintain, even Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle or PHEVs have significantly fewer moving parts. While not being completely battery-powered, the lifespan of the fuel components is greatly extended due to less interference by the electric vehicle components.

Cons: Charging Time

No product is without flaw, and while the above-mentioned perks may entice you, it is a good practice to be informed of some of the less desirable situations that can arise from owning an electric car. One immediate problem is that due to the technology still emerging, the infrastructure has not caught up just yet. Long-distance trips are very hard to plan as outside of heavily urban areas, there isn’t much support for charging stations. Another glaring issue is the length of time it can actually take to charge the car. Cars need around 8 hours to be fully charged when using traditional outlets, and even lightning-fast charging stations require around 30 minutes to reach 80% of charge.

At Custom Complete Automotive, our expert technicians are equipped with the knowledge to maintain and repair all makes and models. To learn more about electric vehicles, or for more information on our auto services, contact us today!

Maintain Your Vehicle with ASE Certified Technicians

In 1972, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) was founded. Its goal was to protect customers, auto repair shop owners, and mechanics by establishing standards of training and experience, thus improving the quality of vehicle repairs and maintenance within the industry. Today, ASE offers over 40 different certification exams. Technicians can be certified on passenger cars, pickup trucks, school buses, heavy trucks, and more. ASE also provides certification for auto parts specialists.

ASE certified technician working on vehicle

What Does “ASE Certified” Mean?

An ASE Certification is a way for technicians to prove their competence to both shop owners and customers. Having a standard of certification is good for all involved—technicians, owners, and customers.

  • Certified technicians are paid more than non-certified technicians.
  • Shop owners know that they are hiring a qualified and experienced technician.
  • Customers know that a trained and qualified technician will be working on their vehicle.
  • Customers and shop owners know that technicians are always up-to-date with technological advancements in modern vehicles.

How Do Technicians Become ASE Certified?

According to ASE, in order for technicians to qualify for ASE certification, automotive technicians must pass an ASE Certification test, have two years of on the job training or one year of on the job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair.

Technicians need to be re-certified every five years to keep their ASE Certification – the exams are constantly updated to keep up with technological changes.

Why ASE Certification is Important

As vehicles become increasingly complex, the need for qualified and certified technicians becomes more important. At Custom Complete Automotive, we are proud to have a staff of highly trained ASE Certified technicians.

To learn more about our team and auto services, or to schedule an appointment at any of our locations, contact us today!

4 Critical Factors to Consider When Choosing an Auto Mechanic

Searching around for a new auto mechanic takes more thought than you might think. You want to protect the quality of your car by making sure it ends up in expert hands. Whether you are seeking routine auto maintenance or more complicated engine repair, finding a high-quality car mechanic who has the right tools and diagnostic equipment to do the job is crucial. Here are four critical factors to consider when you need an auto mechanic.

auto mechanic performing maintenance on vehicle

1. Certifications

Your auto shop and mechanic should be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The nationally recognized organization ensures that mechanics and technicians have the expertise to perform quality work on your vehicle.

It’s always a good idea to check market reviews online. Not only can you verify a local mechanic’s certifications, but you can also find out which shops to avoid.

2. Services

Different types of cars require different mechanical and electrical experience. It is important to make sure the mechanic you choose has up-to-date training and the right equipment to work on your specific make of vehicle. This is especially important for major estimates and repairs.

A trustworthy mechanic will listen to you and take the time to explain and show you what services might be necessary. Car repairs and upkeep are expensive so you deserve to know what you are paying for. Courteous communication can make all the difference.

3. Warranties

It is always smart to ask about the shop’s warranties when selecting an auto mechanic. A full warranty on all repairs gives you confidence that you will be covered if problems occur after repair procedures are complete.

If your car is under warranty from a dealership, you should check with them to find out if the repair shop is an affiliate. Warranties are often subject to limitations including mileage and time so be sure to get it in writing.

4. Costs

Getting a price estimate on the work to be done before hiring a car service professional only makes sense. Most technicians are more than happy to offer an estimate. The Federal Trade Commission suggests shopping around by phone for the best deals, especially for more expensive and complicated repairs.

How auto repair shops charge varies depending on the type of work to be done and the individual shop. Some charge a flat labor rate on repairs while others base costs on the time it takes to complete repairs. The written estimate should identify what parts are needed and anticipated labor time.

Our technicians at Custom Complete Automotive have over forty years of experience servicing the auto repair needs of satisfied customers. We offer top-of-the-line solutions to almost any automotive problem and our friendly team of technicians is happy to provide free repair estimates. To learn more about our auto services, or if you have any questions, contact us today!

Check These 6 Essential Fluids to Keep Your Car Running Smoothly

Would you like to keep your vehicle running properly for years to come? Then don’t forget to regularly check your car’s essential fluids! These fluids can mean the difference between a smoothly running machine that shows your pride of ownership and a sputtering, grumbling old clunker that sounds as bad as it runs. Keep reading to discover six fluids that are essential in keeping your car healthy.

car mechanic changing essential fluid in vehicle

1. Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is as essential to your survival as it is to your car’s brakes. That’s because brakes are hydraulic and require adequate fluid to safely bring your vehicle to a stop. Neglect to take care of your brake fluid and those brakes may fail just when you need them most. If you notice issues with your brake pedal or your Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) light comes on, it’s best to have your brake fluid checked as soon as possible.

2. Oil

Oil is the lubricant that keeps your engine’s internal parts clean and spinning smoothly. Besides lasting much longer, a properly lubricated engine will even get better gas mileage! For most vehicle’s, it’s best to have the oil changed every 5,000 to 10,000 miles.

3. Power Steering Fluid

Power steering is another hydraulic system that requires adequate fluid to run properly. Try steering without it and you’ll never forget this fluid again! If you notice noisy steering or your steering wheel becomes difficult to turn, it’s probably time to have your power steering fluid checked.

4. Radiator Fluid/Coolant

This is a mix of water and coolant that keeps your engine from overheating, which can result in a blown head gasket. The antifreeze component (coolant) keeps the radiator fluid from freezing and cracking your radiator in winter. For vehicles with over 50,000 miles, it’s important to have your radiator fluid checked periodically.

5. Transmission Fluid

Next to a new engine, replacing a transmission is probably the costliest vehicle repair you may ever face. You can help avoid such a repair by checking your transmission fluid regularly. Clean fluid and proper levels will help keep your transmission clean and lubricated and running properly.

6. Window Washer Fluid

It’s hard to see (and avoid!) that obstruction on the road when your windshield is covered with gunk and grime. An adequate supply of window washer fluid will let you keep that windshield safely clean and clear.

We Know Fluids

Let us at Custom Complete Automotive help with all of your vehicle maintenance needs. Our team of highly qualified automotive technicians boast ASE and CCA certifications so you’re ensured of quality maintenance and repairs whenever you visit one of our shops. To learn more about our auto services, contact us today!

Need a Tow? Call Custom Complete Automotive

There is nothing worse than having your car break down on the side of the road. You’re not only wondering what’s wrong with your car, but now you’re late for school or work. During situations like these, you need a reliable tow truck and fast automotive repair.

custom complete automotive towing car to nearest shop

When You Should Call a Tow Truck

In some cases, needing a tow truck is obvious. For example, your car won’t start and jumping the battery didn’t work.

Other times, you may wonder if you can keep driving or if you should pull over. There are several reasons why you should stop driving and call a tow truck:

  • Your brakes aren’t working properly: the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor or you feel a vibrating sensation.
  • Your car is shaking or jerking.
  • You hear noises under the hood.
  • You smell a “burning” odor or see smoke.
  • Your car is handling differently than it usually does.

When in doubt, it’s best not to drive your vehicle. You could cause expensive damage and put yourself and others in danger by continuing to drive.

What to Do When Your Car Breaks Down

If it’s dangerous to keep driving, look for a safe place to pull over. Turn your hazards on to alert other drivers. If you’re on the highway or interstate, the safest place for you and your passengers is inside the vehicle. Once safely off the road, call a tow truck.

Towing Company in Columbia, MO

At Custom Complete Automotive, we offer prompt towing service and vehicle repairs. When you call for a tow, our towing service can take you and your vehicle to our nearest shop location. Our expert mechanics will be alerted about your problem and will be ready to work on your vehicle and get you back on the road as soon as possible.

To learn more about our towing or other auto services, contact us today!

Choosing the Right Oil for Your Vehicle: Conventional vs. Synthetic

As a responsible car owner, choosing the best oil for your vehicle is an important decision. Two common types of oil are conventional oil and synthetic oil. While each types comes with advantages and disadvantages, here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.

car mechanic changing the oil in vehicle

The Difference Between Conventional and Synthetic Oil

Conventional oil, or regular motor oil, is refined after it is removed from the ground as crude oil. Due to its natural origins, conventional oil does not have uniform molecules. In contrast, synthetic oil is a manufactured combination of base oil with uniform molecules, additives, and a carrier oil that distributes the additives. The main advantage of conventional oil is it costs less than synthetic. However, synthetic oil wins in other categories.

The Benefits of Synthetic Oil

A few advantages of synthetic oil include:

  • Reduced wear and friction on the engine
  • Better performance in extreme temperatures
  • Fewer emissions
  • Removes more engine sludge and deposits
  • Lasts longer than conventional oil
  • Better fuel and oil economy
  • Quicker engine start time

The Benefits of Conventional Oil

A few advantages of conventional oil include:

  • Easier to find and produce
  • Less expensive than synthetic oil
  • Provides reliable performance
  • Can be used in most cars, both newer and older models

Why Synthetic Oil Is Usually Right Choice

Vehicle owners should consult their owner’s manual to better inform their choice of oil. According to the owner’s manual of many newer vehicles, synthetic oil is required. Not complying with the requirement could void warranty coverage. According to recent AAA research, synthetic oil is the best choice for vehicles even if the owner’s manual does not mandate it. During the study, researchers conducted eight industry-standard tests and found synthetic oil performed an average of 47 percent better than conventional oil. The study also concluded synthetic oil was particularly well-suited for vehicles that pull heavy loads, are frequently driven in stop and go traffic, or are driven during extremely hot or cold weather.

Experienced Auto Care Professionals

Custom Complete Automotive has been proud to serve the community since 1976. To learn more about which oil is best for your vehicle, or to schedule an oil change at one of our locations, contact us today!