August 2011

An Ounce of Prevention: Auto Maintenance Made Easy

Author: David Gignilliat

Summer in the Lowcountry is synonymous with golf, bikes, beach and lazy, sun-splashed afternoons with toes dipped in the sand and a cold beverage in hand. Unfortunately, summertime can also mean car trouble for many island visitors and residents.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. C2 asked a pair of the Lowcountry’s most trusted service and repair shops, H & H Auto Service and Beachside Auto & Tire, for tips on keeping your car purring like a kitten during the dog days of summer.

H & H AUTO SERVICES
H & H Auto Services is a family-owned business, specializing in honest and professional automotive repair and auto maintenance services. Owner Bill Head, a former Mercedes Benz technician, moved to Hilton Head Island from Kentucky in 1986 along with his wife, Vicki. He opened the business in 1993 as a one-man shop and has been providing quality auto care here ever since.

In 2004, H & H Auto Service was named Small Business of the Year by the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. And in 2005, the South Carolina Small Business Association (SBA) named Head South Carolina Business Person of the Year.

H & H Auto is a certified Napa Auto Care Center, able to provide the benefits of an established national entity while maintaining the personal touch of a family owned business. Staff includes ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified technicians who employ the latest automotive technology and are equipped to handle all major and minor repairs on foreign and domestic vehicles.

In addition to H & H Auto Services, Head owns H & H Auto Body, LLC, voted number one auto repair in year-after-year in reader polls from multiple local publications.

According to Dave Adams, service manager at H & H Auto, there are a few things you should be doing to ensure your car’s best performance year round.

FOLLOWING IS ADAMS’ TOP TEN LIST FOR MAINTENANCE:

1. REPLACE AIR FILTER
2. CHECK FLUID LEVELS
3. CHECK VEHICLE ALIGNMENT
4. ROTATE TIRES REGULARLY
5. EXCHANGE FLUIDS
6. INSPECT BRAKES
7. CHANGE FUEL FILTERS
8. SERVICE THE FUEL INJECTION SYSTEM
9. CHANGE SPARK PLUGS
10. CHANGE THE OIL

H & H Auto is located at 35 Hunter Rd, Hilton Head. Hours of operation are Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. -6 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-noon. For more information, visit handhautos.com or call (843) 681-8384.

BEACHSIDE TIRE AND AUTO
Beachside Tire and Auto owner Bill Johnson has 45 years of industry experience, including 25 years on Hilton Head Island. So you can be sure that he knows what it takes to keep his customers satisfied.

Opened in 2001, Beachside Tire and Auto is AAA-approved as well as Car Talk-approved. The business was recognized by AAA in 2005 as the number one repair facility on Hilton Head Island, meeting AAA’s stringent standards for technical competence and customer service. Johnson’s son, Sam, offers up some advice about car care in the Lowcountry:
“With the extremes from the hot here to the cold [up north] in the wintertime, weather is definitely a factor. The biggest thing we notice is on the tires, but also your fluids when you go through a lot of temperature changes. We live in what you would consider a severe climate, so the maintenance needs to be done a little more often than, let’s say, if you lived in more of a moderate climate.”

And it’s not just about oil changes. “Cars come in here, and they’ve just done oil changes, and they’re at 75,000 miles, and they wonder why their car’s breaking down,” Sam said. “We try to explain why you should do the services and when you should do them. We say that you should follow what the manufacturer recommends for your vehicle. A lot of people don’t do that, and in the end, they have to spend a lot more money in repairs that they wouldn’t have to do if they had just followed the manual.”

Tire maintenance is particularly important, Sam said. “When you get out on the highways in the summertime, your tires generate a substantial amount of heat, and that’s when you have separation problems. The maintenance goes back to keeping your tires inflated and rotated and doing visual inspections. That’s part of our standard service. We take care of you instead of just giving you an oil change and sending you out the door.

“The most important services to perform are the timing belt and the transmission flush,” he added. “We determined this due to the fact that if not done, the result will be the most expensive repair when they do break.”

Beachside Tire & Auto is located at 26-D Hunter Road, Hilton Head. Hours of operation are Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. For more information, visit beachsidetireandauto.com or call (843) 342-7876.

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