Why You Shouldn’t Change Your Oil by Yourself

Scheduled Maintenance Mercedes Sacramento

Oil is an essential element of any car. It has many functions: it keeps your car’s engine clean and free of unwanted debris buildup, it keeps your engine cool so it won’t overheat, and it provides your engine with necessary lubrication for optimum life and reliability.

Without regular oil changes, your car’s oil will eventually become contaminated and ineffective. Then, your car could suffer from fuel efficiency, mechanical problems, or even total engine failure. It’s important that these oil changes are performed correctly. There are many factors to take into account when changing your oil, so doing it by yourself leaves a lot of room for error. Any error could lead to unwanted damages to your car. Leaving the job to a professional could save you from potentially expensive and extensive repair later.

Oil Change Mistakes You Can Avoid by Hiring a Professional:

  • Missing your car’s due date: Your car’s oil needs to be changed after a certain number of miles have been driven or if your car’s oil service indicator light turns on. Forgetting or changing your oil too late will eventually damage your engine. An expert will help you keep track of when your car is due for your next oil change.
  • Using the wrong oil for your engine: The type of oil needed for your car depends on your car’s engine, manufacturing instructions, and the time of year you are having your oil changed. Using the wrong oil can lead to oil leaks, reduced fuel efficiency, reduced lubrication, and eventual engine problems.
  • Missing the mark: Your car needs a specific amount of oil. Not enough oil or too much oil can tamper with your car’s engine and the lubrication needed to maintain your car’s parts. Too little oil could lead to overheating and damage to your car’s engine system. If your engine becomes too damaged, it could need to be replaced.

If your Mercedes-Benz or BMW is ready for an oil change or in need of another service, call Silver Star Motors today at (916) 318-9445 or contact us online.

When Should I Get My Transmission Serviced?

When Should I Get My Transmission Serviced?

The transmission is one of the most integral and complex parts of your vehicle. The transmission contains multiple complex hydraulic systems that transfer energy to your car to make it move. Many of the newer transmission systems include computerized systems to help with front wheel drive. The computerized systems make fixing any transmission issues quite difficult. It’s important to take your vehicle into an automotive repair shop for regular tune-ups to ensure that your transmission is working efficiently.

Transmission Warning Signs I Should Look For

Total transmission failure can cost thousands and require you to overhaul the entire engine of your car. Here is a list of warning signs that your transmission may not be working properly:

  • Fluid leaks. If you see any fluid on your driveway, it may be time to take your car into a repair shop. Transmission fluid helps to allow your car’s engine to shift gears while you press on the accelerator. The transmission fluid is usually red and has a tart smell. Transmissions do not burn up fluids the way your engine does, so if your transmission is curiously low, you may have a leak. A leak can be caused by the following:
    • Worn seals or gaskets
    • The disconnection of important hoses due to recent repair
    • A loose transmission pan/pan leak
  • Indicator Light Comes on. If your engine or transmission light comes on, this may mean that your engine is too hot. When your warning lights activate, make sure to check the transmission fluid and engine coolant levels.
  • Listen to what sounds your car is making. Commonly, when you hear a whining, buzzing, or humming noise accompanied with feeling the car shift as you speed up can mean that you are experience a transmission issue.
  • Check your transmission fluid. When you’re checking your transmission or engine coolant levels, insert dipstick, pull it out and wipe clean. Then examine where the level of fluid is on the dipstick. To ensure an accurate reading, repeat process and examine once more. If the fluid level is not between the markers “full” and “add,” you may need more fluid.

Questions About Car Repairs?

If you’ve experience any of the warning signs listed above, you should take your vehicle into a repair shop. A professional mechanic can assess the issues with your vehicle. Silver Star Motors is the Sacramento area’s oldest and most experienced full-service automotive repair and service center for manual transmission Mercedes Benz automobiles. Our technicians are trained and experienced in Mercedes-Benz maintenance and service. Contact us today at 916-318-9445 to schedule a maintenance appointment.

Preparing Your Vehicle for the Summer

Mercedes transmission service in Sacramento

Summer has kicked off – for many, this means lazy days on the beach, cold ice cream on the boardwalk and spending time with friends and family. But summer takes a toll, especially on your vehicle. Between heat, dust, stop-and-go traffic and lingering effects from winter, your vehicle may be at risk of a breakdown.

By keeping up to date on your vehicle’s maintenance, you can make sure that your ride lasts throughout the hottest days of the year. Here are some tips to keep your motor purring long into the summer (some of these you can do yourself – others may require a professional).

  • Keep your A/C alive! We don’t have to tell you how much it sucks to get into a vehicle that has been sitting in the summer sun and realize you have no way to cool it off quickly (especially if your car has leather seats or a dark exterior). If your system is only marginally operational, it is likely to fail in the heat. Before it becomes an issue, have a certified technician inspect it.
  • Speaking of cooling, one of the most common causes of vehicle failure in the summer is overheating. You should completely flush and refill your cooling system at least once every two years. You should also keep an eye on your coolant levels, condition and concentration. Remember – never remove a radiator cap until your engine has fully cooled.
  • If you frequently make short trips, extended trips with lots of luggage or you often tow, you should get your oil looked at more often than the recommended every 3,000 miles.
  • Keep your lights clean and functional.
  • Have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles and check your tire pressure at least once a month. Make sure your spare is also in good condition.
  • Brake problems – even small ones – should be corrected as soon as possible. If you hear any odd noises coming from your brakes, get them checked ASAP.
  • Lastly, make sure your engine is performing correctly. Replace filters like air, fuel, and PCV more often than recommended if conditions are dusty. Take your vehicle to a qualified shop to ensure top engine performance.

If you would like a technician to take a look at your Mercedes or BMW to make sure it is ready for the summer, call Silver Star Motors at 916-318-9445.

Keep Your Mercedes Healthy with These Simple Tips

Mercedes transmission service in Sacramento

A Mercedes isn’t just a car – it’s a way of life. Not only are Mercedes vehicles supremely reliable, they are also a symbol of status and of excellent taste in automobiles. These vehicles cost tens of thousands of dollars; as such, it is important that you follow some basic tips that keep help you prolong the life of your Mercedes and help extend the value of your investment.

Tips to Keep Your Mercedes Maintained

  1. Keep your vehicle covered, and not just in bad weather. While it is obvious that things like heavy rain, hail and wind-blown debris can damage the body of your car, you should also remember that the sun’s rays can cause paint to fade. If you want your Benz looking its best, do it a favor and give it some shade whenever possible. If you live in an area where it is difficult to find consistent shade, purchase a car cover.
  2. Keeping your car clean is important for protecting the paint job, as well. Slush and grime can lead to wear and tear on the paint. Frequent washing can help remove these damaging substances. Additionally, keeping an eye on the paint job means you will be able to catch rust before it becomes too problematic.
  3. Inspect your brakes on a routine basis. Any defects that you spot, such as worn pads or excessive grooves in the brakes drums, should be addressed immediately; otherwise, you risk losing your brakes when you need them most.
  4. Have the electrical system inspected regularly by a mechanic that is familiar with Mercedes electrical systems.
  5. If your Mercedes has between 80,000 and 100,000 miles on it, then you should have the transmission serviced. You should also have the transmission serviced after five years of operation. Every time you take your car in for routine maintenance, have the mechanic check the transmission fluid.

These little tips can go a long way toward ensuring that you have a lengthy and productive relationship with your Mercedes. If you own a Mercedes and are looking for a mechanic with experience maintaining and repairing your vehicle, don’t hesitate to contact Silver Star Motors at (916) 318-9445. We have served Sacramento-area Mercedes-Benz owners since 1979, with factory trained and certified mechanics.

Does Wheel Size Make a Difference When Driving My Car?

Mercedes-Benz Repair Sacramento

Are you thinking about switching out your vehicle’s wheels for something a little bigger? Larger wheels can affect your car’s appearance, mileage and stability. Consider these pros and cons before changing your wheels.

Visual Impact

If you’re looking to make a big visual impact, consider buying big wheels. Make sure to do you research, however, before buying a set of wheels. Bigger wheels are more expensive and if you make the wrong decision, you could be out of a good amount of cash. In addition, if you get wheels that are not made to fit your car, you could damage the vehicle. If you’re not sure how the wheels are going to look on your vehicle, you can look up images of the same make and model of your vehicle sporting some big wheels. When you go buy your wheels, don’t go for your first choice right away or the cheapest choice either. Be smart and save up for a set of wheels that fit your car and driving habits.

Less Miles Per Gallon

Bigger wheels mean heavier wheels, and heavy wheels force your engine to work harder and use up more gas. How much gas you use will be dependent on the strength of your engine. The loss in miles per gallon will be more apparent if your car has a smaller engine. These engines are not made to handle big, heavy wheels. In addition, you could potentially ruin your engine or reduce the car’s longevity. If you’re worries about increased fuel consumption, avoid buying bigger wheels.

Improved Stability

Small wheels can certainly be cheaper than bigger wheels, but they’re not good for stability. Due to their decreased width and tendency to curve in the corners, smaller tires do not make a lot of contact on the road and decrease stability greatly. If you switch to bigger tires, you’ll notice the increased stability quickly. The main reason? A wider tire makes more contact on the road. The stiffness of these big wheels, as the low-profile of them doesn’t flex in the corners as much, also contributes to better stability.

Not sure if those big tires are going to better your Mercedes-Benz? Talk to one of our Mercedes-Benz experts at Silver Star Motors. We can discuss your tire options and make suggestions that fits your vehicle and lifestyle.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a New Car

Sacramento Mercedes & BMW Repair pic

Before you say yes to that new car, stop and consider the following three questions. You may want to know a little more about any hidden costs, extra features, or the number of miles on the car. This way you can better prepare your budget for paying the car off overtime and know what to expect when it comes to your new car’s maintenance.

  1. Are there any extra bells and whistles installed into the car?

Sometimes a car dealer adds items as a way to boost profit from the car they will be trying to sell you. Add-ons include:

  • Nitrogen-filled tires
  • Window tinting
  • Wheel locks
  • All-weather floor mats
  • Paint protection

The markup on these add-ons can cost you a pretty penny. You’ll want to know about any add-ons in advance when you’re asking for a price quote. You can try to negotiate with the dealer regarding these add-ons as well.

  1. How many miles are on the car?

Not all new cars come with less than 10 miles on the odometer due test drivers or being a part of a dealer trade. You should try and negotiate a lower price for cars with more than 300 miles on the odometer. Keep in mind that the in-service date is when the warranty begins. Knowing the number of miles on the vehicle can help you determine the type of maintenance it might require.

  1. Can I get the car delivered?

This may seem like an odd question to ask your dealer but if you’re shopping for a car online, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The dealership will be open to the idea of delivering the vehicle to your home if you mention that the delivery of the vehicle will seal the deal for you. When the car is delivered, a dealer representative will also arrive to have you sign your contracts. Keep in mind that any extended warranties or deals may not be a part of the contract you are signing. Having the vehicle delivered allows you to skip hearing about these extras but if you think you will want one, you can always request to speak with a manager and discuss your options.

If you bought a new Mercedes-Benz and need an expert to check it out, look no further than the Mercedes-Benz maintenance experts at Silver Star Motors. Your vehicle will be safe in the hands of our factory trained and certified mechanics.

Getting the Best Gas Mileage Out of Your Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes Engine Repair Sacremento

It’s not enjoyable to watch your funds drain away due to an inefficient vehicle. Gas can be pricey and many people are trying to find ways to pinch pennies at the gas pump. If you’re worried about emptying your wallet on your next gas trip, here are a few tips to help improve the gas mileage of your Mercedes-Benz.

Ease Off the Accelerator

While it’s great fun to push your car and test how fast it can really go, you might also be wasting a good 15 percent of your gas mileage whenever you drive over 65 miles per hour. It’s better to drive the speed limit than race the clock to save on gas. However, avoid driving under 65 mph on the highway as well. Not only is it dangerous to slow down significantly in fast traffic but driving below 65 mph also decreases your gas mileage by 15 percent. Another behavior to consider changing is how you approach traffic lights. Try not to race red lights because your car will end up using more energy to come to stop seconds later. This will cost you money. Further, avoid running yellow lights to improve efficiency. If you do have to come out of a complete stop, don’t press your foot down hard on the accelerator to rush forward out of the stop.

Premium Gas Isn’t That Great

Many people are driving around right now with their gas tanks filled with medium or high-octane gasoline mistakenly thinking they are improving their gas mileage. Unfortunately, high octane does not necessarily mean better. Medium and high-octane gas should be used by cars with a compression engine that is susceptible to pinging. High-octane also benefits high-performance cars with compression engines by helping their engine system run more efficiently. If your car is not a high-performance car with a compression engine, high-octane gas won’t benefit you. If you are unsure what type of gas to put into your Mercedes-Benz, refer to your car manual as the gas type will be listed. You can also contact your Mercedes-Benz mechanic as well.

Drive Light

Try to minimize weight and drag on your Mercedes-Benz before your next drive. The more weight in your car, the more fuel you will have to burn to move that weight. Small items won’t make too much of a difference, but if you are lugging around a huge item like heavy lifting weights, take them out of your vehicle to better your gas mileage. According to the EPA, every 100 pounds of excess weight your car carries reduces gas mileage by one percent. Outside of reducing weight, also try to minimize drag on your vehicle. Drag occurs when there is resistance in the opposite direction of the car’s movement. To avoid drag, remove any bike racks or luggage carriers strapped to the vehicle. These items increase drag and that can further increase your gas bill. When not in use, put these items inside your home.

If you’re having issues keeping your gas mileage up, you can always contact a trusted Mercedes-Benz dealer to look at your vehicle. Silver Star Motors will be able to give you the appropriate advice on how to handle and maintain your Mercedes-Benz.

Will This New Mercedes Crossover SUV Light Your Fire?

Mercedes transmission service in Sacramento

In the late 1990s, a trend began to wash over the automotive industry. SUVs started to sell in droves, and though many automakers thought this trend was a fad, three manufacturers took a chance. Audi, BMW and Mercedes all released big SUVs. Fast forward to now, and other luxury brands like Porsche, Aston Martin, and Lamborghini are trying to catch up, but now the crossover is the new top dog, and Mercedes is already in the class with the latest iteration of its GLA crossover SUV.

What Do You Think About the Mercedes GLA?

Though some auto reviewers have labeled this crossover as a downmarket move, the class and luxury of the latest GLA begs to differ. Still constructed of the high-quality parts Mercedes is known for, the small SUV was able to sell over 5,200 units in Japan in 2015. This respectable performance was outshone in 2016 by the crossover’s performance here in the U.S.–where Mercedes sold over 24,500 units. It was a record breaking year for the German marque as it sold more vehicles in that year than it had ever sold before.

This year, Mercedes will celebrate the GLA line’s achievements by adding a new addition to the stable, the GLA 45. This sportier version of the GLA gets a new 4matic transmission and a 2.0-litre turbo engine unleashing more power to an already high-quality ride. These upgrades are all a part of expanding expectations for an industry leading vehicle, and it only raises hopes for future expansions of the model in the future.

Does the GLA light your fire? As factory trained and certified Mercedes-Benz mechanics, the technicians at Silver Star Motors can ensure that your GLA keeps your heart pumping while still offering you comfort unmatched by any other crossover SUV. To learn more about what else Mercedes-Benz has to offer, keep following the Silver Star Motors blog.

Why Do BMW Fans Need to Have a Conversation About the Toyota Supra?

Disappointment at the Tokyo Motor Show has left not only fans of Japanese cars flustered, but some German auto fans aren’t too happy about it either. But why were fans of BMW left frustrated by a no show on the part of Toyota Motor Company?

What You May Not know About the Toyota Supra and BMW

When The Fast and The Furious hit theaters in 2001, it catapulted the Toyota Supra into stardom. The car was acknowledged for its fine engineering and versatility, then it was discontinued in 2002. Ever since, fans have been asking Toyota to revive the model, and three years ago the company answered those pleas with a thrilling Supra concept car along with production promises.

Fast forward to 2017, and spy shots of the rumored Supra production model had many fans expecting the car to break cover at the Tokyo Motor Show. When it was a no show, Supra fans were dumbstruck, but so were quite a few BMW fans. Here’s why…

If You Like the Z4…

In 2016, BMW discontinued the Z4 due to poor sales numbers. Considering those numbers, most industry analysts predicted that this would be the end of the Z model, but BMW soon squashed that rumor. They announced that there would be a new Z4 model, and Toyota would help develop the machine.

Forming a development alliance, BMW and Toyota split development costs to produce the base elements of a new sports car. Once these basics were developed, each automaker would then use this jointly developed platform as the basis for a new Toyota Supra model and a new BMW Z4 model.

Camouflaged test models of each car have been recently spotted in Tokyo and around the Nürburgring, which fed rumors that one or both could break cover soon. The Tokyo Motor Show seemed like a good venue for such an unveiling, even if it was rumored that only the Supra would break cover, but it did not.

Some BMW fans may have been hoping that a glimpse of the Supra would provide a preview of what the new Z4 would be like, but descriptions of these two cars are varying wildly. The Supra is rumored to not share the same engine as the Z4—it will instead have 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder and hybrid options. The new Z4 sounds like it will have another version of BMW’s famed i-6 engine, with no talk of a 4-cylinder or hybrid option. So, don’t expect the new Supra to need a BMW technician like the Z4 will, but analyst are now predicting that both cars will break cover in 2018, possibly at the same time since their production schedules are similar.

7 Reasons You May Want to Get a Dash Cam

BMW and Mercedes Benz Repair Sacramento Pic

Have you ever considered getting a dash cam? They are becoming more and more popular all across the country, and for good reason. There are many advantages to having a good dash cam in your car, and if you are reading this blog, you’ve got one really big reason to consider one. You drive a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz.

7 Reason Why It’s a Good Idea for You to Get a Dash Cam

  1. Driving Accidents– If someone hits your car but doesn’t take responsibility for the collision, you could find yourself in a legal battle that comes down to their word against yours. A good way to avoid this is by having proof that an accident happened the way you are describing it. A video can be just the hard evidence you need to keep others from taking advantage of you in court.
  2. Parking Accidents– Ever parked in a public garage only to return to your car and find the side scratched or otherwise damaged? Well, a dash cam can be the solution to that problem. These devices can be set up to run off of internal battery power once you are parked and your car is off. This allows these cameras to capture video of people who may bump into, scrape or otherwise damage your vehicle.
  3. Your Car– Here at Silver Star Motors, we work on Mercedes-Benz and BMW. So, if you’re reading one of our blogs, you must either own, fix on, or want to own one of these high-class machines. But wouldn’t you want to protect it too? A well setup dash cam can protect your car, and your investment in that car.
  4. Insurance Claims– Having a vehicle like a BMW or a Mercedes insured is a must to protect yourself should an accident happen, but there’s something many drivers don’t realize. Insurance companies are still businesses trying to make a dollar, and they will often go the distance to make sure they don’t have to pay your full claim. However, not even the insurance company can deny cold hard evidence, and dash cam video can provide that to you.
  5. Showing Off– You bought a high-performance vehicle when you purchased that M3 coupe. Why keep that vehicle caged up on a daily commute? There are trackdays, autocross events and car shows you can take your German-engineered beauty to, and a dash cam can help you show off. Record your track driving or autocross daring-do with a dash cam, and prove you’re not just any Bavarian auto owner.
  6. Teenage Drivers– Worried your driving age kids aren’t going where they say they are? Worried they aren’t driving safely? Worried that your teenager is going to sneak your nice car out on a joyride? Get a dash cam. These devices can record where and how your teenager drives, and when they sneak out for a secret spin, you’ll know by checking the video file.
  7. Remembering the Drive– Sometimes we forget that half the fun of owning a car like a Z4 or an SL isn’t about getting from one place to another. It’s about the experience we have between point A and point B. As you create those fun times, wouldn’t it be nice to look back on them? Dash cams can also do that for you.

Brought to you by the certified mechanics at Silver Star Motors—keeping the German autos of Sacramento running since 1979.