Dirty Air Filter

Pro Tip: Replacing Your Air Filters

With the spring pollen season upon us, it’s time to talk about air quality of both your engine, and your cabin. Let’s start of with your engine:
Air and fuel are the lifeblood of a functioning engine. Supplying clean and debris free fuel and air to your engine’s combustion chamber is critical to it’s ongoing performance and efficiency. Keeping your engine supplied with clean air is easily accomplished by replacing your engine’s air filter at regular intervals. In general a schedule of replacing the filter every 15,000mi is a good place to start, or about every third oil change. Each time your vehicle is with us, we will perform a visual inspection of the filter and make a note of how clean or dirty it is and whether we’d recommend replacement or not.
On the cabin side of things, most vehicles have a filter that filters the air that enters the heating and air conditioning(HVAC) system and cabin of the vehicle, where its driver and passengers sit. There are some vehicles out there that don’t have a cabin filter, and there are some that have more than one. Cabin air filters can become clogged with organic matter and debris from trees and plants, and well as the usual spring pollen and other particulate that is in the air. Replacing this filter will ensure that good clean air is being supplied to the HVAC system and cabin of your car, while keeping out allergens and other nastiness that can be in the air. We will always check the cabin filter for you when you vehicle is with us, and we’ll let you know when it is in need of changing, which is usually always the same time as the filter of your engine.

Stay tuned for more pro tips, and as always, we’re here for you and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

This Way For Service!!

We’re Partnering With Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve

We are pleased to announce that we are partnering with South Peachtree Creek Nature Preserves, Inc to raise money for the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (CSNP) in the Medlock Neighborhood, north of Decatur.

We’ll be offering 20 half priced oil changes for “Friends of CSNP” and donating $10 from each of those oil changes to CSNP. In addition to the discount oil changes and subsequent donations, we will also be donating 10% of all labor costs from any other work that we do for “Friends of CSNP” to the organization.

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is a protected area located in the Medlock Park neighborhood of DeKalb County. The 28-acre nature preserve opened in 1995 under the management of South Peachtree Creek Nature Preserves, Inc., (SPCNP) a non-profit, neighborhood organization with the goal of preserving natural spaces in the South Peachtree Creek watershed. SPCNP Inc. maintains the property for the protection of wildlife habitat and the enjoyment of our neighbors and other visitors.


Pro Tip: Checking Engine Fluids

Check your main engine fluids to be sure you’re in tip-top operating shape!

Engine Oil

Engine oil is the lifeblood of your cars engine. Inside your engine there are a multitude of metal parts moving and rubbing against other metal parts, and the only thing that makes them all work together so well is your engines oil. So it is critical to your engines operation that:
A. There is enough oil to coat all of the moving parts, and
B. The oil that is present is in a functional state to do its job.
If you get your oil changed regularly(we recommend every 5,000mi for conventional oil and 7,500mi for synthetic oil) you will rarely have to worry about the functionality of your engine oil. But the amount of oil is something that needs to be checked at least a few times between oil changes. Low oil can be a sign of some other issue with your engine and by checking it, you will not only be making sure you’ve got enough oil for the engine to operate, but you’ll also potentially be able to catch a problem while it is minor, before it becomes a major problem.
To check your oil level, your car should be parked on a level surface with the engine shut off, and depending on recommendations in your owners manual, can be performed while the engine is either hot or cold. A hot engine should be allowed to sit for minute or two after the engine has been shut off to allow oil to flow back to the oil pan where it will be measured. Here are the steps to checking your oil level:
1. Locate the Engine Oil Dipstick
2. Pull the dipstick, and wipe clean with a clean lint-free cloth or rag
3. Re-insert the dipstick into the housing and push it all the way back into place
4. Remove the dipstick once again and see where the engine oil line shows. It should show between the high and low marks similar to the photo.
5. The oil should also be checked for wear. Dark, burnt looking oil will be due for a change, light colored and translucent oil is in good condition.


Coolant Level

The cooling system of your car has an overflow reservoir/expansion tank located somewhere in the engine bay. There are multiple places it could be, but once you find it, it will have Maximum and Minimum levels on the side of the tank to know where the level should be. Coolant level should always be checked when the engine is cold, and low coolant should be topped off with the coolant type that is specific to the vehicle, there are multiple different types. In emergency situations only, distilled water can be used to top off a low coolant level. Coolant level can be checked at the same time as engine oil is checked.


There are multiple other fluids in your vehicle that are important to its operation, but none more critical than oil and coolant. If both of these are checked multiple times between oil changes there is a greatly reduced likelihood that any problems could occur due to lack of either of these fluids. If you are unsure of checking these yourself, we would be happy to give you the rundown at the shop here on your specific vehicle so you will be able to take care of it yourself in the future, or we’d be happy to have you swing by the shop for those checks whenever you’re in the neighborhood and we can give things a good look over for you.

Stay tuned for more pro tips, and as always, we’re here for you and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

This Way For Service!!

Now Accepting Online Bookings!

As we are working away here at Service Course headquarters, we’re slowly improving our processes and implementing customer requests for how we can offer better service. We can now check another one of those items off the list, as we now have an online booking system on our website. Obviously, if you’re reading this you’re already here, but if you click through to the home page: http://servicecourseauto.com you’ll see our Book Me In! booking form. Just fill in the details, give us as much info as you can about what you need and submit away. We’ll get notified of your request and if available, we’ll confirm your appointment, and if that particular time and date is not available, we’ll let you know what options we’ll have available for you as an alternative.

So book away, and as always we’re here for you: This Way For Service!

We’re Raising Money for Dick Lane Velodrome’s Youth Cycling League

Here at Service Course we’re happy to announce that as of today we are launching a fundraising program in conjunction with the Dick lane Velodrome(DLV) to raise money for their Youth Cycling League program. For those don’t know, we’re super-fans of the velodrome: Jeff used to manage the DLV(and is a former World Champion track cyclist), and Jason is a regular competitor there, so the facility is dear to our hearts.

So on the fundraising front, we will be donating 10% of labor costs for those who wish to nominate themselves as “Friends of Youth Cycling League”. We’ll also be donating $10 from every oil change that we do for Friends of YCL. Our hope is that we will be able to raise a good amount of money to be able to support the YCL program and keep it free and operational. In order to send the donation over to the YCL program, just let us know that you are a friend of the Youth Cycling League, and when your work is complete we’ll have a donation card for you that will let you know how much your services donated to the program. To book your service or repair, call us on the phone, 678 705 9284, or email us, [email protected].

More can be read about the DLV’s YCL program over here: http://www.dicklanevelodrome.com/pages/youthcyclingleague.html

Brake flush

Pro Tip: When You’ll Need A Brake Flush

We see a lot of cars coming through that have well used brake fluid in their systems, unfortunately it is often an item that is overlooked when folks think about maintaining their vehicles, and it is inexpensive to get a brake flush done and it will have your car in a safer position to handle what the road will throw at it.

First, a general explanation about brake fluid, it’s properties and what it does. In general we’ll be talking about DOT 4 type brake fluid, and while there are some others out there with differing properties, DOT 4 tends to be the most widely used currently. DOT 4 brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that is not appreciably compressible, is hygroscopic(attracts moisture), and has a dry boiling point of 446 deg F and wet boiling point of 311 deg F. The “wet” boiling point is defined as when the fluid has 3.7% moisture content. More on that in a minute.

Essentially, when you push your brake pedal, the fluid gets pushed through the system, and pushes the brake caliper pistons which push your brake pads together onto the brake rotor to stop the vehicle. A properly working system with fluid that is within specification will be able to handle all expected braking conditions without any danger of brake fade, failure or any other type of mishap. The key element for the specification of the fluid is measuring it’s moisture content. We have a special tool that does this for us, and we recommend that fluid not be allowed to reach 3% moisture content. Heres why:

One of the key elements of the fluid is it’s ability to withstand the high levels of heat that are generated while braking. The main aspect of this is that your brake fluid should be able to handle any conditions that get thrown at it. Remember we talked about the wet boiling point? When brake fluid boils, it vaporises into a gas, and loses all of the non-compressible qualities that it had while it was in its liquid form. So this means that it is no longer pressing the brake pads against the rotors, and thus no longer slowing the vehicle. This usually occurs during a heavy braking situation where you probably REALLY need your brakes to be working at their best. And this is the key to having the system functioning as it should. With brake fluid that has 3% or more moisture content, your braking system may seem to work fine with no noticeable symptoms. But your brake fluid is not ready to handle all situations as it should, so encountering those heavy braking situations will potentially lead to the boiling of the fluid and a loss of braking ability.

The additional benefit of flushing your brake fluid is to keep all of your braking components free of corrosion and rust that can occur when the fluid has a high level of moisture content. We recommend that your vehicle have its brake fluid flushed when it measures 2% of moisture content, or every 2 years.

Stay tuned for more pro tips, and as always, we’re here for you and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

This Way For Service!!

Tire Pressure

Service Course Pro Tip: Tire Pressure

We often see customers cars in the shop with tire pressure that is well below the recommended pressure. The major short term effect of low tire pressure is a reduction in gas mileage. Higher levels of heat generated by the tire are also a symptom of underinflated tires. Over time the additional friction and heat generated by the tire can cause them to prematurely wear out.

The driving symptoms of under inflated tires can be a “squirmy” feel while cornering or braking, and the tires squealing while cornering. While these can be felt by an experienced driver who is looking for those symptoms, the best way to be sure is to check your tires with a gauge. These days digital pressure gauges can be found online for $12-20 (see here), but another good choice is an analogue dial type gauge. Older pencil type gauges tend to be less accurate than dial or digital gauges, so those should be steered clear of.

How much pressure? The answer to that question is that it varies by vehicle. But the good news, is that your vehicle will usually tell you. Check your owner’s manual to find out where to look on your vehicle to find the recommended measurement. This number is usually indicated either on the driver’s door pillar, the glove compartment door or sometimes on the gas filler door.

When should you check them? We strongly recommend that you check them monthly. With pressure gauge in hand, you can easily check all four tires in less than two minutes. Tires should be checked when cold, so before you head out, test the pressure all around and you’ll be confident that you’re all set to drive. Once a low pressure situation is found, you can plan ahead to leave on your next drive a few minutes early so you can stop in at a gas station to top up your tires. And of course, you are always welcome to stop by our shop here for a quick top-up as well.

Stay tuned for more pro tips, and as always, we’re here for you and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

This Way For Service!!