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Most experts say that wiper blades need to be changed every six to 12 months. This depends on weather conditions and the quality of blades you purchase. Ordinary rubber blades have the shortest lifespan. Halogen-hardened rubber blades last a bit longer. But silicon blades have the longest lifetimes of all, perhaps exceeding a year even under intense use. Of course they also cost more than ordinary rubber blades.

You’ll know when your wiper blades need to be replaced because you’ll see streaking as they wipe the moisture from the windshield or even large gaps where no water is being removed. They may start making squeaking or chattering sounds (though this can also happen if you run the wipers when the windshield is mostly dry). If left unchanged for too long, the material of the blade can shred and break loose from the arm. This can actually cause damage to your windshield, as the metal or hard plastic of the arm scrapes across the glass. This is not preferred.

Fortunately, you won’t necessarily have to replace the entire blade assembly. Most blade arms will accept rubber refills, giving you the option of replacing only the part that’s damaged. However, blade arms can become bent over time, so make sure that the refill is all that you need to replace in order to fix the problem.

If you are unsure and would like an experts opinion, stop by any of Sierra Car Care’s three locations in the Reno area. We are happy to help!

Expert Advice on Wheels, Rims and Performance Tires

At Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers, we want your car or truck to look its best. We also want you to feel good driving your vehicle around Reno or Sparks, Nevada. That’s why having a nice set of wheels or rims is crucial. We have a great selection of wheels and rims at Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers.

Great looking rims are the perfect way to show off your unique style, and your choice of rims can affect the car’s performance too. Our team is made up of wheel and rim experts who are enthusiasts about making a car look and ride superbly! At our shop you’ll always get true, custom advice on vehicle wheels and car rims from an expert who is on the cutting edge of wheel style, wheel configuration, and tire performance. If you’re looking for a new set of performance tires Reno, NV, or custom wheels and rims, then there is only one answer, Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers.

Give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact us online if you have questions regarding rims and wheels or any other auto repair Reno, NV services.

Wheels and Rims Reno, NevadaWhat to Look for When Buying New Wheels:

Alloy Wheels

Think about buying alloy wheels if you do a lot of driving in the mountains or in stop-and-go traffic. Some alloy wheels are designed to encourage cool air flow over the brakes to prevent overheating. The alloy itself can help dissipate heat, too.

Plus-Size Your Rims

If you want to improve performance and add a sportier look, think about plus-sizing your rims. With a larger inner diameter, you’ll find steering is more responsive and your car holds the road better. Purchasing rims that are one or two sizes larger than what you have means you’ll have to buy new tires as well.

Keep The Weight Down

Look for rims that aren’t too heavy for your vehicle. Big, steel rims on a small car can decrease handling ability. Heavy wheels are unsprung weight–not supported by your car’s suspension– and therefore useless for smoothing out the ride or improving balance in driving maneuvers.

Shop For Tires at Sierra Car Care

Because we have an extensive inventory of more than 4,000 tires in stock, our unparalleled tire selection assures you that we will have the replacement tire for your car or truck. Featuring tires from MICHELIN®, BFGoodrich® and Uniroyal®, Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers also carry tires from manufacturers such as GT RADIALS, Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Pirelli and Yokohama. We have passenger and performance tires.

At Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers, our tire experts are able to match your specific driving needs, including factors such as driving terrain, endurance and travel conditions, resulting in the best possible match for your vehicle. You may also shop from home via the online tire finder by inputting your vehicle’s make, model and year.

Click here to browse our tire catalog

Click here to shop for tires

Modern engines and lubricants are far superior to those of even ten years ago. As a result, most vehicle manufacturers now recommend engine oil changes every 5,000 or 7,500 miles under normal operating conditions. However, the auto service industry has long encouraged more frequent oil changes based on the belief that most drivers operate their vehicles under “severe service” conditions. But do they really?

Today, mileage-based oil change intervals are becoming a thing of the past. A growing number of new vehicles are equipped with maintenance reminder systems that determine the need for oil changes based on the owner’s actual driving habits. In practice, most drivers find that these systems call for an oil change at around 7,500 miles and, on vehicles factory filled with synthetic oil, the change interval may be as high as 15,000 miles!

Another outdated belief is that oil color is a valid indicator of the need for a change. While new oil has a light gold to brown tint, the fact that oil in service turns dark brown (or black in diesel engines) does not mean it is “dirty” and needs replacement. It only indicates the detergents in the oil are doing their job of keeping tiny particulates in suspension, while any contaminants large enough to cause engine wear are trapped by the oil filter. In fact, because of their superior detergent packages, synthetic oils often turn darker faster than conventional oils.

Checking Engine Oil
It is easiest to check the oil level when your engine is cold. There is no possibility of burns, and cool oil stays on the dipstick better, making it easier to measure the level. If you have been driving, wait a few minutes before checking the level to allow oil to drain back into the oil pan.

  • Park the vehicle on level ground with the engine off.
  • Open the hood, then find and remove the engine oil dipstick.
  • Wipe the end of the dipstick clean with a rag, and note the level markings. Some dipsticks have one mark for FULL and another for ADD. Other dipsticks may simply have small holes indicating the maximum and minimum oil levels, still others may have a cross- hatch area indicating the acceptable range.
  • Insert the dipstick fully back into its tube, then remove it immediately and read the level.
  • If the oil level is at or below the ADD mark, then add enough oil to bring the level up to the FULL mark. Do not overfill. Typically, the distance between the ADD and FULL marks is equal to one quart of oil.
  • If the oil on the dipstick appears milky or thick, or is very thin with a strong fuel odor, there may be a mechanical problem. Have the engine checked by a qualified technician.

Sierra Car Care recommends that motorists carefully review the oil change interval recommendations in their vehicle owner’s manual, including the definition of severe service use, and then change their car’s engine oil only as often as really necessary. While over maintaining your vehicle won’t hurt the engine, it costs more money and consumes additional natural resources.

Every engine requires fuel to operate. Using the proper grade of gasoline or diesel fuel can have a significant impact on your vehicle’s performance and reliability, and on your wallet.

Gasoline Grades
Gasoline is sold in three grades: regular, mid-grade and premium. The main difference between the grades is octane, which is the ability of the fuel to resist harmful detonation – also known as pinging, pre-ignition, or spark knock.

As long as your engine does not detonate on a given grade of fuel, there is nothing to be gained by spending more for a higher grade. Contrary to popular belief, premium grade fuel does not contain more energy, burn cleaner or improve fuel economy in vehicles that do not require it. Most cars today are engineered to run on regular grade fuel, though some models with more highly tuned engines call for premium.

Modern engines are equipped with knock sensors that allow use of lower grade fuel if the required grade is unavailable. However, engine performance and fuel economy will suffer. Never use less than the recommended fuel grade when the vehicle is heavily loaded or being used for towing.

If your vehicle detonates on the recommended grade of fuel, try switching to another brand; octane ratings can vary slightly between brands. If this doesn’t help, try going up one grade. If this cures the problem, its possible internal carbon deposits have raised the engine’s octane requirement. If your engine knocks regardless of fuel grade, it has a problem that will require the diagnostic skills of a repair professional.

Feel free to come into any of our locations around the Reno-Sparks area to speak with an ASE Certified Professional. We will make sure your back on the road in no time.

Good windshield wipers aid safe driving

Keeping your windshield clear is paramount to a safe driving experience and your wipers are an integral part of making that happen. If you don’t have a clear view of the road ahead, it’s more difficult to avoid an accident, an object on the road, or defects in the roads surface such as potholes.

If you are currently experiencing trouble with the function of your wiper blades, not just the blades themselves, maybe we can help. If the issue persists, please feel free to bring your vehicle into any one of our Sierra Car Care locations around the Reno/Sparks area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians would be happy to take a look.

When windshield wipers malfunction, they may stop working altogether, which can be very dangerous. There are several reasons why your windshield wipers could stop working.

Top reasons why windshield wipers malfunction:

  1. Torn wiper blades. The condition of your wiper blades directly affect how well your windshield wipers work. If the rubber edges on your wiper blades are cracking or torn, the wiper will not make proper contact with the windshield to clear moisture or debris away. The small gaps or cracks left by the missing rubber can actually trap additional dirt that may scratch your windshield glass. You can sand down the small cracks to elongate the life of your wiper blades or if they are really worn, it is safest to just replace torn wiper blades.
  2. Ice or snow on wipers. Windshield wipers are able to remove small amounts of snow from your windshield, but heavy, ice and snow may need to be manually removed first with a snow brush/scraper before trying to allow your wipers to clear away. Wet snow is heavy and can bend your wiper blades, the wiper arms can skip or strip at the pivots, and the wiper motor or transmission can get damaged. We recommend removing any heavy snow from your windshield before using your wiper blades.
  3. Wiper pivot nuts are loose. The wiper arms are connected to the wiper transmission by a nut on a pivot. A nut tightens onto the pivot stud to hold the wiper arm tightly to the pivot. If the nut is a little loose – which is common – the wiper motor will turn the pivot but the wiper arm will not move. You may see it slightly move when the wiper direction changes, but it does not wipe the windshield. If you have this issue, make sure the wiper pivot nuts are tight.
  4. Wiper fuse is burnt out. When the windshield wiper motor is overloaded, the associated fuse burns out. The fuse is designed to be a weak spot in the windshield wiper circuit. That way, if the motor is overloaded for any reason, the fuse will burn out first, instead of the more expensive wiper motor. If the wiper motor fuse burns out, check for any obstructions that may cause the motor to be overloaded. Heavy snow on the wiper blades or a wiper blade or arm caught on something or snagged together can cause the fuse to blow. Clear the obstruction and replace the fuse.
  5. Wiper motor has stopped working. The windshield wiper motor is an electrical motor. As an electrical component, it can short out or quit unexpectedly and require replacement. If that happens, your windshield wipers will not work at all and you won’t be able to clear any debris. Replace the windshield wiper motor right away.

Visibility is imperative behind the wheel and not worth compromising the safety of your passengers over something that can be simply fixed. If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned issues, and are unable to repair yourself, please visit any of our Sierra Car Care locations around the Reno/Sparks area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians would be happy to take a look.

Related article: Windshield Wipers: Don’t wait for failure

To rotate your tires means to move each tire from one wheel to another and from left to right or back to front, or even diagonally.

Why Rotate Tires?

The front tires tend to wear on the outside edges because the tire leans over when you turn a corner. The rear tires just follow the fronts, so they usually wear more evenly.

If you leave tires in place, those outside edges on the front tires will wear down much faster than the rest. You’ll have to replace the tires thousands of miles sooner. Regular tire rotation helps extend the life of your tires and improve performance.

If your vehicle’s alignment is unbalanced, tires can also cause uneven wear.

Rotating tires keeps them from wearing unevenly. That will make your ride smoother and handling safer for longer. Rotating your tires extends the life of your tires, saving you time and money in the long run.

Tire Rotation Checklist:

  • Each tire and wheel is removed from your car or truck, and moved to a different position.
  • Air pressure should be checked and adjusted as necessary.
  • Brakes should be checked while the tires are off and it’s easy to see and reach them.
  • Alignment should be corrected if unbalanced, to extend the life of your tires.

Recommendations will be given if any wear and tear is deemed dangerous to continue driving with, in its current state. Your well being is our top priority. Sierra Car Care & Tire Center, getting families home safely since 1979.

Please schedule an appointment to bring your vehicle in today at any of the following location in the Reno, Nevada area.

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers - Lakeside Service Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers – Lakeside Service
Manager: Rob Wolter
190 W. Plumb Lane
Reno, NV 89509
Phone (775) 825-1185

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers – Northwest Service
Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers - Northwest Service Manager: Nile Bremser
1300 W. 7th Street
Reno, NV 89503
Phone (775) 747-1345


Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers – Village Service
Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers - Village Service Manager: Larry Yarborough
1101 California Avenue
Reno, NV 89509
Phone (775) 348-7508

oil-changeThere are many choices when it comes to picking the appropriate oil for your car’s engine.

Viscosity is the most important property of a lubricant. Understanding viscosity promotes the ability to reduce wear, improve fuel economy and make more horsepower.

Viscosity (a fluid’s resistance to flow) is rated at 0° F (represented by the number preceding the “W” [for Winter]) and at 212° F (represented by the second number in the viscosity designation). So 10W-30 oil has less viscosity when cold and hot than does 20W-50. Motor oil thins as it heats and thickens as it cools.

Remember that using oil with a viscosity that is too high can result in excessive oil temperature and increased drag. Using an oil with a low viscosity can lead to excessive metal to metal contact between moving parts. Using the correct viscosity oil eases starting, reduces friction and slows wear.

It is important that you pick the viscosity (thickness) that’s suitable for the temperatures your vehicle normally operates in (check your owners manual), and you’re done. Well, not quite. There’s a whole lot more to the story than that.

Armed with knowledge of viscosity grades, you can now select the right one. In return, you will prevent wear, improve fuel economy and make more horsepower.

Is oil really the lifeblood of an engine?

That’s a long-popular analogy, but it’s really not an accurate description. Blood carries nutrients to cells, but it’s air that carries fuel—the “nutrition”—for an engine. However, without oil to lubricate and cool moving parts, keep them clean and help to seal the pistons in the cylinders, the engine would run for only a matter of seconds, then sieze. So, yes, oil is important.

Oil is so important that we want no less than the best the engine can get—for a good low price, of course. Now, what if you could custom-blend the oil so it had exactly the characteristics you believe that your vehicle needs for the type of driving you do?

Recommended Oil Types 

The weight or viscosity of oil recommended for your vehicle should be located in your owner’s manual, or you can just ask one of our ASE certified Technicians. Changing your oil and filter according to this schedule can save you big $$ and reduce the need for repairs down the road.

After determining the correct viscosity, the next choice in motor oil is what type? Higher mileage blends can benefit engines over 75K miles. Synthetic blends and full synthetics can bring additional protection and often flow more easily during severe cold than conventional oils.

If you are not sure, just ask! We have trained professionals at all of our 4 locations in the Reno and Sparks area. We are more than happy to assist you, for appointments or walk-ups.

Our fully qualified ASE Certified Technicians will do everything possible to keep your vehicle running safely and efficiently.

Please visit: for a location nearest you.

Related Article: Why Switch Oil Viscosity?

Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center would like to offer all Active Military and U.S. Veterans 10% off any automotive service.

We’re celebrating you this Veterans Day and every day! We are happy to help those men and women who put their life on the line so our country remains free.

Simply provide proof of current or former military service, and you can take 10% off any automotive service. See us at any of our four locations in the Reno-Sparks area for more information.


Get to know your dashboard lights.

Dash lights are nothing new, but the messages are. The following list of warning lights are the most common lights used by auto manufacturers. Not all warning lights are universal. Always refer to your owner’s manual when you’re not 100% sure what the light indicates.

If you find a warning light has switched on it may indicate a fault in your system somewhere, but cannot pinpoint the exact problem with a general light. Dashboard lights trigger OBD-II error codes in your engine and with the proper code reader you can determine the severity of the issue.

Different colors mean different things and in most cases require different levels of attention. A green or blue-lit symbol is simply informational and tells you how or what system is operating. A yellow or orange symbol means there are some parts that need to be repaired soon at a service center. And the most cautionary of all- the red symbol, indicates there is a serious safety issue or problem that must be addressed immediately.

If a dashboard warning light has switched on and you would like to fix the issue you can visit any of Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers four locations in the Reno and Sparks area to determine what the issue is. We will help you get back on the road quick!

check-engineCheck Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL): Indicates the engine computer has set a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC). Usually requires diagnosis with a professional scan tool.



battery-systemBattery/Charging Alert: Indicates voltage level is below normal level and the vehicle’s charging system is not functioning properly. Check battery terminals, alternator belt, and battery condition.


cooling-systemCoolant Temperature Warning: Indicates temperature has exceeded normal limits. Check coolant level, fan operation, radiator cap, coolant leaks.

Transmission Temperature: Transmission is operating at higher than optimum temperature as transmission fluid is hotter than normal. Check transmission fluid level and engine coolant level.

engine-oilOil Pressure Warning: If this light stays lit, it indicates loss of oil pressure. Immediately check oil level and pressure.

Oil Change Reminder: Indicates that oil life has expired. This is monitored by the ECM; the interval can be mileage or a combination of readings taken by the ECM. The reset procedure is listed in the owner’s manual. Some vehicles require the use of special tools to reset the light.

master-warning-lightService Vehicle Soon: Typically indicates a lighting or other electrical problem that is controlled by the BCM (body control module). Check all lights (head lights, turn signals, brake lights, and hazard lights). This symbol may also be used to warn driver of a traction control problem, or a communication problem between modules.

tpms-iconTPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System): Indicates the tire pressure monitoring system has found a tire with low air pressure or there may be a sensor malfunction. Check tire pressure. Some vehicles will allow manual reset of TPMS warning light and others will require professional diagnosis. Refer to owner’s manual.

check-brakesBrake System: Indicates one of three possible conditions: parking brake is on; problem with the braking system/brake fluid is low, or ABS problem. Check brake fluid and make sure the parking brake is fully released. If the problem is in the ABS system, it may need a professional diagnosis.


check-absABS Light: Indicates that the Anti-lock Brake computer has set a code and needs professional diagnosis.



cruise-controlCruise Control: Indicates that cruise control is set during driving.



esp-faultESP Fault: Indicates that there is a problem with the vehicle’s traction control/anti-skid or electronic stability system.



bulb-monitoringLight Blulb Out: Indicates that there is an exterior light on the vehicle that is not functioning properly.



open-doorDoor Ajar: Indicates that a door (including hood and trunk) is not closed. Open and close all doors, including hood and trunk. If vehicle is left in this condition overnight it can drain the battery.


check-airbagAirbag Fault: If this light stays illuminated after starting, it indicates that the vehicle has found a fault in the airbag system and the computer has set a code. Professional repair of the supplemental restraint system is highly recommended.


windshield-washer-level-lowWindshield Washer Fluid Reminder: Indicates washer fluid is low. Fill washer fluid reservoir. The cap has a symbol that looks like a windshield. Some vehicles have separate reservoirs for front and rear window washers.


fog-beamsFog Lamp: Indicates that the vehicle’s front fog lamps are illuminated.

For more information, please contact us


Our certified technicians at Sierra Car Care are equipped to complete a full range of auto repairs to keep your car in top running condition. Our skilled auto repair technicians are trained to repair most vehicles. We pride ourselves on providing preventative maintenance Reno, NV auto repair services including oil changes, brake replacement and many other Reno, NV auto repair services at affordable prices.

For auto repair and tires give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact us online to get a free quote. Feel free to stop by our tire and auto repair shop located in Reno, Nevada.

Set up an appointment today if your vehicle is not running properly, whether a light has switched on or not. Contact us here.

Related article.

Cool But Not Cold ~ Warm but not Hot

The method used to warm a car’s cabin isn’t a whole lot different from the one used to keep its engine cool. In fact, it’s all hooked together and runs on the same circuit. Coolant circulates through the engine and absorbs engine heat, which is exchanged with the outside air by way of the radiator. A much smaller radiator called the heater core uses the same hot coolant to keep the cabin toasty.

Troubleshooting Air Conditioner Issues
If the air conditioning is set to max cool and fans on high, but is only blowing moderately cool air:

  • Check to see that the cooling fans on the condenser or radiator are running when the air conditioning is on.
  • Look for any restrictions like leaves, bugs or dirt that would keep air from passing over the condenser.
  • Check the cabin air filter to ensure that it is not clogged.

Check the pressures in the system using a manifold gauge set. The recommended high-side and low-side pressures can be found in the repair manual.

These are a few common causes of problems with your cooling system components:

  1. A Freon leak caused by a failed o-ring, seal, hose or component.
  2. A clogged expansion tube or refrigerant charging hose.
  3. Failed compressor or compressor clutch.
  4. Failed blower motor or blower motor resistor.
  5. Damaged or failed condenser or evaporator.

These are a few common causes of problems with your heating system components:

  1. Low Coolant Level.
  2. Worn out Thermostat.
  3. Build-Up or Sediment causing blockage for coolant.
  4. Air filter needs replacing.
  5. Heater Core issues.

When diagnosing a heating / cooling issue, it’s easiest to begin at the compressor.

If there is no voltage – a cycling switch may be bad, a fuse may be blown and the system may not have enough refrigerant pressure to trip the low pressure cutoff switch that cycles the compressor.

Detecting Leaks
Leaks are the most common problem associated with the air conditioning system.

If pressure is low, then there may be a leak. Taking the time to make sure your car’s heating and air conditioning are working optimally can guarantee the best performance and comfort over the long term.

If you would like some assistance detecting and isolating the issue for Heating / Cooling System Repair, please contact any one of our four full service auto repair and tire stores located in Reno and Sparks, NV.

Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center Locations

3180 Mill Street, Suite A, Reno, NV 89502

190 W. Plumb Lane, Reno, NV 89509
(775) 825-1185

1300 W. 7th Street, Reno, NV 89503
(775) 747-1345

1101 California Avenue, Reno, NV 89509
(775) 348-7508

Our certified technicians at Sierra Car Care are equipped to complete a full range of auto repairs to keep your car in top running condition. Our skilled auto repair technicians are trained to repair most vehicles. We pride ourselves on providing preventative maintenance Reno, NV auto repair services including oil changes, brake replacement and many other Reno, NV auto repair services at affordable prices.

For auto repair and tires give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact us online to get a free quote. Feel free to stop by our tire and auto repair shop located in Reno, Nevada.

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