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Full Stop (Brake Master Cylinder Replacement)

When you step on your brake pedal, you want to feel confident that your vehicle’s going to stop.  If your brakes aren’t working right, it’s a risk to your safety and the safety of others on the road.  After all, you’re driving a machine that weighs thousands of pounds, and you have to be able to stop that big machine quickly and with control, especially with some of the speeds you travel on the highways.  The heart of your vehicle’s brake system is the master cylinder.  When you apply the brakes, the master cylinder has pistons, springs, and brake fluid.  That fluid amplifies and distributes the force of your foot through brake lines to calipers at all your wheels.  Those calipers squeeze down on rotors or discs, which is what slows down and stops your vehicle. For safety, a master cylinder has two cylinders, one for two wheels, and the other for the remaining two wheels.  That way, if there is a failure in one, you&rsqu ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Steering You Right (Power Steering Fluid Service)

It’s important for safe driving that two of the most important systems in your vehicle work right.  One is the brakes.  The other is the steering.  Nearly all vehicles on the road have some sort of power steering that allows you to direct a very heavy machine with little effort.  There are two types, hydraulic and electric.  Many newer vehicles have electric power steering that uses an electric motor to make your steering easier.  But there are many vehicles on the road that use a system that has been around for years.  It uses a power steering pump, a cylinder, several valves, and hydraulic fluid to make it easy for you to turn the wheel.  If you have hydraulic power steering in your vehicle, it’s important to change your power steering fluid every once in a while.  Over time, the fluid gets contaminated with dirt and other particles.  You might notice your steering is loose, maybe harder to turn and makes a low, strainin ... read more

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Steering

A Bumpy Ride (Strut Assembly Replacement)

If you’ve noticed your vehicle’s ride has lately been bumpy or you’re hearing strange noises when you drive over bumps, you may need new struts.   The strut assembly is part of your vehicle’s suspension system that’s used to absorb the irregularities on the surfaces you drive on. You have probably heard of shocks or shock absorbers.  A shock is a piston with gas or liquid inside.  When you hit a bump, that shock absorbs the blow. Struts are similar to shocks but they also have a coil spring for extra strength.  They’re often used in the front of the vehicle because of the engine’s extra weight.  As you might imagine, your struts take a beating every day.  Eventually, they will wear out, and your wheels and tires won’t stay connected to the road as well as they used to. In addition to a bumpier ride, you may notice your tires starting to wear with failing struts because those tires aren’t in contact ... read more

Feeling Powerless (Why Is My Battery Light On?)

When one of your vehicle’s warning lights comes on, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Oh, no, what’s wrong now?” When it’s the battery light, it means there’s something wrong with your vehicle’s battery or charging system.  And because both are important for your vehicle to work properly, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.  Here are some things that may cause a battery light to illuminate. It could be that your battery has failed.  It could be on its last legs or completely dead.  When it isn’t showing it has the voltage it should, your vehicle lets you know. If it’s not the battery itself, it could be the system that charges it.  The alternator is part of that system and could have a problem.  It could be putting out no power, too little power, or too much.  The alternator may not be working because the belt that drives it (using the engine’s mechanical power) could be broke ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Catalytic Converter Replacement

Many of us have become aware of how important it is to keep our planet’s air clean, and your vehicle has a key component that helps do just that: the catalytic converter.  It’s in the exhaust system, and its job is to superheat unburned, harmful byproducts in the exhaust, so they don’t get spewed out into the atmosphere. There’s another important purpose the catalytic converter has: it improves your vehicle’s efficiency.  Most of us don’t give the catalytic converter much thought until it breaks or someone steals yours, something that’s been happening much more frequently in recent years.  The reason people steal them is that catalytic converters use precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium to do their job. So, they contain valuable materials thieves can sell. The most likely reason you will have to replace your catalytic converter is age.  The more distance your vehicle travels and the more hours your engine ... read more

Categories:

Exhaust

Let?s Shift Gears (Transmission Fluid Replacement)

If you have a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you probably never think about gear shifting.  When motor vehicles were invented, all of them had to be shifted manually.  But that wonderful self-shifting transmission, referred to these days as simply an “automatic,” changed everything. Automatic transmissions have a lot of moving parts, and they are bathed in a fluid that keeps them lubricated and cool. That fluid also is vital to the whole gear shifting process.  As you might imagine, the longer that fluid does its job, the more chance it has to pick up some contaminants.  Sometimes a leak will spring up in an automatic transmission.  Dirty transmission fluid or not enough of it will both create problems. It may cause your Check Engine light to come on, or your transmission may run rough and make strange noises. The best strategy is not to let it get to this point.  That means you should have your transmission fluid replaced at regular i ... read more

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Transmission

Losing Your Cool (Why is My Air Conditioning System Not Working?)

When you turn on the air conditioning in your vehicle, you expect cool air to come out of the vents.  You depend on it, especially in hot weather, but it can also be important in humid weather when you need it to help defrost your windows and windshield. The air conditioning system has a lot of parts to it.  It has fans and blowers to move the air through the vents into the cabin.  It has parts that take hot air and cool it off. An electrical problem can be as simple as a broken switch or a broken blower motor. The air may not be getting cool because a hose in the system is broken or the refrigerant has leaked out.  Two major components are the compressor and the condenser.  The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant, one step in the air conditioning process.  The condenser takes that hot refrigerant and cools it down. It also reduces the pressure. Because the climate control system in your vehicle is so complex, it’s best to leave the diagnosis to a ... read more

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Air Conditioning

Muffler: Victim of Winter (Muffler Repair)

So you almost got through the winter until, one day, your muffler started sounding like a dragster, loud and obnoxious.  It's not surprising.  All that road salt and brine can cause rust to punch holes in a muffler, and that should raise a big, red warning flag about the safety of your vehicle. One big concern is carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can drift into your cabin if your muffler is leaking. You've probably heard about people whose home furnaces have leaked carbon monoxide and overcome families inside.  Carbon monoxide can first cause you to feel dizzy and nauseous.  It can even render you  unconscious—even kill you.  So if your vehicle's muffler is leaking that gas, well, it's nothing to mess around with. Oh, and how about that noise? You may get a ticket since many municipalities have laws against noisy exhausts.  Your muffler may be making a clunking or rattling sound when the engine's running or it may be spewing thick exhaust sm ... read more

Reaching the Braking Point (Brake hose replacement)

If you notice your brakes aren’t working like they used to, that’s the kind of thing that’s important to have checked out soon.  That’s because your brakes are extraordinarily important to the safe operation of your vehicle.  Sometimes you feel like your brake pedal is feeling a little soft or it’s lower than usual. Or you might feel like the brakes are on all the time, holding you back. Maybe when you release the brake pedal, it comes back up more slowly than usual. There are a few different problems that can cause your brakes to feel like any of those things, so bring your vehicle in to us and we can inspect them. One possible cause of those brake issues is a damaged or worn-out brake hose.  Your hydraulic brakes work by carrying brake fluid to each of your wheels.  There are steel lines that carry the fluid most of the way, but because your wheels are moving all the time, a flexible hose is used to connect the steel lines and the bra ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service

Oil's Well That Ends Well (Oil Change Grades and Weight)

Changing your oil regularly is one of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle running well.  And knowing the right type of oil to use is also very important.  Engine oil is classified by weight, but it doesn't refer to how much the oil would weigh if you put it on a scale.  It refers to viscosity, or how easily the oil flows through the engine.  Most engines operate normally at around 210°F/99°C.  The viscosity, or weight, is assigned a number by how well it flows at that temperature.  The lower the number, the more freely it flows.  Most vehicle engines use what's called a multigrade oil which behaves differently in different temperatures. Multigrade oils have a "W" in their viscosity number that you may have seen on a bottle of oil, something like 5W30.  The W stands for winter and shows how freely it flows in colder temperatures. That means a 5W30 oil will behave like a 5 weight oil in lower temperatures (less viscous ... read more

Categories:

Oil Change
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