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In That Case? (Transfer Case Exchange)

Ever wonder how all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive vehicles get the power from the engine to the front and rear wheels? The magic happens in what's called a transfer case.  In some all-wheel-drive vehicles, it's sometime called a power take-off unit, or PTU. Inside the transfer case is a set of gears.  And to keep those gears meshing smoothly, they have to be lubricated and kept cool.  What does that is called transfer case fluid. Depending on your vehicle's type of transfer case, it is filled with either an automatic transmission fluid, a gear oil that's a bit thicker or transfer case fluid designed to be use for your transfer case. As happens with all lubricating fluids, the transfer case fluid has things in it that break down the older they get.  They have corrosion inhibitors, detergents and anti-foaming agents that keep the lubricant from getting air bubbles in it. Transfer cases don't have filters in them to clean out impurities. If you don't have your transfer ... read more

Oil Times are a-Changin' (Oil Change Synthetic)

When it comes to oil changes, things are really changing.  Most newer vehicles require synthetic oil, and while it costs more than conventional oil, it doesn't need to be changed as often. When conventional oil was the only game in town, you changed your oil every 3,000 miles/5,000 km. But as technology in newer vehicles has rapidly changed, so has oil technology.  Synthetics have been around since the seventies.  Even though they start with a conventional oil base, they are engineered in a chemical processing plant with properties that allow them to keep your engine lubricated at very high temperatures.  They are more uniform and consistent. Synthetic oil doesn't break down as easily, so it lasts longer than conventional oil.  And synthetic oil can flow more easily, even in extremely low temperatures.  As you can see, it has performance advantages at both temperature extremes. Generally, in recent years automakers have been shipping most of their vehicles ... read more

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Oil Change

Always on Guard (TMPS)

One of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle running safely is to make sure your tires are properly inflated.  If one or more is vastly over- or underinflated, that has the potential to cause major handling problems and may result in a dangerous accident. All vehicles in recent years are equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, or TPMS.  One system uses small sensors in the tires that continually check the pressure in each tire.  That sensor sends a signal to computers in your vehicle which turns on an instrument panel light warning of low pressure when at least one is very low. Or it may update a numeric reading on your instrument panel which gives you an approximation of how many PSI (pounds per square inch) of air is in each tire.  Another system works with your antilock brake system to measure the size of your vehicle’s tires.  When one wheel is going faster than another, it will spin faster. A computer sees that and alerts ... read more

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TPMS

Staying In Charge (Alternator Repair)

Seems like these days, we're hearing about more and more electric or hybrid vehicles.  Keep in mind that conventional gasoline internal combustion vehicles have important electrical components, too, and it's important to make sure they're operating at their peak. In a vehicle with a gasoline engine, the part that keeps the battery charged is the alternator.  It converts the mechanical energy created by the engine into electrical power.  To do that, a shaft in the alternator has a pulley on one end that's driven by a belt that is turned by the engine.  A series of magnets then spins around coiled wires and it creates alternating current, or electricity. Your vehicle uses that to charge the battery that, in turn, keeps other electrical components in your vehicle working. Here are a few signs that the alternator isn't doing its job right.  The battery keeps going dead, your instrument panel's battery light is on (it looks like a rectangle with a - and + inside and ... read more

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Alternator

Refresh Your Brakes (Brake Fluid Exchange)

Brakes are one of your vehicle's most important safety components, and you may have noticed that they don't stop as surely as they used to.  Maybe it takes you applying a little more pressure to them than before, or perhaps you get the feeling that they're not stopping you as quickly. Those could be signs that your brake fluid needs changing.  Hydraulic brake systems use a fluid that enables the brakes to apply their stopping power to the wheels.  That fluid can wear out, degrade, become contaminated or pick up air and moisture.  All those can eventually contribute to brakes that feel sluggish. Driving with old, worn-out brake fluid may also shorten the lifespan of other braking components. Our technicians can evaluate your brake fluid to see if it needs changing. Your vehicle's manufacturer recommends how often that should be done, and when it needs changing may depend on how and where you drive. Our technicians can check the condition of your brake fluid when you ... read more

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Brake Service

Rubber Match (Tire Replacement)

A set of new tires isn't probably high on anyone's list of exciting purchases.  But since your life is literally riding on them, it's probably a good idea to know when it's time for you to buy new ones. If you've been feeling your vehicle slipping more in wet weather or it takes a longer distance to stop, those are a couple of signs you may need new rubber all around. Here's how to make your decision. First thing to do is look at your tires.  The surface of the tire that contacts the road is the tread. When that tire was new, the tread was deep (the grooves in the rubber that provide traction). If they're starting to look somewhat smooth, you have a seriously worn tire that definitely needs replacing.  Bring your vehicle in for us to look at your tires and we can check your tread with a tread gauge. Also look at the sides of your tires.  If they have cuts or cracks in them, or if you see signs of bulges or scrapes made by hitting curbs or potholes, those could be si ... read more

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Tires

Road Ready (Trip Inspection)

Maybe you've been cooped up for a while and are yearning for a change of scenery.  Or maybe you need to visit a relative who lives far away.  You choose not to fork out the big bucks for airline tickets, so it's time for a road trip.  Make sure you're road ready by having your vehicle professionally inspected before the big drive. One of our technicians can check out several of your vehicle's most important systems so you can be more confident that you'll be able to go the distance without a breakdown.  Here are a few things a trip inspection may include: Your vehicle stops with brakes that, in turn, stop the tires.  They must both be in sound condition. The technician can look at your tire tread, the condition of the sidewalls, and note the tires' age.  Brakes have pads and rotors that should meet certain specs, so an expert inspection of their condition is important, too. A technician can check other vital fluids such as engine coolant, power steering, t ... read more

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Trip Inspection

Road Trip? Check! (Trip Inspection)

After months of postponing travel far away from home, a lot of us can't wait to hit the road and scream "Road Trip!" again.  But how long has it been since the vehicle you're planning on taking has had a thorough inspection? And is it roadworthy for several days on the highway? Time to schedule a professional trip inspection in our service center.  When it comes to long trips, before you go, make sure you can stop.  We can perform a break inspection.  Our technician will visually inspect your brakes for wear and how much life is left in the brake pads and rotors.  They'll also check your brake lines and fluids for fitness and fill. If it's going to be a long trip, it's important that your engine stays lubricated.  The technician will see when the last time you had an oil change, check the levels and inspect the system for leaks.  If you are close to needing an oil change, it's best to have it done before the trip because no one wants to interrupt a va ... read more

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Trip Inspection

Keeping Your Cool (Water Pump Replacement)

No matter what the temperature is outside, it's important for your vehicle's engine to remain cool, calm, and collected.  Well, cool, anyway. If your vehicle has a gasoline engine, it's powered by a bunch of explosions involving spark plugs, pistons, gasoline, and air.  And the by-product of all those things working together? HEAT. There's a whole cooling system to keep everything at a tolerable temperature for your engine's parts, and a key part of that is the water pump.  Technically, it's pumping more than water. It should actually be called the "coolant" pump since the liquid that circulates through the system is a mixture of water and coolant.  Basically, the water pump keeps this coolant moving through your engine, where it picks up the engine heat, and then is pumped into the radiator where it gets rid of that heat.  When a water pump fails, the engine heat can build up.  When you get a warning light on the dash (either a gauge or a light) that show ... read more

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Water Pump

Round and Round (Wheel Balancing)

In a perfect world, all wheels and tires would be perfectly round and weigh exactly the same at every point of the wheel.  Unfortunately, they're not, and if they're out of balance, they can reduce the lifespan of your tires, make your vehicle shake like a carnival ride, and maybe even damage a few suspension parts along the way.  You don't want that! Wheel balancing, sometimes known as tire balancing, is a process by which a technician makes sure your tire/wheel assembly has evenly distributed weight.  If it isn't, it can give your ride bad vibrations.  If you feel your vehicle's steering wheel shaking, it can mean unbalanced wheels in the front. If you can feel a vibration in your seats, it could be unbalanced rear wheels. In addition to your vehicle vibrating at higher speeds, there are other signs that your wheels are out of balance. You may see uneven tread wear, or you may notice you aren't getting the kind of fuel economy you used to.  When you experienc ... read more

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