Yearly Archives: 2022

A Head Start on Starting (Battery Testing)

If your vehicle isn't starting or doesn't sound like it used to when you crank it, the culprit may be the battery.  You may have left a light on, or something plugged into one of charging ports.  Maybe you accidentally left your vehicle in the "on" or "accessory" position when you last got out. Maybe you've left it in the garage or driveway for a long time without starting it.  That can spell the end for a vehicle battery. It's also possible that your battery is just simply too old. There's no standard lifespan of a battery, but 3-5 years is about average, even though some people only get 2 and heavier duty batteries may last many more. It's possible your battery is defective, too.  And it could be your vehicle's charging system isn't recharging the battery.  Whatever the cause, if you're having problems with your battery, it's a good idea to bring it in and have us perform a thorough battery test.  With state-of-the-art testing equipment, a technician wil ... read more

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Battery

Them's the Brakes (Brake Rotor Resurfacing)

Your vehicle's brakes wear out.  It's inevitable. You'll notice it when you step on the brake pedal and feel it harder to stop, or there's vibration when you are braking.  Most modern vehicles have disc brakes that each use a brake pad that press on a disc (disc brakes!) called a rotor.  The friction between them enables you to stop, and each time you do a little bit of the pad and the rotor wears down. The original brakes on vehicles used a rotor that was thick enough to last through at least two replacements of the pads.  But vehicle manufacturers who want to save costs and weight now make them thinner, and sometimes the rotors have to be replaced after the first pad replacement.  But not always. Vehicle manufacturers specify a minimum thickness to provide safe braking.  Sometimes rather than having to have your rotors replaced, they can be put on a lathe and resurfaced.  In other words, the surfaces of the disc can be slightly shaved off so the sur ... read more

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Brakes

A Clean Sweep (Fuel Injector Cleaning)

Your vehicle gets its power from burning fuel, usually gasoline, and it counts on something called fuel injectors to send gas to the engine in a spray that is easy to ignite.  It’s a precise operation, and when it’s working well, you have plenty of power and an efficient engine. But after time, contaminants in the fuel system may prevent the injectors from spraying like they’re supposed to.  They can also shoot contaminants into the engine.  One sign that could point to dirty fuel injectors is a misfiring engine. Misfires can be caused by several things, so it’s a good idea to bring your vehicle to us so we can trace the cause. Another sign is that your fuel economy has gone downhill or your engine doesn’t have the “pep” it used to. If we discover that your injectors are clogged or not working the way they should, we can clean them to get rid of those contaminants to restore your engine to its top performance.  When you brin ... read more

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Fuel System

Snake in the Engine (Serpentine Belt)

There's a belt that snakes through your engine.  It's even named for a snake, the serpentine belt.  It'll bite you when it breaks, possibly leaving you stranded.  So, it's good to know a little about this snake-like belt. In early engines, there were lots of belts. They were used to convert the rotating power of the engine to turn a mechanical part.  But engineers had an idea.  Why not consolidate all those belts into one that ran a bunch of different parts simultaneously? Voila!  The serpentine belt. It's found in the front or side of your engine unlike older belts which were often in a V shape, the serpentine belt has ribs on it which more effectively connect with the pulleys that power the other components.  A serpentine belt may power the water pump, power steering pump, alternator, and the air conditioning: all from one crankshaft.  Now, all that's fine when everything is working well and the belt is intact.  But when a serpentine belt ... read more

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Serpentine Belt

Mercury Rising (Hot Weather Vehicle Concerns)

The heat is on, and your vehicle takes a beating when it is.  Several of your vehicle's systems are under extra stress in hot weather, so here are a few to make sure are getting the care and maintenance they need. It makes sense that the cooling system is one to make sure is in top shape.  Vehicle breakdowns in summer are often due to a problem with one of the cooling system's components.  Coolant levels have to be up to specs, the ratio of coolant to water must be correct and the hoses, pumps, belts and radiator must all be working properly in order to prevent vehicle overheating. Summer is also hard on your air conditioning system.  You might find that no air is blowing out of the vents or maybe only hot air is coming out.  Air conditioning equipment is best diagnosed and repaired by a trained and experienced technician.  The problem could be in any number of components, including the condenser, compressor or blower motor. You may think the battery gets ... read more

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Cooling System

Something to Latch On To (Hood Latch Safety)

The other day, a driver was trying to open his vehicle's hood so he could add some windshield washer fluid.  But when he pulled the hood release inside the car, nothing happened.  Usually, opening any hood is a 2-step process.  You pull the hood release (which is usually a handle under the dashboard to the left of the steering column) and listen for the hood to pop up slightly. (It doesn't open all the way because it has a safety latch to prevent you from accidentally opening it up while you're driving.) Then, you get out and find the latch, usually through the grille near the hood.  There's a little handle on it which you push, slide or pull (there are a few different types) at which point the hood can be opened up all the way.  But in this driver's case, the hood would not release at all when he pulled the handle inside.  Not knowing what to do, he called his service advisor, who told him to bring it over.  The reason? A hood with a broken latch cou ... read more

Busted! Air Conditioning (Air Conditioning Maintenance)

Your vehicle's air conditioning is something you count on when the weather heats up.  But there's bound to be a day when you turn it on and one of these things happens: Only warm air blows out Cold air starts blowing out but then it turns warm on its own It's not blowing air at all It blows smelly air out Some people are tempted to try to make the diagnosis—and the repair—on their own.  They think it's just run out of refrigerant and they can pick up a can at a local auto parts store and re-charge it.   If only it was that easy. A vehicle's air conditioning system is complex and made up of many parts.  A compressor, evaporator, condenser, tubing, hoses, sensors, valves… the list goes on and on. Each of these components could be the reason for the problem.  It could be a leak that's letting the refrigerant escape, but simply re-charging the system hasn't fixed the problem. You have to find the source of the leak and fix it. Service faci ... read more

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Air Conditioning

Emergency! (Vehicle Emergency items)

"I never expected it could happen to me." Countless drivers have said that after they've had an emergency turn their lives upside down. So before that happens to you, let's thinking about planning ahead for an emergency with a few things you should keep in your vehicle. Road flares. If you've ever driven by a disabled vehicle sitting at the side of the highway at night, you know how terribly hard it is to see, especially in bad weather like rain.  If you are the one in that broken down vehicle, you run the risk of being hit by a vehicle whose driver literally may not be able to see you.  The best emergency signal includes one or more road flares.  There's a reason police officers and firefighters carry them in their vehicles.  When you see a series of burning red flares at the side of the road, you know something serious is going on.  These are far more visible at a much longer distance than nearly any other portable signal device.   Fire extinguisher ... read more

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Safety

Steer Clear of Power Steering Problems (Power Steering Maintenance)

We usually take our vehicle's easy steering for granted until something goes wrong.  Power steering is what makes it almost effortless to turn the steering wheel, aiming your vehicle in the direction you want to go. Without the assistance of power from the engine, steering would be a laborious process, so you want to make sure the system is working well. Power steering systems are usually one of two types, hydraulic and electric.  The hydraulic type uses a pump that is driven by either a belt or an electric motor.  This system uses hydraulic fluid to create pressure that gives your steering the power assist.  Since that pump is always working, time and distance traveled eventually take their toll, and these systems need to be periodically inspected.  Also, while that hydraulic fluid can last for years, it should be replaced periodically as it degrades over time. Your vehicle's owner's manual contains the manufacturer's recommendations. A technician can check fo ... read more

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Steering

Tire or Re-Tire? (Getting Tires Ready for Hot Weather)

Heat isn't easy on vehicle tires, and as the seasons change, make sure yours are ready to take the heat.  Let's talk first about inflation.  Heat causes air to expand, so heat alone can raise the pressure in your tires.  If you are driving on overinflated tires, they won't have as much contact with the road surface.  In that case, it will take you a longer distance to stop. On the other hand, you don't want your tires to be underinflated during hot weather, either.  That can cause your sidewalls to flex.  Friction will then hike up the temperature and your tire can be in danger of blowing from the added heat. Other things can cause problems, such as uneven wearing.  Your service advisor knows the signs to look for and can diagnose where the wear is and what is likely causing it.  Another thing a technician will look for on tires is tread depth and the condition of the sidewalls.  Any cuts, cracks or bulges could be indications that your tire ... read more

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Tires
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