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Yearly Archives: 2024

Strutting Your Stuff (Shocks and Struts)

Ever wonder how your vehicle is able to move over bumps, potholes and other irregularities in the road and you hardly feel a vibration in the cabin? It’s your shocks and struts doing the hard work along with the rest of your suspension and tires.  They keep the ride smooth and are important for your vehicle’s safe operation.  So, how do you know when your shocks and struts are wearing out? One way is to look at the surface of your tire (where the rubber meets the road—where the tread is).  You might see some little indentations in certain spots, known as tire cupping.  If your vehicle takes longer to stop than it used to, takes a dive when you hit the brake pedal or bottoms out (scrapes) on a big bump in the road, that’s another sign, as are loud, odd noises. You may also notice your vehicle sways more than it used to. Every once in a while, look around at your shocks to see what shape things are in.  If you see the rubber cover cracked ... read more

A Clean Connection (Battery Cleaning)

A clean connection is a wonderful thing.  Think of a good cell phone signal or an airline connection with ample time and short distance to the next gate. Good connections are also important for your vehicle’s battery, and one secret to that is to make sure it’s periodically cleaned. If it’s been a while since you have had any service to your battery, bring it in so we can inspect it for any corrosion that might have formed.  Corrosion on the battery terminals will affect the connection between the battery and your vehicle’s electrical system. The amount of corrosion you can expect can be influenced by such things as the kind of climate you live in (dry or humid, warm or cold), if there’s lots of salt on the roads and how old your battery is.   We have tools and chemicals to safely remove the corrosion for an optimal electrical connection. In order to reduce the amount of corrosion re-forming on the battery, we’ll apply a special protec ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Clean Machine (Fuel and Air Induction Cleaning)

As your vehicle ages, its performance isn’t quite what it used to be, but many of us never notice the change because it’s gradual.  So here are a few questions to ask yourself.  Does your vehicle feel like it doesn’t have the pep that it used to? Have you noticed your fuel economy isn’t quite as good as it once was? Does it idle roughly or is it hard to start?  Do you hear the engine knocking? Has it recently failed an emissions test? All of those can be signs that your fuel and air induction systems are dirty and need cleaning.  Your fuel system takes gasoline from the tank to the engine’s combustion chambers where fuel injectors spray fuel that mixes with air and is ignited by spark plugs.  Black carbon deposits eventually can build up, obstructing fuel flow and diminishing your engine’s performance and fuel efficiency. The air induction system is what allows air to go into the engine’s combustion chamber.  Getti ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

Timing is Everything (Timing Belt)

Talk about exquisite choreography; it happens under the hood of your vehicle every time you take a drive.  Your engine’s many complex parts must work exactly together.  One key is a part called a timing belt, which enables the synchronizing of two of your engine’s components, the camshaft, and the crankshaft.   The timing belt coordinates the valves in your engine to open and close at the appropriate time to get exhaust out of the engine’s cylinders. Timing belts may also power the water pump and the oil pump.  The belt is made of rubber.  Some engines use a timing chain (made of metal).  Your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends an interval after which you should have your timing belt or chain replaced, and that service should be part of your vehicle’s regular maintenance.  It’s always better to replace it before it breaks rather than after.  After all, if your timing belt breaks while you’re driving down t ... read more

Categories:

Timing Belt

Do I Need Brake Service? (Brake Service)

Think of how many times you put your foot on your vehicle’s brake pedal every day.  And think of how much you rely on your brakes to slow down and stop your momentum.  When it comes to safety systems, your brakes are at the top of the list, and that’s why it’s so important to keep them in top condition. Brakes are something you make sure you keep maintained before they start showing signs of problems. Some of those signs are a grinding sound when you step on the brake pedal, your vehicle pulling to one side when you brake, you don’t feel your brakes stopping you as quickly as they used to, or you notice the brake light is illuminated on your instrument panel.  We ask a lot of our brakes.  They have to work no matter how hot or cold it is outside.  That means whether it’s sunny, snowing, raining, or icy; you’re traveling at highway speeds or school-zone speeds; or when suddenly you find yourself trying to avoid hitting another ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service

How Cool is That! (Coolant level sensor replacement)

Your vehicle’s engine runs hot.  It should, since it’s a series of little explosions that create the power that gets you going where you want to go.  To keep the engine cool, engineers have designed wonderful cooling systems that use liquid coolant, hoses, and a radiator to transfer the heat from the engine to the outside air.  In order for the system to work right, it has to have the right amount of that liquid coolant in it.  So that you know when the coolant has dipped below the correct amount, there is a sensor that keeps an eye on it.  When the coolant gets low, that sensor lights up a signal on the dash to alert you.  It may literally say “Check Coolant” or it may have a picture that looks like an old-style bulb thermometer sitting in liquid.  Your owner’s manual will usually tell you exactly what the one in your vehicle looks like. If that sensor system isn’t working right, you could wind up driving for a lo ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

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

Categories:

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
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