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Driving with Care this Summer

Driving

 

When you own a car, you will want to keep it in the best condition. This will help to ensure you get to where you need to go. You will want to make sure that you bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance tasks. This can include things like oil changes, having a fluid flush, rotating tires, or other things as well. If you are not sure how often or when to bring your vehicle in, contact us and we can advise you on a schedule. This will help to keep your vehicle in the best condition possible.

Unusual Driving of the Vehicle

You should always make sure to notice anything unusual when driving your vehicle. If there is something out of the norm, make sure to contact us. We can recommend how it should be handled. If there is a repair needed, we can do so to help get you back on the road. When an odd noise or sound occurs, this can mean that a part is wearing out. Ideally you will want to know when certain parts of the vehicle should be replaced. Knowing this can help reduce the chance of an unexpected breakdown.

Inspecting the Tires

The tires will also need an inspection. They should be checked for the proper air inflation that they require. The tires should also have tread looked at to ensure they are at an ideal depth. If the tread has worn, then the tire is no longer in the best condition possible. You will also notice the tires do not have the grip that they used to. Proper tread will help to keep control of the vehicle on wet or slick roads. You will also notice that the vehicle does not drift or slide either. The tires will also need to be inspected for their overall condition. If there is a bulge in the tire, you will want to have us inspected it.

Proper Tire Care by having a Tire Rotation

rotation

 

The tires are an important part for the vehicle. They will keep the vehicle handling smoothly and with contact with the surface of the road. If the vehicle is rough riding in or handling on the road, the tires could be at fault. To make sure this is not the case, you will need to have the tires properly inspected. Checking for an issue will help determine what is wrong, and how to fix it.

Proper Alignment

The tires will need to be properly aligned and rotated as well. When this is done, the tires can be in the best working condition to keep your vehicle traveling properly. If there is an issue, we will look at them. A vehicle that needs a tire alignment may pull or drift in one direction or the other when you drive. You will notice that it is difficult to handle because it will not drive straight. We can also recommend the proper schedule for having the tires aligned or rotated. This can help to make sure that the parts are wearing correctly against one another.

Visual Check of Tires

You can also make sure that the tires are wearing correctly by a visual inspection. If the tires need to be aligned or rotated, you will notice that tread is wearing incorrectly against one another. The tread can be measured by taking a penny and placing it upside down in the tread of each tire in order to calculate the tread depth. The typical rule to follow is if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then you will need to have the tread replaced. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can check and examine each tire. If there is an issue we will review all the possible scenarios you have in order to fix it. By having good tires, you will be able to drive safety and comfortably.

Having an Efficient Vehicle to Drive

Efficient

 

Keeping your vehicle in the most ideal driving condition is important. Without a properly operating vehicle, you may have an unexpected breakdown or be stranded somewhere. Pay attention for any odd sounds, noises, smells, or how it handles, because you will notice an issue this way. By noticing an issue at the first sign, you can help prevent further problems in the long run. Make sure that your vehicle is in regularly for proper maintenance inspections. These include things like oil changes, tires rotations, and fluid flushes. If you are not sure how often to bring your vehicle in, we can advise you on it.

Change Oil

The oil should be inspected based on the recommended intervals by the manufacturer or us. Oil changes help keep the engine operating in the best condition it can. This keeps the engine and other moving components clean and properly lubricated. By doing this, it allows them to not cause wear against one another. It will also help keep your vehicle operating efficiently. If the oil is old and murky, it will need to be changed because it will lubricate the engine..

Check Fluids

The other fluids can be checked at the same time as the oil because they are located under the hood as well. This can include transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid, and coolant. The fluids should be at the line indicated on the reservoir for each one. A leak is indicated by one having to be refilled often. Make sure to contact us and we can inspect the vehicle and system for you.

Inspect Tires

Check the tires as well. The condition of the tires is important. This is because they are the part that makes direct contact with the surface of the road. Check the air pressure for the tires. Also check the tread wear on the tires as well. If the tread is low, you will not have the proper grip the tire needs because they need to grip wet roads. This will cause you to hydroplane. If there is an issue, bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you.

The Belts and Hoses of your Car

Belts

Regular maintenance is important for your vehicle. If you are not sure how often to have it brought in, contact us. We can advise you on the proper schedule for you and your vehicle. We can inspect the various parts of the vehicle to ensure they are working correctly with one another. This can include belts, hoses, tires, fluids, and other parts.

Timing Belt

The timing belt is a notched rubber belt that allows the crankshaft to turn the camshaft. The camshaft opens and closes the valves in synchronized movement with the engine’s pistons. If the timing belt breaks, your engine will stop working and typically will cause major engine damage. That’s why it’s important to have your timing belt regularly inspected. If the belt is loose or has slipped the valves could open at the wrong time and be struck by your engine’s pistons. Be aware if you hear and slapping noise coming from your engine. This would indicate a slipped belt.

Serpentine Belt

Serpentine belts provide power to the air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, cooling fan, air injection pump, and more. If your vehicle’s serpentine belt breaks, all of the engine parts it is powering will stop working. This could cause the engine could overheat and be damaged. We can check for any signs of cracks, wear, and stripping to determine if your serpentine belt is in danger of failing.

Hoses

Coolant hoses include the upper and lower radiator hoses plus heater hoses. The hoses provide a flexible connection for coolant flow from the engine, radiator, engine and heating block. Tiny cracks can form from the inside that can eventually lead to a burst hose and overheated engine. If you notice an issue with the belts or hoses, make sure to schedule an appointment with us. We can inspect the vehicle and other parts to ensure it is operating efficiently.

 

The Electrical System of your Vehicle

Electrical system

 

The vehicle’s electrical system consists of the battery, starter, and alternator. The battery provides the power to the starter. Then the alternator gives the battery energy it needs to power the vehicle. If one of the parts is not working properly, your vehicle will not start or may not run correctly. If you notice a dashboard warning light, it can indicate a more severe issue. Make sure to contact us and schedule an appoint. Also bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance inspections. By doing so, you can help to save time, money, and stress in the long run.

 

The Battery

 

Until the vehicle starts, the battery is the part that provides the vehicle’s electrical current. This electrical current includes the power to the ignition and fuel systems, which are responsible for creating the combustion necessary for the engine to function properly and efficiently. As you turn the key, the battery provides power to the starter that turns, and then the alternator gives the battery the energy needed to power the lights, wipers, and other accessories.

 

The Starter

 

While the battery supplies the power to start your vehicle, the starter is what sends power to the engine. The battery supplies a small amount of power to the starter motor. The starter then rotates and turns the crankshaft to begin the movement of the pistons in the engine. This process is what ensures the starter works. Sometimes it is difficult to determine when a starter will fail.

 

The Alternator

 

As the engine runs, the alternator helps to keep the battery charged. The alternator also helps in keeping the electrical system for your vehicle powered. While you can start a vehicle with a faulty alternator, it will not be able to run for any extended period of time. If the alternator for your vehicle needs replacing, you may notice a few signs. You may start to notice the electrical system performing oddly or erratically. The battery may even start to discharge, which will result in poor starts, or sometimes not starting at all. Over time, the engine will eventually start to lose power. If you notice an issue with your vehicle starting, contact us for an appointment. We can inspect the vehicle for you.

Checking Issues with the Transmission of your vehicle

The transmission of your car directs power created by the engine to the drive wheels. There are roughly more than 800 parts to an automatic transmission. Each of these is intricately placed and dependent on each other. Often when one part goes, it will end up failing. It relies on the fluid for cooling and lubrication. If you are not sure how often to bring the vehicle in for maintenance, contact us. We can advise you on a schedule, and when parts should be maintained. By keeping maintenance up to date, you can help improve the efficiency of your vehicle. No matter what issue you notice, having it repaired at the first sign of an issue is important.

transmission

Regular maintenance and keep an eye for warning signs can prevent signs of transmission failure from popping up. Check the level and color of transmission fluid regularly. Some cars have dipsticks for easy access, but others are closed systems. Change the fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Make sure the fluid pan is removed, cleaned, and a new filter is then installed. Use only manufacturer recommended fluids and fill amounts. Never switch from drive to reverse, or vice versa, while the car is still moving. Also, accelerate smoothly to allow gears to change at the correct times.

Signs of transmission failure

Deciphering between a failing transmission and a multitude of other ailments your car could have is difficult. Signs of a wearing or under performing are often hard to miss. The solution could be as simple as adding automatic transmission fluid. If there are regular signs of an issue, bring the vehicle in. We can inspect the vehicle and transmission for any signs of an issue.

Check the Transmission fluid

The fluid should be inspected to see if it is burnt or low. It should be a clear red or brown. If it is dark or thick, change it immediately. Notice if the fluid is burnt you may also notice a sweet burning smell. Be aware of any slipping or delayed response when accelerating. This can feel like your tires are spinning on ice or you will notice the rpm’s going up without your car moving. Gears should lock immediately. If you notice a delay when applying pressure to your gas pedal, it is a sign of trouble. Also notice if it stalls or refuses to move. This means that it could be close to failing completely.

Leaking issues

Other issues could be leaking fluid. If you notice a red liquid on the ground, get it looked at immediately. Low fluid will lead to major wear. Also automatic shifting is built to be smooth and nearly unnoticeable. If you feel a jerk or shake when your vehicle shifts, you need us to inspect your transmission.

Knowing when a Brake Replacement is Needed

brake replacement

Signs of a brake replacement can include a wide variety of things. When you notice a noise, difference in performance, or burning smell when driving, get a brake check right away. A brake inspection is one of those routine maintenance chores you just cannot ignore. Brake parts have a life span and they do need to be regularly serviced and sometimes replaced to work properly. Your brakes are one of the most important safety components in your vehicle.

Brake Light On

When one of the red or yellow brake indicators on your dashboard lights up it may mean you are just due for an inspection. It could also be your vehicle’s smart electronics alerting you to a problem. An engaged parking brake could also cause the light to go on. Be sure it is fully released to confirm that’s not the issue.

Squealing, Squeaking or Grinding Noises

If you start hearing a high-pitched noise that stops when you apply the brakes that’s likely the sound of the brake pad wear indicators. They’re made of steel so they make this sound when they start contacting the rotor. They are letting you know that your pads are worn out and need to be replaced before you get rotor damage, which can be an expensive fix.

Grinding that you also feel in the pedal could mean a number of things. There could just be some gravel or a rock caught in the caliper unit. The brake pads may be worn through, and you’re hearing metal on metal that could be creating grooves in the brake rotor. Grinding could also be an indicator of lack of lubrication in vehicles with rear drum brakes. The brake shoe (the component that presses on the rotor to slow the vehicle) could be scraping on metal contact points like the backing plate, due to rust. If you hear any of these sounds, get your brakes looked at right away to head off more expensive problems.

Vibrations when Braking

Shaking in the steering wheel or vibration when you apply the brakes may be the result of an uneven rotor. Brake rotors are big discs that sit inside of the wheels. When you hit the brake pedal, the brake pads hug the rotors, slowing them and your vehicle. You want rotors to be smooth and completely even in thickness. Over time and thousands of wheel revolutions, it’s normal for the rotor surface to get slight variations. Rust can also sometimes develop.

Check the Air Conditioner of you Car

air conditioner

 

When the temperatures start to rise, you will want to make sure the air conditioner is working correctly in your car. If you turn on the air conditioner, and only warm air is produced, you may need to have it recharged. Make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you. This can help you to stay cool and comfortable when you drive this summer.

Performance

There may be several reasons your air conditioning system is not performing properly. The compressor and components failure are often at the top of the list. When replacing an air conditioner compressor, the entire system must be evaluated, ­not just the compressor, ­to ensure the repair is successful. Often the compressor is replaced without servicing the whole air conditioning system, leading to repeated failures and continued frustration.

One of the most common causes of poor air performance is low refrigerant. If that’s the case, we can add a refrigerant charge to your car’s system and get it working again. The first thing is to reclaim the refrigerant in the system (if there is any left).

Fixing the Issue

Remove the components that need to be replaced. By doing so, you will know what will need to be repaired. Visually inspect the rest of the system for evidence of leaks or other damage. You will also want to clean or flush the entire air conditioning system to ensure debris and dirty oil are removed. Charge the system with the correct type and amount of refrigerant and oil for the application. By doing this, you can help the air conditioner to be more efficient and cool your vehicle down better.

On later model cars, the air conditioning condenser replacement may be necessary after a failure or on a vehicle with high mileage. Either way, make sure to bring the vehicle in. We can inspect it and advise you on what should be done.

Clean the system and ensure that it’s free from debris and dirty lubricants. This will prevent the circulation of contaminated oil or debris through the system that will damage the replacement compressor. After replacing the components, the system must be evacuated and then charged accurately with the exact amounts of refrigerant and oil specified for your vehicle. If you notice an issue, call for an appointment, because doing so can help the efficiency of the vehicle.

 

Why Power Steering is Needed

power steering

 

Without power steering, it will make it almost impossible to steer a car. If you notice that the vehicle becomes difficult to turn or steer, make sure to schedule an appointment with us. Anytime you notice something out of the norm, it is best to have it inspected. Fixing an issue at the first sign can save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Pumps

 

Various problems that occur with a failing power steering unit can be traced directly to some kind of problem with the pump. One noise an incredibly shrill screeching, squealing, or screaming sound. Another obvious sound occurs when you turn your steering wheel sharply to the left or right while driving, or even when you’re idling and just barely move the steering wheel and a chirping noise starts repeating over and over. When this happens, the wheel is also extremely hard to turn.

Belt problems

 

When a power steering belt slips, there will be a shaking feeling in the steering wheel. This shaking will happen as you try to make a turn and will be accompanied by the screeching sound described above. The exterior of a power steering belt can appear like it’s in good shape and on tight. A power steering pump will fail if a belt is not tight enough. If a belt breaks or slips off the drive train, it means the pulley is not working properly. A slipping belt can also transfer heat from the drive belt to the power steering pump’s shaft and pulley system. This heat can damage seals and bearings in the pump. As a result, you will experience jumpy or choppy steering.

Power steering fluid

Inadequate fluid will cause steering wheel slippage, making the steering wheel hard to turn. In addition, you will hear a constant humming sound. Correcting this problem is a simple fix. When you hear a whining or humming sound the pump and lines need a total fluid flush
The condition of your power steering fluid can also indicate something about the condition of the pump. The color of new fluid is clear, yellowish clear, and red with a distinctive odor. A whining sound along with fluid that has turned to a nasty gray color definitely indicates a problem with your pump.

 

Having a Tire Rotation done for your vehicle

Tire rotation

A tire rotation is something that can help keep your vehicle operating efficiently and at top performance levels. The key to avoiding uneven tire wear is regularly moving each tire to a different corner of the car. This way, each tires experiences a variety of wear patterns over time, and wears out at the same rate as the other tires.

When tires need rotating

Your car’s owner’s manual should tell you how frequently tire rotation is recommended. Schedules range from every 3,000 to 7,000 miles. As a rough estimate, rotating your tires every other time you change your oil should keep them wearing evenly. The exact rotation pattern depends on the vehicle and the tires themselves. Again, the owner’s manual should describe the recommended pattern for particular car. The standard pattern is to move the front tires straight to the rear, and move the rear tires to the front, but cross them over (so that the right rear ends up on the left front). The reverse pattern is also common. The exact pattern isn’t really that important as long as you are consistent each time you rotate the tires. Just make sure every tire spends some time at each corner of the car.

Importance of Rotations

Don’t overlook tire rotation. Just a few minutes of maintenance will keep your tires wearing evenly, improving your car’s handling and overall performance. If you are not sure when to have the tires rotated, make sure to contact us. We can advise you on the correct schedule. You can also schedule an appointment so we can inspect the tires for you as well. When we check the tires, we can check the condition of them. The air pressure will be checked to ensure that the tires are properly inflated. The tread wear will also be inspected. With proper tread, your vehicle will be able to handle the road more efficiently when you drive.