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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Towing a boat or trailer can difficult if you are not used to it. There are some tips you will need to do before towing. The most important thing is to bring your vehicle in. We can inspect it to make sure the parts are efficient. Another thing is that we will make sure your vehicle is up to tow what you need to. This can help to ensure the performance and safety when you drive.
Make sure to review the towing capacity of your specific vehicle and ensure it is capable of handling the weight of your trailer and cargo you are towing. Also confirm that the trailer hitch is capable of handling your trailer’s loaded weight. Your owner’s manual will show the maximum tongue weight it can safely support. Ensure that the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), vehicle weight when empty, and the payload, the weight of all people and cargo in the vehicle, and the tongue weight of the trailer, do not exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), the maximum operating weight of a vehicle. Make sure to not exceed the GVWR maximum load capacity, which can be found on the Certification/Tire label on the driver’s side or door.
There are several things to check on your vehicle. The first is to check the tires. Refer to the tire pressure label placed in the driver’s doorjamb for proper inflation pressures for the tow vehicle. Ensure that your tires on your trailer are filled to the correct tire pressure as shown on the trailer tire pressure sticker or trailer tire sidewall. The trailer tire sidewall will show the tire manufacture date. Most trailer tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are more than six years old. Check the speed rating on the tires for both your tow vehicle and trailer and ensure that you never exceed that speed while on the road. Most trailer tires are rated at 65 mph unless stated otherwise on the sidewall.
Don’t forget the lights
One of the most overlooked parts when towing is the light system. Check that the turn signals, tail lights and brake lights function properly by having a partner stand behind the vehicle while it is in park and you are testing. This will help others know when and where you will be turning. If a light is out, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.
The suspension of your vehicle is important. If the suspension is in poor condition, make sure to bring the vehicle in. This way we can inspect it for you to ensure everything is working. You may not realize when the suspension has become damaged. More often than not, the suspension is already damaged by the time you notice. Proper vehicle and tire maintenance will help decrease the chance of damage. There are also some things you can do to help prevent the issue.
Tire care is crucial for maintaining proper suspension, which is why you should have your tires rotated on a regular basis. Tires wear more evenly if they are rotated every 5,000 miles or so. If you follow the car’s recommended maintenance schedule, you can even have the tires rotated at every oil change. When the tires wear out, though, have all four replaced at the same time to ensure even wear.
Many forget to check the air pressure in the tires. But this is not something you want to forget. Tire pressure gauges are inexpensive and easy to use. Since tire pressure is affected by temperature changes, you’ll want to test the tire pressure at least once a month in the morning while the tires are still cold for accurate readings.
When a car’s suspension needs repair, there are several warning signs that are hard to miss. The vehicle may bounce or sway, the front end may dip when braking, or you’ll feel the car pulling to one side during turns. If your vehicle is riding rougher than it once was, bring it in. Suspension problems do not have to put your family in danger. Properly maintaining your vehicle helps reduce the chance of an issue.
Having regular oil changes done for your vehicle is important. You may remember being told the oil should always be changed. But do you know why exactly? While you may know to keep your vehicle maintained, knowing why is also important. In order for your vehicle to operate efficiently, the oil will have to be changed. If you are not sure how often that is, contact us. We can advise you on the correct oil change schedule. The vehicle will also be reliable, as the fluids will be in the best condition.
When oil changes are needed
Knowing exactly when to change the oil on your vehicle can be based on how you drive. Some factors include how you drive, and the condition of the engine. Others can be the environment you drive in, and what type of traffic. You can look in the vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended schedule, or contact us. Sometimes you will need to change the oil more frequently if situations arise. If you have jackrabbit starts or heavy acceleration, frequent oil changes may be needed. If you drive on dirt roads frequently it may contaminate the oil quicker. Also, an old engine will burn oil quicker than a newer engine.
When your vehicle operates, the oil has a process it goes through. Oil undergoes thermal breakdown due to high operating temperature. When this occurs, the oil becomes less effective as a lubricant. Without it parts of the engine rub together and wear each other out.
Why oil is important
Oil also contains additives that have the ability to neutralize acids. Over time, these additives get used up and stop being effective. Oil can absorb water, dust, and combustion byproducts and also hold them in suspension. Eventually, the oil gets saturated with this stuff and cannot absorb any more. Then that stuff remains in the engine and can cause corrosion. By having oil changes done, you can help keep the engine operating as efficiently as possible. Always remember to notice any strange noises. If this happens, schedule an appointment so we can inspect it for you.