January 30, 2015

Risks that Cold Weather can Have for Your Vehicle

When you drive in the winter, you will have to change a few driving habits you may have from the summer. This is because the temperatures become colder, resulting it poor weather and road conditions. As you get ready to head out on the road, make sure you know the forecast. If there is precipitation forecasted, you will have to slow down the speed that you drive. Make sure you bring your vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. Having regular maintenance done is important to ensure that the parts and components are working efficiently with one another. If you ever notice anything out of the norm, make sure to contact us so the problem can be resolved. Be Aware of Precipitation Falling amounts of snow and roads that are ice covered can pose a threat to your vehicle. When it starts to snow, this can accumulate quickly on the roads. This can result in them become slick or slushy. If you notice that it is snowing or having freezing rain, make sure to slow down when you drive. Also leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you so you have enough distance to stop if you need to. Also remember that any form of precipitation with cold temperatures can increase the chance that the roads are icy. Tires can lose their grip on the road and result in a slide or skid. Make sure to have the tires inspected, so they the most efficient for winter driving. If you suspect ice, approach other vehicles or corners at half your typical speed. Colder Temperatures Affect the Vehicle Besides the precipitation, the winter temperatures can affect your vehicle as well. With every ten-degree drop in temperature, your tires lose one pound per square inch of pressure. This means tires properly inflated to thirty pounds per square inch at seventy degrees will have a twenty-five pounds per square inch when the temperature is twenty degrees. Underinflated tires can be an issue as it can lead the tires to poor traction on icy roads. The cold temperatures will also affect the fluids in your vehicle. When the temperature is below thirty-five degrees, transmission fluid will not circulate properly. If you do not have a windshield washer fluid that is meant for winter, it can also freeze. Trying to drive with antifreeze, oil, brake and power steering fluids that are too thick will slow the response time of your vehicle. It can also permanently damage components. It is also possible for heat control levers or knobs in your vehicle to break or crack in cold weather. It is best to preset them and allow them to benefit from the vehicle idling and warming up. Issues with the Engine Spark plugs also do not work as well in winter. Small problems such as clogged filters or corroded ignition components may not be a problem when it is warm but can be damaged in the winter. It is also possible for fluid hoses to crack or break in subzero temperatures. Extreme cold will sap some of your battery’s voltage, making it harder to start.
January 22, 2015

Understanding Noises from the Brakes

Unusual brake noise or braking behaviors should serve as a warning that one of the most essential systems on your car is malfunctioning. It is all too common for drivers to ignore minor brake noises or irregularities for too long. Eventually you may end up in a situation where your vehicle requires a repair that is much more expensive than it would have been otherwise. Even worse, the vehicle is unable to stop in an emergency situation, causing an accident that could have been avoided. However, automotive brakes have a hard job. They are exposed to tremendous forces and generate a lot of heat every time you stop your vehicle. When you press on the brake, all the energy that your car creates by moving down the road has to be converted to heat through friction. The amount of friction created by stopping even a mid-size vehicle from freeway speeds is enough to make the brakes red-hot. The pounding that your brakes have to go through each time you use them to slow down means they may make noise or occasionally behave abnormally, even though nothing is wrong. It is always best to bring the vehicle in, so we can inspect it properly. Hearing a Rattle Noise Brake rattle is a common concern for drivers. Most often brake rattle happens when you let up off the pedal. Suddenly you may hear a rattle. Usually it sounds like the rattle made when shaking a can of spray paint. The most common cause of this noise is the brake pads. The brake pads can rattle sometimes due to heat expansion, especially if they were installed without anti-rattle shims. Keep in mind that this rattle should not be consistent and it should never happen while you have your foot on the brake pedal. Under either of those conditions, you should have your brakes checked. It could be the sign of a more serious problem. If the Brakes Grind Brake grinding is always a serious problem, and should be dealt with immediately. There are two major causes of brake grinding. When your brakes are making a loud grinding sound when you press on the pedal, this is almost always caused by contact of the rotor disc with part of the caliper. This is usually because of extreme wear to the brake pads or rotors. If you wait until your brakes grind before servicing them, you will be in a worse situation. They will require a much more expensive repair. Another reason that brakes may make a grinding sound is when a foreign object, like a stone gets lodged somewhere in the caliper. When this happens, the brakes will usually make a consistent grinding or screeching sound when the vehicle is in motion. Brake Fading that You Might Notice Brake fade is a condition where the brakes have become overheated, and they do not function normally as a result. Brake fade is most common in situations where the brakes are being used much more than they usually would, such as going down a long hill. When you experience brake fade, the pedal will require extra effort to yield the same stopping power. Make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for what might be causing the issue. This can get you back to a safe and reliable ride.
January 15, 2015

What the Check Engine Light Could Mean

When you are driving, it is important to pay attention to the lights on the dashboard. This is the area that will illuminate if there is an issue with the vehicle, or under the hood. One light that could illuminate is the check engine light. If this does happen it could actually mean a variety of things, some of which are safe to continue driving with and others which could be seriously damaging to your vehicle. People often get confused when the engine light comes on, mainly because it can literally mean a multitude of reasons. The System of the Vehicle If the engine warning light comes on while you are driving, pull over at the earliest and safest chance to have a look under the hood. Since the engine warning light can illuminate for any possible reason, it does not tell you exactly what to look for. Seeing the words ‘Check Engine’ is not actually that helpful. It could be that there is a malfunction in your management system and this will need to be addressed as soon as you can bring it in. If the light flashes and does not totally light up, the first action you should take is to reduce your speed. If the light then goes out, it is just a glitch. If the light then comes on and stays on as a solid light, you can safely continue the journey, but keep your speed lower. An Oxygen Sensor could trigger the Light Sometimes the engine light will come on if your oxygen sensor fails or malfunctions. Any sensor that is not able to function correctly will trip the management system to switch on the engine light. Having problems with a sensor does not mean you have to stop your vehicle immediately. If you are not sure what the issue is, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. Emission Control System The malfunction indicator lamp, or engine warning light may also illuminate to warn you that there is a problem with your emission control system. This can stretch to an exhaust issue, a catalytic converter issue, or an engine issue. The best way to find the cause of the issue is to bring it in so we can inspect the vehicle for you. Electrical Problems may be a Reason Your engine light will notify you that there is an issue with the engine. In order to determine it, your vehicle will have to be diagnosed to find out the cause. If you are having some obvious trouble with the electrical parts, like lights not working or fuses blowing or relay switches malfunctioning, then the engine light may come on. To have the vehicle tested, schedule an appointment so we can diagnose it. The Light Malfunctions In some rare cases the engine light will come on, not because there is an issue with the engine, but a malfunction with the light itself. If this happens, you can try resetting the check engine light. If there is a problem with the engine you can guarantee that the engine warning light will come back on again at some point soon.
January 9, 2015

What to do if the Tire Blows Out

To help be safe and secure while driving this winter, make sure that your vehicle is in the best condition possible. This will help prevent a larger issue from occurring when you drive. While some accidents cannot be prevented, like if an animal runs across the road, you can help to prepare for some issues. Make sure that your vehicle follows regular maintenance schedules. This way all the parts and components can be inspected for an issue that might be occurring. Checking for an issue regularly can help ensure you catch it at the first signs. If you are unsure of what the proper maintenance schedule should be, make sure to contact us. We can recommend when the vehicle should be inspected. This also includes tire rotations, alignments, and oil changes. By keeping the vehicle well maintained, it can improve the fuel efficiency. It will also be able to keep the vehicle lasting as long as possible. Keep the Tires in the Best Condition Possible Make sure to inspect the tires on a regular basis. This includes checking the tread wear, air pressure, and overall condition of each tire. Also remember to inspect the same things on the spare tire. The air pressure is important for the tires because it will all them to have proper contact with the surface of the road, as well as rotate like they are designed to do. If you notice that a tire is under inflated, it can increase your chance for a blow out to happen. This is because the tire will not rotate efficiently, and will have poor contact with the surface of the road. Make sure to look for any bulges from the tire also. This could indicate that the air pressure is not even in the tire, and can also cause an issue. If you notice that you have to fill the tire with air more often, it may be a sign that there is a leak in it. Make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect the tire. Getting it patched can help save time, money, and stress in the long run. It will also keep your vehicle reliable when you drive it. What to do in a Blow Out If your tire blows out, it is important to remain calm. Try to safely pull your vehicle off the road to an area with less traffic. Make sure to stop as soon as you can. If you keep driving when the tire blows out, it can do damage to the rims and alignment of the vehicle. It is always best to have the vehicle towed or hauled in so we can replace the tire, as well as inspect the rest of the vehicle. Do Not Forget about the Spare Tire One part that most people forget about until it is needed is the spare tire. The spare tire is important because it will help you to get to a place to have the regular tire repaired or replaced. When inspecting the tires, always remember to take a few seconds and check the spare. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the spare tire for you.