February 20, 2018

Dashboard Warning Lights and their Meaning

Keeping your vehicle well maintained is important. You may notice though that the dashboard warning lights will illuminate. When this happens, it is important to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible so we can inspect it for what the issue might be. Warning symbols are normally in red. They indicate a potential problem or safety issue that should be checked by us so we can diagnose it correctly. If you notice the temperature warning light, it can mean your coolant is overheating. Quickly pull over and let your car cool down or the heat can destroy your car’s engine. The symbol also comes in blue which means the coolant temperature is below what is needed for optimum performance. It normally pops up when you start up your car in the morning and the symbol should disappear once the vehicle warms up.   If the engine oil pressure warning light is on, it may mean your engine has lost normal oil pressure. It could be something as simple as being low on oil, or it could be an indication of serious engine problems. The trouble is, you don’t know whether the problem is serious or no big deal, so the best course of action is to pull over immediately, turn off your engine, and call for an appointment. If you replace the oil often, it could mean there is a serious leak. You should never run your vehicle without oil in it, so make sure this issue is fixed as soon as possible.   If you notice the battery charge light illuminate, the first thing you should do is turn off anything that draws power from the battery, except for the headlights if you are driving at night. This includes the air conditioning and heating system, the stereo, any interior lights, and any accessories such as heated seats or heated mirrors. Do not turn your car off until you get to somewhere safe, just in case it doesn’t start again. If the vehicle becomes hard to start, make sure to bring it in, so we can inspect and test the battery for you.
February 13, 2018

Habits to Avoid in Winter

  Driving in the winter is much different than driving any other time of the year. One thing to remember is to make sure you slow down. The mornings have freezing and roads are slick. If you are used to some habits you might have when driving, winter is the time to stop doing them, so you can ensure your vehicle is well maintained and working efficiently. Changing the windshield wipers is one of the easiest items to forget when it comes to car maintenance. Make sure to change the wipers as soon as they do not clear the windshield effectively anymore. If you notice that they smudge or make noises when they operate, it may be time to have them replaced. Windshield wipers are vital to your safety on the road; better wipers mean better visibility. Climbing into a freezing car is not fun, so you may resort to starting the vehicle and letting it warm up before driving. This is viable for a couple minutes; however, engines are not designed to idle for long periods of time. Idling for too long can cause a buildup on the spark plugs, rendering them less efficient. Not to mention, idling for long periods of time can also waste fuel. Tires tend to be a bigger issue in the winter due to compressed air that cooler weather brings. The air pressure in your tires is reduced by one pound per square inch every 10-degree drop in the temperature. It may be a good idea to keep an emergency maintenance kit in the car and include a portable air pump and pressure gauge. This can help you to ensure the tires are at the correct air pressure they should be at. Also remember to fill up the tank if it gets about half full. During the winter months, it’s better to fill up frequently as a near-empty tank can cause problems. Moist air in an empty tank can freeze and crystallize, leading to ice in the fuel lines. If you keep the tank filled, you will be able to drive incase of an emergency or in the middle of the night. If you ever have an issue with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect it for you.
February 2, 2018

Noises to Be Aware of for your Vehicle

  Keeping your vehicle in top efficiency is important, this should include bringing it in for regular maintenance inspections. You should also contact us if you start to notice odd noises or sounds that your vehicle produces. By catching an issue at the first sign and fixing it, you can help to prevent further damage and wear and tear in the long run. If you notice a hissing noise under the hood in the engine, it could be an indication of a leak, either in the cooling system or a vacuum line. A leaking issue should not be ignored, because it can cause other issues to start to form with time. If a fluid leaks out completely, then the engine and other parts may start to fail. Another noise is if your vehicle clunks while driving over bumps or pot holes something is definitely out of order. Bad ball joints can cause uncivilized sounds, but other chassis components could be to blame as well. Even a loose exhaust system can flop round and make percussive noises. A clunk noise that is made consistently should be inspected as soon as possible. If your car’s engine is making a shrieking sound it could be an issue with the serpentine belt. Either the rubber has gotten old and brittle or the tensioner could be failing. If the latter is to blame the belt may not have the appropriate pressure applied to it, causing slippage and the noise. If there’s a screeching sound when you apply the brakes it’s a good chance the brake pads have reached the end of their useful lives. Many are engineered with small metal tabs that rub against the rotor when the friction material is worn away to a certain point. The squealing sound is an indication that it’s time for a brake job. If you notice the vehicle pull in one direction when you apply the brakes, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the brake system for you.