March 9, 2018

Noticing an Issue with the Brake System

        If you start to hear odd noises with your brakes, make sure to try and identify the sound you are hearing when it does it. A grinding noise on braking is usually caused by a lack of brake pad material; the pads and rotors are now metal to metal, with no braking material left. If this noise is present, make sure to schedule an appointment so we can inspect it for you.       Many cars have drum brakes in back, where a shoe stops the car by pressing on the inside of a metal drum. Brake drums, like rotors, get resurfaced once in a while. The cutting bit on the brake lathe removes the old braking surface and leaves a nice new mating surface. When the brake shoes ride on the new surface, they will follow the groove like the needle of your record player follows a track. If the groove is interrupted, the shoes snap back, hitting the backing plate. This happens very quickly, causing a thumping noise that will notice.       The most common brake squeak is caused by wearing pads. If your brakes are squeaking or squealing while driving down the road, but the noise goes away when you press on the brakes, your brake wear indicator is hitting the rotor and causing the noise. The wear indicator is a small metal tab fastened to the brake pad. When the brake pads are worn down and need replacing, this metal tab starts to drag along the rotor, warning the driver of the potential problem. If you hear the noise, make sure to contact us so we can inspect and fix the brakes as soon as possible. Since the brakes are one of the most important part of the vehicle, it is important to keep them working properly. This can improve the safety when you drive.      
March 1, 2018

Windshields Should be Cleared in the Winter

It is a part of winter driving that happens all too often, you will have to get ice off the outside of the windshield, but inside a fog clouds your vision. Clearing a foggy windshield up is not as simple as turning on the defroster. Keeping your window clear in the winter is all about balancing the warmth and moisture inside your car with the cold, dry air on the outside. Too much moisture, and your cabin will reach the dew point, which leads to fog on the window. Until the inside is dry, your glass will remain fogged. There are some tips you can do to help eliminate this issue when driving. You will want to make sure the windshield is clean and dirt is removed. Dirt on the inside of your windshield gives moisture more to cling to. Use a good glass cleaner to remove any film or dirt that may have collected on your windshield. Before turning on the defroster, give your car’s heating system a few minutes to warm up. The air duct temperature needs to reach about 130 degrees before the defrost mechanism becomes effective, but make sure not to leave your car when it’s operating, because your car can get stolen. Once you turn the defroster on, turn it up high. You need to cover 90 percent of the glass with air in very poor weather, like freezing rain or snow and very cold temperatures, in order for the defroster to work effectively. Make sure that you are taking in fresh air from the outside of the car, if it’s snowing, clear the outside vents before pulling out of the driveway, by turning the recirculate button off. If you are recirculating air it can mean that moisture never leaves the cabin and de-fogging the windows becomes very difficult, if not impossible. If the defroster does not work for your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment and we can inspect the vehicle for you.
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.