Road Trips

September 7, 2017

Tips for Proper Car Care

    There are several things you will need to check on a regular basis. This will help keep the vehicle in a reliable condition for you and your passengers. Make sure to schedule an appointment for your vehicle. We can inspect the parts and components of the vehicle so they are in the best condition possible. The battery connections should be kept clean, tight, and free of corrosion. Extreme weather is hard on batteries, so it is recommended to check the battery and charging system. There can be some signs that the battery might be starting to fail. If you notice the vehicle is becoming more difficult to start, bring the vehicle in so we can test the battery. Check that the heater, defroster, and windshield wiper blades are operating properly. The heating performance is critical for interior comfort in the vehicle. The defroster should be working efficiently to improve the safety and visibility when you drive. Now is also a great time to check the windshield wipers. If the wiper blades are torn, cracked, or do not properly clean your windshield, they should be replaced. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months. When changing the blades, be sure to also check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir. The tires will also need to be inspected. This includes the tire pressure and tread depth. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop. Another thing that needs to be checked on the vehicle is the brake system. This will include the brake rotors and brake pads. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.  
May 10, 2017

The Check Engine Light of your Vehicle

    The most common reason that your check engine light comes on is because it is time for regular maintenance to be done. Some manufacturers will set the vehicle so that the light will turn on at regular intervals after being serviced. It will do this even when there is nothing mechanically wrong with the vehicle. After bringing the vehicle in for routine fluid checks and oil changes, we will be able to turn the light off so you can continue driving without the distraction of the check engine light. If the light is on, we can have it diagnosed based on the computer. This can help to provide you with a safe and reliable vehicle again.   Belts have a tendency to slip or loosen as they wear. These can cause mechanical problems including timing issues. When the computer registers these issues, it will indicate that it is time to replace the belts. Making sure that you bring the vehicle in to service the engine soon will reduce further issues from forming in the vehicle. Ignoring the problem of the check engine light will only make the problem worse. You can also inspect the belts to see what condition they are in. If you notice a crack or damage, make sure to have them replaced as soon as possible.   Whenever the temperature of the engine starts to rise past the normal range, it can send warning signals to the computer. The check engine light is a warning to let you know that there is a possibility of further problems you might be encountering with your vehicle so you will be able to get it fixed as quickly as possible. Often, the issue with possibly overheating can be alleviated by topping off coolants or repairing radiators. If the vehicle starts to overheat, make sure to pull over where it is safe and turn it off. This can help prevent further damage happening to parts of the vehicle and engine. If you notice the vehicle overheats quickly, make sure to bring it in. Catching an issue at the first sign can help you to save time, money, and stress in the long run.  
April 10, 2017

Inspecting the Tires on your Vehicle

  In addition to maintaining proper inflation pressure, regularly inspect the tire tread and sidewalls for irregular tread wear, cracking, scrapes, bulges, cuts, snags, foreign objects or other damage resulting from use. Remove any stones, glass, foreign objects that are embedded in the tread to prevent further damage. Even minor damage can lead to further injury and eventual tire failure. Tires with excessive cracking on the tread or sidewalls should be removed from service. This is typically caused by under inflation, over loading, improper storage, and/or improper long-term parking.   You should check the tire tread and sidewall areas during monthly inflation pressure checks, looking for uneven or irregular tread wear or other conditions as noted above. It is recommended that tires, including the spare, be periodically inspected by a tire service professional during routine maintenance intervals such as oil changes and tire rotations. Check the Tires for: Uneven tread wear – This can include more wear on one tread edge than the other, a rippled pattern of high and low wear, or exposed steel wire. Uneven wear can be caused by problems such as under inflation, vehicle misalignment and improper balancing. Shallow tread – Well worn or bald tires can result in hydroplaning, loss of traction and are more likely to be damaged by potholes and other road hazards. To help you see when the tread is worn out, tires have a built in “tread wear indicators.” These are narrow bars of smooth rubber that run across the tread. When the tread is even with the bars, a tire is worn down to 1/16 inch and the tire must be replaced immediately. You can also try the penny test: place a penny in the tire’s most worn groove with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire should be replaced. Troublemakers – Check for small stones, pieces of glass, bits of metal and other foreign objects that might be wedged into the tread and carefully remove them. They can cause serious problems if they are pushed farther into your tire as you drive. Damaged areas – Cracks, cuts, splits, punctures, holes and bulges in the tread or on the sidewalls of the tire can indicate serious problems, and the tire may need to be replaced. Valve caps – Those little caps on your tire’s valve stem keep moisture and dirt out, so make sure they are on all your tires. If you notice an issue with your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. This way we can inspect the vehicle and tires, so you can have a safe and reliable ride when you drive.
March 7, 2017

Warning Signs of Poor Brakes

  There are several indicators that your vehicle can provide when the brakes need to be repaired or serviced. The most common sign is the brake warning light illuminating. If the warning light is blinking, get the vehicle in as soon as you can. You may also notice a squishy or soft brake pedal when you apply it. This can also mean there is a delay in the brake system. There may also be an issue if you hear noises from the brakes.   When you press your foot against the brake pedal, it should progressively firm with the harder you press it. If the brake pedal feels soft or almost hits the floor, the issue should be inspected as soon as possible. Also make sure to notice any vibrations you might feel when applying the brake pedal. This can also be a sign of a serious brake problem.   Any loud noise such as squeals, squeaks, or grinding sounds could indicate a serious issue. The brakes may need to be adjusted or replaced. A grinding noise you might hear could indicate that the brake pads are worn and may need to be replaced. The brake rotors can sometimes be damaged or need replacing if the brake pads have worn down. This is because the metal on metal can cause damage.   Besides vibrations in the brake pedal and odd noises, there are some other signs to notice if you have an issue with the brake system. Look for any puddles of brake fluid that are under your vehicle. Also, notice if your vehicle pulls to one side or another when you apply the brakes. It could mean that there is an issue with the tires, but it could also mean a problem for the brakes. The brakes could be worn out and need replacing. If you notice that the vehicle is low on brake fluid often, it could be a sign of a leak somewhere. Bringing the vehicle in for regular scheduled maintenances is also recommended. By doing so, parts that are beginning to wear can be identified and fixed before a larger issue can occur. A small issue is also more cost efficient to fix than a larger issue. Regular maintenance can help save time, money, and stress. It can also help to provide you a safe and reliable ride again.