Vehicle Safety Inspection

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.
December 29, 2014

Early Warning Signs of Poor Tires

To help keep your vehicle operating on the road properly, you will want to have regular maintenance inspections done for it. This is beneficial because the vehicle will then perform like it was designed to do. It can also help prolong the life of the tires. The tires on the vehicle play a crucial role for the overall safety of the vehicle. These are the only parts of the vehicle that contact it to the surface of the road. They also help to improve the handling and stability of the vehicle when you drive. The tires will help with the steering and braking. The best way to help ensure they are in the best condition is to perform a quick check. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to bring the vehicle in. This way we can inspect the tires for any issues that might be starting to form. We can then advise you on the best options you have to repair them. Maintenance Tips for the Tires The easiest way to inspect the tires is to give it a visual inspection. This is a quick and efficient way to notice if something is different with the tires. Modern radial tires bulge slightly, which makes them look a little under inflated, even though they are not. At least once a month, make sure to use a tire gauge and check the pressure in all four tires. Also remember to check the spare tire. This is important because you will have to rely on the spare tire if something happens to one of the regular ones. If you are not sure of how much air the tires should have, make sure to check the vehicle owner’s manual. You can also check the inside of the driver doorjamb to see the amount. Signs of Poor Tires By visually inspecting the tires, you may start to notice some early warning signs of the tires needing attention. Also check to see if there are cracks or cuts in the sidewalls of the tire. Along with this, make sure to notice if the tires have any cracks or cuts in the sidewalls. The tread will also need to be inspected. This can be as easy as using a coin. Place a penny upside down in the tread of the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it means the tread is low. Poor tread wear could mean that the inflation is bad, the wheels are poorly aligned, or the tires are damaged. You may also start to notice if the tires are developing bulges or blisters. If you notice these on the sidewall, make sure to have the tire replaced as soon as possible. This could indicate where a weak spot is on the tire and where it might be starting to fail. Under Inflated Tires can Have an Issue Tires that are under inflated might start to cause issues as well. As tires lose air through the rubber or valve, it can lead to poor tread wear. If you notice that the tires are lower, make sure to test the air pressure. Air pressure loss as much as four pounds per square inch can affect the handling of the vehicle when you drive. It can also lead to poor fuel efficiency. Make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect the tires for you.
December 28, 2014

Ways to Improve the Fuel Efficiency of Your Vehicle

When driving your vehicle, it is important to keep it in ideal condition. This way the vehicle can be safe and reliable when you drive. To keep your vehicle running, you will need to supply it with fuel. There are some tips you can do to help reduce the amount of fuel you use. This can improve the fuel mileage when you drive. Changing a few driving habits will help you to cut down on fuel costs each time you fill up. Knowing What Speed you should Drive The best way to improve mileage is to change some driving habits that you might have. Aggressive driving wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage on the highway by up to thirty three percent. Every vehicle differs on the best speed for fuel efficiency, but generally gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above fifty miles per hour. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra one hundred pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mileage by up to two percent, which can add up in a hurry. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight. Excess weight affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones. Idling can use a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save on fuel. Also, when you use overdrive gearing, the engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear. Going to Regular Maintenances Fixing a vehicle that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of four percent. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as forty percent. You can improve your gas mileage by up to three percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under inflated tires will make your vehicle work harder to complete the same trip. It can lower gas mileage by point three percent for every one pound per square inch drop in pressure of all four tires. You can improve your gas mileage by one to two percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Planning Trips and Driving Destinations Planning trips to combine errands saves you time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Trip planning ensures that traveling is done when the engine is warmed-up and efficient, and it can reduce the distance you travel. Some ideas for your daily commute are to stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours and drive your most fuel efficient vehicle.
October 23, 2014

Noises From Your Vehicle Should Be Inspected

When you inspect your vehicle, make sure to check all parts of it. This includes the interior and exterior parts of the vehicle. Along with checking the vehicle, make sure you bring it in on a regular basis so we can inspect it for you. This way we can ensure that the parts and components of the vehicle are wearing the way that they should be. If between visits, you notice anything out of the norm, or hear an odd noise, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. As long as you are on a smooth and even road, your vehicle should not make any noise. If there are grinding or screeching noises, it could be a sign that something more severe is going on for your vehicle. Make sure to take note what you were doing at the time the noise occurred. Applying the brake pedal, taking a corner, or shifting could mean different problems. Bring the vehicle in as soon as you can so we can inspect it for the source of the issue. After it has been repaired, you can get back to having a safe and pleasant driving experience. Grinding Noises from the Brakes One noise that you might start to notice is a grinding noise from the brake system. This can become a larger issue over time because of the damage that could happen. If the brake pads start to wear down, then the brake rotors will be affected. This can become an issue because they will cause friction with one another as the metal-to-metal parts wear. It will also cause the brake rotors to wear out sooner than they typically would. Having the issue fixed at the first sign of it can help prevent a larger and more costly issue in the near future. A Noise from Under the Hood When inspecting your vehicle, make sure to look under the hood. Check for the condition of the belts and hoses. If they are starting to wear or fray, make sure to bring the vehicle in so that they can be replaced in a timely manner. Along with checking the belts and hoses, also make sure to top off the fluid levels. Without the fluids, your vehicle will not be able to operate those components efficiently. It will cause extra strain and stress for your vehicle. Also check that the oil is in the best condition. The oil helps to lubricate the moving parts of the engine when your vehicle operates. Also be aware for any strange or unusual noises your vehicle might make from under the hood. A screeching noise could mean that a belt has slipped. Even if you cannot see it, make sure to bring the vehicle in for a thorough inspection. Any Clinking Noise should Not Be Ignored If you hear a clinking noise when you are driving, it could mean a part is loose. If the issue is ignored, it could be doing more damage to your vehicle. It can cause issues that will be costly if it is not fixed and repaired immediately. No matter what sound your vehicle might be starting to make, be sure to bring it in and to our attention as soon as possible. This can help to provide you with a safe and reliable ride again.