Yearly Archives: 2024

The Puzzling Puddle (Leaks Under Vehicle)

Ever notice a little spot of liquid under your vehicle after you've parked in your driveway or garage? It may have been something as simple as water left from air conditioning condensation.  But then again, it could be a sign that there's trouble brewing in one of your vehicle's systems. You can help your service facility diagnose the problem by getting a little sample of the drip.  At the same time, you may save yourself a tougher clean up task by preventing the leaky fluid from really messing up the driveway or garage floor.  The first thing is to put something under the vehicle. A flattened out cardboard box will do fine.  You may also want to slip a little disposable aluminum tray or pan under it to catch a bit of the fluid.  Chroma and consistency can help a technician quickly figure out what kind of fluid you're dealing with.  You can take your sample with you when you go to your service facility. Also note how much of the substance is there over wha ... read more

To Fix or Not To Fix (Tire Repair)

You know that sinking feeling when you realize one of your tires has a problem.  It may be making an odd noise or behaving oddly when you're driving.  You may hit a pothole or curb and one suddenly goes flat.  Or you may head back to your vehicle and discover it has one tire deflated without a clue of what must have happened to it. With a lot of different tires hitting the streets these days, the issue of whether to have a tire repaired or replaced can be tricky, and we strongly recommend you have a trained technician help you make that decision.  One of the most common causes of flat tires is picking up a screw or nail in the tread area.  Many of those can be patched and plugged if the puncture isn't more than ¼ inch/6 mm in diameter. Most tires can handle two of this type of repair, but any more and you should buy a new tire.  If there's a puncture or bulge in the sidewall or shoulder, the rule of thumb is it's not repairable.  The sidewall d ... read more

Categories:

Tires

Full of Hot Air (Air Conditioning)

In warm weather, you want to be in a cool vehicle. When we're talking cool, we don't mean stylish or trendy, but cool as in not sweltering inside.  And if your vehicle's air conditioner stops working correctly, it seems to always break at the worst time—during a heat wave.  Automotive air conditioning problems fail for a number of reasons: Blower motor not working.  No air comes through the vents, even though the rest of the system could be working fine. Refrigerant leak. When the gas that cools the air off escapes from the air conditioning system, your air conditioner can no longer cool off the outside air Condenser and compressor. These are parts of your AC system that compress and expand a refrigerant gas to cool off the outside air. They are fairly complex. When you bring your vehicle into our service center, we'll run a series of diagnostic tests to figure out what isn't working correctly.  The air conditioning system has a lot of parts. There are elect ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Ready, Set, COLD! (Getting Vehicle Ready for Winter)

When the temperatures plunge, your vehicle better be ready because it faces a whole new set of challenges.  Rubber stiffens, glass fogs, fluids freeze.  Just thinking about it can get your heart beating faster.  So here are some tips for getting ready for those inevitable colder temperatures. Make sure your tires are in good shape and properly inflated.  Traction can be less than ideal on slippery streets, so your tires must have enough tread to grip the road.  They should also be inflated properly, and inflation will change as the temperatures go down. One last thing on tires. Do you know how old yours are? They actually have a birthdate printed on them.  Old rubber can compromise drivability and handling.  Some tires look great but their rubber doesn't handle stresses like it used to.  Have your vehicle service facility inspect all of these aspects of your tires so you are riding on tires that are fit to go. Anyone who lives in an area where th ... read more

Categories:

Winter Prep

Feeling Powerless (Why Is My Battery Light On?)

When one of your vehicle’s warning lights comes on, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Oh, no, what’s wrong now?” When it’s the battery light, it means there’s something wrong with your vehicle’s battery or charging system.  And because both are important for your vehicle to work properly, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.  Here are some things that may cause a battery light to illuminate. It could be that your battery has failed.  It could be on its last legs or completely dead.  When it isn’t showing it has the voltage it should, your vehicle lets you know. If it’s not the battery itself, it could be the system that charges it.  The alternator is part of that system and could have a problem.  It could be putting out no power, too little power, or too much.  The alternator may not be working because the belt that drives it (using the engine’s mechanical power) could be broke ... read more

Categories:

Battery

I Want a New Vehicle. Or Do I? (Vehicle Maintenance Payoffs)

Spring is a peak season for vehicle sales; companies aggressively market new models and offer all sorts of incentives.  So you may be tempted to buy a shiny new beauty.  But should you? If you've regularly maintained the vehicle you're driving now, you probably don't NEED a new one.  Even if your current one needs some repairs, how do those costs compare to what you'd spend on a new vehicle? A brand new vehicle starts to depreciate the second you drive it off the lot. How much? Experts say you'll lose half of its value during the first 5 years of owning a new vehicle. So if you pay $30,000 for a new one, you'll lose $15,000 in 5 years.  That's a lot. If you have paid off your current vehicle, think of having to start making car payments again.  Let's say your new payment would be $350 a month.  Bet you can think of a lot of things you can buy with an extra $350 a month. Many considering a new vehicle don't factor how much their insurance and license tag fe ... read more

Categories:

Inspection

Beware Dangers of Spring Driving (Seasonal Driving Tips)

Sure, winter is quickly fading in the rearview mirror, but the peril of icy roads is replaced with a whole new set of driving challenges in spring. Deer and other wildlife. You are not the only one who gets spring fever.  Animals do, too, and spring is the time they start looking for mates and food.  Be extra careful at dawn and dusk when deer are especially active.  Hitting a deer (or having them jump into your path suddenly) is a frightening experience, and even a deer/vehicle collision at slow speeds can cause injury and/or loss of life for both animal and humans, let alone expensive damage to the vehicle.  Be extra vigilant during spring. The angle of the light.  As the seasons progress, you'll notice sun angles change.  The sun is rising earlier every morning and setting later at light.  When the sun is low in the sky, that glare can render you almost completely blind.  Make sure your windows and windshield are clean; don't forget the inside ... read more

Categories:

Inspection

Catalytic Converter Replacement

Many of us have become aware of how important it is to keep our planet’s air clean, and your vehicle has a key component that helps do just that: the catalytic converter.  It’s in the exhaust system, and its job is to superheat unburned, harmful byproducts in the exhaust, so they don’t get spewed out into the atmosphere. There’s another important purpose the catalytic converter has: it improves your vehicle’s efficiency.  Most of us don’t give the catalytic converter much thought until it breaks or someone steals yours, something that’s been happening much more frequently in recent years.  The reason people steal them is that catalytic converters use precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium to do their job. So, they contain valuable materials thieves can sell. The most likely reason you will have to replace your catalytic converter is age.  The more distance your vehicle travels and the more hours your engine ... read more

Categories:

Exhaust

A Bumpy Ride (Strut Assembly Replacement)

If you’ve noticed your vehicle’s ride has lately been bumpy or you’re hearing strange noises when you drive over bumps, you may need new struts.   The strut assembly is part of your vehicle’s suspension system that’s used to absorb the irregularities on the surfaces you drive on. You have probably heard of shocks or shock absorbers.  A shock is a piston with gas or liquid inside.  When you hit a bump, that shock absorbs the blow. Struts are similar to shocks but they also have a coil spring for extra strength.  They’re often used in the front of the vehicle because of the engine’s extra weight.  As you might imagine, your struts take a beating every day.  Eventually, they will wear out, and your wheels and tires won’t stay connected to the road as well as they used to. In addition to a bumpier ride, you may notice your tires starting to wear with failing struts because those tires aren’t in contact ... read more

Cold Weather Vehicle No-Nos (Items to Avoid Storing in a Freezing Vehicle)

It's always easier to leave a few things in your vehicle so you'll have them on hand.  But in cold weather, while it's a good idea to carry items such as a phone charger, blanket and shovel, there are some things you shouldn't store in your vehicle. Medicines and drugs.  Cold temperatures can affect the chemical makeup of some drugs.  Avoid leaving them in a vehicle, especially those in a liquid form like insulin, eye drops and cough syrup. Latex paint.  They are water based, and when they freeze, they get lumpy and lousy.  Your paint job will not be what you had in mind. Cellphones and computers.  Most of these have lithium ion batteries.  If they get colder than freezing (0 degrees C, 32 degrees F), if you try to charge them, you'll more than likely ruin the batteries.  Bottled water, soda, wine or beer.  OK, here's the scoop.  All of these can freeze and split the container they're in.  Yes, soda, wine and beer will take a lowe ... read more

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