You must recognize the importance of brakes that are in perfect working order. Driving without good brakes puts you and everyone else in danger. Unfortunately, when you’re brakes are bad, it’s only a matter of time before they wear out completely, leaving you unable to stop your vehicle.
Here are some early warning signs that your brakes are starting to fail and that it’s time to get your vehicle to a mechanic to replace them.
You Hear Grinding
The next time you’re approaching a stop sign, turn off your radio and listen to what happens when you press the brake pedal. If you hear a grinding sound, even if it’s faint, it’s time to drive directly to a mechanic for new brakes. The grinding indicates that your brake pads are completely worn out and that each time you use your brakes, metal is grinding against metal.
Your Brakes are Vibrating
One of the first signs that your brakes are wearing out is a slight vibration when you depress the brake pedal. While this is sometimes caused by road conditions, if you notice it throughout your commute, it means that your brake pads are probably worn. The sooner you get your vehicle in for new brake pads, the better the odds that all you’ll need is new pads rather than an entirely new brake setup.
Your car Pulls to One Side When you Brake.
Vehicles pulling to one side while braking isn’t an extremely common problem, but it is troubling. The fact that the car is pulling to one side indicates that one brake is significantly more worn than the other. This means that when the brakes fail, the vehicle will behave erratically, making it significantly more challenging for the driver to navigate to safety. Therefore, you should get your car to a mechanic to replace the worn brake and identify why one side is experiencing so much wear.
Puddles Under Your Car
If you notice a puddle beneath your car, use your brakes with extreme caution. It’s possible that the puddle is brake fluid and that it’s leaking from your vehicle. Don’t assume that because you’ve used your brakes once or twice, the vehicle is acceptable. There could be a little fluid remaining in the line. If you even suspect your brakes are leaking, have your car towed to your mechanic.
Driving with old or damaged brakes is extremely dangerous. If you suspect there’s a problem with your brakes or it’s been a while since you’ve had them inspected, it’s time to set up a repair appointment with us.
Most of us are familiar with the term tune-up and know that it’s something our car is supposed to get. The problem is that most of us don’t actually know when that tune-up should take place. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your car in the shop, here are some signs that it’s time to bring it in for a tune-up.
It No Longer Starts Smoothly
If it takes a few tries to get your car started or if it runs a little rough for the first few minutes it’s on, you should book a tune-up appointment. We’ll take a look at your starter, alternator, serpentine belt, and spark plugs and make sure they’re all in good working order. We’ll replace anything that’s damaged or worn out. This prevents you from having to call your employer and tell them that you’re not coming in because your car won’t start.
Your MPGs have Declined
A less-than-perfect MPG is a sure sign that your car wants a tune-up. There are a few reasons why your car’s fuel efficiency has decreased. These reasons include the following:
- Underinflated tires
- A failing fuel injector
- Dirty spark plugs
All of these issues will be quickly resolved in a tune-up.
Your Car Stalls
Every car stalls once in a while, but it shouldn’t be a routine thing. Common issues that could cause a stall to include a clogged air intake system, damaged fuel tank/pump, bad ignition, and damaged spark plugs. The sooner you get it in for a tune-up, the sooner the stalling will disappear.
Too many people fail to bring their cars to a certified mechanic for a tune-up. What they don’t realize is that most tune-ups are inexpensive and that they are a great way to identify problems quickly before they become major issues. Not only will routine tune-ups provide you with peace of mind, but they also extend the length of time you get out of your car, improve your car’s overall efficiency, boost its resale value, and simply provide you with a reliable commuting vehicle.
Has it been a while since your car’s last tune-up? Book an appointment with us today, and we’ll take care of your car.
You’re driving around with hardly a care in the world when you glance at your car’s dashboard and realize that the little battery icon is illuminated. There are a few different reasons why it might have suddenly clicked on.
Your Battery is Faulty
A faulty battery will cause the dash icon to light up, but it’s actually an extremely rare reason. Car batteries are really well made these days, and it’s unusual for one that’s not high quality to be installed in your vehicle. Unusual but not unheard of. If the light clicks on shortly after you’ve had a battery installed, it could be a faulty battery, bad installation, or the battery could have someone been damaged after it was installed in your vehicle.
Your Alternator is About to Die
If your vehicle’s alternator is about to die, your battery light will come on. In fact, this is one of the main reasons the battery light suddenly lights up. The odds are pretty good that as long as your steering and brakes don’t feel strange (if they do, it means your serpentine belt is also bad), you should be able to drive. What you probably won’t be able to do is get your car to start after you shut it off.
If you suspect your alternator is a problem, keep your car running until you can get to a shop and have the alternator replaced. Choose to replace the alternator with one that has a lifetime warranty.
Problems with the Battery Cables/Clamps
Sometimes, when the battery light comes on, it means that there is something wrong with your battery’s clamps or cables. It’s a little unusual for this to be an issue in the middle of a drive, but it does occasionally happen. A far more common sign that you’ve battery cables/clamps are bad is that your car has a really hard time starting. It usually sounds like it’s turning over just fine, but it takes a long time before it finally catches and the engine clicks on.
The good news is that this is usually an easy problem to fix. The problem is usually caused by corrosion. Simple cleaning is all that’s required.
If your battery light is on, and you’re not sure exactly what to do, your best recourse is to bring your car to us. We’ll run a diagnostics test to identify the problem and then replace any damaged or broken parts.
Contact us to schedule an appointment.
The longer you own your car, the more problems you’re going to encounter. Even the best vehicles will have parts that can wear out and will need to be replaced. The good news is that as long as you stay on top of your maintenance, you should be able to drastically extend the life of your vehicle while also keeping your auto repair bills low.
There are some common problems older cars will adapt to signal it’s time to have a mechanic take a look at things.
Engines should run quietly and smoothly. Clunking, banging, rattling, etc. can signify a problem that will get worse if you don’t take immediate action. As soon as you notice that your engine is making a strange noise, it’s time to get to your mechanic. The longer you continue driving the vehicle, the greater the risk that you’ll break down in the middle of your commute.
Check the Wheel Bearings
At least once a week, you should turn off the radio and listen to the sound of your vehicle’s wheels. If you notice any unusual noises, it could indicate that one of your wheel bearings is going bad. This is usually a relatively easy fix that can be done quickly and at an affordable rate.
The Battery Is Dying
There are two reasons you’re car isn’t starting as soon as you turn the key. It could be that your starter is going bad, or if it spends quite a bit of time trying to start before finally catching, your battery could be dying.
Don’t assume that since you have a pair of jumper cables in your trunk that you don’t have to worry about a failing battery. Sooner rather than later, the day will come when your vehicle can’t be jumped. In the long run, you’re better off having your battery replaced.
Low Tire Pressure
A surprising number of drivers don’t even know how much air they should have in their tires and never take the time to make sure the tires are properly inflated. Not only does driving on tires that don’t have enough air drastically decrease your fuel economy, it also means your tires wear out extremely fast, forcing you to frequently replace them. A good quality pressure gauge is inexpensive and allows you to check the tire’s air pressure once a week. As for how much air your tires should have, you’ll find the information posted on the tire’s sidewall. Simply look for the letters PSI. The number in front of the letters is how many pounds of air per square inch of rubber you need.
Having trouble with your car? Contact us and set up a repair appointment!
There comes a point in every car owner’s life when they realize it’s time to upgrade. That means selling your current vehicle and replacing it with something a little bit newer. If you’re selling your vehicle yourself rather than taking it to a dealership for a trade, there are a few things you should do first.
When you’re preparing to sell your used car, you need to make sure the interior and exterior are clean. This goes beyond getting your personal belongings out of the vehicle. The best way to attract interested buyers and get your asking price is by taking it to a car wash and making sure the exterior is shiny. Getting the interior detailed is a great idea, but if you don’t want to go to that expense, grab a package of cleaning cloths and remove all the interior dust. Wash the windows and vacuum the floor. If you have a handheld carpet cleaner, you can use it to clean the seats.
You won’t believe how much faster your car sells when it’s clean.
Gather Up Your Paperwork
Don’t wait until someone asks for the paperwork before getting it ready to go. Before listing your car, make sure you have the title and maintenance records. Keep them somewhere handy so you can quickly grab them when an interested buyer wants to see the documentation.
Be Realistic About How Much You’ll Get for the Car
While the Kelly Blue Book is a great place to gauge the potential value of your vehicle, don’t assume that you’ll get the full value the KBB states. Be realistic about your car’s current condition and ask yourself how much you’d be willing to pay for it.
While it’s okay to set a high asking price, be prepared for the buyers to ask for a lower amount and know just how low you’re willing to go.
Create an Appealing Ad
Customers are going to make split-second decisions about whether they’re interested in your vehicle based on the pictures and info you use in the sales ad. Do you best to talk up the vehicle without lying about known conditions? Pair the written ad with some really good photos of the car’s interior and exterior.
Do you want to resolve some minor mechanical issues before selling your car? Contact us today and book an appointment!
Purchasing a used car is always a mixed blessing. On one hand, used cars are usually considerably cheaper than brand-new cars and they generally don’t depreciate as quickly. On the other hand, you always wonder if there’s something wrong with the vehicle that will end up costing you in the long run.
One way to ease your worries is to have a pre-purchase inspection done on the vehicle you’re considering. This process is a little more extensive than simply bringing your car-savvy friend with you on a test drive. When you get a pre-purchase inspection, you actually take the used car to a certified mechanic who will spend a little time going over the vehicle and see if there are any warning signs of a serious problem. The pre-purchase inspection may cost you a few hundred dollars, but it could also spare you the financial headache of purchasing a used car that turns out to be a lemon.
Before bringing the vehicle you’re considering to a pre-purchase inspection, you will want t do a few things.
Choose the Mechanic Wisely
Ideally, you should bring the vehicle to a mechanic you know and trust, but if the vehicle is located out of town, the current owner may be reluctant to have you take it too far away. If you can’t go to your own mechanic, choose one that has a reputation for honesty, who isn’t connected with the vehicle’s current owner, and who is willing to take their time and really go over the vehicle.
Know What You Want From the Vehicle
No used vehicle is perfect and the older the car that you’re considering is, the more problems there are likely to be. Before you take the vehicle in for a pre-purchase inspection know what your expectations are for the vehicle. How many problem-free miles do you hope to get from it? How much are you willing to invest in repairs during the first month of ownership? How will you be using the vehicle?
Make sure you share this information with the mechanic who is handling the inspection. They will use it to help determine if they think the vehicle is a good fit for you.
At the end of the inspection, make sure you really listen to what the mechanic has to say. As they are sharing details about the car’s current mechanical state, feel free to ask questions, just remember that the mechanic can only share their professional opinion. It’s unlikely that they will be able to guarantee anything.
Have you ever had a used vehicle inspected before you purchased it?
Your car’s suspension system does more than simply provide you with a smooth ride. It is also responsible for making sure your car remains stable as you travel down the road. Many people don’t realize that by ignoring the early warning signs of a suspension problem, they are increasing the likelihood of them being involved in a serious accident.
Here are some common suspension problems you should be on the outlook for.
A surprising number of vehicles on the road today have alignment issues. The problem with alignment issues is that they usually start off small but gradually become more serious. Issues with your alignment can cause your tires to wear unevenly, make it considerably more difficult to keep your car steady in its lane, and make sharp steering situations difficult.
It only takes a few minutes for a professional to both check your alignment and rebalance it. This is something you should have done each time you get your tires rotated.
The shocks are the part of the suspension system most people are familiar with. The purpose of the shocks is to dampen the bumps of the road so that you can enjoy a smooth ride. When a shock is damaged, it will often leak fluid, which not only causes the shock to wear down quicker but also means your previous smooth ride is full of bumps and jolts. Not only does the leaking shock reduce the amount of enjoyment you get from your car, but if you ignore the problem for too long, it can put a great deal of strain on the remainder of your suspension system and your vehicle’s frame.
The springs are the unsung heroes of your car’s suspension system. They don’t just absorb road trauma. They are also a crucial element when it comes to supporting your vehicle’s weight. The problem with the springs is that while they are heavy-duty, they aren’t designed to last forever. It’s not uncommon for the rest of your car to outlast your car. Signs of faulty springs include you having a difficult time controlling your car and a strange squeaking noise emanating from under your vehicle.
While suspension problems aren’t much fun, they are completely fixable. You’ll be pleased to know that since each component can be replaced individually the cost may not be as much as you feared. The other good news is that the sooner you get your vehicle in and have a suspected suspension problem repaired, the less damage your car will sustain.
An overheating car is no laughing matter.
Ignoring the situation is the last thing you want to do. Continuing to drive while your car keeps getting hotter and hotter will lead to all sorts of problems. The hotter the engine gets, the greater the likelihood that the cylinder heads will warp. When this happens, the pistons can become so hot, that they weld themselves to the cylinders which effectively destroys your engine. At this point, you’ll have to go to the massive expense of replacing the engine.
There are a few different reasons your vehicle starts overheating, including:
- A leaking radiator
- The radiator fan isn’t working correctly
- The water pump broke
- A clogged coolant hose
Symptoms of an overheating car include:
- A burning smell
- The temperature gauge in your car is at H
- Steam billowing out from under your car’s hood
The most important thing to do when your car starts overheating is to act quickly. Weirdly enough, the first thing you should do is crank up your car’s heater. This might seem strange, but your car’s heater works by drawing heat from the engine block, that’s why your heater blows cold air when you first start driving on a winter’s day. Turning up the heat when the engine is overheating, pulls the heat away and decreases some of the damage being done to your car.
As soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and shut off your engine. Shutting the engine off won’t cool it down, but it will prevent the temperature from climbing even higher and doing more damage.
Sit and wait for about 15 minutes. This is about how long it will take for your car to cool down enough for you to safely lift the hood and investigate why your car suddenly started overheating.
If the issue is something simple, like you have low coolant, you will be able to add some more and drive at least far enough to get home. The same is true if you have a minor leak, though you’ll have to stop periodically to add more coolant. However if the problem is so severe that any coolant you add simply leaks out or immediately evaporates, you’ll need to have your car towed to your favorite mechanic who will diagnose the problem and replace the damaged parts.
Whether you’re dealing with an overheating vehicle or simply need a tune-up, we’re here and ready to help. We provide outstanding service at prices you can afford.
Contact us and learn how we’ll keep your car in perfect running order.
Road trips are great. You get to see more of the country than you would if you simply flew from one location to another. It’s usually cheaper than flying. If you’re traveling with friends or loved ones, it’s a great way to bond.
The only downside to road trips is worrying about whether your vehicle is up to the experience. The good news is that there are some things you can do to prepare your vehicle for an upcoming road trip.
Four Weeks Before Planned Trip, Take Care of Major Repairs
About four weeks before the planned road trip you should have your mechanic look at your car and make sure there isn’t anything major wrong with it. If they do find something, you should arrange to have those issues repaired in the next week or two. Getting the vehicle checked out should happen four weeks before your trip and all repairs should be done within two weeks of your anticipated take-off day.
Check the Tires
One week before your trip, you’ll want to dedicate to your tires. Don’t just look at them and decide that they’re fine. Take them to your local tire store and have them inspected, filled up, and rotated. Don’t forget to have the spare tire in your trunk done at the same time.
Get the Oil Changed
The week before you leave, you should have your oil (and a few filters) changed. Not only does this mean your car is operating with perfect oil, but it also means that you don’t have to wonder if you have enough oil. When you’re getting the oil changed, ask that they check and top off all other fluids.
Set Up a Safety Kit
Before a road trip, you should have a safety kit in your vehicle. The kit should contain basic first aid supplies, flares, and some simple automotive repair things. Keep this kit in a location that you can easily access if you get into trouble.
Join a Roadside Assistance Program
Don’t underestimate the value of a good roadside assistance program, especially when you’re in the middle of a road trip. They can help you with everything from flat tires, to running out of gas, to locking the keys in the car situations.
Are you in the middle of prepping for a big road trip? Bring it into us for a good checkup that will identify any potential mechanical issues that would ruin an otherwise perfect vacation.
If you have pets, especially a dog or two, you likely want to bring them with you wherever you go. Having your dog with you as you travel is as much fun for you as it is for your dog.
Before you load the members of your fur family into your car, it’s important to make sure you’re vehicle is safe and comfortable for them.
Can you Keep Them Away from You?
As appealing as having your dog or cat on your lap while you drive might seem, it’s not a good idea. Not only is having a pet on your lap while you’re driving distracting, but it’s also dangerous. If something happens and your pet jumps up, it could temporarily cause you to avert your eyes from the road at a crucial moment or even bump the steering wheel, causing you to lose control of the vehicle. It’s best to have your pets either buckled up in their seat or at the very least restricted to the back of the vehicle.
There are lots of pet safety seats, vehicle barriers, and even attachments that hook to the seatbelt that you should consider. Having your pet restrained and far away from the driver is safer for both everyone driving on the road and your pet.
Do They Have Water
Set up your car so that your pet can access water whenever they want. This will keep them hydrated and allow them to enjoy the drive far more than they would if they were thirsty. Look for ways that you can set up a travel water bowl. Placing a thick towel under the bowl will take care of any water that splashes over the edge while you’re driving.
You should also consider setting your pet, particularly young ones, up with a chew toy or snack that will keep them occupied.
How Will They Stay Cool if You’re Parked
The biggest danger connected to traveling with pets is the possibility of them overheating while you’re parked somewhere. Ideally, you’ll be able to plan your day so that your pet is never left alone in a parked car. However, if for some reason you do have to leave your pet alone, park in a shaded area, and cover the windows. Crack the windows enough to let some fresh air in. Set up a battery-powered fan that blows on your pet. Provide them with plenty of cold water and a few ice packs they can lay on. Keep the amount of time they are unattended in the hot car as short as possible.
Keep Your Car Running Smoothly
The last thing you need or want is for your car to break down while you have important members of your fur family riding with you. The best way to make sure you never have to deal with a nervous dog or jumpy cat while you’re stranded on the side of the highway is to keep your car in excellent repair. In addition to routine maintenance, regularly get it serviced and repair any issues your mechanic finds.
Contact us today for an honest quote on high-quality, reliable car repairs.