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Automotive Tips from Twin City Auto: Alignment Inspection

Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Scottsbluff drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor at Twin City Auto will inspect your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He?ll also compare your current alignment with the vehicle manufacturer?s settings.Your vehicle owner?s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in a crash, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Scottsbluff, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your Twin City Auto service advisor perform an important alignment check.Twin City Auto1802 E Overland Suite #4Scottsbluff, NE 6936130

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Alignment

Let?s Shift Gears (Transmission Fluid Replacement)

If you have a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you probably never think about gear shifting.  When motor vehicles were invented, all of them had to be shifted manually.  But that wonderful self-shifting transmission, referred to these days as simply an “automatic,” changed everything. Automatic transmissions have a lot of moving parts, and they are bathed in a fluid that keeps them lubricated and cool. That fluid also is vital to the whole gear shifting process.  As you might imagine, the longer that fluid does its job, the more chance it has to pick up some contaminants.  Sometimes a leak will spring up in an automatic transmission.  Dirty transmission fluid or not enough of it will both create problems. It may cause your Check Engine light to come on, or your transmission may run rough and make strange noises. The best strategy is not to let it get to this point.  That means you should have your transmission fluid replaced at regular i ... read more

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Transmission

In the Hot Seat (Repair and Maintenance of Seat Heaters)

It's chilly outside. You flip on that switch that looks like a picture of a seat with little heat waves rising from it.  You expect soon you'll feel that warmth but… wait! It's not getting warmer.  Oh no, what's wrong with my seat heater? There could be lots of reasons it's not working, and it could be as simple as a fuse or as major as the heating element itself.  But it's something to leave to a pro to diagnose and repair. Let's say it turns out to be a blown fuse.  Simply replacing the fuse may not fix it because there was a reason the fuse blew in the first place.  It's possible the on-off switch has worn out or corroded.  Perhaps the wiring connection isn't completing the circuit (could be corroded or full of dirt) or the voltage reaching the heating element isn't correct.  There's a little sensor that keeps track of the seat heater's temperature called the thermistor.  When the seat is hot enough, it will stop the juice from heating ... read more

Twin City Auto Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On

Twin City Auto Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On

All Scottsbluff service advisors know that without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles. The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. And on many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures. (On some vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.) So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why your vehicle manufacturer and your service advisor at Twin City Auto have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn't fail.Your friendly and knowledgeable Twin City Auto service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amo ... read more

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Maintenance

Snake in the Engine (Serpentine Belt)

There's a belt that snakes through your engine.  It's even named for a snake, the serpentine belt.  It'll bite you when it breaks, possibly leaving you stranded.  So, it's good to know a little about this snake-like belt. In early engines, there were lots of belts. They were used to convert the rotating power of the engine to turn a mechanical part.  But engineers had an idea.  Why not consolidate all those belts into one that ran a bunch of different parts simultaneously? Voila!  The serpentine belt. It's found in the front or side of your engine unlike older belts which were often in a V shape, the serpentine belt has ribs on it which more effectively connect with the pulleys that power the other components.  A serpentine belt may power the water pump, power steering pump, alternator, and the air conditioning: all from one crankshaft.  Now, all that's fine when everything is working well and the belt is intact.  But when a serpentine belt ... read more

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Serpentine Belt

Let's Clear Some Things Up (Headlight Restoration)

You know how exposing your skin to sunlight can cause sunburn and other unhealthy things.  Sunlight can also create major problems for your headlights.  After they've been exposed to ultraviolet light, acrylic headlights can yellow and fog due to oxidation.  And when that happens, less light can pass through the plastic, reducing the effectiveness—and safety—of your headlights.  It's not just the UV light that causes headlights to turn cloudy.  Road grime and debris gets kicked up and can scratch the plastic, diffusing the light that should pass through them when they're clear.  Plus, when your vehicle was new from the factory, the headlights had watertight seals all around to prevent moisture from getting into them and fogging them up with water vapor.  Just like clouds can hide the sun, tiny water molecules can diffuse the light from your headlight bulbs.  Sure, you could buy replacement parts and start fresh.  But the good new ... read more

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Headlamps

Shifty Letters PRNDL (Transmission)

You probably figured out those shifty letters.  They're what you see on your automatic transmission shifter and stand for Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low.  Your automatic transmission is one of the great automotive inventions; here are some ways you can keep yours working well. Maintain your transmission regularly.  A technician will check your transmission fluid's level and even its appearance and smell.  If it's dark or has an unusual odor, that could be a sign of trouble. Change from one transmission direction gear into another only when your vehicle is stopped.  So many drivers want to switch from Reverse to Drive quickly or the other way around.  If you do that when the vehicle is moving, you can damage your automatic transmission. Keep your vehicle's cooling system in top shape.  What does the cooling system have to do with the transmission? It helps keep the transmission fluid from overheating.  Follow the manufacturer's recommendati ... read more

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Transmission

Steering You Right (Tie Rod End Replacement)

For drivers, S stands for safety.  And there are three other words that start with S that are all equally important: starting, stopping and steering. For your vehicle to be at its safest, all three functions must be in top shape.  Steering is one of those things we take for granted.  After all, you turn the wheel and your vehicle changes direction. But sometimes you might notice your steering is a little off.  Maybe you've noticed you turn your wheel slightly and your vehicle doesn't turn. You may feel a little vibration in the wheel that increases when you go faster.  You may hear a little squeak from the wheels when you steer and you may notice your tires aren't wearing evenly. These are signs that your tie rod ends may be failing. Tie rod ends help connect your vehicle's steering mechanism to the wheels.  They can wear out after you've hit one too many potholes or just from constant use.  They can cause sloppy steering and loose handling, and they ... read more

In That Case? (Transfer Case Exchange)

Ever wonder how all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive vehicles get the power from the engine to the front and rear wheels? The magic happens in what's called a transfer case.  In some all-wheel-drive vehicles, it's sometime called a power take-off unit, or PTU. Inside the transfer case is a set of gears.  And to keep those gears meshing smoothly, they have to be lubricated and kept cool.  What does that is called transfer case fluid. Depending on your vehicle's type of transfer case, it is filled with either an automatic transmission fluid, a gear oil that's a bit thicker or transfer case fluid designed to be use for your transfer case. As happens with all lubricating fluids, the transfer case fluid has things in it that break down the older they get.  They have corrosion inhibitors, detergents and anti-foaming agents that keep the lubricant from getting air bubbles in it. Transfer cases don't have filters in them to clean out impurities. If you don't have your transfer ... read more

Beginning to See the Light (Check Engine Light Diagnostics)

It's a light many drivers fear they'll see turn on at the most inopportune time.  It's the one on the dash that says "Check Engine," "Service Engine Soon," or it may be simply an engine-shaped light. Your first instinct may be to pull off to the side of the road and turn off the engine. The truth is that Check Engine light can be pointing to problems as simple as a loose gas cap. But it could be as serious as a severely misfiring engine.  Don't ignore it because it's there to help you avoid an expensive repair it is designed to alert you to, to tell you something's not quite right. Your vehicle has a connected system of computers and sensors constantly checking to see that all systems are working the way they should. If something isn't, the system will turn on the Check Engine light. If it's flashing, that could be serious. Look at some of the other warning lights or gauges such as heat or oil pressure. They could be telling you your vehicle's problem should be checked right ... read more