Yearly Archives: 2024

A Clean Start (Battery Cleaning)

You may be fanatical about keeping the outside of your vehicle clean.  But what about what's under the hood? Have you ever thought about how dirt and grime may be affecting your engine's components? One of the most important parts under your hood to keep clean is your vehicle's battery.  With a daily barrage of dirt and moisture, outside parts of your battery can corrode, namely the cables and terminals. Gases vented by batteries can also promote corrosion.  That can create connection problems and affect your vehicle's electrical system.  If corrosion is not cleaned off, it may damage wires and terminals so badly that they will stop properly conducting electricity.  At that point, they may need replacing. When you bring your vehicle to us for a battery inspection and cleaning, we will remove any corrosion and put corrosion-resistant protection on each post. A technician will also visually inspect your battery.  Plus, we can test how much life is in your ba ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Out of Joint (CV Joint and Boot Replacement)

If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it has components called CV joints which enable you to turn your wheels smoothly. The CV stands for “constant velocity.” In essence, it’s a set of gears that connect a shaft that allows power from the transmission to be sent to the wheels.  When you turn the wheels, no matter what angle, the input velocity rotation will be equal to the output. Thus, the name, CV (constant velocity) joint. Other vehicles with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive also use CV joints.   If one of your CV joints isn’t working right, you may find your vehicle difficult to handle.  If one breaks, your vehicle may stop moving.  So, it’s important that CV joints be in top working condition.  The joints need a lot of lubrication, so they are surrounded by grease.  There’s a rubber enclosure around them called the boot which holds the grease in and protects CV joints from the elements. 
 
The bi

... read more

Categories:

Drive Train

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

A Bright Spark (Ignition Coil Replacement)

Ever wonder how your vehicle’s engine is able to take the 12-volts from its battery and ramp that up to as high as the tens of thousands of volts it takes to fire its spark plugs? The secret is something called an ignition coil.  Most newer vehicles have an ignition coil at each cylinder, but older ones have a coil that serves all of the spark plugs.  There are telltale signs that you have an ignition coil problem.  As you might expect, one symptom is it’s hard to start your engine or it won’t start at all.  If your engine is misfiring or not running smoothly or you see the Check Engine light come on, those all could point to an ignition coil failure. Several things can contribute to ignition coil trouble in addition to normal wear and tear. Moisture and dirt may have gotten inside the coil, plus the heat and vibration of your engine over time can contribute to them going bad.  Bad spark plugs or plug wires can also be a cause.   While ig ... 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

The ?Man-Made? Engine Oil (Synthetic Oil Change)

If you own a newer vehicle, your vehicle’s manufacturer may require that it use synthetic oil instead of conventional oil.  Synthetic oils are more stable, don’t break down as easily, and provide better engine protection than conventional oil. All those things can prolong the life of your engine and help it run better. Imagine the damage that could happen to your engine as it operates at high speeds and very hot temperatures.  Oil reduces the friction between the metal parts.  That’s why it’s important that it maintains its lubricating properties for a long time, which synthetic oil does better than conventional oil.   Clean oil is better than dirty oil because it has fewer impurities.  Synthetic oil is purer because of how it’s formulated and manufactured.  Plus, as the outside temperatures change, the ability of oil to operate in those conditions is important.  
For example, the colder it gets, it’s important f
... read more

Categories:

Oil Change

In a Fog (Fogged Windows in Cold Weather)

It's bad enough in cold weather when ice and snow block your visibility.  Add to that fog on the inside of your windows and you could be driving blind.  So here are a few tips on how to keep your windows from fogging up when there's a chill in the air. You probably know fog is really condensation, when moist, warm air meets a cold surface and turns to liquid.  If your windshield fogs up, you probably turn on your windshield defroster. Most defrosters blow heated air on the windshield glass to warm it up so it won't condense the moisture.  Many also turn on the air conditioning to reduce the moisture.  That same strategy can work on the rest of the windows.  First, turn up your heater's temperature setting.  The hotter the air, the more moisture it will hold.  Also, turn off the "recirculating" setting since you want all outside air to come in. Then switch on the air conditioning.  It will remove the moisture from the outside  air that i ... read more

Command Performance (Engine Air Filter)

The internal combustion engine in your vehicle counts on two things that mix together to be burned in the engine for power: fuel and air.  Both are important, of course.  If you run out of fuel, your engine won’t run at all.  Since there’s plenty of air around, you won’t run out of air, but you could feel your vehicle’s performance suffer if the engine air filter starts to get clogged.  It's important that the air that enters your engine be free of dirt, dust, and debris to prevent damage to internal components.  That’s where the engine air filter comes in.  It prevents those particles from entering the engine, an important job that most people just take for granted. After a while, your air filter will get dirty, which results in less air reaching the engine.  Modern fuel injected engines can adjust the amount of gas to mix with the air that is getting in, so your fuel economy won’t change significantly.  What ... read more

Clean Machine (Fuel and Air Induction Cleaning)

As your vehicle ages, its performance isn’t quite what it used to be, but many of us never notice the change because it’s gradual.  So here are a few questions to ask yourself.  Does your vehicle feel like it doesn’t have the pep that it used to? Have you noticed your fuel economy isn’t quite as good as it once was? Does it idle roughly or is it hard to start?  Do you hear the engine knocking? Has it recently failed an emissions test? All of those can be signs that your fuel and air induction systems are dirty and need cleaning.  Your fuel system takes gasoline from the tank to the engine’s combustion chambers where fuel injectors spray fuel that mixes with air and is ignited by spark plugs.  Black carbon deposits eventually can build up, obstructing fuel flow and diminishing your engine’s performance and fuel efficiency. The air induction system is what allows air to go into the engine’s combustion chamber.  Getti ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

Don't Blow a Gasket! (Valve Cover Gasket Replacement)

When you head out to your vehicle after it's been parked and notice oil leaking underneath it, that's something to have looked at right away.  Oil leaks mean your oil level is probably low and running a vehicle in that condition can lead to expensive repairs. While there are many reasons oil leaks develop, one possibility is a bad valve cover gasket.  Vehicle engines have a cover bolted over the spot where the engine valves are, and that cover keeps the oil inside the engine. In between the cover and the engine is a gasket that keeps that seal tight.  But after many years of high engine temperatures and vibrations, that gasket or the bolts that hold on the valve cover can fail or loosen, and oil can leak. You may see dirty oil on the valve cover in the engine compartment, near the spark plugs, or around the bolts that hold the valve cover on.  All those are signs of leakage and time to bring your vehicle in for our technicians to check out. In some vehicles, taking ... read more