February 20, 2018

Dashboard Warning Lights and What they Mean

Vehicles are filled with electronics and packed with sensors to monitor both how your vehicle is behaving and to make our motoring life easier. But when something does go wrong, it can be a difficult task trying to work out exactly what that warning light flashing away on your dashboard is trying to tell you. It is important to know what the car dashboard warning lights actually mean, though, not least because they can pre-empt a breakdown or full-on failure, potentially saving you from an expensive repair bill and meaning you stay safer on the road. Your vehicle’s brakes are arguably the most important feature on your car, so if there’s a warning light flashing on your dash highlighting there’s something wrong with the braking system, it’s best to get it checked out right away. This could mean there is an issue with the brake system, so make sure to adjust your driving accordingly. If your engine warning light is illuminated, often it’ll be accompanied by some unusual symptoms – these could include a lack of power, as the car has gone into safe mode to protect itself; an intermittent stuttering as you press the accelerator, caused by a misfire; or another fault which could alter the normal response from the engine. Sometimes this can be down to something as small as a faulty electrical sensor, although sometimes it can be a larger mechanical issue. If your car’s power steering warning light – often known as the EPAS light – is illuminated, it means there could be something wrong with the steering system. If the system fails, the steering could go heavy, meaning more effort will be needed to make the car change direction. If the light starts blinking, make sure to pull the vehicle over as soon as possible and turn it off. This can help prevent further damage to the vehicle. You should see your battery charge warning light when you first turn your car on, but if it doesn’t go out a few seconds after the engine starts, there could be a problem with your car’s electrical system. This could be to do with a faulty alternator, faulty battery, a bad connection or damaged cabling somewhere in the engine bay. If your car isn’t charging its battery when moving, then you could eventually run out of electrical power. No matter what light you see illuminate, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.
February 12, 2018

How the Cold Temperatures Affect your Car

  The winter is probably the worst time of year to experience car trouble. Winter poses quite a few problems for vehicles. It is important to bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance inspections. You might have noticed a correlation between temperatures dropping and the tire pressure light coming on. When the temperature undergoes fluctuations, tire pressure can change. Gasses expand when heated and contract when temperatures decline—so your pressure can increase in the summer and decrease in the winter. For every 10 degrees of temperature drop, your tires will lose 1 pound of pressure. When you wake up to an especially cold morning, it isn’t out of the norm that you might need to fill your tires.   Adequate inflation is necessary for maximum handling, traction, and durability as designed by the tire manufacturer. Basically, if you want your tire to do its job properly, you need to do yours by ensuring it’s inflated properly. After all, it’s the air pressure that supports your vehicle’s weight and not the tire itself. It’s best to keep an eye on your tire pressure throughout the winter. You should check the pressure in the morning before the tire has been run, before the temperature rises, and before it’s exposed to direct sunlight, as these might give you a false reading. Additionally, the act of driving affects tire temperature; tire pressure can increase by up to 5 psi in the first 20-30 minutes of driving before finally stabilizing.   Additionally, low temperatures can affect your tires’ rubber. The cold has a tendency of making rubber products more rigid and brittle, and tires aren’t necessarily the exception to this. Some ultra-high-performance summer tires run the risk of losing grip and cracking in cold weather. Tires can begin losing elasticity around 45 degrees. Make sure to check the tires regularly, so you can rest assured they are at the amount needed to drive on.  
February 1, 2018

Strange Noises from Your Vehicle

If you notice some unusual noises from your vehicle, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you. An odd noise that is heard often can mean there is an issue with the vehicle. By having the issue looked at as soon as possible, you can help reduce the chance of further damage being done to your vehicle in the long run. The sound of a loud squeak coming from under the hood of your car is often due to slippage of a worn or damaged accessory belt. The squeaking is caused by aging belts becoming loose and losing traction. Sometimes you can even see that the sides of old belts have become shiny glazed. Squeaky belts may need to be replaced, so if this noise is coming from under the hood of your vehicle, it may be the belts.   If your car produces a hissing noise when it is running, it may be a vacuum leak, meaning a vacuum line may be damaged. This issue may also cause your check engine light to go on. Hearing a hissing noise from under your car’s hood may be an indication that it’s time to bring the vehicle in so we can properly inspect it for you.   A squeal coming from any of your wheels can be a brake pad issue. Brake pads wear down through usage, and today’s pads are designed with a band of metal that becomes exposed at the end of a pad’s life cycle. When these metal tabs come into contact with your rotors, you hear that squealing noise, which is a high-pitched reminder that it’s time to get your brake pads inspected, and likely replaced.   Worn brake pads, if not fixed, will eventually wear away completely, and the sound of metal on metal will result in a horrible grinding noise. This also means that along with your brake pads, your brake rotors may need repair or replacement. The brakes are an important part of your vehicle, so do not delay when it comes to having them repaired. If you notice any odd noise or sound from your vehicle, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.