General Car Maintenance

March 2, 2018

Clearing off the Windshield and Vehicle before you Drive

  In the winter you will want to make sure that your vehicle is cleared off completely before you drive. The best way to do this, and the most effective way is to first start your vehicle. Turn on the defrost for your vehicle, front and rear windshield, and turn the heat on high. If you notice an issue with the defroster or heater of your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment and bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. Use a brush to wipe off all the snow from the car, making sure the front grill is clear. You will want to make sure the snow and any ice chunks are removed from the hood and roof of your vehicle. When you drive, the snow can blow onto the windshield and cause poor visibility or freeze on the windshield. It could also blow and impair the visibility of other drivers on the road as well. As the engine warms the car from the inside, get scraping from the outside. Don’t wipe windows with your hands – your mitts will leave greasy smudges. Scrape not only just an area you can see from, but the entire windshield and side windows on the vehicle. You will also want to check the side mirrors to ensure they are free from ice and snow. You will need to use them to check for vehicles beside or behind you. As you clear off the windshield, remember to never use boiling water on glass. The rapid expansion and contraction of the ice can cause the screen to crack. Instead, keep the defroster running, and scrape the ice, snow, or frost off with a scraper. It’s worth waiting an extra few minutes to make sure your car is safe to drive before you head out in the icy weather.
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.
January 12, 2018

Ways to Notice an Issue with the Radiator

Proper maintenance of your vehicle is important. The first sign that there is an issue with the cooling system in your vehicle will often come from the temperature gauge. If your vehicle has been running consistently warmer or has recently begun having issues with overheating, there is likely an issue with the cooling system. The temperature gauge in your vehicle should have an acceptable operating range. Even if your vehicle is not overheating but has been running at the higher end of the operating range, there may be an issue. If your vehicle is running with the temperature gauge in the red, it is overheating. Pull over and shut off the vehicle. Issues with the cooling system can also cause the engine to run cold. In that case, the temperature gauge will remain in the blue.   Another early indicator of a problem with your cooling system may be the check engine light on your dashboard. Your check engine light comes on when one of the sensors in your car sends a message to it. Many vehicles have dash board lights that will notify you of low coolant levels or extreme engine temperatures as well.   Leaks are a common issue in coolant systems. If you spot a puddle beneath your vehicle, there’s a chance that it may be the result of a coolant leak. Oil is often brown or black, water from the air conditioner will be clear, and coolant will likely be green, pink or orange. A leak in your coolant system can cause it to fail to maintain proper temperature in the engine. If you suspect that your vehicle has a coolant leak, pop the hood when the engine is cool and look at your coolant reservoir. The reservoir will have lines indicating the minimum and maximum coolant capacity for your vehicle. Take note of the level the coolant reaches on the reservoir, then check again in a few days. If it has gone down, the coolant is either leaking or being burned. If you notice an issue with the radiator or your vehicle overheating, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.
December 21, 2017

Noticing Alternator Issues

  The most common way to notice an issue with the vehicle is by any warning lights that might illuminate on the dashboard. If the light that is shaped like a battery or one that says “ALT” illuminates, it could mean there is an issue with the alternator of the vehicle. This light will not always mean there is an issue with the battery   Another way to be aware of a poor alternator is if you notice the lights on the vehicle have become dimmer. This is because the alternator supplies the electrical needs for the vehicle. When it starts to fail, some of the electrical components will decrease in effectiveness as well. This can include the lights, windshield wipers, power windows, and other electrical parts.   Between visits, make sure you are inspecting the vehicle, and be aware of any issues that might be out of the norm for it. This could include a belt that is loose or hanging. A visual inspection can help ensure all the parts are working, as they should be. Also be aware of any sounds you might hear. This can include a growling or whining noise coming from the alternator. The accessory belt or serpentine belt will help to drive the alternator. If it is not in correct alignment, the bearings could start to cause an issue and make odd noises that will indicate an issue. When you notice an issue at the first sign, you can help prevent further damage and wear and tear by bringing it in to be inspected.
December 8, 2017

Signs of a Poor Cabin Filter

Owning a vehicle means that you want it to be in the best condition possible, and ensure it is efficient. Make sure to bring it in for regularly schedule maintenance inspections so that the parts can be checked to ensure they are operating correctly. The cabin air filter is the filter responsible for filtering the air that is fed into the vehicle’s heating and air conditioning systems. The filter traps dust, pollen, and other foreign particles, preventing them from entering the vehicle and polluting the cabin. Since they work in essentially the same fashion as a regular engine air filter, cabin air filters get dirty and should be replaced when they become excessively contaminated, or at the regular service interval recommended by the manufacturer. Usually a dirty cabin air filter will produce a few symptoms that can notify the driver that attention may be required. Less Efficient Air Flow A common symptom associated with a bad cabin air filter is poor airflow from the vehicle’s interior vents. An excessively contaminated cabin air filter will not be able to filter the incoming air as effectively as a clean filter would. As a result, this will cause restricted airflow. Additionally, this will cause the vents to blow with noticeably less force, reducing the overall capacity of the air system and put extra strain on the blower motor. Unusual Odor From Vents Another sign of a bad or failing cabin air filter is an unusual odor coming from the vehicle’s interior vents. An excessively contaminated filter may produce a dusty, dirty, or musty smell. The smell may become more pronounced when the vent is turned on, and may make the cabin uncomfortable for the passengers. A cabin filter is a simple component that should be replaced when necessary to keep the system working as efficiently as possible, and to keep the cabin as comfortable as possible for the passengers. If you suspect that your cabin filter may be dirty, have the vehicle examined by us, to determine if your car is due for a cabin air filter replacement. Always remember to bring the vehicle in at anytime when you notice an issue. By inspecting the issue at the first sign, you can help prevent further wear and tear in the long run. You can also reduce the chance that other parts and components will start to fail, resulting in a costly repair bill. By keeping the vehicle well maintained, you can increase the efficiency of the vehicle when you drive.