January 29, 2015

Reasons the Heater May Not be Working

When driving, you will want the vehicle to be as safe as possible. You will also want to have the added comfort that the heating system can provide your vehicle. The heating system is important because it can also help to make sure that your vehicle is operating efficiently or effectively. If the heater is not working, not only would the inside of your vehicle feel like an ice box, but a broken heater can prevent your defroster from blowing warm air to your windshield. The defroster is important because it helps to eliminate ice and fog, which can pose a hazard while driving. Not having a working heater in your vehicle could even become a dire situation, if you end up stranded. Make sure to bring your vehicle in and we can inspect it for you. Why the Heater may Break Down When the heater stops operating, it could be caused from a variety of reasons. If you are not sure what the specific reason could be, make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it. Try to make not of any odd noises, smells, or anything else out of the norm. Also notice if the vehicle handles differently when the heater no longer is working. One reason for a poor heater could be low antifreeze or water level in the radiator. This could be caused from a leak in the cooling system. Also, a bad thermostat that is not allowing the engine to warm up properly may cause a heater that does not function. The blower fan should also be inspected to ensure it is working properly. Coolant that contains rust particles may become contaminated and might be blocking the heating core. This will reduce the circulating air in the cabin of the vehicle. Short Term Fixes for the Vehicle Topping it off may help in the short term, but it is an indication of a deeper problem and should be checked out. You should not have to add anything at all if everything is working well. It can damage the motor if there is low heat from too little coolant. If there is a leak, it could be as simple as a loose hose clamp, or a major problem like a leaking engine cylinder head gasket. This can cause serious damage to the engine and a costly repair bill if it is ignored. Remember to go to Regular Maintenances Several components make up the heating system of your vehicle. A heating system works when the vehicle receives heat from the engine’s coolant system. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature that is controlled by the thermostat, it heats up the coolant and water mixture. It will then pass it through hoses and valves and into the heating core. This can resemble a miniature radiator. A blower fan then pushes the warm air from the heating core through the cabin filter and into the vehicle. Maintaining your vehicle’s cooling system helps prevent a heater failure. Checking hoses, belts, and keeping the coolant clean and filled are simple basic maintenance that will help keep it working.
January 22, 2015

Understanding How the Cooling System Works

The engine in your vehicle produces incredibly high levels of heat and the cooling system is essential in cooling the engine of your vehicle enough to avoid damaging the parts inside it. Without a cooling system, your engine would quickly reach temperatures that would damage most of its components. Every engine is designed to function in a very specific temperature range. If it gets colder, the engine’s oil is too thick to move efficiently, and the moving parts in the engine don’t get lubricated properly. Any hotter and the engine is vulnerable to being damaged by heat. Heat damage is one of the leading causes of engine failure. Excessive heat can cause cracking in the engine block, cylinder head and manifold as well as accelerated wear to bearing surfaces in the engine bearings and valve train. What the Coolant Fluid Does The coolant, or radiator fluid, used in your car’s cooling system is perhaps the most vital part of the system. Coolant flows throughout the entire cooling system, dissipating the heat created in the internal combustion engine. It is specifically designed to retain important properties while it is in the demanding environment of a vehicle’s engine. If you notice you have to replace the coolant often, it could be a sign of a leak. Make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you. The Importance of the Water Pump The water pump is a mechanical pump pushes the coolant through the radiator and the engine. Since the water pump is mechanical, it requires a belt to turn the rotor. This type of belt is commonly referred to as the serpentine belt. The thermostat detects the operating temperature. It is also designed to regulate the flow of coolant from your radiator to your engine. When your engine reaches a certain temperature the thermostat releases the flow of coolant and when the engine is cooler, it restricts it. The Radiator and Cooling Fan The radiator is a square or rectangular shaped metal box that fits in front of your engine. It draws in cooler ambient air from the outside to help cool the radiator fluid. A radiator is usually made out of a metal such as aluminum, or in some cases copper, that conducts heat very well. It includes a series of tubes and fins where the fluid passes through and is cooled by air drawn into the radiator. Hot coolant flows into the radiator and is into tiny passages connected to the small metal fins. As the coolant moves through the passages, heat is transferred into the fins. Heat is then radiated into the air and away from the engine. Once the coolant has gone through this process, its temperature is drastically reduced. The radiator cooling fan is usually located directly behind the radiator itself. Its function is to pull air through the radiator when the vehicle is operating at slower speeds. It may be mechanical and driven by a belt, or it may be electric and controlled by the thermostat.
January 15, 2015

Transmission Switch Issues to be Aware of

Being able to diagnose the types of problems that can occur with a transmission switch will not only help you to maintain your car, but also to save money. Being aware of the signs to look out for will help you to recognize a defect that requires your attention. Also make sure to bring the vehicle in for regular maintenances. This can help ensure the parts are working efficiently and properly. You can help reduce the chance of a costly repair bill as well as time and stress. Catching it at the first sign will reduce the amount of wear and tear other parts may have. Odd Noises from the Vehicle If you find that the normal use of the vehicle creates unusual noises, it may be caused by transmission switch problems. The manner in which the transmission switch is connected to the engine must be checked to ensure that the fasteners have not come loose. Where this is the case, the fasteners can rattle around and create a significant amount of noise. Further, loose fasteners can result in the transmission not being fitted securely and moving about. Replacing the fasteners can solve these problems. Make sure to bring the vehicle in at any odd noises it makes so we can inspect it for you. Signs of Leaks Happening In the event that you notice drips of liquid on the ground after moving the vehicle, it is possible that this is caused by leaking transmission fluid. When this is the case, you must check the status of the hoses as well as the joins of the connection. Tighten any fasteners to determine whether this solves the problem and replace any parts that have become worn or damaged. No matter what size or color the leak is, it is important to bring the vehicle in. We will be able to check the hoses and under the hood for what may be causing the leak. We can then have the part replaced quickly, to help get you back on the road again. If you ignore a leak, it will develop into a larger one. This will also cost you more time, money, and stress in the long run. If a leak continues, the fluid level may be completely empty, when you need the vehicle the most. Regular Maintenance is Important Transmission troubleshooting needs to be undertaken as part of the normal maintenance of a vehicle when it ceases to run properly. When the transmission fluid is too low or it becomes contaminated, steps must be taken to fix this. Refilling or draining and replacing the fluid are necessary when this problem occurs. Make sure to schedule an appointment to bring the vehicle in. We will be able to check the fluid level, as well as the condition of the fluid. Having the transmission fluid checked is a quick and ease process that can help ensure the transmission is working efficiently. This can help provide you with a safe and enjoyable ride.
January 9, 2015

Tips for Driving At Night

Wintertime brings various driving challenges, from wet, rainy conditions to wind, ice and snow. One factor you might not think about, though, is the length of the nights. The shorter days of winter mean there are more hours of darkness, and that translates to more driving time in the dark. Help ensure that you are traveling safely on winter’s darker roads by following these safety tips for night driving. This can decrease your chance for having an accident when you drive. Improving Your Vision when you Drive Our pupils dilate in the dark, and our eyesight tends to detect lights and movement rather than the color and sharp details that we recognize during the day. Consequently, our depth perception is not as keen at night, and our eyes may be more prone to become dry or tired because we tend to concentrate more and blink less. With these physiological factors in mind, there are a few things you can do to make nighttime treks less treacherous. Eye doctors typically recommend scanning the road and keeping your eyes moving instead of concentrating all your vision on one area. It is also important to understand what you’re seeing. For example, if you are traveling through a rural area that’s packed with deer, raccoons or other wildlife, two small, bright dots may be animal eyes in the distance ahead. Avoid hitting an animal by looking for reflections of your headlights in its eyes, which should be visible well before you can see the entire animal. Inspect the Lights on the Vehicle At night, the lights around you can work against you just as much as they work for you. Make sure that your headlights are aimed properly, since poorly aligned headlights can negatively impact your visibility and blind other drivers around you. Driving at dusk also poses greater risks than you might expect, since your eyes have to continually adjust as night falls. If the lights on your dashboard are on their brightest setting, it may take a toll on your forward visibility. Dim your interior lights so that they are visible, but not distracting. That way, it will be easy for your eyes to adjust to the lights on the road ahead. By the same token, avoid staring at headlights from oncoming traffic and other bright lights out on the road. It is easy to get distracted by the high beams of a tall truck, or the glare coming off of an illuminated billboard. If you are blinded by oncoming traffic, look toward the right edge of the road and steer along its path until you can see clearly again. Pay Attention to the Road and those around you Make sure to stay as alert as possible when you drive. Stop to stretch your legs and get food if you are on a long trip, and if you are tired, make sure you get some rest before heading back out on the road. It can be hard to judge how fast a car is traveling or how far away it is at night, so slow down and make sure that you are following other vehicles at a safe distance. Be mindful of other drivers, and switch to your low beams if there is oncoming traffic or if you are following another vehicle.