Vehicle Safety Inspection

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.  
December 29, 2017

Driving your Vehicle in Winter

  When snow falls, even in small amounts, it can be time consuming to clear off your vehicle. Clearing off the vehicle completely is important for your safety, as well as the safety of others. It is important to clean off your entire vehicle, including all windows and even the side mirrors. It can also help to decrease the chance of ice and snow falling off your vehicle and causing an accident for someone else. While cleaning off your vehicle, it is important to remember how to properly remove the snow and ice. Clearing off snow and ice the wrong way could damage part of the vehicle’s surface. When you remove snow from your vehicle, never use a shovel. It is easy to get the shovel too close to the surface of the vehicle, even while being careful. Shovels that are metal or plastic have hard edges that are designed to scrape along the ground to remove the bottom layers of ice and snow. These edges can leave scratches and gouges in the surface of the vehicle.     If there is ice on the vehicle, make sure to remove it correctly by lifting it off. The tendency is to push off any ice chunks that may be on the vehicle. This can cause an issue because when ice is pushed off the vehicle, the bottom of the ice can slide along the surface. This can result in fine scratches on the vehicle.   It is recommended to turn the vehicle on and let it warm up before you drive it. This can be an effective way to slowly melt the ice off the vehicle. It is important not to use the ice scraper on any part of the vehicle other than the windows. The hard plastic is designed to scrape ice off the windows, and may result in scratches if you use it on any part of the vehicle that is painted. Heating your vehicle up also helps to warm up the oil so the engine can perform better. Best of all, the interior of your vehicle will be warmed up too, so you will be more comfortable.
December 5, 2017

Windshield Wipers are Needed Even in Winter

  It might not seem like it, but windshield wipers are needed as much in the winter, as they are in the summer. This is because wipers can remove the snow, sleet, and any other forms of precipitation from the winter. They will also have to deal with more because of the wear and tear they take on freezing temperatures and operating over ice. It is always best to scrape the windshield so it is clear of frost and ice, before you use the windshield wipers. This will help to prevent further damage to them, and having them wear out sooner than they should.   It is recommended to change the windshield wipers at least twice a year. It could also be more often based on how often the wipers are used, and what the weather conditions are. If you are not sure if the wipers should be changed, make sure to contact us and we can inspect them for you.   If you notice a chattering or any other issues with the windshield wipers, it could be a sign that new windshield wipers are needed. This will continue to get worse with time. When the wipers start to wear out, they will no longer clean the windshield efficiently. Other signs could be any smear or streak marks it leaves behind when they operate. Over time this will cause impaired vision when you drive. The poorly cleaned window will reduce the chance that you see other vehicles, animals, or objects that may be on the road.   Also remember to keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir topped off. By making sure it is filled to the appropriate amount, you will have enough to clear the windshield if there is road grime on it. You should also consider having extra washer fluid in the vehicle as well. That way if you run out, you can refill the reservoir no matter where you are. If you notice any issues with your vehicle or windshield wipers, make sure to contact us and make an appointment so we can inspect it for you.
September 27, 2017

Remember to Inspect your Vehicle

  It is important to go to regularly scheduled maintenances for your vehicle. This can help ensure that it is working as well as possible. It also means it is working efficiently each and every time you drive. Keeping your vehicle well maintained can help prevent larger and more expensive issues in the future. It can also help prevent damage and unnecessary wear to parts of the vehicle.       The windshield wiper blades should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they can clean the windshield properly and effectively. It is also recommended that the wipers be replaced each fall. The wipers generally take more abuse in the fall and winter. This is because there is more road grime that may be splashed up on your windshield. It is also important to check and make sure the windshield washer fluid is topped off. When you will need to use it, the washer fluid will be full and able to help clean off the windshield.       While you may inspect the other tires regularly, the spare tire may be overlooked. Make sure that the spare tire is properly inflated. The correct amount can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. The spare tire should also be free of any cuts, cracks, or bulges on the surface or sidewalls. By inspecting the spare tire over, you can help assure it will be ready for use, if and when you need it. Spare tires on trucks and SUV’s may be suspended underneath the vehicle on a cable. The cable should also be inspected to make sure it can work freely incase you need to access the spare tire. You can also bring your vehicle in so we can inspect the spare tire and the components to make sure they are working properly.       In the fall, the windshield washer fluid should be replaced with a solvent that is suited for use in cold weather. The other fluids in your vehicle should be inspected to make sure they are at the correct level according to the reservoirs. If you notice a fluid that is down to almost empty, or one that you have to refill frequently, it could be leaking somewhere. Make sure to bring your vehicle in so we can inspect and find the leak in the vehicle.       Many electrical issues that the vehicle may have could be coming from a poorly charged battery. Any ignition issues may be caused from a loose or corroded battery connection. When you inspect the battery, make sure it is clean from any corrosion or debris that may have stuck among the terminals. Make sure the posts are completely cleaned and that everything is connected securely. With any issue you notice, make sure to bring the vehicle in, so we can inspect it for you.