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A Head Start on Starting (Battery Testing)

If your vehicle isn't starting or doesn't sound like it used to when you crank it, the culprit may be the battery.  You may have left a light on, or something plugged into one of charging ports.  Maybe you accidentally left your vehicle in the "on" or "accessory" position when you last got out. Maybe you've left it in the garage or driveway for a long time without starting it.  That can spell the end for a vehicle battery. It's also possible that your battery is just simply too old. There's no standard lifespan of a battery, but 3-5 years is about average, even though some people only get 2 and heavier duty batteries may last many more. It's possible your battery is defective, too.  And it could be your vehicle's charging system isn't recharging the battery.  Whatever the cause, if you're having problems with your battery, it's a good idea to bring it in and have us perform a thorough battery test.  With state-of-the-art testing equipment, a technician wil ... read more

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Battery

Giving CV Joints the Boot! (CV Joint and Boot Replacement)

Ever wonder how your vehicle’s transmission is connected to your wheels? After all, when you hit a pothole or some other uneven part of a road’s surface, there has to be something that can maintain the connection between the transmission and the wheel yet keep everything moving at the same speed.  That very cool device is called a CV joint, a kind of driveshaft running to each wheel.  The CV stands for constant velocity because it keeps the drive wheels moving at a constant speed (velocity).  They’re used mostly on front-wheel drive vehicles but also in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles. The joints move up and down and adjust to bumpy surfaces.  Plus, they are covered in a rubber boot which protects them from road debris and also holds lubrication in.  There’s a CV joint and boot on the transmission side and one on the wheel side.  Unfortunately, the spot that usually fails first is that rubber protective cover (the boot).&nbs ... read more

Oil's Well That Ends Well (Oil Change Grades and Weight)

Changing your oil regularly is one of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle running well.  And knowing the right type of oil to use is also very important.  Engine oil is classified by weight, but it doesn't refer to how much the oil would weigh if you put it on a scale.  It refers to viscosity, or how easily the oil flows through the engine.  Most engines operate normally at around 210°F/99°C.  The viscosity, or weight, is assigned a number by how well it flows at that temperature.  The lower the number, the more freely it flows.  Most vehicle engines use what's called a multigrade oil which behaves differently in different temperatures. Multigrade oils have a "W" in their viscosity number that you may have seen on a bottle of oil, something like 5W30.  The W stands for winter and shows how freely it flows in colder temperatures. That means a 5W30 oil will behave like a 5 weight oil in lower temperatures (less viscous ... read more

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Oil Change

Rubber Match (Tire Replacement)

A set of new tires isn't probably high on anyone's list of exciting purchases.  But since your life is literally riding on them, it's probably a good idea to know when it's time for you to buy new ones. If you've been feeling your vehicle slipping more in wet weather or it takes a longer distance to stop, those are a couple of signs you may need new rubber all around. Here's how to make your decision. First thing to do is look at your tires.  The surface of the tire that contacts the road is the tread. When that tire was new, the tread was deep (the grooves in the rubber that provide traction). If they're starting to look somewhat smooth, you have a seriously worn tire that definitely needs replacing.  Bring your vehicle in for us to look at your tires and we can check your tread with a tread gauge. Also look at the sides of your tires.  If they have cuts or cracks in them, or if you see signs of bulges or scrapes made by hitting curbs or potholes, those could be si ... read more

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Tires

Sounds Exhausting! (Exhaust Service)

Most of us know a bad muffler when we hear it.  That loud, rumbling sound is unmistakable. Did you also know you can get a ticket for driving around with a loud exhaust system? If your exhaust system has a leak in it, it may be allowing poisonous gases inside your vehicle and could make you seriously ill (or even kill you!) if you breathe too much in. Unfortunately, your exhaust system faces a lot of destructive forces out on the road.  Rust is the worst, and not just in colder climates where they use salt and brine as de-icers.  Exhaust systems can rust from the inside out when moisture condenses inside the pipes.  Vibrations and jolts from rough roads (and the occasional run in with a rock or a curb) can wreak havoc with exhaust systems.  Even a bad oxygen sensor can send too much fuel into the catalytic converter, and the resulting heat can wind up destroying this very expensive component. Your exhaust system is made up of several parts, and all need to be i ... read more

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Exhaust

Always on Guard (TMPS)

One of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle running safely is to make sure your tires are properly inflated.  If one or more is vastly over- or underinflated, that has the potential to cause major handling problems and may result in a dangerous accident. All vehicles in recent years are equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, or TPMS.  One system uses small sensors in the tires that continually check the pressure in each tire.  That sensor sends a signal to computers in your vehicle which turns on an instrument panel light warning of low pressure when at least one is very low. Or it may update a numeric reading on your instrument panel which gives you an approximation of how many PSI (pounds per square inch) of air is in each tire.  Another system works with your antilock brake system to measure the size of your vehicle’s tires.  When one wheel is going faster than another, it will spin faster. A computer sees that and alerts ... read more

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TPMS

I Can See Clearly (Wiper Blade Replacement)

Warm weather can bring severe storms, and when the rain is coming down hard, that's one time you really need to be able to see as clearly as possible out your windshield.  Having wiper blades that are fit for the job are important to maintain that safe view. Maybe you live in a climate where you use blades made for winter weather and you have haven't changed them since the weather changed.  Those blades are made of heavier materials and don't work as well in warmer temperatures. Blades made for warm temperatures are lighter and clear water better in the warmer months. The general rule of thumb is you should change your blades every six months, but if you use them a lot, you might have to change them more often.  A couple of signs that your blades need changing? If you are seeing streaks on the glass or hearing a chattering sound when your wipers are working, time for a new pair. Wiper blades have cleaning windshields on vehicles for more than 100 years.  The origina ... read more

Let's Clear Some Things Up (Headlight Restoration)

You know how exposing your skin to sunlight can cause sunburn and other unhealthy things.  Sunlight can also create major problems for your headlights.  After they've been exposed to ultraviolet light, acrylic headlights can yellow and fog due to oxidation.  And when that happens, less light can pass through the plastic, reducing the effectiveness—and safety—of your headlights.  It's not just the UV light that causes headlights to turn cloudy.  Road grime and debris gets kicked up and can scratch the plastic, diffusing the light that should pass through them when they're clear.  Plus, when your vehicle was new from the factory, the headlights had watertight seals all around to prevent moisture from getting into them and fogging them up with water vapor.  Just like clouds can hide the sun, tiny water molecules can diffuse the light from your headlight bulbs.  Sure, you could buy replacement parts and start fresh.  But the good new ... read more

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Headlamps

The Light Many Drivers Fear (Check Engine Light)

Ask just about any driver about one thing they fear seeing inside their vehicle and they'll say it's the Check Engine light coming on. You know, that little light on your instrument panel that is in the shape of a vehicle engine, often accompanied by the words Check, Check Engine, Check Engine Service, or Service Engine Soon. There are so many different reasons that light shows up, from something as simple as a loose gas cap to a more serious problem that requires immediate attention.  The Check Engine light comes on because a component of your vehicle's onboard diagnostics system is telling you something isn't operating normally. Your vehicle has a lot of sensors built in, all tied together by computers.  When the sensors are showing that things somewhere aren't functioning the way they should be, they alert the vehicle's diagnostic computers and tell you something's amiss. The simple rule is if the Check Engine light is on steadily, it's so ... read more

Keeping Your Cool (Water Pump Replacement)

No matter what the temperature is outside, it's important for your vehicle's engine to remain cool, calm, and collected.  Well, cool, anyway. If your vehicle has a gasoline engine, it's powered by a bunch of explosions involving spark plugs, pistons, gasoline, and air.  And the by-product of all those things working together? HEAT. There's a whole cooling system to keep everything at a tolerable temperature for your engine's parts, and a key part of that is the water pump.  Technically, it's pumping more than water. It should actually be called the "coolant" pump since the liquid that circulates through the system is a mixture of water and coolant.  Basically, the water pump keeps this coolant moving through your engine, where it picks up the engine heat, and then is pumped into the radiator where it gets rid of that heat.  When a water pump fails, the engine heat can build up.  When you get a warning light on the dash (either a gauge or a light) that show ... read more

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Water Pump
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