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Yearly Archives: 2022

All Lined Up (Alignment Inspection)

When you head down a straight road, does your vehicle pull to one side?  Do you feel vibration in any of the wheels? If you've noticed any of these things, it's probably time for you to get your wheel alignment checked. When your vehicle left the factory, its wheels were parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.  That maximizes traction for good steering and braking. Every time you take your vehicle on the road, normal wear and tear will affect your alignment. Hit a bump, a pothole or a curb and all those little knocks will add up Bad alignment not only can cause your steering wheel to pull unevenly, it can also wear your tires out a lot faster than they should. In fact, if you look at your tires and see one side of the tread is a lot smoother than the other, it could be another sign of bad alignment. Since different problems can cause similar symptoms, the first thing our trained technician will do is test drive your vehicle. Then, they'll check the front end a ... read more

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Alignment

In That Case? (Transfer Case Exchange)

Ever wonder how all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive vehicles get the power from the engine to the front and rear wheels? The magic happens in what's called a transfer case.  In some all-wheel-drive vehicles, it's sometime called a power take-off unit, or PTU. Inside the transfer case is a set of gears.  And to keep those gears meshing smoothly, they have to be lubricated and kept cool.  What does that is called transfer case fluid. Depending on your vehicle's type of transfer case, it is filled with either an automatic transmission fluid, a gear oil that's a bit thicker or transfer case fluid designed to be use for your transfer case. As happens with all lubricating fluids, the transfer case fluid has things in it that break down the older they get.  They have corrosion inhibitors, detergents and anti-foaming agents that keep the lubricant from getting air bubbles in it. Transfer cases don't have filters in them to clean out impurities. If you don't have your transfer ... read more

Keeping Your Cool (Coolant System)

No matter what the weather is like outside, your internal combustion engine expects to keep its cool all the time, even when it's really cold.  That's because engines create the power that moves you to your destination by a series of tiny explosions of a fuel and air mixture. In turn, that generates a lot of heat in a small space. Your vehicle has a complete cooling system with a lot of different parts that work together to keep the temperature at a point where the metal engine parts won't heat up enough to warp.  Its lifeblood is coolant, a liquid that circulates through the engine (and, in most vehicles, the transmission, too) through a series of hoses and tubes.  In order to get rid of the coolant's heat, your vehicle has a part you probably recognize: the radiator.  It does what its name proclaims: radiates heat.  The radiator has a series of thin metal fins that coolant goes through, and when outside air passes over them, the heat is dissipated from the ra ... read more

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Cooling System

Refresh Your Brakes (Brake Fluid Exchange)

Brakes are one of your vehicle's most important safety components, and you may have noticed that they don't stop as surely as they used to.  Maybe it takes you applying a little more pressure to them than before, or perhaps you get the feeling that they're not stopping you as quickly. Those could be signs that your brake fluid needs changing.  Hydraulic brake systems use a fluid that enables the brakes to apply their stopping power to the wheels.  That fluid can wear out, degrade, become contaminated or pick up air and moisture.  All those can eventually contribute to brakes that feel sluggish. Driving with old, worn-out brake fluid may also shorten the lifespan of other braking components. Our technicians can evaluate your brake fluid to see if it needs changing. Your vehicle's manufacturer recommends how often that should be done, and when it needs changing may depend on how and where you drive. Our technicians can check the condition of your brake fluid when you ... read more

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Brake Service

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

Mercury Rising (Hot Weather Vehicle Concerns)

The heat is on, and your vehicle takes a beating when it is.  Several of your vehicle's systems are under extra stress in hot weather, so here are a few to make sure are getting the care and maintenance they need. It makes sense that the cooling system is one to make sure is in top shape.  Vehicle breakdowns in summer are often due to a problem with one of the cooling system's components.  Coolant levels have to be up to specs, the ratio of coolant to water must be correct and the hoses, pumps, belts and radiator must all be working properly in order to prevent vehicle overheating. Summer is also hard on your air conditioning system.  You might find that no air is blowing out of the vents or maybe only hot air is coming out.  Air conditioning equipment is best diagnosed and repaired by a trained and experienced technician.  The problem could be in any number of components, including the condenser, compressor or blower motor. You may think the battery gets ... read more

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Cooling System

Breathe New Life into Your Engine (MAF sensor replacement)

If you’ve noticed your vehicle is hard to start, stalling, or has lost power, the culprit may be a part with an odd name: the MAF sensor.  You may have never even heard of a MAF sensor, but it’s important that it be working correctly, or you may be experiencing some fairly significant engine issues. All vehicles bring in air and direct it through an air filter before it goes into your engine, where it mixes with fuel to provide power to get you going. There’s a tube-like device with a sensor inside it that measures how much of that mass of air is passing through. That’s why it’s called a mass air flow sensor, or MAF sensor.  If the MAF sensor isn’t working right, the engine’s computer can’t figure out the right amount of fuel to mix with it, and your engine may hesitate or stall.  Sometimes this will cause your Check Engine Light to come on, and any time it does that, make sure you have your vehicle checked by a professiona ... read more

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Fuel Economy

Gas Smell! (What Causes Gasoline Odors)

If you've ever walked into your garage and noticed it smelled like gasoline, pay attention. Gasoline can be dangerous, both from the health problems fumes can cause and the fire danger gasoline presents.  There are many things that can cause a vehicle to give off a gasoline odor.  One of the easiest to track down is the gas cap.  It could be missing or it doesn't seal well any more (they do wear out).  That can also cause the Check Engine light to light up, so those are clues to tell your service advisor when you take it in for diagnosis. Another thing that can cause the Check Engine light to come on and produce a gasoline smell is the fuel filler neck. It's the part that goes from the place you put your fuel in to the gas tank. Over time, these can wear out and fail (they're made out of rubber or metal).  They can leak gasoline, too. It's always a good idea to check the garage floor for any gasoline puddles.  Note the location of the puddle in relation to ... read more

It's Brake Time (Brake Calipers)

Race car drivers have demonstrated the advantages of disc brakes, so most modern vehicles use them.  Sometimes just the front wheels have disc brakes, but many vehicles now have them all the way around.  A major component of the disc brake is called a caliper.  It works by squeezing brake pads against the disc or rotor, kind of like a bicycle hand brake.  The brake pads themselves are what contact the rotor, causing friction to build and the wheel to slow down, but it's the calipers that apply the pressure to the pads. Caliper design has evolved over the years, and there are two common types.  One is called a floating caliper.  It has one or two pistons on one side of the disc. When you push down the brake pedal, the piston or pistons in your caliper put pressure on that one side.  A mechanism connected on the other side of the disc applies pressure as well, squeezing your disc so the vehicle stops.  Floating calipers are less expensive since the ... read more

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Brakes

Positive and Negative (Battery Care)

You notice when your smartphone's battery starts to go weak on you.  It runs out of juice faster than it did when it was new.  Bet you pay attention to that pretty closely. Unfortunately, many of us don't pay the same attention to the battery in our vehicles. If your battery got you through the cold-weather months, you might be thinking you're all set until next winter. But you might be surprised to learn this: Hot weather is harder on a battery than cold weather.  (Note: we're talking about a conventional vehicle here, not an all-electric, plug-in one.) The way your vehicle's battery holds a charge is that it has chemicals inside it, and they react with each other to produce electricity.  A vehicle battery discharges electricity and then needs to be recharged.  Unlike your smartphone that you plug in each night to charge, the way a vehicle's battery gets recharged is by using the mechanical energy of the engine.  It's a pretty cool system that's been arou ... read more

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Battery
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