Articles:

Alleviate the Creaks and Squeaks (Chassis Lubrication)

If your vehicle creaks and squeaks when you drive down the road, it may mean that some of the metal parts are rubbing against each other and need to be lubricated.  Those could be parts of the suspension, steering system and the drivetrain.  Years ago, most vehicles had to have their chassis (what you think of as the frame) regularly lubricated.  Newer vehicles are made with what some call "lifetime lubrication," but there are still parts of the chassis that need to be maintained with lubricants.  Your service advisor can help you know when that needs to be done. In your owner's manual, the vehicle's manufacturer lists components that need regular maintenance. Things like u-joints, steering joints, sway bars, bushings and joints in the suspension. Some of them may have that "lifetime lubrication," while others may not. When you bring your vehicle in for service, a technician will look for any parts that have grease fittings.  They will inspect these components ... read more

More than Pads and Rotors (Brake Caliper Replacement)

You might be familiar with brake pads and rotors, two components of your vehicle's brakes that have to be regularly serviced.  Here's another important component of your brakes: the calipers. Calipers are used in disc brakes, the type of brakes now found in most recently manufactured vehicles.  A caliper is the part of the brakes that squeezes the brake pads against the discs, or rotors, which turn with your wheels.  There are different kinds of calipers, but the basic principle is the same.  You press down the pedal, brake fluid activates a piston or pistons that squeeze the brake pads against the disc and the friction slows down your vehicle. While modern vehicles have a warning system to let you know it's time to get your brakes checked, your brake light usually goes on when your fluid level is low or your fluid pressure is low.  But you may have to look out for signals your calipers are the problem.  If your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake, th ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Stopping "Brake" Downs (Brake Pad Replacement)

If someone tells you to put the brakes on something, you know it means stop.  And stopping is one of the most important safety maneuvers you can do in any vehicle.  That means your brakes have to work properly.  Let's face it.  You stop dozens of times every time you drive.  And over time, that takes its toll on your brakes.  Friction is what stops your vehicle.  Most newer vehicles have disc brakes, and the parts that wear out the fastest are those that rub against each other every time you stop, the rotors and the pads. The rotors are discs that rotate with the wheels, and the pads are removable surfaces that make contact with the rotors to slow or stop your vehicle.  Bits of both wear off each time you stop, and when enough of either (or both) lose too much material, your brakes become unable to safely slow or stop your vehicle.  The pads usually are the parts that wear out first.  Signs that your brakes might be getting worn are: Y ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service , Brakes

Not-So-Smooth Operator (Transmission Signs of Trouble)

You are heading down a flat, newly paved street when all of a sudden you feel it.  Your vehicle jumps a little bit when you're accelerating and changing gears.  You know it's not the surface of the road because it's smooth as silk.  So what did you just feel? That kind of jumping—or grinding or slipping—during gear changes could be a sign of trouble in your automatic transmission.  And it's important to get it checked out fairly soon because some transmission problems that aren't fixed early can lead to more involved and expensive repairs. By far most vehicles on the road in North America have automatic transmissions, and they are workhorses.  Unlike early cars with balky, hard-to-shift manual transmissions, the latest automatics allow you to drive without having to even think about gear changes.  But you should know about a few signs of trouble to look for if they ever start showing up. When you first get going and shift your vehicle from Par ... read more

Categories:

Transmission

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

Categories:

Alignment

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

Categories:

Battery

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

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

Categories:

Oil Change

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

Categories:

Water Pump
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