Articles:

To Fix or Not To Fix (Tire Repair)

You know that sinking feeling when you realize one of your tires has a problem.  It may be making an odd noise or behaving oddly when you're driving.  You may hit a pothole or curb and one suddenly goes flat.  Or you may head back to your vehicle and discover it has one tire deflated without a clue of what must have happened to it. With a lot of different tires hitting the streets these days, the issue of whether to have a tire repaired or replaced can be tricky, and we strongly recommend you have a trained technician help you make that decision.  One of the most common causes of flat tires is picking up a screw or nail in the tread area.  Many of those can be patched and plugged if the puncture isn't more than ¼ inch/6 mm in diameter. Most tires can handle two of this type of repair, but any more and you should buy a new tire.  If there's a puncture or bulge in the sidewall or shoulder, the rule of thumb is it's not repairable.  The sidewall d ... read more

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Tires

A Clean Start (Battery Cleaning)

Your vehicle is loaded with electrical devices. Computerized components are everywhere, so good electrical connections are important.  Those begin with your vehicle's battery, so it's important that its connections are in top shape. Ever had a flashlight that didn't work, took out the old batteries to replace them and noticed the old batteries were all corroded? The same thing can happen to your vehicle's battery.  The battery type used in most vehicles is a lead-acid, which can be very corrosive.  Corrosion can build up around your battery's terminals that can prevent the electrical connection from being as solid as it needs to be.  You may have even seen discoloration around your battery's terminals if you look under the hood, a sign of corrosion. Or you might notice visible signs of fraying or loose battery cables. All of your vehicle's components are affected by vibrations from the engine and road surface imperfections, and the battery cables take a lot of jostl ... read more

Categories:

Battery

TCB your PCV (PCV Valve Replacement)

Your gasoline engine goes through some exhausting work.  Yes, it's truly exhausting, as in: it produces exhaust! And when your engine starts behaving like it's exhausted, such as running poorly or getting lousy fuel economy, the trouble may be something called a PCV valve. Did you know it's a series of explosions that creates the power in your engine? The spark plugs ignite a mixture of gasoline and air and BANG! A whole bunch of those and you're engine is humming away. Leftover vapors from those explosions go into your crankcase, which is also a place where engine oil goes.  Those vapors still have a lot of unburned fuel in them, and if they had nowhere to go, they'd turn your oil into a thick mess called sludge, not good for a smooth running engine.  Engineers came up with an idea. Re-direct those gasses building up in the crankcase into the engine's air intake and mix them with fresh air.  That way the unburned fuel could go through the engine again and produce p ... read more

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PCV Valve

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

Categories:

Brake Service

Go With the Flow (MAF Sensor Replacement)

A driver brought her vehicle into the shop the other day and told us how she was getting lousy fuel economy and that the engine was running rough.  Plus, the Check Engine light was on.  Our technician checked the code the engine had generated (why the Check Engine light was on) and found the problem.  It was a faulty Mass Air Flow sensor, MAF sensor for short. This MAF sensor is an important part of your vehicle.  What it does is calculate the amount of air going into your engine.  As you may know, air is taken into your engine where it's mixed with fuel.  Then, the spark plugs fire, that explosive fuel/air mixture detonates, and all these sequential explosions together provide the power to get your vehicle moving down the road.  It makes sense that if the MAF sensor isn't sending the engine's computers the correct information on the amount of air going in the engine, the fuel/air mixture isn't going to be right. It will either too rich (too much gaso ... read more

Cold Weather Vehicle No-Nos (Items to Avoid Storing in a Freezing Vehicle)

It's always easier to leave a few things in your vehicle so you'll have them on hand.  But in cold weather, while it's a good idea to carry items such as a phone charger, blanket and shovel, there are some things you shouldn't store in your vehicle. Medicines and drugs.  Cold temperatures can affect the chemical makeup of some drugs.  Avoid leaving them in a vehicle, especially those in a liquid form like insulin, eye drops and cough syrup. Latex paint.  They are water based, and when they freeze, they get lumpy and lousy.  Your paint job will not be what you had in mind. Cellphones and computers.  Most of these have lithium ion batteries.  If they get colder than freezing (0 degrees C, 32 degrees F), if you try to charge them, you'll more than likely ruin the batteries.  Bottled water, soda, wine or beer.  OK, here's the scoop.  All of these can freeze and split the container they're in.  Yes, soda, wine and beer will take a lowe ... read more

Muffler: Victim of Winter (Muffler Repair)

So you almost got through the winter until, one day, your muffler started sounding like a dragster, loud and obnoxious.  It's not surprising.  All that road salt and brine can cause rust to punch holes in a muffler, and that should raise a big, red warning flag about the safety of your vehicle. One big concern is carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can drift into your cabin if your muffler is leaking. You've probably heard about people whose home furnaces have leaked carbon monoxide and overcome families inside.  Carbon monoxide can first cause you to feel dizzy and nauseous.  It can even render you  unconscious—even kill you.  So if your vehicle's muffler is leaking that gas, well, it's nothing to mess around with. Oh, and how about that noise? You may get a ticket since many municipalities have laws against noisy exhausts.  Your muffler may be making a clunking or rattling sound when the engine's running or it may be spewing thick exhaust sm ... read more

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

Categories:

Exhaust

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

A Clean Sweep (Fuel Injector Cleaning)

Your vehicle gets its power from burning fuel, usually gasoline, and it counts on something called fuel injectors to send gas to the engine in a spray that is easy to ignite.  It’s a precise operation, and when it’s working well, you have plenty of power and an efficient engine. But after time, contaminants in the fuel system may prevent the injectors from spraying like they’re supposed to.  They can also shoot contaminants into the engine.  One sign that could point to dirty fuel injectors is a misfiring engine. Misfires can be caused by several things, so it’s a good idea to bring your vehicle to us so we can trace the cause. Another sign is that your fuel economy has gone downhill or your engine doesn’t have the “pep” it used to. If we discover that your injectors are clogged or not working the way they should, we can clean them to get rid of those contaminants to restore your engine to its top performance.  When you brin ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System
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