Articles:

Your Vehicle's Hissy Fit (AC System)

When you hear hissing sounds coming from your vehicle, you might start thinking the worst.   One type of hissing coming from around your air conditioner may be a normal sound, or it could be a sign of serious trouble. First - the normal sound.  When you turn off your vehicle, the refrigerant goes from its high-pressure side to the low-pressure side. Some of those noises are normal.  But when it hisses all the time, that's another story. One cause could be that the refrigerant is leaking.  Air conditioners are fairly complex systems that involve various pumps, hoses, valves and motors.  When your air conditioner is cooling, the refrigerant changes from a gas to a liquid and back.  That refrigerant is under pressure, and there are many places it can leak from.  A hissing sound can also be a failed valve in your air conditioner's compressor.  It is what controls the refrigerant's pressurization.  It's important to have this fixed fairly qu ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

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

Categories:

Cooling System

A Clean Start (Battery Cleaning)

You may be fanatical about keeping the outside of your vehicle clean.  But what about what's under the hood? Have you ever thought about how dirt and grime may be affecting your engine's components? One of the most important parts under your hood to keep clean is your vehicle's battery.  With a daily barrage of dirt and moisture, outside parts of your battery can corrode, namely the cables and terminals. Gases vented by batteries can also promote corrosion.  That can create connection problems and affect your vehicle's electrical system.  If corrosion is not cleaned off, it may damage wires and terminals so badly that they will stop properly conducting electricity.  At that point, they may need replacing. When you bring your vehicle to us for a battery inspection and cleaning, we will remove any corrosion and put corrosion-resistant protection on each post. A technician will also visually inspect your battery.  Plus, we can test how much life is in your ba ... read more

Categories:

Battery

A Hot Mess (AC System-Compresser)

Air conditioning used to be a real luxury in a vehicle, but now it's standard in most.  Your vehicle's air conditioning system is built to last a pretty long time, but like anything mechanical, sometimes it fails.  It helps to know a little about how the A/C works. There's a compressor that pressurizes the refrigerant (you probably recognize the term Freon).  That makes it hotter, so it then goes through a condenser that cools it off.  Then another component takes out impurities and humidity before the Freon goes to a device that makes it lose pressure before it goes to the evaporator.  That's where it gets colder and takes the humidity out of the air. Then your vehicle's ventilation system blows air over the evaporator, cooling the cabin air that gives you such relief on a hot day. Of all these parts, one that does a lot of work is the compressor.  It has to compress that refrigerant and circulate it through the system.  It turns on and off several t ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Steering You Right (Tie Rod End Replacement)

For drivers, S stands for safety.  And there are three other words that start with S that are all equally important: starting, stopping and steering. For your vehicle to be at its safest, all three functions must be in top shape.  Steering is one of those things we take for granted.  After all, you turn the wheel and your vehicle changes direction. But sometimes you might notice your steering is a little off.  Maybe you've noticed you turn your wheel slightly and your vehicle doesn't turn. You may feel a little vibration in the wheel that increases when you go faster.  You may hear a little squeak from the wheels when you steer and you may notice your tires aren't wearing evenly. These are signs that your tie rod ends may be failing. Tie rod ends help connect your vehicle's steering mechanism to the wheels.  They can wear out after you've hit one too many potholes or just from constant use.  They can cause sloppy steering and loose handling, and they ... read more

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

Categories:

Tires

Busted! Air Conditioning (Air Conditioning Maintenance)

Your vehicle's air conditioning is something you count on when the weather heats up.  But there's bound to be a day when you turn it on and one of these things happens: Only warm air blows out Cold air starts blowing out but then it turns warm on its own It's not blowing air at all It blows smelly air out Some people are tempted to try to make the diagnosis—and the repair—on their own.  They think it's just run out of refrigerant and they can pick up a can at a local auto parts store and re-charge it.   If only it was that easy. A vehicle's air conditioning system is complex and made up of many parts.  A compressor, evaporator, condenser, tubing, hoses, sensors, valves… the list goes on and on. Each of these components could be the reason for the problem.  It could be a leak that's letting the refrigerant escape, but simply re-charging the system hasn't fixed the problem. You have to find the source of the leak and fix it. Service faci ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Don't be Fuelish (Signs Fuel Pump is Failing)

A driver of a large SUV loaded with equipment was heading on a 7-hour work trip when he stopped at a gas station to refuel.  When he went to restart his SUV, it turned over but wouldn't catch.  Try as he might, he was never able to get it started again.  Of course there are many things that can cause those symptoms, but the next day he had his SUV towed to a service repair facility.  Using their test equipment, they were able to pinpoint the problem.  His fuel pump had failed.  The pump, which was located in the fuel tank, had to be replaced, and after awhile he was back on the road, delayed, but happy to be up and running again.  What had happened is that the pump was not strong enough to deliver adequate  fuel to his engine, vital to being able to start it.  It had delivered just enough pressure in the morning to get it started the first time, but it was on its last legs.  He had been having trouble starting his SUV in the days leadin ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

Keeping Your Cool (Coolant leak repair)

If there’s one thing you should pay attention to with your vehicle, it’s the temperature gauge. It’s the one that may say C---H (that means “cold---hot”).  Or maybe yours has a picture of a thermometer on it and a blue and red zone.  If you see the needle heading farther to the “H” or red area, that means your vehicle’s engine is running hotter than it normally does. One of the most common causes of an engine running hot is a leak in your cooling system.  Maybe you’ve seen puddles of coolant under your vehicle, or you’ve smelled the coolant, either inside or outside your vehicle (it has a sort of “sweet” or fruity smell). That’s your engine giving you a warning signal that it’s time to head over to your repair facility to find out what’s going on. Your vehicle’s coolant can leak for several reasons.  You may have hoses that are deteriorating (heat and age take their toll) ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

Losing Your Spark (Spark Plug Replacement)

When's the last time you thought about spark plugs? You probably don't remember.  That's because spark plugs usually last a long time and don't need much attention.  But they don't last forever, and when they start going bad, they'll send you a few clues. Vehicle is hard to start.  Fuel economy is going down Acceleration isn't what it used to be Engine runs roughly Check Engine light is on There are many things that can cause those symptoms, so it's wise to head on over to your vehicle repair facility to have them look over your vehicle.  But the problem could be your spark plugs. They do wear out, not producing a strong enough spark to ignite your fuel the way they're designed to.  A closely related problem is failing spark plug wires, and a technician will test for both possibilities… and more.  Your vehicle's manufacturer recommends changing wires and/or plugs at certain intervals.  Spark plugs are made out of different materials and some ... read more

Categories:

Spark Plugs
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