Yearly Archives: 2024

Out of Joint (CV Joint and Boot Replacement)

If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it has components called CV joints which enable you to turn your wheels smoothly. The CV stands for “constant velocity.” In essence, it’s a set of gears that connect a shaft that allows power from the transmission to be sent to the wheels.  When you turn the wheels, no matter what angle, the input velocity rotation will be equal to the output. Thus, the name, CV (constant velocity) joint. Other vehicles with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive also use CV joints.   If one of your CV joints isn’t working right, you may find your vehicle difficult to handle.  If one breaks, your vehicle may stop moving.  So, it’s important that CV joints be in top working condition.  The joints need a lot of lubrication, so they are surrounded by grease.  There’s a rubber enclosure around them called the boot which holds the grease in and protects CV joints from the elements. 
 
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Categories:

Drive Train

A Clean Connection (Battery Cleaning)

A clean connection is a wonderful thing.  Think of a good cell phone signal or an airline connection with ample time and short distance to the next gate. Good connections are also important for your vehicle’s battery, and one secret to that is to make sure it’s periodically cleaned. If it’s been a while since you have had any service to your battery, bring it in so we can inspect it for any corrosion that might have formed.  Corrosion on the battery terminals will affect the connection between the battery and your vehicle’s electrical system. The amount of corrosion you can expect can be influenced by such things as the kind of climate you live in (dry or humid, warm or cold), if there’s lots of salt on the roads and how old your battery is.   We have tools and chemicals to safely remove the corrosion for an optimal electrical connection. In order to reduce the amount of corrosion re-forming on the battery, we’ll apply a special protec ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Strutting Your Stuff (Shocks and Struts)

Ever wonder how your vehicle is able to move over bumps, potholes and other irregularities in the road and you hardly feel a vibration in the cabin? It’s your shocks and struts doing the hard work along with the rest of your suspension and tires.  They keep the ride smooth and are important for your vehicle’s safe operation.  So, how do you know when your shocks and struts are wearing out? One way is to look at the surface of your tire (where the rubber meets the road—where the tread is).  You might see some little indentations in certain spots, known as tire cupping.  If your vehicle takes longer to stop than it used to, takes a dive when you hit the brake pedal or bottoms out (scrapes) on a big bump in the road, that’s another sign, as are loud, odd noises. You may also notice your vehicle sways more than it used to. Every once in a while, look around at your shocks to see what shape things are in.  If you see the rubber cover cracked ... read more

Command Performance (Engine Air Filter)

The internal combustion engine in your vehicle counts on two things that mix together to be burned in the engine for power: fuel and air.  Both are important, of course.  If you run out of fuel, your engine won’t run at all.  Since there’s plenty of air around, you won’t run out of air, but you could feel your vehicle’s performance suffer if the engine air filter starts to get clogged.  It's important that the air that enters your engine be free of dirt, dust, and debris to prevent damage to internal components.  That’s where the engine air filter comes in.  It prevents those particles from entering the engine, an important job that most people just take for granted. After a while, your air filter will get dirty, which results in less air reaching the engine.  Modern fuel injected engines can adjust the amount of gas to mix with the air that is getting in, so your fuel economy won’t change significantly.  What ... read more

Timing is Everything (Timing Belt)

Talk about exquisite choreography; it happens under the hood of your vehicle every time you take a drive.  Your engine’s many complex parts must work exactly together.  One key is a part called a timing belt, which enables the synchronizing of two of your engine’s components, the camshaft, and the crankshaft.   The timing belt coordinates the valves in your engine to open and close at the appropriate time to get exhaust out of the engine’s cylinders. Timing belts may also power the water pump and the oil pump.  The belt is made of rubber.  Some engines use a timing chain (made of metal).  Your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends an interval after which you should have your timing belt or chain replaced, and that service should be part of your vehicle’s regular maintenance.  It’s always better to replace it before it breaks rather than after.  After all, if your timing belt breaks while you’re driving down t ... read more

Categories:

Timing Belt

How Cool is That! (Coolant level sensor replacement)

Your vehicle’s engine runs hot.  It should, since it’s a series of little explosions that create the power that gets you going where you want to go.  To keep the engine cool, engineers have designed wonderful cooling systems that use liquid coolant, hoses, and a radiator to transfer the heat from the engine to the outside air.  In order for the system to work right, it has to have the right amount of that liquid coolant in it.  So that you know when the coolant has dipped below the correct amount, there is a sensor that keeps an eye on it.  When the coolant gets low, that sensor lights up a signal on the dash to alert you.  It may literally say “Check Coolant” or it may have a picture that looks like an old-style bulb thermometer sitting in liquid.  Your owner’s manual will usually tell you exactly what the one in your vehicle looks like. If that sensor system isn’t working right, you could wind up driving for a lo ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

Steering You Right (Power Steering Fluid Service)

It’s important for safe driving that two of the most important systems in your vehicle work right.  One is the brakes.  The other is the steering.  Nearly all vehicles on the road have some sort of power steering that allows you to direct a very heavy machine with little effort.  There are two types, hydraulic and electric.  Many newer vehicles have electric power steering that uses an electric motor to make your steering easier.  But there are many vehicles on the road that use a system that has been around for years.  It uses a power steering pump, a cylinder, several valves, and hydraulic fluid to make it easy for you to turn the wheel.  If you have hydraulic power steering in your vehicle, it’s important to change your power steering fluid every once in a while.  Over time, the fluid gets contaminated with dirt and other particles.  You might notice your steering is loose, maybe harder to turn and makes a low, strainin ... read more

Categories:

Steering

Full Stop (Brake Master Cylinder Replacement)

When you step on your brake pedal, you want to feel confident that your vehicle’s going to stop.  If your brakes aren’t working right, it’s a risk to your safety and the safety of others on the road.  After all, you’re driving a machine that weighs thousands of pounds, and you have to be able to stop that big machine quickly and with control, especially with some of the speeds you travel on the highways.  The heart of your vehicle’s brake system is the master cylinder.  When you apply the brakes, the master cylinder has pistons, springs, and brake fluid.  That fluid amplifies and distributes the force of your foot through brake lines to calipers at all your wheels.  Those calipers squeeze down on rotors or discs, which is what slows down and stops your vehicle. For safety, a master cylinder has two cylinders, one for two wheels, and the other for the remaining two wheels.  That way, if there is a failure in one, you&rsqu ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

A Bumpy Ride (Strut Assembly Replacement)

If you’ve noticed your vehicle’s ride has lately been bumpy or you’re hearing strange noises when you drive over bumps, you may need new struts.   The strut assembly is part of your vehicle’s suspension system that’s used to absorb the irregularities on the surfaces you drive on. You have probably heard of shocks or shock absorbers.  A shock is a piston with gas or liquid inside.  When you hit a bump, that shock absorbs the blow. Struts are similar to shocks but they also have a coil spring for extra strength.  They’re often used in the front of the vehicle because of the engine’s extra weight.  As you might imagine, your struts take a beating every day.  Eventually, they will wear out, and your wheels and tires won’t stay connected to the road as well as they used to. In addition to a bumpier ride, you may notice your tires starting to wear with failing struts because those tires aren’t in contact ... read more

Slipping into Fall (Driving with ABS Brakes)

As the weather changes over from hot to colder, drivers will have to deal with more slippery streets.  And it's important to know how to drive with the brakes you have on your vehicle.  In the 1970s, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) started to be installed on vehicles and they've been a game changer for drivers.  Most modern vehicles have ABS and it's important to know how to drive with them. In older vehicles without ABS, the driver applies the brakes by pushing down the pedal.  That, in turn, sends braking pressure to all four wheels at once.  But all four tires don't have the same traction because the road surface they're each on isn't exactly the same. ABS allows sensors to determine when particular wheels are slowing down more quickly.  The ABS then reduces braking pressure to the wheels that are about to lock up.  That way the wheel turns and the tires keep some grip. (You have to have grip to stop.) It's kind of what drivers try to achieve when ... read more

Categories:

Brakes
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