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Articles:

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

Breathe Easier (Cabin Air Filter)

When you get in your vehicle, how does it smell? If it's not so nice, it may be time to have your cabin air filter changed. It's not the same one that filters out the air used in the engine.  The cabin air filter screens out dust and other particulates from the outside air so when it enters the cabin, you don't have to breathe them in when you're driving.  Maybe your commute finds you traveling along dusty rural roads, or maybe you pass by some city factories that have smokestacks spewing out smoky exhausts.  Or in spring, maybe you notice your allergies acting up because of the pollen in the air.  The cabin air filter will remove a lot of those things. The more it filters out, the more those small particles add up.  That reduces how much airflow the heating/air conditioning system can handle, and you may notice not as much air is coming through your vehicle's vents.  That can also be a sign you need your air filter replaced. Our technicians will remove an ... read more

Categories:

Cabin Air Filter

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

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

I'm Cool With That (AC Exchange)

On a hot day, you want your vehicle's air conditioning to work.  When the air blowing out of your vents isn't cold, it's easy to think, "I'll just take it by the shop and have them top off my refrigerant." But while some people think air conditioning is that simple, it's actually not. If your refrigerant is low, something has to have happened for it to be depleted.  Perhaps there's a leak in the system.  Or some hoses or clamps have failed.  If the system isn't evaluated by someone who knows air conditioning, it's possible that adding refrigerant will just be a band-aid solution. It's also possible that contaminants have gotten into the refrigerant, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, or air.  Some of those gases do not condense like refrigerant does which can increase the pressure inside the system and strain the lines and other components. At that point, the best course of action may be to have the old refrigerant (with its contaminants) bled from the sy ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Restore Your Get-Up-and-Go (Fuel and Air Induction Cleaning)

You may have heard the old saying, "My get-up-and-go got up and went." If your vehicle's engine's fuel economy is noticeably worse, your engine is idling roughly or stalling or your vehicle's acceleration isn't what it used to be, ask your service advisor if you might need your vehicle's fuel and air induction systems cleaned. As the hours pile up on your engine, carbon deposits can build up.  It's not unusual for some of the impurities and additives in fuel to leave behind a black residue that eventually will negatively affect your fuel economy and performance. Maybe you're noticing your engine is harder to start, you hear knocking or pinging in your engine and your vehicle just doesn't have the pep it used to. While it's a sophisticated process with a lot of components, a gasoline engine essentially produces power by drawing in air from the outside and mixing it with fuel in the cylinders where this blend of fuel and air is ignited by spark plugs in synchronized explosions. The ... read more

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Rotation Explanation (Tire Rotation Patterns)

You may notice that when you get your vehicle's oil changed, your service adviser may recommend that you have your tires rotated at the same time.  The reasons are simple.  That will allow your tires to wear more evenly and reduce the noise your tires make as you drive down the road. There are different ways of rotating tires. If your vehicle has non-directional tires and the same size wheels at each corner, here are the different rotation patterns. For all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive vehicles, one is called the rearward cross pattern.  The rear tires are moved to the front and stay on the same side of the vehicle, and the front tires are moved to the rear on the side opposite of where they were on the front.  For all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, use the X pattern.  The rear tires are moved to the front on the opposite side of the vehicle, and the fronts are moved to the rear on the opposite side of where they were on the front. For front-wheel dri ... read more

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

Bad Vibrations (Brake Rotor Replacement)

If you’ve ever stepped on your brake pedal and felt your vehicle vibrate, that’s a signal that you shouldn’t ignore.  A pulsating brake pedal is a sign that something is wrong.  Braking action should be smooth, sure, and quiet, not shaky and noisy. Most newer vehicles have disc brakes, called that because they have a round, flat disc connected to each wheel.  Those discs are the rotors. Other parts called brake pads are squeezed against those discs when you press on the brake pedal. Remember that vibration we mentioned? That can be caused by the rotor not having a straight, true surface. Rotors can heat up from friction and warp.  They can become thinner from constant wear.  Rotors can rust from the elements they’re exposed to, such as rain, snow ice, and salt.  They can get grooves in them from so many contacts with the pads.  The signs of worn rotors are vibrations, grooves on the rotor (which you can see sometimes through op ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

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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