March 30, 2017

Knowing if the Battery is Losing Charge

  The battery is an important part of your vehicle because without it, your vehicle does not even start. The battery is usually taken for granted until it begins to show signs of an issue. The battery for your vehicle should be inspected on a regular basis. You can also bring in your vehicle so we can inspect the battery for you. If the battery is not inspected regularly, it can wear out more quickly. There are some signs you can notice if your battery is starting to wear out.     When you start your vehicle and turn the ignition key, the battery will supply the power to the starter. From there it cranks the engine quickly for a few seconds until it turns over and starts. If you notice your vehicle is starting more slowly than usual, it may be a sign there is an issue with the battery. If this happens frequently, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect the battery over and replace it if necessary. Another issue with a dead battery is that your vehicle will not start at all. You can jump-start your vehicle, but this is usually only a temporary fix. This is the sign of a failing battery, and it may need to be recharged or replaced.     If you cannot turn on the headlights or interior lights, your vehicle may have a decrease in accessory power. If the lights come on but appear dim, the battery may be starting to fail. If you notice the dim lights as you try to start it make sure to turn off all the accessories. This way all the power generated from the battery is being sent to start your vehicle. The battery having small amounts of power can be caused from several things. It is always best that if you notice dim lights on your vehicle and poor battery power, to bring your vehicle as soon as you can. With the battery and connection points being inspected, we can diagnose what the issue may be, and advise you on the options you have.     Sometimes you may be able to tell if the battery is bad by just looking at it. Make sure the terminals are not broke or damaged. Also make sure the terminals are clean. The battery’s connections should be clear of any dirt and dust buildup. Also make sure there is no corrosion on the battery anywhere. The corrosion can lead to battery failure. Make sure there are no cracks or ruptures in the battery case. This can lead to the battery leaking. Cracks, splits, and punctures in the battery will not only cause it to stop working, but it will also be safety concern. If there is an issue with the battery, make sure to contact us, and we can inspect the battery for you.
March 21, 2017

Importance of Tire Alignments

If the vehicle pulls slightly in one direction or the other, or drastically, it could indicate that the tires need to be aligned. If you notice uneven wear on the tires, it could also mean that they are aligned poorly. If the alignment is off, it can lead to several issues. The vehicle should be aligned regularly, in order to prevent excessive and uneven wear on the tires. Having the tires aligned can also increase your safety when you drive. If you are unsure how often to have the tires aligned, make sure to contact us and we can advise a schedule for you.   Having the alignment checked can improve your safety when you drive. One way to notice if the alignment is off is to let go of the wheel with one hand for just a second, it could be enough to pull you in to that next lane and hit the cars that are driving in it. An accident could be caused because the tires were not aligned properly. You could also have a problem with your alignment and go across the yellow line and in to oncoming traffic if your pull goes to the right. No matter which way your vehicle is pulling you, a tire alignment can fix the problem.   Getting the tires looked at is one of the easier things on a vehicle. The vehicle is put on a lift and lifted up so all four tires are visible to the eye. Once the tire pressure is checked, the tires are checked for wear spots or uneven wear. Uneven wear on the tires is one of the first indications that it is out of alignment. If one tire has worn more than the others, it can mean the tires should be aligned or rotated.   Once those problems are recognized, then the vehicle is put up on a computer that measures the angle of the tires in degrees. When one is way off, that means the tire alignment is off. The computer read out tells us which tires need to be adjusted and how much. The tires are then put in to the correct placement and a test drive would be taken down the road. The tires can get knocked out of alignment after traveling a lot of miles without it being checked, it you drive down bumpy roads often or if you just have not had the tires rotated recently. The alignment can be knocked off pretty easily, but it can also be fixed quite easily. Driving on poor tires can lead to more issues with the tires as well. By bringing the vehicle in we can inspect the condition of the tires so they are able to perform efficiently when you drive.
March 17, 2017

Improving Fuel Efficiency

  Looking for ways to have your vehicle be fuel-efficient is beneficial for everyone. First and foremost, always make sure to take the time to bring your vehicle in for regularly scheduled maintenances. Between visits, make sure to stay alert to any changes, noises, vibrations, or other unusual things. As regularly as possible, inspect the tires and top off all the fluids. By doing this, you can help to make sure you get the best gas mileage possible. A few things you can do yourself will help increase the fuel efficiency as well. Also make sure the vehicle is able to run at optimal performance, by removing unnecessary weight. Extra weight in the vehicle can decrease mileage.     Always make sure to check the tire pressure of your vehicle regularly. If you keep the tires properly inflated, it can improve your gas mileage as much as 3 percent. A benefit of properly inflated tires is proper handling and they will last longer. You can also improve your gas mileage by making sure your tires are properly aligned. Another simple item is to follow the manufacture’s recommended grade of motor oil, as it can save up to 2 percent on your mileage as well.     The most important thing is to slow down. The faster you drive, the harder the engine has to work. If you speed, you are possibly reducing your fuel efficiency by up to 33 percent. Also avoid any excessive idling when possible. Idling can waste a significant amount of fuel. Fast braking and fast starts are other things to consider. By doing these, you waste energy and fuel from your vehicle. Instead, make sure to accelerate smoothly and try to remain at a constant speed when you are on an open road. If you can predict stoplights and traffic jams, you can help to prevent slamming on the brakes.     One of the easiest things to do to maximize the fuel efficiency of your vehicle is to lighten the load it is carrying. Anything that is in your vehicle that can be taken out because it is not necessary, do so. For every 100 pounds lighter you can make your vehicle, you can increase your mileage by up to 2 percent. Also, storing heavy objects in your trunk is a bad idea, as this can weigh down your vehicle and decrease the mileage. Instead, make sure you find a place for those items in your home or storage facility. It is also a good idea to remove things that will cause drag with your vehicle like bike racks and luggage racks when they are not being used.
March 7, 2017

How the Brake System Works

  Part of the inspection of your vehicle includes looking at the brake system. This is important because the brakes help to slow down your vehicle and allow it to stop when you need to. The braking system of the vehicle is made up of several components that assists the vehicle in slowing down and stopping. When you step on the brake pedal, your master cylinder starts working. The master cylinder contains the brake fluid, which travels to the wheel’s braking unit where it is forced into a caliper. Calipers consist of two components that press against a piston. Attached to each wheel is a rotor. The rotor is pinched when the brake is applied, thus slowing the vehicle down. Your brake pad is there to support the friction that comes in contact with your rotor. It converts the motion of the rotor into heat energy through friction. The friction slows down the rotor.   An anti-lock braking system, also known as ABS, is designed in modern vehicles to assist in quicker stops. Anti-lock brakes can also help prevent the vehicle from skidding uncontrollably when the brake is applied quickly from a high speed. With regular brakes you usually have to pump the brake off and on when coming to a stop to retain greater control of the vehicle. However, ABS brakes pump the brake for you at a rapid speed when the brake is deployed. Many have probably seen the ABS light on the dashboard from one time or another. If this light appears, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible.   Hydraulic braking systems are powerful and are needed in all types of vehicles. This type of braking system involves a master cylinder, hydraulic fluid, and hydraulic lines. The hydraulic system is also made up of individual brake lines that radiate out of the brakes from the master cylinder. These brake lines are made out of high-quality steel that are resistant to corrosion and built to withstand high pressure.   Brake fluid is used inside the brakes of the vehicle. The fluid helps to decrease the amount of pressure on the actual brake mechanisms, which reduces wear and tear on the gears. The brake fluid works by lubricating the hydraulic brake gears and reducing the amount of pressure exerted on the actual hardware. It is important to ensure that you have the proper amount of brake fluid at all times. Without brake fluid, the brakes can wear out quickly. Make sure and check the fluid levels regularly to ensure a safe and reliable ride.