Being Aware of the Check Engine Light

When the check engine light illuminates on the dashboard, make sure to bring it in as soon as you can. The warning light will come on and could mean one of several things. It could mean that the gas cap is not tight enough on the tank. It could also mean that the engine is starting to fail. By bringing the vehicle in, we can inspect it for what the issue is. If the light starts blinking, make sure to pull over and turn your vehicle off as soon as possible. This can help reduce the chance for further damage being done to the engine or parts of the vehicle when you are driving.

 

If the warning light comes on, make sure to bring the vehicle in. We can attach the vehicle to the machine that will read a diagnostic code. The computer in the vehicle is programmed with codes. By hooking up the machine, it can read what computer code is the issue. It will read out on a display and we can immediately tell if the problem is a major one or a minor one. Major ones might need attention before you continue with your drive. Minor ones might be able to wait until there is a more convenient time to bring it in. Either way, it is important to not ignore the warning light when it comes on in your vehicle. If more than one light illuminates, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible so we can inspect it for the source of the issue.

 

There are makes of cars that are programmed to have lights go on after being driven for so many miles. For example, Honda vehicles will flash a yellow service engine light if they have not been in for a routine maintenance in 10,000 miles. When the vehicle still has not been in for service, then the light will stay on until it is serviced. This light is nothing to worry about and simply means a routine maintenance appointment should be scheduled as soon as you get back from vacation. We can also advise you on a maintenance schedule that is beneficial for you and your vehicle.

 

When the engine or dash lights come on and then the engine starts to sound or drive differently, then there is a problem starting. It would be best to pull over and call a tow truck or else if you are close to home, turn around and go back. Schedule an appointment and bring your vehicle in as soon as you can. We will be able to check the engine and other areas to locate why the light is illuminating. This can help provide you with a safe and reliable ride again.

Alternator Issues to be Aware of

 

 

One way to notice an issue with the vehicle is by any warning lights that might illuminate on the dashboard. If the light that is shaped like a battery or one that says “ALT” illuminates, it could mean there is an issue with the alternator of the vehicle. This light will not always mean there is an issue with the battery. Make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect what the cause of the light turning on might be. This can help improve the safety and reliability of your vehicle when you drive.

 

 

Another way to be aware of a poor alternator is if you notice the lights on the vehicle have become dimmer. This is because the alternator supplies the electrical needs for the vehicle. When it starts to fail, some of the electrical components will decrease in effectiveness as well. This can include the lights, windshield wipers, power windows, and other electrical parts. If you notice any of these signs, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. This can help reduce further issues from forming, as well as a costly repair bill.

 

 

When inspecting the vehicle, notice any issues that might be out of the norm for it. Check for any signs under the hood of an issue. This could include a belt that is loose or hanging. A visual inspection can help ensure all the parts are working, as they should be. Also be aware of any sounds you might hear. This can include a growling or whining noise coming from the alternator. The accessory belt or serpentine belt will help to drive the alternator. If it is not in correct alignment, the bearings could start to cause an issue and make odd noises that will indicate an issue. By bringing the vehicle in, we can inspect it to ensure it is in the best condition possible.

Having the Tires Properly Aligned

 

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. Regular maintenances can help determine when the tires should have this task done.

 

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. If you notice an issue with your vehicle or tires when you drive, make sure to schedule an appointment. Catching an issue at the first sign can help save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Signs of the Brakes Developing an Issue

When you are driving, you will want to make sure your vehicle is as safe and reliable as possible. One way to accomplish this is to bring the vehicle in for regular maintenance inspections. We can check the parts and components of the vehicle to ensure they are working correctly with one another. One part that should always be inspected is the brake system. The brakes are important because they allow your vehicle to slow down and to stop when they need to. If you notice an issue with the braking of your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment to bring it in as soon as possible.

 

When your vehicle starts creating abnormal sounds, feelings or smells, start investigating the issue sooner rather than letting the condition worsen. Waiting will only lead to more expensive parts wearing out and requiring replacement. If the rotors start to warp and become damaged when completely worn brake pads and shoes exceed their lifespan, shortening the life of healthy parts due to the metal on metal grinding that occurs. Screeching, grinding, squealing, rubbing, or any other loud piercing noises are common indicators that the brake pads and shoes require special attention. This should be addressed before worn pads cause damage to other parts, which could result in more expensive repairs.

 

If there is a vibration feel you notice in the brake pedal or steering wheel, make sure to bring the vehicle in. If this is a familiar feeling, your brake system is telling you something. Wait any longer, and your rotors might get warped from the metal on metal rubbing, potentially costing you a lot more in repair.

 

Another issue you may notice is if the brake pedal pushes down further than it typically does. This will require more pressure and time to perform the same stopping function. If you notice this, make sure to bring your vehicle in so we can inspect the brake system for you.

 

If you start to notice a grinding noise, it could mean that the brake pads have worn down and are not causing direct contact with the brake rotors. There are some tips you can do to help keep the brake rotors lasting as long as possible. The more city driving, the more stop and go, the quicker the brakes wear down. This type of driving can wear brake pads down faster, which can warp rotors more quickly. If you constantly drive like this, bring your vehicle in for at least one brake inspection a year to check for problems. Also make sure that you do not ride the brakes. Riding your brake is the sure-fire way to wear your pads and warp your rotors from the excessive heat generated, especially at high speeds.

Tips for Safe Driving at Night

 

While driving, you will want to be as safe as possible. Almost ninety percent of your reaction ability while driving is relied on sight. At night, your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision all decline. Even if you do not notice it, you are less alert at night when you drive than you are during the day. To help drive safe, you also need to be aware of the other drivers on the road. Drunk drivers, sleep deprived drivers, and even animals are a few things to keep an eye out for as you drive at night.

 

 

While driving at night, you will want to make sure to be as alert as possible to help avoid any accidents. Before driving make sure to avoid any medications that might make you drowsy. It is also important to make sure you are well rested before driving at night, especially if you are driving for a long distance. You can also have someone ride with you, to help keep you awake or switch drivers.

 

 

The lights are the most important part of your vehicle at night. They help you to see as you drive, as well as having others see you. Make sure to inspect the headlights, taillights, and blinkers to make sure they are working properly and illuminate the correct areas. Make sure the lenses of the headlights are clean and clear. Grime and other debris can impair the amount you can see on the road in front of you. It is important to have the brake lights working well also. This gives the drivers behind you enough warning and reaction time when you have to stop gradually or suddenly.

 

 

Another way to help drive safe at night is to know how to reduce the glare from the lights of other drivers. If a vehicle is approaching you from the opposite direction with the lights on bright, you can divert your gaze down to the side. You can use the lane marker or painted median strip as a guide as they pass. If someone is behind you with the lights on bright, you can use the reduced glare setting on your rearview mirror.

 

 

Part of being an alert driver at night is being able to put down the gadgets and devices as you drive. If you need to use your cell phone or other device, make sure you come to a complete stop at a safe and convenient place. A cell phone, GPS navigational system, or even an integrated system like OnStar should be used when you are stopped. This can help you from becoming distracted while driving and can also help you to prevent an accident.

 

 

Keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle can help reduce stress if your vehicle encounters an issue at night. If a tire goes flat or a belt snaps, you will want to have some items so you can help identify the problem. Items such as jumper cables, extra oil, tools like wrenches, bottle water, a granola or snack bar, and flashlights can all become handy in an emergency situation.

Inspecting the Tires

 

One of the first things you should check on the tires is the air pressure. If the tires are over inflated, they will be more prone to pick up sharp objects that could be on the surface of the road. They will also make the vehicle uncomfortable to drive in, because it will hit bumps harder than they should, because of the extra air in the tires.

 

 

Under inflated tires can also cause an issue because they will not have the proper contact with the surface of the road. They will also have a higher chance to blow out because of the poor air pressure. If you notice that air needs to be added often, it could indicate that there is a leak somewhere in the tires.

 

 

When you check the air pressure, also make sure that you inspect the tread wear on the tires. Knowing how much tread you need is quite easy. Just take a penny and place it upside down in the tread groove. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then the tread is too low. If this is the case, you will need new tires. If you notice that the tread is wearing unevenly, bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the tires, and rotate them if needed. The tread is important because it helps grip the surface of the road when you drive. Having the adequate amount of tread can increase your handling and stability of the vehicle.

 

 

Along with the air pressure and the tread, make sure that the tires are free from damage to them. Check for any signs of cracks, puncture marks, or bulges for each tire. If there is damage to the tires, they will not be safe or reliable to drive on. If you notice that there is an issue to the tires, bring the vehicle in so we can inspect them. It is also important to remember to contact us if you notice any issue out of the norm with your vehicle. This can help to prevent further issues in the future with your vehicle.

Remember to Check the Battery

 

 

 

 

 

When the vehicle’s battery is connected properly, it will be able to charge while the vehicle is in use. The alternator is the device that is used to charge the battery while the engine is still running. If the alternator begins to malfunction, the battery will drain. The battery will not charge for future use then. To ensure that the alternator will work properly, it is important to make sure the connection between the battery and the alternator is secure and clean.

 

 

 

One of the measurements of the battery’s power is cold amperage. The higher the cold amperage is, the easier the battery will be able to start the vehicle in cold conditions. If the cold amperage is too low, the battery will not be powerful enough to start the vehicle in cold conditions. It is always recommended to bring your battery in so it can be tested to see if it needs a charge or replacing. Also, a battery can drain out faster in the heat than it can in the cold. This is because the heat will react with the chemicals in the battery, causing it to wear out quicker. Making sure the battery is clean can help increase the chance of the battery working properly. Also make sure to have the terminals and connections cleaned so the battery is as efficient as possible.

 

 

 

Also remember to visually inspect the battery casing. This may be damaged because of an accident or not being sufficiently secured in the engine. If the battery casing becomes damaged, it may lead to toxic leaks of sulfuric acid or other chemicals. This will cause the battery to lose the charge quickly. If you notice any leaks or cracks, bring your vehicle in as soon as possible. Anytime you notice an issue with the battery or how the vehicle starts, it is important to bring it in so we can inspect it for you. This can help you to have a reliable vehicle when you travel.

Having a Reliable Vehicle when you Travel

 

Making sure that you are checking certain things before you go on trips will help you to get better gas mileage, engine performance and even better safety. You will surely be able to enjoy being able to have a better trip this way. There are many things that you should be doing along with getting the right gas for your trip. You will also need to make sure that you have the right amount of antifreeze. Making sure your tires are inflated correctly will allow you to avoid a tire blowing out or a flat as you are driving.

 

 

 

An engine that runs hot will cause numerous kinds of mechanical problems. You can prevent this by simply making sure that you are filling up the tank with the right amount of antifreeze. By not waiting for the indicator to tell you that you are low, you will be able to stop problems before they start. Make sure that you know where the reservoir is in your engine as well as how to tell how much is in there. By adding enough to top it off all the way to the fullest limit will help in making sure that you get better engine function.

 

 

 

A short tire inspection will make all of the difference when driving down the road. Make sure that you will be able to use a tire gauge so that you will be able to have the perfect pressure in your tires. If you are not sure what this is supposed to be, you can check on the inside panel of the driver’s side door. This will provide you with the information you are looking for. Also, make sure that you are checking the tires on the outside wall for marks or scratches.

 

 

 

To help improve the visibility when you drive, you should clean the windshield. Also make sure to check the windshield wipers to ensure they are in the best condition possible. These will help in making sure that you can remove more dirt and grime from your windshields. By topping off with the right amount of windshield washer fluid, you will be able to make sure that you are able to remove objects from your windshield as you are driving. Improving your visibility can help improve the safety of you and your passengers when you drive. If you notice something out of the norm with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect it for you.

 

 

 

When a Wheel Alignment is Needed

 

 

If you drive down poorly maintained roads, drive through potholes, or even hit a curb, your alignment can be greatly affected. This can cause even the slightest, tiniest alignment issue, which can accelerate uneven tire wear. Make sure you have your alignment checked every 6,000 miles. If you are not sure how often to have your vehicle maintained, make sure to contact us so we can advise you on a correct schedule.

 

A wheel alignment ensures optimal drivability, because it will help your tires last longer, your vehicle drive smoother, ultimately keeping your wheels pointed in the right direction. Your vehicle will require less energy to keep going, potentially saving a ton of fuel depending on how much alignment was required. When your vehicle rolled off the manufacturer assembly line, it came preset with special angles that position your tires correctly. In order for your vehicle to travel the way it is supposed to, it will need precise alignment. Poor alignment can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling and shorter tire life.

 

Ideally, tires should wear evenly across the tread. If you are noticing excessive wear on the rear inside tires, you may need an alignment adjustment. Uneven tire wear can also result in poor fuel mileage and more pain at the gas pump. Poor alignment can shorten a tire’s life by thousands of miles and compromise very crucial steering and suspension parts. If you do not want to replace tires as often and enjoy the benefits of better fuel economy, have your alignment checked, at the very least, with every other oil change or at the first sign of uneven or premature tire wear.

 

There are some noticeable signs that could indicate a misalignment. If the vehicle is pulling in one direction or the other, you may need to have the vehicle aligned. Also look for any signs of uneven tire wear. If you are unsure about your current alignment, please give us a call. Tire misalignment can be so subtle that you may not even realize it. Also remember to bring your vehicle in anytime you notice something out of the norm with it, as this can help you to have a safe and reliable vehicle again.

 

Brake Inspections for your Vehicle

 

The brakes are essential to keeping your car safe on the road for not only yourself, but other motorists and people out on the roads. Luckily the brakes are easy to check and replace if there is ever an issue with them. If you notice an issue with how the brakes are working, make sure to contact us as soon as possible. This will help keep your vehicle working in the best condition possible when you drive. If the brake pedal starts to show any sign of a problem, the brakes should be inspected as soon as you can bring the vehicle in.

 

 

The brake pads are located near the tire, between the calipers, rotors and the actual rim of the tire. When you step on the brake pedal in the vehicle, it activates the bakes to squeeze against the inside of the tire rim and cause the tire to stop. The more you apply the brakes during your your daily travels, the faster the brake pads will wear down and need replacing in your vehicle. If you ever have a doubt as to the pads left on your car, we will be able to measure it and tell you a percentage of the brake pads that are left. Depending on this answer will determine how long you should go before scheduling a brake job with new parts.

 

Problems can develop in the brake pads just like anywhere else in the car. Since the brake pads and the braking system are exposed to the elements and road conditions more, they are prone to having more issues. A stone could get thrown up in there and cause a bend that makes the brake not work efficiently on one tire. Heavy use could bend the rotors or the calipers and require them to be changed. Then there could be a problem with the tire rim that causes a problem to develop somewhere along the brake line.

 

Some types of brake pads will last longer than others simply because of their composite. Also, some people drive differently than others. Whether it is foot on the brake or foot on the gas, where they are driving and how long it takes to get there, also affect how a brake pad will wear. Check to see what the average mileage is on the similar brake pads so you have an estimate of how long they will last. If there is even a question as to how long they will last, have them inspected. We can look and measure with a tool that tells what percent of the pad is left and when they should be changed.