Why Battery Inspections are Needed

 

In order for your vehicle to run, it needs a good working battery. The most important thing you can do for the battery is to use it. An idle battery can lose its charge and sulfate from the sulfuric acid inside the battery build up inside it. This weakens its ability to keep and maintain a charge. Even taking your vehicle out once a week will help keep the battery healthy, and will prevent it from dying unexpectedly. The battery is dependent on the alternator, starter, and battery terminals in order to work properly. A bad battery can affect your vehicle in negative ways that will add up to a costly repair bill if the battery is not inspected and maintained properly.

 

 

 

You will be able to notice issues of a bad battery. The most obvious one is a dead battery. You should always have it looked at because sometimes a weak alternator will cause the battery to appear like it is no longer able to hold its charge. You should always have the battery examined when you go in for scheduled tune-ups and oil changes. By testing the battery, you will have a better idea of when you might need to purchase a new one. You can also look at the battery itself. Corrosion or stains on the battery means you have a leak somewhere on it. You can also look for buildup around the terminals as well. Another way you can tell the battery is bad is the smell. If you notice a rotten egg or sulfuric smell, it is the smell of the battery overheating.

 

 

 

Maintaining your vehicle’s battery is something you should think about year round. While it is necessary to change the battery and replace one if it is a few years old, you should do all that you can to maintain the battery’s life to help save you money. You should try and get the most long lasting battery that you can buy for your vehicle. While they may cost more initially, they save you money in the long run by not replacing them as often. It is also important to prolong the life of the battery as long as you can. There are a few easy tips you can do to help this. You can make sure everything in your vehicle is turned off. Leaving your lights, stereo, and other equipment on while your car is not running can drain the life of your battery. Turning all of these off when you are not driving is a good way to extend the life of you battery, and should be done at all times. By doing this, you can keep the battery charged and it will save you stress, time, and money.

Being Aware of a Transmission Issue

 

To help keep your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently, make sure to have it brought in for regular maintenances. If you notice anything between regular visits, make sure to schedule an appointment. Catching an issue at the first sign of a problem can help prevent further damage in the future. It can also reduce the chance of a costly repair bill when it needs to be fixed. One area we can inspect is the transmission. Without a transmission, the vehicle will not be able to run and transport you to where you need to go. In order to make sure the transmission is operating at the best level possible, make sure to notice any unusual noises or issues that come from under the hood.

 

 

 

With any moving part, it always runs better when there is lubrication. An engine needs oil, the brakes need fluid, the steering column needs fluid and the transmission needs fluid to run. If the fluids become low, the engine could quit working. It could also cause the tires to not steer properly and the pistons might lock up and quit working. Keeping an eye on the fluids and having them checked regularly can prevent any problems from happening unexpectedly.

 

Belts power parts of engines and they all work together to make the vehicle move forward. When a belt starts to show wear or develops a crack, it will stop working. Once it stops working or if it snaps, then you might be stranded on the side of the road. In order to keep the transmission working, check the belts in and around all of the engine components to make sure they look to be in great shape with no wear marks, cracks, or missing pieces.

 

Oil within the engine will pick up pieces of the engine, dirt, dust, and anything else that gets pushed around the inside of your engine. Oil goes in a light brown color, but it comes out jet black. It is black because it is dirty. This is why it is important to bring the vehicle in for regular oil changes. Clean oil will pull out dirt and debris, but when it is changed regularly and often, the dirt will not build up in the engine, but get flushed out with the dirty oil. A clean filter will capture dust and dirt when it is installed. We will also be able to check the oil filter when the oil is changed. This can help to keep it working effectively when the engine runs. Also be aware of issues that the vehicle may have between visits, and contact us as soon as you notice them.

Noises that Alert you to An Issue

To help keep your vehicle in the best condition possible, make sure it is brought in for regular maintenances. By having the vehicle inspected based on the recommended schedule, you can help prevent further issues from forming. If you ignore an issue, it can lead to time, money, and stress in the long run. Also, it can cause other parts of the vehicle to wear out sooner than they typically should. This will result in frequent replacements of parts of the vehicle.

 

 

One of the noises to pay attention to is from the brake system. If there are noises when you apply the brakes, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. This can help prevent a safety issue when you are driving. Noises from the brake system could mean that the brake pads or brake rotors should be replaced. As the brake pads start to wear out, this will cause damage to the brake rotors. If you hear a squealing or screeching noise, it could mean that the brake pads have worn out. This will then result in the contact of the brake pad to the brake rotor.

 

 

Another way to determine if there is an issue with the vehicle is any sounds that come from under hood. Any strange noise is an indication that the vehicle should be inspected for the source of the problem. If there is a grinding or high pitched noise from under the hood, there could be an issue with the engine or transmission. It is always recommended to have a profession look at it so the problem can be resolved quickly.

 

 

If you hear noises coming from the tires, be sure to have them inspected as soon as you can. These noises could mean that the tire might need to be repaired or replaced. It could also be a sign that the tires should be aligned, rotated, or balanced. Some noises that come from the tires could also indicate an issue with the brake system. Anything that is out of the normal should be looked at immediately.

Having the Car Fluids Flushed

When it is suggested that you flush car fluids, such as transmission fluid, motor oil, or brake fluid, it basically means to replace the old fluid with new. In some cases, however, to fully flush fluids requires the middle step of rinsing, or cleansing the entire system by running water or a specialized cleaner through the system to remove any grit or grime that may have accumulated over time. That way, there are no contaminants in the system when fresh fluid is put in.

 

 

Since vehicles have several mechanical systems that require fluids for lubrication or cooling purposes, there are several types of fluid flushes. Here are the ways you can flush car fluids and how often they should be done for maintenance purposes:

 

 

  • Brake Fluid Flush: Although rarely necessary, you may need a brake fluid flush if moisture has made its way into your brake system and has become rust-colored or if it has been overheated. In many cases, however, a vehicle will never require a brake flush.

 

  • Engine Oil Flush: With motor oil, regular changes at intervals recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual are part of proper maintenance. Running a cleanser through the engine system, however, may cause more problems than it can fix because the sludgy contaminants such a flush dislodges can obstruct the oil pump pickup screen.

 

  • Power Steering Fluid Flush: This is another type of car fluid flush you may never need. Instead, have a mechanic inspect the fluid once or twice a year. Only flush fluids in your power steering system if black grit or metal flakes are present or the substance smells burnt. If the smell continues for a length of time, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the vehicle for you. This can help you to have a reliable vehicle again as well.

 

  • Radiator Flush: Vehicles produced from about 2011 and on use a newer, orange-colored coolant, which does not require frequent radiator, flushes and can withstand greater temperatures and has better corrosion protection. In these newer vehicles, consult with your owner’s manual or a mechanic for an appropriate flushing schedule. For other cars and trucks, however, draining the coolant and flushing the radiator should be done approximately every two years.

 

  • Transmission Fluid Flush: A transmission flush should be performed approximately every 35,000 miles or at the intervals indicated in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. More frequent flushes, however, can actually harm the transmission, so be leery of quick-lube businesses trying to make an up-sale. Also, any time you get a transmission flush, be sure that the filter is changed as well.

 

If you notice that there is something out of the norm with your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible with us.

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.

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.