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Full of Hot Air (Air Conditioning)

In warm weather, you want to be in a cool vehicle. When we're talking cool, we don't mean stylish or trendy, but cool as in not sweltering inside.  And if your vehicle's air conditioner stops working correctly, it seems to always break at the worst time—during a heat wave.  Automotive air conditioning problems fail for a number of reasons: Blower motor not working.  No air comes through the vents, even though the rest of the system could be working fine. Refrigerant leak. When the gas that cools the air off escapes from the air conditioning system, your air conditioner can no longer cool off the outside air Condenser and compressor. These are parts of your AC system that compress and expand a refrigerant gas to cool off the outside air. They are fairly complex. When you bring your vehicle into our service center, we'll run a series of diagnostic tests to figure out what isn't working correctly.  The air conditioning system has a lot of parts. There are elect ... read more

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Air Conditioning

Keeping Your Cool (Water Pump Replacement)

No matter what the temperature is outside, it's important for your vehicle's engine to remain cool, calm, and collected.  Well, cool, anyway. If your vehicle has a gasoline engine, it's powered by a bunch of explosions involving spark plugs, pistons, gasoline, and air.  And the by-product of all those things working together? HEAT. There's a whole cooling system to keep everything at a tolerable temperature for your engine's parts, and a key part of that is the water pump.  Technically, it's pumping more than water. It should actually be called the "coolant" pump since the liquid that circulates through the system is a mixture of water and coolant.  Basically, the water pump keeps this coolant moving through your engine, where it picks up the engine heat, and then is pumped into the radiator where it gets rid of that heat.  When a water pump fails, the engine heat can build up.  When you get a warning light on the dash (either a gauge or a light) that show ... read more

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Water Pump

Sounds Exhausting! (Exhaust Service)

Most of us know a bad muffler when we hear it.  That loud, rumbling sound is unmistakable. Did you also know you can get a ticket for driving around with a loud exhaust system? If your exhaust system has a leak in it, it may be allowing poisonous gases inside your vehicle and could make you seriously ill (or even kill you!) if you breathe too much in. Unfortunately, your exhaust system faces a lot of destructive forces out on the road.  Rust is the worst, and not just in colder climates where they use salt and brine as de-icers.  Exhaust systems can rust from the inside out when moisture condenses inside the pipes.  Vibrations and jolts from rough roads (and the occasional run in with a rock or a curb) can wreak havoc with exhaust systems.  Even a bad oxygen sensor can send too much fuel into the catalytic converter, and the resulting heat can wind up destroying this very expensive component. Your exhaust system is made up of several parts, and all need to be i ... read more

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Exhaust

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

The Last Gas (Fuel Pump Replacement).

You're heading down the road and you notice your vehicle is sputtering, like it's running out of gas.  But the gauge show's it's still got a quarter of a tank.  So what gives? It could be that your fuel pump is failing, meaning your engine is not getting enough gas to run properly.  While fuel pumps are built to last a long time, sometimes they fail.  Other symptoms you may have a bad fuel pump include your vehicle stalling and then refusing to start again, the engine overheating or a hum or whirr coming from around the gas tank.  Or, your Check Engine light may come on. Most fuel pumps are in the gas tank. They have a small electric motor in them.   When you bring your vehicle to our service center, a technician will run tests to confirm the fuel pump is getting power to it but has failed.  Some vehicles have an access panel so the fuel pump can be removed and replaced.  But in some vehicles that don't have that access panel, the technician ... read more

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Fuel Pump

Them's the Brakes (Brake Rotor Resurfacing)

Your vehicle's brakes wear out.  It's inevitable. You'll notice it when you step on the brake pedal and feel it harder to stop, or there's vibration when you are braking.  Most modern vehicles have disc brakes that each use a brake pad that press on a disc (disc brakes!) called a rotor.  The friction between them enables you to stop, and each time you do a little bit of the pad and the rotor wears down. The original brakes on vehicles used a rotor that was thick enough to last through at least two replacements of the pads.  But vehicle manufacturers who want to save costs and weight now make them thinner, and sometimes the rotors have to be replaced after the first pad replacement.  But not always. Vehicle manufacturers specify a minimum thickness to provide safe braking.  Sometimes rather than having to have your rotors replaced, they can be put on a lathe and resurfaced.  In other words, the surfaces of the disc can be slightly shaved off so the sur ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

The Little Valve that Could (PCV Valve Replacement)

It's easy to get letters like PVC and PCV mixed up.  PVC is a plastic that's used in a lot of things, especially plumbing pipes.  And PCV is a valve that helps your engine burn off excess fumes rather than having them pollute our atmosphere.  PCV stands for positive crankcase ventilation.  When your engine ignites gasoline in the cylinders, some of the gases produced make their way into the crankcase, where oil is held to lubricate the engine.  In earlier days, those gases would be vented out through a hose and go directly into the air.  It was a waste of gasoline (since about three-fourths of the gases were unburned fuel) and a nasty source of pollution. So engineers devised a one-way valve that directed those gases back into the engine's air intake system to be burned again.  After a while, the PCV valve can get clogged up with gummy oil.  Not only does that reduce the recirculation of the gases, but it can also cause pressure in the crankcase ... read more

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PCV Valve

A Clean Start (Battery Cleaning)

You may be fanatical about keeping the outside of your vehicle clean.  But what about what's under the hood? Have you ever thought about how dirt and grime may be affecting your engine's components? One of the most important parts under your hood to keep clean is your vehicle's battery.  With a daily barrage of dirt and moisture, outside parts of your battery can corrode, namely the cables and terminals. Gases vented by batteries can also promote corrosion.  That can create connection problems and affect your vehicle's electrical system.  If corrosion is not cleaned off, it may damage wires and terminals so badly that they will stop properly conducting electricity.  At that point, they may need replacing. When you bring your vehicle to us for a battery inspection and cleaning, we will remove any corrosion and put corrosion-resistant protection on each post. A technician will also visually inspect your battery.  Plus, we can test how much life is in your ba ... read more

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Battery

Your Vehicle's Hissy Fit (AC System)

When you hear hissing sounds coming from your vehicle, you might start thinking the worst.   One type of hissing coming from around your air conditioner may be a normal sound, or it could be a sign of serious trouble. First - the normal sound.  When you turn off your vehicle, the refrigerant goes from its high-pressure side to the low-pressure side. Some of those noises are normal.  But when it hisses all the time, that's another story. One cause could be that the refrigerant is leaking.  Air conditioners are fairly complex systems that involve various pumps, hoses, valves and motors.  When your air conditioner is cooling, the refrigerant changes from a gas to a liquid and back.  That refrigerant is under pressure, and there are many places it can leak from.  A hissing sound can also be a failed valve in your air conditioner's compressor.  It is what controls the refrigerant's pressurization.  It's important to have this fixed fairly qu ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Put the Brakes On! (Brake Caliper Replacement)

Keeping your vehicle's brakes in top shape is one of the most important things you can do for your safety and those on the road with you. Most drivers know a little about brake pads and rotors but maybe not so much about another brake component called the calipers. Disc brakes work by a mechanical system that presses your brake pads against discs called rotors (you can usually see these discs through your wheels). The friction stops your vehicle smoothly when everything is working the way it should.  The calipers use the hydraulic pressure of the brake fluid to apply the stopping power.  After they've been on your vehicle for a while, the calipers can get stuck or wear out.  If calipers on one side of the vehicle work correctly and not on the other, you might feel a pull in one direction.  You might feel the same kind of pull if the caliper is stuck and is applying constant pressure.  You might hear scraping or squealing coming from a stuck caliper and you migh ... read more

Categories:

Brakes
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