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Yearly Archives: 2022

Let's Clear Some Things Up (Headlight Restoration)

You know how exposing your skin to sunlight can cause sunburn and other unhealthy things.  Sunlight can also create major problems for your headlights.  After they've been exposed to ultraviolet light, acrylic headlights can yellow and fog due to oxidation.  And when that happens, less light can pass through the plastic, reducing the effectiveness—and safety—of your headlights.  It's not just the UV light that causes headlights to turn cloudy.  Road grime and debris gets kicked up and can scratch the plastic, diffusing the light that should pass through them when they're clear.  Plus, when your vehicle was new from the factory, the headlights had watertight seals all around to prevent moisture from getting into them and fogging them up with water vapor.  Just like clouds can hide the sun, tiny water molecules can diffuse the light from your headlight bulbs.  Sure, you could buy replacement parts and start fresh.  But the good new ... read more

Categories:

Headlamps

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

Oil Times are a-Changin' (Oil Change Synthetic)

When it comes to oil changes, things are really changing.  Most newer vehicles require synthetic oil, and while it costs more than conventional oil, it doesn't need to be changed as often. When conventional oil was the only game in town, you changed your oil every 3,000 miles/5,000 km. But as technology in newer vehicles has rapidly changed, so has oil technology.  Synthetics have been around since the seventies.  Even though they start with a conventional oil base, they are engineered in a chemical processing plant with properties that allow them to keep your engine lubricated at very high temperatures.  They are more uniform and consistent. Synthetic oil doesn't break down as easily, so it lasts longer than conventional oil.  And synthetic oil can flow more easily, even in extremely low temperatures.  As you can see, it has performance advantages at both temperature extremes. Generally, in recent years automakers have been shipping most of their vehicles ... read more

Categories:

Oil Change

Heat and your Tires (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)

With hotter weather and brutal heat waves becoming more common, the pressure in your vehicle's tires goes up.  After all, heat causes air to expand, and the air in your tires follows the laws of physics. Overinflated tires can reduce your vehicle's traction, cause a hard, punishing ride and make your tires wear out faster; all are important safety issues. Four out of every ten drivers rarely check tire pressure. Some rely on their vehicle's tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to keep an eye on proper tire inflation.  But it's not designed to do that. TPMS is a safety feature that has been required on vehicles made in 2008 or later, using sensors in the wheels that alert you to tire pressure problems.  That warning can be a light on your dash, a digital message or a readout of the pressure in each individual wheel.  But a study showed that more than 40 percent of drivers don't even know what the tire pressure monitoring light symbol looks like! One looks like a ho ... read more

Categories:

TPMS

Road Trip? Check! (Trip Inspection)

After months of postponing travel far away from home, a lot of us can't wait to hit the road and scream "Road Trip!" again.  But how long has it been since the vehicle you're planning on taking has had a thorough inspection? And is it roadworthy for several days on the highway? Time to schedule a professional trip inspection in our service center.  When it comes to long trips, before you go, make sure you can stop.  We can perform a break inspection.  Our technician will visually inspect your brakes for wear and how much life is left in the brake pads and rotors.  They'll also check your brake lines and fluids for fitness and fill. If it's going to be a long trip, it's important that your engine stays lubricated.  The technician will see when the last time you had an oil change, check the levels and inspect the system for leaks.  If you are close to needing an oil change, it's best to have it done before the trip because no one wants to interrupt a va ... read more

Categories:

Trip Inspection

Differential Service

When you're driving and turn a corner, you probably aren't aware of all that's going on with your wheels.  The outside wheels have a longer distance to travel than the inside wheels, so there are gears that allow the wheels to go at different speeds when you turn.  That set of gears is called a differential.  In front-wheel drive vehicles, it's by the transmission and called a transaxle.  Rear-wheel drive vehicles have the differential, naturally, on the rear axle. Many all-wheel and four-wheel drives add a center differential since power has to go to the front and rear wheels. (Some newer vehicles power wheels with electric motors, but that's a whole different story.) Time and distance traveled eventually can take their toll on the differential, and you may notice some noises you hadn't heard when your vehicle was newer.  Sometimes you'll hear a whir that might change in pitch when you turn.  You may hear clicking sounds when you're moving.  Others d ... read more

Round and Round (Wheel Balancing)

In a perfect world, all wheels and tires would be perfectly round and weigh exactly the same at every point of the wheel.  Unfortunately, they're not, and if they're out of balance, they can reduce the lifespan of your tires, make your vehicle shake like a carnival ride, and maybe even damage a few suspension parts along the way.  You don't want that! Wheel balancing, sometimes known as tire balancing, is a process by which a technician makes sure your tire/wheel assembly has evenly distributed weight.  If it isn't, it can give your ride bad vibrations.  If you feel your vehicle's steering wheel shaking, it can mean unbalanced wheels in the front. If you can feel a vibration in your seats, it could be unbalanced rear wheels. In addition to your vehicle vibrating at higher speeds, there are other signs that your wheels are out of balance. You may see uneven tread wear, or you may notice you aren't getting the kind of fuel economy you used to.  When you experienc ... read more

A Clean Start (Battery Cleaning)

Your vehicle is loaded with electrical devices. Computerized components are everywhere, so good electrical connections are important.  Those begin with your vehicle's battery, so it's important that its connections are in top shape. Ever had a flashlight that didn't work, took out the old batteries to replace them and noticed the old batteries were all corroded? The same thing can happen to your vehicle's battery.  The battery type used in most vehicles is a lead-acid, which can be very corrosive.  Corrosion can build up around your battery's terminals that can prevent the electrical connection from being as solid as it needs to be.  You may have even seen discoloration around your battery's terminals if you look under the hood, a sign of corrosion. Or you might notice visible signs of fraying or loose battery cables. All of your vehicle's components are affected by vibrations from the engine and road surface imperfections, and the battery cables take a lot of jostl ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Light Up your Life (Headlamp Replacement)

Did you know that having a burned out headlight can result in your rearview mirror reflecting some flashing lights? In other words, you might get pulled over by the police for only having one working headlight, because in most places it's against the law.  Not only is it illegal to drive with one headlight burned out, but it's also dangerous. You can't see down the road nearly as well at night with only one headlight, and other drivers can't see you as easily either. The good news is many newer vehicles warn you when one of your headlamps burns out. When that happens, have it taken care of as soon as you can.  While there was a time when all headlamps were pretty much the same, the same isn't true these days. There are halogen, Xenon, LED and other technologies used in modern vehicles.  Plus there are sealed beams (like those on older vehicles) and capsules. If you have a burned out headlamp, ask your service advisor for recommendations.  Usually when one side goes ... read more

Categories:

Headlamps

Refresh Your Brakes (Brake Fluid Exchange)

Brakes are one of your vehicle's most important safety components, and you may have noticed that they don't stop as surely as they used to.  Maybe it takes you applying a little more pressure to them than before, or perhaps you get the feeling that they're not stopping you as quickly. Those could be signs that your brake fluid needs changing.  Hydraulic brake systems use a fluid that enables the brakes to apply their stopping power to the wheels.  That fluid can wear out, degrade, become contaminated or pick up air and moisture.  All those can eventually contribute to brakes that feel sluggish. Driving with old, worn-out brake fluid may also shorten the lifespan of other braking components. Our technicians can evaluate your brake fluid to see if it needs changing. Your vehicle's manufacturer recommends how often that should be done, and when it needs changing may depend on how and where you drive. Our technicians can check the condition of your brake fluid when you ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service
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