How Can I Determine the Severity of Car Issues?

If your vehicle is exhibiting some signs that it might need repairs soon, it can be very tempting to simply ignore it. After all, car problems mean loss of time and an expensive repair bill. The good thing about it is that most of your car’s weird sounds aren’t going to really mean anything is necessarily wrong with it. However, this does not mean you should go on ignoring everything. Here are some of the ways you can determine the severity of your car issues.


As with anything you deal with in life, safety must always be your number one priority. Therefore, when the issue is a direct threat to your safety, it is incredibly important to either fix it (if the issue is small) or get it to your preferred mechanic as soon as possible. A common issue is bad brakes. You might be thinking that your brakes aren’t too bad. Sure, you have to press a little harder to come to a full stop, but so what? The reality is that brakes are incredibly important not only your safety, but for pedestrians as well. Having faulty brakes, airbags and seatbelts is a sure sign that you need to repair your car immediately.


Every car suffers from aging, resulting in substantial defects. There’s no point in having a car if it’s not even functioning. One of the most common issues regarding the usability of a car is its engine. You might have heard your engine racing, chugging or even shaking throughout your drive. Now, this does not mean you have to go replacing the whole engine, but you might need to go in for a tune-up. Only a professional mechanic can determine the severity of your engine problems.


Your car might look like a million bucks, but if it’s surrounded by a cloud of black smoke every time you stop, it can mean some serious issues are going on underneath. This often happens in the mornings, when you are starting your car for the first time. It is more often linked to the fuel enrichment system within your vehicle, which could also mean that it’s blocking your vents. This is certainly not an issue that you should ignore as it can increasingly become worse over time.

Determining the severity of car troubles can be a little difficult for the untrained eye. Therefore, it is incredibly important to record any issues regarding your car, and speak with professionals about what they can mean. Adhere to the list above to begin to understand what to look for in your own vehicle.

If you’re having car issues, contact us to schedule an appointment for car maintenance!

The Importance of Getting Your Brakes Checked

Cars are made up of many different working parts. Aside from the ignition, none of them are as important as the braking system. Imagine having a car without brakes, talk about a nightmare. As vital as they are, keep in mind that your brakes are not designed to last forever. In fact, the more you drive, the more frequently you should have your brakes inspected. It’s a good idea to understand the importance of getting your brakes checked.

Why It Matters

Getting your brakes checked and inspected matters a lot. As everything does with age, your brakes will start to wear out over time, which reduces their efficiency. Among the major reasons for car accidents, car failure is often cited. When your brakes fail, you’ll lose all control and not be able to stop your car from crashing. This may be a sign, fire hydrant, road barrier, or even another car. Not only do you become a substantial risk to yourself and other drivers, but driving on faulty brakes can cause irreparable damage to your vehicle.

What to Look Out For

Unless someone’s clipped your brake fluid line (very rare, by the way), brakes don’t just suddenly fail one day without warning. There are plenty of signs that indicate your brakes are starting to malfunction. If you start to notice any of these symptoms, head straight to a mechanic to get your brakes tested:

  • noises like grinding and squealing

brake light turning on
car wobbling and scraping when you hit the brakes
brake pedal feels too “soft”
leaking brake fluid starts leaking
vehicle bounces up and down when you stop
burning smell while driving

Keep in mind that with regular inspection, you can ward off potentially dangerous issues. Faulty brakes can stop working without notice, so it is important to be proactive. However, if you notice tell-tale signs of brake malfunction while driving, get your brakes inspected as soon as possible.

Repair or Replace

Once your mechanic has identified the issue, you have two options; you can repair your brakes or invest in new ones. These two choices have their pros and cons, but it is really all up to what you think is best. If the problem is not too severe, then a simple repair may do the trick. However, if your brakes are heavily damaged, then you are better off replacing them.

It’s always a good idea to have a trusted mechanic help you assess the damage to see which choice is best for you. Your brakes are one of the biggest safety features in your car. If they go out, your life and the lives of others can be put at risk. If you suspect that your brakes are acting up, have them checked before you do anything else. Having properly working brakes is vital, and they can protect not only you but other drivers on the road.

Here’s another article you might like: The Most Common Car Damages Caused By Collisions

How to Protect Your Car From Hazardous Winter Conditions

Winter can be a very dangerous time of the year for driving. The cold temperatures and snowfall can make it so that other than driving safely, you also need to care for your car. The winter can be hard on any vehicle so we’re going to take a quick look at three concerns to pay attention to during the winter months.


Many communities apply salt to the roads to get rid of snow and ice. While it is effective in helping to keep the roads clear, salt can also damage your car’s paint job and undercarriage. You may not realize how much salt is laid down on the road until you see it all over your car. Salt is corrosive to metal so as the snow melts off of your car, the moisture further speeds up the rusting of metal. If you keep your car inside a heated garage, then the combination of salt, moisture, and warmth will accelerate the process of corrosion. Keeping the salt washed off of your car will go a long way to combat the corroding process. Make sure to wash the undercarriage of your car. Left alone, the salt could eat away the metal underneath your car, weakening the structural integrity and shortening the lifespan of your vehicle.

Damaged Roads

When the weather changes, it can affect the roads and cause poor conditions and potholes to form. Potholes can cause several problems to your car, so drive with caution around those areas. Hitting a pothole can knock the steering alignment out of adjustment. You may feel that your car is trying to pull to one side. Potholes can damage tires and bend rims. It is a good idea to pull over and check your tires after hitting a pothole hard. A hard jolt from hitting a pothole can also break ball joints and cause damage to your shocks. If you notice new noises or vibrations after hitting a pothole, have your mechanic check it out.

Your Battery

Cold weather reduces the battery’s capacity and ability to start your car. To keep from getting stuck with a dead battery during the winter, have your battery checked before winter sets in. If possible, park your car overnight in a warm spot. Make sure to turn off all electrical accessories before turning off your car. This will keep the battery from having to support them while trying to start your car. Keep a set of jumper cables in your car. You may want to invest in a battery pack designed to start your car in case of a dead battery.

Winter conditions can be rough on your car. However, all you need to do is be attentive to a few preventive measures. By doing this, you can help your car get through the winter reliably and in great shape.

If winter conditions have taken a toll on your car, schedule an appointment today and let me come to you!

Why torque lug nuts

1. The first example is a bolt that is loose, with no torque applied — unstretched. 2. The second example is a bolt that is torqued to specification. There is a slight amount of stretch, but not enough to change metal/alloy properties of the bolt and it returns back to its original shape and is ready for retorquing. 3. The third example is a typical of an over-torqued bolt. Note that the bolt has not only stretched but stretched to the point of changing the properties and yield strength of the bolt. The bolt now has a much lower tensile/yield strength and allows the bolt to flex, generate heat and fatigue. A bolt that has been over-torqued will be prone to cracking, shearing, loosening, or breaking off which can result in damage to the wheel and other related components. Improperly torqued lug nuts or bolts can also result in: · Warped brake rotors — brakes grabbing, pulsating or overheated. · Damage to the lug nut seating surface of alloy wheels. · Wheel hub damage — threaded holes stripped out. It is also important to tighten lug nuts or bolts incrementally to the final torque specification, and doing so in the proper sequence.

Your owners manual should have this information if not the service manual will.
It is prudent to recheck the torque specifications after a test drive of the vehicle, especially with alloy or painted wheels. It is possible to falsely torque lug nuts or bolts due to excess paint, debris, corrosion or a tight and binding centering hole over the wheel hub that allows the bolt or nut to come loose after the vibrations and rigors of driving. When installing new wheels you should re-torque the wheel lugs after driving the first 50 to 100 miles in case the clamping loads have changed following the initial installation. This is necessary due to the possibility of metal compression/elongation or thermal stresses affecting the wheels as they are breaking in, as well as to verify the accuracy of the original installation. When rechecking torque value, wait for the wheels to cool to ambient temperature (never torque a hot wheel). Loosen and retighten to value, in sequence. Simply repeat the same torque procedure listed above. Wheel lug torque specifications are for clean threads that are free of dirt, grit, etc. If applying an anti-seize lubricant, it is important to note it can be applied only on the threads of nuts or bolts. The lubricant must not be used on either seat of the hardware of the wheel. With the seat being the main point of friction where torque is measured, extreme caution must be used if an anti-seize lubricant is applied to the threads as excess can either drip or be pushed onto the lug seat resulting in inaccurate torque values. A thread chaser or tap should be used to remove any burrs or obstructions of the threads allowing the lug hardware to be turned by hand until it meets the wheel’s lug seat. Once lugs are snugged down, finish tightening them with an accurate torque wrench. Use the appropriate crisscross sequence (shown above) for the number of wheel lugs on your vehicle until all have reached their proper torque value. Be careful because if you over-torque a wheel, you can strip a lug nut or hub, stretch or break a stud or bolt, and cause the wheel, brake rotor and/or brake drum to distort.]]>

Preventive Maintenance You Need to or have a shop Do On Your Car

Regular preventive maintenance is probably the most important thing you can do as a car owner to keep your ride happy and save money on repairs in the future. However, not everyone agrees on what preventive maintenance is, what you should do, and when you should do it. Let’s clear that up, and give you some tips that’ll apply to any vehicle. Anyone who’s ever worked on cars or spent a ton of money getting their car repaired will tell you: Don’t ignore preventive maintenance. The basics, like changing your oil, checking your tire pressure, and getting scheduled inspections and work done are like getting regular checkups at the doctor. They keep you healthy and give you—and the experts—a chance to catch anything serious before it becomes a major problem. With your car, that can save you thousands. First, Read Your Owner’s, Manual Pay attention to your owner’s manual. Regardless of the vehicle you drive, your regular maintenance schedule is inside it, and you’ll never fall for old car myths like, “You should change your oil every 3,000 miles,” (unless of course, your manual says you should, and odds are it doesn’t). You will, however, discover how often your manufacturer really does suggest you change your oil (it can vary widely by vehicle), your filters, any drive or timing belts in your vehicle, and more. You’ll even find out whether you’re putting the right gas in your vehicle or whether you’re using the right kind of oil in the first place. Seriously—you wouldn’t fire up a complicated piece of technology or a massive new home appliance without checking the manual to make sure you know what you’re doing. Most car lovers already know how important this is, but it’s still important even for people don’t consider themselves interested in how their car works. If you’re using the wrong oil, for example, or filling a car that calls for higher octane fuel with the lowest octane stuff you can buy, you may run the risk of  voiding your warranty, and worse, causing damage that’ll cost more to fix than you’d save by using the cheap stuff. Preventive Maintenance Every Vehicle Needs. When we covered the ways you can save serious money on car repair, more than a few people pointed out that preventive maintenance is probably one of the biggest ways you can save money—not actively, but in the long term. Spending a little money now on these basics will save you from more costly repairs later on: · Do your own inspection. It’s basic, but give your car a once-over periodically so you catch anything that looks out of the ordinary. Make sure all your lights are working. Check the air pressure in your tires every month or so (and buy a cheap  tire air pressure gauge  and keep it in the glove compartment). Doing so is good for your tires, gets you better mileage, and saves you money in gas if you discover that the pressure is off. Listen for any strange sounds, inside and out. Make sure your tires have enough tread. You can  use a penny to do it, or  look out for the wear indicators on the tire treads. If anything’s out of the ordinary, don’t ignore it. · Learn to check your fluids. Even if you don’t ever learn how to change your antifreeze, power steering, coolant, or even your wiper fluid (although seriously, don’t let someone charge you to change wiper fluid), you should learn how to check those fluid levels. In some cases, you can see the tank level directly, but most have gauges or dipsticks you can pull out to check current levels against a notch that indicates optimal levels. Even if your owner’s manual doesn’t have much to say about checking your transmission fluid or antifreeze, don’t be afraid to open the hood and see if you can find it. If you’re running low, add more (if you can) or get it changed. Most importantly,never ignore a leak. · Inspect and get your timing and serpentine belts replaced when necessary. Many people will tell you to get your timing belt replaced every 60,000 miles or so, and your serpentine belt replaced every 40,000 miles, give or take. Again, your owner’s manual will offer real numbers for your type of vehicle. If you can’t find the manual, look around online. You’ll probably find the actual recommendation for your car. Use it as a guideline, and ask your mechanic to inspect the belts when it gets time to replace them mileage-wise. If they’re still in good shape, don’t bother, but if they’re worn out, get them replaced before they fail. If you wait and those belts do fail, you’ll break down, and the damaged belt can damage other accessories, making the repair even more expensive. · Check your oil and get it changed regularly. Whether your car has a dipstick to check the oil’s color and oil level or  the dipstick has been replaced with an electronic gauge, you should know how to check it. Knowing the difference between clean oil and muddy, murky oil will save you a ton on unnecessary changes and gives you a way to tell if something’s wrong with your engine (e.g. the oil looks terrible but you just had it changed). It’s hard to make a universal recommendation for how frequently you should change your oil, but the answer is—as we mentioned—in your owner’s manual. Don’t just blindly follow the 3,000 mile myth though—for most vehicles it can be as high as 10,000 miles, depending on the oil your vehicle calls for (something else that’s in the manual). · Check your battery and clean the contacts (if necessary). Most batteries these days don’t require much in the way of maintenance, but you should know where it is and check it to make sure it’s not leaking and there’s no mineral or other buildup on the contacts. If there is, clean it off with a battery cleaning brush. It will set you back a couple of bucks at any auto parts or department store. Buy one and keep it in the trunk. While you’re at it, consider buying a cheap battery tester  or  jump starter. You’ll never need to call someone or wait for AAA (or a friendly passerby) to give you a jump. · Replace your windshield wipers when the view gets streaky. It may seem silly, but I’ve known several people who just ignored their wipers until they got them replaced as part of a bigger job. Wipers are cheap and easy to replace yourself. Don’t wait until you can barely see through your windshield. Your visibility is important, and you wouldn’t wait until you saw an optometrist to clean your glasses, would you? While you’re at it, give your windshield a good cleaning inside and out—if it’s hard to see, the problem may be inside, not out. · Replace your cabin air filter. Replacing a cabin air filter is probably one of the easiest things you can do to keep your car comfortable. Most vehicles make the cabin air filter easily accessible and replacing it is as easy as opening a box. You can get a fitting filter at any auto parts store. It may not be critical to your car’s operation, but it’s easy, it makes the ride more pleasant, and it’s a repair you’ll never have to pay someone else to do. · Replace your engine air filter. Getting to the engine air filter may be a little trickier depending on the vehicle you have, but replacing it regularly is important. Your owner’s manual will give you a mileage estimate for how frequently you should replace your engine air filter, but if you can get to it, check it. If it’s dirty, replace it. If you drive a ton, especially in stop-and-go traffic or have a long commute, your engine air filter may get dirtier faster than someone who drives open roads or only drives around on the weekends. If you need help or your owner’s manual doesn’t lay out exactly how to do it (although it should), you can easily find help online. · Get your tires rotated and balanced, and your alignment checked. Your manual will tell you how often to do this, and it’s important to do to make sure your tires wear evenly and your car drives smoothly. You can make your tires—which are expensive to replace all at once, by the way, take it from someone who’s done it several times—last much longer by getting them rotated and balanced. Your alignment is just as important. If you’re fighting your car to keep it straight, that’s a bad situation that’s easily corrected. · Change your spark plugs. If your spark plugs are worn out or covered in build up, your engine isn’t working efficiently. That can cost you money in fuel for one, but it can also lead to a breakdown. It may sound daunting, but in some cases checking and replacing them isn’t that difficult. If you don’t feel like doing it yourself (or it’s a big and complicated job for your vehicle), follow your manual’s recommendation and get them changed regularly—for most standard copper spark plugs and vehicles, that’s around 30,000 miles (but again, it varies – some iridium plugs can last up to 100,000 miles). These are just a few things that every vehicle needs and almost all of them are things you can do yourself. We can’t stress enough the importance of checking your owner’s manual for anything we may have overlooked here, or anything specific to your vehicle. If you don’t have your manual, you can find it pretty easily online.]]>