What Items Belong in a Car Emergency Kit?

Car Emergency KitYou may have heard of the saying: “It’s better to have an item and not need it than to need it and not have it.” This is very true with respect to a car emergency kit. These kits keep you safe when stranded or enable you to reach the nearest auto repair station in an emergency. We’ll go over the items you should include in a kit.

Items for a Car Emergency Kit

Most auto stores sell pre-packaged emergency kits. If you choose to put together your own, then here is a checklist of items. These include items you may not find in a store-bought kit. Continue Reading →

Is Your Brake Pedal Sinking to the Floor?

Brake Pedal Sinks to FloorThe brakes are one of the most vital car components. If it’s faulty in any way, then make haste to get to an auto repair center; your safety depends on it. Some motorists have reported their brake pedal sinking to the floor while the car is in operation. We’ll explain why this happens and why it’s a serious problem.

What’s Going on with Your Brakes?

People often report the brakes sinking to the floor during these types of commuting scenarios:

· The brakes gradually sink to the floor while at a traffic light, but returns back to the original position once the car is back in motion. Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Have Transmission Problems?

transmission problemsThe transmission consists of hundreds of interconnected parts that are constantly interacting with one another. The nonstop interaction and friction of moving parts cause heat buildup. Over time, this leads to transmission problems. We advise you to bring your car to an auto repair service if you notice any of these signs of a failing transmission.

Burning Smell

Transmission fluid keeps the transmission cool and lubricated. A burning smell may indicate a leak or low fluid levels.

Noisy Transmission in Neutral

Do you hear a bumping noise while the car is stationary and in neutral? The transmission may have worn bearings, worn gear teeth, damaged reverse idle gear, or a combination of all three. Continue Reading →

Remanufactured vs. Rebuilt Auto Parts What’s the Difference?

remanufactured vs. rebuiltIt’s not unusual for car owners to choose used replacement parts to save money. Used car parts are either remanufactured or rebuilt. These two terms are often used interchangeably, even though they denote slightly different realities. We explain the difference here, so you can make an educated decision the next time you need an auto repair.

Remanufactured

A remanufactured part is completely disassembled, examined for breakage, and thoroughly cleaned. Any damaged component is replaced with a new or rebuilt part. All replacements are checked for dimensional tolerance. The part is then reassembled and tested to ensure it meets specifications.

Some manufacturers also use the term factory remanufactured or factory authorized remanufactured. This simply means any replaced components are from the original manufacturer. In some cases, the remanufactured parts may even be an improvement due to technology advancements since the release of the original part. Continue Reading →

What Exactly Is a Fluid Flush?

fluid flushIt’s not unusual for customers to give us a blank stare when we tell them a particular fluid requires flushing. Most people assume it just means a fluid replacement. In some cases, this is exactly what it entails, though it may also mean a more extensive process to flush out built-up impurities. We’ll go over the types of fluid flushes and why you might need them.

What Goes on in a Fluid Flush?

In a fluid flush, we completely drain the fluid. Before refilling the system with new fluid, we rinse it out using a mixture of water and specialized cleaner. This helps remove sediment, grime, and sludge that accumulated over the passage of time. This way, no impurities remain when we add new fluid.

Types of Fluid Flushes

Our auto service will determine whether your vehicle requires a specific flush. We often do this as part of a routine 30k/60k/90k service. Common flushes include the following: Continue Reading →

What Does the Color of Your Car Exhaust Mean?

car exhaust colorThe fumes coming out the tailpipe reveal quite a bit about the condition of your car. Of course, a bit of emission is normal; however, the color of the car exhaust may indicate that you need to bring your vehicle to an auto repair service. We recommend that you examine the fumes periodically for any discoloration.

Car Exhaust Color Indicator

Blue

Blue smoke means the engine is burning oil. A worn piston ring or valve guide seal is likely the cause of the oil leak. Some of that oil is making its way to the combustion chamber where it’s burning along with the fuel. Burning oil can damage the spark plug and lead to rough starts.

If your car has a turbocharged engine, blue smoke could also be an indicator that the blower is damaged.

Gray

Gray smoke can mean several things. It can be an indicator of any of the same problems associated with blue smoke. However, it can also mean that transmission fluid is burning in the engine. The cause for this may be a worn transmission vacuum modulator. Continue Reading →

Is Winter Car Idling Good or Bad?

Winter Car IdlingLetting your car idle for a minute first thing in the morning is an age-old practice. This is especially so in winter when it’s supposedly necessary to warm the engine up before backing out of the driveway. Is idling your car in winter weather, though, really a good thing? Our auto service experts have an answer that may challenge conventional wisdom.

Winter Car Idling Is NOT ALWAYS Necessary

When it comes to winter car idling, Stephen Ciatti, an ex-drag racer who also holds a PhD in mechanical engineering, explains why car idling may actually do your car more harm than good.

A car engine runs on a mixture of air and vaporized fuel. The mixture is compressed by the piston, and is then ignited by a spark. This generates the combustion that powers the engine.

Ciatti explains, however, that in the winter, cold temperatures may prevent the gasoline from evaporating completely. When this happens, the engine compensates by using more gasoline. Some of the fuel does not ignite, which leaves liquid gasoline in the cylinder.

When there is extra fuel in the combustion chamber, some of it can get into the cylinder walls. In turn, the fuel can act as a solvent that strips the wall surface of oil and lubricant. This leads to premature wear of parts, such as the cylinder liner and piston rings. Continue Reading →

Normal Service Vs Severe Service: What’s the Difference?

Severe serviceEvery car model requires basic auto servicing at regular intervals; hence the typical 30k-mile maintenance. However, the frequency of the checkups varies depending on the model, year, and whether you subject the vehicle to normal or severe use. What is the difference between normal service and severe service? These are two terms you will hear a lot in auto circles.

Normal Service and Severe Service Explained

Your vehicle’s user manual may outline two different service schedules: one for normal service and another for severe service. Your vehicle will require more frequent servicing if it falls into the latter category.

So, what exactly constitutes severe car use? Your vehicle will generally require severe servicing if it undergoes any of the following:

  • Frequent operation under extreme hot or cold weather (generally not a factor in the Monroe area)
  • Frequent trips under four miles
  • Frequent stop and go driving with extended periods of idling, especially in hot and humid conditions
  • Extensive use of the brakes
  • Frequent operation in sandy areas or on salted roads
  • Regular driving in mountainous or bumpy terrain

If your car doesn’t frequently undergo any of the above, then it would be classified under normal use conditions. If you’re not sure which category your car falls under, then have it looked at by an auto repair service. Continue Reading →

4 Signs of a Failing Clutch

Failing clutchMost cars these days no longer have a manual shifting option. That’s a bummer for those who consider stick shift operation “real driving.” If you’re among the minority that still drives a stick shift, can you tell if the clutch is acting up? A failing clutch is a serious issue and needs to be looked at right away by an auto repair service.

Symptoms of a Failing Clutch

1. Transmission Slips Out of Gear

The stick may occasionally slip out of gear and fall back into neutral. This typically occurs during acceleration and under heavy loads. Low transmission fluid or a broken gear linkage are only two possible reasons a transmission might slip out of gear. There are several others.

2. Stiff Clutch Pedal

The clutch pedal may resist when depressed. A stuck or jammed cable is usually the cause. Continuing to forcibly press down on the clutch may cause the cable to break, rendering the entire clutch assembly inoperable. Continue Reading →

10 Foreign Vehicle Care Tips to Keep Your Car in Top Condition for Fall

Fall Auto Care Month | Monroe Foreign Auto RepairWith their harsh weather conditions, summer and winter usually call for more attention to car maintenance than other times of the year. So as the leaves change color and a chill settles in the air, pay attention to your foreign vehicle. It’s time to put its critical sytems into top working order. Fall brings rainy weather and sometimes snow. Now is a good time to ensure that the parts of your car designed to deal with extreme weather are in good health. Keep in mind that a light drizzle can become a big problem if your tires or windshield wipers are in bad shape.

Simple Fall Vehicle Care Tips

Follow these simple car care tips for the fall season. These checks should only take a few minutes. They will save you later by preventing problems that the coming season’s driving conditions might cause.

  1. Inspect the steering & suspension system annually. This includes struts, shock absorbers, and chassis parts like ball joints, tie rod ends and other related elements.
  2. Check the HVAC system. Proper heating and cooling performance is crucial for safety reasons—such as defrosting—and for interior comfort.
  3. Check the tire pressure and tire tread. Uneven wear on tires can mean that one of your tires is underinflated. This affects your car’s fuel economy and handling. It can also mean that your tires are out of alignment, causing an uncomfortable ride due to stress on your suspension.
  4. Check headlights and windshield wipers to ensure you can see and be seen. Make sure all exterior and interior lighting is working properly. Replace old wiper blades, so rainy conditions don’t adversely affect your driving.
  5. Inspect belts and hoses. They should not be loose, brittle, frayed, cracked, or show signs of excessive wear.
  6. Check the battery and replace it if necessary. Make sure the connection if tight, clean, and corrosion-free.
  7. Look over the exhaust system for damage, leaks, and broken supports or hangers if there’s an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks are dangerous and should be corrected immediately.
  8. Inspect engine performance to confirm it’s delivering the optimal balance of fuel economy and power, as well as producing the lowest level of emissions.
  9. Check all fluids: power steering, transmission, brake, and engine oil, as well as antifreeze/coolant and windshield washer solvent.
  10. Notice the feel of your brakes. If your brakes make scraping sounds or feel spongy and soft when depressed, stopping the car may become difficult in inclement weather.

Continue Reading →