Why You Need a Used Car Inspection Before Buying a Pre-Owned Vehicle

used car inspectionBuying a pre-owned car? Many people turn to a private seller in hopes of negotiating a better deal. However, if you go this route, you need to diligently do your homework on the car. The inventory at a used car dealership usually comes with an official car report from a company like Carfax or AutoCheck. You may not have this luxury with a private seller. This is why we recommend a used car inspection at an auto repair station.

Why Is a Used Car Inspection So Important?

We believe a used car inspection is especially important with the recent natural disasters that befell Houston and Florida. Both of these incidents resulted in massive flooding that damaged thousands of properties, including cars. Continue Reading →

The Truth About “Topping Off” the Gas Tank

topping off the gas tankSome car owners top off the gas tank to reduce the number of trips to the pump station. Topping off means to continue to add a bit more gasoline even after the nozzle automatically clicks off. By doing this, you fill the fuel tank beyond its fill line. This is actually a bad idea for both your car and the environment.

Why Topping Off the Gas Tank Is a Bad Idea

Most pump nozzles stop the fuel flow once the tank is sufficiently full. However, some car owners bypass this by repeatedly pulling the nozzle slightly back, or by lifting the nozzle out of the filler neck to keep the valve open.

Overfilling the tank causes some of the fuel to enter the carbon filter and charcoal canister, both of which are meant to only hold vapor. This eventually destroys the canister. Replacing this component can cost as much as $1,500 at an auto repair shop. Furthermore, gasoline in the canister leads to poorer fuel mileage and reduced engine performance. This goes for all vehicle makes and models, including hybrid cars. Continue Reading →

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 →