Author Archive | Michelle Long

Tuesday’s Car Care Tip

On this “First Day of Winter” we wanted to address Cooling Systems.

The cooling systems in today’s vehicles have to work harder than ever before.  Reduction in size, hotter engines and chemical reactions (created by aluminum and steel combinations in the engines) combine to break down the coolants ability to protect your car’s engine.  Manufacturers recommend flushing the cooling system and replacing the coolant every two years.  (Except for those cars using longer life coolant).

In addition the thermostat should also be replaced when performing repairs to the cooling system.  Today’s engines need to run at specific temperatures.  The stress on the thermostat causes many of them to fail causing the engine to run cooler than designed.  This leads to numerous problems including reduced fuel mileage.

If you are concerned with your cooling system, please give us a call for an appointment and we will be happy to check your cooling system out.

 

#firstdayofwinter #coolingsystemrepair #woodinvilleautorepair

Car Care Tip

Timing Belts:

Most cars and light trucks have timing belts in the engine.  This belt synchronizes the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft.  This synchronization is critical, especially if you have an “interference” engine.  In interference engines if the belt breaks when the engine is running serious/expensive damage can occur to the engine.  Like all belts, timing belts do wear out.  Manufacturers recommend replacement…depending on the make and model of you vehicle it is somewhere between 60,ooo miles and 120,000 miles.  This recommendation is listed in your owners manual.

If you don’t know whether or not your engine utilizes a timing belt, or when it is due for replacement, call us and we will provide you with the needed information.

 

timingbelt Long's car care center 98072

Classic Cars – We love them!!

Friday’s are Classic Car Days!!  We have this awesome 1949 Ford sitting in our show room right now!!  It belongs to a wonderful, long time customer that has asked us to help him sell it.  This vehicle is in perfect shape…stock color, interior is immaculate.  Great Buy for $15,000.  Stop on by the shop anytime and take a look!!

carforsalelongs

 

#classiccarfriday #1949ford #woodinvilleclassiccarrestoration

Trouble Shooting

Car trouble doesn’t always mean major repairs.  Here are some common causes of vehicle issues, and techniques to help you find the problem, and either fix it yourself or bring it into the shop and have one of our technician fix it.

  • Alternator – Loose wiring can make you alternator appear to be defective.  Our technicians check for loose connections and perform output test, before recommending replacing your alternator.
  • Battery – Corroded or loose battery terminals can make your battery appear to be dead or defective.  You can clean them, or we would be happy to do that for you.  We would also test your battery function, to make sure that it is still strong, as to not leave you stranded.
  • Starter – What appears to be a defective started actually may be a dead battery or poor connection.  We would check all of the connections, and test your battery before repairing or replacing your starter.
  • Muffler – a loud rumbling noise under you vehicle indicates a need for a new muffler or exhaust pipe.
  • Tune-up – The old fashioned “tuneup” may not be relevant to your vehicle.  Fewer parts, other than belts, spark plugs, hoses and filter need to be replaced on newer vehicles.  We check all of these parts every time you visit us to make sure that you vehicle is maintained and in good shape for a long time

corroded battery Long's car car center 98072

 

#vehiclemaintenace #autorepairwoodinville #mufflerrepair

Heading off Problems – Part 4 Continued

FEELS LIKE TROUBLE

Brakes 

Brake problems have several symptoms.  Schedule an inspection and repair if:

  • The vehicle pulls to one side when the brakes are applied
  • The brake pedal sinks to the floor when pressure is maintained.
  • You hear or feel scraping or grinding during braking.
  • The “Brake” light on the instrument panel is on.

At Long’s we off Free Brake Inspections.  In fact every time you bring your vehicle to us for any service we inspect the wear on your brakes…we want to make sure everything is safe for you and your family.

Engine

The following symptoms indicate engine trouble.  Bring your vehicle for diagnosis if:

  • You have difficulty starting the engine.
  • The “check engine” light is on.
  • You experience rough idling or the engine starts stalling.
  • Your vehicle has poor acceleration.
  • Your vehicle starts having poor fuel economy.
  • You start having excessive oil use (more than one quart between changes)
  • The engine continues running after the key is removed.

Transmission

Poor transmission performance may come from actual component failure or a simple disconnected hose or plugged filter.  At Long’s we check the simple things first, transmission repairs normally are expensive and we want to make sure that we cover all of the bases.  Some of the most common symptoms of transmission problems are:

  • Abrupt or hard shifts between gears.
  • Delayed or no response when shifting from neutral to drive or reverse.
  • Failure to shift during normal acceleration.
  • Slippage during acceleration.  The engine speeds up, but the vehicle does no respond.

check engine light Long's car care center 98072

 

#checkenginelight #brake repair #engine noise

 

Heading off Problems – Part 4

FEELS LIKE TROUBLE

Our Tuesday Tip…if you are experiencing difficult handling, a rough ride, a vibration or poor performance, these are symptoms that you can feel.  They almost always indicate problem of some sort.

Steering

  • Misaligned front wheels and/or worn steering components, such as the idler arm or ball joint, can cause wandering or difficulty steering in a straight line.
  • Pulling – the vehicles tendency to steer to the left of right – can be caused by something as routine as under-inflated tires, or as serious as a damaged or misaligned front end.

Ride and Handling

  • Worn shock absorbers or other suspension components – or improper tire inflation – can contribute to poor cornering.
  • While there is no hard and fast rule about when to replace shock absorbers or struts, try this test:  bounce the vehicle up and down hard at each wheel and then let go.  See how many times the vehicle bounces  Weak shocks will allow the vehicle to bounce twice or more.  We recommend replacing shocks at 65,000 miles and struts at 75,000 miles.
  • Springs do not normally wer out and do not need replacement unless one corner of the vehicle is lower than the others.  Overloading your vehicle can damage the springs.
  • Balance Tires properly.  An unbalanced or improperly balanced tire causes a vehicle to vibrate and may wear steering and suspension component prematurely.

shocks long's car care center 98072

 

#tuesdaytip #woodinvilleautorepair #autorepairshop

Heading off Problems – Part 3 continued

SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE

Ping – a high pitched metallic tapping sound, related to engine speed:

  • Usually caused by using gas with a lower octane rating than recommended.  Check your owner’s manual for the proper octane rating.  If the problem persists, engine ignition timing could be off and causing the issue.

Heavy Knock – A rhythmic pounding sound:

  • Worn crankshaft or connecting rod bearings.
  • Loose transmission torque converter.

Clunk – A random thumping sound:

  • Al loose shock or other suspension component.
  • Loose exhaust pipe muffler.

listen Long's car care center 98072

 

 

Heading off Problems – Part 3

SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE

Squeaks, squeals, rattles, rumbles, and other sounds can provide valuable clues about problems and maintenance needs.  Here are some common noises and what they mean:

Squeal – A shrill, sharp noise, usually related to engine speed:

  • Loose or worn power steering, fan or air conditioning belt.

Click – A slight sharp noise, related to either engine speed or vehicle speed:

  • Loose wheel cover
  • Loose or bent fan blade
  • Stuck valve lifter or you could be low on engine oil.

Screech – A high-pitched, piercing metallic sound; usually occurs while the vehicle is in motion:

  • This is caused by brake wear indicators to let you know it’s time for a brake inspection.

Rumble – a low-pitched rhythmic sound.

  • Worn exhaust pipe, catalytic converter or muffler.
  • Or a worn universal joint, or other drive-line component.
  • sounds Long's Car Care Center 98072

Heading Off Problems Part 2

SMELLS LIKE TROUBLE

Some Problems are right under your nose.  You can detect them by their odor:

  • The smell of burned toast – a light, sharp odor – often signal an electrical short and burning insulation.  To be safe, try not to drive the vehicle until the problem is diagnosed.
  • The smell of rotten eggs – a continuous burning-sulphur smell – usually indicates a problem in the catalytic converter or other emission control devices.  Don’t delay diagnosis and repair.
  • A thick acrid odor usually means burning oil.  Look for signs of a leak.
  • The smell of gasoline vapors after a failed start may mean you have a flooded engine.  Wait a few minutes before trying again.  If the odor persists, chances are there’s a leak in the fuel system – a potentially dangerous problem that needs immediate attention.
  • Burning resin or an acrid chemical odor may signal overheated brakes or clutch.  Check the parking brake.   Allow the brakes to cool after repeated hard braking on mountain roads.  Light smoke coming from a wheel indicates a stuck brake.  The vehicle should be towed in for repair.
  • A sweet, steamy odor indicates a coolant leak.  If the temperature gauge or warning light does not indicate overheating, drive carefully to the nearest service station, keeping an eye on your gauges.  If the odor is accompanied by a hot, metallic scent and steam from under the hood, you engine has overheated. Pull over immediately.  Continued driving could cause severe engine damage.  Have your vehicle towed in for repair.towtruck Long's Car Care Center 98072

Heading off Problems Part One

The more you know about your vehicle, the more likely you’ll be able to head off repair problems.  You can detect many common vehicle problems by using your senses:  eyeballing the area around your vehicle, listening for strange noises, sensing a difference in the way your vehicle handles, or even noticing unusual odors.

LOOKS LIKE TROUBLE

Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle may not mean much.  But wet spots deserve attention; check puddles immediately.

You can identify fluids by their color and consistency:

  • Yellowish green, pastel blue or florescent orange colors indicate an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak cause be a bad hose, water pump or leaking radiator.
  • A dark brown or black oily fluid means the engine is leaking oil.  A bad seal or gasket could cause the leak.
  • A red oily spot indicates a transmission or power-steering fluid leak.
  • A puddle of clear water usually is no problem.  It may be normal condensation from your vehicles air conditioner.