Archive | Automotive Maintenance

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

 

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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.

Holiday Traveling Tips

If you or your family are planning to go “over the river and through the woods” this holiday season, you should have your car professionally checked first.

Millions of people take to the highway to visit family and friends over the holidays. If you are planning a trip here are a few tips to remember.

  • Well before the trip have a Courtesy Inspection performed by a trained technician. Break downs a long way from home can ruin even the best of holiday spirits. A trained technician can often spot potential trouble before it happens.
  • Take plenty of breaks along the way and don’t drive when tired.
  • If you are traveling with children, remember to provide them with snacks and games to keep them busy. Maybe leave in the middle of the night so they sleep through the major part of the trip. Keep a sense of humor and take deep breaths when needed.
  • Plan out your route ahead of time. Allow extra time for weather and unexpected traffic tie-ups.

The Long’s Car Care Family wishes you and yours a safe holiday season!

Tire Safety

While your brakes stop the wheels it is your TIRES that stop the Car. So with the weather turning nasty now is a great time to ensure your tires are up to the task. The easiest way to know what shape your tires are in is to have them inspected by your trusted mechanic. He can also correct the air pressure as needed during his inspection. For the “do-it-yourselfers”, tires are considered unsafe when they have less than 2/32” of tread remaining. Most tires have “Wear Bars” in the deepest part of the tread that is raised 2/32”.

When the tire is worn to the wear bar it is time to replace. Personally I think that tires even close to that measurement should be replaced before heading into winter! A tire gauge is another must have for you do-it-yourselfers. Low tire pressure is the number one cause of premature tire wear and can lead to unsafe  handling, even to the point of an accident. Worn tires are more likely to hydroplane in wet weather and offer little traction in snow and ice.

Drive safely, from the Long’s Car Care Family

Can you see (and be seen?)

Your vehicle’s lights and wiper blades are vital safety features. Headlights out reduce your ability to see (and be seen). Driving at night, especially on wet rural roads really strains your headlights ability to allow you to see safely. Worn out wiper blades blur your ability to see what’s going on around you. Also tail and brake lights let those behind you know what you are planning (or already doing). In addition your vehicle has “Marker” lights usually on all 4 corners making you visible from the sides. These are important when trying to merge into traffic from a side or cross street. Let our team inspect your vehicle to ensure these components are in proper working order for the coming months.

Safe driving from Long’s Car Care Family.