Winterizing Your Car

Winter is right around the corner so we wanted to share with you some maintenance and preparation tips and ideas that you can use to make sure your car is running a little smoother and so you can drive safely in the snow and cold. The bitter cold of winter, just like the sweltering heat of summer, can cause a car to strain more and react differently than in what would be considered normal driving. Driving in the wintry weather is dangerous enough as it is but since we all have to get to work or get the kids to school, here are some ways to stay safe and prepared. Before the heavy, wet snow falls and the dirt and salt gets kicked up on your windshield, make sure you’ve replaced your windshield wipers and windshield washer fluid. If you don’t think you need new windshield wipers, we recommend that you check them out and ensure the rubber is still good on them. The windshield washer fluid is fairly simple to put in the proper tank and investing in a plastic funnel will make pouring easier. Since snow and salt on the streets are dirty, you most likely will use the fluid more frequently so it’s worth keeping a bottle in the trunk or the backseat. Windshield washer fluid also can help break up the ice and snow on the windshield. There’s something else that can hinder the view of the road and that is fogging. Make sure your defroster is working properly to help fight fogging. Your windows fog over because moisture from inside the car from our breath or from the snow we’re dragging in condenses on the glass but you can combat that fog easily if you have a working air conditioning system. If you’re noticing that the windows are still fogging up even with the defroster on high then bring it in to our Waterford, MI shop for an inspection. The next thing to inspect is the car battery. Car batteries are designed to last a long time – some as long as 7 years. If you’re reaching the 5 year mark though you may want to get your battery checked out and/or replaced before winter settles in. The last thing you want is to head out of a store with your holiday shopping and the car won’t start. Before it starts to get really cold, take your car into an auto repair shop to have the battery inspected to make sure the cables and clamps are secure and to have it replaced if necessary. Finally, have an emergency kit in your car. You never know if you might be stranded, might have a dead battery or get into a car accident so having a small bag with a spare pair of gloves, blanket, flashlight, First Aid kit, road flare, things like that, is a good idea. While food and water may seem like a good idea, water will probably freeze as will an energy bar so you might not want to pack those. If you keep the vehicle properly maintained and the tires are safe for driving on slippery and icy roads, your car should be able to survive the winter okay. If you’re in the Waterford, MI area and you need service, bring it in and one of our mechanics will be happy to assist you.

December 12, 2016

Using Your Sense of Sound to Find Car Trouble

There are many ways to spot issues with your car. You can see it, smell it, feel it and hear it. The fifth sense, taste, we will exclude from spotting problems with your automobile. We’re going to focus on the sense of sound and how certain sounds coming from the car may be signs of car trouble or the need for maintenance. If you notice any problems with your car and you’re near the Waterford, MI area, bring it in and have it inspected by a certified mechanic. From squeaks and squeals to clicks and knocks, an automobile can make an assortment of noises so when you hear some of these noises, this is what it could mean. A pinging noise similar to a high-pitched metallic tap is generally related to the engine and is most likely due to using a lower octane of gasoline than what is recommended by the manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual for the right octane and fill up with that. The few cents you save by filling up with the lower grade will affect the performance of the vehicle and could cause expensive damage in the long run. If you are using the wrong octane, it could lead to an engine ignition timing issue which affects power, fuel economy and could cause possible damage to the engine. The next sound you could hear is a squealing noise. This may be indicating a few different things depending on when you hear it. If you’re applying the brakes and you hear a constant squeal then this is an indicator that you should have your brakes inspected and possibly replaced. If the sound comes from under the hood it may be regarding a fan or air conditioning belt. Another possibility is a loose belt but this is more likely to be the case if you’ve had an A/C belt or alternator belt replaced and it wasn’t tightened properly. A rumbling or rattling sound which also coincides with a vibration generally means an exhaust issue such as a defective exhaust pipe or issues with the converter or muffler. Basically if your car sounds louder than what you’re used to then it may be anything from a simple-to-fix loose pipe that needs reattaching or replacing the muffler. Finally, a clunking sound is another common noise heard that can signal car problems. But how and when the clunk presents itself will give you clues on the issue. If you hear the clunking noise when driving over bumps then you should check your struts and shocks. If the clunk occurs regularly and not necessarily when you hit a bump then it is more likely ball joints, rack and tie rod or possibly the brakes. If you hear this clunking noise then you should have your vehicle inspected as soon as you can. Noting when you hear the clunking noise will help the mechanic in finding the problem. If you’re noticing any of the noises above then bring your vehicle into our Waterford, MI auto repair shop. We will inspect your vehicle, offer the proper solution and have you back on the road in a safe and reliable vehicle as quickly as possible.

November 12, 2016

Looking for Car Trouble

There are many signs that your car may have some issues. A car can let out odors to clue you in on problems under the hood or you may hear a clanking sound when driving across town. There are also things you can look out for that may show signs that your car is experiencing some trouble. From wear-and-tear on the timing belt to puddles under the car, here are a few things you can keep an eye out for {to warn you that your car may have a problem. Remember, if you’re in the Waterford, MI area and you need a certified mechanic to inspect or repair your car then bring it in to our auto repair shop. You’ll want to take a look under the hood every so often to make sure your fluid levels are good but you’ll also want to examine the timing belt. The timing belt is a ribbed belt that’s designed for operating the crankshaft and is subject to snapping when it’s ran the course of its life. If the timing belt snaps it may lead to bent valves, cylinder head or camshaft damage and piston and cylinder wall damage which can be quite costly to repair. The signs of an aging timing belt are when there are any chips, cracks, missing ribbing or spots that may look like coolant or oil. The average lifespan of a timing belt can range from 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Outside the vehicle, stains on the driveway or garage floor will let you know if there are issues with the hoses, gaskets or exhaust system. Water is likely to pool below the car if you’ve been driving with the air conditioner on so this is generally not a problem. If you spot a yellowish green, light blue or bright orange stain on the ground, this could be due to an antifreeze leak caused by a faulty hose, water pump or a radiator that’s leaking. Darker stains that are brown or black is an indicator that oil is leaking from a seal or gasket that has gone bad and a red, thin spot would be a warning sign that there is a leak from the power-steering or transmission. Smoke coming out of the exhaust can indicate a few different issues based on the color of the smoke. While most smoke coming out of the exhaust has to do with a failed gasket, the color of the smoke will indicate where the mechanic can probably begin to look for the problem. Blue smoke would indicate a failing gasket, O-ring or seal that has failed. White smoke means that water or possibly antifreeze is leaking into the engine cylinder caused by a head gasket that has gone bad. Finally black smoke has to do with the fuel injection system or fuel pump. If you’re noticing any issues with your car, bring it into our repair shop to have it inspected. The longer these issues continue, the greater and more expensive the damage may be so if you find yourself near Waterford, MI and you’re having some car trouble or need some maintenance to keep the vehicle running smoothly, place your trust in our shop.

October 13, 2016