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Check Vehicle A/C and Stay Cool on the Road

With the summer temperatures rising, it is important for vehicle owners to be car care aware and have their a/c system checked to make sure it is working properly.  A vehicle's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) keeps the car's interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. Typical A/C service by a professional service technician consists of the following steps: - Service technician visually inspects hoses, lines, seals and other components for leaks as well as inspects the drive belt for damage or cracks. - The technician checks pressure to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures  - If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Leaking refrigerant heats up a vehicle and damages the ozone layer.  - Refrigerant may be added if necessary, to "top off" the system, although some states do not allow "topping ... read more

4 Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System

With the hot summer temperatures on the rise, knowing the symptoms of a sick cooling system are critical to your summer driving plans, since cooling system failure is a leading cause of vehicle breakdowns. The most noticeable symptoms are overheating, leaks, a sweet smell of antifreeze and repeatedly needing to add coolant.  Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure. If the cooling system doesn't receive regular maintenance, it's not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when will it fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.  The primary job of the engine's cooling system is to remove the heat that is generated during the combustion process. The coolant temperature can be well over 200 degrees and that heat has to go somewhere, otherwise engine components are going to start fail ... read more

Don't Fear The Check Engine Light

Although the check engine light may look scary lit up on the dashboard, there is nothing to fear. A glowing check engine light doesn't mean you have to immediately pull over to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Do not fear when the check engine light is illuminated, it usually means that the vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly.  Some common malfunctions that can cause the check engine light to illuminate include a faulty oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, or spark plugs and wires. If the light flashes, the condition is more critical and must be checked immediately to prevent severe damage, which may include catalytic converter damage. Even if the vehicle appears to be running normally, ignoring the warning light could result in more costly repairs. The light could be alerting you to engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy and co ... read more

Avoid a Breakdown with a Belt Check

You may not see them or know much about them, but engine belts are always working to keep your vehicle moving. Losing a belt can mean immediate trouble for the engine and a breakdown for you. Review your owner's manual to ensure that belts are inspected and replaced at the proper intervals.  A vehicle's belts are essential to the cooling, air conditioning and charging systems of the engine. Serpentine belts are used to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering, and air conditioning compressor. Older cars use V-belts for various accessories and failure of this belt could strand a driver.  Always check serpentine and V-belts for looseness and their overall condition. Replace V-belts when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive water. Noise in the belt system is a sign of wear and the smell of burnt rubber can indicate a slipping belt. When changing a serpentine belt, it is important to check all the components in the serpentine system as tensi ... read more

Five Steps Towards Better Battery Behavior

Here's some surprising news that may come as a shock: it's not so much the cold that gets it down as it is high heat. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. That is why it's important to check your battery as the season changes from hotter to cooler.  Battery Batterers Another reason for shortened battery life is overcharging. That is, a malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, can allow too high a charging rate, leading to a slow death of a battery. Colder temperatures can increase the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over, causing the battery to have to work more. These factors lead to harder starting.  What You Can Do: To get the most out of your battery life follow these simple steps: - Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate, overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as underc ... read more

Basic Auto Car Many Driver's Miss

Fluids and lubricants rank among the most neglected items when it comes to basic auto care. Community car care events held throughout the country found that the top three fluids most likely to be low or contaminated are windshield washer fluid in 26% of inspected vehicles, followed by engine oil at 23% and coolant at 19%.  Windshield washer fluid keeps dirt and debris from collecting on a vehicle's windshield, allowing the driver full visibility and making it an essential safety item. Washer fluid should be checked monthly and drivers should use a fluid that is specifically formulated for their climate.  Engine oil lubricates the moving parts of a vehicle's engine, helping keep the engine clean and preventing wear and overheating. Neglecting to change a vehicle's oil can lead to costly repairs, including replacement. Engine oil levels should be checked frequently and changed per the owner's manual.  Coolant absorbs heat from the engine and di ... read more

Keep Your Car Breathing Well: Change Out The Air Filters

You need a clean air to breath and so does your car, and a vehicle's air filters make that possible. Always be sure to have your engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed regularly to ensure vehicle longevity and interior comfort. The vehicle's engine air filter traps dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, cylinder walls, pistons, piston rings and bearings, leading to the engine losing power. The air filter also plays a critical role in keeping pollutants from contaminating the airflow sensor on fuel-injected cars. A normal wear item that requires regular checks and replacements, air filters should be inspected at each oil change and replaced annually or when showing other signs of contamination. The cabin air filter is responsible for cleaning the air entering the passenger compartment. Under normal circumstances, it helps trap pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases that may find their way into a vehicle's heating, ventilation and air conditi ... read more

Basic Tire Maintenance For Every Driver

The tires are the only thing between the vehicle and the road. When they are properly inflated and in good condition, the handling, stability, and safety of the vehicle will be maximized. When tires are under inflated, worn out or damaged, all of the safety systems on the vehicle cannot overcome the loss of control that comes with a blow-out or hydroplaning situation. Air pressure in a tire is like oil in an engine; when it is low, the resulting internal damage is unseen until it is too late. Tires naturally lose 1-2 psi per month, so ongoing neglect will eventually result in a tire that cannot support the weight of the vehicle of occupants. When this happens, the resulting blow-out can result in the loss of control and an accident.  It is also important to rotate the tires on the vehicle every 5-7,000 miles. Today's front-wheel-drive vehicles cause the steer tires to wear at a much faster rate than the tires on the rear axle. By periodically rotating the front tires to the b ... read more

Recognizing The Signs of Vehicle Engine Damage

It's not always easy to recognize when your vehicle is suffering from engine damage as symptoms can be seen as "normal". While not all sounds and smells may threaten life of your engine, there are some obvious warning signs that require a vehicle inspection right away.  One of the signs of engine trouble, is the illuminated check engine light. This light indicates that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally. Ignoring the check engine light can negatively impact your fuel economy or cause damage resulting in more costly repairs.  Many motorists are familiar with the noises their vehicles make on a daily basis. However, any noise that is new, different, or suspicious may indicate a problem, including high-pitched squeal, grinding or thumping. Sounds under the hood, such as hissing, can also indicate that your vehicle is in need of attention. Althou ... read more

10 DIY CAR DETAILING TIPS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW

10 DIY CAR DETAILING TIPS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW

You've invested in a car you love and now is the time to take pride in keeping it in tip-top shape. This includes paying for maintenance, repairs when needed, and regular car washes. Getting your car detailed feels great. Your car looks wonderful, smells clean, and you feel like a million dollars when you drive it. However, car detailing can get expensive. Avoid the pricey fees of having it done professionally and learn to detail your car yourself. Below, is a list of ten car detailing tips that you can do at home. Use these the next time you want to have your car looking spiffy! 1. Best DIY Car Detailing Tip: Invest In The Right Tools Having the right tools and materials to detail your car will make all the difference. Sure, it may be costly to invest in things like leather repair serum and wax sprays, but you will save quite a bit on car detailing costs in the long run. Having the right tools helps you to get the job done right in a smaller amount of time ... read more

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