Knowing how to identify that mysterious puddle under your car can help prevent small problems from turning into big ones.
Green, pastel blue or fluorescent orange fluid found under the front center of the car often indicates an antifreeze leak caused by a bad hose, a failing water pump or a leaking radiator. Too little coolant can cause overheating and serious engine damage. Plus, pets like to lap this stuff up, and you don’t want a vet bill on top of a repair bill.
A dark brown or black oily fluid usually means the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could cause the leak, which is often found under the engine but can occur anywhere along the length of the vehicle.
A thin fluid that smells like gas is-you guessed it-probably gas, and this can lead to car fires, so you’ll want to get it checked out.
A blue fluid that is thin and feels like water is most likely windshield washer fluid. This isn’t a serious leak until that moment when go to hit your wipers and, rather than cleaning your windshield, you just smear everything around and make it worse.
Clear, oily liquid is usually brake fluid that shows up around the wheels. This can lead to brake failure if not taken care of.
Pink, red or clear drops may be a leak of either automatic transmission fluid or power-steering fluid.
And finally, a puddle of clear water is usually no problem. It may be normal condensation from your vehicle’s air conditioner.
If you have questions about your vehicle or need to schedule a service appointment, please call us at (866) 822-9314.
4 Issues That Cause Your Car to Shake
Having your car shake, rattle, and roll while you’re driving can be both annoying and potentially unsafe. These questions may help to pinpoint the cause:
Does the vibration get more intense when you drive faster?
If so, the cause of the problem may be a bent axle. If you’ve recently had an accident, it’s possible that your axle is damaged. Another possibility is that the driveshaft-the spinning part between the engine and the gears that turn the vehicle’s wheels-is bent.
Does the vibration get worse when you hit the brakes? Feel a Pulsation in the Pedal?
You could have a problem with a warped brake rotor, the part that spins in relation to vehicle speed and is gripped by the brake pads to slow the car to a stop. Instead of being uniformly flat all the way across, a warped rotor is raised or depressed on part of its surface. The calipers and brake pads, which squeeze the brake rotors, can’t get an even grip on a warped rotor, resulting in vibration when you brake.
Do you feel the vibration mainly through your steering wheel?
Your first guess might be an alignment problem, but often the cause has more to do with wobbly wheels. If a wheel is not screwed on properly, or there’s a problem with the wheel bearings, tie-rod ends, or ball joints, you can end up with a vibration problem. Another source of wobble is a wheel that deviates from a perfectly circular rotation when it is spun.
OK, but what’s the most common cause of vehicle vibration?
If your car vibrates at various speeds, you may need a tire balance. If you notice uneven tire wear, then you may need a tire rotation. If your tires aren’t perfectly round and they’re rolling unevenly, then it may be time to have them replaced.
If your vehicle is vibrating, your best bet is to let us take a look so we can diagnose the exact problem. And, as with all car maintenance, the sooner you fix the problem, the better your chances for avoiding a bigger, more expensive one down the road.
To schedule an appointment with one of our certified technicians, please give us a call at (866) 822-9314.
Why You Should Clean Your Steering Wheel
Your steering wheel is one of the most-used parts of your car, but it’s also usually one of the least-cleaned. Leather steering wheels have natural pores and crevices that can easily collect dirt, grime, oil, food residue, and who knows what else, especially in the areas where you typically grip the wheel.
The good news is that cleaning a steering wheel is quick and easy.
The first step is to remove any loose dirt and grime. You can pick up a good leather cleaner at many stores or through Amazon (Meguiar’s is a popular leather cleaner). Spray a small amount of the product on a cloth – we recommend spraying it on the cloth rather than directly on the wheel, since this helps prevent overspray from reaching your instrument cluster. And it’s best to use a microfiber towel rather than terrycloth, which can spread lint all over the place.
Gently wipe the wheel, making sure you don’t rub too hard-you’ll be surprised at how much dirt comes off! Then use a damp cloth to wipe off any excess cleaner and dry the wheel with a dry microfiber towel.
The second very important step is to protect your cleaned steering wheel by replenishing the oils with a good conditioner that will help keep the leather soft, flexible, and durable. Apply the product and allow the oils to be absorbed, then simply rub it down with a clean towel to remove any excess.
Why You Need to Check Your Car’s Hoses
Over time, hoses can weaken and if they’re not replaced, they can cause the engine to overheat. This is especially important with summer coming along.
In a recent survey, about 10% of vehicles inspected had a hose that needed replacing. Yet in most cases, the owners were totally unaware of the condition of these parts.
When the weather heats up, the last thing you want is one of your car hoses to break down causing an overheated engine and leaving you stranded. We’ll walk you through this easy monthly maintenance check you can do yourself.
Most hoses fail from the inside out. Rubber hoses, which are actually made of neoprene or other synthetic materials, can deteriorate with age and exposure to heat. Tiny cracks develop in the rubber, which eventually cause the hose to split, blister, or leak. Oil on the outside of the coolant hose can also accelerate the breakdown of the hose material. This type of deterioration can usually be seen on the outside.
When you check your hoses, you should first make sure the engine is cold to avoid any chance of burning yourself. The easiest way to check the condition of a hose is to squeeze it. It should feel firm but flexible. Worn hoses often feel squishy. Look for any signs of:
1. Softness and swelling
2. Hardening and cracks
3. Chafing and heat damage
Hoses are a relatively inexpensive part to replace, but the damage caused by a bad hose can lead to a very costly repair.
If you have questions about your vehicle’s hoses, or want to schedule a service appointment, please call us at (866) 300-4805.
How Often Should You Change Your Antifreeze/Coolant?
I was speaking with our Shop Foreman, Robert Isbell, the other day as he was working on a customer vehicle. I Inquired as to what was wrong with the vehicle. He stated that the thermostat stuck and as a result the vehicle overheated and had to be towed in. He further explained that the thermostat is a mechanism that opens and closes many times during the time the engine is running to maintain proper engine temperature. If it sticks closed it prevents the coolant from circulating through the engine, it overheats and suddenly your stranded, worse, you might do major engine damage. I asked why the thermostat would stick. He stated that when the engine coolant is not maintained properly, it becomes dirty and sticky and deposits form on the plunger of the thermostat and as a result, one day it sticks closed and doesn’t open again. Result? Stranded. Don’t know about you, but just the sound of the word ‘stranded’, is bothersome. So I thought this might be a good subject to begin our monthly ‘Service Tips’ with.
For “ordinary” antifreeze, Honda recommends coolant changes every two years or 30,000 miles. On newer Honda’s ( 2006 and Up) the on-baord diagnostics will let you know via the “Maintenance Minder”. Some say it’s not a bad idea to change the coolant every year for maximum corrosion protection. Continue reading