Does Your Car Require an Enhanced Flooded Battery?

enhanced flooded batteryA common complaint we have received over the years is the relatively short lifespan of replacement car batteries. In many of these instances, we realize that car owners are using the wrong battery type for their vehicle. Those that drive a newer model may require an enhanced flooded battery.

Cars with Stop-Start Technology Require an Enhanced Flooded Battery

Here’s the lowdown: if your car has stop-start technology, then it requires an enhanced flooded battery.

Stop-start technology is a feature that cuts off the engine when the car is stationary at a stoplight or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The technology helps curb fuel consumption and emissions. The engine immediately restarts when the driver engages the clutch.

By 2022, 55.4 million cars worldwide are expected to have stop-start capabilities, up from 8.8 million in 2013. Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Require a 150-Point Inspection?

150 point inspectionMany auto repair services advertise a 150-point inspection. The number may be different; some offer a 100 or 50-point inspection. What exactly is this, and should you bring your car to the auto service for one of these checkups?

150-Point Inspection Explained

A 150-point inspection is simply a comprehensive auto check-up, where the mechanic inspects 150 different components of the vehicle. This may include a look at the check engine light or at engine performance under normal operating temperatures. The 150 points may differ slightly from shop to shop. However, they all generally cover the components that are crucial for safe and optimal car operation. Continue Reading →

Transmission Repair Vs. Transmission Service; Know the Difference

transmission serviceMost customers believe that transmission repair and transmission service are two terms that refer to the same reality. The two actually entail different kinds of work we provide at our auto service. We’ll explain the specifics of each, and how a transmission service can prevent the need for a much costlier transmission repair.

What Is a Transmission Service?

A transmission service is preventative maintenance performed at regular intervals, which are usually specified in the vehicle’s user manual. Here is what you can typically expect when bringing in your car for transmission servicing:

  • A fluid change—Though the mechanic may recommend a fluid flush to completely remove contaminants.
  • A filter change—This may include new seals, if the mechanic also has to remove the pan in the process.
  • Electronic check—The mechanic may also check the car’s ECU for error codes. This may include deleting the computer’s history of stored codes. This way, the computer relearns your driving and shifting habits.

Continue Reading →

Car Tire Toe Alignment Explained

tire toe alignmentMost people have a general idea of tire alignment and the implications of a misalignment. You may hear mechanics and auto enthusiasts use the terms “toe-in” and “toe-out” when discussing car tire toe alignment. We’ll explain what they all mean.

Wheel Toe-In and Toe-Out

Toe-in/toe-out refers to a tire’s geometry and how much it’s turned with respect to the center-line axis of the car.

Toe-In

When the wheels are toed-in, the front part of the tires are pointed inward.

Toe-Out

The front part of the wheels is turned slightly outward.

See this image for a visual representation of a toe-in vs a toe-out. Keep in mind that the toe alignment is not the same thing as a tire balance. Continue Reading →

Is Tire Siping Good for Your Tires?

tire sipingNow that winter is just about here, some car owners may consider the switch to winter tires. Alternatively, some people choose instead to sipe their tires. Never heard of tire siping? We’ll explain what it means and whether the process is safe for your tires.

What Is Tire Siping?

Tire siping is the process of cutting small slits across the tire surface. Supposedly, this improves traction, especially when driving under wet and snowy roads. The slits also keep the rubber from overheating by letting air into the tread. The process can be done for all car makes and models, including classic cars with retrofitted tires.

Auto services that specialize in modifications may provide tire siping. The question, though, is twofold. Does siping really improve traction, and do the slits harm the rubber?

The Validity of Tire Siping

According to a research by the testing firm Mobility Research, siped tires increased traction by 33 percent. The result also showed that siping improves stopping distance.

Tire manufacturers, however, discourage car owners from siping their tires. Prominent tire companies, such as Bridgestone and Goodyear, warn against such alterations since it can invalidate the warranty. Others also believe that while siping may be beneficial in cold weather, it can actually decrease performance on dry roads. Continue Reading →

Should You Upgrade to Fuel Efficient Tires?

fuel efficient tiresAs suggested in its name, fuel efficient tires are designed to maximize overall MPG. Yes, we know tire selection can be confusing with all the varieties, ranging from seasonal to competition DOT tires. We’ll explain the concept of fuel efficient tires and how they improve your commute.

Fuel Efficient Tires—How Fuel Efficient Are They?

Fuel efficient tires are constructed to reduce the rolling resistance. The rolling resistance is the force that works against the engine as it moves the vehicle. Less rolling resistance from the tire means higher fuel economy.

Top tire manufacturers have released their own versions of fuel efficient tires. Goodyear, for instance, has a brand of tires that decrease rolling resistance through a special construction in its sidewall. Goodyear also reinforced the tires for all-weather use. With this type of tire construction, you can save roughly 2,600 miles of fuel over the tires’ three to four-year lifespan. Continue Reading →

How to Dry a Flooded Car

how to dry a flooded carThe natural disasters of Houston and Florida are still fresh in the minds of most Americans. Aside from losing their homes, many people also lost their cars to flood damage. The Pacific Northwest is also prone to heavy floods at times. We’ll explain the process for how to dry a flooded car.

Essentials for Drying a Flooded Car

Driving in waist-deep water can cause major damage to the vehicle. Our auto service recommends that car owners implement these steps as soon as the flood clears:

Dry the Cabin

Open the doors, hood, and trunk to give the interior and the components some air. Remove everything that is not bolted. This includes the floormats, seat covers, etc. Such accessories are all susceptible to mold growth, so give them as much open air as possible. Continue Reading →

How to Store a Classic Car

store a classic carAre you a proud classic car owner? Perhaps you own a restored 1964 Dodge Barracuda or a 1972 Ford Thunderbird. Many owners prefer to keep these cars safely in their garage rather than take them out for a spin. We’ll explain how to store a classic car and keep the components in tiptop shape.

Classic Car Storage Tips

Some vintage car owners never drive their vehicle except when they take it to the shop for a yearly inspection. If you fall in this category, then we recommend some simple steps.

For starters, be sure the car has fresh oil and a full gas tank before storing the car. Use a gasoline additive designed for storage. These are readily available at your local automotive shop. This allows the car to safely sit dormant for a year. Continue Reading →

A Primer on Modern Car Computers

modern car computersFun fact: modern cars have a computer. No, they don’t have a built-in laptop or iPad under the hood. The computer in a car is very different. Its job is to monitor various aspects of operation. We’ll explain the specific roles of modern car computers and how to identify signs of a worn car computer.

What Do Modern Car Computers Do?

Modern car computers regulate different controls in the engine and other components. These include the:

  • Engine emission
  • Idle speed
  • Spark plug
  • Fuel injection

Many modern vehicles—and some retrofitted classic cars—also have multiple sensors that gauge the engine temperature, oxygen levels, throttle position, and more. The sensor sends the information to the computer where it processes the data and adjusts engine output for peak performance. Continue Reading →

4 Signs of a Worn Muffler

worn mufflerIgnoring a worn muffler will only lead to a snowball effect of car problems. Of course, not every car owner recognizes the signs of a worn muffler or even know what this vital part does. We’ll explain the purpose of a muffler and how to recognize a muffler past its lifespan.

What Is a Muffler?

A muffler is part of the exhaust system. Its job is to muffle the noise emanating from the exhaust process, hence the name. This vital component also removes exhaust gasses from the vehicle. Like any other auto part, mufflers wear with age. Luckily, a damaged muffler gives off signs that it’s no longer operating at its peak. Continue Reading →