Automotive FAQ's

Q: Why should I have the brake fluid changed when my vehicle’s brakes work fine?

A: Brake fluid attracts moisture and contamination even though it is in a sealed environment. Moisture and contaminates will ruin the internal parts of a brake system causing expensive brake repairs and also may lead to brake failure. Most auto makers recommend this be done every two years especially if the system has an anti-lock brake system.



 Q: Why should I have the transmission fluid flushed out and replaced?

A: Automatic transmission fluid gets contaminated by the normal wear of the transmission internal parts and also deteriorates from heat. Now through modern technology we can change all the fluid in the transmission at one visit. This supercedes the old procedure of only changing the pan gasket and about 3-4 quarts of fluid. The “flush” will change all the fluid approximately 16 quarts on the average car. With the new fluid we install a special additive to enhance the shift quality and the longevity of your transmission.



 Q: Why should I have my vehicle’s power steering fluid flushed out? The steering feels fine.

A: Power steering fluid contamination is very common in today’s vehicles. Normally when there is a problem with the steering such as stiffness and noise the damage has already been done. This usually will require major repairs. By flushing out the old fluid on a timely basis you can keep the steering pump and steering rack in good condition. With the new fluid we also use an additive to further protect your system from contamination.



Q: Why does my vehicle need a cooling system flush?

A: Modern engines are precisely engineered and designed to operate at a predetermined temperature for long life and proper efficiency. Sludge builds up over time in the cooling system and will cause the engine to run at excess temperatures. This elevated temperature creates stress on critical engine parts and will cause major engine damage. Flushing the system cleans out this sludge and contamination. We add a 50 / 50 coolant mixture and use an additive to further protect the systemt.

 



Q: What is an “induction cleaning” and why do I need it?

A: Even though today’s fuels are cleaner than ever they still cause carbon to build up in the intake system and valves of your engine. Our state of the art Induction system cleaning will remove these carbon deposits and make your engine run smoother and get better mileage and performance. 

 



Q: What is the benefit for me as a consumer to have my vehicle inspected?

A: Breakdowns on today’s freeways and in our driving environment can be a terrifying and hazardous experience. A great way to spot trouble before it happens is an inspection of your vehicle. Our trained technicians will perform a complete preventive maintenance inspection of your vehicle and provide you with a written report of their findings.

 


Q: Every once in a while I can hear a squeak or metal grinding noise coming out of the front wheels.  It happens mostly at low speeds while turning.   When I am going straight, I don't hear anything.  What could the problem be?

A: It certainly sounds like a bad CV joint.  To be sure, turn the steering wheel all the way to one side and then look at the inside walls of the front tires. Look for the rubber boot at the center of the wheel that is wrapped around the axle.  That is the CV joint.  If the rubber boot is torn, or you see grease or oil streaks radiating out from the center on the inside wall of the tire, the joint is probably bad and will need to be replaced. On most cars, it is often more economical to replace the complete axle shaft on that side.


Q: While I'm driving at or around 100 km, my steering wheel vibrates.  When I let go of the steering wheel at 50 km, the car drifts to the right.  What do you think could be wrong?

A: The vibration at 100 km is most likely a wheel balance. As for the pulling, first make sure that your tires are good and inflated to the correct pressures. Most cars will drift to the right when you let go of the steering wheel when you are driving in the right lane of a two lane road. The drifting is due to the road crown that allows water to drain off. To see if this may be the problem, try driving in the left lane with the road crowning to the left. If it now pulls to the left, it is a normal condition. Actual pulling is most often caused by bad or unequally inflated tires. If the tires are good, have the wheel alignment and the front end checked.


Q: My yellow check engine light comes on. How do I know whats wrong and how concerned should I be?


A: When the Check Engine light comes on, it indicates that the computer has detected a fault in the engine control system and has stored a trouble code. Many times, the problem is emission related and the car will feel fine.  In some cases however, letting it go can lead to more costly problems down the road, not to mention the pollution you are sending out the tailpipe.

I recommend that you schedule your car in for service to check and scan the computer for trouble codes. These codes will allow us to run the appropriate tests in order to pinpoint what is causing your problem and tell you how bad it is.


Q: Will a bad Oxygen Sensor cause my spark plugs to become defective?

A: The answer is yes. The oxygen sensor is an emission control device that helps to regulate the fuel-air mixture by sniffing the exhaust to see if the engine is running too rich or too lean. It then sends a signal to the car's computer to regulate the air/fuel mixture. If it is not working properly, the engine can run rich causing the spark plugs to foul.
A bad oxygen sensor can also cause excessive fuel consumption, high exhaust emissions and premature failure of the catalytic converter.


Q: When I put my car in reverse it will not move unless I press on the accelerator really hard, then it will go into gear. When I put it into drive, I have to do the same thing. Would this be the transmission or the timing belt?

A: Check your transmission fluid!   From your description of the symptoms, it sounds like your fluid is low. I would not drive the car since it will cause further damage to the transmission. The trans fluid must be checked while the engine is warm and running. If you are not sure how to do this yourself, have the car checked out by your mechanic. If the fluid is okay, than you will need some transmission work. If the fluid is low, it may be leaking out.  Have it checked as soon as possible.
If the timing belt fails, the engine will not start at all. The only way to prevent a timing belt failure is to replace the belt according to the manufacturer's service interval (typically every 60,000 miles).


Q: Armchair mechanics are always telling me that my car, parked outside, and not being used, should be turned over from time to time. Should I really run the motor every day?

A: It is normal for all cars to have some drain on the battery, even when the engine is not running. The amount of drain depends on the type of vehicle and the accessories the car has. All cars should be able to sit idle for at least a week and most for two weeks, before the battery would be run down enough to affect starting the engine. Running the car for a few minutes can present problems in itself. When an engine is run, moisture develops in the system. Running an engine at operating temperatures for at least 1/2 hour to 1 hour allows this moisture to evaporate. Conversely, when an engine is warmed up for only a few minutes, the moisture then condenses and forms water droplets, which is harmful to the oiling system of the car.

My recommendation is as follows: (1) Have your armchair mechanics stay in their chairs and away from your car. (2) Take the car out at least once every two weeks for a good drive, preferably on the highway. If this is not possible, consider disconnecting the battery when the car is idle for more than two weeks. People who make only short trips and do develop a heavier than normal condensation situation should change the oil more often.


Q: Which is better for the vehicle when it is frigid outside? To warm up the vehicle first, or to start it and just drive off?

A: You can just drive off, as long as you do it gently. With today's computerized, fuel injected automobiles it is no longer necessary to warm the vehicle up for any length of time. Start up the car, let the engine stabilize for about 30 seconds so that the oil can circulate, and drive off normally. Avoid hard acceleration until the vehicle has reached operating temperature, about 5 to 8 minutes. In real cold below zero weather, you would want to use a light grade (5w-30) oil so that circulation would be easier.


Q: I own a 1993 Chevrolet Corsica. Do I really have to tune it up every 15,000 miles as my mechanic recommends?

A: Your mechanic is probably still sending his kids to college. No it is not necessary to tune your car every 15,000 miles. The word tune means to adjust, and since your car is a fuel injected computerized automobile that does not even have a distributor, there are no adjustments that can be made to that engine, hence no need for a tune-up. This is true for most cars manufactured in the 90's. Just follow the manufacturer's recommendations, which are found in the owner's manual, as to filter and spark plug replacements. The important thing is frequent oil and oil filter replacement, about every 3,000 miles. The rest will probably go to 30,000 mile intervals.