Owning a car is sometimes a stressful undertaking; we usually don’t realize how much money and effort is involved in owning one until we are faced with our first big repair or maintenance service bill. Luckily, there are many auto mechanics who have excellent reputations for producing honest, trustworthy work while keeping funds at a minimum for their customers. While these are few and far between, likely there is one close by you that will provide excellent service. When your car starts to act up, or you notice a change in its driving, the first thing you should do is pay close attention to how your car is performing; if you notice any questionable noises or odd reactions, you should bring your car into a trusted automotive center which can help diagnose the problem. The most important thing is to stay on top of any odd behavior your car undergoes, because the sooner you catch an issue, then the less you will end up paying for repairs. If you wait too long, sometimes a chain reaction occurs where multiple parts need to be replaced or repaired due to prolonged service.
Vibration in the steering wheel
One of the most commonly diagnosed issues with car repairs is a bad shock absorber. Shock absorbers are exactly what the name states they are: they absorb the movement of the vehicle to make the ride as smooth as possible, while protecting other vital parts of the car from violently jerking and bouncing around at all times. Shock absorbers themselves are relatively affordable parts; however, the price of the part will depend on the type of vehicle you own. There are symptoms and warning signs that one should keep an eye out for; it is important to detect an issue with shock absorbers earlier to prevent further damage to other parts of the vehicle, making the mechanic trip even more costly. Generally one of the first warning signs will be vibration in the steering wheel—more so than usual. Vibrating in the steering wheel means that your shock absorbers are no longer taking on the vibrations and bumps in the road throughout your drive. Depending on the severity of the symptom, a vibrating steering wheel can be difficult to control at higher speeds.
Rattling noise & abnormal bouncy ride
Another symptom of deteriorated shock absorbers is a rattling noise or an abnormally bouncy ride. This symptom may be particularly noticeable when you are going over potholes, speed bumps, or hilly roads. This is one of the more severe signs of shock absorber erosion. If your car is abnormally rocky or bumpy feeling, it is critical to take it into a trusted mechanic for an immediate inspection—this could be putting unnecessary pressure or friction on other car parts which can easily become damaged by the shock absorbers failing to adequately do their job. Upon further investigation, you may also notice uneven tire wear. Your tire wear says a lot about how your car is driving, and can be a diagnostic feature for mechanics to figure out what area of your car is experiencing an issue and is in need of repair. When your tires wear unevenly, it can be a hazard in and of itself.
Increase in braking distance
Another feature, and perhaps the most dangerous, of bad shock absorbers, is an increase in braking distance. When you notice your braking distance has suddenly increased, it may not always be an issue related to the brakes. As you know from driver’s education courses, the faster your car is going, the more braking distance you need between you and the car in front of you. When your shock absorbers begin to fail and you have not yet correctly accounted for this malfunction, it can cause a serious accident. Rear-ending the person in front of you is an automatic at-fault accident that will likely affect your car insurance rates. Staying on top of preventive maintenance is important for several reasons: safety, efficiency, and cost; your car will be safer the more often mechanics inspect it, it will be more efficient in its use of fuel, and it will end up costing you less in the long run with insurance claims or other damaged parts in need of repair. Do yourself a favor and bring your car in for a shock absorber inspection; it will be a good opportunity to have other preventive maintenance performed.
When you are late for work already, and you turn the key to your car only to find that the battery is dead, you may quickly opt for a taxi ride to work to avoid the wrath of your boss. Although a dead battery can be stressful and burdensome to most people, it is rather easily fixed, as long as you have all the proper tools and information in order to jump-start your vehicle. Unfortunately, many people each year have been badly injured, and have even died, trying to jump-start a car. While this fact can be scary, these are instances that occur when jump-starting is not done properly or safely. Now, don’t let that scare you away from trying it yourself—as long as you know what you are doing and are taking all the necessary safety precautions, jump-starting a battery can be perfectly fine for anyone to try. However, it does require another individual who is willing and able to donate their battery power and vehicle for a few moments, so this would be a good opportunity to shake hands with the neighbor you ignore every morning as you both get into your cars and drive off to work.
Get the essential equipment ready
The first step is to be prepared for a dead battery at any moment. Keep a good pair of working gloves and jumper cables in your trunk at all times, along with the usual first-aid kit, spare tire, and towels. Luckily, jump-starting your car does not require many essentials, except the proper jumper cables and a willing participant with a working battery in their car. You should be able to look at both vehicles, find the battery and the correct terminals that you will be connecting to the jumper cables. Bring the two vehicles’ hoods as close together as possible—the jumper cables do not need to be long, because the longer the cable, the more likely it is that you will lose any shred of power that might help jump-start your battery. You’ll want a strong gauge cable; usually about an average 6 gauge is a good rule of thumb. In the next steps, pay attention closely; electric currents are no joking matter; as mentioned before, a person could become severely injured by electrocution if proper precautions are not taken.
Take safety precautions
After the two cars are parked closely together, put both the cars in the parked position, or for a stick shift, put the car in neutral; both emergency brakes should be on. This will keep the cars from moving dangerously apart while connected, or at the worst time—while trying to connect the cables. Be sure that both the engines are safely turned off and that the keys are put away—we do not want any accidental ignition start-ups. Following these safety precautions, you should find the batteries on both vehicles. Investigate the battery to make sure you can safely find the terminals where you will be clamping on the cables—if you need to, then clear off any debris from the battery so that you can identify the terminals with absolute certainty. While you are doing this, the cables should be placed aside in a safe area.
The vital part
After finding the positive and negative terminal sites, you can now attach the cables. The positive cable clip should be attached to the corresponding site on the drained battery; this terminal will be marked with a plus sign (+). Then, connect the other end of the cable’s positive clip to the working battery. Next, connect the negative cable clip (–) to the corresponding negative clip on the working battery. After that, you will want to remain cautious and connect the other negative clip end of the cable to a shiny metal bolt (something metallic and unpainted other than the battery) on the vehicle with the drained battery—do not connect the cable to the battery itself.
Start the functioning car and remain patient for a moment while the battery charges itself. After a few minutes, you can try starting the car with the drained battery. If it has not worked yet, you can remain patient for a few more moments and try again, or you can also try revving the engine slightly. After the car is running, unclip the negative clips being careful not to allow the cables to touch. Now you can head off to work, and while you drive there, your battery will charge the whole way. Most importantly, be safe while doing this, and if you don’t feel comfortable, its always best to err on the side of caution and bring it to a professional for help.
In parking lots especially, it can be sometimes challenging to maneuver carefully. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen, and we have to deal with the consequences. Accidents involving a parked vehicle can be nearly as terrifying as those involving moving vehicles, and confusing as to how to deal with them. Some peoples’ first instinct when they hit a parked car is to flee the scene. Even though this is a simple flight response, we must go against our instincts and do the right thing. Imagine if you came back out from the grocery store only to find a huge dent in the side of your car; it would be infuriating to find your car without any explanation or reimbursement for the damages caused to you by an irresponsible driver. Accidents will happen, but it’s how the accident is handled that determines one’s character. If you accidently hit a parked car, it is not unreasonable to wish it never happened. However much you wish it to go away, it must be dealt with; so here are some easy steps to follow that will help you through the situation more gracefully.
Don’t flee from that place
The first thing is do not leave the scene of the accident. Depending on the state, this is considered a misdemeanor hit-and-run violation. Generally you will have to pay a large fee at the very least, and could result in more substantial methods of punishment like facing time in jail. No ounce of awkwardness and discomfort is worth dealing with the consequences of fleeing the scene of the accident. Do everything you can to find the owner of the vehicle, and if you can’t find them, wait for them as long as possible. A face-to-face exchange of information is always best in these situations, if nothing else, to apologize to the owner for the inconvenience. The basic information that should be included in the exchange is generally: name, number, and address. If you do not get to see the individual in person and must leave the scene, you must leave your information behind for the owner to find, typically in a note on their windshield. However, keep in mind that anything you say in writing can be used against you later.
Keep instant evidence
Luckily, modern technology has afforded us the ability to take instant evidence of the event, the result of the accident, and testimony of any nearby witnesses of the accident. Taking pictures of the damage is essential—knowing exactly what damage was there at the time keeps you responsible for only the current damage on the vehicle, and nothing after the fact. Witnesses that may have seen what happened can provide a more objective view of the accident and give a testimony of the details of the incident. With permission of the witness, you may want to videotape their statement. In the instance of a car accident where the other vehicle owner is not present, it is best to have as many unbiased opinions on record as possible. Furthermore, if there is visible damages to either vehicle, sometimes getting the police involved is the smartest decision—they can take note of witness statements and record the incident formally.
Finally, you must call your insurance company; you know, the one you pay every month? Well, this is finally the time to exhaust your resource. Unfortunately, you will have to pay your deductible first, and any damages after that cost will be covered by your insurance. Luckily, this also includes property damage. Any accident on your record is undesirable for insurance rate purposes; however, the amount that your rate increases is dependent upon several factors. If the damage sustained to either vehicle exceeds 750 dollars, it is a general rule that you should resist filing a claim and simply pay for the expenses yourself. If you go through your insurance company, you will most likely end up paying more monthly for your insurance rate, as this type of accident is generally considered an “at-fault” incident—meaning, you are responsible for the damages sustained to the vehicles. Hitting a parked car is alarming and traumatic. Going through this process can be stressful, so remember these few tips to help make it all go more smoothly.
Nashville, Tennessee is known for its dynamic culture in music, sports, and cuisine. Nashville has evolved over centuries, but to this day, remains a highly populated city. Its inhabitants take the reputation of this city seriously, and every business-owner has the obligation to honor the character of Nashville. As you drive through Nashville, you will notice the fundamental diversity that the city has to offer, including its auto repair industry. Nashville is busier than ever, and it can be difficult to narrow down the array of excellent choices of auto repair shops available to consumers. There are qualities in auto repair shops that clients often expect, and rarely are impressed with. However, having some valuable information about what sets apart an exceptional auto repair business from an average one is crucial to making a decision on where you take your car, and who you trust to care for it. Beyond all else, it is most important to be sure that you seek out only the most qualified and reputable business to invest your money in—especially when it comes to something as critical to your everyday life as your mode of transportation.
Check reviews & certification
When choosing an auto repair shop in Nashville, one of the first things to look for, of course, is whether or not the company has glowing reviews from their clientele. Customer reviews can say a lot about the level of customer satisfaction that they deliver upon each and every day that they are in business; customer comments and testimonies are honest and raw by nature—you are hearing it from the horse’s mouth. While customer reviews say a lot about a business’s reputation and give a general idea about customer satisfaction, there are other ways to distinguish between an average repair shop and an extraordinary one. One of the most important aspects of any trustworthy auto repair shop is the qualification of the staff members. One such certification is from AAA itself—one of the most trusted companies around. With a AAA certification, you are guaranteed services from specialists who are highly experienced in the automotive repair realm. This certification is essential for repair shops to function adequately; it reassures customers in the area that they are taking their vehicle to a shop whose service has been verified by other reputable companies in the field.
Certification speaks how advanced the shop is
AAA certification also entails that the repair shop in question possesses and utilizes only the most technologically advanced and efficient equipment. In Nashville, people come to rely on the reputability of word of mouth—which can take you far. However, relying on factual information is always another way to guarantee that you will get good service. Certification by AAA designates only the most qualified and educated professionals will be working on your vehicle, and this is a great reassurance for many customers. In Nashville, TN, and the surrounding areas, there is one particular shop that has delivered on the AAA certification promise time after time, for over forty years. Since 1975, the experts at Import Auto Maintenance have out-performed other repair services in the area with stellar customer reviews.
Specializing in European autos, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and the like are just some of the brands that Import Auto services. Whether you are in need of a diagnosis, a repair, or just routine maintenance, Import Auto is trusted not only by word of mouth from satisfied customers, but they are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and AAA certified. When choosing an auto repair shop in Nashville, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of options in repair shops available; however, as mentioned before, two great ways to reaffirm whatever shop you decide on is to look at the customer reviews, and the certifications of the business. If you are looking for high-quality work, low prices, and to invest in a trustworthy business to service your vehicle, take it to Import Auto Maintenance in Nashville. Each expert staff member has the same goals in mind: to remain honest, helpful, and make every repair or service their best yet. Upholding the integrity of your car is a passion of theirs, and they continually choose not to disappoint.
You rely on a clean, clear windshield to be able to properly see the road while driving, anything less than that is dangerous and can make driving extremely difficult. In the cold winter months drivers prepare their vehicles for just about everything, snowy roads, flurries that make it impossible to see in front of you, it is important to be ready for whatever may occur. One issue that can lead to extremely dangerous situations is if it gets so cold that your windshield wiper fluid or the windshield washer lines actually freeze. Frozen windshield washer fluid is an unusual but sometimes unavoidable issue depending on where you live, so in the event that your windshield wiper fluid is frozen in the cold, here are some easy steps to take to get it taken care of immediately and to stay safe out on the roads.
- Start By Buying High-Grade Fluid– Some companies make windshield wiper fluid that is capable of working up to 20 or 30 degrees below zero without freezing, meaning you do not have to worry about the lines or fluid freezing over. If you live in an area that experiences extreme cold in the winter then this is the easiest, most hassle-free option for you as it will prevent freezing from happening.
- Don’t Use Hot Water to De-Thaw– One of the most common mistakes to make is to pour hot water over the lines to attempt to unfreeze them. However, the hot water mixed with the cool air and frozen lines can lead to the glass on your windshield completely cracking, which is a much more expensive issue to take care of.
- Check the Windshield Washing System– Should your windshield washers or fluid freeze over during the winter, it is important that you check the entire windshield washing system for cracks and damages that may have occurred. Freezing can lead to a rupture in the fluid reservoir, it can damage the water pump or damage the nozzles that dispense the fluid or even split the lines. Should freezing cause any of these damages, they can prevent your system from properly working or can cause further damages to other areas of your vehicle as well.
- Remove the Reservoir Bottle– Depending on the make and model of your vehicle; the easiest way to treat a frozen windshield washer line is the remove the reservoir bottle completely. In some vehicles this is as easy as undoing a few bolts, so if you are able to remove it, you can place it in a bucket and near a heater vent or flush it in hot water to melt all of the ice off.
- Use a Heating Pad if You Can’t Remove the Bottle– In some vehicles it is extremely hard to remove the reservoir bottle completely so an alternative method to defrost the frozen part is to use a heating pad. Stuffing a heating pad in and around the bottle will help to defrost it immediately, the lower you can stuff the pad the better because the heat will radiate upward. You should be able to operate the washer completely like normal once it is completely defrosted but be sure to only operate them for a few seconds to a minute at a time.
- Don’t Use Them if You Think The Lines Are Frozen– If you think the lines may have frozen or the fluid itself is frozen, you do not want to operate them at all as this can put severe strain on the entire system and can damage components like the pump itself. Instinct may tell you to try anyways to determine if they are in fact frozen but the damages that can be caused from the strain of trying to operate.
A few more words
You expect your windshield wipers to always work, when they don’t properly work then it can make it very difficult and dangerous to drive. In cold, winter months where the temperatures drop substantially your windshield washer lines and fluid could potentially freeze. Knowing what to do in the event that your washer lines freeze and taking the necessary precautions can help avoid the issue altogether and prevent expensive and extensive damages to the entire windshield washer system and other components of your vehicle.
If you have ever been pulled over or gotten a speeding ticket, there is a pretty good chance that you doubted that you were going as fast as they may have said that you did. One thing that contributes to uncertainty when it comes to knowing your speed when driving is the engine speed sensor. The engine speed sensor sends information to the car’s computer regarding how fast the car’s engine is spinning; it sends this information by constantly recording how fast your vehicle’s crankshaft is spinning, giving you a reading on your speedometer as well. A speed sensor beginning to go bad can be the source of a wide variety of strange issues in your car and when you notice any of them it’s important to have your car looked at immediately. These speed sensors have a tendency to go bad or faulty and these are just a few indications to look for that something is going wrong.
- Improper Shifting– Without a good signal from the speed sensors, the PCM won’t be able to control the gears shifting in the transmission correctly. This can cause the transmission to shift faster than usual and a problem with the speed sensors can also impact the timing between shifts, making it take longer between shifts as well. In an automatic transmission it is hydraulically controlled so when a transmission begins to have harsher or harder shifts, it can start to damage these components and things like the valve bodies and hydraulic lines.
- Your Check Engine Light Turns On/Off– If something is wrong with the communication from the speed sensor to the car’s computer or there is no communication at all, it’s possible that the check engine light will turn on each time you accelerate. Every driver knows the stress the check engine light can bring so one that is intermittently turning on and off can be a particularly bad headache though it is often just a symptom of a bad speed sensor.
- Your Speedometer Is Erratic or Does Not Work At All– Since the speed sensor delivers the information about how fast the car’s engine is spinning to the speedometer, a speedometer that is not working at all or is giving you constantly varying readings and results that you know are improbable, it is likely an issue in the speed sensor. Whether it’s not properly determining the rate the engine is spinning or it is becoming faulty or worn down and is in need of replacing, it is important that you have your vehicle looked at immediately as knowing your speed and having proper and correct readings while out on the road is extremely important for your safety and the safety of other drivers.
- The Brakes are Harder than Normal When Just Coasting– When you aren’t accelerating at all, your brakes should be smooth and easy to pump and apply. In the event that your speed sensor is going bad or has failed, there will be no communication of engine spinning to the computer in your vehicle and in turn, even when not accelerating and just coasting, your brakes will be much harder to apply and will feel stiffer. Any trouble applying the brakes is not to be taken lightly and you should seek the help of a professional and certified mechanic to determine the issue.
Often times the transmission is a popular scapegoat for these issues among others but before you visit an expensive transmission specialist, you should take your car in for a complete diagnostic test to truly determine the cause of the issues you are having or are noticing in your car. Finding a shop with full factory level diagnostic equipment will not only ensure a more accurate reading for your car but will also make sure that you get the same level of service you would at a dealership but without the high costs or extended wait times that come from the over crowded dealer mechanics.
So the next time you get pulled over and you think you may not have been speeding, take your vehicle in to have the speed sensor checked. While it probably won’t help you get out a ticket or fight the ticket should you dispute it, a properly working speed sensor will help you ensure that you won’t have any more coming in your future.
Keeping your engine cool is a vital part of preserving your vehicle’s health and performance and will help you avoid massive damages to your car’s internal systems. In the engine the oil pump not only helps to cool the engine but it will circulate the engine’s oil, lubricating all of the bearings and allowing the engine to function properly. Should your oil pump suddenly fail one day while out driving, it can be extremely dangerous to both you and other drivers, making staying on top of routine maintenance and service very important. There are many signs to look for as well that indicate that your oil pump may be beginning to fail and knowing what to recognize will go a long way to having the issue repaired before it becomes too serious. These are just a few of the most common signs that your oil pump is in need of service or replacement.
Oil pump failure symptoms
- Your Oil Pressure Will Decrease– Since the oil pump is responsible for regulating oil pressure, should it begin to go bad or improperly oil the components in the engine, you may notice the oil light turn on, other symptoms of oil pressure decreasing will be a decrease in power, your engine will run much hotter and there is a good chance your vehicle will begin stalling out much more often.
- Clanking Noises– There is a chance that there will be a loud clanking noise coming from under the hood if the oil pump is going bad. Since a main function of the oil pump is to lubricate the engine and prevent friction, the loud clanking noise is an indication that there is not enough lubricant passing through, which is often caused by a defective oil pump. The hydraulic lifters shouldn’t make noise at all so any noise is likely an indication that not enough oil is being pumped through to them.
- Higher Operational Temperature of Your Engine– As oil is moved through the engine, it will help the engine stay cool and reduce the internal friction that can occur. When the oil pump is bad or beginning to go bad, the temperature of your vehicle while you’re operating it will rise substantially. This is because the normal flow of oil is reduced and more friction can occur, which causes the heat in the engine to go up. There should be a heat light on your dashboard that will light up to indicate that this is an issue.
- Noise From Within the Valve-Train– The entire valve-train system includes components that will keep the engine in your car running, aside from the hydraulic lifters there also includes pushrods, valve guides and seals as well. Each of these components rely on proper oil flow to stay lubricated so without the proper amounts of oil, they will begin to stop working properly or may begin to make noise. As the oil flow decreases because of a faulty oil pump, this can cause the valve-train as a whole to become extremely noisy when driving.
Oil pump life span
A properly working and functioning oil pump should usually last anywhere between 60,000-70,000 miles in a vehicle that has been well maintained. Usually on new cars there are warranties on parts and labor on pieces and parts like all of the pumps for at least a limited time, most factory warranties last around 12,000 miles but with proper maintenance the average driver won’t have any issues and most drivers can typically last 6 years or longer before an oil pump fails though that is dependent on the type of car you have along with your driving and service maintenance tendencies.
The best way to prevent damages to the oil pump is by regularly scheduling and having the oil in your car changed. Oftentimes drivers will drive well past the recommended intervals for oil changes and while that is not the most harmful, avoiding stretching it out for too long as the debris and filaments that begin to collect in the oil can eventually start to affect the performance of your vehicle and the cleanliness of the components. Properly lubricating each piece of your engine is vital to clean, efficient running and by knowing which signs to look for that indicate potential issues in the oil pump will help keep you free of any unexpected damages or incidents, extending the life of your vehicle in the process.
Your tires contribute so much to the overall handling and performance of your vehicle. New, fresh tires provide much better grip on the road that results in a better handling and feeling car that runs more efficiently. Traditionally, tires are made from an advanced compound of materials including rubber, natural rubber, fabric, wire and also carbon black filler, which are derived partially from burning fossil fuels. In today’s day and age though, there are those who believe these tires are simply too harmful to the environment and have been looking for alternative ways to build tires that perform just as well.
While various types of tread and amounts of rubber are used depending on the type of vehicle and expected performance of the tire, the materials have largely always stayed the same. With these advancements and attempts at greener, alternative methods of making tires that are more environmentally friendly, it’s important to take a look at both and determine what material truly gives the best performing tire.
- Those composite materials are all put together to make a tire, though it doesn’t end there. Traditional tires feature sidewalls. These are the sides of the tire that have the specs to the tire printed on them and also help hold all the parts of the tire in place and provide added tire stability when moving side to side.
- The tread on a tire is located on the outer edge and is a mixture of natural and synthetic rubber. The grooves in the tread will maximize the performance and provide additional safety. The size and type of the grooves will factor in to the performance. For instance, deeper grooves mean the tire is better equipped for going off-road whereas shallower grooves are usually the sign of performance tires that work best on a race track due to the reduced grip that helps navigate the turns faster.
- Traditional tires are built to last at least 50,000 miles and oftentimes will last longer than a vehicle itself. Different factors will affect the lifespan of tires though, things such as driving style, the condition of the roads you drive on, any damage to the car that creates a rub on the tires can all lead to accelerated wear and tear or even hitting a pothole or nail can puncture your tire and be cause for repair or complete replacement.
- There are a total of 8 tire companies in the United States, meaning while the methods of producing tires are all relatively similar, there are various companies that specialize in their own specific type of tire, making finding the right type of tire for your vehicle easier than ever.
The fact that tires are also commonly disposed of either in landfills or even being burned doesn’t help the environmental impact that the production and elimination of tires has. While no alternative tires have emerged as a clear-cut and better alternative to traditional tires, the materials used would have a much better impact on the environment.
- Low oil tires have been designed to have less grip on the road and create less friction. These tires are projected to save at least 80 gallons of gas over their lifespan. Keeping your tires properly inflated as well will also help reduce the environmental impact.
- These tires are made with chemically toughened natural rubber, vegetable based processing oils and instead of petroleum fibers, plant cellulose is used. Benign silica filler is also being used in place of the carbon black reinforcement, which also reduces friction on the road.
- Yokohama Tires in Japan have started selling tires that use natural rubber compounds and processing oil derived from orange peels to replace a majority of the petroleum in traditional tires.
There are over 75 million tires sent to landfills each year in America alone, while traditional tires still represent the standard for drivers in terms of lifespan and performance, more and more companies are working to manufacture tires using alternative methods that not only help eliminate the number of tires left in landfills and burnt, but that also have a better impact on the environment and eliminate the use of fossil fuels and other harmful tire making methods being used.