call button Ask Patty

Symptoms of Faulty Engine Speed Sensors

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.

Car Speedo Meter

  • 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.

Car Engine Repair

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.

Common Signs of Oil Pump Failure

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

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.

Overheated Car


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.

The Best Material a Car Tire should be Made up Of

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.

Car Tires

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.

Traditional tires

  • 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.

Alternative Tires

  • 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.

Car Tire Change

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.

Signs and Symptoms of Radiator Leaks

You hear all the time the importance of your radiator in your car, it acts as a cooling unit for your engine and allows hot coolant to pass through it and lower the temperature of the engine to avoid overheating and potential damages and issues. When there’s a problem with the radiator, it can have catastrophic effects on your entire car, rendering it with either expensive to fix damages or possibly even a total loss beyond any repairs. Fortunately, there are a lot of signs to look for that signal a leak in your car’s radiator and knowing them when you see them and having them diagnosed and repaired quickly by a professional technician could mean the difference between saving your car or shopping for a new one on the weekend. Here are some of the most common symptoms that your radiator is leaking and needs to be repaired immediately.

Car Radiator Replacement

  • Frequent Engine Overheating– If you notice your engine temperature continually spiking into the red and staying exceedingly high, then this can signal a leaking radiator. It’s the radiator’s job to prevent the engine from overheating so if coolant is leaking out, then there’s no chance it can cool the engine down at all.
  • Visible Leaking– A bit of a no brainer but before jumping to any conclusions is to be sure to check under the car to see if any fluids are leaking into the street or driveway. Coolant is typically a neon color, usually green, orange or pink and will smell sweet. If your engine is still warm, a radiator leak may cause steam from wherever there is a leak.
  • Drop In Coolant Levels– Even if there isn’t a radiator leak, over time the coolant levels in your car will drop. This is why coolant should be replaced as needed, however, if you see a drastic drop in your coolant levels and there are no other visible signs of a leak then take your car in to a professional service center and have them check to ensure that the radiator is actually leaking.
  • Corrosion and Discoloration– If coolant is leaking out onto the radiator, this can cause a discoloration as buildup occurs. Check under the radiator for any signs of discoloration, as this is the most common place it will occur. Also clean the engine and check surrounding parts for discolorations or dried coolants. You can also check the radiator and hoses for corrosion after cleaning them thoroughly, if there’s a leak in one of the hoses, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to repair while an actual leaking radiator will be a much more involved process.
  • Damaged Radiator Hoses– Just as likely to cause a leak as a damaged radiator, the hoses will wear out over time. Whether the radiator hose is actually damaged and worn out or just loose, it’s important to check the condition of all of your vehicle’s hoses so that you can replace and repair them as needed if you find any splits, cracks or bulges.
  • Sludge in the Radiator– While this isn’t a sign of a leak in the radiator, it is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately should you notice it. If you see sludge in the radiator as opposed to standard coolant, this is because contaminants in the engine are making the coolant rusty or discolored. As it builds up more and more, the fluid will not drain properly and will stay in the radiator. If you or your auto mechanic notice sludge in the radiator, it needs to be replaced immediately or else you may seriously damage your engine and transmission.

Cooling Car Engine

Don’t drive with a leak in the radiator

If your vehicle is showing any of these signs or symptoms that the radiator is leaking, then it’s important to have them checked out and repaired by a mechanic as soon as possible. Driving with a leak in the radiator is extremely ill advised as you’ll need to constantly replenish coolant to avoid engine overheating and you run the risk of making the leak worse. Eventually, if you do drive with a leak long enough, your engine will break down on you, causing extensive damages and possibly rendering your vehicle unfixable. Knowing the signs of a leaking radiator is a great way to make sure your vehicle is kept as well-maintained as possible.