Potholes Affecting your Car

potholes

Potholes are a common reason for cars being damaged on the roads. When puddles or slush are covering the roads, you are likely hitting these potholes. This is because you cannot see them. If you are unsure if your own car may have damage from potholes, make sure to bring it in.

Inspecting the tires

The tires are the first thing to encounter the pothole and therefore, the first thing to check. Some potholes can cause flat tires so when you accidentally hit a pothole, pay attention to your car and pull over if possible to check it out. Look for a slow-leaking puncture or bulging in the sidewall. Any scratches or damage to the rubber tire is something that should be inspected as soon as possible.

The Rims

The rims also take a beating when you hit a pothole. If you hit the pothole rather hard then it could definitely bend your tire rim. Inspect for any damage to the rim and also inside the lip of the wheel. If you notice that the rim has a significant dent or bend to it, make sure to schedule an appointment with us. That way we can inspect the tires and rims for you.

Car Driving correctly

The car may not drive correctly after hitting a pothole. This can include it swaying when you hit a bump. It could indicate an issue with your struts or shocks. These absorb the impact when you are driving so when you hit a pothole for the first time you are not likely to feel much. However, the more potholes you hit the faster your struts and shocks can wear down.
While it’s very important to check your tires after hitting a pothole, many don’t consider the damage to the undercarriage. A quick glance may not reveal any problems but there could easily be a leak or tear somewhere underneath. If the pothole was rather significant in size, bring the vehicle in. We can look to ensure there are not any issues that might arise in the nearby future.
When your car decides to make an odd noise of any kind, schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, hitting a pothole can do damage to more than just the tires, it can cause odd noises if it damages something else. Potholes can cause unnoticeable damage. While a flat tire or odd noise is very obvious, small leaks or other slight damage may not make an appearance right away. Bring the vehicle in, and we can inspect it for you.

 

Brake Maintenance is Important

 

The brakes on your vehicle are important, but do you know how they work? The brakes operate hydraulically, meaning they use fluid to transfer the power of your foot on the pedal to the actual brakes on the wheels. The master cylinder is the starting point of that power flow. If the master cylinder is faulty, it cannot exert enough power to push the fluid to the brakes, so you should always inspect the master cylinder and brake lines for damage. Additionally, the brake fluid should be inspected for cleanliness.

Brake calipers, pads and rotors all work together to stop your vehicle. When you step on your brake pedal, the master cylinder sends fluid to the brake calipers which squeeze together, exerting pressure on the brake pads. It’s important to have the calipers inspected often for signs of wear or damage.

When the calipers squeeze, the brake pads clamp down on the rotors in order to slow your car. If your brake pads are worn, they can’t make a smooth connection with the rotors and this can actually damage your rotors with rough spots and uneven grooves. Rotor repairs can be very costly so always make sure your brake pads are sized to specifications and that they’re not worn down too far. Most brake pads come with wear indicators that will make a squealing sound to let you know it’s time for replacement. It’s best to replace them before you hear a squeal and check your brake rotors often to be sure that there is no irregular wear or damage.

Sticking to the schedule specified in your owner’s manual, or by us is what is best for your vehicle. If you notice the brake pedal too soft or too hard, make sure to schedule an appointment so we are able to check for the cause of the issue, and fix it. By catching an issue at the first sign, you can save time, money, and stress in the long run.

 

Clearing off the Windows for your Vehicle

At any time of year, it is essential to keep your car windows clear. Build in extra time to clear snow and ice off your car before you drive out into the wintry roads. Before you tackle accumulations on the windows, check to see that the tailpipe is free of snow. After that, turn on the car and run the defroster. It may take five minutes or more to warm up the car and start the melting process. Clear snow from the roof, hood, and trunk lid while you wait. Next, clear the side windows and rear windows. Do the windshield last to give the defroster more time to start melting the ice.

Do not forget to clear your exterior mirrors, headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Also clear off and dry your wiper blades and make sure your wiper fluid nozzles are clear. And if your wipers are more than six months old or they’re not clearing the windows properly, it’s time to replace them.

Use the smooth side of a plastic ice scraper to clear frost. If it’s an especially light coating and you don’t have a scraper, a plastic card from your wallet. Use vertical strokes and gently push the accumulation down and off the vehicle.

Use the ridged side of a plastic ice scraper for ice accumulations. Make vertical slashes down the window, and then scrape across the window surface to break up the ice into smaller chunks. Remember to never pour hot water over icy windows to clear them. The rapid temperature change can cause glass to crack or shatter. Also do not use a screwdriver, metal key or other sharp item to chip ice away. These can scratch or shatter the glass, and cost you more in the long run.

For fluffy snows, use a snow brush with plastic bristles or a broom to clear windows, followed by a light scrape with an ice scraper as needed. Heavy snows may require clearing snow with a push broom, but don’t use your snow shovel or you risk damaging your vehicle. Clear snow off the vehicle’s roof before you clear the windows, and also brush the snow off the front hood and trunk before you head out. If you ignore this, big clumps of snow could blow off while you’re driving, obstructing your view or that of another driver. If you notice any issues with your windshield wipers, windshield, or other windows, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the vehicle for you.

Dashboard Warning Lights for your Vehicle

Dashboard warning lights are color coded to distinguish their level of importance. Typically green, amber and red are used. If a red light comes up on the dashboard, it means it is a serious issue. You need to stop the car as soon as it’s safe and seek assistance. An example would be a low engine oil or coolant warning light. An amber warning light is not safety critical but does mean that something is wrong and needs your attention as soon as possible. An example would be a blown bulb warning light. Green dashboard lights are not really warning lights in the true sense of the word, they just signify something is on – like your headlights or cruise control.

Coolant keeps your engine nice and cool but when it gets too hot you will see the coolant light or symbol appear. You will also see this light if your coolant level drops too low. Some manufacturers such replace the temperature gauge and use this symbol to indicate the engine is cold when blue, turns off when it’s at operating temperature is reached and goes red when the engine is overheating. Sometimes it can be as simple as bleeding the coolant system and adding new coolant to your vehicle.

The ABS light means that you have a problem with the Anti-Lock Braking System. This warning light can display for a number of braking system faults and to pinpoint the exact issue you may need to get the plugged in and have its fault codes read. Issues can range from a faulty sensor to the A.B.S pump needing replacement. On some vehicles, it’s also a sign to say you need to replace your brake pads if they have a wear sensor installed. Your brakes may not function correctly if this light is showing and it needs immediate attention.

The ‘check engine’ light is one of the most commonly seen dashboard warning lamps as it lights up for any faults related to your engine or exhaust system. Depending on the issue, the car may still drive perfectly but you should get it diagnosed as soon as possible. Sometimes turning the car off and back on can reset the system and cause the light to turn off. Also the check engine light sometimes illuminates if the gas cap is not on tight enough. No matter what warning light you notice, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.

 

Maintenance for Winter Weather

 

Taking proper care of your vehicle in the winter is important. This will help it to run at efficient levels and start when you need it to. It is important to check the battery regularly. Make sure the cables are not loose. With the engine off, see if the cables can slip free from the nodes. Don’t yank, but be firm. Tightening the nut is easy to do and can save you from a mid-drive battery loss that requires you to get out of the car and take off your gloves. Also check for corrosion. If there is a white powder around the nodes or the clamps then that could be a sign of corrosion.

While you’re there, check the status of your S belt, or serpentine belt. It’s the big one that is immediately visible at the front of the engine. The visible, or back side, has grooves like a tire. If they’re cracked or worn, then it might be time to consider changing it so it doesn’t snap in colder weather.

Check your oil. If it’s due for a change, consider refilling it with a lower viscosity oil. On the bottle it lists two numbers, or grades, the first for low temperature viscosity, the second for high temperature. 10W-30 is a common designation. The higher the number, the more viscous, or thick it is, the less fluid it is especially in cold temps.

Having the correct tire pressure is essential for proper handling. A temperature change of just 10 degrees can cause a ten percent reduction, or constriction, of air in tires. So tire pressure can be affected from day to night temperature. Check the optimal tire pressure of your vehicle on the label inside the driver’s door frame or in the owner’s manual. If you notice the vehicle pulls in one direction as you drive, it can indicate that the tires are losing air. Make sure to schedule an appointment and we can inspect it for you.