Check Engine Light

We can take a look under the hood

Your Check Engine Light (CEL) warns you that your vehicle’s computer found a malfunctioning component in your emission control system. You may see “check engine,” “service engine soon,” or “check powertrain.” Or, the light may show an engine picture, perhaps with the word “Check.” To determine the actual problem, we use an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer to retrieve Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC). Some common issues that turn on the check engine light include:

  • Your gas cap isn’t on tight enough; we suggest checking before calling us
  • Water got into your engine somewhere
  • The spark plugs don’t function correctly
  • Your vehicle is emitting high levels of pollutants

In any case, you should bring your vehicle to us, and we can inspect your vehicle, diagnose the problem, and take care of it. Leaving your engine light on can cause serious problems with your car in the long run.

A check engine light appointment goes pretty fast, so stop by or give us a call.

Your modern vehicle’s engine is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment. Federal Exhaust Emission and Fuel Economy regulations demand that today’s vehicles use electronic engine control systems to curb carbon emissions and increase fuel efficiency. With advanced control systems taking the place of simple engine components, common maintenance services such as tune-ups become less vital. Your vehicle still requires regular services (such as spark plug and filter replacements). You will also need computerized analysis of your vehicle’s control computer. Our factory-trained technicians provide these basic services.

Here’s how your modern vehicle’s control computer operates:

A network of sensors and switches convert and monitor engine operating conditions into electrical signals. The computer receives this information, and, based on information and instructions coded within this savvy computer program, it sends commands to three different systems: ignition, fuel, and emission control. When a problem arises—the “check engine” light turns on—our service pros checks it out. Bring in your vehicle, we’ll check it out, and you can know if the “check engine” is a real problem, or just a sensor/computer issue.

Here’s a brief overview of your vehicle’s sensory components:

  • Mass airflow sensor
  • Throttle position sensor
  • Manifold absolute pressure sensor
  • Coolant temperature sensor
  • Exhaust oxygen sensor
  • Crankshaft position sensor
  • Camshaft position sensor

Front End Alignments

We can fine-tune your car

 

When your vehicle alignment is not proportioned correctly, two issues may occur:

  1. Driving becomes more expensive
  2. Driving becomes more dangerous

Driving without proper alignment costs you money. Not only does flawed alignment decrease gas mileage and tire life, but it also adds stress to your vehicle’s steering equipment and structure. Ideally, your vehicle’s wheels should run perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Adjusting these wheel angles will bring your vehicle back into proper alignment.

Driving without proper alignment puts you at risk. An out-of-alignment car pulls and drifts away from a straight road and may cause an accident. Excessive tire wear—another result of bad car alignment—leads to tire blow-outs and poor traction, which also causes accidents. Bring in your vehicle and our alignment experts will make sure your vehicle drives smoothly and safely.

How does poor alignment happen?
  • Many factors impact your vehicle’s alignment. You typically need alignment service after a major or minor collision that results in physical damage to your vehicle’s frame.
  • Your vehicle needs immediate attention when you notice steering problems or uneven tire wear patterns on your tires.
  • Sometimes problems arise from something as small as driving over a pothole, or grazing over a curb.

Look for the following symptoms to determine if you require our computerized alignment services.

Caster:

A faulty caster angle causes loose or difficult steering.

Caster describes the steering pivot angle, as seen from the vehicle’s side and measured in degrees. Caster alignment plays a large role in evaluating the “feel” of steering and the stability. Three to five degrees of positive caster is typical for most vehicles and lower angles for heavier vehicles.

Camber:

A faulty camber angle will create pulling and tire wear.

Camber is the angle of the wheel in relation to a vertical direction (seen from the front or rear of the car). A negative camber measurement occurs when a wheel leans toward the vehicle’s framework; a positive measurement points the wheel away from the car. An ideal camber angle assures optimal tire efficiency, proper steering control, and helps prevent rolling.

Toe:

A faulty toe angle will wear down your tires.

Like camber and caster, toe is measured by degrees. When your front or rear wheels have front edges pointed toward each other, the pair is called “toe-ins.” If the front edges point away from each other, the pair is called “toe-outs.”

With properly aligned wheels, you’ll get:

  • Tires that last longer
  • Easier steering
  • Improved gas mileage
  • Smoother ride
  • Safer, more secure driving

 

Your vehicle’s axle connects two wheels together in front and in back. This load-bearing component acts like a central shaft, maintaining the wheel positions relative to each other and to the vehicle body. The axle construction matches vehicle use; trucks and off-road vehicles come with axles that keep the wheel positions steady under heavy stress (ideal for supporting heavy loads), while conventional axles satisfy general consumer needs. No matter what you drive, remember that your vehicle’s axle must bear the weight of your vehicle (plus any cargo) along with the acceleration forces between you and the ground. When it comes to axle inspection, we are your source for professional, knowledgeable service. Bring your car to us and rest assured that the equipment that carries you and your family is safe and secure.

Here is a brief description of the most common axle design:

Drive/CV Axle:

Simply put, the engine drives the axle. Typically found in front wheel drive vehicles, a drive axle is split between two half axles with differential and universal joints between them. Each half axle connects to the wheel by a third joint—the constant velocity (CV) joint—that allows the wheels to move freely. This joint allows the shaft to rotate, transmitting power at a constant speed without a significant increase in friction and heat. CV joints require regular inspection.

Check your axles: Go out to a large space (such as a parking lot), and slowly drive in tight circles. If you hear a clicking or cracking noise, you have a worn joint, and it must be repaired immediately.

Call or send us an email. We’ll have you back on the road, “click-free” in no time.

 

Your exhaust system is more than a muffler. It is a series of pipes that run under your car connecting to your muffler and catalytic converter. The exhaust system controls noise and funnels exhaust fumes away from passengers.

In some ways, your car’s exhaust system works like a chimney on a house, directing the byproducts from burning fuel away from the people inside. A car’s exhaust system routes waste gases from the engine to the rear of the car, where they are released into the atmosphere. Exhaust gases contain dangerous substances (such as carbon monoxide) and can be hazardous if allowed to flow into your vehicle’s cab.

The exhaust system also converts pollutants into less harmful byproducts, reduces engine noise, and directs exhaust gases to heat air and fuel before the fuel goes into the engine’s cylinders. Finally, the exhaust system provides the correct amount of back pressure into the engine to improve its fuel-burning efficiency and increase performance.

Key components of your exhaust system include:

Exhaust Pipes:

Designed specifically for each model, this pipe is used to properly route exhaust to the back of the vehicle.

Exhaust Manifold:

Acting like a funnel, the exhaust manifold collects the gases from all cylinders and releases them through a single opening. Some engines have two exhaust manifolds.

Catalytic Converter:

The catalytic converter reduces harmful emissions and transforms pollutants into water vapor and other less harmful gases.

Muffler:

The muffler is a metal container with holes, baffles, and chambers that reduces exhaust noise.

Resonator:

The resonator works with the muffler to reduce noise.

Tail Pipe:

Found at the back of the car, the tail pipe carries exhaust gases away from the vehicle.

Contact our professionals for complete exhaust system repairs.

Rack-and-pinion steering is one of the most common type of steering on street legal vehicles. It is a simple mechanism where the rack-and-pinion gearset is enclosed in a metal tube, with each end of the rack protruding from the tube. A rod connects to each end of the rack.

The steering ratio is the ratio of how far you turn the steering wheel to how far the wheels turn. Lighter cars have lower steering ratios than larger cars and trucks. With a  lower ratio, you don’t have to turn the steering wheel as much to get the wheels to turn meaning a quicker response.

 

Your car’s suspension and steering system allows your wheels to move independently of the car, while keeping it “suspended” and stable. Any play or uncontrolled motion in these systems results in handling deterioration and accelerated tire wear. Also, your vehicle’s alignment affects the condition of the suspension and steering systems. Contact our professional staff today for an inspection, or schedule repairs to your vehicle’s suspension and steering system.

Suspension System

Worn or loose components affect the suspension system’s ability to control motion and alignment angles, resulting in vehicle handling and stability deterioration, as well as accelerated tire wear. The suspension system includes:

  • Control arms
  • Ball joints
  • Springs (coil or leaf)
  • Shock absorbers
  • Struts

Call or email us to get your suspension, shocks, and struts checked.

Tie rods play a major role in your vehicle’s steering.  In a rack-and-pinion steering system, the tie rods are the connection from your steering system to your wheels. Without them, your steering system would fail. The outer tie rod end is adjustable, meaning you can change the length of the tie rod to fix your vehicle’s alignment. They are responsible for moving your wheels when you steer and for making turning possible.

Your vehicle’s tires make constant contact with the road. Over time and with normal wear-and-tear, your become worn down. This can be dangerous when braking on wet or snow-covered roads. Hydroplaning occurs when the tire’s grooves are so worn down that they don’t channel water out from beneath the tread. When this happens, your treads only skim the water’s surface and the steering wheel won’t respond. Keep your tires in working condition.

How do I know if I need new tires?

  • Your tread depth is below 1/16 of an inch (1.6 millimeters). To get a rough idea of your tread depth, use a penny and insert it “head down” into the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head, you need new tires.
  • Your tread wear indicator bar is visible. Flat rubber bars run perpendicular to the tread. If you see them, it’s time for new tires.
  • Your tire’s sidewall is showing visible cracks or cuts. Take this seriously; your tires may soon start to leak.
  • Your tires have developed bulges or blisters. Weak spots on tires show up around blisters or bulges and can blow out your tires.

If you see any of these signs, you need to have them checked and replaced. We carry a number of brand name tires to choose from, and our trained technicians will install them properly.

Come in to our shop, call, or email us, and we will assist you.

An improperly repaired tire may fail when driven at high speed causing loss of vehicle control.

Flat or damaged tires need to be repaired by qualified personnel.

Almost any sharp object on the road can cause a flat tire. We repair tire tread punctures up to 1/4″ in diameter. We do NOT recommend repairing larger punctures or punctures to the tire’s shoulder and sidewall.

You must inspect the inside of the tire for hidden damage or risk weakening the tire. Punctures in the tread area may damage a greater area of the tire like the inner sidewall. Without removing the tire, it’s hard to see all the damage.

Proper tire repair is critical and any puncture or injury to a tire will affect its performance. If you have any questions regarding your tire’s condition, we’ll be glad to inspect them for you.

Call or email us to repair or replace your damaged, punctured or leaky tires.

The front tires on a front-wheel drive vehicle accelerate, steer, and help brake your vehicle. Front tires tend to wear down faster than rear tires. Typically rear wheel tires last twice as long as front wheel tires. Ideally, we recommend you replace all four tires at the same time. Rotating your tires helps ensure even wearing for all your tires. Contact our staff to get your tires rotated.

How do I know when to rotate my tires?

Follow your vehicle’s owner’s manual suggestions, rotate them with every other oil change, or rotate them every 3,000 to 7,000 miles.

 

A TPMS or “Tire Pressure Monitoring System” electronically monitors the air pressure inside your tires. Depending on your vehicle, the TPMS reports the tire-pressure information, through a gauge, a pictogram display, or a low-pressure warning light. This system can be divided into two different types—direct (dTPMS) and indirect (iTPMS). As of September 1, 2007, the TREAD (Transportation Recall Enhanced Accountability and Documentation) Act requires that all vehicles sold in the U.S. be equipped with one of these types.

Direct TPMS reports tire pressure in real-time through pressure sensors installed directly in the valve of each tire.

Indirect TPMS uses the car’s anti-lock braking systems (ABS) to approximate tire pressure. Since tire inflation levels affect tire rotation, indirect TPMS also relies on the differences in wheel rotation to detect under-inflation.

Benefits of TPMS:

  • Avoid traffic accidents: Recognize under-inflated tires before they malfunction and create an accident.
  • Extend tire life: Under inflation contributes to heat buildup, tire disintegration, ply separation and sidewall/casing breakdowns.
  • Improve safety: Properly inflated tires add stability, greater handling, and braking efficiencies while providing better safety for the driver, the vehicle, and others on the road.

Having trouble with your TPMS? Give us a call today and our professional team will take care of it for you.

 

Often confused with wheel alignment, a properly balanced wheel is a beautiful, perfectly tuned wheel-tire combination. This is accomplished by placing measured lead weights on the opposite side of the “heavy spot”—the noticeable tread wear on your unbalanced tire.

How do I know if I need my wheels balanced?

Is your vehicle vibrating at certain speeds, say, between 50 and 70 mph? If so, chances are your wheel is out of balance. One section of your tire is heavier than the other because it’s endured more exposure to the friction and heat of the road. Most people are very satisfied with the difference such a simple and inexpensive procedure makes.

Look for these signs, and if you find either one, come see us:
  • Scalloped, erratic wear pattern on tires.
  • Vibration in steering wheel, seat, or floorboard at certain speeds.

Brake Service

We take care for your vehicle

 

Our ASE-certified technicians take professionalism to the next level by offering courteous and knowledgeable service to all of our customers. Continually striving to master every aspect of automotive care, ASE technicians follow Motorist Assurance Program Uniform Inspection Guidelines for your vehicle’s braking system to assure safe, smooth driving.

When your mechanic is wearing the ASE patch, don’t expect to get to know him—you won’t be back in a long time! That’s because our ASE technicians do the job right the first time. They inspect the following braking components:

Disc Brakes:

  • Disc brake rotors and pads
  • Calipers and hardware

Drum Brakes:

  • Brake drums and shoes
  • Wheel cylinders
  • Return springs

Parking Brake:

  • Cables

Hydraulic System:

  • Master cylinder
  • Brake fluid and hoses
  • Power booster

Your vehicle’s brake system is a culmination of over 100 years of technological innovation, transforming crude stopping mechanisms into dependable and efficient equipment. While brake systems vary by make and model, the basic system consists of disc brakes in front and either disk or drum brakes in back. Connected by a series of tubes and hoses, your brakes link to each wheel and to the master cylinder, which supply them with vital brake fluid (hydraulic fluid).

We can summarize all of your braking equipment into two categories, Hydraulics and Friction Material:

Hydraulics

Master Cylinder:

The master cylinder is like a pressure converter. When you press down on the brake pedal (physical pressure), the master cylinder converts this to hydraulic pressure, and brake fluid moves into the wheel brakes.

Brake Lines and Hoses:

Brake lines hoses deliver pressurized brake fluid to the braking unit(s) at each wheel.

Wheel Cylinders and Calipers:

Wheel Cylinders surrounded by two rubber-sealed pistons connect the piston with the brake shoe. Push the brakes and the pistons stop and the shoes pushes into the drum. Calipers squeeze brake pads onto the rotor to stop your car. Both components apply pressure to friction materials.

Friction Materials

Disc Brake Pads and Drum Brake Shoes:

A disc brake uses fluid (released by the master cylinder) to force pressure into a caliper, where it presses against a piston. The piston then squeezes two brake pads against the rotor, forcing it to stop. Brake shoes consist of a steel shoe with friction material bonded to it.

How It Comes Together:

When you first step on the brake pedal, you are triggering the release of brake fluid into the system of tubes and hoses, which travel to the braking unit at each wheel. You actually push against a plunger in the master cylinder, releasing fluid. Brake fluid can’t be compressed. It moves through the network of tubes and hoses in the exact same motion and pressure that initiated it. When it comes to stopping a heavy steel machine at high speed, this consistency is a good thing. The performance of your brakes can be affected when air gets into the fluid; since air can compress, it creates sponginess in the pedal, which disrupts consistency, and results in bad braking efficiency. “Bleeder screws” (located at each wheel cylinder) remove unwanted air in your system.

A car without functioning brakes is dangerous. In many cases, warning signs will tell you if your car’s brakes may need service.

Warning signs include:

  • Squealing or grinding noises when using brakes. This could mean your brakes need to be adjusted or that your brake pads are worn and need replacement.
  • Your dashboard’s Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) light turns on. This indicates that your brake fluid is low. You may have a leak in your brake line. Get it inspected.
  • While braking, your car pulls to one side. This means that your brakes need adjustment, there is brake fluid leakage, or your brakes are worn out and need replacement.
  • Your brakes are hard to press down or feel “spongy.” Usually this means air has gotten into your brake lines or you may have low brake fluid.
  • When applying your brakes, your steering wheel, brake pedal, or entire vehicle begins to shake. If this happens, your brake rotors could be warped and need replacement.

When you notice any brake warning signs, contact our professional staff by phone, or email, immediately and we’ll take care of it.

Belts & Hoses

We can fine-tune your car

Among all the equipment in your vehicle, belts and hoses have the shortest lifespan. These components often crack, leak, or fray due to their constant exposure to heat, vibration, and other harmful chemicals. If not promptly replaced and maintained, it could spell disaster for your vehicle’s performance. Belt and hose evaluations based solely on their appearance are not enough. We recommend diligent inspection, and are here to do it. Here is a sample of how we ensure belt and hose quality:

Visual Inspection of Belts

  • Search for clear indications of damage (cracking, glazing, softening, or peeling)
  • Test for correct tension
  • Test for correct alignment
  • Record belt condition for future reference

Visual Inspection of Hoses

  • Search for leaks, cracks, hardening, or softening.
  • Test cooling system for leaks using state-of-the-art pressure technology
  • Record hose condition for future reference

Get your vehicle’s belts and hoses inspected on a regular basis because damaged pieces can seriously harm your vehicle. Research shows that while most people get regular oil changes, they neglect the condition of their belts and hoses. A leaking hose or a cracked belt will cause you more trouble than an overdue oil change ever will.

The following is a brief description of some of the different belts and hoses we inspect:

Drive Belts:

The engine drives some of your vehicle’s accessories. Instead of being supplied by electric power, these accessories rely on a series of pulleys and belts to operate. Some of these accessories include:

  • Power steering pump
  • Alternator
  • Air conditioning compressor
  • Radiator cooling fan
  • Water pump

Some vehicles require a single serpentine belt to power these accessories (as opposed to several individual belts).

Hoses:

If you think of hoses as your vehicle’s circulatory system, then you’ll have an appropriate representation of their importance. Hoses are composed of two rubber layers with fabric in between. Types of hoses vary on make and model, but typically include:

  • Fuel hose (sends gasoline from the gas tank to the engine)
  • Radiator hose (delivers coolant to engine)
  • Power steering hose (connects power steering pump to steering equipment)
  • Heater hose (provides coolant to heater core)

Batteries

Here you can see what we have to offer and what you'll pay for that

Let’s face it: you can have the most meticulously maintained vehicle on the road, but it won’t start without the right battery – properly installed and appropriately fitted – for your driving needs. From ignition to door locks, your car battery allows you to get from point “A” to point “B.”

The following is a brief overview of the electrical system that makes transportation possible:

  • Battery Composed of a series of lead plates submerged in a 35% sulfuric acid/65% water solution, your 12-volt battery houses a chemical reaction that releases electrons through conductors, producing electricity which is then channeled into your vehicle’s electrical system. The battery supplies electricity to all of the electrical system components, including the essential power required to start your vehicle. In periods of high demand, the battery also supplements power from the charging system.
  • Charging System The charging system is the life force of your vehicle’s electrical system, consisting of three main mechanisms: the alternator, various circuits, and the voltage regulator. The alternator:
    1. Provides power to the electrical system, and
    2. Recharges the battery when the car is running.

    The circuits act as conduits for electrical power. The voltage regulator controls the voltage passed through the circuits. Remember, all of these components require consistent attention and maintenance. It’s not just your battery that needs to be replaced; if any components fail, your power source is reduced to a lifeless, twenty pound paper weight.

  • Starting System It may seem obvious that the starting system turns your vehicle’s engine on, but did you know that this process consumes more electrical power than anything else your car does? The starting system consists of three components working one after another. These components include: the ignition switch, the starter relay (or solenoid), and the starter motor.Here’s how it works: Turning the ignition causes a small amount of current to pass through the starter relay, causing a stronger current to flow through the battery cables and into the starter motor. The starter motor cranks the engine, forcing the piston to create enough suction that draws a fuel and air mixture into the cylinder. The ignition system creates a spark that ignites the mixture and your engine starts.Contact us for battery replacement or electrical system repairs.