Tag Archives: maintenance

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check-engine-light-banner

What does the check engine light mean when it’s on?

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That is a signal that the onboard diagnostics system (or OBD II) has detected a malfunction in the vehicle’s emissions, ignition or fuel systems. It could be something as simple as a loose gas cap or something as severe as a faulty catalytic converter, so you shouldn’t ignore it. All cars and light trucks have onboard diagnostics that are supposed to detect engine-related problems that affect the emissions control systems.

The check-engine light (typically a yellow or orange outline of an engine with the word “Check”) should come on for a few seconds every time you start the engine with other warning lights. If it stays on, that means there is a problem.

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Replace Your Drive-Axle Boots

Do You Need to Replace Your Drive-Axle Boots?

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Front-drive vehicles, many all-wheel-drive vehicles and some rear-drive vehicles have constant-velocity joints that connect the transmission to the drive axles and wheels. A front-drive vehicle will have four CV joints, each covered by a boot.

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shock-strut

Do I need to maintain my cars struts?

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Struts don’t need to be replaced unless your vehicle is bouncing like it’s on a pogo stick or bottoms out in potholes and over railroad tracks, or unless a mechanic finds that they’re leaking fluid or have been damaged.

In a strut-type suspension, the struts are the “shock absorbers” mounted inside coil springs. They control the amount of bouncing created by bumps, dips and peaks in the road and making a hard or sudden stop. Shock absorber is a misleading term, because the springs actually absorb the road shocks. The struts limit the resulting bouncing caused by the springs compressing and releasing. More correctly, they should be called “dampers.”

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ball_joint_and_tie_rod_repairs

When should I replace ball joints?

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Worn ball joints allow too much movement in the suspension, so the driver may feel more vibrations — or hear squeaks or rattles on bumpy surfaces or when turning — caused by looseness in the suspension. Other signs of worn ball joints include uneven tire wear and steering that wanders instead of going straight.

Because these symptoms also can apply to other suspension and steering issues, any or all of the above are good reason to have a thorough inspection conducted by a qualified mechanic before pointing the finger at the ball joints. Some ball joints have wear indicators, but others have to be checked by raising the car off the ground and seeing if the wheels allow excessive play. In addition, some ball joints have rubber dust covers that, if torn, can allow dirt and water in. That can damage the joint.

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Shock-absorber

What’s the typical life of my shock absorbers?

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The answer to that question hinges on several variables, including how many miles a vehicle is driven, on what kinds of roads it’s driven, and whether it’s driven gently or with abandon.

Those variables make it virtually impossible to assign a number of years or miles as a broad stroke, though we would expect shock absorbers (or struts on vehicles with strut-type suspensions) to last at least four or five years, unless the vehicle has been subjected to extreme use. It’s also not unusual for shocks to last 10 years on a vehicle that has lived most of its life on smooth pavement.

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thermostat

Should I change my engine thermostat?

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Unless an engine overheats or fails to reach normal operating temperature after being driven for several miles, the thermostat that regulates the flow of coolant is probably working properly. Thermostats generally last for years — even for the lifetime of a vehicle — so why bother changing it?

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Engine coolant

How often do I need to change engine coolant?

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For some vehicles, you’re advised to change the coolant every 30,000 miles. For others, changing the coolant isn’t even on the maintenance schedule.

For example, Hyundai says the coolant (what many refer to as “antifreeze”) in most of its models should be replaced after the first 60,000 miles, then every 30,000 miles after that. The interval is every 30,000 miles on some Mercedes-Benz models, but on others it’s 120,000 miles or 12 years. On still other Mercedes, it’s 150,000 miles or 15 years.

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Headlight_Close_Up

Headlight Maintenance Tips

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Among obvious signs that your headlights aren’t properly aimed are oncoming drivers flashing their lights at you because your lights are blinding them, or the road ahead is brightly illuminated for only 20 feet or so, meaning the headlights are aimed too low.

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old-car-wipers

Are fancy wiper blades worth the money?

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When it comes time to replace windshield wiper blades, does it serve you best to spend more money on pricier brands?

Prices depend mainly on type and brand. There are three basic types of wipers. The most common is the frame type, which uses a metal framework to support the wiper. This is the most widely used and most affordable style of wiper.

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Bluetooth_Audi

How reliable is Bluetooth support for my new car?

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Because technology changes so rapidly, we hesitate to answer with an unequivocal “Yes,” but we feel safe in saying that Bluetooth will remain the most common form of wireless connectivity for the foreseeable future. Its prevalence — especially among expensive products such as cars — will induce phone makers to continue supporting it. Bottom line: You shouldn’t have to buy a new car the next time you acquire a new phone to retain hands-free talking, audio streaming and other functions you enjoy now.

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Good article on the "What Does the Check Engine Light Mean". Big difference between a blinking light or a constant light. Find out the difference in this article. Check us out. Smith's Auto Repair in Doylestown, "Home of the Digital Inspection for transparent Auto Repair."

www.consumerreports.org/car-repair-maintenance/what-does-check-engine-light-mean/

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Since we began using a Digital Vehicle Inspection, customer communication – and repair work authorizations – have moved into the fast lane. The response from customers after receiving color-coded digital inspections and detailed vehicle condition photos has been phenomenal.

The response I get back from people is unbelievable. They can actually see what we’re seeing. A picture is worth a thousand words. Even if your not buying everything, you can see it for yourself. In the days of simply telling customers what was wrong with their vehicles, customers may have wondered. This way, there’s no question.

Give Smith's Smiths Auto Repair in Doylestown a call to schedule an appt 215-348-9459 and see what it's all about.

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Oil changes, tire rotations, factory scheduled maintenance, and more.