Articles:

Out of Joint (CV Joint and Boot Replacement)

If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it has components called CV joints which enable you to turn your wheels smoothly. The CV stands for “constant velocity.” In essence, it’s a set of gears that connect a shaft that allows power from the transmission to be sent to the wheels.  When you turn the wheels, no matter what angle, the input velocity rotation will be equal to the output. Thus, the name, CV (constant velocity) joint. Other vehicles with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive also use CV joints.  

If one of your CV joints isn’t working right, you may find your vehicle difficult to handle.  If one breaks, your vehicle may stop moving.  So, it’s important that CV joints be in top working condition.  The joints need a lot of lubrication, so they are surrounded by grease.  There’s a rubber enclosure around them called the boot which holds the grease in and protects CV joints from the elements. 
 
The biggest problems come when one of those rubber boots cracks.  Water and dirt can then get into the joint, causing it to wear down and lose all its vital lubrication.  It’s important to have your CV joints inspected regularly so a technician can spot cracks before the CV joints are ruined.  Sometimes just the boot can be replaced before any major damage is done.  But when the joint does go bad, it must be replaced.  

Signs your CV joint needs changing out? You might hear a clicking sound when you turn if the CV joint is worn out. You might notice some thick, black grease around your wheel or on the pavement where you park your vehicle.  You might also feel your vehicle vibrate when you’re going fast.

If you suspect you might have a bad CV joint, bring your vehicle in so a technician can determine what’s going on.  Keep your CV joints in good shape and reduce the risk of them seizing up at an inopportune time so you can avoid being stranded.

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
edscarcare.autotipsvideo.com

Categories:

Drive Train

Steering You Right (Power Steering Fluid Service)

It’s important for safe driving that two of the most important systems in your vehicle work right.  One is the brakes.  The other is the steering.  Nearly all vehicles on the road have some sort of power steering that allows you to direct a very heavy machine with little effort. 

There are two types, hydraulic and electric.  Many newer vehicles have electric power steering that uses an electric motor to make your steering easier.  But there are many vehicles on the road that use a system that has been around for years.  It uses a power steering pump, a cylinder, several valves, and hydraulic fluid to make it easy for you to turn the wheel. 

If you have hydraulic power steering in your vehicle, it’s important to change your power steering fluid every once in a while.  Over time, the fluid gets contaminated with dirt and other particles.  You might notice your steering is loose, maybe harder to turn and makes a low, straining noise. The first step in determining hydraulic power steering problems is to have your fluid checked.  Its color and smell can give a technician clues to any problems. They will recommend changing it if it has signs of being old, such as the wrong color or smell. 

Because steering is such a vital safety feature in your vehicle, the best strategy is to maintain your power steering according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.  That means periodically, the fluid should be changed.  That will prolong the life of the other steering systems components, such as hoses, seals, valves, and the power steering pump.  During this service, the technician will replace the fluid, bleed the system and check for leaks.  You’ll be back on the road knowing your vehicle is in top shape to steer you right.

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Categories:

Steering

Full Stop (Brake Master Cylinder Replacement)

When you step on your brake pedal, you want to feel confident that your vehicle’s going to stop.  If your brakes aren’t working right, it’s a risk to your safety and the safety of others on the road.  After all, you’re driving a machine that weighs thousands of pounds, and you have to be able to stop that big machine quickly and with control, especially with some of the speeds you travel on the highways. 

The heart of your vehicle’s brake system is the master cylinder.  When you apply the brakes, the master cylinder has pistons, springs, and brake fluid.  That fluid amplifies and distributes the force of your foot through brake lines to calipers at all your wheels.  Those calipers squeeze down on rotors or discs, which is what slows down and stops your vehicle.

For safety, a master cylinder has two cylinders, one for two wheels, and the other for the remaining two wheels.  That way, if there is a failure in one, you’ll still have braking power at half your wheels.

The master cylinder doesn’t last forever, of course, and here are some signs it may have problems.  When you press on the brake pedal, it feels soft and spongy.  You may see the brake light on your instrument panel go on.  You may notice brake fluid leaking, or it may be discolored. 

All of those are signs of brakes that need attention, and among the possible culprits is a master cylinder that has failed.  When you bring it in for a technician to look at, they’ll check not only the master cylinder but also the rest of the components, such as pads, discs, shoes, brake lines, and hoses.  If your master cylinder needs replacing, we’ll make sure all the other parts meet the manufacturer’s specs as well. 

Brakes are important.  Really important. Full stop.

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Categories:

Brakes

How Cool is That! (Coolant level sensor replacement)

Your vehicle’s engine runs hot.  It should, since it’s a series of little explosions that create the power that gets you going where you want to go.  To keep the engine cool, engineers have designed wonderful cooling systems that use liquid coolant, hoses, and a radiator to transfer the heat from the engine to the outside air. 

In order for the system to work right, it has to have the right amount of that liquid coolant in it.  So that you know when the coolant has dipped below the correct amount, there is a sensor that keeps an eye on it.  When the coolant gets low, that sensor lights up a signal on the dash to alert you.  It may literally say “Check Coolant” or it may have a picture that looks like an old-style bulb thermometer sitting in liquid.  Your owner’s manual will usually tell you exactly what the one in your vehicle looks like.

If that sensor system isn’t working right, you could wind up driving for a long time with not enough coolant in the engine, and the excess heat can cause some extensive—and expensive—damage. 

There are a couple of ways you will know if something’s wrong with your coolant level sensor.  One is when you top off the coolant tank, and the low coolant light stays on.  If you suspect yours might be having a problem, bring it in so we can thoroughly check your coolant system.

If it is a sensor, we can run a test to see where the problem is in your cooling system.  It could be a bad sensor, but it also could be that there is something causing your coolant level to be low.  If the sensor needs replacing, the technician will replace it, fill your coolant level to the manufacturer’s recommended level, and test for any leaks in the system.  Really, how cool is that?

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

test

Categories:

Cooling System

Losing Your Cool (Why is My Air Conditioning System Not Working?)

When you turn on the air conditioning in your vehicle, you expect cool air to come out of the vents.  You depend on it, especially in hot weather, but it can also be important in humid weather when you need it to help defrost your windows and windshield.

The air conditioning system has a lot of parts to it.  It has fans and blowers to move the air through the vents into the cabin.  It has parts that take hot air and cool it off. An electrical problem can be as simple as a broken switch or a broken blower motor. The air may not be getting cool because a hose in the system is broken or the refrigerant has leaked out. 

Two major components are the compressor and the condenser.  The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant, one step in the air conditioning process.  The condenser takes that hot refrigerant and cools it down. It also reduces the pressure.

Because the climate control system in your vehicle is so complex, it’s best to leave the diagnosis to a trained, experienced technician.  You can help the technician zero in on the problem by noting what is happening and being able to show them where you notice the issues. Note what’s going on and write it down. 

When you bring your vehicle in to us to look at, a technician will inspect the system, conduct tests to make sure there’s enough refrigerant, and check to make sure there are no leaks anywhere.

Air conditioning is now included in most vehicles.  We all have grown used to being able to keep the cabin comfortable no matter what it’s like outside.  Let us make sure your system is working the way it was designed to.  That’s definitely the cool thing to do.

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Let?s Shift Gears (Transmission Fluid Replacement)

If you have a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you probably never think about gear shifting.  When motor vehicles were invented, all of them had to be shifted manually.  But that wonderful self-shifting transmission, referred to these days as simply an “automatic,” changed everything.

Automatic transmissions have a lot of moving parts, and they are bathed in a fluid that keeps them lubricated and cool. That fluid also is vital to the whole gear shifting process. 

As you might imagine, the longer that fluid does its job, the more chance it has to pick up some contaminants.  Sometimes a leak will spring up in an automatic transmission.  Dirty transmission fluid or not enough of it will both create problems. It may cause your Check Engine light to come on, or your transmission may run rough and make strange noises.

The best strategy is not to let it get to this point.  That means you should have your transmission fluid replaced at regular intervals. Your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends how often you should have your transmission fluid changed. You should also have the fluid checked at regular intervals to detect if any problems crop up before that recommended interval. They’ll check not only the level but also inspect its condition.

Keep in mind that most automatic transmission problems are caused by overheating. You can reduce your chances of transmission failure by making sure your transmission—and its fluid—is regularly inspected and the fluid is replaced when it needs to be.

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Categories:

Transmission

Catalytic Converter Replacement

Many of us have become aware of how important it is to keep our planet’s air clean, and your vehicle has a key component that helps do just that: the catalytic converter.  It’s in the exhaust system, and its job is to superheat unburned, harmful byproducts in the exhaust, so they don’t get spewed out into the atmosphere.

There’s another important purpose the catalytic converter has: it improves your vehicle’s efficiency. 

Most of us don’t give the catalytic converter much thought until it breaks or someone steals yours, something that’s been happening much more frequently in recent years.  The reason people steal them is that catalytic converters use precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium to do their job. So, they contain valuable materials thieves can sell.

The most likely reason you will have to replace your catalytic converter is age.  The more distance your vehicle travels and the more hours your engine runs, it’s putting wear and tear on the converter.  T

You can tell if your catalytic converter is failing by looking out for these signs:

  • Smell of rotten eggs inside your cabin or outside near the exhaust
  • Check Engine light is on
  • Vehicle power isn’t what it used to be, or fuel economy has plunged
  • Vehicle backfires

If you need a new catalytic converter, it can be replaced with an original equipment part if it’s available, or an aftermarket converter can be welded into the exhaust pipe.  It’s not uncommon for oxygen sensors to need replacing as well.  The technician will also check for other problems in your powertrain that may have contributed to your converter failing.

Check to see if an emissions test is required where you live.  If it is, you will have to have a properly functioning catalytic converter to pass it.

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Categories:

Exhaust

A Bumpy Ride (Strut Assembly Replacement)

If you’ve noticed your vehicle’s ride has lately been bumpy or you’re hearing strange noises when you drive over bumps, you may need new struts.   The strut assembly is part of your vehicle’s suspension system that’s used to absorb the irregularities on the surfaces you drive on.

You have probably heard of shocks or shock absorbers.  A shock is a piston with gas or liquid inside.  When you hit a bump, that shock absorbs the blow. Struts are similar to shocks but they also have a coil spring for extra strength.  They’re often used in the front of the vehicle because of the engine’s extra weight. 

As you might imagine, your struts take a beating every day.  Eventually, they will wear out, and your wheels and tires won’t stay connected to the road as well as they used to. In addition to a bumpier ride, you may notice your tires starting to wear with failing struts because those tires aren’t in contact with the road surface as evenly as they used to be. 

When you bring your vehicle in to us, we’ll run some tests to determine what’s going on and what condition your suspension components are in.  Your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends struts to be replaced at certain intervals, and it’s important to change them out with the same type of equipment.  They should always be replaced in pairs on the same axle. 

After your struts are replaced, your suspension should be aligned so everything is headed down the road in the right direction. After that, driving should be smooth sailing.

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Feeling Powerless (Why Is My Battery Light On?)

When one of your vehicle’s warning lights comes on, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Oh, no, what’s wrong now?” When it’s the battery light, it means there’s something wrong with your vehicle’s battery or charging system.  And because both are important for your vehicle to work properly, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.  Here are some things that may cause a battery light to illuminate.

It could be that your battery has failed.  It could be on its last legs or completely dead.  When it isn’t showing it has the voltage it should, your vehicle lets you know.

If it’s not the battery itself, it could be the system that charges it.  The alternator is part of that system and could have a problem.  It could be putting out no power, too little power, or too much.  The alternator may not be working because the belt that drives it (using the engine’s mechanical power) could be broken or slipping.  Or the alternator pulley may be broken.

The alternator needs to have a solid connection to the battery, and sometimes the posts that connect to the battery cables get so corroded, they can’t conduct enough electricity. Or it could be that a battery cable isn’t conducting power properly. 

Because the alternator supplies power to other parts of your vehicle, if it gets overloaded, it will also cause your battery light to come on.  Other possibilities are an electrical short in the charging system or a failed voltage regulator.

Your vehicle may be hard to start or it may not start at all if you have any of these problems. It’s important to bring it in to us so we can diagnose and repair the problem before you wind up stranded… and feeling really powerless.  

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Categories:

Battery

Reaching the Braking Point (Brake hose replacement)

If you notice your brakes aren’t working like they used to, that’s the kind of thing that’s important to have checked out soon.  That’s because your brakes are extraordinarily important to the safe operation of your vehicle. 

Sometimes you feel like your brake pedal is feeling a little soft or it’s lower than usual. Or you might feel like the brakes are on all the time, holding you back. Maybe when you release the brake pedal, it comes back up more slowly than usual. There are a few different problems that can cause your brakes to feel like any of those things, so bring your vehicle in to us and we can inspect them.

One possible cause of those brake issues is a damaged or worn-out brake hose.  Your hydraulic brakes work by carrying brake fluid to each of your wheels.  There are steel lines that carry the fluid most of the way, but because your wheels are moving all the time, a flexible hose is used to connect the steel lines and the brakes themselves.  

Sometimes those brake hoses leak, since there’s a lot of pressure inside when you use your brakes dozens or hundreds of times a day.  Road debris, aging, and corrosion at the hose fittings can loosen up that connection.  Sometimes the hoses can get blocked up if the interior lining separates from the outside. And sometimes, it’s simply a matter of the hose getting too old, and age eventually causes the rubber to fail.

When you experience brake problems, bring your vehicle in so we can have a technician take a look. Visual and manual inspections can usually pinpoint the problem areas.  The technician will look for corrosion and physical damage, plus run a pressure check.

For your vehicle to be safe on the road, your brakes need to be working the way they were designed to.  Stop. And think about it!

Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
2604835721
http://www.edscarcarecenter.com

Categories:

Brake Service
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