Author Archives: German Performance

Why Your Car Window Won’t Go Up

Window of car

What is a car window motor called?

It is a mechanism referred to has a window regulator. This is why makes the windows in cars move up and down. Chances are why  a car window won’t go up, is because it has a broken window regulator

However, we need to answer the question of, “How does a car window work?” first. Cars today are much more complicated than the cars of yesteryear. Today, they are powered by electricity, with the first power windows in cars being an add-on luxury in the 1940’s. 

Otherwise, your car had hand-cranked windows, but today, we just assume any car we purchase will have electric windows. There are generations that have never experienced manual windows, and probably never will.  While having electric powered windows in a car is extremely convenient, when they quit working, from a broken window regulator or any of the following reasons, it quickly becomes inconvenient! 

The four common problems of why car windows quit working: 

  • Blown Fuse: Because car windows today are electric, they have a fuse. If that fuse blows, the window will be stuck in whatever position it is currently. No, a blown fuse that stops your window from working is not the same fuse for the other electrically powered features of your car. A car has several fuses, typically the ones for the windows are for the windows only. 
  • Corroded Wiring: This is a common problem the older a car gets and will happen after water has entered into the car and rusted the wiring, then dirt coats the wiring. After a while, it is no longer able to make a good connection and, you guessed it, the windows won’t work. 
  • Broken Window Regulator: Often referred to as the window motor, this is what powers the window to move each time you press the up or down button. Each window will have its own motor, so it is easy to identify if you have a broken window regulator because all the other windows are still operating.  
  • Window Is Off Track: Car windows are on what is called ‘tracks’ and those tracks are what carries the window up and down when window regulator, aka motor, is activated. It isn’t as common today as it once was, as cars are built better, but going over bumps in the road can knock a car window off the ‘track’ and then the window regulator isn’t able to move the window up and down. 

Can you fix a broken window motor?

Maybe, sometimes a broken window regulator, aka motor, has to be replaced instead of repaired.  A car owner that has a DIY aptitude can often replace a broken window regulator themselves. However, a trained technician will know How to Repair a Window Motor, and they will have all the proper tools and equipment to do it according to the car manufacturer’s specifications. 

Before you attempt to repair a broken window regulator, you should know How to Test a Car Window Motor first just in case it is another issue.  Basic steps in testing to  see if you have a broken window regulator: 

  • Remove the inner door panel. 
  • With a pin probe, check the 12 VCD on the window regulator (the schematic is the map that will help you find where to check this). 
  • Once you find the 12 VCD, push the window button.
  • If there is voltage, then the motor is bad. 
  • If no voltage, check the wiring is connected at the button with the pin probe.
  • If voltage is there, then there is a problem with the wiring harness .
  • If no voltage there, you need to start tracing the problem. 

If your tracing determines there is a broken window regulator, you’ll need to replace the entire regulator. Today, most are made not to be repaired. 

What is the price of a car window motor?

As with anything, the cost to replace a broken window regulator has various factors. The make, model, and year of the car being the biggest three factors.  The pricing will also be determined by what the labor rate is where you take your car, which is in addition to the cost of the regulator.  Labor could cost up to $150 and the motor can cost upwards of $150 as well. 

window from the inside

Will car insurance cover a window?

If your car window simply quits working, no, your auto insurance is not going to cover repair or replacement costs. However, if the broken window regulator is results of a car accident, maybe it is covered.  Every auto policy is different, and it depends on the type of coverage you agreed to and pay for that will determine if your broken window regulator will be paid for by the insurance company. 

Okay, you pulled up YouTube videos in an attempt to fix your own broken window regulator. That was fun … and confusing, right?  So, while you’re still Finding Car Window Motor Repair by a trained technician with the equipment, tools, and training, “How can I temporarily cover my car window?”. 

Using a piece of clear plastic, and while sitting inside the car, place the plastic over the window with the broken window regulator. Start taping across the top and then down the sides with small pieces of masking tape. Don’t use anything other than masking or you risk damaging the paint on your car. Once you have the plastic in place, go over the small, taped areas with longer pieces and make sure they are firmly attached to the frame of the window. 

Repeat this process from the outside with a second piece of plastic and masking tape (painters’ tape will work as well!). Keep in mind, this is meant for a temporary fix only. You need to get your broken window regulator fixed as soon as possible for safety and convenience. Call 805-466-3236 today for your window regulator service in Atascadero, CA.

How Engine Flush Works

engine being polished after work

When is engine flush a good idea? 

The oil inside the engine is designed to cycle through the internal components to lubricate them and keep them in working correctly. If you don’t follow the recommended oil change schedule, drive in the city with a lot of  stop and go, or you don’t drive your car for long periods of time, sludge is building up inside the engine. These are the reasons a car needs an engine flush periodically. 

An engine flush is recommended when a car goes on infrequent short drives, not driven, and driven in stop & go traffic. This is what causes a buildup of particles in engine oil in the engine. 

This build up restricts the oil from flowing, even with the best oil filter installed removing particles that are 25 microns in size, there are even smaller microns left behind to bond together. Those particles need to get flushed out before they damage the engine and that is what engine flush does. 

What is the difference between engine flush vs oil change? 

Just like when you go to a fast food restaurant to order a hamburger, they ask you if you want fries with that, an lube and oil-change shop will ask you if want certain extra services. Their equivalent of “do you want fries with this” would be air conditioning maintenance, a transmission fluid change, or an engine flush. 

The oil change you brought your car in for is a process of taking off the oil filter, drain the old oil, install a new oil filter, and put in all new motor oil. The engine flush is done when the technician pours specific cleaning chemicals in where the oil goes, then lets your car run for a few minutes. 

While the car engine is running, those chemicals are cleaning the gunk that has built up inside the engine.  Then the technician drains those cleaning chemicals and adds in the proper amount of clean, new motor oil. Now, your car has an engine flush and new oil, giving you many more happy motoring miles! 

What are the engine flush benefits for a car? 

What can an engine flush do for you car that the routine oil change doesn’t? Read on and find out! 

  • Removes Deposit Build-Up: An engine flush removes all the engine sludge deposits that can close up the narrow passages clogged the motor oil flows through to keep your engine internal components lubricated. That build up happens by the way a car is driven, or not driven, and the motor oil is unable to flow through and do that lubricating job intended. 
  • A Clean Slate: If your car has any engine work performed, an engine flush washes out any bits, pieces, and particles left behind before you put in new motor oil. An engine flush is also recommended when you buy a used car, and you don’t know if what the previous maintenance was done as regularly as recommended.
  • Keeping The Oil Clean: An engine flush will keep the oil clean longer in between the oil changes by removing the deposits of particles that build up and create a sludge. Otherwise, the new oil you have added will keep picking up the pieces of sludge and recirculate them through the internal components. 
  • Gets What the Filter Misses: An oil filter will catch and remove particles of 25 microns in size. However, there are even smaller particles flowing through the car engine that the filter can’t get. Those are what will keep building up and block the flow of your engine oil after some time. 
  • Cleans Internal Engine Components: An engine flush will remove all the bad gunk that can cause an engine to gum up, keeping the engine from running as smooth as it should. When the engine can’t run smoothly, it uses more fuel, resulting in poor gas mileage. 

When is engine flush needed? 

We know that we need the oil changed as recommended by the car manufacturer and our oil & lube shop, right?  So,  how often engine flushes need to be done? Most car dealers and mechanic shops will recommend an engine flush between every 3,000 mile to every 8,000 miles.

However, the engine build for cars today are designed to be more competent in keeping that sludge build up at bay.  So, depending on the make, model, and year of your car, an engine flush could be done every 35,000 miles.

internal engine closeup

Is engine flush required? 

No necessarily, especially if you have the oil changed at the recommended intervals as the car manufacturer or oil & lube technician have advised. 

As you start to head out on the highway and you’re getting ready, can you do your own engine flush car service? Yes, if you are a ‘shade tree mechanic’ DIY kind of person, you probably do your own oil changes, and that is great! You can also do your own engine flush with one of the many products on the market today.  Simply follow the label’s engine flush directions exactly as stated and your engine should give you may happy motoring miles! Call 805-466-3236 today for your engine flush needs in Atascadero, CA.

What Does it Mean to Overhaul an Engine?

engine overhauler

What Does it Mean to Overhaul an Engine?

An engine overhaul can be described in a variety of ways, and we’re going to answer some common questions about doing an engine overhaul in this article today. As we discuss the different ways to do an engine overhaul, we’ll include the ‘why’ as well. 

The in-chassis engine overhaul is when the mechanics don’t pull the whole engine out of the vehicle to rebuild it and repair it. They only rebuild or repair certain components like replacing the pistons rings and cylinder liners, sometimes replacing the pistons themselves if needed. An in-chassis engine overhaul gets the engine to top performance, making it as good or better than the day it came off the assembly line. 

A major engine overhaul is when the entire engine is lifted out of the vehicle and taken apart – thoroughly. This entails every bolt and nut is removed as is every part that is removable. They are either cleaned or replaced with brand new parts from the factor. 

How much does it cost to overhaul an engine?

By those two descriptions, it makes sense that the in-chassis engine overhaul is less expensive than the major engine overhaul. In some cases, the vehicle owner has the mechanic upgrade the engine as they to the engine overhaul to give it more power. 

There isn’t a fast and hard base dollar you can give an in-chassis or major engine overhaul. Every engine is different as to how it has worn out, meaning the depth of the repair or replacement isn’t known until the mechanic “gets inside” the engine. An average, typical engine overhaul can start around $2,500 and go up to $4,000 or more. This will include parts and labor. 

How do you know if you need an engine overhaul?

Your mechanic will let you know after they have performed a thorough inspection and diagnosis if an engine overhaul is needed. Some of the most common indicators are: 

  • Misfiring engine
  • Bad oil leak
  • Engine burning oil
  • Head gasket leaking
  • Engine pistons slapping inside the cylinders

There are other issues that can often make it look like an engine overhaul is needed, when it is something less intense, like a failed sensor or your vehicle is low on oil. A bad timing belt or electrical issues can make it seem like an engine overhaul is needed. Again, this is when an experienced mechanic can be the best source.  

Some common issues and symptoms that are indicators an engine overhaul is needed: 

  • At an idle, the engine is knocking and rattling. 
  • A thick cloud or puff of smoke comes from the exhaust when you start the vehicle. 
  • The timing belt or chain is broken. This can mean an engine overhaul is need, but not always.
  • The engine is seized and won’t turn over (start). This could be the battery or starter too, which is when you need the guidance of a mechanic. 
  • The engine clatters as you accelerate. This can also mean the timing belt is loose or broken, or it can be bad gas.

How long does an engine overhaul take?

In a mechanic shop, the place where to overhaul engine, with professional mechanics doing the engine overhaul, the average time is 3 weeks. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, the engine’s existing condition, and if there are any issues in getting the parts needed, it could take up to 2 months. 

Do rebuilt engines last long?

There are four things you need to ask when getting an engine overhaul: 

1). How much will this cost? This can vary somewhat based on what parts are needed to complete the engine overhaul.

2). How long will the engine overhaul take? As we mentioned earlier, this can depend on the make, model, engine condition, and getting parts for the engine overhaul.

3). How will the engine last after the overhaul is done? Then there are two factors that can affect this result: 

  • How you drive the vehicle.
  • If maintenance and upkeep are done as recommended, like the oil change. 

4). What is the warranty on the engine overhaul work?

A typical warranty on an engine overhaul is 12 month or 12,000 miles. Some engine overhauls will have a 36 month warranty with unlimited miles. However, what most people with normal driving habits and keeping up with the oil change and other maintenance issues will get a lifespan longer than the original engine. You want the work done by a mechanic that has experience in how to do engine overhaul to get the best results.  

engine being taken apart

Is it worth it to rebuild an engine? 

Trying to decide is engine overhaul good thing to do for your vehicle can be a daunting decision. Things you should consider is the mileage on the vehicle, what the vehicle’s value is for trade-in or selling, and if there are any other significant repairs needed.  

A 20 year old vehicle with 200,000 miles on the existing engine with bent piston rods is not worth an engine overhaul. Chances are you’d be fortunate to get $2,000 by selling the vehicle or $500 trade-in value toward a new vehicle. Need engine overhaul in Atascadero, CA? Call 805-466-3236 today.

Can You Drive With a Bad Transmission?

Automated transmission

What are the signs of a bad transmission?

The transmission in your vehicle is necessary to make it move. Yes, the engine powers it and wheels and tires let it roll, but without the transmission, there is nothing to power or roll. So, when your transmission isn’t working right, transmission repair or replacement is necessary. 

Early detection of problems with your car can save you money and time and keep you and your passengers safe. This includes knowing when to put gas in the car, buy new tires, and When to repair transmissions. You have a gas gauge that tells you when to get gas and no tread tells you it is time to buy new tires. How do you know when your vehicle needs transmission repair? Any of these ten things are a warning sign: 

  1. Won’t Switch Gears
    If your vehicle struggles or won’t change gears, it could be low of transmission fluid. Unless you know what type of transmission fluid it takes, take your vehicle to mechanic shop to check and add the fluid. If that doesn’t help, you need to have the mechanic check for transmission repair or replacement. 
  2. Burning Odor
    When there is a burning odor coming from your vehicle, you need to get it to a mechanic immediately. It could be an overheated transmission or no transmission fluid. 
  3. Noises in Neutral
    When there are odd noises and sounds coming from your vehicle while it is in neutral, it is telling you that you need transmission repair or replacement.  
  4. Gears Slipping
    When the gears slip impulsively in your vehicle, it can be alarming and extremely dangerous. Take your vehicle immediately to a mechanic for inspection.  
  5. Clutch Dragging
    A clutch and flywheel of a manual transmission must work together in order for the transmission to work. When the clutch won’t disengage from the flywheel, it drags. 
  6. Transmission Fluid Leaking
    This is the most obvious indication of a transmission repair is needed, possibly replacing if it is beyond repair. An experienced mechanic can check the fluid and test drive the vehicle to determine which is needed. 
  7. Check Engine Light
    When the check engine light comes on, it could be telling you a variety of things about your vehicle. From low on motor oil or transmission fluid, to the computer has a malfunction. In any case, having your vehicle checked by a mechanic is necessary. 
  8. Grinding Transmission
    When an automatic transmission grinds or shakes the vehicle as it changes gears, a transmission repair or replacement is necessary. , 
  9. A Humming Sound
    A well working transmission should be relatively quiet. If your transmission is clunking, humming, or  whining, you need a mechanic to inspect the problem and determine if a transmission repair will fix the problem. 
  10. No Response
    If your vehicle doesn’t respond to gear changes, like from park to drive or drive to reverse, it needs mechanical help for either transmission repair or replacement. 

Can you fix a transmission without replacing it?

When you have determined that your vehicle has transmission issues, sometimes transmission repairs are possible, other times replacement or rebuild is the only option. If your mechanic advises you that transmission repair is possible, this is because they have determined a specific part can be fixed and get your vehicle back on the road. For now …. It is possible, that transmission repair will only  be a temporary band-aid and you’ll be back in the shop with the vehicle sooner or later.

Can you repair transmission cooler lines?

Automatic transmissions have cooling line that circulates the hot fluid, sending to the radiator and returns it to transmission. Sometimes a transmission will have problems due to the cooling lines going bad or breaking.  

This is a possible transmission repair by replace the cooling line with a new one. Replacement cooling lines are available at auto parts retail stores and the associate can help you choosing the right one for your vehicle. If you’re unable to find the replacement, you can use a high heat resistant liquid sealant for a temporary transmission repair. Another option is a high heat resistant Teflon tape. 

How long does transmission repair take?

It can depend on the make and model of the vehicle as well as parts availability. The normal time is up to four days. 

Can I rebuild a transmission on my own?

Yes, if you have mechanical aptitude and tools, purchasing a transmission rebuild kit and doing the work yourself is much less expensive than having a professional transmission repair. Keeping in mind when you do the repairs yourself, instead of taking to where repair transmission specialist can do the work, you won’t have any guarantee or warranty on the work. 

Can you drive with a bad transmission?

You can, but you shouldn’t unless you’re driving your vehicle to the mechanic shop. A transmission that isn’t working properly can quite working without any notice. 

transmissions gears

Is it worth fixing a transmission?

That is a personal decision based on the cost of the transmission repair and if you’re trying to keep car payments out of your budget. A transmission rebuild or repair is definitely a money saver in the short term, whereas a new car with a payment is a long-term investment. Call 805-466-3236 today for transmission repair in Atascadero, CA.

Can airbags be repaired?

airbag system

Do airbags expire?

During the 1970s, Americans were introduced to airbags in cars as a way to offset the lack of seatbelt use. Ford was first to roll cars off the production line with airbags in 1971 and GM followed two years later with their Chevrolet brand. With all the safety car manufacturers can give us in our cars like air bags and seat belts, which has successfully saved many lives, they haven’t stopped collisions from happening. In fact, air bags gave us another need: air bag repair

When you go car shopping, no doubt pricing is an issue as well as looks and handling, and let’s not forget about car safety, like seatbelts and airbags, right? When airbags were first introduced in the 70s, it was recommended to have them replaced every 10 years, or if they deployed and air bag repair. 

Fortunately, over the past twenty years or so, the airbags today don’t wear out or expire. Automakers must label the vehicle with recommendation to replace your air bags within 10 to 15 years, but in reality, that’s a legal work-a-round for them. The truth of the matter, air bags today will last the life of the car, or at least for as long as you own it. 

There are some exceptions to this, primarily regarding cars manufactured in the mid-1990s or before. Of course, a collision that deployed the airbags will require air bag repair or replacement by a certified airbag car service company.         

Can you still drive a car if the airbags deploy?

Yes, you can if the car is drivable, continuing on to your destination with a deployed air bag shouldn’t be a problem. “If the car is drivable” is the key phrase in this answer thought, which isn’t a ploy by air bag repair service companies to get your business either. 

In many of today’s cars, a deployed air bag will automatically shut the engine down. This is meant to protect the driver and any passengers after a collision.  Now, an older car model, that safety feature of shutting  the engine down when deployed air bags are detected wasn’t invented yet. 

 Is there any danger in driving a car with deployed air bags? Yes, until you have had car airbag repair service done, or replacement of air bags, the air bags often block the windshield view. 

How do you fix airbag error?

Like many things on a car, things will mysteriously happen, including the  supplemental restraint system warning, SRS light, or you may call it the air bag light, comes on and stays on. Does this mean that you need to take your car and airbag for auto repair at an authorized airbag repair company now? 

Maybe not! We offer the following steps that may save you the trouble, and expense of air bag repair service. In fact, with a handheld computerized device from a local auto parts store, you can even do your own air bag repair from inside your home! 

  • Step One: Insert your car key in the ignition and turn to “on”.
  • Step Two: Watch the air bag light and if remains on for 7 seconds and then shuts off, turn the key “off” and wait 3 seconds. 
  • Step Three: Repeat Steps one and two described above twice. 
  • Step Four: Start the car’s engine and the air bag light should appear and stay for 7 seconds then go out and stay off. 

If this works, you have just completed your own air bag repair! If It didn’t fix it, then, yes, you’ll need to take your car to an air bag repair center. Or live with that light on, but we aware, it may not pass inspection if that light is on. 

airbag on steering wheel

How long does it take to replace airbags?

Air bag repair takes between one to two hours under normal circumstances. What circumstances can affect this turn-a-round time for air bag repair or replacement? An air bag recall like Takada . 

Nineteen automakers that used Takata air bags had to issue a recall for the front airbags to be replaced due to a NHTSA order. Cars made between 2002 and 2015 had air bags that severely injured or killed the drive and/or passengers because of the explosive manner they deployed. A manufacturer recall can affect the aftermarket on any of the parts, not just air bags because recalls are handled first then other customers. 

Air Bag Repair When Selling A Car

Is it illegal to sell a car with airbag problems? It depends on the state laws where the car is sold. For most states, dealers cannot sell a car, new or used, with air bag problems unless they advise the buyer the car needs air bag repairs. For an individual, it is recommended you advise the buyer that the car has an air bag issue, or they could come back to you with a lawsuit. Call 805-466-3236 today for your air bag repair needs in Atascadero, CA.

What is looked at in a car inspection?

checking oil in engine

Updating your state inspection

State inspection of vehicles is one thing that vehicle owners dread, more than paying the insurance, registration, and taxes. Why? Because you’re at the mercy of a person that has been trained by the State of California to find things wrong with your vehicle – or it feels that way. They are actually trained to perform state inspection looking for safety issues. Safety issues for you, your passengers, and others on the Golden State roadways.

Those technicians that perform state inspections actually have a state inspection checklist they are required to follow. Probably the biggest issue in California and other large, populated states is the state inspection and emissions testing. Issues with the emissions can cause your vehicle to be “grounded” by the state inspection agent until it is repaired. The problem with emissions, it can be a host of things causing it to fail the state inspection test.

So, what is the purpose of a car inspection? If it isn’t to get as many vehicles off the road, what is the purpose of a state inspection? A state inspection of vehicles is crucial in making sure the owner of the vehicle is maintaining it at a safe capacity. Any complex equipment or machine, a vehicle state inspection ensures you and the state that everything is in proper working order with no major issues.

A state inspection is a way that ensures the state, and you, that your vehicle is safe to drive and operate. The various things that a state inspection covers are all safety based that everything is fully functional and safe for the road. When a vehicle fails a state inspection, the technician will provide the owner a printed statement what the specific reason(s) are, and the owner will need to get those things repaired or replace before it passes a state inspection.

What happens when your car doesn’t pass inspection?

The Golden state is known to be one of the toughest states on SMOG regulations in the state inspection process with vehicles. There are certain standards  put in place and when a vehicle doesn’t meet these standards during a state inspection, it is not allowed on the streets of California.

When this happens, the chance is that the vehicle has reached its end of life and getting it roadworthy by California standards can be expensive. Why the tight reigns on emissions and state inspections in California? The state’s population of people has increased the pollution and smog. If something hadn’t been done, like strict emissions system testing, the state’s environment would be much worse than it now.

The components in a vehicle emissions system that are checked in a state inspection process are:

  • EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation)
  • Catalytic converter
  • Evaporative emissions charcoal
  • Oxygen sensor
  • PCV (Purge control valve)
  • PCM (Powertrain Control Module)
  • The fuel filler cap

Any issue or problem with these parts, you can be almost certain your vehicle will not pass the emission test in the state inspection. There are two choices when that happens:

  • Repair the component causing the failure.
  • Don’t drive the vehicle.

Can you get a state inspection without registration?

When a vehicle doesn’t pass state inspection in California, you cannot renew the required DMV registration.  The cost to pursue repairs for some of these times is expensive, like replacing the catalytic convertor.  The cost of that repair can cost as much as $2,000 and up, based on the make, model, and year of the vehicle.

What happens if your car fails inspection twice?

Every state handles these things differently, but in California, if your vehicle fails the emission test, the state won’t register it, no matter how many times you try,  leaving you with expired tags. If you decide to ignore the state inspection and emission testing, and keep driving with expired tags, you risk being pulled over.

That will cost you a hefty fine and your vehicle will be impounded. If you’ve never had a vehicle impounded, it is costly. On a positive note, the state of California will pay as much as $500 on the any repairs you have done to pass the state inspection and emissions testing.

tightening an engine bolt

Can you drive around with a rejection sticker?

You can, but you’re at risk of getting pulled over by law enforcement. At that point, you’ll be ticketed, your vehicle will be impounded, and possibly, the officer could decide to check the inside of your vehicle. So, if you’ve got something that isn’t legal, you’ll have that to deal with as well as getting your vehicle out of the pound and passing the state inspection.

The state of California requires that all vehicles six year old and older have a state inspection and pass.  This state inspection vs safety inspection is one in the same as the state inspection involves checking all things that make a vehicle safe to be on the road.  Among those things a state inspection is looking at are:

  • The fluid levels like brake fluid
  • Any potential leaks like oil or transmission
  • Mechanical integrity is the overall safety of the vehicle
  • Carbon emission to keep in line with the state’s requirements

Need a car inspection in Atascadero, CA? Reach out to the professionals at German Performance when you call 805-466-3236.

How Important is a Car Alternator?

alternator and belts

What is an engine alternator?

An alternator is an important part of a car, just as there are several important components to a car’s operation, each as important and needing each other to work. Without a properly working alternator, the other components won’t work as well as they should. Proper alternator repair is important in order for the other components to function properly.

Let’s take a moment to review these important components that rely on a well-working alternator repair. The engine and transmission consist of a starter which is positioned at the transmission front or engine backside. It is what gives the engine the crank when the ignition is engaged.

The alternator provides your car it’s electrical charge. There are several internal components to an alternator, all placed in an aluminum house so that t can recharge the battery directly. The battery, not least of all important component, it is the electrical system backbone because it powers the starter and alternator.

How long should an alternator last?

With the primary job of keeping your cars electrical system running, the alternator is a hardworking part of every car engine. While the battery starts the car and keeps the electrical components functioning, it is the alternator that keeps the vehicle running. Because of the importance an alternator has on a car engine, proper alternator repair is an absolute must in order for your car to run properly.

An average alternator lifespan is typically seven years or up to 150,000 miles. Some car alternators will have a longer lifespan, some will have shorter lifespan. There are factors that can affect the lifespan of an alternator, as a responsible car owner, you should know what to expect for an alternator going out. Taking your car to an authorized mechanic is the first step in having proper alternator repairs once you notice the issues of an alternator going out and save you from being in a bad place with a powerless vehicle.

What are the symptoms of a bad alternator?

Some key signs you have a bad alternator include:

  • Pulsating headlights while driving at night, going from bright to dim on their own.
  • A weak alternator will stop working when it has several electronics charging at the same time.
  • A burning electrical smell that is coming from the alternator or battery. Most cars have an alternator warning indicator on the dashboard that is a good sign to you need to get your vehicle to an alternator repair service immediately.
  • Other electrical conveniences in your car won’t work properly either if it is needing alternator repair. Electrical components like the air conditioning and the radio. This is usually indicated by a high loud pitch squealing noise coming from under the hood where the alternator is located.

Can I still drive my car with a bad alternator?

As we covered earlier, the alternator important job is charging your vehicle’s battery. Should you drive your car with the alternator going bad? No, but you can drive it until you get to your mechanic’s shop for alternator repair before it drains the battery. To drive a short distance with your alternator going out, follow these steps:  

  • Step One: Turn all auxiliary items off like the air conditioner, radio, heater, lights, and wipers.
  • Step Two: Stay out of high traffic areas.
  • Step Three: Get your car to the nearest mechanic to have your alternator repaired or replaced.

Can an alternator be repaired?

Yes, an alternator can be repaired in many cases as long as it hasn’t been overdriven while it was going out. It is recommended to take it to a repair shop where a professional mechanic will know How to fix a bad alternator.

close up of engine and alternator

How much does it cost to replace an alternator?

The cost to replace an alternator can vary based on the car. A remanufactured alternator can cost up to $400 on average with most costing just under $300.00.  To replace an alternator with a new unit can cost up to $1,000.00, again, depending on the make and model of the car.

So, if the alternator on your car has gone out, are you stuck? Or can you jump start a car with a bad alternator? Yes, it is possible to jumpstart a car when the alternator has done out. This enables you to get your vehicle to a safe place or to your mechanic for alternator repair service. While jumping off and driving the vehicle, do not run any unnecessary electric components.

If driving at night and you’re having alternator problems, the best recommendation is to get your car parked safely and secure the services of a professional towing service. The car can be towed to a mechanic shop where they can perform professional alternator repair or replacement as needed. Call 805-466-3236 today for alternator repair in Atascadero, CA.

Can Airbags Be Repaired?

A Wrecked Car With Deployed Air Bag.

Can airbags be repaired?

If you’ve been in an accident and your airbags have been deployed, you’re probably wondering if the bags can be repaired. This used to be the case, but now air bag replacement is the only option. Mechanics can no longer simply reset the airbag. Today, safety devices must be replaced, whether it’s an airbag from your steering wheel, side panel, passenger-side dash, or seat. The airbags must be replaced as soon as possible after a crash and must be replaced by an authorized service center. When you need air bag replacement in Atascadero, CA, German Performance is a trusted local authorized service center. Set up a service appointment today by calling 805-466-3236.

Do airbags have a lifetime warranty?

While some safety features like seat belts have lifetime warranties on some makes and models, your airbags are not covered by such a warranty. Most are only covered by a limited warranty when the car is new. An air bag replacement may not have any warranties on it. Check with the shop that replaced it to find out what warranties are available.

At what speed do airbags deploy?

Air bags are set to deploy in a moderate to severe crash, which means that if you hit a solid, fixed barrier at 8 to 14 mph, the air bags should be deployed. This speed is the equivalent of hitting a parked car at 16 to 28 mph or higher. When they are deployed after a crash, air bag replacement is necessary as soon as possible after the crash. To avoid any injuries with air bags you should follow these safety tips:

  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Sit at a minimum distance from the steering wheel when driving.
  • Don’t adjust the seat so it is completely straight up. When the seat is slightly inclined, you’ll tend to be at a safer distance from the steering wheel. 
  • Children under 12 should be in rear seats in car seats or booster seats.
  • If you can adjust your steering wheel, lower it so the air bag deploys closer to the chest than the face.
  • Learn about all the car’s safety features when you buy it. 

How long does airbag replacement take?

As long as all parts are available in the shop, an airbag replacement should take about an hour for a steering wheel air bag. Seat and side panel air bags can take two to three hours to replace.

Can you drive with no airbags?

Laws may vary from state to state and county to county, but in most cases, you are allowed to drive a vehicle after air bags have been deployed. The deployed air bag, however, must not interfere with your ability to steer the vehicle. Air bag replacement is necessary, though, once your air bags have been deployed in a crash. It’s also unlikely you’ll pass any safety inspection with the air bags out. Driving with deployed air bags might also affect your insurance coverage. 

Can you sell a car with blown airbags?

In California, it’s illegal to sell a vehicle in which the air bags have been deployed. You also can’t reinstall the air bags yourself or disable any safety indicator lights and sell the car. You can face jail time if you are found in violation of these laws. If you are planning to sell your car and the air bags have been deployed, you will require air bag replacement for it to be legal to sell. When you are buying a used car, you want to make sure the air bags and indicator lights are functional.

Airbag sensor replacement

If your supplemental restraint system (SRS) light comes on while you’re driving, you should take your car to check the sensor. It may need to be replaced. A malfunctioning sensor light might prevent air bags from deploying if a crash occurs. 

Airbag alternatives

While airbags are standard safety features on almost all cars today, they have some safety concerns themselves. People have been injured by their air bags, although in some cases following some basic safety precautions such as sitting back at least 10 inches from the steering wheel and wearing seat belts can prevent many injuries. Several manufacturers in recent years have also issued air bag recalls out of safety concerns. In light of these concerns some manufacturers are looking into air bag alternatives. No viable alternatives have yet been developed, although inflatable seat belts might offer possibilities. Air bags are supplemental to seat belts, and seat belts are still the safest measures to prevent injuries to the face and chest in a crash.

Deployed Air Bags

Airbag replacement near me

If you’ve been in a crash recently and need to have your air bags replaced, German Performance is a trusted local authorized service center for air bag replacement in Atascadero, CA. While we specialize in imports like BMW, Audi, Kia, and Mercedes Benz, we’ll gladly try to help you out no matter what kind of vehicle you have. We offer a wide range of solutions for a variety of vehicles. Schedule a service appointment today by calling 805-466-3236.

What Does Anti-Lock Brakes Mean?

mechanic fixing brakes

Reliable Services for All Your Needs

Remember the Flintstone’s cartoon? Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty all had to use their bare feet to stop their cars? That was cartoon life, and maybe if real cavemen had vehicles, that’s how they would have stopped, who knows?  In real life today, cars come with anti-lock brakes. Seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it? 

Remember the Flintstone’s cartoon? Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty all had to use their bare feet to stop their cars? That was cartoon life, and maybe if real cavemen had vehicles, that’s how they would have stopped, who knows?  In real life today, cars come with anti-lock brakes. Seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it? 

You want brakes to stop, but what’s with the anti-lock factor? Why get anti lock brakes? Well, there are a lot of questions about anti-lock brakes, and we’re going to start by answering what is anti lock brake system? An anti-lock braking system is a safety anti-skid braking system that inhibits the wheels on a vehicle from locking up as brakes are applied. This allows the vehicle to have traction on the road, giving the driver more control of the vehicle.

Does my car have anti lock brakes?

If you have your owner’s manual, that would be the easy and fast way to find out if your car has anti-lock brakes. There are two other ways to tell if your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes: 

1). With your key in the ignition, turn it to the “Off” position and to “On” position. Do not start the car! All the warning lights should light up on the dashboard for several seconds. If your car has anti-lock brakes, an “ABS” light will be on the dash.  

2). Drive down a dirt or gravel road at 20mph to 40mph, and slam on the brakes hard. If your car has anti-lock brakes, you should hear a groaning noise and feel a vibration in your foot. 

If you don’t have the owner’s manual and these two tests did not confirm you have anti-lock brakes on your car, you can take to any local mechanic shop and have them check. You could also ask the oil and lube place where you get the oil changed, since they will have it up a lift, it will be easy to see.

Where is the anti lock brake?

Reliant on the kind of brakes used, there five different scheme for anti-lock braking systems, distinguished by the amount of channels or valves that are controlled individually, and how many speed sensors. : that is, the number of valves that are individually controlled—and the number of speed sensors. For purpose of this article, we are going to review the two most popular ones on the road today: 

  • Two-channel, four sensor anti-brake system: 
    • This anti lock brakes installation is commonly found on passenger cars manufactured sometime in the late 1980s up through the middle of the 1990s. Each wheel as a speed sensor installed pm the front and rear each one control valve. When the speed sensor detects any of the four wheels lock up, the control module pulses the valve for both wheels.
  • One-channel, one-sensor anti-brake system 
    • This anti-brake system is commonly found on rear-wheel vehicles like pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans. There is one valve controlling both rear wheels, and one speed sensor in the rear axle. The rear wheels are monitored simultaneously, and both must lock up before the anti-brake system kicks in. One rear wheel can lock up in this system which reduces the effectiveness of the brakes. 
mechanic working on car brakes

How does anti lock brakes work?

Anti-brake system works by releasing and then pumping the brakes in heavy braking situations. The sensors on each wheel detect a ‘locking up” and the wheel stops going forward or backward and goes into a skid.

Anti-brake system systems are different, as we mentioned above, some prevent the rear  wheels from locking up and will pump the brakes multiple times in a second. That reaction stops the wheels and keeps them from going into a skid, allowing the driver to have control. 

How do I know if my abs sensor is bad?

When an anti-brake system fails, there are a few warnings advising you there is a braking problem: 

1. The Anti-brake System Light comes on

Like the oil light, the Anti-brake system light is an obvious signal your vehicle has a problem, and you should never ignore that light.  

2. Brakes aren’t stopping as fast

During heavy braking conditions the Anti-brake System should activate automatically so you can slow your vehicle down without losing traction and go into a skid. If you notice that your car isn’t coming to a stop under heavy braking situation, you need to take your car to a repair center.

3. Icy and wet driving conditions aren’t as stable

The more we drive, thee more se accustom to how our cars react on the roadways under certain conditions. Like ice slippery conditions or driving in the rain. A properly functioning anti-brake system will minimize any traction loss under those conditions. If you’re noticing that it isn’t, you need to have your Anti-brake System checked out by your mechanic, because your car many need an Anti lock brakes repair job. 

Can ABS lock up your brakes?

It is rare, but yet, if the anti-brake system on your car isn’t working correctly, perhaps a module is faulty, then yes, it could behave erratically, and your brakes would lock up even though you aren’t any heavy braking situation. 

brake repair

Closing Words and Advise

Even with anti-brake system on your car, practicing safe distance driving and stopping is always recommended. Never take something like an anti-brake system for granted that it will work.

Is a radiator flush necessary?

close up on engine radiator

Flushing your radiator

What is a radiator flush? A radiator flush is like a blood transfusion for your car’s cooling system. A technician will flush several gallons of radiator cleaner and water through your car’s cooling system. This gets all the old antifreeze and any contaminants out, then new antifreeze is added into the system. Why? What does a radiator flush do for your car?

To keep your car in prime running condition, there are several routine services you should have performed:

  • Change the oil and oil filter – monthly or by recommended mileage
  • Check the tire pressure – every time you get gas
  • Check all the fluids under the hood – at every oil change
  • Check the belts and hoses – at every oil change
  • Check the wiper blades – at every oil change
  • Change the air filter – inspect at every oil change
  • Check the battery – at every oil change
  • Have the radiator flushed 

Each of the things listed here should be done on a monthly basis. Checking each of these things allows your mechanic and you to catch any potential problems, will keep your car running at its best performance, and extend your cars lifespan, including a radiator flush. 

Do you really need to flush your radiator? 

You may have a general idea what your car’s radiator does, but do you realize how important it is to the rest of the engine or transmission? You should flush a radiator regularly to keep the cooling system in prime operating condition. 

A radiator flush removes dirt, rust, contaminants, or particles that can clog the radiator or the entire cooling system. When these things are in the radiator, it isn’t able to cool the engine and it should and can get stopped up and overheat. An overheated engine can crack the block, the head, burn up the transmission, and more. 

The coolant that is left in the radiator keeps the engine cool with water mixed coolant, keeping it from corroding with rust and scale. When this is allowed to happen, more than just the radiator becomes clogged.  The water pump stops up, the water jackets stop up, and the heater core becomes clogged. 

What does it cost to flush a radiator? 

A radiator flush cost can vary from region to region and depends on the model of the car. For example, a 1980 model Chevy won’t cost as much as 2020 BMW, but that isn’t the focus you should have.  A radiator flush will save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars by keeping your engine and the cooling system clean of debris and rust.

The typical cost of a radiator flush can start around $50 and can cost upward of $150 or more. This price will include as many as four gallons of specialized coolant, a cleaner, and a conditioner.   

Can a radiator flush cause problems? 

Yes and no. Yes, because a radiator flush is going to flush out any corrosion, debris, rust, and other contaminants.  If the flush isn’t thoroughly to clear all of that out, it can loosen up those things which could clog up the cooling system, including the radiator. No, a radiator flush won’t cause problems if it is done correctly and flushes everything out as it is intended, then your car will run the same or better. 

How do you know when to radiator flush your car? 

If you have your car in for an oil change and the technician comes out to the lobby to tell you that your car needs a radiator flush, how do they know that? Well, they look have been trained to know when radiators look corroded, dirty, and rusty. How can you tell if your car needs a radiator flush?

  • Green or orange fluid is coming out from under your car
  • Engine has a grinding sound
  • The heat gauge is showing the car running hotter than usual after you start it
  • There is steam coming out from under the hood
  • Your car smells like hot maple-syrup under the hood
water being poured in to clean engine

Can I do a coolant flush myself?     

Maybe you’re a DIY kind of person, or maybe you need a radiator flush but don’t have the $50 or so to spare.  The following steps will walk you through how to do radiator flush yourself: 

Open the radiator cap (if the car has been running, let the engine cool down before attempting this).

Using the owner’s manual or a YouTube video, find the radiator drain and place a container that can hold several gallons of fluid under the car. This will need to hold the antifreeze/water that drains out plus the flush you’ll be adding.

Open the drain and if there isn’t anything clogging up the radiator, gravity should do its thing and force all the antifreeze/water to flow out and into the container you placed under the car.

Pour the radiator flush in as directed on the package and then add water up to an inch under the radiator opening. 

Close the drain cap and the radiator cap, then start the car with the heater set at full blast, let it run like this for amount of time recommended on the flush product’s package.

Kill the engine and allow it to cool down, then repeat drain process and refill, and repeat the entire process again.

Drain again, then add the antifreeze this time.

After you are done this time, clean the area thoroughly, diluting and rinse away any antifreeze that may have spilled out. Take a shower and change your clothes. 

If you choose to do your own radiator flush, remember that antifreeze is sweet smelling and can attract children and animals.  It is important to get the area cleaned and free of any antifreeze, old or new, so that it isn’t a danger.   

This is the upside to having a radiator flush by a professional technician. They have the equipment and process that keeps these fluids that are necessary for a car out of the reach of children and animals. They also have a process that keeps it out of the environment to keep nature’s system safe. Call 805-466-3236 today for your radiator flush in Atascadero, CA.