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What do you do if your car airbags go off?

close-up of airbag marking on a car

The Importance of Car Airbags

In addition to seatbelts, airbags are an important and required component in cars. The days of letting your passengers fly into the dash or the back of the front seat, which shoves the front seat passenger into the dash, are gone – and for good reason!  So, when the airbags are not functioning, for whatever reason, it is important to have professional airbag repairs or replacements done immediately. 

How do airbags save lives?

The Federal government has researched, studied, and tested airbags for many years. With this, it has been determined that airbags reduce the upper body or head striking the vehicle’s interior, i.e. the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield, during a crash when used in conjunction with seat belts. 

This is because the airbags inflate when the car has had an impact at a certain speed. At what speed do airbags deploy? The front airbags will typically deploy between 10 and 12 mph for unbelted occupants. For occupants that have their seatbelt fastened and secured, the front airbags will deploy at 16 mph, providing adequate protection in most cases.

When there are airbags in place, the driver and front-seat passenger wear a seat belt, their chance of dying in a head-on collision is reduced by over 25%. Serious injuries are reduced by over 12%.  In the mid-1980s, over 55,000 crashes were examined where airbags were in use and deployed, saving over 300 lives.

How do airbags work? 

The goal of having airbags in our cars today is to slow the forced forward motion of the driver and passenger in case of an impact within a fraction of a second. To make this happen, there are 3 parts to an airbag: 

  • The airbag: A thin, nylon fabric that is folded and packed into the steering wheel or the dashboard. The newer the car, there are airbags packed into the doors and seats on some models. 
  • The sensor: This device signals the airbags to deploy and inflate when there is an impact force that equals running into a brick wall between 10mph and 15 mph.  A mechanical switch flips when there is a massive shift that closes the electrical contact advising the sensors there has been an impact. 
  • The inflation system within the airbags reacts sodium azide with potassium nitrate and produces a nitrogen gas that heats up and inflates the airbag.

How many years do airbags last?

Are airbags like inspection and registration, do airbags expire? For cars made today, the airbags do not expire. If you have an older vehicle, check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation or schedule an appointment where airbags are installed, or airbag repairs are done and have them check the ones you currently have.        

When airbags come out is a car totaled?

Mechanically, no, deployed airbags won’t automatically mean your car is totaled. However, this can vary between state laws and your auto insurance policy. If your airbags have deployed, you should check your insurance policy and then check with a state auto inspection station. 

Can airbags be replaced, or can airbags be reused?

Yes, in most cases, depending on the cause of the deployment, airbags can be replaced. Airbag repairs are not feasible because they are meant to be deployed once and then be disposed of and replaced. 

When airbags were first introduced, a mechanic was able to reset many airbags. But today, these safety devices must be replaced once they have been deployed, regardless of whether it is the steering wheel airbag, passenger dash airbag, or any of the side panels, front or back. 

How much does it cost to fix airbags?

Replacing an airbag is not cheap. The cost will depend on the make, model, and year of the car and which airbag needs to be replaced.  The average cost is between $1000 and $1500 per airbag.

deployed car airbags after an accident

In Closing 

In September of 1998, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which was originally introduced in 1991 was put into law. This law requires that all cars and light trucks sold within the United States to be equipped with airbags in the front, on both driver and passenger sides.

Today, after a certain year of manufacturing, all vehicles are required to have operating airbags. Repairs or replacements must be made to meet the state’s safety specifications for a vehicle to pass inspection. If you have the airbags in your vehicle repaired or replaced, you must have a certificate from where the work was done stating what was done with the date of the work. Classic cars are exempt from this law because of the impracticality and danger of retrofitting the required control modules, sensors, and other components in cars that were never designed to have airbags. However, there are seatbelts that can be installed in a classic car to give the driver and passengers some additional safety.

What part of my brake system needs repair?

close-up of brake disc and wheel hub on vehicle

This Just In – Braking News

Once you have the engine, transmission, tires, and wheels working well, you know you’ll be able to get going. However, you also need to make sure your car can stop when necessary. This requires good brakes, and when they aren’t working a prompt, quality brake system repair is a must. 

Your brake system should be inspected and serviced on a routine basis. This will ensure they are in good working condition for the safety of your passengers, yourself, and others. So how do you service a brake system?

A car’s braking system is complex, and a brake system repair can be complex as well. It is crucial any time your brakes aren’t performing as they should to have them inspected by a professional mechanic. You can avoid the need to repair your emergency brake system by following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. That schedule is found in the owner’s manual that comes with the vehicle, or the dealer can advise you. You can also find this information online. 

If none of these options are possible, the basic theory for brake system maintenance is to have the brake pads checked by a mechanic every 12,000 miles and the brake fluid replaced every 25,000 miles. Different driving styles and different vehicles, this schedule may be a little different. The 5 main things that need to be checked to avoid unexpected brake system repairs are: 

Brake Pads and Rotors

The brake pads and rotors are the connection between the car’s braking system and the tires. These are known to deteriorate easily and faster than other components in the braking system, thus needing frequent and routine maintenance. This is because of the friction between the brake pads and tires create heat which wears the brake pad down. When you notice that there is a burning smell or you’re having to push on the brake pedal harder, it is time to have an inspection of the brake system, repair, or replacement as needed. 

Brake Fluid Flush

When you push the brake pedal, it builds pressure in the brake system that transfers the brake fluid out of the master cylinder, to the brake lines, and into the brake calipers. From there the pressure is transferred to the brake pads and brake rotors. Without the brake fluid, your car’s brake system wouldn’t know to work – think of the brake fluid as the messenger of the brake system!

The brake fluid needs to be flushed occasionally because it attracts moisture that can damage the entire brake system, repairing that damage can be expensive. The moisture corrodes any of the metal components and lowers the brake fluid’s boiling point, affecting how effective the brakes work. Expert mechanics recommend having the brake fluid checked each time you get your oil changed and get the fluid flushed and changed at 25,000 mile intervals. 

Bleeding the Brake Lines

In addition to flushing the brake lines to change the brake fluid, it is also a good idea to bleed the brake line to remove excess air. When small amounts of air become trapped inside the brake line, it can reduce the efficiency of the braking system.

Replace or Upgrade 

Sometimes the elements of your car’s brake system will need to be replaced or upgraded because of the wear and tear factor. Replacing the brake pads with slotted disc brakes will be quieter and heat resistant so they last longer. 

Brake System Care

To ensure your car’s brake system is working as effectively as possible, there are things you can do that will help, such as: 

  • Attention to the recommended weight limit
  • Avoid heavy, last minute braking
  • Extreme caution driving in wet weather

What does a complete brake job include?

Your car’s brakes are an important safety syste – the most important actually. When the brakes aren’t working properly, you’re putting yourself, your passengers, and others on the roadway in danger. An inspection and complete brake system repair job should include every aspect of the brake system, starting with a visual inspection.

The technician should inspect the entire brake system visually with the following actions: 

  • Measure the front and rear brake lining thickness 
  • The brake calibers, hoses, lines, and wheel cylinders
  • The brake fluid
  • The brake pedal
  • The warning lights for brakes and ABS 

With all of these checks and any brake system repairs completed, the technician should take the car for a test drive to check and evaluate the overall performance of the brakes. 

Can you repair a broken brake line?

In most cases, yes – an experienced mechanic or technician can repair broken brake lines and make any other brake system repairs needed. The process is fairly quick on most cars, though some take longer than others depending on the make and model. The old brake line is removed and the new one installed. In some instances, the mechanic may splice the bad brake lie section and insert a new piece. As long as they check for leak and pressure issues, splicing the brake line is just as safe as the entire line.

How much should a brake line repair cost?

It will vary from car to car, but the average brake line parts are between $30 and $50. With labor, you can expect to pay between $150 and $200. 

Can you repair brake calipers?

Brake calipers are either replaced during a brake system repair job. They can be rebuilt, using brake caliper kits available at auto parts stores. While that will extend the lifespan of the brake system, there are sometime issues with rebuilt brake caliper. 

Can you repair a brake switch?

Yes, a brake switch can be repaired rather easily, being accessible at the tip of the brake pedal on most cars. A DIY car owner, or “shade tree mechanic,” can purchase the part for as little as $20 up to $50 at a neighborhood auto parts store.

A brake switch that isn’t repaired correctly though will not function as intended and can be damaged installing the unit. To ensure that it is installed and repaired correctly, taking your car to a professional mechanic is recommended. With the part and labor, you may pay upwards of $115. With that cost, you’ll have peace of mind and a warranty. 

How do you repair a brake hose?

A person not familiar with brake systems and brake system repairs will often confuse brake hose and brake line to be the same thing. The brake lines are metal tubes running the entire length of the car. Then there is a brake hose made of rubber that is located at each wheel. 

The brake hose conveys the brake fluid from the metal brake line to the brake caliper at each wheel. Brake hoses should be dry, firm, with no cracks or flaking. Because the brake hoses are essential in the brakes working correctly, they should always be replaced not repaired. During a complete brake system repair jobs, if the brake hoses show any indications of being worn, the mechanic will replace them as opposed to “repairing” them. 

technician replacing vehicle brake disc

Concluding This Braking Story

Not only is the brake system repair jobs important to your safety but repairing parking brakes are vital as well. These are only used when parking the car usually on a hill, or in a standard shift vehicle anytime you park. While the parking brake isn’t something that affects driving and stopping, it is there for an emergency situation and should always be in good working order.

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.