Category Archives: Uncategorized

Can a Starter Be Repaired?

An Engine's Starter

What to do When Your Starter Goes Out

Well, we know a car won’t go anywhere without gasoline. And it won’t go far if there isn’t any oil in the engine or fluid in the transmission. But what do we know about the starter? In fact, what is a starter, and when it quits working, is starter repair possible, or does it have to be replaced?  Read on for more information about the starter on a vehicle. 

So, what is a starter? 

The starter is a starting gear that engages the flywheel when the key is turned in the ignition. As the engine rotates, it delivers power to the rest of the engine, allowing it to rotate. The engine then sucks air and fuel into the cylinders which starts the combustion process for the engine to run. 

The starter converts electrical energy it gets from the battery into mechanical energy. So, our next question may be, “What happens when the starter isn’t working?”, and “Is starter repair possible?”. Let’s answer the first question with a pretty simple answer: Nothing. Nothing will happen if the start is broken. The engine won’t turn over, or it may be better known as “My car won’t start!”. 

If the starter on your car has quit working,  and they will do that without any warning, you’ll know it by the dreaded sound of clicking. Sometimes, a non-working starter will grind or have a whirring sound.

Is there a way to diagnose a starter problem?

Here are 5 symptoms that you may be needing a starter repair or replacement: 


A common symptom of possibly needing starter repair or replacement is odd sounds, like the clicking sound we mentioned above. However, a starter can quit working without that indication and when you go to start your car, you get nothing more than a grinding or whirring sound.


… but the car isn’t starting! If the dashboard lights or headlights come on, but the engine doesn’t start, it could be the battery, or you may need a starter repair or replacement service.


If the engine won’t rev up, like the battery is dead, even after jumpstarting it, you should call your mechanic. There is a good chance that you’ll need starter repair or replacement, or it may be something more serious. 


There are many things that can cause a car to smoke, and because the starter is part of the electrical system, fuses can blow and circuits can short out. If you keep trying to get your car to start after it’s just clicking, you could cause it to overheat and start smoking. 


On a rear-wheel drive car, the starter is located on the passenger side of the engine, just under the exhaust manifold. If the car is a front-wheel driver, it is located above the transmission on the driver’s side. Some may be below the exhaust manifold.  If your starter isn’t kicking in, check the starter to see if it appears to be oil-soaked. Even a few drops can cause you to need to start repair or replacement. 

What are the parts of a starter?

There are many components and parts inside the starter. Before anyone can begin a start repair job, they need to be familiar with these components and parts. This is typically referred to as a rebuilt starter.  Those parts consist of: 

  • Armature
  • Commutator
  • Brushes
  • Solenoid
  • Plunger
  • Lever Fork
  • Pinion
  • Field Coils

Often a start repair is nothing more than replacing the solenoid or a relay. On the starter, there are two coiled wires inside the solenoid that are wrapped around a flexible core. The solenoid closes the electrical connection and connects the battery and the starter motor together. The other parts inside a starter will require a rebuild or a starter repair by a trained mechanic. 

Can a starter solenoid be tested to determine if that is the problem? 

Here are some possible indicators that all the starter repair job needs is a new solenoid: 

  1. If nothing happens when you engage the ignition, it may be just the solenoid.  
  2. You get one click when you engage the ignition, it is usually the solenoid has gone bad, not requiring a full starter repair job. 
  3. Repeated clicking is typical of a dead battery, but it could be a faulty solenoid failing to make electrical contact inside the starter. 
  4. This may seem odd, but a bad solenoid can allow an engine to start without engaging the ignition. 
  5. If the starter engages and doesn’t disengage after letting go of the key, this is an indication of a bad solenoid. 
A Car With Its Hood Raised

Get Your Motor Running! 

Once you have your starter repaired, gas in the tank, oil in the engine, fluid in the transmission, and air in the tires, you can head out on the highway! Should you have your starter checked on any regular schedule? 

It isn’t part of a typical car maintenance program, but if you’re noticing any issues with the starter, it would be recommended to have it checked before you head out on that road trip! If your car isn’t starting and you need starter repair in Atascadero, CA, set up an appointment today by calling 805-466-3236.

Do You Really Need to Rotate Your Tires?

Tire Rotation

Tire Rotation Is Part of the Maintenance

If you’ll read your owner’s manual for your vehicle, you’ll find several tasks that should be completed for their recommended maintenance schedule. This includes an oil change, checking the coolant level, checking transmission fluid, all the lights, and the tire depth, tire pressure, and tire rotation

Each of these tasks is recommended to be completed within specific mileage intervals. How often should tires be rotated? Tire rotation is usually between 5,000 miles and 7,500 miles, but do you know what tire rotation is and why it is needed?  Read on for more information about this task. 

What is a tire rotation?

In simple terms, tire rotation is the process of switching the front tires with the rear tires, not just back to front. This is also switching them in a crisscross pattern, depending on the vehicle’s drivetrain. For instance, for front-wheel drive, the rear tires are moved to the front and switched from side to side. The front tires, however, are moved to the back on the same side as they are on the front. 

Why is tire rotation so important? 

The drivetrain determines the tire rotation pattern wear and tear of the tires in mind. The tire rotation pattern is based on the following:

  • The roadways today seem to either be under construction or need construction, no matter where you live. Tire rotation will ensure the tires are wearing out at an even rate all the way around. 
  • For a front-wheel-drive vehicle (FWD), the engine’s power is sitting on the front axle and wheels. This extra weight wears the front tires out quicker.  And when it comes to a rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicle, the opposite is true thus causing the rear tires to wear out faster. 

How does tire rotation affect your driving experience? 

There are several factors in play when it comes to how the tires wear out and tire rotation ensures the tire tread wears out evenly. Other benefits your driving experience will have include: 

  • Improved Road Traction: As tires wear out, they lose tread depth which reduces their traction on the road. This puts you, your passengers, and your car at a safety risk when the roads are icy, wet, and under other hazardous conditions. With routine tire rotation, the tire tread depth wears evenly so the tires have even traction on the roads.  
  • Blowout Prevention: As tires wear, they are more likely to have a blowout, which can result in losing control of the vehicle, creating a dangerous situation. With tire rotation, you can be sure that all 4 tires are wearing out evenly and safely.
  • Better Ride Quality: How can tire rotation improve vehicle performance? When one tire wears out faster than the others, it will affect the quality of the ride. Getting a tire rotation as recommended will ensure a smooth drive and ride every time.  
  • Fuel Efficiency Maintained: Do tires affect the fuel efficiency of a vehicle? Absolutely! Even tread wear all the way around reduces any drag and engine strain, which helps with the vehicle’s fuel economy. 

What are the risks if you don’t get a tire rotation done?

Well, without tire rotations as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer or your mechanic, the benefits we listed above are missed. A recap of what could happen without tire rotation includes: 


As a vehicle move down the road, friction is created between the road and the tires, generating heat. While rubber tires are designed to withstand heat, the tread is important in providing a cool airflow to keep the tires from getting too hot, causing a blowout, tread shredding, or worse. 


Healthy tire tread channels water away from the road surface, so the tires can have a firm grip. Without tire rotation, the tread depth is uneven and allows the tires to skim across any water over the roadway. This can compromise your control of the handling and steering of the car.  


Snow tires have improved traction on the road because the tread is deeper, sharper, and wider. Driving on ice or snow with poor tread depths puts you at risk of your vehicle going into an out-of-control spin.


Without tire rotation, any worn spot on a tire will put more strain on the tire, the spot gets thinner, and running over something that is pointy or sharp can result in a blowout from a punctured tire. 

Do all tires need to be rotated?

Yes, whether you have a 2-wheel, 4-wheel, or all-wheel drive train,  every vehicle should have a tire rotation done according to the vehicle or tire manufacturer’s recommendations. If you purchase a used car and have no idea what the tire rotation should be, refer to your mechanic or tire store.

A Car in a Garage Needing Tire Rotation

When Rubber Hits The Road: What are the signs that tires need to be rotated?

If you notice these three things with your vehicle, it is time to schedule a tire rotation: 

  • Uneven wear of the tread on one or more tires
  • Uneven wear from the back to the front tires
  • Your vehicle has a shimmy or vibrations

Need reliable tire rotation in Atascadero, CA? Set up a service appointment by calling 805-466-3236.

What is a Radiator Flush?

lifting radiator cap

Finding Out About a Radiator Flush

Automobiles are handy to have, they get us from Point A to Point B, and further. But they also require maintenance, like having the tires rotated, the oil changed, and the radiator flushed. And while tire rotation and oil change are self-explanatory, you may wonder what is a radiator flush.

Is a radiator flush necessary?

A radiator flush, which is also referred to as a coolant flush, is a procedure that cleans the cooling system, removing any contaminants like rust and sediment. When a radiator gets too much rust or sediment, it keeps it from flowing which can cause the engine to overheat. It is a level of protection for your engine and all the metal components attached.

A radiator flush removes the prior products that have been added to the radiator, which is needed because they begin to deteriorate after some time. When the coolant has deteriorated, the engine can easily freeze or overheat. 

What is included in a radiator flush?

A radiator flush will consist of the following steps: 

  1. Drain the existing coolant from the radiator.
  2. Add new coolant with a mixture of conditioner if the vehicle specifications recommend it. 
  3. Then the vehicle is started and allowed to run for a period. This allows a new mixture to circulate through the cooling system to clean and loosen any rust, sediment, and other possible contaminants from the radiator channel.
  4. The radiator is drained again to rid the contaminants, rust, and sediment that were loosened. 
  5. The radiator is refilled with a new coolant mixture, typically a 50/50 ration of anti-freeze and water.
lifting radiator cap

How often should I do a radiator flush?

Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation of a basic maintenance schedule, including a radiator flush. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, the typical radiator flush schedule is between 30,000 and 50,000 miles, or every two to five years unless there are issues with the cooling system or engine that may require a radiator flush sooner. 

When do you need a radiator flush?

There are two main issues that indicate your car needs a radiator flush: 

  • On an exceptionally cold or hot day, if your car doesn’t start, check the radiator overflow reservoir. If the level in the overflow reservoir fluctuates, that is an indication the engine isn’t circulating the coolant as it should. Have a radiator flush done immediately. 
  • Another indication is when you notice a sweet-like smell coming from the engine. This is antifreeze spilling over and allowing the car to overheat. Add some coolant and if it needs again after you’ve driven the car, have a radiator flush service done. 

What happens if you don’t flush radiator?

If you’re thinking a radiator flush isn’t that important, or you just want to roll the dice and see what happens, let’s tell you about the possibilities.

 If you are already having issues like a sweet-like odor coming from under the hood, or your car is overheating, those are things that will continue – until they can’t because the engine froze up. And then you’re faced with expensive repairs or a new engine.  

So, let’s pretend you didn’t get the recommended radiator flush and your car dies, and won’t start. What happened? 

The corrosion, rust, sediment, and other contaminants that naturally occur in an engine kept building up. Eventually, the gaskets inside the engine were damaged, allowing water and coolant to leak, which lead to the engine overheating. 

What are the benefits of flushing the radiator, do radiator flushes work?

A radiator flush will give your car several advantages and the four biggest benefits are: 

  • Contaminants and Scale Remove
    The more you drive your car, the more it wears out, and this allows contaminants into the cooling system. That in turn, causes corrosion and rust, and then the cooling system can’t flow like it needs to, and the engine overheats.
  • Water Pump Lubricated
    The coolant that is added to a radiator, you may know as antifreeze, isn’t just colored water with a scent added. It is a lubricant for the water pump. When this lubricant deteriorates, the water pump can’t pump water through the cooling system, then the engine overheats. 
  • Rust Protection
    The additives in the antifreeze also coat the radiator and inside oft engine to prevent it from rusting. 
  • Cooling System Inspection 
    With a professional radiator flush, the technician can provide a comprehensive inspection of the cooling system. This includes pressure checking the entire system for any water leaks. 

At The Finish Line: Is radiator flush harmful?

To a non-mechanic person, a radiator flush can sound hard on an engine, but is it? When done correctly, no, a radiator flush will not harm the engine or cause any problems. It is flushing everything out of the cooling system that could harm the engine! 

German Performance provides assistance with a radiator flush in Atascadero, CA. Call 805-466-3236 to learn more.  

Why is My Car Leaking Oil?

close-up of a mechanic checking the oil level in a car

Getting Oil Leak Repair

Besides having air in the tires and gas in the gas tank, a car needs motor oil to function. And like when the air leaks from the tires and they go flat, when the oil leaks from the motor, it quits working. Just like when a tire leaks oil, you have it repaired. When the engine has an oil leak, getting oil leak repair as quickly as possible is important. 

Is it normal for oil to leak from a car? Or is a car oil leak serious?

A few drops of motor oil under your car may not seem like a big issue, but it can become an expensive problem if an oil leak repair isn’t completed soon. The engine could begin ‘knocking’ which is when the internal metal components are rubbing together without lubrication. The engine can ‘freeze’, which is the result of those components not being lubricated, they quit moving. 

The accumulated oil leak will also degrade the rubber components on your car, creating more repairs, and can be a fire and safety hazard too as you drive down the road. And any of these scenarios can leave you and your passengers breaking down on the side of the road.

Additionally, the oil stains have an impact on the aesthetics of your home and then there are the environmental issues of not getting that oil leak repaired. That motor oil leaking from your car contains a mixture of toxic substances, including arsenic, lead, and zinc that are flaked or shaved off metal from the engine. 

When those oil leaks are washed off with rain or when you water the lawn, those substances seep into the ground and sewage system, making their way to the public water system and waterways. This affects the environment for animals, fish, and plants. By not getting an oil leak repaired, the repercussions are ongoing and even back into the food we eat. 

Where does a car oil leak come from?

There are a few common areas where an oil leak repair may be needed: 

  • Engine gaskets are degrading
  • The oil pan is leaking around the gasket
  • Various seals are improperly installed or worn-out s
  • The oil pan drain plug is defective or missing
  • Valve cover gaskets are worn and deteriorating
  • Oil filter is defective or loose
  • A hole in the oil pan

Why does a vehicle leak oil?

Here are four possible reasons for a car oil leak that need your attention for oil leak repair soon: 

  1. WORN-OUT OIL FILTER: A common problem that requires an oil leak repair is when the oil filter has come loose, when it’s developed a leak, or when it’s degraded and worn out. The oil is needed to filter any contaminants in the oil before they get inside the motor. After thousands of miles, they aren’t filtering as well and become full oil, then start leaking.  It is important to get the oil changed as recommended by the manufacturer or your mechanic is important. 
  2. A BROKEN OR LOOSE FILLER CAP: The filler cap is where oil is poured into the engine and if the cap breaks or comes loose, the oil will run out and onto the ground while the car is parked. Or driving the car with a broken or loose oil cap will allow the oil to blow all over the engine. This is a quick oil leak repair if you don’t wait to long. 
  3. A BROKEN OIL PAN GASKET: A car engine has several gaskets throughout to keep the fluids used where they belong. Those fluids include the coolant, gasoline, and most importantly, the oil. Leak repairs for all these fluids is important to maintain the car’s integrity. 
  4. OVERFILLING OIL: This can be a simple mistake by pouring oil into the reservoir without checking the oil level first. If you have noticed oil puddles but there aren’t any lights on the dashboard, it is probably due to too much engine oil added. An easy oil leak repair is to drain some of the oil out. 

Can a car oil leak be fixed?

Yes, in most cases, an oil leak repair is possible. What kind of repair will depend on how bad the leak is and where it is located, it may be an expensive oil leak repair, but it may be a simple oil leak repair you can do. 

After you have inspected all possible problems and determine it isn’t anything major, like a cracked engine block, it is time to find out what to do with a car oil leak yourself. A few possible oil leak repairs are: 

  • USING AN ADDITIVE: Sometimes a miracle fix for cars is additives. Like those that can stop leaks in tires, there are products on the market that can stop an oil leak. These are products that condition and soften the rubber seals anywhere motor oil goes and can sometimes stop the oil leak. It isn’t always a quick fix; you may have to drive the car for a while for that additive to work into the motor. 
  • FIXING IT WITH TOOLS: If the additive solution doesn’t work at the oil pan, that is an oil leak that needs a new oil pan gasket or maybe the oil pan needs to be replaced. You’ll need to drive your car up a set of ramps, making sure you have help, or jack it up and place it on jack stands. With a few basic hand tools and a torque wrench, you can loosen the bolts holding the oil pan, replace the gasket, and reposition the oil pan, tightening up the bolts. The service manual will provide more information that will tell you how tight the bolts should be when you reposition the oil pan.
  • TIME TO TEST: Now that you feel the oil leak repair is complete and the problem is fixed, it is time to check the oil level. Make sure it has the recommended amount per the manual or the manufacturer’s recommendation. Start the engine and allow it to run for a few minutes. Check the oil while the motor is running and inspect the engine top and bottom for oil leaks. If you don’t find any, you have completed your oil leak repair.

 How much is it to repair an oil leak?

Not the words you want to hear, but it depends. The make, model, type, and year of the vehicle are the first key factors for an oil leak repair.  The next, and maybe most crucial factor is where the leak is located.  You could have an oil leak repaired for under $200 and it could cost up to $1500.00 or more.

close-up of a mechanic pouring oil into a car engine

Before You Hit the Road: Can you drive with an oil leak?

Is it just a small leak, a few drops of oil on the driveway, then yes, a short distance of 10 miles or so to the mechanic shouldn’t create any major damage. With a more severe leak, it is recommended not to drive the car and call for towing service to take it to your mechanic.  

What is tire rotation service?

mechanic removing a tire

Why tire rotation is important?

As you drive to work or out running errands, does your car seem to be driving different, like a vibration when you get up to a certain speed? It may be time for a tire rotation service, but what is that exactly? 

A tire rotation service is periodically having the position of each tires changed. Typically, this means the back tires moved to the front and front to the back in a crisscross pattern. Every car manufacturer will have recommendation how often this should be done with the average being every 5,000 miles. This is usually the same time your car needs the oil changed, so that can make it easier for you to remember. 

Tire rotation service will keep your tires safe as the technician visually inspects them for any damage. The technician will also check the air pressure, the tire tread, and rebalance them if needed. Not only is this keeping your tires safe and your car, it keeps the tire warranty valid too. Other reasons that tire rotation service is important are: 

  • Regular tire rotation service keeps the wear and tear even on all four tires, maximizing their lifespan. Each tire is responsible for a specific position of your vehicle. Typically, the front tires on a front-wheel drive car takes the most friction and torque as you accelerate, brake, and make turns. 
  • Secondly, regular tire rotation service will even the tread depth and wear uniform. This will help with handling and traction on all four tires and improves braking and cornering. 
  • Finally, for an all-wheel-drive vehicle, regular tire rotation service will ease the stress on the drivetrain as the tires are worn evenly. This reduces the strain and wear on other components of the drivetrain. 

How long does a tire rotation take?

The typically, a tire rotation service can be combined with the routine oil change. The entire service will usually be between 30 minutes and an hour. Each car manufacturer has different policies about tire rotation and oil changes, so you may need to make additional trip for one or the other.  If your car warranty has expired and you’ve purchased new tires, the tire rotation service time should be adjusted to follow the tire manufacturer’s recommendation.

Are tire rotation and alignment the same?

No, and the difference between a tire rotation service and a wheel alignment service is significant. Both are important to the lifespan and well-being of the car and the safety of you and your passengers. To clarify the difference of the two:  

  • Tire rotation service is the process of moving the tires to different positions on your vehicle. The purpose of a tire rotation service is to keep the tires from wearing out unevenly because the weight of a car is different between the back and front.  
  • A wheel alignment service is the process of lining up the wheels properly with the steering wheel. When the wheels are in alignment with the steering wheel, it can cause your car to drift from side to side, and over time, the wheels and the tires will need replacing. 

A tire rotation service will save money by improving your car’s fuel efficiency. A wheel alignment service will keep your tires from wearing unevenly and wearing out too fast. 

How often should tires be rotated?

Every car manufacturer has different recommendations for a tire rotation service, with most being every 5,000 miles. Once a car has gone past the manufacturer’s warranty and new tires are installed, when is tire rotation needed?. You should follow the tire manufacturer’s recommendations for tire rotation services. It too is usually every 5,000 miles, but some tire brands may recommend at 10,000 miles.

How do you rotate tires?

Experience mechanics will know how tire rotation is done, which is based on a pattern that is best for the vehicle and the type of tires on the vehicle. It will also depend on it the car is a front wheel drive, a rear wheel drive, or a four-wheel drive and if the tires are directional or non-directional. The tire size can affect the tire rotation service too and what type of spare tire your car is equipped with. 

Will tire rotation stop vibration?

In most cases, yes, a tire rotation service and balancing will stop any vibration you may be experiencing while driving.  If the vibration continues, you should have the tires replaced. The technician that performs your tire rotation service will usually advise you if the tires are too worn for the rotation and balance to be of any help.

tire being removed from a vehicle

At The End Of The Road Where The Rubber Meets the Road 

How much does a tire rotation and balance cost? This will depend on the make and model of the car and where you take your car for the tire rotation service.  A tire rotation alone is usually $50 or less. If you do this in coordination with the routine oil change, the cost can be upward of $75 or more.  

You can take the car to the dealership where you purchased the car, which is the manufacturer’s recommendation, or most oil and lube shops will offer a free tire rotation service with the purchase of an oil change. 

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.