Articles:

Busted in Norfolk: The Maintenance Free Myth

Mar 5th, 2021 Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.  So, does that mean that modern vehicles have become maintenance free? Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, people were more mindful of routine service.  Now, it’s much easier to put it off.  Take tune-ups for example.  In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years.   If your engine was out of tune, you knew it.  It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy. Now, the ignition system is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer.  Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles.  So, tune-ups used to force you in for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list. So, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance?  Well, your car will perform better and return better f ... read more

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive for Norfolk: Water Pump

Feb 21st, 2021 Simple Answers Service Intervals Question: My water pump went out and it cost much more to replace than ones I've had replaced in the past. My Norfolk technician said it's because of where it's located. Why is that? Carmasters Automotive Answer: Some water pumps are driven by the serpentine belt and are bolted on out in the open with the alternator and air compressor and such.  Other water pumps are driven by the timing belt.  These water pumps take a lot of labor to access and replace.  I suspect your current vehicle has a water pump that is driven by the timing belt. Water pumps are fairly simple devices that circulate engine coolant/antifreeze around the engine and out to the radiator.  Like any mechanical device, they eventually wear out.  Although having a cooling system service done on schedule at Carmasters Automotive will extend the life of your water pump and its seals and gaskets, it will eventually fail and need to be repl ... read more

Is it Safe to Drive With a Nail in My Tire?

Is it Safe to Drive With a Nail in My Tire?

If you drive long enough, you're going to end up with a nail, screw or rock in your tire. Read on to determine your next steps after you discover the piercing piece of trouble. The biggest thing to bear in mind: it is NOT safe to drive with something in your tire for any length of time. You'll be risking way too much to take the chance. Many cars have low tire pressure warnings on the instrument cluster (the area that also contains the speedometer, etc.). If your car doesn't feature a light to indicate low pressure, you should be sure to own a tire gauge and test your tire pressure often. If you're not sure what your tire's PSI (pounds per square inch) is, look at the sticker in your driver's side door or your instruction manual. Low tire pressure is often the first giveaway that there might be an unidentified intruder in your tire. If you discover the offending object, DO NOT pull it out. It may have gone far enough into the tire to actually seal it temporar ... read more

Suspension Problems In Norfolk?

Feb 16th, 2021 Suspension systems should continue to operate effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles, holding your tires’ footprint on the road.  Eventually, components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive. As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy roads or hauling heavy loads.  In addition to just wearing out, suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, your vehicle manufacturer recommends periodic inspections.  During an inspection, your service technician will check for worn, broken or missing suspension parts. If the inspection reveals any problems, take care of this important safety and handling work.  When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a ... read more

Don't Store These in a Cold Vehicle (Items to Avoid Storing in a Freezing Vehicle)

Feb 1st, 2021 The other day, a man walked into a restaurant carrying a can of paint. He had just bought the latex paint at the local home improvement store, and he was stopping for lunch. "Latex paint is water-based, and it's so cold out. If I leave it out in my truck while I'm eating, it'll be frozen by the time I'm done with lunch." Yes, latex paint is one thing you should never leave out in your vehicle during freezing weather, since the cold can make it separate and clump up, turning it into a gloppy mess that won't go smoothly on your walls. There are a few other things you should not leave in your freezing vehicle. Medicines and drugs can change chemically if they freeze, especially those in liquid forms like insulin, eye drops, and cough syrup. It can be tempting to leave bottled water in the cup holders. The problem comes when bottled water freezes and expands. That can fracture the plastic. When things thaw out, guess where the water goes? D ... read more

Care About Your Spare (Spare Tire Care)

Jan 29th, 2021 Most of us don't worry about getting a flat tire. After all, it rarely happens, and if it does, we might think we can just call someone and have them put on the spare. That's all fine and dandy if your spare is in good shape. But how many of us even think twice about the condition of our spare tires? The spares that take the biggest beating are those mounted outside, like those on SUVs and trucks. They might be on the tailgate or underneath the vehicle. These get exposed to water, dirt, salt, and road debris. The mounting hardware can become so corroded that you may not even be able to get the spare out of its holder, leaving you with no usable spare at all. When you get your tires rotated, ask your NAPA AutoCare Center to check the condition and inflation of the outside-mounted spare and its holder. A little lubrication and maintenance periodically can help keep them fit for action. Often the spare on an SUV or truck is the same size as the other tires and ma ... read more

What are Signs of Low Brake Fluid?

What are Signs of Low Brake Fluid?

The importance of an efficiently functioning braking system cannot be overemphasized, and although the braking system has several components, brake fluid is one of the most important. When the brake fluid is low, the braking system may fail, and this might put your life in danger. But how can you tell when the brake fluid is low? Below are some symptoms that you need to watch out for. Warning Light This is perhaps the most obvious sign of low brake fluid. When the warning light goes on, then the brake fluid could be lower than required. Of course, it is possible that the sensors could be faulty and end up giving false signals. However, this is rare, and the most logical step for you to take would be to get your car checked instead of taking chance with the braking system. Noise Noisy brakes are a sign of a faulty braking system. In some cases, low brake oil can affect how the calipers are engaging, and consequently produce some noise. The brake fluid might also affect the brake pad ... read more

Carmasters Automotive Tech Question on Engine Failure

Carmasters Automotive Tech Question: I'm Collins of Norfolk. I had my engine go out and had to have it completely re-done at Carmasters Automotive in Norfolk. What could I have done to prevent this? Carmasters Automotive Tech Answer: You've got to feel for Collins: an expensive major engine rebuild is pretty extreme. It's a tough situation to be in: maybe you're still making payments on your vehicle and nobody wants to buy it with a blown engine, so you really have no choice but to pay the money to get it fixed. This is why your manufacturer and Carmasters Automotive have preventive maintenance schedules to help you avoid major repairs. Suppose you don't change your timing belt on schedule and it breaks. That can mean bent valves and a damaged cylinder head. Maybe you've skipped over the Carmasters Automotive recommendation to replace your coolant and end up with catastrophic overheating. It could be you've skipped a few too many oil changes and now slud ... read more

The Carmasters Automotive Guide To Wheel Alignment

It's no surprise that your vehicle will drive better if all the wheels are pointed in the same direction. That's called wheel alignment. If your wheels are out of alignment you may notice that your vehicle pulls to one side or the other. Something that Norfolk drivers won't notice right away, but will if they keep driving when they're out of alignment, is that their tires are wearing unevenly and fairly quickly. That's because when the vehicle is pulling to one side, you have to steer it back straight. The outside of the tire just wears out fast because you're constantly turning, which can be very exhausting on a long road trip in VA – fighting to keep the vehicle going straight down the road. Some of the things that commonly throw a wheel out of alignment are slamming into a pothole, smacking a curb or hitting something like a rock. And it doesn't have to be a big shock, it can just be the regular bumps and bangs of daily Norfolk driving that add up a ... read more

Change Your Oil, VA Drivers!

Jan 1st, 2021 As engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer.  High-quality oil in a well-engineered engine has led to extended intervals.  Here’s the problem:  With longer oil change intervals, it’s extremely important to follow them closely.  Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge. But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles and you go over another thousand, you’re getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely.  And don’t forget your severe service schedule.  If you do a lot of stop and go driving, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions.  Is your driving closer to the regular schedule ... read more

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