Timing Belt

Let's address a very important maintenance item for everyone in Norfolk VA – timing belt replacement. It's important because letting this one slide can lead to very expensive engine damage. Your timing belt choreographs the timing of your combustion process. Your pistons travel up and down in the cylinder. Intake valves open at the right time to let in air and fuel; they close at the right time to allow the fuel to burn and then the exhaust valves open at the right time to let out the exhaust. All this happens thousands of times a minute and it's your timing belt that makes sure the valves are opening and closing at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine won't run. And that's the best case. The worst case is that a valve is opening at the wrong time and collides with the piston. The result is bent valves and maybe even more damage to the cy ... read more

Carmasters Automotive Tech Question On Your Cooling System

Question I was driving down the freeway and smoke started coming out of my car.  I pulled over and called my husband.  I had to be towed to my mechanic.  He said my car had overheated.  What can I do to prevent that in the future? Answer Oh, sounds like a rough experience.  Unfortunately overheating is the most common engine failure.  It’s also one of the easiest to prevent. The basic idea is this: you need to keep enough coolant/antifreeze flowing through your engine to keep it cool.  Problems come when you develop leaks in the system – like in your radiator or a hose – and the coolant leaks out.  Sometimes the coolant gets so contaminated that it blocks up the radiator so the coolant can’t get through.  Enough of that and you end up broken down on the side of the road.  Your owner’s manual recommends a schedule for replacing your coolant.  That’s because y ... read more

5 Tips on How to Improve Your Vehicle’s Performance

5 Tips on How to Improve Your Vehicle’s Performance

If you are looking for a performance boost on your vehicle, without wanting to spend money on a new car, you’ve come to the right place. There are several ways you can better your car’s performance to get a bang for your buck. Here are 5 ways you can maximize vehicle performance: Tip #1: Invest in Performance Parts There are many ways you can enhance the quality of your ride. There are exhaust parts, suspension parts, brakes, and even ignition parts that you can use in place of the ones that came with your vehicle. If you are looking to swap your components for performance purposes, consult with our team for more information. Tip #2: Swap Out the Engine Filter All engines require clean air to breathe. Over time, the air filter can collect a ton of dust, dirt, pollen, and other harmful pollutants. As a result, it can block enough air from entering the engine. Instead, changing your air filters on time will improve efficiency and engine performance. Tip #3: Use the Righ ... read more

Carmasters Automotive Automotive Tips: Axles

The axle assemblies in your vehicle transfer power out to the drive wheels.  On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, there is an axle shaft that goes from the differential in the center of the axle to each rear wheel.  On a front-wheel drive vehicle, the axle shafts go from the transmission to each front-wheel.  All-wheel drive vehicles have axle shafts connected to all four wheels.  Axles assemblies are tough parts: they transfer torque from the engine to the wheels to move the vehicle.  Tough as they are, they are still subject to normal wear and tear.  The axle shafts are in a sealed housing with lubricant that protects the axle shaft.  When there is a leak anywhere in the axle assembly, lubricant gets out and dirt, water, and other contaminates can get in.  This can greatly accelerate axle wear.  If an axle assembly fails, you’re not going anywhere. A worn or damaged axle assembly on the front will make a clunking sound during low speed t ... read more

The Smell of Danger (What Causes Gasoline Odors)

A driver recently noticed that her garage had begun to smell like gasoline after she parked her vehicle inside. Her Check Engine light had also just come on. This was something she'd never experienced before. So, she called up her NAPA Service Advisor and asked what was causing it. The answer, of course, is that many things can cause a sitting vehicle to smell like gasoline fumes. But it can sometimes be tricky to track down the source, so here are a few things you can look for that may help your NAPA AutoCare Center technician pinpoint the origin of the odor. Gasoline odors can be caused by a leak somewhere in the fuel system, meaning gasoline can be dripping out. Some possibilities? It could be a break in a fuel line. You could have a leaky fuel-injection line or injector. There's a vent for your fuel tank that may also leak. The fuel filler neck can wear out and fail. One thing you should look for is to see if there are any puddles of gasoline on the floor of your garage ... read more

Growling that Grates

A driver who uses his or her ears has a leg up on those who don't.  In addition to noises helping you be aware of traffic, they can give you clues to potential problems in your vehicle.  One noise to pay attention to is growling. Growling is a universally recognizable noise; you know it when you hear it.  In a vehicle, it's usually the sound of metal contacting metal, and not in a good way.  So, what is your vehicle telling you if you hear growling when you are turning your steering wheel? There are a few possibilities.  One is the mechanical linkage that helps your steering wheel turn your wheels and tires.  That system frequently has a hydraulic system that makes turning the steering wheel easier for you.  That can be a source of growling sounds as well.  A NAPA AutoCare technician can check your power steering fluid to see if it's at the correct level and still in good shape.  There are a few things that can go wrong with y ... read more

Deciphering The Menu Board At Norfolk Service Centers : Part 2

You may not be familiar with all the items on your service center’s menu board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.  Remember, the board is there for reference; speak to your Service Adviser about other possible needs or services. Fuel system cleaning:  Over time, the fuel system gets gum and varnish built up.  A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors.  Saves gas, by the way. Headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade.  When one burns out, replace both so they’ll have the same brightness.  Also, if your headlamp lenses are yellowed or cloudy, you can have them professionally restored to like new condition. Inspections: People get inspections for many reasons.  Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for summer or winter.  Maybe they just bought a used car and want to g ... read more


The thermostat is an important part of your cooling system. Your vehicle’s thermostat performs a similar function to the thermostat in your home. At home, you set your thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature range. When your home gets too hot, the air conditioning kicks on and when it gets too cool, the heater turns on. Now your engine also has an optimal temperature range: warm enough to run efficiently and not so hot as to cause engine damage. Your vehicle’s thermostat is a valve between the engine and the radiator. When you first start a cold engine, the valve (thermostat) is closed, allowing the coolant surrounding the engine to warm up to the proper operating temperature. As the coolant gets hotter, the thermostat opens, allowing coolant to flow through to the radiator to be cooled. The thermostat opens and closes to keep the engine within a certain temperature range. Now thermostats are rated for a specific temperature depending on the engine – not a ... read more

Looking Down The Road In Norfolk: Wiper Blades

It’s said that 90% of our driving decisions are based on visual information.  Our wiper blades play an important role in this.  A dirty or streaked windshield can catch the glare of the sun or on-coming headlights and make it nearly impossible to see. Most of us deal with our wiper blades from a failure perspective.  We address them when they no longer function.  Instead, we should think about wipers blades as an important safety system that we should maintain, rather than repair. And don’t think that your wiper blades will last longer because you don’t use them very often.  Hey, they live outside in the harsh sun and freezing cold – ice and wind.  They just dry out and crack over time. Experts recommend that we change our wiper blades twice a year, in the spring and fall.  That way you have functional blades for those spring showers and winter storms.  And consider a windshield treatment to help repeal water and make i ... read more

Carmasters Automotive Technician Training

Your car’s so important to your life: when it breaks down, you need it back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.  If you’ve ever check into some of the training technicians receive, you may be surprised at how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. Our engines are more and more powerful, fuel efficient and reliable.  This is all due to engineering.  But the advances come at the price of simplicity.  Modern cars are so much more complex from a mechanical and electronics standpoint that it makes your head spin.  Vehicles have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well.  We take all this sophistication for granted – but somebody must fix it when it breaks. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technician and the service center as well.  In addition to the training, t ... read more

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