Serpentine Belt Replacement At Carmasters Automotive

Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine.  It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems.  Let’s go over them. First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. Next, the belt powers the alternator. The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes.  In some vehicles, power steering may have an electric drive and power brakes can be vacuum driven. And, on many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump (on some cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt). Your service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough. There’s a special, spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley and sometimes an extra pulley call the idler pulley.  Their job is to make ... read more

Simple Answers: Disc Brakes

Question: What are the signs that I need a brake job? Answer: Signs of brake problems often fall into one of two categories: making noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal.  Let's start with the noise. Most brake pads have an audible brake wear indicator.  This is a small piece of metal that rubs on your brake rotor when the brake pads are worn to the point they should be replaced.  The noise is a chirp or soft squeal.  This noise gives you enough warning to get your brakes serviced while there is still enough brake pad left to enable you to stop safely. If you ignore the chirp, the sound may change to a grinding noise.  That is more serious.  It means that the friction material on your brake pad is worn away and metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor when you press on the brakes.  Obviously, this metal-on-metal means that your brakes aren't stopping very well.  It also means that you ... read more

Light into Darkness (Vehicle Lighting)

You need to be able to see at night and have other vehicles see you as well.  Spend a few minutes to check and make sure all your vehicle's outside lights are working.  It might help to have a friend assist you since there are a few bulbs to check that are much easier to do with two people. With the vehicle running (and the parking brake applied), walk around to make sure no bulbs are burned out.  That means headlights (both high- and low-beams), side lights, fog lights, taillights, and brake lights.  Also, test each turn signal and make sure they are blinking properly, both front and rear. Try the emergency flashers, too. Don't forget about the backup lights.  Have your friend put the vehicle in reverse and see if they are working and clean (don’t stand directly behind the vehicle, just in case).  You don't want to be blind when you're backing up at night, so all backup lamps should be lit. With rear view cameras now very common, b ... read more

What You Should Do When You Find a Vehicle Leak

What You Should Do When You Find a Vehicle Leak

Whenever you go out to your car and find an unfamiliar leak, it's almost never a good sign. Like any other leaks, they need to be diagnosed, pinpointed, and repaired. There are various fluids that constantly run through your vehicle. Fortunately, some auto fluids are dyed in different colors to make it a little simpler to narrow down.    Water - If you see a leak, you're probably crossing your fingers that it is just water. Sometimes, the condensation from the A/C system can drip water, and there should be no concerns here.    Antifreeze - For as long as ever, antifreeze has been known to be bright green. However, some are now pink or orange, making it more difficult to pinpoint. Fortunately, you can detect coolant or antifreeze by its distinct sweet smell.    Gas - Gasoline is a pale yellow or orange color, and it also has a pungent smell that is easy to detect. Gasoline leaks are fairly dangerous because they are flammable, so please get he ... read more

Prep Your Vehicle for a Safe Valentine's Day Getaway

Prep Your Vehicle for a Safe Valentine's Day Getaway

Valentine's Day is a treasured holiday for most couples in the US. To celebrate with your partner, you may take them out to dinner or go out of town for a romantic adventure. If you're planning on hitting the road for V-day this year, you should first take your car to a trusted auto repair shop for a pre-trip inspection. No one wants to be lost and deal with a broken-down vehicle when you could be celebrating with your significant other. Unfortunately, inadequate vehicle maintenance can put your car at risk of a breakdown and put your loved one at risk of safety. At Carmasters Automotive, LLC, we treat you and your car as if they were ours. We offer pre-trip inspections to check all your vehicle's essential systems, and we can let you know if any services or repairs are needed before the big day. A pre-trip inspection will give you the peace of mind you need while you're away. Please plan ahead as you don't want to scramble to get in an appointment on top of the o ... read more

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive: Engine Air Filter

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive: Engine Air Filter Jan 30th, 2022 Question What’s the harm in putting off replacing my engine air filter a little longer? Answer That’s a fair question because the harm takes a while to manifest.  Let’s take a small step back and talk about what an engine air filter does. The air all around us contains dust, dirt, pollen, spores, etc.  Some areas and times of the year have more contaminants in the air.  The job of the air filter is to keep that stuff out of your engine.  The benefit of that is obvious. Now your engine uses a lot of air – like 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel – so the engine air filter has a big job to do.  When the filter gets full and can’t hold any more dirt, all that air still has to get to the engine, so dirt gets forced through the filter and heads on downstream. The air flows passed the mass air flow (MAF) sensor on its way to the engine.&nb ... read more

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive for Norfolk: Power Brakes

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive for Norfolk: Power Brakes

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive for Norfolk: Power Brakes Jan 17th, 2022 Question: What is power brake service and why do Norfolk drivers need to have it done?Carmasters Automotive Answer: Imagine: you pour a tablespoon of water in your hand and throw it as hard as you can. Now, suppose you suck up a tablespoon of water into a syringe, push the plunger and squirt it out. Which would go further? Of course it's the water squirting out of the syringe. That's because you pressurized the water. Your power brake system is kind of the same thing. When you step on the brake pedal, the master cylinder pressurizes brake fluid which actuates the brakes so you can stop. Norfolk drivers who don't have enough pressure can ... read more

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive for Norfolk: Battery Replacement Jan 13th, 2022

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive for Norfolk: Battery Replacement Jan 13th, 2022 Question When do I need to replace my battery? Answer That’s a smart question.  All batteries wear out and need to be replaced – but some are being replaced before their time.  Look, if your battery is dying and you need a jump-start, it could very well be that you have a bad battery.  But have your service center test the battery first to see if it’s bad.  The problem could be parasitic drain or a bad alternator that’s not properly charging your battery. But you also need to have your alternator tested.  A surprisingly high percentage of “bad” alternators are actually just fine: the problem is a worn serpentine belt and/or belt tensioner.  If the belt is slipping, it’s not spinning the alternator properly so it can’t fully charge the battery. So, you see a dead battery can be the result of a chain of events: a wor ... read more

The Problems with a Cream Puff (Dormant Vehicles)

  Jan 5th, 2022 You may own a vehicle that you only drive occasionally.  Maybe it is a summer day cruiser, an off-roader, or vacation hauler.  Here are some things you need to know about a vehicle that doesn't get driven all that much. You know it has oil in it, and the problem with not driving a vehicle means the oil is just sitting there. Time is breaking it down.  The additives that neutralize acids that build up in the oil are still at work, being depleted over time.   Plus, parts of your vehicle that are supposed to be protected by oil simply aren’t when the vehicle is not being used.  That’s why oil change intervals include both time and distance recommendations. Combustion causes moisture to accumulate in the oil.  The water leads to significant corrosion, so it needs to be burned off periodically. You can do that by driving the vehicle at highway speeds for an hour or so. Your battery will discharge as it sits.  ... read more

Tech Question on Engine Failure

Carmasters Automotive Tech Question on Engine Failure Dec 29th, 2021 Question I’m Collins.  I had my engine go out and had to have it completely re-done.  What could I have done to prevent this? Answer You’ve got to feel for Collins: an expensive major engine rebuild is 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. Therefore, your manufacturer has 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 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 sludge has built up to the point ... read more

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