Articles:

Viva la Differential At Carmasters Automotive

With front-wheel drive being so common in Norfolk these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Norfolk folks don't even have to think about it. And most rear-wheel drive vehicle differentials don't need to be serviced for a long time, so it's understandable that it's not something on most drivers' minds. So it's not uncommon for people in VA to not know they have a differential, let alone know that it needs service. To better understand what a differential does, think about a high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lin ... read more

Suspension

Let's talk about your suspension – you know, the system that connects your wheels to your vehicle, controls your handling and delivers a good ride as you cruise around Norfolk, VA. Your suspension is critical for proper steering, stopping and stability. Hey, it's a rough world out there in VA – every time you hit a pothole, a bump or an object in the road, your suspension system has to absorb the impact and maintain control. As you can imagine, your suspension has a lot of joints and pivot points that allow your wheels to move up and down over bumps and to turn as you steer. These parts include ball joints, tie rod ends, the pitman, idler arms and the control arm bushing. They simply wear out over time. When a joint or other part is worn the suspension parts don't fit together as tightly as they should. Handling and steering has a loose feel and you may hear strange noises. Your tires will wear unevenly because they're bouncing down the Norfolk, VA, road ... read more

Clean Air For Your Engine Air Filters In Norfolk

We’ve all been in for an oil change and told that our engine air filter’s dirty.  Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter:  First, your owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter.  Second, a visual inspection may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.  So, between your owner’s manual and your technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved. Now, most air filters don’t cost a lot to replace.  It’s just that we hate getting caught with an unexpected expense.  On the plus side, changing a dirty air filter can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change.  Think about a dirty furnace filter.  When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through.  In your car, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel ... read more

MAF Sensor and Engine Air Filter

Today's Carmasters Automotive post focuses on the importance of protecting your mass air flow sensor or MAF. Air and fuel are mixed together to be burned in your engine. The amount is controlled by how hard you press on the accelerator or by external factors like climbing hills or hauling loads. Based on how much air you need – and how much is available – your engine management computer tells your fuel injection system how much fuel to send to your engine. But what if the computer is getting the wrong information about how much air is coming into your engine? Well, it would send the wrong amount of fuel and your engine performance would suffer. The Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor measures the volume, temperature and density of the air flowing into your engine. With that information, the computer calculates how much oxygen is available to burn and adjusts the amount of fuel it sends. A dirty or damaged MAF sensor can give the wrong readings, hurt your fuel economy, damage th ... read more

Spring Car Maintenance Checklist

Spring Car Maintenance Checklist

Springtime is here in Norfolk, VA, and it is time for drivers to start transitioning from the cold Virginia weather to warmer weather. You may even want to think about setting aside some of your tax refund on some repairs and services that you've been putting off.  This past winter probably put a lot of strain on your vehicle's tires, brakes, battery, engine, and more. As a result, we've put together this Spring maintenance checklist to treat your car: Oil Change No matter what, the transition between seasons calls for an oil change. This will help your engine stay lubricated, cleaned, and properly maintained at stable temperatures. Tire Rotation & Pressure Check Another maintenance item that pairs well with your oil change is a tire rotation. It can be a major advantage to even out your tire wear after your rugged winter driving. Additionally, we can also help you check the pressure in your tires. Belts & Hoses Inspection Have a certified mechanic check ... read more

Shocks and Struts

Let's talk shocks and struts. Shock absorbers and struts last a long time for Norfolk drivers and wear out pretty slowly for most vehicles. They're easy to take for granted, but your shocks and struts do a very important job so you need to pay attention to them. They keep your tires on the road; and your tires are what connect your vehicle to the road and allow you to safely handle your car through turns, over bumps and even stop in time. When your shocks and struts are worn, your tires bounce excessively over bumps. Your vehicle will wallow through corners, your front-end will dive when you stop and your rear-end will squat when you accelerate. All this hurts your ability to control your vehicle. And your ride just isn't as comfortable. Worn shocks or struts cause excessive tire wear so Norfolk drivers will have to replace their tires sooner than they should. Worn shocks and struts also stress other suspension and steering parts, causing them to wear prematurely. Strut ... read more

Your Wellness Inspection At Carmasters Automotive In Norfolk

Most people in Norfolk, VA, come to their service advisor with specific services in mind and an idea of how much they’ll be spending.  Sometimes, a vehicle wellness inspection and a review of your service history will uncover additional items that require attention.  How should you react to that? Here’s some advice:  It’s not as if your service advisor is saying “Do you want fries with that?” or “Supersize for 59 cents more.”  Carmasters Automotive’s service advisors are not recommending something extra or something you don’t need.  Recommendations are either based on the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule or on a problem uncovered during an inspection.  An important part of the service advisor‘s role is to help you understand the manufacture’s recommendations: recommendations that cover every system on the car and are set by the engineers that design the vehicle.  If VA driver ... read more

Cooling System

Cooling System We’re often asked questions about the cooling system – the system that cools your engine and keeps it at the proper operating temperature.  Let’s examine the topic in two areas: first the coolant itself and, second, the parts that make up the cooling system. The coolant is the mix of water and antifreeze that circulates through the engine to draw off heat.  First, you need to have the proper amount.  If you don’t have enough coolant it can’t keep your engine cool. You also need the right kind of coolant.  Different makes of vehicles require different coolant formulation to protect against corrosion. Finally, your coolant needs to be fresh.  Over time and miles, the anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted and the coolant can start to eat away at the cooling system parts.  Your owner’s manual and your service adviser can help you with the recommended coolant replacement schedule and make sur ... read more

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

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