Articles:

Carmasters Automotive Takes Care of Your Vehicle's Suspension

After many years and tens of thousands of miles, your suspension system 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 parts. Signs that shocks or struts are wearing out:  The tires may have a cupped wear pattern.  This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly.  You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering.  If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when stopping ... read more

Deciphering The Menu Board At Carmasters Automotive: A to Z

Deciphering The Menu Board At Carmasters Automotive: A to Z

You may not be familiar with all of the items on Carmasters Automotive'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 Carmasters Automotive service advisor about other possible needs or services. Carmasters Automotive Fuel System Cleaning: Over time, the fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning at Carmasters Automotive gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas as you drive around Norfolk and on Norfolk freeways, by the way. Carmasters Automotive 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. As your friendly and knowledgeable Carmasters Automotive advisor for information. Ca ... read more

Top 5 Family Friendly Road Trip Games

Top 5 Family Friendly Road Trip Games

Road trips are fun in theory, but being stuck in a car for hours can get boring. If you’re traveling with children, you know that their attention span is even smaller than yours. To pass time and have a little fun with the family on the road this summer, we recommend playing some fun road trip games! Below are some games to play to get rid of everybody’s boredom: I Spy This is a childhood classic for many of us at Carmaster Automotive. To play this game, designate someone in the car to be "it,". This person will have to choose a specific thing that is visible to everyone else in the car. Then the rest of the car will have to guess what the chosen object is. Finish the Lyric Finish the lyric is a fun game for music lovers all around. The game’s name is pretty much self-explanatory. One person, who is not participating in the game itself, controls the music by playing snippets of songs. And the first passenger to shout out the rest of the lyrics of the son ... read more

The Harm in Skipping an Oil Change

Some new vehicle manufacturers are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more.  Following these recommendations is very important to avoid engine damage.  When you go too long between oil changes, oil starts to turn to sludge.  This causes small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail. What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage.  There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge.  Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil.  This water also creates sludge.  Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation. Severe driving includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions.  The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate. Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem.  Stop and go driving, towing, dusty c ... read more

Pump it Up (Signs Fuel Pump is Failing)

You don't have to be an auto expert to know what a fuel pump does: it pumps fuel.  The fuel pump happens to be one of those vital parts of your vehicle that can leave you stranded when it isn't working the way it should.  Here are a few things to be aware of that might indicate your fuel pump is about to give up the ghost. One thing to watch for is something called "heat and stall." If you see your vehicle's temperature gauge go up and then your vehicle stalls, your fuel pump could be weakening. If you stall, but your fuel gauge shows you have plenty of fuel, that's another sign.  Also, if you are giving your vehicle a stress test (hauling a big load, going uphill, going at highway speeds) and your engine sputters, the fuel pump may be failing to deliver the fuel pressure your engine needs. Here are a couple more possible symptoms: your engine suddenly jerks or your fuel economy plummets. Finally, if you have trouble starting your vehicle, yo ... read more

What's Shakin' with my Brakin'? (Brake Rotor Service)

If you feel your vehicle vibrating when you’re braking, or if you don't stop in as short a distance as you used to, it may be time to have your brakes checked. All newer vehicles have disc brakes in the front, and more manufacturers are using disc brakes all around (instead of an older technology called drum brakes), so there's a pretty good chance at some point you'll find yourself facing a disc brake repair when yours begin to wear out. Before we go any farther, here's how disc brakes work.  If you've ever had a bicycle with hand brakes, you know there is a caliper that pushes pads on each side of your bicycle wheel when you squeeze the brake handle.  Disc brakes are similar, but there's a metal disc (called a brake rotor) there instead of the bike wheel's rim. In disc brakes, the vibration you feel when you are stopping is often because the surface of the rotor is not flat, or the rotors have an uneven thickness. Sometimes, the rotors ca ... read more

How Long Will My Brakes Last? (Brake Maintenance)

If you feel a slight shudder or vibration coming through your brake pedal when you stop, it could be a sign you need some brake work done. That gets you thinking, how long should my brakes last anyway? It depends on a lot of factors.  But for discussion's sake, let's talk about the components that wear out most often, the pads and rotors. One factor is how you drive.  If you drive on highways a lot, you won't use your brakes as much as, say, someone who lives in the city and is in the middle of a lot of stop-and-go traffic. Do you drive a lot in the mountains? Do you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads? Those driving habits will all wear down your pads and rotors more quickly than someone who doesn't put that extra friction on their brake components. Do you love jackrabbit starts and squealing stops?  That will wear out your brakes more quickly than smoother driving habits.  Do you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle? In that case, you may have reg ... read more

Choosing the Right Washer Fluid

During the colder weather months, drivers find themselves using more windshield washer fluid. Street surfaces are generally sloppier and can kick up snow, salt, mud and grime that require washer fluid to help out your windshield wipers. You might be tempted just to pick up the cheapest blue fluid you can find, but sometimes that's not the wisest choice. You probably already know that pure water isn’t a great idea.  It can freeze in cold weather and potentially damage the lines in your vehicle that carry the fluid. Plus, spraying water on your windshield in freezing temperatures can result in a layer of blinding ice that will obstruct your view. Different windshield washer fluids are made for different climates.  Many will contain alcohol to prevent them from freezing.  The label will usually tell you the lowest temperature at which they'll work properly.  Some will also have a detergent in them to clean off the contaminants that dirty up your windsh ... read more

5 Signs of a Dying Car Battery

5 Signs of a Dying Car Battery

When your car battery starts acting up, it can be a sign of battery problems. Here are 5 signs your battery is dying: A Slow-Starting Engine If you've noticed that your car takes longer than usual to start up, it might be time for a new battery. The battery is the power source for the starter motor, so if it is not working, the engine will not start. Dim Lights or Headlights Are Slow To Turn On If your car dome light doesn't brighten at all, or if it looks dim when you turn the key, it could be a sign of a dying battery. Likewise, if your headlights are slow to pop on after starting the engine, this can be another indicator of trouble. Battery Is More Than Three Years Old batteries are the most common cause of car problems, so measure how old yours are. If you have a standard wet cell car battery, like you would find in most cars, trucks, and SUVs from the last few decades, there will be a sticker on top with a code printed. You can find out exactly how old your battery i ... read more

The Heat is On (Hot Weather Vehicle Concerns)

When the weather gets hot, some of the components of your vehicle are pushed to the limit.  Here are a few things to watch out for as the mercury climbs higher: Your vehicle's air conditioning (A/C) system.  You might notice it's blowing only hot air, even though when you last had it on in the fall, it was working fine.  All sorts of things can fail in an air conditioning system, from the blower motor to the condenser, a worn compressor, or simply a refrigerant leak.  A/C diagnosis and repair requires a trained technician.   Tires.  Heat is hard on tires.  Rubber breaks down in sunlight and hot weather.  Tire pressure climbs as the temperature climbs. A trained technician will check your pressure, tread depth, cupping and other uneven wear, and track down the cause. It may be time for some new ones.   Cooling system.  It only makes sense that summer breakdowns are often caused by the vehicle overheating.  Have us check ... read more

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