5 Tips for Buying Used in Norfolk

5 Tips for Buying Used in Norfolk Dec 17th, 2021 Here are 5 tips from Carmasters Automotive for used car buyers: 1. Ask for service records. Most owners who document regular maintenance service take care of their vehicle. 2. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Check for uneven tire wear, alignment, suspension issues, strange sounds and funky odors. 3. If everything checks out up to this point, take it to Carmasters Automotive for a thorough used car inspection. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Carmasters Automotive can give you a heads up on any pressing issues or emerging problems that will need to be addressed eventually. If the seller won't let you do this before you buy, move on. 4. Buy a CarFax report. This will show any major accidents and title status concerns including whether it is a salvaged vehicle. You don't want a car that was underwater for a week after Hurricane Sandy. 5. After you buy, stay on top of regular maintenance (and save th ... read more

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive in Norfolk: Spark Plugs

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive in Norfolk: Spark Plugs Dec 7th, 2021   Question: I'm confused about when I should get my spark plugs replaced. What's the deal? Answer from Carmasters Automotive: Well, it can be confusing for Norfolk drivers because there are several types of spark plugs and some last longer than others. Your owner's manual will have a recommendation for when your spark plugs should be changed.   Here's a little background from Carmasters Automotive. Spark plugs are in the combustion chamber of your engine. They send a little spark between two electrodes at the end of the spark plug which ignites the gasoline. This little spark goes off thousands of times a minute. Over time, the electrodes on standard grade spark plugs wear away, increasing the gap between them. When that happens, the spark isn't as strong and the fuel doesn't burn as well. As I mentioned above, there are several ty ... read more

Driving on Technology

Driving on Technology Dec 1st, 2021 Think of how much technology has changed vehicles in the last several years. And there's a lot more coming. Many will remember when drivers were the ones who had complete control of several driving functions: steering, braking, and skid and accident prevention, just to name a few. Thanks to computers, high-tech systems in the vehicle now assist with many of these. Anti-lock brakes help the driver stop while avoiding uncontrolled skids, traction control helps reduce slippage, and stability control can minimize the chances of losing control. Backup cameras let drivers see what's directly behind them, things they could never see before. Sensors warn drivers if a vehicle is crossing in front or behind them. Even more sensors and fish-eye cameras alert drivers when they're getting too close to something. And those are just a few of the advances. The quest for self-driving vehicles has produced features that are already making their way int ... read more

Common Reasons For Car Heater Failure

Common Reasons For Car Heater Failure

Now that it is November in Norfolk, VA, we need to rely on our vehicle's heating system to keep us warm on chilly mornings and cold evenings. We also need it to defrost and clear our windshield when the outside temperature doesn't match the temperature inside the cabin. A good working heater isn't just related to comfort, but it is also necessary for your safety. Imagine going to cut on your heater and defroster when there's no air blowing out of your vents.  Here are some of the most popular reasons why your car heater might falter like this:  Low coolant levels can stop your vehicle from creating and delivering warm air into your cabin. A coolant leak is an issue that requires immediate attention. If you have a leak or are low in coolant, you are putting your engine at risk. A blown fuse somewhere in your car, SUV, or truck can cause electrical problems, affecting your automobile's ability to build heat.  A failing heater core or a leak in the he ... read more

Tires By the Numbers (What Tire Numbers Mean)

Tires By the Numbers (What Tire Numbers Mean) Nov 21st, 2021 You may have noticed your tires have a pretty long number on them.  Yours might start with a letter, then a 3-digit number, followed by a few more numbers and letters.  That string of letters and numbers is very important for your vehicle because it contains useful information on what tires will give you the performance to meet your vehicle’s original design specifications. These numbers can be found in most owners' manuals and usually on the driver's side doorframe.  Generally, it's a good idea to stick with the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. Let's look at an example.  One customer's SUV has this number on her tires: P245/70R17 108T.  The first letter, P, means it's intended for passenger vehicles.  Some tires don't have any letter at the beginning, which means it's a metric tire. Some tires may also have LT at the beginning or end, which me ... read more

Important Things to Know About the Cost of Auto Repair

Important Things to Know About the Cost of Auto Repair Nov 18th, 2021 AtNorfolk full-service automotive service center, profit margins are a lot narrower than many people imagine. Cars are far more complex, thus the tools and diagnostic equipment are also more complicated and . Diagnosing why your Check Engine light is on may require a machine that costs $18k. Ask a senior technician how much he/she has invested in tools, initial education and ongoing training. For example, a carburetor used to be a pretty simple part to maintain and repair. Nowadays, an electronic fuel system repair in Norfolk requires a technician to have a higher level of knowledge and expensive diagnostic equipment to read and interpret the numerous trouble codes. And it doesn't end there. Shops must pay subscription fees for database services to locate and order the right parts. Buying or leasing shop space has risen along with other commercial real estate prices in Norfolk. All the technology that makes to ... read more

Opinion: Inspection program saves, protects Virginia drivers

Opinion: Inspection program saves, protects Virginia drivers

By Jim Bennett For The Virginian-Pilot | Nov 15, 2021 at 6:05 PM   Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Virginian-Pilot. Afternoon traffic on Interstate 64 is seen from the Mallory Street overpass near the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel on Oct. 14, 2020, in Hampton. (Kaitlin McKeown/Virginia Media)   Jim Bennett is the owner of Carmasters Automotive in Norfolk. (HANDOUT) With travel on the mind, the first thought many people have is, “Where am I going?” Not necessarily “will my car be able to get me there?” The average Joe in Norfolk could probably change a tire or knows when something in their vehicle is not operating correctly, but most likely they can’t check the quality of the exhaust system or change a brake pad. Before thinking about holiday travel, has your own vehicle been inspected? Every year, about ... read more

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive: Synthetic Oil

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive: Synthetic Oil

Simple Answers from Carmasters Automotive: Synthetic Oil Nov 8th, 2021 Question: What is synthetic oil and should I use it? Carmasters Automotive Answer: Regular oil, also called conventional oil, comes from dead dinosaurs. Conventional oil molecules are long hydrocarbon chains of various lengths. Imagine a bunch of pencils – some used and some brand new. Synthetic oil is often more highly refined petroleum-based oil. The molecules are shorter and closer to the same length. Think a bunch of those little golf pencils. Some synthetic oil is man-made. The molecules are rounder and much more uniform. Think marbles. So you can see that as you progress from conventional oil to synthetic blends (a mixture of conventional and synthetic ... read more

Serpentine Belt

Serpentine Belt Nov 1st, 2021 The serpentine belt is powered by the engine as it turns. Your alternator, air conditioning compressor and power steering pump depend on your serpentine belt to run. On some vehicles it also runs the water pump, radiator fan and power brakes. If your serpentine belt breaks, your battery won't last long. If it runs your fan or water pump, your engine could overheat before your battery dies. Steering and braking would also be affected. Hopefully, we've made a good case for replacing your vehicle's serpentine belt when it's worn out. Your owner's manual will advise you when to replace your serpentine belt. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Carmasters Automotive can inspect the belt as well, to see if it's close to failure. You may have heard that it's a good idea to check for cracks in your belt to see if it's time for a new one. However, with the newer belts, belt thickness is a more reliable indicato ... read more

Mirror, Mirror (Door Mirror Problems)

Oct 26th, 2021 You've probably seen them lying around at the side of the road: someone's outside rearview mirror that's been knocked off by a driver’s not-so-perfect driving.  And you realize the person who owns that vehicle now has lost an important safety feature.  Having functional mirrors enhances your safety and that of drivers around you. You probably don't think too much about your mirrors, so now it's time to "reflect" on some signs that yours may have problems. The most obvious one is broken mirror glass.  Whether caused by an accident or vandalism, a cracked outside rearview mirror reduces your ability to see your blind spots.  In these cases, you may only have to have the glass replaced.  Driving blind (without a mirror) can cause serious accidents.  Don't put this off. Another issue is an outside mirror that can't easily be adjusted.  Many newer vehicles have power mirrors.  They're s ... read more

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