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

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

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