Yearly Archives: 2021

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

Battery Upgrades at Carmasters Automotive in Norfolk

Battery Upgrades at Carmasters Automotive in Norfolk Dec 21st, 2021 Batteries are a huge part of modern Norfolk life. I mean, how many battery chargers do you have in your Norfolk home? Of course, our purpose here is to talk about car batteries in Norfolk. When Norfolk drivers come into Carmasters Automotive and need a new battery, they're really not that happy about having to spend the money. But the fact is that 70% of batteries don't make it for 4 years. There are some things Norfolk drivers can do to extend the life of their battery. First, keep it clean. If you see it getting dirty or greasy, let your friendly and knowledgeable Carmasters Automotive service advisor know so it can be cleaned off. A dirty battery runs hotter and that shortens its life. If your battery terminals are corroded, let us take a look at that too. We can clean them, and if the corrosion has gotten into the battery cables, we can replace them. Also running your battery way down is bad for ... read more

5 Most Important Warning Lights on Your Dashboard

5 Most Important Warning Lights on Your Dashboard

As modern cars continue to evolve and improve the driving experience, an old problem remains. A warning light popping up on your dashboard seems to always appear at the worst time. While touch screens, GPSs, heated steering wheels have all made the driving experience much better, the fact remains: cars will always need maintenance. Below are the most important maintenance/warning lights you should pay attention to, and fix.   1. Tire Pressure Warning Light What it Looks Like: A tire pressure warning can vary from car to car, however, it is almost always the symbol of a tire. In some modern cars, an exclamation point may appear, along with the "low tire pressure" phrase appearing on your dashboard.   What it Means: Given how important tire pressure is in a car, it is surprising it has taken this long for cars to become standardized with tire pressure sensors. Correct tire pressure is extremely important for the safety and efficiency of a vehicle. From an efficie ... read more

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

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