Yearly Archives: 2021

Radiator Fans

Jul 12th, 2021 If you’re old enough, you’ve heard the term “fan belt”. Back in the day the radiator fan in your vehicle was turned by a belt driven by the engine. There are still belt driven fans – although most are now driven by the serpentine belt. But most vehicles now have electric fans that draw fresh air across the radiator to cool it. As coolant/antifreeze circulates in the cooling system it captures heat from the engine and flows into the radiator. Air cools the radiator and the coolant in it before it flows back into the engine to pick up some more heat. Now your engine has an ideal temperature range in which it is most efficient: it shouldn’t be too hot or too cool. The electric radiator fans help maintain the ideal temperature. A switch mounted in a cooling system passage checks the temperature of the coolant. If the coolant is at the low end of the range, the switch turns off the fan motor. When the coolant rises to a certain temperatu ... read more

Carmasters Automotive Serpentine Belt Service

Carmasters Automotive Serpentine Belt Service Jul 5th, 2021 Your serpentine belt drives your alternator and air conditioning compressor.  The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in many vehicles.  In some vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt (in others it’s driven by the timing belt).  The radiator cooling fan on some vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt.  Some have separate electric motors.  Serpentine belts do a lot of work, but they’re tough and can last for thousands of miles, but just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car.  Your manufacturer will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection can reveal a belt that’s worn. It’s often recommended that the tensioner pulley that keeps the belt at the proper tension be replaced along with the serpentine belt ... read more

Tire Tread Depth

Tire Tread Depth Jun 27th, 2021 When talking about stopping power, we tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn't enough: we have to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power. Let's focus on stopping in wet conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can't move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water. To move water out of the way, the tire has channels for water to flow through. Look at a tire and you'll see channels that run around and across the tire. They're designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better. The deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down eno ... read more

Happy 4th of July from Carmasters Automotive!

 Happy 4th of July from Carmasters Automotive!

The Fourth of July is a special and fun-filled day for every fellow American. Whether you plan to watch fireworks, have a grill out, go to Virginia Beach or all of the above, you will likely run into traffic during this time of the year. With lifted group restrictions, people are ready to come together again. We are looking forward to the 4th ourselves; however, it is crucial to prioritize your safety during the holiday.   Below are some tips that we suggest you follow to ensure you are safe for the 4th of July:   Plan ahead for your trip. As mentioned before, there will be more drivers on the road, and parking may be difficult to find in most places. There are plenty of helpful apps that will help you with planning, navigating, and streamlining your drive. We recommend Waze for real-time navigation and traffic conditions and SpotHero to find your parking beforehand.    Be alert when driving. Independence Day is known to be one of the most dangerous days ... read more

The Foggiest Idea (Fogged Windows in Cold Weather)

Jun 15th, 2021 In cold weather, you may notice your windows fogging up. Then you can't see where you're going, and suddenly you and those around you are in danger. So, what causes your windows to fog up in cold weather, and how can you stop it? Fog is simply moisture condensing on a cold surface. When the air inside your vehicle is moist and warmer than the outside air, it hits the glass that's cooled by the outside temperature, and you get fog. If your windows fog up, you probably already know to try the defroster for your windshield. You may also have an electric defroster for your rear window and outside rearview mirrors. Electric elements in the window and mirror glass heat up, so the moisture doesn't condense on the glass. If the defroster isn't working on all the windows, turn up the temperature setting on your heater. Hot air holds more moisture. Switch on the air conditioning. As the air moves over the cooling coils, the moisture is removed. Turn your ve ... read more

Diesel Engines

When someone mentions diesels around Norfolk, images of smoky, rattly trucks may spring to mind. The fact is that the modern, clean diesel engine is much more refined than in the old days. Sure, diesel engines remain a very popular choice with heavy duty pick-up truck drivers in Norfolk, but they are finding their way into nearly every segment of the VA automotive market. Why is that? Well, it's science. Diesel fuel contains more energy than the same amount of gasoline. So it takes less diesel fuel to do the same amount of work as gas.  so Norfolk diesel drivers get more miles per gallon/kilometers per liter and lower emissions. In Europe, where fuel is very expensive and good fuel economy is very important, around half of passenger vehicles are powered by diesel engines. This goes for small economy cars all the way up to the world's most luxury vehicles. The driving experience is also very good with diesel engines.  In fact Norfolk residents may not even be able to ... read more

Radiator Hoses

Your radiator hoses carry coolant between your engine and radiator.  It’s an important job.  If a hose fails, you could lose your engine coolant which might lead to overheating and very expensive engine damage, so you want to make sure you always have good hoses. Radiator hoses are very resilient, but they are subject to very harsh conditions.  Think about it, the temperature might be below freezing when you start your engine and the coolant could be up over 100 degrees Fahrenheit within a mile.  These extreme internal temperature fluctuations contribute to hose degradation from the inside.  Oil splashing on the outside of a hose will cause the hose material to soften over time.   Ozone can also eat away at the hose.  The bottom line is that hoses don’t last forever and will need to be replaced. If you see steam coming from under your hood, you probably have a cooling system leak somewhere.  Other signs are puddles of coolant und ... read more


Let’s talk transmissions.  Transmissions are heavy duty pieces of equipment that are designed to last a long time.  But like any other machine, they’ll eventually wear out and need repair. So, let’s focus on what you can do to push that day off as far as possible. The first thing you can do is to make sure your transmission always has enough fluid.  Transmission fluid cools and lubricates the transmission.  When there’s not enough fluid, the transmission will run hotter and wear out sooner.  The transmission fluid also provides the pressure needed to transfer power from the engine to the transmission.  Not enough fluid, and your transmission won’t shift properly. Your service center will check your transmission fluid level with a full-service oil change and top it off if needed.  If you see any transmission fluid on the driveway – it’s a reddish color – have us inspect it for a leak.  A gasket, ho ... read more

The Carmasters Automotive Guide To A Long Lasting Vehicle

May 18th, 2021 Let's say you've got a nine-year-old vehicle with plenty of distance on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two? Let's start with the premise that there's no reason that a modern car can't run for 200,000 miles or 320,000 kilometers in Norfolk with proper care. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there. Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there's no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if you stay on top of your recommended maintenance even beyond the end of the printed schedule. For example, if a service is recommended every 15,000 miles or 25,000 kilometers when the vehicle is new, you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles or 25,000 kilometers after you go forth. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it's very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oi ... read more

5 Car Noises You Shouldn't Ignore

5 Car Noises You Shouldn't Ignore

From indicating it's time for a service through to a warning of fast-approaching mechanical failure, the noises coming from your car can provide a wealth of information. If you've had your car for a few months, chances are you'll be familiar with its usual sounds. This means that when a new noise starts, you'll quickly recognize that your vehicle needs attention. Here are five common noises to look out for, along with an explanation of what they might mean. 1. Hissing In most cases, hissing will be due to the escape of steam from an overheated radiator. In these circumstances, stop as soon as it's safe to do so and seek professional assistance. Driving with an overheated engine can cause serious damage. 2. Metallic scraping when braking If you hear squealing or metal-on-metal when braking, it frequently means your brake pads have worn right down to the underlying metal. Get the pads inspected immediately and replaced if necessary. If the brakes are worn to the m ... read more

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