Buying a Used Vehicle - Five Common Mistakes

There are many positive reasons to purchase a used vehicle instead of a new vehicle, but a lower financial investment is usually the number one reason. Since the used vehicle market isn’t tightly regulated and certain risk factors are involved in the purchase of a used vehicle, consumers often seem to take a leap of faith when making the big purchase. Read More

Buying a Used Vehicle – Five Common Mistakes

There are many positive reasons to purchase a used vehicle instead of a new vehicle, but a lower financial investment is usually the number one reason. Since the used vehicle market isn’t tightly regulated and certain risk factors are involved in the purchase of a used vehicle, consumers often seem to take a leap of…

The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Car Inspection

Just as you would never purchase a house without having it inspected, you should never purchase a used vehicle without having a knowledgeable ASE certified automotive technician carefully examine it first. For most people, purchasing a vehicle is the second largest purchase they make in their lives. During a pre-purchase inspection, the automotive technician will…

The Importance of a Test Drive

There are many reasons why a person may purchase a used vehicle. No matter what the reason to purchase may be, we all ultimately want to purchase a vehicle that is safe, comfortable, and reliable. Therefore, a test drive is one of the most important steps in determining whether or not to purchase a used…

Flood & Environmentally Damaged Vehicles

Water damage to a vehicle may occur as a result of flooding, intense storms, or from continuous exposure to water, salt, humidity, or corrosive chemicals. While there is no foolproof technique to avoid the financially devastating purchase of an environmentally damaged vehicle, steps can be taken to ensure the vehicle you purchase lives up to…

Characteristics of a Reputable Used Car Dealer

Because so many independent used car dealers have set themselves up in the used car business solely to take advantage of people, independent used car dealers in general get a bad rap, even those who strive to be fair and honest. So, the question is: When searching for a used vehicle, how can you tell…

The Value of Regularly Checking Fluid Levels in Your Car

Cheap Insurance – Regularly check all of the fluids in your vehicle and replace them when they need it! There is a good chance the newer used car you are looking at buying or selling still has a lot of the original fluids. Service recommendations for a lot of newer vehicles have been created to…

Your Vehicle’s Steering Linkage

Have you ever wondered how it is possible for you to barely turn the steering wheel on your vehicle and the vehicle instantly and easily changes directions and provides you with a sense of control and safety? There are many components responsible for this, and the steering linkage is a primary one. The term “steering…

Your Vehicle’s Frame & Undercarriage

Most people rarely, if ever, look underneath their vehicle. The undercarriage of a vehicle often tells a story about the life the vehicle has lived. The story may consist of the climate the vehicle is operated in, the amount of pampering it has received, or whether the vehicle is parked in a garage or outdoors….

The Purpose of Wheel Bearings

Bearings have been around since the ancient Egyptians were building the pyramids. The concept behind a wheel bearing is simple: Things roll better than they slide. When things slide, the friction between them slows them down. If two surfaces can roll over one another, friction is greatly reduced. The ancient Egyptians placed round logs under…

The Power Steering System & Steering Gear

There are several components in your vehicle’s power steering system that make it easier to turn and steer the vehicle accurately. Cars of old had huge steering wheels and required a lot of muscle to manage the manual steering system. Thanks to technology, modern vehicles are much easier to turn and steer. The major power…

Fluid Leaks

It has happened to most vehicle owners. You notice a mysterious puddle under your vehicle and quickly go into panic mode not knowing what the fluid is or how serious the leak may be. Knowing how to identify the different types and locations of fluids in your vehicle will help you determine how serious a…

Exhaust System, Muffler, & Converter

A vehicle’s exhaust system is designed to direct harmful gases away from the driver and passengers, reduce the emissions the vehicle releases into the environment, control the delivery of hot exhaust, provide information to the vehicle’s computer to improve vehicle performance, and significantly reduce the amount of noise the vehicle makes. The only component of…

Differential Function, Fluid Level, & Condition

Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), four-wheel drive (4WD), or all-wheel drive (AWD), power must be delivered to at least one pair of left and right wheels so the vehicle can move. This is made possible by the differential. The differential is the component that distributes power from the vehicle’s transmission,…

Your Vehicle’s Exterior Lighting System

Since the invention of the automobile, exterior lighting has been an important and necessary vehicle subsystem. Exterior lighting is vital to driving in the dark, driver and passenger safety, comfort, enjoyment, and even vehicle styling. The technology used in automotive lighting has rapidly increased to make lighting more automated, responsive, efficient, durable, visible, safe, and…

Vehicle Dashboard Lights (Warning & Informational)

Every time you start your vehicle or turn your ignition key to the on position there are illuminated symbols on the dashboard that perform a self-test to let you know the bulbs are working. While these lights usually go off right away and are soon forgotten, there will be times when one or more of…

Don’t Be Deceived – OBD Readiness Monitors Status

Most automobile owners have experienced their check engine light coming on at one time or another. The check engine light is also known as the malfunction indicator light (MIL), or service engine soon (SES) light. It is important to understand the reason why vehicles have a check engine light, what the light could potentially mean,…

Emissions System – Why Does Your Vehicle Have One

Sometimes you see it; sometimes you smell it. Sometimes you see and smell it. Sometimes you don’t even notice it at all. But whether you notice it or not, there is exhaust coming from your vehicle, and it is contributing to air pollution.  Air pollution refers to the presence of foreign substances in the air…

Your Vehicle’s Suspension System

When most people think of automotive performance, they think of power, the need for speed, the roaring sound of the engine, and how fast the vehicle will go from zero to 60 miles per hour. However, all this power and speed is useless if the driver is unable to control the vehicle and is not…

Purpose of the Stabilizer Bar, Links, & Bushings

When making a turn while driving your car, you may have noticed that your body tends to move toward the outside of the turn. The same thing happens to all the parts of your vehicle during a turn. Additionally, the parts of the vehicle on the outside of the turn get pushed down toward the…

Constant Velocity (CV) Joints & Boots

Automobiles are comprised of many relatively small components that may not get much attention but are vital to the safe operation of the vehicle. One such part is a Constant Velocity (CV) joint and the one little bit of protection it has called a CV boot. What exactly is a CV joint and boot, and…

Universal (U) Joints – Axle & Driveshaft

Drive shafts and universal joints are present on most rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles. A universal joint (U-joint) is a mechanical joint used for connecting shafts that rotate and are aligned at different angles to each other. The U-joint compensates for the misalignment between the shafts in any direction. U-joints can be used when…

Your Vehicle’s Water Pump

The water pump, also known as the coolant pump, is the heart of the engine’s cooling system. It is the water pump’s job to regulate the coolant flow rate, and to constantly circulate coolant throughout the engine and cooling system. Most water pumps have seven basic components: HOUSING – The housing is the outer shell…

Your Engine’s Cooling System

A typical vehicle with a four-cylinder engine cruising down the highway at 55 miles per hour will produce nearly 5,000 controlled explosions per minute inside the engine as the spark plugs ignite the air and fuel mixture in each of the cylinders. This is what propels the vehicle down the road. These explosions produce an…

Your Vehicle’s Hydraulic Brake System

Whether you are approaching a red light, a deer jumps out in front of you, or you are driving in stop and go rush hour traffic, you depend on your brakes to safely slow you down or bring you to a quick stop. The average driver applies their brakes over 200 times every day. Brakes…

Your Vehicle’s Parking Brake

The parking brake in your vehicle is often referred to as the hand brake, e-brake, or emergency brake. However, because most modern braking systems have failsafe measures and warning systems, such as on-dash brake warning lights and low fluid level sensors, the parking brake is rarely used as an emergency brake. The parking brake is…

Safety Systems – Horn, Airbags, & Seat Belts

Safety is a primary concern when designing and building automobiles. Driving remains the single most dangerous activity we perform on a daily basis. The weight of an average modern vehicle is about 4,000 pounds. A 4,000-pound vehicle traveling at 60 mph has an energy of about 500,000-foot pounds. No, that’s not an error. Foot pound…

Transmission Function, Fluid Level, & Condition

An automotive transmission converts an engine’s force into a controlled source of power to move the vehicle and provide usable power from a stopped position throughout all speeds. Without a transmission, the power from the engine could never reach the wheels. It acts as a mediator between the engine and the wheels and converts the…

Your Vehicle’s Charging System

Your vehicle’s charging system has two essential functions. It generates pressure, also known as voltage, and electrical power to run the vehicle’s electrical systems while the engine is running. It also generates electrical current flow, known as amperage, to recharge and maintain the charge in the battery. The system consists of the alternator, voltage regulator,…

Your Vehicle’s Ignition System

The basic principles of the electric spark ignition system have not changed in nearly a century, but the method by which the spark is created and distributed has greatly improved with advances in technology. There are three basic types of automotive ignition systems: distributor-based, distributor-less, and coil-on-plug (COP). Early ignition systems used fully mechanical distributors…

Engine & Transmission Mounts

The engine in your vehicle is attached to the frame of the vehicle. When the engine operates, it causes vibrations. Engine and transmission mounts are necessary to hold and support the engine and transmission, and to isolate the vibrations that happen when the engine is running. The mounts act as an insulator between the vehicle…

The Importance of the Fuel System & Filter

The purpose of your vehicle’s fuel system is to store and supply the gasoline or diesel fuel your engine needs to run. Your vehicle’s fuel system is like the vascular system in your body: the fuel pump acts like the heart, the fuel lines act like the veins, and the fuel filter acts like the…

The Purpose of Control Arms, Bushings, & Ball Joints

Control arms, bushings, and ball joints may not be common household terms for many vehicle owners. You may have never even heard of them, but they are critical components of your vehicle’s suspension system that allow your tires to smoothly go up and down in a controlled fashion. Without them, your ride probably wouldn’t be…

Tire Valve Stem Caps – Do Your Tires Need Them?

Have you ever gone to check your vehicle’s tire air pressure and found the cap that screws on the valve stem was missing on one or more tires? You may have thought you were lucky because you had easy access to the valve stem, thereby making it easier to add air to your tires. Maybe…

Transfer Case Function, Fluid Level, & Condition

A transfer case is the center of the drivetrain of four-wheel drive and some all-wheel drive vehicles. Mounted to the back of the transmission, it splits engine power and sends it to the front and rear axles by means of front and rear drive shafts. It also synchronizes the difference in rotation of the front…

The Importance of Your Vehicle’s Tires

When purchasing a used vehicle, most people are concerned about finding a specific make or model, body style, performance package, amenities, or even color. One thing buyers may not give much thought to is the vehicle’s tires. While the tires may not be among the first things on your mind when purchasing a vehicle, they…

Tire Rotations – Why & When

Tires rotate all the time as they roll down the road, but that’s not what it means to “rotate” your tires. Rotating your tires means to move each tire from its original wheel position to another, moving them left to right, back to front, or even diagonally, for the purpose of promoting even tire wear….

The Importance of Windshield Wipers & Washers

The majority of drivers probably don’t give much thought to windshield wipers and washer systems. However, if you get caught in a rainstorm, a snowstorm, get splashed with mud or slush, or run into a swarm of bugs, your windshield wipers and washer system will be the first thought you have. The first windshield wipers…

The Importance of Heating & Air Conditioning Systems

The heating system in your vehicle is designed to keep you warm, comfortable, and safe when the temperature outside is cold. Some of the basic components of your vehicle’s heating system include the heater core, the blower motor and fan, heater hoses, the heater control valve, the HVAC (heater, ventilation, air conditioning) control panel on…

The Importance & Function of Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in hydraulic brake and hydraulic clutch applications in vehicles. It is used to transfer force into pressure, and to amplify braking force. Simply stated, when you apply your foot to the brake pedal, brake fluid transfers this force into pressure to the front and rear brakes…

Windshield – Key Safety Feature Providing a View

Most of us are familiar with the key safety components of our vehicles. Everyone knows wearing a seat belt saves lives. Most drivers know if their vehicle is equipped with air bags and where they are located. Many of us have honked our horns in an emergency situation. But very few drivers are aware of…

Your Vehicle’s Starter System

Think magic is only for magicians? Think again. You make magic happen every day with a simple turn of your vehicle’s ignition key or a press of the start button. Presto: the engine comes to life, seemingly like magic! No magic words required. While you may know how to make your vehicle start, do you…

The Importance of Checking the Engine Oil Level & Condition

Oil is the lifeblood of the engine in your vehicle. Without oil, your engine would burn up and seize in a matter of seconds. Oil lubricates your engine and fights against the two biggest enemies of any motor: friction and heat. Friction and heat produce wear. Wear will eventually destroy your engine. Friction and heat…

The Importance of the Serpentine Belt

The term serpentine belt may conjure up images of a snake like object. That representation is actually pretty accurate. The serpentine belt is a long, winding belt that connects many of your vehicle’s components, including the power steering pump, alternator, and air conditioning compressor, and more, to the vehicle’s crankshaft pulley. In some engines, the…

Your Vehicle’s Battery – How it Works & How to Maintain it

The primary purpose of the battery in your vehicle is to provide electrical energy to crank the engine during starting. Contrary to what many people think, a battery is comprised of stored chemicals, not electricity. Two different types of lead in a sulfuric acid and water mixture react with one another to produce an electrical…

Your Engine’s Air Filter

Your air filter is one of the most important parts of your engine. For each gallon of fuel burned, up to 10,000 gallons of air is required for your engine to function properly. If your car consumes 40 gallons of fuel each month, it is also consuming approximately 400,000 gallons of air. That is equivalent…

Your Vehicle’s Cabin Air Filter

Many vehicle manufacturers suggest your vehicle’s cabin air filter be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, or annually. What is a cabin air filter, you ask? That is a good question considering many motorists don’t even know their vehicle has a cabin air filter. It’s out of sight and out of mind, but that’s not…