FAQ

Auto Repair – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I need “scheduled maintenance?” answer
  • How often should I change my fuel filter? answer
  • My “check engine light” just came on, but the car is still running okay. What should I do? answer
  • My car just “clicks” when I try to start it.  What is wrong?  answer
  • My battery light is on. What should I do? answer
  • What is that “clicking” sound when I turn? answer
  • My car just “died” while I was driving and won’t start now. What should I do? answer
  • My car shakes when I use the brakes. What is wrong? answer
  • Do your windshield wipers make a scraping, bumpy or rubbing sound? answer
  • Do you own or have just recently started driving a late model (1996-2004)? If you have or do and put gas in and now the CHECK ENG light is on but it was not before, Don’t panic, answer

Why do I need “scheduled maintenance?”
Regular scheduled maintenance practices will often find small problems and keep them from becoming bigger problems. But remember, no matter how well you take care of your vehicle, there is always something that could fail. No one can predict the future!

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How often should I change my fuel filter?
Every 15,000 miles or once a year. (Not changing the fuel filter on-time is a leading cause for electric fuel pump early failure)

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My “check engine light” just came on, but the car is still running okay. What should I do?
Even thought the car is “still running okay” you should have a computer diagnosis done to find out why the check engine light came on.

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My car just “clicks” when I try to start it. What is wrong?
Possible weak battery.
For later model Ford vehicles (mid to late 1990’s) a possible ignition switch electrical failure.
Starter solonoid failure, high resistance in start system wiring.
The starter is bad and needs to be replaced.
The battery cables and clamps are dirty, corroded or loose.
You should have the the Starting/Charging system checked and repaired.

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My battery light is on. What should I do?
If your battery light comes on, stop the car and turn off the engine because on some vehicles, the alternator belt also drives the waterpump and continuing to drive if the belt has come off or broken will cause the engine to overheat because the waterpump is no longer turning. This could cause headgasket failure or serious engine damage.

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What is that “clicking” sound when I turn?
That “clicking” noise you hear is most likely a CV axle that has a torn boot and dirt and debris has gotten in and the grease has all been thrown out. The CV axle needs to be replaced (replaceing only the torn boot will NOT cure the noise). Average cost for parts and labor to replace a CV axle is 149.95 and up.

Most common on Imports: Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Mitubishi and on most any front wheel drive vehicle. But Honda is the most common.

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My car just “died” while I was driving and won’t start now. What should I do?
Pay attention to what the vehicle does when you try to start it.

    1. Does it just “turn over?” It might be out of gas! Check to make sure. If this is okay, wait a few minutes and it might start. Keep in mind that if it does start, it could likely  die again when it gets hot. Possible culprits are
      • ignition module
      • computer
      • crankshaft position sensor
      • broken timing belt

 

  1. Does it “start and die” as soon as you let go of the key? If you have an older Dodge car (70’s – 80’s), the ballast resister could be bad. It’s a little white ceramic thing on the firewall.
    In newer vehicles, possible culprits are

    • ignition module
    • ignition switch
    • vehicle computer
    • input sensor (crankshaft position sensor or camshaft position sensor)

    Electronic diagnostic equipment is necessary to properly test these items and circuits.

  2. Is it completely “dead?” (No lights on the instrument panel light up when you turn the key.) The battery may have gone completely “dead” because of another problem such as
    • an alternator failure
    • the alternator belt came off
    • a wire in the starting/charging system is broken or disconnected.

    The electrical system should be checked, all power and grounds and the alternator should be tested for proper operation.

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My car shakes when I use the brakes. What is wrong?
The most likely reason your car “shakes when you hit the brakes is the brake rotors are “warped” due to hard braking, riding the brakes, panic stops, etc. that build up excessive heat and “warp” the disk brake rotors. The repair is to resurface the rotors or replace them.

If you feel the “shake” in the steering wheel and in your foot when you use the brakes, most times it’s the Front brakes, but…some vehicles have disk brakes on all 4 wheels and if you feel “shaking” in the seat or the whole vehicle, have the rear rotors checked as well and, if needed, replaced or resurfaced.

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Do your windshield wipers make a scraping, bumpy or rubbing sound?
Something I have found to cause that is road grime built up on the blades. The cure I found to work the best is some regular Houshold White Vinegar. Clean the windshield wiper Blades (the rubber part) good with white vinegar as well as the windshield about once a week.

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Do you own or have you just recently started driving a late model (1996-2004)? If you have or do and put gas in and now the CHECK ENGINE light is on but it was not before, don’t panic,
If the check engine light is on after you have put gas in your late model vehicle, you may not have properly locked the fuel cap. Some caps “click” when you tighten them. This is normal and you should “click” it about 3-4 clicks to seal the system. Some simply lock at a stop point and are properly sealed. Check your owners manual for proper procedure for your vehicle. If this happens and the check engine light is on, you’ll need to go to an automotive service facility to have them clear the code set by the fuel cap not being properly sealed.