Mysterious Car Sounds What They Might Mean

car sounds, car noises, listening to your car
admin 2019-05-22

A fully operational and working machine is expected to produce some noise. The soft twirl of the motors or a soft hum of the engine should be enough to guarantee that the equipment is working properly. However, when you start hearing something out of the ordinary, it’s time to pay attention. There could be a number of reasons behind noises, and sometimes finding the cause can be difficult.

Following are some of the common vehicle noises that can spell trouble:

Whistling or Rumbling Exhaust Sounds

In most cars, the engine is located in the front but the exhaust of the engine travels the length of the car so noises can be created anywhere along that system through vibration or defect. The further back the sound is heard, the less serious the issue probably is. Apart from this, you might hear high-pitched or low-pitched whistling or rumbling sounds if it’s an exhaust issue. This could be caused by a crack or hole in the exhaust causing the exhaust to leak somewhere throughout the system.

Popping Engine Sounds

A popping sound coming from the tailpipe of your vehicle is a sign that there is something wrong with the engine. It could mean a clogged catalytic converter, a bad power circuit or accelerator pump in your carburetor, bad spark wires, worn or dirty spark plugs, water in your gasoline, a clogged fuel filter, an ignition problem, or a dirty air filter. Similarly, if there is a rattling noise when sitting at a stoplight or stop sign that sounds like a box of rocks shaking, then it could mean that your catalytic converter is bad. A popping sound that comes from the engine or under the hood could mean that a sensor might not be working properly or your car could benefit from a tune-up.

Braking Noises

You will usually hear squeaking, squealing, or screeching noises when you have brake issues. And if there’s a clunking noise, it could indicate a problem with a worn steering system; brake hardware is missing or damaged or the disc brake caliper is mounted improperly. A squealing noise when braking could be various things; brake pads that have overheated and are now glazed, brake pads and/or shoes that are worn, dirt on the brake, disc brake calipers that have come loose, and more.

Pinging or Knocking Sounds

You may hear knocking or pinging. Although rare, it happens, and this generally means a problem with your fuel or ignition system. It could simply mean that your engine needs a tune-up or the fuel in your gas tank could contain water.

Gurgling Noises

Gurgling noises are one of the stranger sounds when it comes to vehicles. Most of the time, you’ll hear this because your cooling system is not doing its job. Boiling coolant can be heard from the hoses as well as the coolant reservoir. In this case, let your engine cool and check the reservoir level to see if you need to add coolant.

 

Mysterious sounds are worth looking into. If your vehicle is doing anything alarming or suspicious, bring it into Lafayette German Car Repair. We’ll see to it you get back on the road safely.

First-Time Driver? Follow These 9 Car Maintenance Tips

German Car Repair
admin 2019-04-14

Getting your very own car for the first time can be exhilarating. You’ll love going on drives to explore wherever it takes you.

Especially as a first-timer, you also need to be aware of things that are important to maintain the condition of your car. Regular maintenance is critical in order to prevent breakdowns and spending big money to fix them later on.

Here are 9 things you need to pay attention to in order to keep your car in optimal condition for the long run.

1. Check and Replace the Air Filter Regularly

Your car has an air filtration system that cleans contaminants and debris, providing clean air in your car. This filter, if not cleaned for a long time, will become clogged with various waste and pollution. This will at least cause two damages to your engine:

  • First, it will increase the risk of reduced airflow due to the blockage of the air filter. This blockage causes the engine to work harder than it should . This can cause inefficiencies and decrease fuel economy.
  • Second, if the debris and other contaminants are not cleared out, they can find their way into the engine. This will cause wearing down on the car’s metal parts. Continuous damage can decrease the engine’s lifespan and cause costly repair fees.

Manufacturers usually recommend you replace the car’s air filter every 6,000 miles.

2. Check On the Car’s Battery

Car batteries commonly last for 3 to 5 years. This lifespan varies on driving habits and the temperature of the environment. Schedule regular battery charge tests after your battery reaches three years old. Many mechanics will even notify you when they expect your battery to need changing later on, once they know where it stands. This is important to prevent a sudden breakdown. Keeping a healthy battery means increasing the efficiency of your car’s engine and reducing pollution as an engine that runs on steady power will release fewer chemicals into the atmosphere.

3. Replace Old Spark Plugs

Spark plugs in a car are responsible for the ignition of your engine. As you turn your key in the ignition and press the gas, this tiny element will ignite a mixture of fuel and air that makes it possible to move the pistons in the car engine. However, spark plugs burn out over time. That’s why it’s critical to change them every once in a while. Worn out spark plugs cause the engine to work harder and results in lower efficiency of the engine. If your car is pushing to do extra work, its lifespan will become shorter. You need to check your spark plugs regularly and have them changed before they completely burnt out.

4. Check Hoses and Belts Regularly

As your car engine works, it emits heat. This heat is monitored by the engine and prevented from becoming too hot by the cooling system. But over time, the exposure to heat damage increases the risk to belts and hoses. They can become dry and cracked, and even break. These belts are what move various elements of the engine and the hoses help carry fluids from one part to another. If they crack and break, this will severely damage your engine. During your scheduled maintenance, make sure that the technician checks belts and hoses specifically.

5. Replace the Wiper Blades

Wiper blades are partly made from rubber. Heat will degrade this rubber part over time. During summer or in places with higher temperatures, keep an eye on your wiper blades. Experts’ recommendation is to replace your wiper blades every 6 to 12 months. If rain or snow starts smudging and smearing under the blades rather than being wiped clean, it’s time for new blades.

6. Change Oil Regularly

An appropriate analogy for motor oil is that it’s the car’s blood. The oil, like blood, picks up and carries away any debris it encounters. Oil also helps lubricate the engine and protects the moving parts from heat and friction. As the oil collects debris and heats and cools repeatedly, the effectiveness of your oil degrades. Dirty, thick oil hurts your engine. This is why oil should be changed about every 3,000 miles or 3 months. Check your owners’ manual for the recommended interval for your specific car. The older your car is, the more frequent oil change required.

7. Replace Brake Pads

Brake pads are what stop your car from moving. They utilize a high amount of friction in their daily use, which can mean they break down fast. It will be extremely dangerous to drive a car with worn-down brake pads. Thus, it is critical to have your brake pads replaced annually to avoid damage to the engine, high repairing cost, and most importantly- accidents.

8. Take Care of Your Tires

Your tires are rolling on all kinds of surfaces, at various angles and in different weather, with ideal air pressure sometimes, but not all the time. All this variety leads to uneven wear & tear on your tires and slight changes in their alignment over time. If your tires are rotated and aligned ever 6 to 12 months, you can keep them wearing evenly, and enjoy greater safety and longer lasting tread.

To ensure good longevity of your tires, you have to keep up with proper tire inflation. This will also reduce the risk of tire blowouts at high speeds and possibly save you from experiencing car accidents. Improper tire pressure will also affect your fuel economy. Find the recommended tire pressure written on the sidewall of your tire in PSI and follow that guideline.

9. Know a Good Mechanic

Once you suspect something is wrong with your car, it’s almost too late to do your research and find the best place to take it. Not knowing where to go or who to trust can dangerously delay your taking action. So, when you get your first car, it’s important to schedule an inspection with a reliable shop near you, like Lafayette German Car Repair, and establish a relationship that may come in handy in the future. Knowing where to go when you need help makes driving much more relaxing, like it was meant to be.

Being a good driver is one thing, but it is even more important to pay attention to the quality of your car as a whole. And regular preventive maintenance will save you a lot of repair costs and increase the lifespan of your vehicle.

 

Why the Best Auto Repair & Auto Body Services Are Under the Same Roof

Lafayette German Car Repair
admin 2019-03-24

After an accident- many people are tempted to take their car straight to an auto body shop, or a mechanic’s shop. They seldom get a chance to bring their car to place that has both auto body and mechanical experts. And many people don’t even know the difference. 

But Why Should it Matter?

Auto body repair jobs address the physical damage that compromises the structural shape and the look of your car. Mechanics repair the mechanical, complex systems that make your car function.

Your first thought may be to take your car to an auto body shop that has some mechanical knowledge. Or a mechanic’s shop that has some auto body knowledge. That should be enough, right?

Not quite right.

These are two arms of the auto repair industry, each very specific and important. While you may think “a car shop is a car shop”, they are not close enough to the same that you can go to one shop for both services. Unless that shop has a full-service auto body shop and a fully-equipped mechanic service too.

What Do Auto Body Shops Do Best?

Skin & Skeleton

When a car has been in an accident, it sustains body damage like a crumpled hood, bent fenders, dings, rips, and dents. This damage is both structural and aesthetic. Basically, it’s the skeleton and the skin of your car that receive auto body repair jobs, but not the guts.

Auto body shops have knowledge, certifications and equipment like pneumatic tools, metal-cutting guns and plasma cutters to work on the body and return it to its intended form and function. What they do for your car’s shape, structural strength, and paint job really can’t be done by a mechanic.

What Do Mechanic Shops Do Best?

The Guts

A mechanic’s shop specializes (not surprisingly) in the mechanical aspects of your car. The guts. The things that make your car end up in a different place than it started, safely.

If you need an oil change or brakes repaired or transmission examined or lights checked, you go to a mechanic shop to get the job done. Their people are trained and certified to diagnose and repair all mechanical parts of a car, and have the equipment for the task.

Often, after an accident, both structural and mechanical systems have been affected. If you go somewhere that can’t identify and address both kinds of damage, your car may suffer. That’s why going to a shop like Lafayette German Car Repair is so important. Having both auto body repair jobs and mechanical expertise and equipment makes us able to care for you whole car.

 

How Often Should You Have A Brake Check

Lafayette Car Repair
admin 2019-02-20

 

Every driver knows that brakes play a very important role in safe driving. But you may not know how often brakes should be inspected. Having unsafe breaks is a major safety hazard, and something to be avoided through proper maintenance. So how often should you have your brakes checked? Every six months to a year, mostly. This can fit in with your tire rotations. Or, if you’re an aggressive driver, you should have your brakes looked at with every oil change (which is more often). But there are still more factors that can change that.

Driving Conditions Matter

Crowded areas are harder on brakes than areas with less traffic. Busy roads can require a lot of veering, slowing, stopping, and starting, which increases wear on your brakes. A city driver may need to repair their brakes sooner than a town driver. Paying attention to your brakes between routine inspections is very important.

Warning Signs

If you notice any of the following signs, then you should get a brake system check immediately:

1. Worn Pads

Worn brake pads are less effective in stopping your vehicle so they can be very dangerous. Brake pads wear thin over time. If you don’t remember the last time your brake pads were replaced, then you should bring your vehicle into your local auto repair shop and have certified technicians examine their condition.

2. Odd Sounds

Every vehicle has a small indicator located in the braking system. When the brake pads are worn, the indicator senses it. The indicator releases a high-pitched sound to signify that the brake pads of the vehicle need replacing. Apart from the squealing sound of the sensor, you might notice a grinding sound. Keep in mind that the longer you wait the more expensive the repairs will be. So, have the brakes inspected and repaired as quickly as possible.

3. Pulling

If your vehicle pulls off to one side while decelerating on a straight road, it could either be an alignment issue or a problem with a brake system. Worn pads apply different amounts of pressure especially if they are worn unevenly. Whether it is the alignment or the brakes, it is highly recommended that you call your local auto repair shop and ask the technicians to perform diagnostic check and recommend the correct repair or service.

Stay Safe with Regular Brake Check Inspections

Properly maintained brake rotors and pads will help your vehicle last a long time. If there are any signs of a compromised brake system, call your local auto repair shop for a brake inspection. Also be sure include tire rotations as part of the routine service of your vehicle. Tire rotations extend tread life, maximize traction, and also help improve vehicle handling and driver safety.

Your Car’s Year in Retrospect: Did You Do Your Annual Maintenance?

Walnut Creek Car Repair
admin 2019-01-21

 

Now that we’re in the beginning of 2019, you’re probably trying to plan ahead for the entire year. Did you actually do your car’s annual maintenance in 2018? Maybe you did oil changes and replaced dim headlights or did small maintenance here and there. But did you do everything required for optimal function?

Scheduled Car Maintenance is Key

It’s important that you schedule yearly maintenance. Like, by actually putting it on your schedule. Make a plan and put aside time. These checkups and predictable services for your vehicle prolong its running life and prevent more expensive problems down the road. Following a basic car maintenance schedule includes yearly flushes of your vehicle’s transmission fluids and radiator belt and hose inspections. These things aren’t done at oil changes or tire rotation appointments.

Keep Good Records

For 2019, set your goal to stay on a regular maintenance schedule for your car. Keep track of all work done by creating a maintenance log. You can use a smartphone app or a notebook tucked inside the glove box. Being able to look back on your maintenance records will give you a better picture of your car’s overall health.

What Does My Car Need?

To know what your car needs, as opposed to what the average car needs, you’ll need to check your owners manual. Owner’s manuals are usually obtainable online or from the manufacturer even for old models. For most cars the fuel filter, exhaust, engine oil and filter, belts, battery and cables, automatic transmission fluid, hoses, lights, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid and tire pressure, tread and general condition should all be checked every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Then once a year, include maintenance to check coolant, cabin air filter, brakes, steering and suspension and power steering fluid.

These are just guidelines for scheduled car maintenance. You’ll also want to consider how you drive since aggressive driving can wear things out much faster that expected. Also city driving is harder on your vehicle than highway driving, which tends to make things wear out faster, too.

If you do regular maintenance on a schedule that matches your car’s needs and your driving style, you’ll get the most out of your vehicle. For professional advice about scheduled car maintenance, feel free to call or stop into Lafayette German Car Repair. We’re here to help you.