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The power steering greatly eases parking and other low-speed driving. It is a necessity for heavier vehicles that are not very strong. The power steering also helps with how your vehicle handles, as well as when you turn.
What it is
Power steering is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a power steering system helps the driver turn the wheels using hydraulic or electric power. The system may just provide a helpful push or it may do all the work itself in response to the motion of the steering wheel. Turning a vehicle with power steering requires less effort than it otherwise would.
Automotive power steering systems vary greatly in design, but a typical hydraulic setup includes several parts. A sensor attached to the steering wheel will detect force or torque. The system knows when the driver turns the steering wheel and the car’s wheel haven’t caught up yet, so the system can provide assistance when it is needed.
Power steering pump
A pump, driven by the car’s engine, is to raise the pressure in the power steering fluid up to as much as 100 times atmospheric pressure. A collection of valves that direct the high-pressure fluid through hoses or metal tubes to one side or the other of the steering system according to how the steering wheel has been turned. Actuators with which the high-pressure power steering fluid helps push the front wheels to one side or the other.
Why it fails
Reasons for power steering failure can be caused by several things. Fluid loss, from a slow or sudden leak can be one of the main causes. You may also notice that the pump fails, if your system is hydraulic. Another sign is a loss of power. This can be because of engine failure or because of loss of power to the steering system alone.
If your steering goes out it can become very difficult to steer the vehicle. A steering system that is designed to operate with power assistance is not meant to be driven without that power. A drag in the system can be surprisingly hard to turn the wheel when this happens. If it happens when you’re traveling at high speed, the result can be frightening because it may feel like you’ve lost steering control. Make sure to stay calm, and pull over when it is safe to do so.
Tire rotations are important for your vehicle. Having a tire rotation means moving them from one wheel to another. This can be from left to right or back to front, or even diagonally. Tire rotation is needed to help keep your vehicle lasting as long as possible. Tires tend to wear unevenly. The front tires tend to wear on the outside edges because the tire leans over when you turn a corner. The rear tires just follow the fronts, so they usually wear more evenly. If you leave tires in place, those outside edges on the front tires will wear down much faster than the rest. You will have to replace the tires miles sooner.
A poor alignment or unbalanced tires can also cause uneven wear. Rotating tires keeps them from wearing unevenly. That will make your ride smoother and handling safer. It also extends the life of your tires, saving you time and money in the long run. There are three things that happen during a rotation. First, each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position. The air pressure will then be checked. If it is too low or has too much air, it will be adjusted to the recommendation. The brakes can also be checked while the tires are off.
Rotating the tires
Tires tend to wear unevenly. Front tires tend to wear most on their outside edges, but all tires can wear unevenly due to even the slightest imbalance or misalignment. To get the most life from your tires, it’s a good idea to have them rotated regularly. Having your tires rotated twice a year helps them wear longer and more evenly. If you have front wheel drive, rotation is even more important. If you notice any issues with your vehicle, make sure to contact us. By scheduling an appointment we can inspect the vehicle for you. If there is a problem, it is always best to have it resolved as soon as possible.
April is National Car Care month! During the winter, vehicles are neglected because of the cold and snow. They sure could use a little extra care by now. It is recommended setting aside a little time during National Car Care Month, to get your vehicle ready for the spring and summer driving season.
Your vehicle goes through a lot in the winter. The harsh conditions, extreme cold, potholes, and road salt all take a toll. Since you rely on your vehicle nearly every day to get to work, school, and everywhere in between, taking a little time for car care now can save headaches and money in the long run.
Having a Clean Vehicle
Regular car washes and waxes protect the paint and body of your car from corrosive debris. In parts of the country where salt is used on the roads, regularly washing is especially important. By washing the vehicle, you are reducing the chance of rust occurring. Also take a few minutes and clean out the interior of your vehicle. Remove any garbage that might be in the vehicle. Also take out things you will not need or will not use.
Every vehicle has a manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule. Following a routine service schedule is essential to keeping your car in safe and dependable working order. If you are not sure how often to bring your vehicle in, contact us. During Car Care month, take the time to ensure your vehicle will run efficient and effective.
When you see your car needs attention, do not ignore it. Your windshield wipers aren’t cleaning as well as they should? Your gas tank is missing its cap? There’s a warning light on your dashboard? Repairing small things now can help avoid more costly problems down the road, and add years of useful vehicle life. No matter what issue you notice, hear, or see, contact us. With an appointment, we can check the vehicle for you.
When you tow a boat or trailer, you will have to adjust your driving. You will also want to make sure that your vehicle has been properly maintained. If you are not sure how often this should be, contact us. We can advise you on the correct schedule to ensure it is in the best condition. Besides being maintained, we can also make sure your vehicle can handle towing something. This will help prevent an unexpected breakdown on the side of the road.
Take Wider Turns
It’s easy to forget when you’re cruising along that you have an extra length to your vehicle. Turning quickly into an available gas station or fast-food drive through without considering your wide load can be an issue. Your trailer has a tighter turning radius than your tow vehicle. Period. If you’re barely clearing that curb with your truck, your trailer won’t.
Adjust your Distance
Since you will be towing more weight, consider how much longer it will take to come to a stop. You will not want to wait until the last second to slam on the brakes. One of the side effects of slamming on the brakes is that it can lead to jackknifing or cause dangerous trailer sway. Gradually apply pump brakes to bring the heavy load under control. Also know how to hang onto the wheel. When you’re backing up, place your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. Then, move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. Aim toward the passenger side of your tow vehicle and the trailer will go right. Face forward and let your mirrors be your guide. If you need to have vehicle checked over before you tow a boat or trailer, contact us. We can have it inspected to ensure it will handle it efficiently.
The suspension for your vehicle is important. Tires meeting the road efficiently are what makes effective steering and better handling possible. It also makes for a far less bumpy ride for the driver and their passengers. If you notice an issue with how your vehicle handles, make sure to bring it in. By doing so, we can inspect it for you.
There are bumps and irregularities on every road you drive. When your tires strike one of those bumps, and there could be damage to the suspension. The wheel experiences a sudden vertical acceleration of varying magnitude depending on the size of the bump or rough patch. If there is not a system in place to absorb that impact, it can cause issues. The energy of the wheel striking the bump is transferred directly to the car’s frame, causing the vehicle to move in the same direction as the energy from the wheel. Upward motion means that your wheel is not making efficient contact with the road, and you experience a loss in traction. Further impacts follow, and there is a continued gradual loss in traction over distance.
Ride and Handling
Your car’s suspension allows the wheel to move upward over irregularities and bumps without disengaging from the surface of the road to the same degree. This improves the ride of your vehicle. However, it is not just bumps and potholes that your suspension takes care of for you. Sudden sideways motion of the vehicle due to a change in direction can cause the tires to lose their grip due to loss of contact with the road as well. Properly calibrated and balanced suspension allows the wheels to compensate for these rapid changes in direction. This helps to keep your wheels and tires as close to the road as possible even when the vehicle is changing direction. If you notice an issue with how your vehicle handles, make sure to contact us. We can schedule an appointment and check it for you. This should include the suspension and other parts of it.
Now is a great time for spring inspections to be done for your vehicle. Over the winter, your vehicle takes a beating. Snow, salt, corrosion, and rust can build up on your vehicle. This can increase the chance of needing it replaced sooner than you should. There are some spring inspections that you can do for your vehicle. Following these can help your vehicle last as long as possible.
A good, thorough wash and wax is the most important thing to do with your car once the winter is over. Winter driving can cause a huge amount of road grime, debris, and salt to build up on your car. You want to make sure those items are long gone before spring starts. Allowing debris and grime to build up on your car can affect its paint and finish, while allowing salt to build up can lead to rust and other serious problems.
Cleaning out your vehicle
Nobody wants to spend time cleaning out their car during a cold winter day. That’s why spring is the perfect time to clean your car’s interior, so spend a day doing some spring cleaning. Remove and throw away all the interior papers, trash and other items that have accrued over the winter.
Tire pressure is especially important in the spring. As air temperatures get cooler during the winter, tire pressures decrease, which probably caused you to fill up your tires during the winter months. But as air gets warmer again in the spring, tire pressures can increase. If the pressure increases past your manufacturer specification, it can seriously affect your car’s drivability and fuel economy.
As spring starts and temperatures warm up, check your wiper blades for any signs of cracking or wear. The wiper itself could wear dramatically over the winter due to ice buildup or other issues on your windshield. You will need those wipers for spring rains, so be sure they are in good working order after winter comes and goes. If you notice an issue with them, bring the vehicle in. We can inspect the windshield wipers for you.
Oil changes are necessary and important. Without them, you can cause damage to parts of the engine. If you are not sure how often to have oil changes done, make sure to contact us. We can advise you on the correct schedule. If you notice an issue with the oil, you should also call us. If the oil leaks out, it can be a sign of something more serious. By noticing an issue at the first time, you can help prevent further damage in the long run.
What the oil does
The oil keeps the many components of the engine working efficiently. Also it helps reduce the accumulation of varnish and carbon from collecting on the engine. The engine can get very hot from the thousands of small explosions taking place every minute. Oil helps pull the heat away from the combustion chamber essentially preventing the engine from blowing up. As oil collects heat, it then helps protect and keeps the engine running smoothly. Then it eventually becomes less like liquid and more like sludge. No matter how good the oil is, eventually it degrades as the additives get used up. If you ignore oil changes, the oil in your vehicle will do damage to the engine.
Changing the oil
Knowing how often to change the oil varies. It will depend on the type of oil you choose to use, what kind of car, and how often you drive. The amount of mileage you drive is more important than the amount of time. You may go on a road trip and burn through a few thousand miles in a few weeks, or it may take five months before you reach the recommended mileage. Pay attention to the odometer and how you’ve been driving your vehicle. Driving in extreme weather or towing a lot of weight behind your car will affect your oil too. If you don’t think you have the time or money to get your oil changed and you choose to wait, eventually the oil will get worse and worse, becoming more like sludge and clog your engine. So make sure to contact us about your next oil change.
As the snow melts, be aware of potholes. Hitting potholes can cause suspension damage like a broken ball joint or blown strut. It can also cause the suspension to have issues as you drive. Sometimes you will hit a pothole hard enough you will need an alignment. An alignment is and adjustment of the suspension system of the vehicle. This is the system that connects the car to its wheels. If the alignment is off, you can get uneven and premature tire wear. It can also pull to one side while you are driving.
Check the tires
You will also want to check the tires if you hit a pothole. There could also be tire damage. They may look fine, but could blow out later. You might get a little bulge on the side of the tire because there’s a tear in the inside lining. When you run your hand along the sidewall, you can feel it. Even if you do not see damage, you should bring it in and have the alignment checked.
Proper inflation of the tires
The best protection against potholes is properly inflated tires. Look in the manual or driver’s doorjamb to find the correct pressure. The number on the side of the tires is the maximum recommended by the tire manufacturer. Also make sure to check the tire pressure regularly.
Be aware of the road
Spring is pothole season, so you should be aware of the road you are driving on. Usually these are formed at the edge or center of the road. Also make sure to be cautious of puddles. These could be hiding a pothole. Since it will be filled with water, you will not know how did that pothole is. If you do hit a pothole, be aware of how your vehicle handles. Any odd ways how your vehicle handles should be a cause for concern. Bring the vehicle in, and we can inspect it for you. This way you can ensure a comfortable ride.
What to do about Brake Noise
When you drive, nothing gets your attention like hearing grinding or squealing brake noise. It is important to keep the brakes in the best working condition possible. This means going in for regular maintenance inspections. If you do notice an issue, make sure to contact us as soon as possible, and we can schedule an appointment to get your vehicle in. If the noise happens occasionally, make sure to take note of what you were doing when the noise occurred.
A Few Possible Causes for Brake Noise
While driving your vehicle, snow and water can get into your brake pads and rotors. If the temperature is below freezing, it can cause your brakes to make grinding and squealing noises the next time you start up your car. As your brakes heat up, the ice should melt off the brake pads and rotors, resolving the issue.
A buildup of rust on your brake rotors can cause your brakes to make a squealing or squeaking noise. If your vehicle sits outside overnight, moisture from rain, snow or dew can collect on the surface of the brake rotors. This moisture causes a layer of rust to develop on the rotor. As you drive and use your brakes, the surface rust will get scrubbed off. The best way to avoid this is to park your car overnight in a garage or other dry environment when possible.
If you make a sudden stop on snow or ice, your vehicle’s anti-lock brake system (ABS) will most likely engage. In many vehicles, the ABS system makes grinding or buzzing noises when you step on the brake pedal. While you may not be used to how anti-lock brakes work, these noises are normal and are an indication that the ABS brakes are working as they should.
Schedule a Brake Inspection
If the brake pedal becomes spongy or is out of the norm, make sure to schedule an appointment to have it inspected. Give us a call today! 651-228-1316
Want to learn more about vehicle noises read this article.
Clearing the windshield is important before you drive. In the winter you will need to start your vehicle and let it run to warm up on cold mornings. Part of this helps to lubricate the oil and have it run efficiently and effectively through the engine. Another reason to let your vehicle warm up is help defrost and clear off the windshield and other windows in your vehicle. This is needed so your visibility can improve.
Scrape the Windows
When scraping the vehicle, start with clearing the windshield. You will want to make sure to scrape the windshield while the vehicle is also warming up. This can ensure that you can improve the visibility. You will not need to wait as long for your visibility to improve. You will want to scrape off all the ice, snow, and frost. Also take time to clear off all the windows. This should include all the side windows. Also it includes the rear windshield for your vehicle. Do not scrape only a small hole you can see out of. Make sure to scrape the entire window.
You should also take time to remove snow and loose chunks of ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle. When driving at faster speeds, the snow can blow onto the windshield and impair vision. If the windshield is warm, the snow can stick the windshield, and become more difficult to remove.
Check the Windshield Wipers
The windshield wipers and washer fluid should also be inspected on a regular basis. Over time, the wipers will start to wear down and need to be replaced. If you notice them not being efficient when cleaning the windshield, make sure to look into getting a new set. The washer fluid should also be topped off. Just in case you need to clean dirt or road grime off of the windshield. If you notice anything out of the norm, schedule an appointment. We can inspect the vehicle for you.