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Posts Tagged ‘car repair 53217’

Pot Holes Have You Singin’ the Blues? How to Detect Suspension Issues

Does your car have suspension problems?

How can you tell?

Here are some symptoms you will notice:

“nose dives” when braking (it leans forward)

“rolls” to the side when cornering (it leans side-to-side)

“squats” during acceleration (it leans backward)

Suspension components, including springs, shock absorbers (or struts on some vehicles), anti-roll bars, control arms and other parts, are like combat troops serving on the front lines: They take a pounding daily from pock-marked streets, railroad tracks, rain, snow, road salt, gravel, all manner of dirt and grime, and the occasional piece of scrap metal or other debris that drivers see too late to avoid.

Under those conditions, just about any suspension component can be damaged or worn out from years of abuse, resulting in a number of symptoms and/or noises that should be your wakeup call to see a car doctor. Here are some common issues vehicle owners are likely to encounter:

  • Poor wheel alignment: The wheels have to be pointed in the right direction (literally) and aligned for toe-in, camber and caster. If they aren’t, your steering won’t be centered when you’re going straight and tire wear will increase. Wheels get knocked out of alignment by potholes and curbs, but getting the wheels aligned won’t fix damaged springs, controls arms or other parts that affect alignment. When you buy new tires, it’s a good idea to have the alignment checked so suspension issues don’t shorten tread life.
  • Shock absorbers:They really should be called “dampers,” and when they wear out you should notice more bouncing after a bump and a whole lot of shaking going on over rough roads because they can’t keep the tires planted on the pavement. Shocks contain fluid that dampens the bouncing, and once they start to leak, performance will deteriorate.
  • Springs:These are what hold the weight of the car, and as they wear they can sag or break. If your car is on level ground but one corner is lower than the others, that’s a sign of a damaged spring. You can measure the height of the corners to confirm your visual cue. You might also hear clunking noises over bumps, and the car may not corner with confidence because a damaged spring can’t control the weight it’s supporting.
  • Ball joints: These are pivot points that attach the suspension to the wheels, and they absorb some of the shock from up-down movement and rotate as the steering angle changes. You’ll know they need replacing when you can hear them squeaking and creaking, especially when turning. You’ll know you waited too long if a ball joint breaks and suspension parts are dragging on the pavement. A mechanic can tell if they need replacing by the amount of wheel movement they can force by hand or, in some cases, by wear indicators on the ball joints.
  • Control arms:These are hinges that hold the wheels to the frame and connect the steering to the wheels, so when you turn one the other responds. Lower control arm bushings are more prone to wear out on front-wheel-drive cars than on rear-wheel-drive cars. Bushings are rubber and/or metal parts that help absorb shock, and when they wear they can cause ride and handling problems and accelerate tire wear. So can a bent control arm. Signs of wear include clunks or rattles — because the wheels move back and forth in acceleration and braking — and loose, imprecise steering.

 

The Cost-Saving Importance of Proper Fluid Flushes

Many people don’t realize the importance of the fluid flush for their vehicle. Proper fluid flushes save car owners thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicle. Flushes prevent rust build-up inside the lines that transport the fluid. The master cylinder can fail and brake calipers and wheel cylinders can stick. Flushes also limit hose fatigue. These types of issues can happen with all your fluids, including: power steering, differential, clutch and transmission. Flushes can even prevent costly transmission replacement.

Unfortunately, we have found that not all repair shops are providing proper fluid flushes. The industry has referred to these as “drain and fills”. A proper flush is different than a drain and fill in a number of ways. A proper flush is done at regular intervals based upon climate and amount and type of miles driven. It includes cleaning out areas that trap the fluid, like a brake or clutch reservoir. It doesn’t make sense to leave the dirt in these areas and put new fluid in. The fluid will simply become contaminated with the next start-up.

An example to further demonstrate the difference follows. Draining and filling a cooling system requires draining a radiator of it’s fluid. What comes out is about 50% of the system’s capacity. This requires a technician to replace what came out, again 50% of the fluid. Now, you have 50% contaminated fluid and 50% new fluid. What will happen to the new fluid? The new fluid mixes with the old and is contaminated. So, you paid for a service and you still have dirty fluid in your system. The proper way is to flush the system thoroughly with water. This will remove all fluid from the engine, heater core, radiator, water pump and hoses. When the new fluid is added, it is clean and remains so. We do not recommend long-life coolant in any vehicle. It is toxic to the system.

Here at MARS Mobile Auto Repair Service, we always take the additional time to complete a proper fluid flush. A small amount of preventive maintenance through regular fluid flushes can save you a great deal of money down the road.