The Importance of Tire Pressure
One of the most important parts of your car is the tires. They keep your vehicle rolling, so it’s important to always maintain the right tire pressure specific to your vehicle. Some important driving factors affected by the air pressure of your tires are safety, handling, and fuel economy.
Checking Tire Pressure
The tire pressure (PSI) requirement for your vehicle can be found in the owner’s manual or listed on a sticker located on the driver’s side doorjamb. DO NOT go by the number on the tire’s sidewall.
To achieve the most accurate tire pressure reading, tires must be at a cool temperature; be weary of the outside temperature and whether or not you are in a shady place.
Once you find your PSI requirement, have your tire gauge in hand and locate the valve stem cap on your wheel. Unscrew the cap and firmly press the tire gauge onto the valve stem for one or two seconds. Do the same thing for all four tires and compare your tire pressure readings with the number specific to your vehicle.
Inflating Your Tires
You have two options when inflating your car tires: A portable air compressor at home or use the air compressor at your local gas station (costing 50 cents to a dollar for use).
Reach the hose to your tire and activate the compressor. Remove the stem valve cap, attach the air hose to the valve stem, and then press the lever to activate the airflow. Use your tire gauge to check how much air has been inflated.
If your tire has been over inflated, you can use your tire gauge to release air by pressing down onto the valve stem head. Once you have reached the desired PSI screw back on the valve stem cap.
You can save a lot of time and money by repeating these steps on a regular basis
Yes, you can DIY wheel maintenance.
Alloy wheels may be stronger than the typical steel wheel but they are still affected by the same everyday roadway wear and tear. Elements such as brake pad dust, road salt and tar, can damage your wheels and cause permanent damage to your rims. Most Automobile manufacturers will recommend using soap and water as your go-to wheel cleaning method. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose the right wheel-cleaning product for your rims. So, let’s talk about how to do your own wheel maintenance.
Here are several options for you to get back that new wheel shine:
• The Lemon Juice technique is an effective method for cutting through dirt and dust on wheels that are still in fairly new shape. Just apply an even coating of lemon juice to your rims and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing
• If your rims are coated in grease, try soaking wheels in a tub of white or cider vinegar
• A great option for cutting through the tough grime is to use Oxy-Gel kitchen cleaner. However, it is an oxygenated bleach so be careful
• Avoid using the more abrasive cleaners and polishing compounds to clean your alloy wheels. Please use a wheel brush that is made specific for alloy wheels
• Another thing to remember when choosing to clean your rims is to avoid automatic car washes. They sometimes use acid-based cleaners in combination with abrasive brushes, which can permanently damage your wheels. So please check with your local car wash to avoid running your rims
Remember to protect your rims from future harm after using these cleaning methods, by applying an even coat of wax to your rims every two to three months. The best way to maintain a long-lasting and great looking wheel is to follow these tips on a consistent basis. If you’re worried your rims aren’t holding up as they should, call us and we can find the right solution for you.
Sure you’ve heard of a Tune Up. But do you truly know when its necessary to get one?
Of course it is better to be pro-active with your vehicle, which means getting regular service and tune ups. However, most of us are guilty of not having regular maintenance performed on our cars. If you are one of those people who waits until the last minute to get service on your vehicle, then you have probably seen or felt the signs that your car is not performing at its best. Not Sure? Here are several indications that your car may be ready for a tune up.
1. A misfiring engine
When your spark plugs ignite at inopportune times either from excessive wear or faulty equipment it is considered to be misfiring.
2. A dirty or clogged air filter
This will greatly reduce acceleration. Filters will get dirty over time, but you will notice your car gradually getting slower.
3. Engine deposits
Low-quality or contaminated gasoline create issues causing the vehicle not to drive properly, which could be an indication that your vehicle needs a thorough fuel system cleaning.
4. Check Engine Light
The most common of them all is the infamous Check Engine Light. When something isn’t right within the emissions control system it will trigger this light to tell you there is a problem. Don’t ignore this!
5. An old oxygen (O2) sensor
Even if it has yet to trigger the Check Engine Light, an Oxygen sensor can still be hurting your fuel economy. Not to mention, the wear this puts on your engine and it’s performance.
Due to the fact that there are so many of the same signals that could be coming from different problems, it is best to bring your vehicle in for a thorough diagnosis or a tune up. Having your car checked could prevent you from costly maintenance down the road, or from having to purchase a new vehicle completely.
Beware when purchasing your new car. Vehicle Recall Alert List of 2017 has been released.
Cars.com has recently published the 2017 Vehicle Recall Alert List and it is shocking! Here is a snippet of the list including the ones with a higher number of faulty vehicles. Is your car on the list?
2017 Buick LaCrosse:
Approximately 2,000 vehicles affected
Recall Alert- Electrical connectors for the electronic power steering system improperly sealed. This may cause corrosion due to exposure to water. This may cause the vehicle to lose power steering and greatly increasing risk for an accident.
2016-2017 Chevrolet Cruze
Approximately 17,200 vehicles affected
Recall Alert- Possible welding issue on seatback recliner bracket. This may cause head restraints to malfunction and seatbacks to break during an accident increasing the risk of serious injury.
2015-2017 Mercedes-Benz Cars, Wagons and SUVs:
Approximately 354,000 vehicles affected
Recall Alert- In the event the engine or transmission can’t turn over, repeated attempts to start the vehicle could result in a fire from the starting current limiter overheating.
2016-2017 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, 2017 Continental:
Approximately 27,500 vehicles affected
Recall Alert- Frontal airbags may be faulty and may not inflate or detach from the module during an accident, due to a misalignment of components within. This could increase the chances of fatality or serious injury.
2014-2017 Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300:
Approximately 69,000 vehicles affected
Recall Alert- Front driveshaft bolts have the potential to come loose possibly causing the driveshaft to disconnect. This could result in a loss of motive power and increasing the risk for an accident.
2014-2017 BMW i3:
Approximately 19,000 vehicles affected
Recall Alert- Fuel tank vent line could rub against the wire protection sleeve of the positive battery cable. This may cause a fuel vapor leak and pose a potential fire hazard.
2017 Hyundai Elantra
Approximately 34,000 vehicles affected
Recall Alert- Brake booster has the potential to fail and could result in a loss of power brake assist. This could result in a longer breaking distance and increases the risk of an accident.
The list continues on for over 160 pages. Be sure to check on manufacturer recalls regularly to ensure your vehicle is safe for the road.
Why is my Check Engine Light On?
I’m sure you’ve been a victim of the daunting Check Engine Light– also known as the Service Engine Light. Its that antagonizing light that just glares at you from the dashboard. So what do you do now? Do you just stare it with avoidance? Do you cover it with electrical tape? As absurd as that sounds, this is how most people deal with the Check Engine Light. However, what you should be doing is asking why. There are several things that could be triggering this alert to your vehicle. We are giving you the top 5 most common reasons your check engine light may be on.
Oxygen (02) Sensors
Your Oxygen sensors measure the amount of unburned Oxygen from your vehicle’s exhaust system. These sensors monitor how much fuel is burned and sends that data to the car’s computer. Sensors can become contaminated with oil ash over time causing them to not function efficiently. With faulty sensors, you’ll notice a decrease in gas mileage and increased emissions, because your vehicle is burning more fuel than necessary.
Loose or Cracked Gas Cap
While the gas cap doesn’t seem to serve much purpose other than sealing your tank, it does have a more important task. Your gas cap helps maintain pressure in the fuel system and prevents fuel evaporation. If the cap is cracked or not on correctly, fuel vapors could be leaking from your car. As a result, your vehicle will have a reduction in gas mileage and increased emissions as well.
The Catalytic Converter works to convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide. This helps to reduce the amount of harmful compounds being released into the environment. If your Catalytic Converter is failing, it could be from a lack of regular maintenance on one of the other listed items. This is not usually the most inexpensive to fix, but if you bring it to us for repair immediately, we can help keep your expenses from piling up.
Mass Airflow Sensor
You may have never considered this one, but is still a possible culprit. The Mass Airflow Sensor tells your vehicle’s computer how much fuel to release to make the car run efficiently. It is solely dependent on the amount of air coming through the engine. If this is the cause of that glowing Check Engine Light, you will notice your vehicle get worse gas mileage and it may even begin to stall.
Spark Plugs seal the combustion chamber and ignite the air/fuel mixture. If it isn’t working properly or needs replacement, you’ll notice the car having issues with acceleration. Most manufacturers recommend that Spark Plugs be changed every 25,000-30,000 miles in older vehicles, or 100,000 for newer vehicles. Some sources suggest this is an easy fix, but that depends on the year, make and model of your vehicle. We suggest bringing it in and letting us have a look just in case this isn’t the true source of the problem.
If you’re seeing the Check Engine Light on your dashboard, just call us at Courthouse Automotive and we’ll get you in and back on the road in no time.
10 of the Most Fuel-Efficient Cars You Can Buy Under $25,000
Looking for the most fuel-efficient cars? It can be really important these days to save a few bucks a year and get you further. We can also help you save some dough by recommending these top 10 fuel-efficient cars that are under $25,000. Not bad, right?
1. 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid
This vehicle can get you 42/37 MPG city/highway. It’s a practical and efficient hatchback that’ll give you more oomph than a Prius.
2. 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid
This roomy, mid-size sedan will get you 43/39 MPG city/highway.
3. 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
This stylish Hyundai will get you 40/44 MPG city/highway.
4. 2016 Toyota Prius V
With excellent cargo space, this vehicle also boasts 44/40 MPG or 42 combined MPG.
5. 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid
The most efficient in its class, this Hybrid boasts 44/41 MPG.
6. 2016 Toyota Prius C
The Prius C is the smallest of it’s Prius family, but it is also the most affordable car on this list. It also gets 53/46 MPG.
7. 2016 Toyota Prius
This all new Prius is more fuel-efficient than ever. It can get you 52 MG combined or 54/50 MPG.
8. 2016 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
This little smartcar might not be the roomiest but if efficiency is more important, this is your top choice. It gets 122/93 MPG.
9. 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
The is the most affordable fully electric car in the country. It boasts an impressive 126/99 MPG.
10. 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV
Drumroll please… this electric car from Chevy gets 128/109 MPG or 119 combined for the most efficient car you can buy under $25,000.
With varying horsepower, cargo space and efficiency, any one of these vehicles could be the perfect fuel-efficient car for you.
How Do You Know if You Have a Failing Motor Mount?
Common signs include knocking noises, vibrations, and engine movement.
A motor mount’s sole responsibility is to secure the engine of the vehicle to the body of the vehicle. Without a properly functioning motor mount, your engine will begin to rattle and move about under the hood, causing more than just unsettling noises. There are some signals to be aware of that will indicate that your engine mount needs servicing.
1. Knocking noises sounding off from under your hood. These are considered impact noises. A worn, damaged, or broken motor mount can cause this and other strange sounds from the weight of the engine shifting rapidly.
2. Rapid vibrations are another sure sign of a dysfunctional engine mount. If the rubber or buffering mechanisms wear out or are damaged, it will reduce the mount’s ability to absorb the engine vibrations. At this point, your whole vehicle will feel the vibrations and make for a very uncomfortable ride.
3. Engine movement is definitely a warning signal. A properly working mount will securely stabilize the engine. If the mount is broken, the engine will move about in the engine bay. As a result, you’ll notice more impact noise when accelerating.
As part of its regular operation, a vehicle’s engine will generate vibrations and motor mounts are an important component in helping to reduce these. Without having a properly functioning engine mount you could be jeopardizing other important parts of your vehicle or engine. To avoid putting this type of strain on your vehicle and causing more damage, bring your vehicle to one of our professionals to inspect any issues. If we find that you’re in need of a new motor mount, we can certainly take care of that for you.
Top 10 Must Have Car Gadget Gifts
The holidays are just around the corner. Have you gotten all of your gift shopping done? Yeah, we haven’t either. For the gear head in your family, here is a list of must have car gadget gifts.
1. Scissor Lift (about $1,000)
For the serious car lover in your life, a scissor lift is amazing. It keeps you from needing to lie on your back on the cold concrete to check under the car or truck. It will lift a vehicle high enough to work on the brakes, suspension and body.
2. Swift Hitch Portable Back-Up Camera ($239)
Does your hubby have a trailer? This makes one-person trailer hookup easy, and even comes with night vision.
3. GearWrench Racheting Box Wrenches ($50)
This 7-piece rachet set only needs 5 degrees to move a fastener. Chrome-plated, it’s nearly impossible to strip a fastener with these tools.
4. Stanley Portable Battery Jump-Starter ($70)
This jump-starter comes with 500 amps of continuous power and 1,000 amps of peak power. That’s enough to get your car, truck, RV or boat charged. It also includes a 120-psi air compressor to fill up your tires and a powerful LED light.
5. Car MD ($70)
This gadget will read your check engine or any warning lights and capture the trouble code. It will even take you to a site that will explain the code and suggest solutions specific to your vehicle.
6. Accutire Digital Pressure Gauge ($15)
At $15, this digital gauge is a steal. It’s been reviewed to be as accurate as high-priced models.
7. GoLink iPod Cable ($99)
Like the Car MD, GoLink allows you to check trouble codes, diagnose problems and monitor various parameters but with your Apple device and a free app.
8. Craftsman Cordless Impact Driver ($100)
At just 4.5 lbs this impact wrench can develop 200lb-ft of torque and generate up to 3,000 impacts per minute.
9. Ram Drink Cup Mount ($37)
This cup mount is fully articulating, allowing you to place it virtually anywhere in your vehicle.
10. CG Lock ($50)
The CG Lock is an easily installed device that maintains seatbelt tension. It’s great for safety and can also improve your driving.
List of 5 Auto Repair Tasks You Should Do Yourself
Most auto repair scenarios you don’t want to tackle yourself. And sometimes it comes down to “do I have the time to do this myself?” Here are 5 auto repairs that you should absolutely do yourself. They’re worth the time and money-saving effort spent. Here is our top 5 “we won’t blame you if you do it yourself” maintenance and auto repairs.
1. Air filters
Generally speaking, your vehicle has 2 air filters. One behind the glove box in the cabin and one under the hood. If you think that either needs to be replaced, go ahead and do both. This is an incredibly easy task and air filters are not that expensive. And even though there are cheaper air filters out there, splurge on a quality one. They may be more expensive, but they will last longer and are more cost effective in the long run.
2. Tire pressure
Checking your tire pressure is an important maintenance task that you can perform yourself. Pressure gauges are inexpensive and you can easily keep one in your glove box. The recommended pressure for your tires is usually found on the inside of the driver’s side door. Furthermore, there are some gas stations that have free air pumps. There’s nothing holding you back from performing this maintenance task yourself.
3. Spark plugs
Depending on the make and model of your car, this auto repair task can be as easy as screwing in a light bulb. Check your vehicle’s manual for special instructions. And like with air filters, splurge on a quality set.
4. Windshield wipers
If you have unwanted streaks on your windshield or you can actually see the rubber separating, go ahead and replace your own blades. The instructions are right on the box. It takes five minutes and greatly increases your visibility and vehicle safety. However, if you don’t feel like doing it yourself, most auto supply stores will install it for you for free.
Car batteries can be expensive, so go ahead and replace this part yourself and save yourself some dough. However, you might not even have to replace your battery. If you just have some corrosion around the terminals, this is a task you can perform yourself. Auto supply stores offer special sprays that prevent this from happening. Disconnect your battery, get the terminals a little wet and then clean them with baking soda and a toothbrush. Rinse off the excess baking soda and dry off the battery/terminals. Apply the special spray, reconnect the terminals and you’re done! WARNING: If you notice any cracks in your battery that are leaking acid, your battery will absolutely need to be replaced.