Signs Your Car is Ready for a Tune Up

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.

2017 Vehicle Recall Alert Update

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.

Most Common Electrical Issues

Newer cars utilize computers and electricity to perform various operations. From the radio to the engine, electricity runs throughout most components of your vehicle. If electrical issues arise it could cause unsafe driving conditions or a non-functioning vehicle. There are usually several common electrical issues that are considered in a diagnosis.

Dead Battery

The battery is the most common cause of electrical failure. This is typically the easiest of issues to diagnose, because the vehicle completely shuts down and all electrical devices stop working. No lights, no radio, and no engine turn-over. Often times, it only takes a jump start to get the vehicle running again, but in some cases you may be due for a full battery replacement.

Battery Cables

If your vehicle won’t start, the first thing you should investigate is the battery. If you notice corrosion, try cleaning the cables and terminals. This could be a simple fix.

Bad or Failing Alternator

If your vehicle’s battery will not hold a charge after a jump start, then this is an indication that the alternator is faulty. The alternator acts as a generator for your battery. If it breaks, then there is no charge powering the battery, and the vehicle will not start.

Overworked Starter

It’s all about that “click.” If you’ve ever tried to start your vehicle and all you hear is a clicking noise, then your starter or solenoid has gone bad.

 

Blown Fuses

If a particular electrical system fails, but not another, you can attribute that to a blown electrical fuse. Your vehicle houses a fuse box and it is a simple task to replace fuses.

Spark Plugs

If your vehicle is running but the idling is rough or the car feels sluggish, then more than likely your experiencing the symptoms of failing spark plugs. A tune-up and plug change can be done easily and get your car running like new again.

If you think you’re experiencing any of these issues, contact Courthouse Automotive at 757-453-6399

Top 5 DIY Auto Repair and Maintenance Tasks

motor mount

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.

5. Battery

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.

Top 10 Tips for Good Auto Repair Service

auto repair service

How to Sniff Out a Good Auto Repair Service Provider

It can be difficult finding a good auto repair service. We know because we’re in the business of auto repair. We know how our competitors do things, and we like to do them a little differently. That’s why we have compiled this top 10 list of tips on finding good auto repair service. We know we fit the bill, and you deserve to know what to look for.

1. Keep your vehicle owner’s manual close
Your service manual is provided to you for a reason. It organizes all of the pertinent information specific to your vehicle’s make and model. It can sometimes lead to an answer to your car service questions.
2. Decide between an independent garage or your dealership’s service station
Dealership technicians are manufacturer-trained specialists that work exclusively on your make of vehicle. However, it is the most expensive route and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best. In fact, most independent corner garages hire technicians that used to work directly for the dealerships.
3. Keep your service records in order
You may have a tendency to throw away that receipt once you get your car serviced, but keeping meticulous records on what’s been done on your vehicle can benefit you greatly in the future. It can help your current mechanic diagnose your vehicle’s needs.
4. Check if the technician is trained on your specific vehicle make
From brand to brand, each car and truck has unique characteristics especially nowadays. Updates on vehicle safety has brought with it special tools and procedures. It’s best to see if your technician is privy to them.
5. Ask about labor and pricing rates
Most shops bill according to repair times established by the manufacturer. Just take a look at your estimate and make sure to check the labor rates for discrepancies.
6. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about a repair. If you think something is fishy, it probably is. A good technician will take the time to explain the details of the repair to you in an educated manner.
7. Request OEM parts
OEM parts, or factory original parts, are specified for your vehicle for a reason. They are more expensive, but take the time to weigh the options of going with aftermarket.
8. Is the mechanic A.S.E. certified?
The National Institute for Automotive Excellence keeps up with vehicle standards, and provides rigorous tests to prove the mechanic’s personal excellence in the field. Your neighbor that works on his own cars frequently would not be able to pass these tests.
9. Ignore the 100,000 mile tune-up myth
Once again, check your owner’s manual! Each vehicle is different, and requires a tune-up at different intervals.
10. Look out for warning signs
If your mechanic can’t look you in the eye when providing you with an estimate, it’s a red flag. Look for warning signs of a greedy technician. They’re easy to spot.

Having Problems with Your Shocks & Struts?

shocks

How to Know When to Replace Your Shocks & Struts

The shocks and struts in your vehicle are part of your suspension system. Your suspension’s job is to maximize the friction between the road’s surface and your tires. This provides stability when you’re steering. If the road were flat with no inconsistencies at all, a suspension system wouldn’t be necessary. These irregularities in the road apply forces to your wheels. Without a suspension system, your car would lose contact with the road completely when faced with an irregularity in the road. Your suspension is made up of many parts, but your shocks and struts in particular absorb the energy and force to give you a smoother ride. It also ensures good handling and comfort for you and your passengers. So, it should be obvious when you need to replace your shocks and struts, right? Not necessarily. Here are some signs to look out for:

• Poor steering response with noise or stiffness when steering
• Experiencing a “nose dive” or instability when applying the brakes
• Vehicle swaying or leaning on turns or when changing lanes
• Excessive vehicle “bounce”

There are other visual signs that you can look out for, such as:
• Dented or generally damaged looking shock or strut bodies
• Fluid leaks from your shocks or struts
• Uneven, cupped tire wear
• Damaged, corroded or broken mounts or bushings

If you experience a generally bumpy or uncomfortable ride, poor steering response, noise or stiffness when steering, instability upon braking or vehicle swaying you definitely need new struts or shocks. Testing has also shown that generally vehicles will need these parts replaced around 50,000 miles. If you’re still not sure, check for the visual signs. But don’t delay in getting a repair. It’s the kind of job that can’t wait. If you think you need new suspension parts, come on in to Courthouse Automotive and we’ll give you an honest quote.

auto repair virginia beach

Looking for Trusted Auto Repair Virginia Beach?

At Courthouse Automotive, we pride ourselves on being the most trusted auto repair shop Virginia Beach has to offer. The role of a mechanic gets a bad reputation. We understand. There are a lot of not so reputable mechanics in the world. You bring your car or truck in for a simple service. Say, replacing a tire. You are then confronted with thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Who’s to say if they’re exaggerating or even straight up lying if you’re not automotive savvy? This is a terrible situation to be in. Do you risk further damage by not getting the suggested repairs? Or do you fork out the cash now?

Courthouse Auto likes to be the repair shop that you bring your vehicle in for a “second opinion”. We don’t recommend more than the necessary repairs. We’re here to prolong the life of your engine and keep you safe on the road. That’s it. We don’t want to make an extra buck off of any of our customers. Because we know that if we treat you right, you’ll keep coming back. Fool me once shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you, right? We don’t want to fool any of our customers. Here are a couple of warning signs for shops that may be trying to rip you off:

1. Recommending maintenance work that does not show up on your owner’s manual. We always tell our customers, for periodic maintenance check your owner’s manual. Every vehicle is different, so there are different “regular” intervals for routine maintenance. If your mechanic is recommending maintenance procedures that are no longer needed for you vehicle, be wary.

2. Are they selling you a tune-up? If your car or truck was built in the last 10 years, it does not need a tune up. Once again, reference your vehicle’s owner’s manual for when to change your spark plugs or air or fuel filters.

We want to be your new favorite auto mechanics. If you think another shop is cheating you, come on in to Courthouse Auto for a second opinion. We like to think that our shop is the most trusted auto repair Virginia Beach can offer.

Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint

bad cv joint

How Do I Know if I Have a Bad CV Joint?

CV stands for constant velocity. CV joints transfer power from your vehicle’s transmission and differential to the wheels. It’s a greased, flexible joint that lets the axle flex with road conditions. A bad CV joint does not.

The joint is packed with grease to keep out debris. Because they are under a lot of stress, they will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. There are a few tell-tale signs that will let you know you have a bad CV joint that needs replacing.

Loud clicking noises when turning
One of the most common signs of a bad CV joint is an audible clicking noise when you’re turning. As the joint wears, it becomes loose which produces the clicking noise. The sound may become louder when you’re making faster turns and will be pretty pronounced on the side that needs replacing.

Excessive vibrations
If your CV joint or axle is damaged, it won’t rotate properly. This will cause the shaft to vibrate when you’re driving. You may notice the vibrations becoming more pronounced as you increase speed. Excessive vibrating can interfere with the handling of the car and be a serious safety issue. If this is the case, you’ll need to have the joint and axle replaced.

Tear in the CV Boot
A CV boot is a protective rubber boot enshrouding the joint. CV joints can last 100,000 miles or more if the CV boot remains intact. If you can see a tear in the CV boot, it may mean your CV joint needs replacing. The boot keeps the grease in and dirt, debris and water out. Rub the grease between your fingers. If it feels gritty, the CV joint is already contaminated.

If you suspect that you have a bad CV joint or a torn CV boot, bring your vehicle in to Courthouse Automotive. Our ASE-certified technicians will inspect it for you and give you an honest quote.