Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Eight Ways Bad Belts Break Engines

When a high-pitched squeal or whine comes from the engine compartment of a car, one very frequent reason is a belt failure or pending failure. Take the car to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible for diagnostics and belt replacement. Broken belts cause damage to many areas of a car and this damage is far more expensive to fix than the cost to replace a worn-down belt.

  1. Engine and accessory belts power many engine parts, including the power steering, air conditioner compressor, alternator, power steering and more. A broken belt, especially on that affects a critical system, often leaves the car dead until repaired.
  1. Think about how long ago the car's timing belt was changed. If it was over 100,000 miles ago, then have a good mechanic inspect the vehicle and decide if belts need to be changed.
  1. They are made over rubber with small teeth that grip the wheels it operates. As the rubber wears down, it begins to slip. The wheel turning it still moves, but the belt slips or does not move at all. This causes the loud squeal.
  1. The engine belt squeal is a warning sound that it is going bad. It still works, but it will deteriorate and fail quickly due to the excess friction and heat generated by the slipping.
  1. Engine belts that become too worn eventually snap, leaving drivers stranded. Quick fixes, like lubricants, are available. However, a temporary solution like conditioner is no substitute for qualified maintenance.
  1. Different vehicles use different belt systems. Some cars have a different one for each system while others have a serpentine type that runs multiple systems. The air conditioner belt is usually a separate one, so squeals might only be heard when the AC is engaged.
  1. When mechanics replace or tighten engine belts, they should care for every one in the car. Condition and wear are not the only causes of their problems. Often it may just be a matter of tightening them. Mechanics may change every one except the timing belt during a regular tune-up.
  1. During a tune-up, many items including engine belts and spark plugs are changed. Drivers who notice engine squeals should check the time since their last tune-up. It may be time for another one.

Knowing this, you will now know more ways to prevent a all types of them breaking and potentially breaking your engine. You will also know some warning signs a belt going bad.

If you are looking for honest advice, prioritized repairs, options on repairs, maximized fuel economy, and a good feeling with who you are doing business with go to
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

VW Fuel for Thought | How to Check Tire Tread

The condition of your tires shouldn't be a guessing game. For safety sake, don't tread lightly. You can check tread through two easy methods shown in this video. One involves a penny and the other involves tire tread indicators.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Get Better Gas Mileage

Since gas is so high nowadays I am always looking for ways to get better gas mileage. I drive a lot and it can really be a drain on my budget. I found some new ways to get better gas mileage and also felt like sharing some that I already knew. Hopefully I can help you save some money on gas!

Don't use your car as a storage bin

Having extra weight in your care means that your car is working harder to move. This will take a toll on your fuel economy so take in all the extra stuff. The less work a vehicle has to do to accelerate means the less energy is consumed.

Change your oil

I used to have a friend that joked that the oil doesn't try to change her so why should she change the oil? Made me laugh every time but I always worried that she didn't understand the importance. The oil in your engine allows the pistons to move up and down more easily and the easier things move the less fuel it takes to move them.

Replace your spark plugs

Clean, properly gapped spark plugs are always the best to make your engine run its best. The better your engine runs the better your fuel consumption will be. If your plugs have a lot of carbon built up on them it will take more fuel for your engine to move and that isn't doing anyone any good.

Roll your windows up on the highway

At speeds higher than 55 mph you should always roll your side windows up. When they are down the wind will actually come in the vehicle, hit the back window and slow you down. It isn't a huge difference but if you make a lot of small changes you will see a difference in your gas mileage.

Turn your car off if you are parked for more than 1 minute

It takes more gas for your engine to idle than it does to start the vehicle so if you are stopped in a parking lot for more than a minute turn your vehicle off.

Install a high air flow air filter

If your vehicle doesn't get enough air flow then not all of your fuel will be burned. This is just a waste of money. Check into a high air flow air filter and you might see a major difference in fuel economy. No matter what you will see a difference but usually it is a substantial one.

Make a path for your errands

If you are out running errands then plan your trip. Go in a logical path that doesn't have you backtracking all over town. You will save on gas and time with this one.

Keep your tires properly inflated

If you have ever tried to ride a bicycle on a flat tire then you will know that it is a lot more work. This same principle applies to the tires on your vehicle. Make sure they are properly inflated so your engine doesn't have to work harder to move the wheels.

Hopefully you will try all of these and they will help you out. I know it has saved me money on my fuel consumption.

The easiest and quickest way to find the Auto Parts you need at 80% off Retail Prices. - Rule the Road!
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Transmission Diagnostics And Repair: Why Is It So Important?

Your car is your lifeline. You use it to get to work, the grocery store, the kids' schools, and all the other places that your busy life needs requires visiting. If your car is damaged or otherwise in trouble, it can set you back both financially and personally, requiring costly repairs and leaving you out of luck with no way to get to where you need to go. That's why it's so important to react quickly when you notice that there is something wrong with your car. Like an injury to your own body, if you ignore car troubles, they are just going to get worse.

Immediate treatment can save you valuable time and money, and can also give you the peace of mind that comes with a car in good repair.

Your car's transmission is, as the name suggests, the series of parts that transmits power from the engine, including speed change and control. In many ways, the transmission is the heart of your car, and as one of the most essential pieces, you should treat it that way! Transmission trouble can be dangerous, expensive and sudden, but you need not go through that. Diagnostics are important for multiple reasons, and they can prevent the crisis that results from major car damage.

Problematic Transmissions Can Cause a Chain Reaction

Remember, if something changes in your car or if something goes wrong, no matter how small, it could be a symptom of something much bigger and more dangerous. Damaged transmissions can have effects on the rest of the car, too. Since it is such a central piece of the car's inner workings, damage to it can damage the rest of the parts it affects, including the engine itself. It can also affect the differentials of the car - the spin of the wheels, which affects the car's drivability and safety in many aspects (think turning corners or controlling the car on uneven terrain). A damaged transmission is a liability to the car as a whole.

Because the transmission is so important, it is particularly crucial that you pursue a diagnostic test to get to the root of the problem should you suspect any issues or irregularities. The diagnostic will consist of a professional examination of your transmission with a report of any issues and an estimate of how much the repair will cost, and it's a great and convenient way to avoid worse problems in the future by consulting with a mechanic you can trust.

Professionals, with their years of training and experience, are best suited to the diagnostic process, which will inspect your transmission for faults and damage. This is applicable whether you have a manual transmission or an automatic one, and whether your car is American or an import. If you neglect the problems, they can become much worse, but having a diagnostic assessment performed can keep your repairs as inexpensive and simple as possible - and simple, inexpensive repairs means that you can get on with your life that much faster.

If you live in Sarasota, Florida and are having transmission problems, bring your vehicle to Ralph's Transmissions or the best diagnostic and repair service available.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Volkswagen Beetle and Rallycross at the Chicago Auto Show

The new Volkswagen GRC Beetle show car was introduced at the Chicago Auto show. VW USA has turned the Beetle into a racecar, with Rallycross legends Tanner Foust and Scott Speed at the helm.

In partnership with Andretti Autosport, Volkswagen USA is entering a new motorsports discipline for the carmaker. As the VW Beetle competes in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series, it joins a "cutting-edge sport," underscoring a "commitment to the fun factor," Tanner Foust said. Scott Speed mentioned, "I'm most excited about Volkswagen being able to team up with Andretti Autosport because we're going to have the best cars out there to win races. What better place than motorsports, the most competitive and challenging environment, to further demonstrate the durability and reliability that Volkswagen products offer?"

Also announced at the show was the Beetle with Premium Package. This Beetle features LED headlights, enhanced GPS navigation, leather car interior, and an iPhone holder.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mobil 1 & eHow: Conventional vs Synthetic

Mobil 1 and eHow team up with Automotive Improvement Expert Chris Duke and compare conventional to synthetic motor oil.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The First-Ever BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé. Product Substance.

The latest member of the BMW 4 Series family is the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé. The four-door Coupé combines attributes such as a higher usage for everyday life with functionality, without giving up on sportiness and elegance.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

4 Reasons Not to Wait to Check Your "Check Engine" Light

I see it all the time. The customer limps his car in, shaking and shuddering every time he pushes the gas pedal. I could almost write a script - "It seemed to be running OK, then all of a sudden..." After asking a few questions, though, it turns out that it wasn't "all of a sudden."

"Has the check engine light been on long?" I ask. "Well, about a month I guess, but it was running fine so I didn't think anything was wrong", they respond. After checking the codes stored in the computer, it reveals a bad oxygen sensor and a failed catalytic converter, which means for whatever reason the air and fuel entering your engine doesn't burn thoroughly enough, potentially causing gas to enter your exhaust. This gas ignites in the exhaust system, which causes your catalytic converter to melt down, which then plugs the exhaust, which basically means you aren't going anywhere too fast. $800 to $2000 or more later and you're back on the road.

The unfortunate thing is if he had checked it a month earlier, a $200 oxygen sensor may have prevented the problem from getting that bad in the first place.

1. Save yourself a lot of money - your check engine light is called a warning light for a reason. Sometimes you may physically feel a problem, but more often than not you won't. Anything left unattended to could possibly cost you big time down the road. It is true - an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

2. Save yourself a lot of time - I had a fleet customer recently who had a crew driving a work truck several hundred miles to a job. Unbeknownst to him, the check engine light was on the whole time, and eventually caused a major engine failure which required a new engine. Not only did it cost him thousands of dollars, his truck was out of commission for over a week, when it could have originally been fixed in an hour.

3. Save yourself a lot of extra work - in many states, a check engine light is an automatic failure when you go to get an emissions test. Once your car fails, you have to have the problem repaired, and then it has to go through something known as a "drive cycle", which basically means your car has to go through several different conditions to verify it is working properly before the computer resets and allows the emission test to pass. This could take days or weeks, depending on how the car is driven. After all that, you then have to start the process all over by getting it retested at the emission inspection station. Hope it passes this time!

4. Finally, save yourself a lot of stress - I don't know about you, but just the thought of the first three reasons stresses me out. Why not go ahead and bite the bullet, figure out what it's going to take to fix the check engine light, and hopefully save yourself a lot of unnecessary money, time, extra work, and stress!

On a final note, if your check engine light is flashing, that is your cars way of saying, "HEY! you better hurry up! This could be bad!" This typically means you have a severe ignition system misfire, and that could add up to a whole lot of number 1-4, when a simple tune up with new spark plugs and wires (or coil boots, depending on your system) might fix everything.

Don't let your check engine light cause you extra money, time, work or stress. Give us a call or check us out at
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