ARDEN HILLS:

651-633-4100

1310 W County Rd E

ROSEVILLE:
651-488-8800

2170 Dale St N

ARDEN HILLS:

651-633-4100

1310 W County Rd E

ROSEVILLE:
651-488-8800

2170 Dale St N

Car Inspection Basics

Even though you can never be sure about the true condition of a car when you look at it at first glance, many signs and red flags are still very evident and will tell you plenty about the vehicle. Below, this article will reveal a few areas of the car that you can observe for inspection, and why they are essential during a used car check up.

Check the Trunk

You can learn a great deal about the car simply by looking at its trunk. This may come out as a surprise for many but it is nothing far from the truth. Use your hands and spread them across the trunk and check for any water spots and leakages.

Another place water is likely to collect is beneath the floor of the trunk. Therefore, if you can pop open the compartment beneath the trunk, considering that the car you are inspecting comes with that option, then you should definitely do so. The spare tire portion under the trunk floor is deep and sloped, and therefore, very vulnerable to water.

Furthermore, if you see a spare tire lying around in the trunk then it is important that you take a look at the condition of the tire and make sure that it is not flat. Apart from that, you should check all the inner edges of the trunk and observe whether they are perfectly straight without unnecessary bend on them.

Any slight changes in the symmetry of the trunk can be an indication that the car experienced a collision. Therefore, you have to be aware of any indentation, marks and damages on the inner walls of the trunk.

Inspection of the Panel Gaps

The panel gaps refer to the gaps between each section of the exterior body. The best way to check the panel gaps is by running your finger down the panel gaps and feel for any uneven gap distance. In other words, the gap should be consistently running across the vehicle without widening or shortening in width.

You want to check the panel gaps on every part of the car, such as doors, trunk, bonnet, bumpers and more. A widening panel gap above the door is an indication of a sagging door; hence you want to make sure that you check it thoroughly.

Check for Body Fillers

Anytime a car goes under some body work, the technician is likely to apply body fillers to the car. To test whether any part of the car consist of body fillers, you have to get a magnet and test it by sticking it on the car’s body. Cars go through plenty of wear, maintenance, damage, repair, and replacements over their lifespan. Any alterations in the car’s body will leave behind signs that you can identify. Nonetheless, you need to know where to look to rightfully pinpoint on the issue.

Catalytic Converter Theft Increasing

catalytic converter

Thefts involving a catalytic converter inside cars are through the roof this year. Reduce the chance of the catalytic converter being stole, by following some tips. Statistics show a sudden spike in catalytic converter theft this year when you compare them to last year’s record. The sudden rise in thefts has brought people’s attention towards catalytic converters.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic converters act as catalysts inside your exhaust pipe, converting bad fumes inside the exhaust into better combustion gas. In other words, it helps to filter out some of the pollutants inside your car’s exhaust so that it can throw out less nasty gas. What contributes to this filtration process are the precious metals that reside inside these converters.

How are they so Valuable?

Many car owners are unaware of the precious metals that are hanging under their cars and thieves make the most out of this lack of awareness. Even though there isn’t a ton of metals inside one catalytic converter, having a bunch of catalytic converters at once can mean that you are sitting on a Goldmine.

To put this into perspective, one catalytic converter can have about two to three grams of precious metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. The current market value of Rhodium can range up to 20,000 dollars an ounce.

Therefore, the end game for thieves ripping out catalytic converters is not to resell them for other cars. The thieves are more likely collecting these converters and extracting the precious metals from them so they have collective accumulation that is worth a ton of money.

Your vehicle contains many auto parts and components that have a market somewhere. This makes auto parts one of the key targets for thieves around the world. Before there was the Catalytic Converter theft epidemic, car owners experienced a rise in the car battery and fuel thefts.

As many of them in the past, this wave of thefts shall also pass, however, you cannot tell when that happens. This is why, until crime decreases, you should resort to measures that help you protect the catalytic converter from theft.

Protection Measures for a catalytic converter

Ever since there has been a rise in catalytic converters, the manufacture of protective shield plates is simultaneously increasing. Your best bet against theft is the installation of protective shields. These steel plates attach on top of the converter from one end to the end, shutting down their visible exposure to the thief. If you equip your car with metallic plates, the thief will have to pierce through hard steel to get to your catalytic converter. This is will not only be time-consuming but also noisy.

Before the state takes this sudden increase into notice and passes on legislation against this epidemic, your car’s converter will remain vulnerable to theft. Therefore, it is best that you take things into your own hands and actively make preventative installments in your car.

 

Brake Pads for Your Cars – The Best Ones and Why

brake

When your car starts to make the squealing noise that you do not like, the most obvious solution is a brake pad replacement. Brake pads are metallic plates that have a covering or padding the presses against your rotors as you apply the brakes. Due to this, the wheels instantly stop spinning. To understand the pads better you need to come to terms with their history.

Brief History

Back when discs were new inventions, the padding on the pads was asbestos. There was not much wrong with the asbestos material in terms of braking, however, people later took into notice that asbestos dust can be a cause of lung cancer.

Therefore, asbestos-made pads became illegal, and manufacturers faced the problem of finding other materials as replacements. This led to the introduction of ceramic pads in the 1980s. Nevertheless, the ceramic brake pads were subject to horrible noises and dust. This led to other pad inventions such as organic brake pads, and metallic brake pads that each had their unappealing features.

Organic pads wore out faster, while the metallic pads became detrimental for the metallic rotors. As time progressed, advances in brake pad technology came to life, and this resulted in the introduction of ceramic pads that do not leave dust and do not make a disturbing noise when you apply the brakes.

Ceramic pads do leave a lot of noise, but it has a high frequency that you cannot hear. Ceramic pads compose of today compose of porcelain, clay, and bond to copper flakes and filaments. This mixture of materials allows them to stop the vehicle well, without making any disturbing noise. Not to mention, they can also last a long time.

Which Brake Pads should You Chose?

The difference between ceramic brake pads and metallic brake pads is the stopping ability. Semi-metallic brake pads can provide your car with a faster braking response. This makes them an ideal choice for people that drive sports cars, and racing fanatics. Cars that compete in racing use full-metal brake pads to further increase their braking ability.

Nevertheless, full metal brake pads are not something that you can use every day because they can wear down the rotors quickly. The best braking pads that you can find are carbon fiber pads. They offer the best braking ability and wear the least under a high-pressure situation. They are however extremely costly and difficult to find.

If you are an average car owner, then the best choice in terms of braking pads is ceramic ones. They are cost-friendly, last you a long time, do not cause wear on the rotors, and do not make too much noise. Picking out the best brake pads will depend on your personality, car, and driving style.

Another thing that determines the pads is the model of your car. Lastly, deciding on brake pad types at the time of replacement should now be easier for you.

 

Timing Belts and Signs of Failing

timing beltsTiming chains are metallic components of the car that connect the camshaft to the crankshaft. These components are major parts of the engine that contribute to the revolutions of the pistons. Without their functionality, a combustion engine will be unable to work.

The crankshaft and the camshaft have spikes or teeth for the timing chain. When the timing chain attaches to the crankshaft, and the camshaft, it dictates both of their movements, so that they can rotate with accuracy and bring about the mechanical workings of an engine.

A timing chain is a solid, durable metal that lasts the lifetime of the car. However, for it to last forever, the car owner has to be on top of their engine oil replacements. If that is not the case, then the car will show signs of a damaged timing chain. Below are a few indications of a failing timing chain.

Timing belts and Rattling Noise from the Engine

If you are driving the car at idle or low speeds, and you notice a rattling sound coming from the engine, this can be the rubbing of the damaged chain against the engine. You are most likely to notice this sound during the ignition of the engine.

Like rubber timing belts, a timing chain can also stretch over time, and in this occurrence, it fails to attach tightly to the camshaft and crankshaft. This ultimately results in some parts of the chain touching the outside covers and makes a noticeable rattling noise.

Due to the natural wear and tear, it fails to apply adequate tension to the timing guide. To confirm this issue, make sure to remove the timing chain cover, if you find metal shavings inside the timing chain cover, this indicates that the timing chain is overstretched.

Timing belts and Issues

When the timing chain starts to wear off, it begins to jump teeth on the crankshaft. This disrupts the timing of the pistons, making the valves open and close inaccurately. This will likely decrease the car’s engine power, and you will not get the best acceleration after you push the throttle.

Timing-related codes are unusual, and the crankshaft and camshaft codes do not have clear indications in the car. Therefore, an extension of the timing chain can result in a check engine light that does not go away until you replace the belt. If your check engine light keeps blinking and you have tried everything to make it stop, then it is time you also open up the timing belts and analyze them.

These are the most notable and common indications of a timing belt or chain replacement. Even though they last forever in most cases, if you feel your car is low on maintenance, and you find these signs then take your car to a specialist for a timing chain or timing belt replacement.

 

Tire Inspections in The Summer and Why You Need them

tireCheck each tire regularly all year long. Since your car is resting on a set of four wheels, you can imagine how strong they would be if they can lift so much weight easily. Tires are made from highly durable rubber that doesn’t burst or break easily, which is why they can be used for all sorts of vehicles. However, the summers can be quite unforgiving, not just for you but your tires as well.

In the summers, the excess heat from the sun can really get to your tires, and this article explains why you need to get your tires inspected in the summers.

Can the Tire Burst in the Summer?

The truth is, your tires have a greater chance of blowing in the summers as they do in any other season. The major reason for this is because the excessive heat given to these tires causes their inner molecules to expand, thus causing an expansion. Since the tires can only withstand being stretched up to a point, they eventually blow.

Therefore, you should make it a point to check on your car’s tires more frequently in the summer. You can also bring your vehicle in so we can inspect them for you.

How Often Should You Check Each Tire?

When it comes to checking your tires during the summer, there are many more things that you have to take care of, apart from the tire pressure level. Your vehicle is driven on numerous roads and terrains. It also has gone through different weather when you drive it. Therefore, you should make sure to check on the health of your tires more frequently.

Ideally, you should take a quick look at each of your tires before leaving for work or college every day. This will help lower the chance of getting stuck due to a deflated or blown tire.

What to Check for in Your Tires?

The first and foremost thing that you need to check is the tire pressure. This can be done through a tire pressure gauge or an automatic tire pressure monitor. Make sure to check the tire pressure once or twice every month, and keep bringing it to the recommended level. If the weather is changing and there is a significant rise or drop in the temperature, then make sure to check your tires much more regularly.

The second thing to check is the tread patterns on your tires. These are present to develop a better road grip and enhance friction. You can notice if the tread on your car’s tires are wearing out or in good condition. This will help you determine if you need to change your tires.

The excess heat from the sun can be really devastating for your tires, so make sure you get them inspected.

If the Car Overheats, know what to Do

overheatsIf you are driving by and you happen to notice your car engine overheats, then you may only have only a few minutes before things terribly go wrong. An overheating engine can lead to many other problems, and in some cases, it can also turn fatal.

Engine failures can result in the dreaded check engine lights to blink. When it does, you should know what to do and how to respond quickly in the most efficient way. When an engine overheats, you should be expecting extreme and irreversible damage.

Knowing practical steps to neutralize an overheating engine can help you turn the situation to a minor inconvenience and save you from expensive repair bills.

Proper Maintenance of Your Cooling System

Maintenance allows you to prevent overheating problems from occurring in the first place. If you are someone that travels long distances, then maintenance and repair can help you address all the minor issues in the cooling system that result to be the major causes of overheating.

Get Familiar with The Manual

Every car comes with a manual and that contains a section for overheating. That outlines all the specific directions that you should follow in the instance of overheating. The general rule of thumb or preferable practices are universal; however, checking the manual will allow you insights in ways that allow you to target the practices that are specific to the model of your car. Storing that in memory will prepare you better for whenever this unwanted situation arrives.

Engine that Overheats

Make sure that you have an idea of how and when your vehicle tells you that it is overheating. All cars have some built system of indicating when the engine temperature is getting higher than normal. This is often evident on the indicators of a car. The indicator is more or less a buzzer or a beep in front of your eyes to get your attention. Therefore, you must take note of all the specific indicators, sounds and warning lights that you come across while driving.

Act Immediately

The appearance of overheat warning signal is an indication that you must act immediately and not delay any action. If you do not tackle the situation immediately, you will most likely suffer the immediate consequences.

Why it Overheats

Many reasons surround the overheating of engines, one of them is the faulty coolant systems, and leaks. It can also involve compromised cooling plumbing, electronic problems, radiator leaks and others. One more key cause is the poor maintenance.

A car overheating is a dodgy scenario. Many times, people misconceive overheating for something much worse because of the excessive smoke and steam coming out of the car. However, the worst thing you can do in the face of this emergency is panic. Make sure to stay calm, and follow the guidelines that control the situation.

 

 

How To Prevent Theft Of Catalytic Converters?

catalytic

Among all of the things that can be stolen from your car, the last thing you would think of would be a catalytic converter. It is an instrument that is installed in the exhaust manifold of your car. The catalytic converter can be found close to the exhaust pipe. Its job is to convert the harmful gases from your car into harmless ones before releasing them into the atmosphere.

Car thieves commonly target catalytic converters because they can be removed in a matter of minutes. They are sold quickly and they can go for as high as $3,000. This also means that if this is stolen from your car, you will have to pay a lot more money to get a new one. Here is how you can stay ahead of catalytic converter theft and prevent it from happening to you.

Scoping the Neighborhood

The first step is to find out whether any other cars have been targeted near your home or in your neighborhood. This would help you find out if you are actually an easy target or not. Visit an auto parts store near you. You can find out the make and model of cars that customers buy catalytic converters most commonly. This would help you find out which cars are being targeted more than others. The Toyota Prius is the most common target for catalytic converter theft. Also various models of trucks and SUVs are a common target.

Installing an Anti-Theft Device

You can also protect your catalytic converter by installing a cable locking device. You can put on your catalytic converter whenever you park the car. Getting such a device proves to be much cheaper than the catalytic converter. So it is a wise option for people who think they may be prone to catalytic converter theft. You can easily find a cable locking device for the catalytic converter for as low as $250. Moreover, there are also different types of shields used to cover the converter, which include metal covers, cages, steel cables, and much more. You can also find DIY methods to protect your catalytic converter from theft.

Tagging Your Catalytic Converter

If you have been a victim of converter theft once, you have to be more careful the next time. What you can do is to make it more difficult for the thief to move the converter if they steal it again from your car. One way to do this is to paint the converter with a fluorescent paint and adding the vehicle identification number to it, so that it can be traced by police. Moreover, no dealer will ever buy one that has been tagged.

This brings us to the end of our guide on how to protect your catalytic converters from theft. By following the aforementioned steps, you can make it difficult for your converter to be stolen and more so, to be sold further on.

5 Reasons To Replace Your Windshield Wipers Regularly

replace

Your windshield wipers are one of the most important external components of your car. They keep your windshield squeaky clean, so that your visibility isn’t impaired in any way. Unfortunately, many people neglect their windshield wipers and only think about them when it starts to rain or snow. By this time it is already late. Therefore, here are 5 reasons why you should get your windshield wipers replaced regularly.

Improved Visibility

The biggest benefit of having properly functioning windshield wipers is that they keep your windshield clean. This is so that you can see clearly outside your car. With a clean windshield, you can focus on the road better. This helps you navigate around potholes, speed bumps, etc. As a consequence, your car stays in perfect shape and you don’t have to get it repaired regularly. All you need to do is to replace your windshield wipers regularly, and you are good to go.

The blades of your windshield wipers are made from metal and a rubber is fitted underneath them, which is responsible for wiping the glass surface clean. As you use the windshield wipers, the rubber starts to wear off and it may also break away. This means that there is a high chance that the metal frame comes in contact with the glass. It damages it by scratching the surface and leaving deep grooves all over it. Ultimately, you will have to replace your windshield, so it is better to change your windshield wipers from time to time.

Sun Damage

Since your car is exposed to the sun all day, the heat and the sunlight can have quite an impact on the rubber blades on your windshield wipers. Over time, these rubber blades start to become hard and rigid, and thus unable to wipe your windshield properly anymore. You can check if the rubber is alright by looking and pressing it. If you feel that it has become too hard, then you should think about replacing the windshield wipers once and for all.

Replace them Easily

Replacing your windshield wipers is a piece of cake, and you need except a good screwdriver. The ease of replacement is also one reason why you should go about it sooner than later. No matter what type of windshield wipers you may have, you can easily remove the screws or bolts that hold them in place. Once this is done, you can place the new wipers in place of the old ones. Make sure that you install the wipers correctly by seeing which one goes on the left and which goes to the right, so that your wipers function properly when installed.

 

Windshield wipers are generally inexpensive, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money to get them replaced. This concludes our guide on why you should get your windshield wipers replaced from time to time. The bottom line is, keeping your wipers replaced will not only improve road safety for you, but also keep your windshield clean and protected from scratches and damage. Therefore, make sure you replace them every few months, especially before a rainy or winter season.

Wheel Alignment and 3 Reasons this Happens After the Winter

wheel alignmentIf you own a car, you might be aware of the regular maintenance steps that have to be completed periodically, such as an oil change, spark plug replacement, and tuning. But one step that is often overlooked by people is wheel alignment, which involves adjusting the angle of your wheels to make them match each other.

During wintertime, your car experiences a lot of rough use, which is why its wheels often get misaligned. Here are some reasons why your vehicle loses it wheel alignment after the winters.

Wheel Alignment and the Roads

During winters, there is a lot of snowfall, which causes the roads to become particularly slippery, and your car’s tires have to work harder to maintain a strong grip on such roads. This causes their wheel alignment to go off by a few degrees. Slippery roads also bring with them a lot of potholes and bumps, and if you are not careful, they can throw off your car’s alignment greatly. Therefore, it is highly important for you to get your wheel alignment checked when winter ends.

Excessive Braking

Another negative impact of winter driving on your car is that you have to use the brakes more frequently than you normally do, since it can be harder to control the car on slippery or snowy roads. When you press the brakes, uneven force is applied on each wheel and this puts a lot of pressure on the suspension, thus changing the angle at which each wheel is placed. This can also lead to your brakes losing their efficiency, which can be highly dangerous for you. By maintaining your car’s wheel alignment, you will be able to ensure the proper function of the steering and braking system for a long time.

Older Tires

If you have older tiles installed in your car, they will be more prone to wear and tear due to driving in the winter. Moreover, winter driving with older tires can be unsafe for you and can lead to accidents. Secondly, it is also easier for old tires to maintain their alignment, because their treads are quite worn off. As a result, your car’s driving performance isn’t as smooth as you would expect. Sometimes, a wheel alignment expert will ask you to get your tires replaced instead of adjusting their wheel alignment. This may lead to higher costs, but this is a necessary expenditure.

As you can see, driving your car in the winters can put quite a lot of strain on your vehicle, particularly its tires, braking system, and steering system, which includes the axles, suspension, and steering rod. If the wheel alignment isn’t taken care of on time, it can lead to further issues, as well as higher repair and maintenance costs. Therefore, there are various benefits of getting your car’s wheel alignment checked on time. Make sure to take your car to an experienced wheel alignment service with advanced equipment, so that your car is well-maintained and you can enjoy a safe and smooth driving experience.

Get Your RV Spring Ready with these Tips

RV

 

Whether new or experienced, a large number of RV owners get confused whenever the topic of springtime maintenance comes up. Sure, there is no denying that there are hundreds, if not thousands of checklists available online. You may even come across tips from self-professed RV “experts”, but the ones we are about to discuss in this piece are arguably the best. Why? Because we will be talking about three of the most fundamental things you should check in your RV to make sure it is spring and summer ready.

Begin with the Tires on the RV

Keeping your RV parked in a storage for weeks or even months can deteriorate your tire in more ways than one. Inactivity can reduce the PSI levels of your tires and even lead to punctures. Recreational vehicles parked inside storage often lose around three percent of the PSI each month. This essentially means your tires have incredibly low air pressure, a disaster waiting to happen.

It would be best if you double checked each tire’s pressure with the help of an inflation gauge. If your tire has any glaring issues, consider getting an auto repair professional to look into the matter.

Thoroughly Examine the Batteries on an RV

Batteries are quite similar to tires in the sense that they lose their charge due to inactivity. In a large number of cases, RV owners tend to remove the battery and store it somewhere else to prevent deterioration. However, this does not guarantee that your battery will be in optimal condition once you store it back and start your car.

More often than not, RV owners still experience battery related issues after bringing it out of storage. One of the biggest reasons why this happens is internal leakage. Believe it or not, completely charged batteries can easily lose around fifteen percent of their current, which is why charging your battery completely before getting your RV out for a ride would be a wise choice.

It would also help if you get a professional repairman to examine your battery to steer clear from surprises while on the road.

Inspect the Oil Level

Inspect the oil level of your RVs generator by following the owner’s manual. You should also inspect the generator’s exhaust system prior to running it. You can cause significant damage to your generator by running it without checking for wear and tear. It could result in costly repairs and lower your RVs quality by tenfold.

If your generator was not active for months, running it for a couple of hours will help you spot any issues. Checking the load rating of your generator would also be a good idea. You can do this by checking the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer.

 

 

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We look forward to earning your vehicle service and repair business.