Common Car Repairs You Should Not Do Yourself

Mechanic Car Repairs

Years ago, passenger cars were much simpler to repair, or maintain than they are today. This is why some drivers in decades past worked on their own vehicles. Modern automobiles, however, are extremely complex machines, requiring specialized tools, training, and experience to repair them.While it is tempting for some car owners to try to save time and money by repairing their own vehicles, it is not advisable. People who work on cars, but are not qualified to can jeopardize not only their safety, but also the welfare of other motorists on the road.

In this blog, let’s look at 5 common car repairs that you should not do yourself.

Common Car Repairs by Mechanics

Brake Repair

 A car’s brakes seem pretty simple. You press the pedal, and the vehicle stops. However, what is behind that process in modern cars is extremely complex. Brakes are made up of many individual components, all working together. These include brake pads, calipers, rotors, brake fluid, electronic sensors, motors, and a master cylinder.

With the introduction of Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), your car’s brakes are likely part of a network of computer modules, electronic sensors, motors, and software that run the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Lane Departure System (LDS) or Collision Avoidance Systems. Many of these safety features require post repair calibration to operate correctly.  Because a vehicle’s braking system is such a critical part of its safety features, be sure to have a qualified technician repair it.

Transmission Repair      

Automobile transmissions have always been complicated, but this is especially true today. Because modern transmissions are part of the powertrain control network, classic symptoms like slipping, erratic or hard shifting are generally not transmission malfunctions but rather a sensor providing incorrect data to the powertrain control module and/or transmission control module. Discovering the root cause of these symptoms usually requires advanced specialized training.

In fact, not all mechanics are qualified to do it. If you sense your transmission is slipping, or not shifting correctly, be sure to take the car to a technician who is qualified to diagnose the problem and fix it.

Engine Diagnostics

Today’s vehicles have multiple onboard computers that help monitor and control their performance. If the  “Check Engine” light appears on your dashboard, this is your car letting you know that something needs attention.

Well-meaning parts store employees can plug a diagnostic reader into a port under the dash and learn from a series of codes why your engine light is glowing. While some people try to interpret a code by looking it up on the internet, correctly repairing the issue is an entirely different skill set. A qualified technician will use specialized tools to analyze which sensors are reporting outside of their acceptable parameters then perform tests to discover why it is occurring.  Pro Tip: The root cause is generally not the sensor which illuminated the “check engine light”.

Car Electrical Repair

Automobile electrical systems are more complicated today than any other period in the history of vehicle manufacturing. The science of electricity hasn’t changed since Ben Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm. But the strategies employed to control nearly every component of a modern car is changing with every model year.  Even simple light bulb functionality requires knowledge of advanced electronic networks.

Be sure to take your car to an experienced, trained mechanic to address any electrical system problems.

Suspension Repair   

Like your car’s braking system, its front and rear suspension play a critical role in keeping you safe.

They are designed to support the weight of the car as it travels down the road. In addition, your car’s steering is dependent upon the front suspension operating properly.

Over time, a vehicle’s suspension parts will wear, and need to be replaced. Because your safety is literally riding on your car’s suspension, be sure it is serviced by people who have been formally trained to repair, perform an alignment and calibrate any affected sensors such as SAS,

Car Starter Issues

One of the most often used components on your car’s engine is the starter. Without it, your vehicle won’t be taking you anywhere.

Starters in most modern cars are attached to the engine in hard-to-reach spots. In addition, many vehicles require that other parts be removed before the starter can be accessed. If your starter is not performing as it should, be sure to take the car to a qualified mechanic who can fix it properly.

You should consult your mechanic if you experience any of these common car problems.

  • Grinding sounds, or poor stopping performance from the brakes.
  • Transmission shifting issues.
  • The “Check Engine” light comes on.
  • Something goes wrong with the electrical system.
  • The car begins to ride rough, or not steering like it should.
  • The starter will not engage the engine.

Car-X is Here to Help!

You rely on your vehicle to keep up with your busy lifestyle. For more than 50 years, the highly knowledgeable team at Car-X has been helping our customers stay safe out on the road.

Whether it be for any type of repair or preventative maintenance, you can count on us to take care of it promptly. Visit your local Car-X today!

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Safety Tips for Driving In Heavy Rain

Wipers clearing rain, and roads busy with traffic.

Spring has finally arrived- along with an increase in rainy days. Heavy rain may be beneficial to flowers, but it is not the best weather to drive your car in. The roads become slick and visibility can be limited due to rain and fog. Use these tips to ensure a safe trip during heavy rainfall.

  • Slow down! Be sure to drive at or below the speed limit when the roads are slick.
  • Avoid hard braking, turn slowly, and ensure ample distance between the car in front of you.
  • Turn on headlights (but not the brights) In 18 states it is illegal to use your windshield wipers without turning on your headlights during inclement weather. Some of those states include Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, pull over. Sometimes it is best to wait until the rain slows down before you continue your route. You should never drive when stressed out or uncomfortable about your safety.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires have less pressure pushing the car down on the road. You will you have less tire-to-road contact than a properly inflated tire, which increases your risk of hydroplaning.
  • If you find yourself hydroplaning- don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, ease off the gas pedal and use a light pumping method on the brakes.
  • Rain causes humidity. If you need to quickly de-fog your windshield, turn on the A/C to cool down the interior of the car.
  • If you hydroplane, steer in the direction your car is going. This will help your tires realign and gain traction back.

Above all, it is important to remain cautious and calm while driving through heavy rain. Stop in to your local Car-X if you need a headlight or wiper blade replacement, brake repair, or a general inspection of your car.

How To Know If Your Brakes Need To Be Replaced

The brake pads are an essential factor in your braking system. They protect the rotor from damage and distribute heat from friction. Many problems could arise if the brake pads are worn down more than a quarter of an inch. The metal “wear indicators” making friction with the rotor can cause warping or cracking. Without brake pads, the heat from fiction won’t distribute evenly, which could cause the entire braking system to overheat and fail. Replacing the entire braking system will be much more expensive than getting new brake pads. Here are 4 warning signs that you may need new brakes.

Strange noises

Squealing, buzzing, or scraping sounds- Wear indicators are metal tabs near the top of the brake pads. As the brake pad wears down, the indicator will scrape against the rotor. The grating noises sound as an alarm to the driver to replace the brake pads. Neglecting these sounds can result in warped or cracked rotors.

Clicking noise- A holding device and/or clips, bolts, and pins hold the brake pads in place. You may hear a clicking or rattling noise if the brake pad has become loose.

Braking takes longer than it used to

You may begin to feel the brakes’ lack of performance when you’re driving. Be on the lookout for longer stop times or needing to apply more pressure when braking. These are clear warning signs that you’ll need to get your brakes inspected immediately.

Shifting to one side

Sometimes the brake pads wear thinner on one side faster than the other. Your car may pull slightly to the left or right when pressing on the brakes if this occurs. You run the risk of damaging your steering system if this problem is ignored. Other issues, such as uneven tire pressure, can cause uneven shifting of the car. Determine the root cause of uneven stopping by getting an inspection ASAP.

Brake pedal vibrates

A rotor in poor condition will cause the brake pedal to vibrate when stopping. An uneven grasp on the brakes will cause the rotor to become scarred, warped, rusted, or cracked. This will cause a vibration or pulsation while braking.

The braking system is one of the most critical safety features of your vehicle. Issues or concerns about brakes should not be dismissed, as negligence can lead to an accident, expensive fees in repairs, and damage to other systems in your car.

If you’ve noticed any of these issues when braking, visit your local Car-X for an inspection or repair service today: https://www.carx.com/location_search/

Find an Automotive Brake Specialist in Your Area

Most brake specialists recommend biannual brake inspections. Why so often? Because brakes experience a lot of wear.

No one ever said stopping a moving vehicle was easy. The friction that is created each and every time a driver steps on the brakes will wear brakes down over time.

The good news is that brakes are relatively simple devices. There are really only a few things that can go wrong with them. A trained brake specialist is often able to diagnosis and correct most brake problems in short order. Where do they begin?

Like most automotive problems, brake costs get more expensive when they are ignored. If a driver hears a squeak, squeal, or scrape emanating from the brakes, he should see his brake specialist as soon as humanly possible.

The Rotors

The first thing a brake specialist will check is the brake discs or rotors. If these discs have rough spots or deep grooves on them, they may need to be replaced. Failure to do so could result in complete and total brake failure. New rotors are often affordable at only around a hundred dollars a pair, not including the cost of labor.

The Pads

Brake pads absorb most of the friction and force whenever the brakes are applies. As a result, they tend to wear down quite quickly. If a pad is less than 1/8th of an inch thick, your brake specialist will recommend that you replace it. This is always a good idea. Brake pads are inexpensive and failing to replace them could damage other, more expensive parts of your braking system. Why pay a higher brake cost tomorrow when you can settle it today?  New brake pads not only improve performance, they also eliminate most brake noise.

Brake Lines

If a brake problem is not mechanical, it may have something to do with the brake lines. Because modern braking systems use hydraulics, they rely on fluids to transfer force into pressure. If the fluids are low, the brakes will not work as they should. The most common explanation is a leak in one of the brake lines. If there is a leak, brake fluid and pressure will be lost. In extreme cases, the brake pedal will sink to the floor and the brakes will be more or less useless.

If you experience any of the aforementioned problems, contact Car-X as soon as possible.

Expert Brake Service

Being able to stop quickly and smoothly is essential in a car. Quality brakes that function in top condition are fundamental to a driver’s safety. That’s why Car-X takes the matter seriously and offers free, no obligation brake system inspections.  Never neglect your brake system again.

Car-X is so confident in the quality of products and service that we offer a lifetime guarantee on brake pads and brake shoes for as long as you own your car. Key components in the braking systems, shoes and pads provide the majority of the stopping power by creating friction, absorbing heat and energy. Every time the pedal is pressed to stop the car, the shoes and pads bare the brunt of stress and wear.  Schedule an appointment today with the Brake Experts at Car-X.