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Archive for September 2022

Don't Stack the Mat

Posted September 25, 2022 8:26 AM

In the sloppy cold weather months, you might be tempted to pick up an all-weather mat and throw it on top of the mats you already have in your vehicle. After all, double protection is better, right? In this case, wrong. Here's why.

It's important to keep the accelerator and brake pedals clear so they can function the way they are supposed to. Stacking mats in the driver's side footwell can make them sit up too high on the floor. That can, in turn, jam your accelerator pedal forward, causing your vehicle to unintentionally speed up; it may get stuck in that position. Same thing applies to the brake pedal. The mats can get caught underneath it and prevent you from stopping.

Here are some other good practices when it comes to mats. It's best to get those designed for your vehicle. They are shaped to fit your specific car, truck, van or SUV. Ill-fitting mats can have the same untended consequences as stacked mats.

Good mats will have either a Velcro-type fastener on the back of them or a hook that fits into a hole in the mat. That way, the mat stays affixed to the floor so it doesn't slip and cause problems.

One more thing to keep in mind. If you have objects rolling around your vehicle, let's say under the driver's seat, just think about what happens when you jam on the brake. That object is thrown forward and can get caught in a pedal. You might find the accelerator stuck or the brake pedal inoperative.

Your service advisor at Lakeside Certified Auto can recommend the right mat for your vehicle. The right mat may save your carpeting, the wrong one may cost you an accident.

Lakeside Certified Auto
38525 Lakeshore Blvd
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 946-0076
http://www.lakesidecertifiedauto.com



Steering You Right (Power Steering Signs of Problems)

Posted September 18, 2022 7:26 AM

Nearly every modern vehicle on the road today has power steering, a wonderful invention that makes steering take far less effort than it did in the "good old days."  Today, we take our steering for granted: until something goes wrong, that is.

Most power steering these days is rack-and-pinion, the rack being a metal bar between the front wheels with notches in it and the pinion being a gear whose teeth fits into those notches.  Adding power assist makes it easy to turn. That assist comes in the form of hydraulic fluid that is pressurized by a pump powered by the engine, an electric motor that adds a power assist or a system that uses both an electric motor and hydraulic fluid.

Your vehicle usually gives you a heads up that something is going wrong with its steering. Here are a few signs to look for:

  • A humming, whirring, rubbing or grinding sound coming from you engine compartment when you turn.
  • Signs of hydraulic fluid leaking, such as wet spots under your vehicle.
  • The smell of burning oil while you're driving.
  • Steering wheel hard to turn or vibrating.

If you notice any of these signs, it's a good idea to have a trained technician check them out.  They may be signs of:

  • Power steering pump going bad
  • Steering rack or gear seals wearing out, causing them to lose hydraulic fluid
  • Broken fluid hose
  • Defective power steering cooler
  • Loss of pressure in the power steering gearbox
  • Worn out steering pump belt
  • Failing electric power steering motor

It's important to have these checked out sooner rather than later. You need to be able to steer properly in order to drive safely. Plus, some of these problems can cause more serious—and expensive—damage if they're not fixed.  Power steering is a wonderful feature of your vehicle.  Keep it well maintained and it will steer you right.

Lakeside Certified Auto
38525 Lakeshore Blvd
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 946-0076
http://www.lakesidecertifiedauto.com



Shifty Letters PRNDL (Transmission)

Posted September 11, 2022 11:09 AM

You probably figured out those shifty letters.  They're what you see on your automatic transmission shifter and stand for Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low.  Your automatic transmission is one of the great automotive inventions; here are some ways you can keep yours working well.

Maintain your transmission regularly.  A technician will check your transmission fluid's level and even its appearance and smell.  If it's dark or has an unusual odor, that could be a sign of trouble.

Change from one transmission direction gear into another only when your vehicle is stopped.  So many drivers want to switch from Reverse to Drive quickly or the other way around.  If you do that when the vehicle is moving, you can damage your automatic transmission.

Keep your vehicle's cooling system in top shape.  What does the cooling system have to do with the transmission? It helps keep the transmission fluid from overheating. 

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maintaining your transmission.  Some recommend at least an annual checkup by a trained technician. 

Let your powertrain warm up a little before overtaxing it. Especially in cold weather, don't step on the throttle too aggressively before all components are warmed up.  That way both your engine and transmission will last longer.

Transmissions can be costly to fix.  If you treat your powertrain with respect and regularly maintain it, you'll not only avoid expensive repairs, but you’re also much less likely to find yourself stranded because of a transmission problem. 

Lakeside Certified Auto
38525 Lakeshore Blvd
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 946-0076
http://www.lakesidecertifiedauto.com



PCV Valve Service at Lakeside Certified Auto in Willoughby

Posted September 4, 2022 12:55 PM

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. Unburnt fuel is forced into the crankcase as your engine runs.  The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve vents this unburnt fuel and oil vapors from the crankcase and sends it back into the air intake system to be burned in the engine.  A clogged PCV will not allow these vapors to escape. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause vehicle engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Lakeside Certified Auto. At high speeds on OH freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, vehicles were simply installed with a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the vehicle's engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves fuel economy also. (Budget-conscious Willoughby drivers take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets  gases out of the engine, but won't let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won't work well. That can lead to all of the problems I've already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased fuel economy.

Fortunately, it's very easy to test the PCV Valve at Lakeside Certified Auto in Willoughby and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it's often overlooked because many Willoughby vehicle owners don't know about it. Check your vehicle owner's manual or ask your Lakeside Certified Auto service advisor. If this is the first time you've heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There's another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That'll need to be replaced at Lakeside Certified Auto when it gets dirty.

Please ask your Willoughby service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Willoughby, you can avoid some very engine repairs.

Lakeside Certified Auto
38525 Lakeshore Blvd
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 946-0076
http://www.lakesidecertifiedauto.com



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