Why You Should Replace Headlight Bulbs in Pairs

headlight bulbsProperly functioning headlights are all the more important now that winter is here. Winter means less daylight and more rain that can obscure visibility. Replacing a bulb is a fairly easy DIY process in most cases. We do recommend, however, that you replace headlight bulbs in pairs.

The Case for Replacing Headlight Bulbs in Pairs

Typically, car owners only replace the headlight when it completely goes out. They replace the light at an auto shop or replace the bulb themselves. Regardless of how you go about the replacement, we advise switching out both bulbs. We recommend this from a safety perspective.

Replacing only one headlight bulb produces an uneven beam. An average headlight bulb projects a 240-foot beam when it’s new. Within three years, the length of the beam diminishes to about 160-feet. Continue Reading →

Driving Over a Dip in the Road—Can this Damage Your Car if You Go Too Fast?

dip in the roadThe Monroe area has some really deep dips in the road. Some drivers drive over a dip in the road without slowing down. This causes the car to bounce and the suspension to make contact with the floor. Does this cause any damage to the vehicle?

Your Car Bounced After Driving Through a Dip, Now What?

Your car could be fine after speeding through a dip, so no need to worry too much. You should, however, be cognizant of any vehicle irregularities right afterwards. Driving through a dip is not unlike driving through a big pothole. The potential damage is similar.

For starters, this could damage the vehicle’s rack and pinion. The bounce also puts a lot of stress on the shock absorbers. You might also be looking at a damaged suspension. This is especially likely to happen if the car is lowered. Continue Reading →

Engine Overheating in Cold Weather: Why It Happens

Engine Overheating in Cold WeatherEngine overheating isn’t solely a summertime occurrence. Even with the nippy fall weather in Monroe, car engines can and do incur damage due to excess heat. We’ll explain the common causes of engine overheating in cold weather as well as the remedies for addressing the issues.

What Causes Engine Overheating in Cold Weather?

Numerous mechanical issues can cause engine overheating. These issues have zero or little to do with blistering weather.

1. Insufficient Coolant Levels

Pop open the hood and check the anti-freeze level. Low coolant levels may be due to a leak caused by a loose radiator cap, a split hose in the radiator, or an opening in the head gasket. Bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop to pinpoint the source of the leak. Continue Reading →

Should You Fit Your Car with Run-Flat Tires?

run-flat tiresTires don’t come in a single style. Varieties include passenger, touring, and performance tires. Within these options, you also have the choice of all-season and winter tires. Run-flat tires are another choice most people are unfamiliar with.

What Are Run-Flat Tires?

Run-flat tires have a special design that allows the driver to continue driving safely for several more miles after a puncture. The exact distance differs depending on tire brand. Bridgestone run-flat tires, for instance, can travel for approximately 50 miles at 50 mph after a puncture. Unless you’re way out in the boonies, this should be more than enough to drive to the nearest auto repair center.

How Do They Work?

Most auto services and tire centers provide two types of run-flat tires: self-supporting and support ring tires.

  • Self-supporting tires contain a reinforced sidewall that continues to support the tire even as it loses air.
  • Support ring tires activate a ring of hardened rubber that supports the tire’s weight during air loss.

Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Need Suspension Repairs?

suspension repairsCar owners tend to take the suspension for granted. This is a pivotal component consisting primarily of the shock absorbers and struts. Worn undercarriage parts cause control and stability issues. We’ll identify the signs that your car needs suspension repairs.

A Word About Lowering the Suspension

First, we want to discuss a few points about cars with a lowered suspension. A lowered car looks cool, but having the suspension closer to the ground has implications. This includes:

  • More stress on the shock absorbers
  • Tire and suspension damage from the tire’s rubbing against the metal
  • Tire wear due to a change in camber position

Our auto service reports a disproportionate amount of suspension repairs on lowered cars. ALL vehicles, however, require a regular suspension check.

Signs of Suspension Wear

  • Rough Ride—the car ride may feel less smooth. Small road bumps may cause the car to bounce excessively.
  • The vehicle may drift or pull during a turn. When the shocks wear out, they no longer have the strength to keep the car stable against the centrifugal force of a turn.
  • The car may lurch forward even when braking gradually. A worn suspension increases the stop time by 20%.
  • Uneven tread wear—a worn suspension won’t hold the car evenly, placing uneven pressure on the tires. You may notice more wear on one side of a tire.
  • Try the bounce test. Move to the front of the vehicle with the parking brakes on. Press your weight down on the hood. Does the car continue to bounce even after you remove your hands? If so, the suspension is bad.

We Do Suspension Repairs

A faulty suspension is a serious matter. Make haste to Avery Automotive for an auto repair. Our repair financing covers such type of maintenance. Suspension repairs are necessary when the car and the steering feel “off.”

Edited by Justin Vorhees

Suspension Repairs for Normal and Lowered Vehicles

Serving customers in Gold Bar, Index, Maltby, Monroe, Skykomish, Snohomish, Startup, and Sultan

Alternator Failing? How to Distinguish Between a failing Alternator and a Dead Battery

failing alternatorMost people have heard of the alternator. But few know where it’s located, what it looks like, or what it does. We’ll discuss the signs of a failing alternator and why these are significant.

What Is an Alternator?

The battery supplies power to most of the vehicle’s electrical components. The battery’s power, of course, doesn’t last indefinitely. The alternator takes mechanical energy from the powertrain and converts it to electrical power. Then it supplies the power to the battery to keep it charged.

Without the alternator, the battery would gradually lose juice while the car is running. The voltage output will eventually fade out completely, causing the car to stop dead in its tracks.

The alternator is located in various areas of the engine depending on the model. The component is a cylindrical structure attached to a belt. Continue Reading →

What Exactly Happens During a Car Tune-Up?

tune-upCar owners bring in their vehicle for a tune-up at regular intervals that vary based on make and model. Most people know the gist of what happens in a tune-up, but few know specifically what takes place. We’ll explain what the auto service mechanic checks under the hood and why it’s important.

Tune-Up Inspection at a Glance

A tune-up may differ depending on the model and year of car. For a modern American-made vehicle, you can expect an auto repair service to test the emissions, ignition, and fuel system to look for worn vacuum hoses, faulty oxygen sensors, and other parts that can hamper performance.

Why is this important? A bad oxygen sensor, for example, can provide inaccurate readings and reduce fuel economy by as much as 40%. A tune-up may also include an air filter replacement. A clogged filter can reduce acceleration by 6 to 11%. Continue Reading →

What Are Your Options for Car Window Tinting?

window tintingCar owners apply window tinting to their cars for a variety of reasons. Some don’t want people peeping into the windows, while others just think tinted windows look cool. Our auto service provides several choices when it comes to window tinting. We’ll go over the choices and how each affects the final quality.

Types of Window Tinting

Dyed Tint Film

This option is usually the least expensive. It consists of a dye used on an adhesive that is applied to the window. The dye absorbs solar energy, thus preventing some heat from entering through the window. The dye has a flat and opaque appearance, limiting outside view while allowing ample visibility from the interior.

Metallicized Film

This consists of microscopic metallic particles embedded in the film. The metal increases window strength and makes it more shatter-resistant in a collision. The metal also creates a shiny and glossy appearance from the outside. Continue Reading →

Tire Sidewall Markings: What the Numbers and Letters Mean

tire sidewall markingsCar tires have all sorts of numbers and letters inscribed on them. Some are self-explanatory, such as the indicated max psi and max capacity load. However, other tire sidewall markings are more obscure. The average car owner probably has no clue what a marking like LT285/70R17 means. We’ll explain what these numbers and letters tell you about your tire. Our auto service works with tires all the time, and discerning these markings are second-nature to us. Continue Reading →

Symptoms of Worn Wheel Bearings

worn wheel bearingsCar wheels are far from simple systems. They have multiple components that must work in sync. One of these components is the wheel bearing. This part is critical for the harmonious operation of the tire, hub, and assemblies. Worn wheel bearings cause friction in the hub assembly and inhibit the wheels’ ability to rotate smoothly during operation.

Signs of Worn Wheel Bearings

Make haste and bring your car to an auto repair facility if you notice any of the following:

  • Popping, clicking, or snapping noise when cornering or making sharp turns. This may be a sign of excessive bearing endplay caused by inadequate clamping.
  • A grinding noise. This may indicate damage in the wheel-end system, likely caused by worn rollers or raceways.
  • A growling or rumbling noise. This may be heard when slightly turning the wheel while driving in a straight line.
  • The car may feel “loose” as you’re driving. The vehicle may feel less responsive, especially the steering. This may be a sign of loose bearings in the wheel assembly.
  • You may also notice a pulling sensation, where the car seems to slightly veer in a particular direction on its own.

Continue Reading →