Cottage Grove

651-458-5158

Maplewood

651-578-0885

Read Our Blog

Components that Need Thorough Inspection Frequently for your Car

ComponentsSome components of the car are integral to its longevity and functionality. This is why you need to keep a close eye on them. Fortunately, you can easily inspect and replace them by yourself with only the help of simple tools such as lubricating oil, pressure gauge, flash lights, washer fluids and coolant.

Check Your Air Filter

The air filter may as well be the easiest component that you can inspect. All you have to do is pop open the hood of the car and locate the air filter compartment inside the engine. This is usually very easy to find. Once you locate it, you can detach the filter element out begin your observation.

The air filter is an essential item of the car as it filters out the air that enters into the engine and keeps it away from any air suspended contaminants and pollutants. If your air filter is full of debris and dirt then it is time that you replace it with a new one.

Check the Brake Fluid

If your car’s master cylinder and braking system is lacking sufficient fluid, then you are putting the car at risk of unwanted accidents. Therefore you have to make sure that your car’s brake fluid levels are optimum. Checking whether the brake fluid is low is very easy. All you have to do is open the brake fluid cap, and inside the vessel you will find markings that indicate the appropriate levels.

Check Your Battery Terminals

It is always a good idea to keep your battery terminals in check. You want to look for any corrosion on the terminals that can be problematic. Apart from the terminals, you should also make sure that there is sufficient distilled water inside the batteries as well.

Power Steering Fluid

On the left side of the engine, you can find the power steering fluid column. Nonetheless, this location can differ depending on which car you drive. If you spot that the braking fluid is less than the optimum level then you can bring it back up by filling the steering fluid inside.

Make sure that you use the appropriate oil. Using a different oil to fill up different components will negatively impact the car’s performance. Every different type of oil has a different viscosity level that favors the specific component of the car. Thus, you have to be careful of using the right type of oil.

Check Your Drive Belt Components

Your drive belt is responsible for the functioning of your air compressor, power steering pump, alternator, crank and can hooks and other important processes. Hence, when looking under the hood you should definitely check if there is even the slightest bit of wear on your drive belt.

To sum it up, if you want your vehicle to last you a lifetime, you have to make sure that all your vehicle’s essential fluids are at their optimum levels, the main drive belt is in good condition, along with the tires. There are other inspection components as well but they are the job for technicians.

 

Why are Catalytic Converters so Expensive?

There is a very obvious reason why people would consider steeling catalytic converters. When you look into the cases entailing catalytic converter thefts, you will find that this is a growing trend that is troubling car owners all across the nation.

Up until now, the cases of catalytic converter theft are up by 500 percent. This massive increase in criminal behavior may sound surprising, but considering the unemployment rate and economy, paired with the growing scrap value of catalytic converters, it only makes sense.

Few Reports

In Orangeburg, South Carolina, a thief stole a total of 17 converters at a Toyota Dealership. Similarly, in Missouri, someone went on a converter spree, and stole twenty catalytic converter in Lawrence County alone. These are just two incidents out of the many that Police Departments have to deal with.

Catalytic Converters?

The name catalytic converter has a catalyst within its vessel that converts harmful gasses to something that is much less harmful. People often need to replace their converters when it becomes clogged from burnt oil or coolant, or damaged due to rapid change in temperature. Another common reason why you may need to replace your converter is theft.

For the catalytic converter to function optimally, it needs the help of expensive metals such as Rhodium, Platinum, and Palladium. These metals act as the catalysts inside the converters. A catalyst refers to a substance that increases the rate of speed of a particular chemical reaction, without intervening the reaction.

These metals are inside converters in the form of two honey comb layers. This gives them maximum surface area, and they are also at temperatures nearing 400 degrees to increase efficiency. Their job is to convert carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydro carbons and other pollutants into carbon dioxide oxygen and other gasses that are not nearly as bad for the environment.

Overall, it turns bad gasses that you car produces from combustion into not that bad gasses for the health of the environment. So why are the cases of catalytic converters increased about ten times from 2018 to 2020?

Why Catalytic Converters?

According to a price chart, the price of rhodium has skyrocketed. In 2018, it cost you 1800 dollars to buy an ounce of Rhodium. Today, the same ounce can go up to 2000 dollars in value. This insane price hike is the fundamental driving force behind the increase in catalytic converter theft.

One typical catalytic converter contains a few grams of rhodium, along with other pricey metals such as Palladium and Platinum. These metals can be used in jewelry, construction and many other applications. All of these metals in different ratios cost a huge sum, making catalytic converters a high-prized target for thieves.

There is literally gold underneath your car, and you must be watchful in the current times. Make sure that your car is insured, parked in a safe spot, and away from mischievous offenders looking to make a quick buck.

 

 

 

Brake Issues in Your Car and how to Stop Them

brake issues

Brake issues cause problems in the long run. Noise from braking systems is often alarming and threatening signs. Identifying brake noise is easy. You hear either a squeaking or a scraping noise when you apply the brakes. Noise such as this is often an indication that the brake pads need replacement because they are wearing out.

Checking over for Brake Issues

Checking the braking pad is easy. All you have to is check between the wheels and observe the thickness of the brake pads. The ideal thickness of the brake pads is a quarter of an inch. If you notice that, the brake pad is thinner than a quarter of an inch, then this is an eminent sign that you need to replace them to new ones.

The Role of the Metal Squealer

At the end of all brake pads, you can find a metal squealer. You can refer to this as the indicator. This indicates whenever your brake pads need replacement. It does so by coming in contact with the rotor as the padding begins to flatten and lose thickness.

Therefore, the noise may only be an indication that tells you to replace the brake pad before it completely gives out. In the worst-case scenario, the squealer can break off, and you will have no warning sign once your brake pads begin to flatten. If in this case you hear the noise, it usually means that you break pad has lost its padding, and the metallic base is not coming into contact with the rotor

Other Brake Issues

Sometimes, things are not as simple and the car will begin to squeak just because the discs are open to the air, which cause the rotors to develop surface rust. This can result in them producing noises now and then, and in this case, you will find that there is plenty of brake pad left, yet the car is still making brake noises.

Another problem presents itself in the form of a spongy brake. In this, the brake sinks lower than it should. This can be a part of an either complicated or simple issue. Either way, it is best to take your car to the professional when this happens.

Tips to Stop Brake Noises

The best advice to rid you of the disturbing brake noises is to invest in a high quality brake pad. Apart from that you can also replace your rotor depending if it has any damages. However, most people do not like to make costly rotor replacements and find that brake pads replacement work just as fine.

Braking issues often come about as noises, sinking brake pedals, or the loss of braking force. Fortunately, all of these problems worsen in a gradual process, so you have all the time to take notice and repair them.

Timing Chains and Timing Belts Differences

Timing chains and timing belts are integral components of your vehicular transport’s engine. They are parts that facilitate the rotation inside the engine. Without rotational movements, an engine cannot work, so any faults in the chain or the belt can drastically damage your vehicle’s interior mechanics.

Even though the major difference between a timing belt and a chain is that chains are metal and belts are rubber. This may lead you to believe that chains are better options than belts because metals are stronger.

However, strength is a quality that does not matter when you apply it to holding engine components in the car. For engine components to work most efficiently, timing belts and chains need to have better durability instead.

You may think that timing chains are more durable than belts because of their metallic properties. Even if that is true, you have to take into account differences in maintenance. Chains need lubrication, whereas rubber belts can run dry. Similar to this, you can find more differences between timing chains and belts.

The difference in Service Intervals

Timing chains have a longer service life than belts because of their durability. Some even manage to outlast the engine life. You cannot find a timing belt that can give you this type of service interval. Instead, you will have to replace the service belt every couple of years.

Since service belts are mainly rubber, they have compositional vulnerabilities that make them reactive to heat. When you take into account the fact that a car engine tends to overheat, you can understand why a timing belt has a shorter service interval. Despite heat, rubber also goes through a natural deterioration process with time.

Other Differences of Timing Chains and Belts

Timing belts are also sensitive to oil and coolant spills. This means that they are vulnerable to quicker wear inside a leaky engine. Rubber belts also have a difficult time adhering to high temperatures. So if they are inside engines that have a heating problem, they can wear off quicker than their shelf life.

A typical modern engine has a timing belt service of about 60 to 80 thousand miles. In general, timing belts featured rubber material with reinforcement fibers, which are usually fiberglass. This reinforcement of other materials increases the tensile strength of the belt. A modern timing belt, however, consists of highly saturated Nitrile, which allows it to have such an increased time interval.

Although timing belt rubber is weaker than the metallic chain, it is softer and lighter. This means that belts are particularly quieter than chains. They also have less friction and inertia, making them easier to spin. Rubber is also better for absorbing the vibration and harmonics of an engine, which in turn results in an engine that feels smoother.

As you can see, both rubber belts and timing chains have different properties, advantages, and drawbacks. You can either invest in the longevity that timing chains offer, or settle for a smoother engine with a timing belt.

Summer Heat and Protecting the Tires

summer heatThe summer heat is quite devastating, especially because the temperature keeps rising by a few degrees every year, making it unbearable for people to be out there for work and other purposes. Similarly, your car’s tires also have to tolerate the brunt of the excessive heat. This causes them to get worn out much quicker than expected. Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect your tires from the heat, and you can read all about them in this article.

Keep monitoring the tire pressure

For a safe and smooth driving performance, it is always imperative that you check your car’s tire pressure. This should be done every few days to ensure that they are all equal. Having each tire at a different pressure level will not only cause hindrance in driving the car, but it would also lead to tires getting worn out quicker. The summer heat also causes them to expand and burst, which may be incredibly dangerous for you, especially if this happens while you are at a higher speed.

Check the tire treads

The treads on your tires aren’t there just as a design, but their purpose is to ensure a better road grip, while also removing water from wet roads, so that your car can glide over these roads without any difficulty. However, as you drive your car for a few months, the treads start to wear off and you can notice them become less deep.

Also make it a point to keep an eye on the tire treads, so that you can replace your tires as soon as you think that the treads are getting smooth and won’t be able to grip the road properly.

Look for any signs of damage

Apart from tread wear and tear, your car’s tires may also have some signs of damage on them, which includes chunks, cuts, bubbles, etc. These may be caused due to the summer heat, which heats up and expands the molecules inside the rubber material used to manufacture the tires. When the tires expand and run on less smooth roads, the tires may get damaged.

Therefore, make sure to check for any physical damage on both the internal and external surface. If you notice anything, it is always best to bring it in, so we let you know whether you need to change tires or you can run the existing ones for a few more miles.

Get your tires inspected

Although you may be successful at checking your tires every day and preventing any sort of mishap from happening, it is always wiser to bring your car in. Experts can check your car’s tires, including the spare tire, using advanced equipment and machinery. Not only that, but they will also be able to guide you about getting new tires, rotating their position, or repair your existing tires.

This brings us to the end of our guide on how to protect your car’s tires from the summer heat and ensure that they last longer than you expect. By following these methods, you will be able to put off replacing your tires, and save a lot of money in the process.

Tips to Protect Your Car from the Summer Heat

tipsThese tips can help keep your vehicle cool and comfortable this summer. Car owners will adhere to special arrangements for their cars in the wintertime. However, many fail to realize the threats of the summertime. The summers can make car maintenance and preparation quite difficult. The scorching sunlight and extreme hot temperatures can just as devastatingly damage your car, as the extreme cold temperatures will.

Tips to avoid Moisture

Car owners rarely divert their attention to the rising moisture levels during the summer season. Moisture will often enter inside the car and cause all sorts of damage. Hence, avoiding the possibilities of moisture damage to the car’s interior is a huge mistake.

Moisture can cause the floors of your car to dampen. The floors usually consist of carpets that are likely to absorb all the moisture. When the mat and floors become wet, your car becomes susceptible to microbial invasions. Therefore, make sure that you dry out all the damp areas before you get inside the car.

Turn the Steering Wheel Before You Park the Car

Drivers are very familiar with burning their hand on a hot steering wheel after getting inside a sunbathing car. An easy hack to avoid this problem is to turn the steering wheel 180 degrees after you park. This way, you can expose the sun to the side of the steering wheel that you do not touch when driving the car.

Cover the Gear Lever

Since you cannot turn the gear lever to the shady side, you will have to resort to other measures. Fortunately, you can simply cover it using any insulating material. There is always a cloth lying around in the car for that purpose. If not, then a paper cup will do just as fine in as a cover.

Prolonged parking under the sun will not only increase temperatures to harmful levels, but it will also cause your car to exhibit a pungent smell. To counter this issue, you can use dryer sheets and stick them inside the air conditioning vents. Keeping a couple of those in your glove box can thus, make it rid you car from the irritable and distinct summer smell.

Rev up the Engine before Putting it into Gear

To many this can seem absurd, but similar to winters, you will benefit from warming up the engine on a hot summers day before you can drive off. Even though the external environment is incredibly hot, the engine may still not be warm enough to operate. If you immediately drive, the car after starting it, the oil does is unlikely to reach all parts of the engine. Hence, rev up the engine for about a couple of seconds before you can drive off.

These simple hacks can save your car from the usual summer damage, and allow you a comfortable driving experience even in the summers. Furthermore, these tips only require you to adopt simple driving and parking habits. In other words, they are small actionable efforts for lasting summer prevention of your car.

How To Tackle Catalytic Converter Theft?

Since 1975, catalytic converters are mandatory for all cars, and they are installed in the exhaust system to keep the harmful fumes from the car’s engine from getting released in the atmosphere. Sadly, catalytic converters are the biggest target for car thieves nowadays. They are also very easy to remove from cars. Let’s have a look at why catalytic converter theft is so common and how you can tackle it.

Why are Catalytic Converters Stolen?

One of the major reason why catalytic converters are being stolen is because they are quite expensive. This is due to the presence of precious metals inside them. This includes metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals aid in converting harmful gases into harmless gases that can be released into the air.

Since new catalytic converters are incredibly expensive, people turn towards second-hand devices, which are supplied by thieves who steal them from cars and sell them for thousands of dollars. Moreover, stealing catalytic converters is very easy and requires only a minute or two. Normally, thieves undo the bolts to the converter and remove it from between the pipes. Since it is a small cylindrical device, it can be easily hidden and taken away without anyone noticing.

How to Tackle Catalytic Converter Theft?

Since catalytic converter theft has become a huge problem, peoples are coming up with various ideas to tackle the issue. Car manufacturers are also trying to come up with security devices or locks that will prevent thieves from removing the converter. Also looking into car alarms that go off whenever someone disconnects the device.

As a concerned car owner, you can also take a couple of precautionary measures that can prevent the theft of the catalytic converter. One of the most common method is to buy and install a cable locking device. Install it around the converter, so that it stays fixed in place. Moreover, you can also buy a protective casing or cage that can be welded or installed around the catalytic converter.

Nowadays, people are engraving their vehicle identification numbers (VIN) on catalytic converters. They are also tagging them with fluorescent paint. This way, it becomes impossible for thieves to sell off the converters. This is because dealers know that these have been stolen and they can get into trouble with the police. This only takes a few minutes, but it will protect your catalytic converter to a greater extent.

Last but not least, you should also park your car in well-lit and populated spaces, so that thieves can’t slide under the car without being noticed. Also, make sure to keep your car parked in the garage with the door closed, giving no chance for thieves to get access to it.

This is all you need to know about tackling catalytic converter theft. Make sure to get in touch with your mechanic and find out if the make and model of your car is a common target for thieves. You can take the aforementioned measures to prevent catalytic converter theft.

Change Your Windshield Wipers when you Notice any of these Signs

wipersAmong the many important components that your car has, the windshield wipers are also highly essential. They are designed to wipe off any moisture or dirt on your car’s windshield. This is so that you don’t have an obstructed view when you are driving the car. Windshield wipers are extremely beneficial when you are driving the car where there is already low visibility.

Have you gotten your windshield wipers replaced recently? This is something you have to do frequently, because the blades of your wipers can wear out pretty quickly. Here are 5 signs that you need to change them immediately.

Damaged or Cracked Rubber

The rubber on your windshield wipers does a lot of work to remove dirt and moisture from your windshield. It also braves all types of extreme weather conditions, which causes it to become cracked or damaged. So, if you see your wiper rubber falling apart or coming loose, the wipers need to be replaced. Alternatively, you can just get the rubber blades replaced as well.

Streaks from your Windshield wipers

If you notice that your wiper is leaving streaks on your windshield, i.e. there is a line of dirt or grime left on your windshield, this is another clear indication that you need to get your windshield wipers replaced as soon as possible. A little bit of streaking is alright, but if there is too much, then your windshield rubber blades may not be touching the surface properly, or may be too damaged to work properly.

Squeaky Noises

Whenever you use the windshield wipers, do you hear a certain squeaking sound? This is caused by the windshield wipers dragging along the windshield, which means that the rubber is either worn off or not touching the surface of the glass properly. This can be quite dangerous for you, as you will have trouble in seeing the road properly. Therefore, make sure to get your windshield wipers replaced on time to avoid any issues.

When you use your windshield wiper and notice that one spot of the windshield isn’t getting cleaned at all, then there may be a problem with the frame of them. The frame is made from plastic and metal, and it can get bent or damaged much easily. This can be caused by cleaning off snow from your windshield. The extra force applied on the wipers can bend the frame easily, and if that is the case, then you definitely have to replace them as soon as possible.

Rigid or Hard Rubber on the Wipers

Last but not least, if you think that the rubber is too hard and unable to wipe the surface of your windshield properly, then it definitely needs a replacement. The rubbers are exposed to the sun all day, which can cause the rubbers to harden quickly.

And that is all you need to know about when you should change your windshield wipers. If you are putting off this task since a long time, make sure to avoid delaying it any longer, especially if you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfall or snow.

Everything You Need to Know About Springtime Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment is a crucial part of automotive maintenance, and it involves adjusting the angles of each wheel from its axle. It is highly important to get your wheel alignment checked at least once a year, and the best time to do this is right after the winters, because that is when your tires have to do the most work.

In the winters, the roads are slippery and there are a lot of uneven conditions, which can throw off your wheel alignment easily. Therefore, getting it checked by a professional is important as soon as springtime arrives. Let’s talk about some important things regarding springtime wheel alignment.

Why is Springtime Wheel Alignment Needed?

Consider this: you are driving down the highway, which has the smoothest road you can find anywhere. As you are cruising along the highway, you observe that your steering wheel isn’t straight, even though your car is moving in a straight line. Also, when you release the steering for a second, the car starts swerving to the left or right side, instead of going straight like it should.

This is caused by wheel misalignment, which occurs when all four tires aren’t pointing in the same direction. Not only does this affect your safety, but also the efficiency of your car.

What Causes Vehicles to Lose Their Wheel Alignment?

Your cars can lose their wheel alignment very easily. One of the most common causes is winter driving, i.e. slippery roads. Due to snowy conditions, roads don’t provide the same traction as they do in the summers, and this makes it difficult for your car to stay put. Also, you have to use your brakes more frequently when driving on slippery roads, which leads to misalignment.

Another cause for wheel misalignment is driving your car on a bumpy and rocky road, which is more common during winters, because there is snow everywhere and the roads are not flat anymore. When driving under such conditions, you often bump your car into potholes as well, since they are not really visible. As a consequence, your car loses its wheel alignment.

What Happens If You Keep Driving with Misaligned Tires?

The biggest consequence of not getting wheel alignment done on time is that your car’s tires will wear out much quicker than usual, and you would have to get them replaced earlier than expected. Moreover, misaligned tires also cause a lot of strain and damage to your car’s suspension and braking system. This may also mean that you will have to get everything repaired down the line, which can incur a cost of thousands of dollars.

Plus, it is extremely difficult to control your car when the wheels aren’t aligned, and this can be disastrous for both your car and your health.

This concludes our guide on springtime wheel alignment. If you understand the causes, benefits, and effects of wheel alignment, then take your car to a reliable auto repair service that provides you with complete diagnostics and repair services, so that you can prolong the life of your tires and also enjoy a smooth and safe driving experience.

Spring Maintenance for your RV – What You Need to Know

Are you looking forward to getting your RV out for spring? Like you, there are thousands, if not millions of people who stored their recreational vehicle inside storage during winters and for good reason. Cold winds, snowfall, hail etc. can cause a great deal of damage to RVs or any other type of vehicle for that matter.

That being said, keeping your RV in storage for months or even weeks can cause some issues because of the inactivity. Therefore, it would be best to inspect your motorhome thoroughly to make sure it is in excellent running condition. With spring season drawing closer and closer, now is the time to check your RV before you take it out for a spin.

Inspecting a recreational vehicle for damage and other issues can be quite challenging, especially for those who don’t have much experience. Whether you have been an owner for years or just bought it recently, consider checking the following things to ensure your vehicle is in perfect condition for spring and summers.

Inspect the Plumbing Thoroughly

Plumbing is arguably the most overlooked component in RVs, when it comes to seasonal inspection and maintenance. Many people ignore plumbing and focus on things like brakes, tires, seals cracks etc. While there is nothing wrong with that, not including plumbing in your maintenance checklist can lead to loads of issues down the line.

Clean water and well-maintained hoses are essential for every RV owner. Consider taking a close look at your RVs sewer lines and water lines making sure they don’t have any leaks, jams and other similar issues. If you think something is obstructing the water flow, it would be best to get a professional to take care of the issue before things get worse.

Examine the Seals and Seams for Cracks

Believe it or not, even the smallest of cracks can cause a great deal of damage to your RV. How? Because, it allows water to pass through, entering your motorhome. What’s worse, not addressing this problem could cause the cracks to become massive, which can sometimes be irreparable. A professional auto repair service can help you steer clear from this issue by inspecting your RVs seams and seals for cracks.

It would also help if you asked the professionals to clean the filters and coils to steer clear from airflow obstruction issues.

Check the RV Tires

Before leaving for your springtime road trip, examine your RVs tires very closely. Inspect each tire’s PSI levels and tread separately to make sure they are according to the manufacturer’s recommended levels. It is important to remember that each tire requires different pressure depending on the motor home’s load weight. An experienced auto repair pro can help you determine the correct PSI for your RVs tires while checking them for wear and tear, ensuring your spring time trips are smooth and trouble free.

Why choose

Carlson auto?

It is easy to schedule an appointment online. Choose a location below and complete the form. We will call you to confirm your appointment. Couldn’t be easier! See you soon.

Cottage Grove

651-458-5158
8799 E Point Douglas Rd S
Monday-Thursday: 8AM-6PM
Friday: 8AM-5PM

Maplewood

651-578-0885
275 Century Ave N
Monday-Friday: 8AM-6PM

“Great service and friendly staff. They fixed my car at a very reasonable cost. It was ready when they said it would be. I highly recommend this shop. -Susan B.”

“Honest guys and good price. Good prices for professional services. A rare find. -Diana T”

“They have always treated us well. Glad to have them in the neighborhood. Honest and do their best to fix it right the first time. Thanks. -Rachel P.”