Hitting potholes can puncture your tire or bend or crack your wheel. It can damage your tire’s sidewall or the belts. Even a smallish impact may knock your vehicle out of alignment. The potential problems are more than just tire-based. A pothole strike can result in broken shocks or struts, dents or cracks in the body, or harm to other suspension or engine parts. It is important to get your vehicle checked after hitting a pothole. The same should be done if you hit debris or a large object. Some damage will be obvious, like a flat tire, while some may not be visible.
Damage from hitting a pothole
A tire can be damaged by puncture marks present. You may also notice a slow leak from a bent rim. If you see a bulge on the tire sidewall, it is the tread has separated. You may also notice your vehicle pulls to the left or right when you are driving straight. Your wheels are probably out of alignment. Another issue is any vibration in the steering, seat, or floor. This is a symptom of imbalanced tires. You may notice unusual noises, that only happen when you drive. If you come to a stop and the noise goes away, it could be from the tires.
Potholes will form inevitably. They are formed by extreme cold, heat, and rain. Excess water under roadways increase more cracks in the road over time. If you notice puddles on the road, make sure to try and avoid them. At the very least, be cautious.
Damage from Potholes
Unless the hole is relatively large or you’re going really fast, the pothole strike probably won’t puncture your tire, or damage part of your suspension or engine. But bent wheel rims, internal tire damage, alignment problems, body damage, and shocks and struts issues are common. The steering can get out of alignment when hitting even the smallest of potholes.
Always drive on tires that are properly inflated and in good condition. This will give you the best chance of absorbing the impact safely. Also remember to slow down when you are on an unfamiliar or rough road, and avoid distracted driving. Be alert to what’s ahead, and make sure you keep enough distance between you and the vehicle in front so you can see what is coming.
Know what traffic is around you. Swerving to avoid a pothole can be dangerous at highway speed. Use good judgment and always be conscious of those around you. Recognize that though you miss the first pothole, there may be another ahead.
It is one of those routine maintenance tasks you cannot ignore. Brake parts need to be regularly serviced and sometimes replaced to work properly. Your vehicle will usually give some clear signs that your brakes are in need of some repair. Since the brakes are one of the most important safety components in your vehicle, you will need to fix them as soon as possible.
When one of the red or yellow brake indicators on your dashboard lights up it may mean you are just due for an inspection. It could also be your vehicle’s smart electronics alerting you to a problem. A parking brake on could also cause the light to go on. Be sure it is fully released to confirm that’s not the issue. If you start hearing a high-pitched noise that stops when you apply the brakes, it is likely the sound of the brake pad wear indicators. They’re made of steel so they make this sound when they start contacting the rotor. When this happens, they are alerting you that the brake pads have worn out and need to be replaced before damage is done to the rotor.
Grinding that you also feel in the pedal could mean a number of things. There could just be some gravel or a rock caught in the caliper unit, which can be easily fixed. If you have gone longer without a brake inspection, the brake pads may be worn through, and you are hearing metal on metal that could be creating grooves in the brake rotor. Grinding could also be an indicator of lack of lubrication in vehicles with rear drum brakes.
Poor steering wheel
Shaking in the steering wheel or vibration when you apply the brakes may be the result of an uneven rotor. Brake rotors are big discs that sit inside of the wheels. When you hit the brake pedal, the brake pads hug the rotors, slowing them and your vehicle. You want rotors to be smooth and completely even in thickness. Over time and thousands of wheel revolutions, it is normal for the rotor surface to get slight variations. Rust can also sometimes develop.
If you’re experiencing a soft brake pedal, look for fluid leaking from the master cylinder or elsewhere in the brake system. The master cylinder is the unit that creates the power for your brakes. It has a reservoir like the one for your wiper fluid that contains brake fluid. When you apply the brakes, this fluid is pushed through thin piping, creating hydraulic pressure. If fluid is leaking, there may not be enough power to force the brake pads to clamp hard to the rotors. No matter what issue you notice, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.
The tires will needed to be inspected regularly. In the winter, tires can lose inflation more often. If you notice an issue when driving, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. This can help prevent a much larger issue from forming in the long run. If an issue is ignored, it can result in a costly repair bill when it comes time to repair it. If you are unsure on the tire condition, bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you.
Checking the tread
The first things that should be checked on the tires is the tread wear. If the tread is uneven, it is an indication that the tires are not rotating as they should. The tread should be worn the same around the entire tire. If you notice that the tread is not even, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible. The same is also true if you notice any flat spots or large areas of worn tread. By bringing the vehicle in, we can inspect the tires to make sure they are aligned and positioned correctly.
Air pressure for your tires
Air pressure is important because a tire that is over inflated or under inflated will not rotate as efficiently as it otherwise should. If the tire is under inflated, it can cause the vehicle to have poor fuel efficiency. It may also increase the chance of it blowing out. If the tire is over inflated, it is more likely to pick up any sharp objects in the road. It will also cause bumpy rides when you are driving. This is because the tires will have less contact with the road.
Dashboard warning lights
Between regular inspections, also be aware if the dashboard warning light comes on for them. This can indicate that the tires have low air pressure. If they are under inflated more often, it can be caused by a leak. They will typically lose air pressure during the colder temperatures in the winter, so you will want to make sure you inspect them if you notice the light illuminating.
Your vehicle will need winter care to ensure the reliability of it. Winter is hard on both your car and the tires. As the air in your tires gets colder, it contracts and has less pressure. Tires correspondingly become under inflated. Check your tire pressure more often than you normally would. It is recommended doing so once a week. You might think a little deflation provides better traction, but doing so can cause uneven or unsafe tread wear.
Check the battery
Winter is especially hard on batteries. If your car won’t start in the extreme cold, one of the most likely problems is that the battery is dead. This is an easy fix by using jumper cables and they are not hard to use. But to avoid a dead battery altogether, keep the connections clean, tight, and free of corrosion. It also recommends replacing batteries that are more than three years old.
As it gets colder, oil gets thicker. At about 20 degrees below zero, the oil gets so thick that the engine’s oil pump struggles even to pick it up and circulate it. It is recommended to switch to low-viscosity oil in the winter. Don’t forget to read your owner’s manual, as the manufacturer may specify an oil weight for cold-weather operation.
If your car has liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, such as for infotainment, you may notice that they become a bit sluggish when the car has been sitting in extreme cold. That’s because, just like the engine’s oil and the battery’s electrolyte, molecules in liquid crystals slow down when the temperatures drop. In vehicles where this is an issue, there is not much you can do beyond waiting for the car to warm up. Installing an engine-block heater will help speed things along. If you notice an issue with your vehicle, it is always best to have it inspected as soon as possible. This will help you to ensure the efficiency when you need to drive this winter.
Winter roads can be tricky to drive on. There are three important keys to driving safe in the winter; stay alert, slow down, and have control of your vehicle. Remember to keep your gas tank sufficiently full – at least half a tank is recommended. Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow, and ice dramatically affect the braking distance of a vehicle. When handling slippery winter roads, the keys to safety are slower speeds, gentler stops and turns, and increased following distances. Drivers need to reduce their speed to half the posted speed limit or less under snowy road conditions.
Inspect the tires
Tire pressure usually lowers itself in winter and raises itself in summer. Under-inflated tires can cause a car to react more slowly to steering. Every time the outside temperature drops ten degrees, the air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two PSI. Tires lose air normally through the process of permeation. Drivers should check their tire pressures frequently during cold weather, also adding enough air to keep them at recommended levels of inflation at all times.
Sand and salt play a big role in keeping roads safe. Spreading road salt prevents snow and ice from bonding to the road surface. Salt is spread early in a storm to prevent snow build-up and to aid in snow removal. You will want to leave enough room around snowplows to make sure that you do not run into them or have an accident. Being aware of the road condition, weather condition, and surroundings are important.
Correctly operating windshield wipers and defrosters are essential to safety while driving in snow and ice conditions. Properly maintained windshield wipers are a must. You can use special blades that are available to assist in the removal of snow from the windshield. The defroster effectiveness is essential in the initial clearing of snow and ice from the windshield. If you notice an issue with your vehicle or how it is heating, bring it in. We can inspect the vehicle for you.
The battery is important with how your vehicle starts. In the winter, the cold temperatures wreak havoc on batteries because they slow the chemical reaction inside of the battery. Though batteries can function under myriad conditions, the cold weather tends to degrade high-quality batteries and may render other batteries useless. There are various ways to protect them from failure in the cold, and some of them involve taking precautionary measures.
Battery is old
If your battery is old, you may need to replace it. If your car is still running on its original one and your card is several years old, it may be a good idea to get a new one before there is an issue. Battery size will not necessarily provide better starting. It’s important to buy the correct one for the make of your car, which can usually be found inside of the owner’s manual.
Corrosion can prevent a car from starting just as much as a worn-out battery. Corrosion is caused by a faulty connection that allows acid to escape and corrode surrounding areas. Regularly inspect it to keep abreast of issues that may cause corrosion. Carefully clean away any corrosion residue that has formed and make sure the battery is correctly seated.
Turn off electronics
Do not start the car with the heater and the radio on. They can use up the power coming from the car’s alternator and prevent the battery from charging. Do not leave the heat and the radio on while the car is idling. Otherwise the car will not be putting out enough power for the alternator. This is difficult to charge the battery and power the electrical systems. When storing your vehicle in a garage for the winter, disconnect it. Certain devices, such as clocks and alarm systems, continue to drain the power when the vehicle is off. When your car will not be driven enough to recharge it, keep it disconnected. This is when the automobile is being stored. If you notice an issue with how the vehicle is starting, bring it in. We can inspect the vehicle for you.
When you own a vehicle, taking proper care of it is important. One of the most important things you can do for the overall efficiency of the vehicle is to have the oil changed when it is recommended. The oil is needed to help lubricate parts of the engine. If there is a lack of oil, parts will start to wear against each other. This can cause unnecessary friction and strain as well. The old and dirty oil can be removed from the vehicle. It will then be replaced with new clean oil. The oil filter is designed to capture dirt and other contaminants that are in the oil. Over time the filter will become clogged. By changing the oil regularly, you can help to ensure the cleanest oil possible is able to lubricate the engine and parts.
Noise under the hood
When driving, make sure to notice any sounds that might come from under the hood. If there is a squealing noise, it could mean that a belt is loose. If a belt snaps, other parts of the engine could be affected. Other noises like a screeching or other sounds could indicate parts are wearing incorrectly. Any noise out of the norm should be inspected as soon as possible. This helps prevents issues from happening to other parts under the hood like the engine. If the dashboard warning lights come on, you should bring it in.
You will also want to make sure that your vehicle is brought in on a regular basis for maintenance inspections. By doing this, you can make sure that the parts are working at top performance and efficiently with one another. Ignoring an issue for your vehicle may mean that further wear and tear happens to it, as well as damage to the parts. If you are not sure how often to have the vehicle inspected, you can contact us and we can advise you on the right schedule.
Replacing windshield wipers regularly is integral to safe driving. Typically, you should get new ones every six months, although the best ones, often made from silicone, can last indefinitely. If you notice an issue with the windshield wipers, make sure to replace them as soon as possible. Cold and freezing temperatures can crack and split the rubber blades, and can weaken and degrade the blades’ integrity. Over the course of time, dirt and debris can build up. The spring tension on the wiper arms will loosen. Finally, wipers just wear out with regular use.
New blades have a crisp, clean edge that slides evenly across your windshield without leaving streaks. To extend the time between windshield wiper replacements, here are some things you can do keep your wiper blades in good shape. If there is an issue with how your windshield wipers are working, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible so that we can inspect the windshield wipers for you.
In freezing temperatures, put the wiper arms up when the vehicle’s parked outside. That will prevent them from getting stuck to the windshield. If you forget, turn on the defroster and clean the windshield’s ice and snow. Do not try to chisel the blades free and don’t smack them against the windshield, unless you also want to replace or repair a broken windshield.
When buying wiper blades, measure both old ones, as the lengths usually differ. Use the measurements when you look up your vehicle’s make and model so you can select the right blades. If you have a back window, don’t forget it.
Some blades even leave a hydrophobic layer on your windshield to repel water. The ultimate option, silicone blades, can last the life of your vehicle. If you are not sure what type of windshield wipers to buy for your vehicle, make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can advise you on them. We can also check the condition of your wipers to ensure they work properly and efficient.
When you own a car, inspecting tires regularly is important for the overall performance and safety of your vehicle. The tires are the only part of the vehicle that makes contact with the surface of the road, so you will want them to be in as ideal of condition as possible. If you start to notice that the vehicle pulls in a certain direction, the tires could cause it. Remember to check the tread, air pressure, and condition of the tires on a regular basis. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the tires for you.
You should always set your tires to the pressure specified in your vehicle’s owner manual or tire information placard. If you drive on the tires when they are under inflated, it can lead to damage to the tire, and risk damaging the rims. Over inflated tires are more prone to picking up sharp objects like a nail on the road.
Remember to check and adjust your tire pressure first thing in the morning before driving on them. Temperature differences affect your tire pressure. Cold winter weather may cause your pressure to drop. Although you should check your tire pressure periodically as part of good vehicle maintenance, it is exceptionally important to check it when the season changes.
Always check your tires with a good quality tire pressure gauge. Many vehicles come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. Generally, this system will alert you if your tires are losing air or are below the recommended pressure. You should never try to visually estimate your tires inflation pressure. We recommend keeping a tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment, even if you have a TPMS built into your vehicle, as sometimes the system could fail. This will ensure you are getting a consistent reading each time rather than using multiple gauges at different gas or service stations.
Overinflated tires are rigid and stiff causing the tire’s contact patch to be reduced. That leads to a harder ride as well as uneven tread wear. The most common type of uneven tread wear due to over inflation is referred to as center wear. Exactly what it sounds like, the center of the tire will be smooth and worn down while there will be more tread on the sides of the tire. Due to the rigidity of an overinflated tire, it can be more easily damaged by everyday road hazards such as potholes and imperfections in the road.
Underinflated tires do not hold their shape and are flatter to the ground. Therefore, more of the tire comes in contact with the road, causing the shoulders of the tire to wear prematurely. That is referred to as shoulder wear. There will be a strip of normal tread down the center of the tire while the shoulders of the tire will be smooth and worn down. Underinflated tires are more flexible when they roll, leading to increased rolling resistance and therefore a decrease in fuel economy. If the tires can no longer hold the correct amount of air, then they will need to be replaced. If you notice an issue with the tires, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible, so we can inspect it for you.
The brake system is often overlooked and taken for granted until you have a significant problem on your hands. When it comes to the most important safety mechanism on your vehicle, letting problems go until that system no longer functions properly is a recipe for disaster. Don’t ignore the warning signs of impending brake failure, keep your braking system functioning at its peak performance.
A soft, spongy feel in the brake pedal is a sure sign of a problem in the hydraulic system. Issues such as air in the lines, failing calipers or wheel cylinders or a weak flex line can feel soft when you hit the pedal. Your brake pedal should be firm and the brakes should feel solid and apply gradually. When the pedal is soft and spongy, your braking system is likely to fail soon. It could be as simple as needing more fluid in the master cylinder.
Once you wear through the actual friction material on the pads, you are grinding metal on metal, which is a bad. If you hear noises when you hit the brake pedal, you likely have a mechanical issue with the braking system. Grinding is a metal on metal sound that means the brake pads are worn out and the base pad is grinding on the rotor. Inspecting the brake system should never be overlooked.
If the rotors are worn, the result can manifest as pulling to one side when the brakes are pressed. This is because the brakes are grabbing harder on one side. The same can happen if the one side is not grabbing at all. As you press the brake pedal, all both left and right sides of the brake system apply equally. If there is an issue with one side, then your vehicle will pull to one side as you use the brakes. This could be a simple adjustment, but most likely the brakes are wearing more on one side than the other. A failing wheel cylinder or caliper will result in uneven wear and application of the brakes. Another issue is worn rotors eating up the pads and grabbing or slipping.
The engine is the main part of the vehicle. It is the control center for just about everything the vehicle does and helps it to keep running. To help keep the vehicle running efficiently and effectively, you will need to bring it in for regular maintenances.
There are a variety of different fluids that go into the engine to keep it running at its top performance. The oil is crucial to everything running smoothly and is used by just about every system located under the hood, so it should be emptied and replaced by its recommended schedule. The coolant should be changed twice a year at the very least in order to prevent build-up of dirt and contaminants. This is crucial since your vehicle uses combustion to perform, and if the coolant is not functioning properly the vehicle itself can overheat quite easily. The vehicle also has transmission fluid that helps create friction within the engine. As the vehicle runs, this fluid warms up and begins to oxidize, causing it to lose those crucial characteristics.
Sometimes engine parts will deteriorate, whether due to lack of care or environmental circumstances. Rusted metal can deteriorate rather quickly, especially when put through the strain that the engine puts on most of its parts. Something as simple as a hole worn into the side of a tube can cause a drastic change in the performance of the engine. This will cause it to stop functioning entirely. A hole can cause a leak of vital fluids or release necessary pressure for the engine to run.
Many people store their vehicles for long periods of time, either due to changing season or because they are going away on vacation. When this is done there are certain precautions one should take to keep the vehicle working at its best when it is taken out. Make sure all the tanks are full of fresh fluids. This includes the oil, coolant, antifreeze, transmission fluid, and that there is still some gas in the tank. To keep the engine running properly someone should stop by once a month, or even every two months, to turn the vehicle on and let it run for a short period of time. This allows the engine to keep from growing stagnant and helps locate any problems that might have developed.
The windshield wipers help to clear away rain, or any other debris that might be on the windshield. This can help improve the visibility as you drive. Part of making sure the wipers are able to work efficiently is also make sure the wiper fluid is in good condition. Make sure to fill the wiper fluid reservoir to the amount specified on it. Doing this before any long trip you may take can help to ensure you will have enough. The wiper fluid also helps to wash away any debris or grime that may be on the windshield. The wipers themselves should be checked regularly and replaced at least once a year. While we can inspect them to tell you the condition they are in, there can also be signs you will notice if they need replacing.
When you turn on the windshield wipers, you may notice the wipers smearing water in both directions. This could be a sign of worn wiper blades as they travel across the windshield. It may also indicate a dirty windshield with not enough water to clear it away effectively. You can use the washer fluid to clean the windshield and have the wipers clear it away. If smear marks still remain there, it may be time to replace the blades. New blades can help ensure a clear view while you drive.
In colder temperatures, there may be an increase in water smearing of the windshield. It could mean that the windshield wipers have become old and hard. The wipers could also be the wrong size for your vehicle. If there is constant smearing on the windshield, it is recommended that you replace the windshield wipers. You may also need to replace the windshield wipers if you notice beads of water that will not wipe away. This problem usually occurs when an area is high in pollution. The residue and grime that builds up on the windshield will cause water beads to stick to it. Cleaning the windshield thoroughly can help prevent this issue. If it continues over time however, you might need to replace the wipers.
If you hear the wipers vibrating or chatting against the windshield, it means that water is not getting wiped away efficiently. There could be an issue with a bent wiper arm, which makes the connection to the windshield less effective. The blade arms should be parallel to the glass to result in the wipers being efficient. The noise may be from the wiper blade being frozen or having ice on it. Allow it some time to warm up with the defroster, and the noise should stop. Most issues with the wipers can be solved by replacing them, as a majority of the time it is from a worn or damaged wiper blade. Make sure to replace the windshield wipers on a regular basis. It is recommended to replace them at least once a year. Even if you hardly use them, they can be damaged from the sun beating down on them.
The first thing to check is the air pressure. Under inflated tires wear out faster, create more heat, increase fuel consumption, and make your vehicle more difficult to handle. Tires that are over inflated can also wear out quicker, be more prone to picking up sharp objects on the surface of the road, and make the vehicle unsafe to handle. If you are not sure if the tires are inflated correctly, bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the tires for you.
Also inspect each tire. Look for things that may be embedded in the tires. Look for nails, stones, or other debris that could be embedded in the tread. If you hear a hissing sound when you pull out a nail, push it back in quickly and bring the vehicle in as soon as possible so we can inspect and fix the tire. If you notice a tire goes flat on a consistent basis, there could be something that has punctured the tire. Take some soapy water and cover the tire. Look for any bubbles made by the escaping air.
Also look at the sidewalls of each tire. Check for deeply scuffed or worn areas, bulges, or bubbles. The tires should fit evenly and snugly around the wheel rims. Also check the tread of each tire. Place a penny upside down into the groove between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tires may need to be replaced. You can also use a thin ruler in the tread to measure the distance. The tread should be more than one sixteenth of an inch deep. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can properly inspect the condition of the tires for you. This will help you to have safe and reliable tires when you drive. If the tires need to be aligned, rotated, or inflated, we can do so for you. We can also inspect them for any puncture marks or wear that they might have. By fixing the tires at the sign of an issue, you can help to save time, money, and stress in the long run.
One of the biggest benefits for having regular maintenance done is that it can help improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. A vehicle that is well maintained can run better. By following the schedule to change the oil, the engine can run as it is designed to do. Parts of the engine can become lubricated which can also help it to run smoothly. Having the proper oil in your vehicle can also help to lower maintenance costs. A vehicle that is properly maintained can help ensure that the parts and components are working the way that they should be. This will reduce the amount of strain and stress they cause, which also decreases the amount of fuel that would be used. If you notice that the fuel mileage is poor, bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you.
When regular maintenance is done on your vehicle, you can help to improve the lifespan of it. This can reduce wear and tear on the vehicle. By checking the fluid levels, tire pressure, lights, and brakes, the vehicle’s life can be extended. If you start to notice an issue with the vehicle, bring it in as soon as possible. This can reduce the chance of parts causing strain with one another and leading to a further issue. Regular maintenances now can help prevent more costly repairs in the future.
Another benefit of having the vehicle maintained is that you can improve the safety level. We can inspect the parts thoroughly to ensure that everything is as safe as it should be. This can help prevent an unexpected breakdown when you would least expect it. The tires can be inspected to help reduce the chance that they go flat at an inconvenient time. If you notice the vehicle pulling in one direction or another, bring it in as soon as you can. This could indicate an issue with the tires or alignment. If you notice an issue, make sure to contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.
The best way to handle engine repairs is to make sure you bring the vehicle in at the first sign of an issue. We will inspect the vehicle, and look at the engine and under the hood. Get into the habit of getting any strange noise or experience checked out as soon as you can after hearing it or experiencing it. Sometimes it may not seem as if the noise is detracting from the smooth running of the vehicle. You just never know what is going on underneath the hood. It is better to get it checked out and to be told there is nothing wrong than to leave it and find you have left something that could easily have been fixed, but which is now more expensive.
There are various repairs that might be needed. Fluid leaks can occur from different parts of the engine and are easily spotted if you check under your car every time you pull away from a parking space. Timing chains can also pose problems and make noises if work needs to be done. Sometimes a replacement part is required, whereas other times something might just need adjusting. The worst-case scenario is a complete engine replacement, but if you take good care of it and check out any potential problems before they have a chance to escalate into something worse, you should not find yourself in this position.
As you can see, it makes sense to be better safe than sorry when it comes to engine repairs. It is tempting to ignore them but you will be doing so at the chance of potential and costly peril later on. Major engine problems are always a lot more expensive than minor ones. If you have an older vehicle, you might even find it is not worth getting the major repairs done. A minor engine repair could be all that is needed to keep your vehicle on the road for a long time to come, so look after it and remember to keep an ear out for any unusual noises.
Inver Grove Heights
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