Rain & Cruise ControlApril 29, 2016
With all this rain lately it reminds me of a conversation I had with a customer. I’m not sure how we started talking about having been in car accidents, but he told me his story about using cruise control in the rain. He lost control when his vehicle hydroplaned, and rolled a few times. His story scared me right out of using my cruise control on wet pavement! I actually looked into it and it’s true.
If you feel your vehicle beginning to hydroplane (or lose contact with the road), you would normally let up on the gas pedal to slow down and regain control; but if the cruise control is set, it will just keep maintaining your speed and possibly taking you on an out-of-control ride. Of course, you’ll want to hit your brakes, which could potentially make matters worse.
Life is too short to make all your own mistakes, save time and trouble and learn from other’s. Oh, and the internet tip about using your sunglasses in the rain to see better? True, but only if they have a polarized lens.
Water PumpMarch 23, 2016
The cooling system in an engine has five components: the radiator, the radiator cap, the hoses, the thermostat and the water pump. The water is literally the heart of the system. Just as your own heart keeps your blood circulating through your body, the water pump keeps coolant circulating through your engine.
The water pump is driven by a belt, chain or gear and only operates while the engine is running. It has a limited life span and sooner or later will have to be replaced. You can check your owner’s manual to find out how long your water pump should last. Some can fail at only 40,000 miles, but almost all of them fail by 100,000 miles.
Water pumps don’t gradually wear out; they fail. In other words, they’re either working or they’re not. A failed water pump has to be replaced.
Water pumps can fail in two ways: they can spring a leak or their bearings fail. Leaks can come from a cracked pump, but usually develop at the gasket where the pump attaches to the engine.
If you hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump, it’s time for a new one. If you see coolant leaking in the area near the pump, it needs to be replaced. Also, coolant on the driveway could indicate water pump failure. Many water pumps aren’t visible because they’re under a plastic cover, so you may have to bring it into our shop to know if the water pump has failed.
If your water pump is run by the timing belt, then it should be replaced when you replace the belt. Most timing belts need to be replaced at around 60,000 to 90,000 miles. The labor for replacing a timing belt is about 90% the same for replacing a water pump, so it’s cost-effective to take care of them both at the same time.
Also, if your water pump develops a leak (if it’s powered by the timing belt), you have to replace the timing belt as well since contamination by coolant fluid damages the belt. It just makes sense to replace both of these parts whenever either one needs it.
Replacing a water pump at Northeast Automotive is a car care issue that almost all of us face eventually. They don’t last forever. On the other hand, we can extend the life of most of the components of our vehicle through preventive maintenance. Just as exercise and diet keep our heart healthy, regular check-ups and fluid changes will keep our vehicles healthy.
Disc Brake MaintenanceMarch 9, 2016
The wheel hub keeps your wheel attached to the vehicle. The brake disc – or rotor – is attached to the hub and spins with the wheel as you drive. Your brake pads clamp onto the rotor to slow the wheel. The brake caliper straddles the rotor and squeezes the rotor to slow it down. The calipers contain brake pads which rub on the rotor when you step on the brakes. The brake piston causes the calipers to squeeze and release as you use your brakes.
Your vehicle brake pads start to wear the first time you step on the brakes. Eventually the pads are worn out and need to be replaced. If you don’t replace brake pads when they’re worn out, the metal parts of the brake will grind against the rotor and carve grooves into the surface. A semi metallic pad works like sandpaper and can be dusty on the wheels. A ceramic pad works like the sticky backing of tape.
If a scored rotor isn’t too bad, we can put the rotor on a lathe and smooth it out, also called resurfacing. If the grooves are too deep, or if the rotor is warped or cracked, it needs to be replaced. Here in Michigan more rotors are replaced rather than resurfaced.
Servicing disc brakes at Northeast Automotive require special attention to the mechanical sliding and mounting portions of the system. Sometimes brake pistons can stick and must be replaced.
Grand Rapids residents who replace their brake pads on time will not only keep their vehicle stopping safely, but could save money on unnecessary brake repair down the road.
So there you have it – a brief Northeast Automotive guide to how your disc brakes work.
Give us a call, and drive safely.
Northeast Automotive Launches NEW Website!November 9, 2014
We got a new look! Northeast Automotive of Grand Rapids, MI, has launched a new website. We understand that the web is taking over how our customers are looking for businesses and services. Our goal is to make sure that our quality auto repair services can be easily found on the web!
Feel free to browse around our new website and let us know what you think. Please come back frequently to check out the latest news, photos, advice & promotions.
By taking your vehicle to a NAPA AutoCare Center, you’re getting the best of both worlds. All AutoCare Centers are independently owned shops that take pride in their communities and customers while still being backed up by a national warranty and the trusted NAPA brand.