Yearly Archives: 2016

Your A/C system doesn't take the winter off

Your A/C system doesn't take the winter off

Q. Why would I want to get my A/C repaired before heading into winter? A. This question comes up quite often as we get toward the end of the summer cooling season and it came up again last week when we had a couple of those warm days. The client realized they were no longer getting cool air out of the vents so they brought the car in to see why. After finding the vehicle was low on refrigerant, we isolated the leak at one of the hoses going to the A/C compressor. The client was of the mind to put the repair off till next year so as to not have to part with the money right now. We explained to them why that might not be such a good idea. Anytime you have a leak in an A/C system, refrigerant is replaced by air, and air contains moisture. One of the biggest threats to an A/C system is moisture. By not repairing the hose you will expose the system to moisture for several months, rendering the Drier that is in the system fouled and in need of replacement at a minimum. Needless to say thi ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

What makes the most sense: Buying new, used or just make the repair?

What makes the most sense: Buying new, used or just make the repair?

When considering the age-old dilemma of whether to buy—new or used—or simply repair your vehicle, the first question you should ask is if your current vehicle meets your needs and isn’t a junker? If it meets your needs and isn’t trash, it may be worth making some repairs. But the bigger questions is, does making a repair make more sense than buying new or used? Let's say $5,000 takes care of everything wrong with your car and puts it in perfect running condition. Let's also assume the car is worth about $5,000. Most people might be willing to pay $5,000 for a perfect $5,000 car. It wouldn’t make sense, however, to buy another used car for two reasons: You already have one and you can’t be certain how well a previous owner took care of any vehicle you might consider purchasing. Rather, if you spend your available money on repairs, you know exactly what you are getting. The other option is to buy new. According to statistics released by Exper ... read more

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VEHICLE RECALL: What should I do?

VEHICLE RECALL: What should I do?

It’s happening more and more. Owners are getting vehicle manufacturer recalls and have no idea what to do. Is this urgent? Should I continue to drive my car? Who should I contact? When you receive your recall letter in the mail or via email, don’t panic. Call the nearest dealership that sells your brand of car to make an appointment for the repair. All dealerships are required to replace the recalled part free-of-charge. Be aware; although the recalled part will be replaced for free, additional parts on the vehicle the dealer suggest be repaired might not be covered under the recall. To avoid headaches, when presented with these recommendations, ask the dealer if the additional part repairs are included under the recall and ask for it in writing. If you feel that you would like a second opinion on the suggested repair, Douglas Automotive can provide an inspection of the vehicle free-of-charge.  Douglas Automotive cannot replace the recalled parts free-of-charge. But ... read more

Rear brakes and emergency brake are not always one in the same

Rear brakes and emergency brake are not always one in the same

Q. I have an S-10 Blazer that I took in for brakes the other day. When I got the call to tell me what was wrong I was shocked by how much it was going to cost. Not only did I need rear brake pads and rotors, which I expected, I needed some kind of a dust shield on both sides and rear emergency brake shoes, too. Does that sound right; I always thought the rear brakes and emergency brake were one in the same? A. Yes, it does sound correct. Most of the GM trucks and sport utility vehicles have this type of rear brake design. Your vehicle has rear disc brakes and then a separate set of emergency brake shoes that contact a surface on the inside of the brake rotor. The dust shield you referred to is designed to keep all the road gunk and debris out of the emergency brake mechanism. This dust shield is also the backing plate for the e-brake shoes. The shoes are mounted to the plate and they need to ride smoothly on it. These backing plates are fairly thin and very exposed to road salt and w ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes

Throttle body can causes vehicle to lose power

Throttle body can causes vehicle to lose power

Q. Last winter and the winter before when it was below freezing, my 2006 Chevrolet HHR displayed a "reduced engine power" message, and I couldn't go over about 5 miles per hour. This past winter when I was driving my Bichon to the vet, I had to pull over and stop the car. After a short time, I restarted the engine and had power back. Thank heavens. I didn't want my little dog and me to freeze to death. I took the car to the Chevy dealer with the Check Engine light on. They said I needed a throttle body assembly. Condensation was found in throttle body assembly and PCV system, with a need to remove and clean the intake ports and valve cover. Estimate cost, $1,154.36. They must have done something because the Check Engine warning light went out. I'm a senior woman with a really tight budget and no room for this expense. My question is do I really need it? There's no problems in the warm and mild weather. It appears only the intense cold affects the e ... read more

Brake repairs should be done before winter

Brake repairs should be done before winter

Almost all of the leaves are gone and that means winter, unfortunately, is just around the corner. We still have some time before we need to get serious about prepping the car for winter. So today I want to talk about brakes. Several people have asked me lately about brake concerns. Several folks have asked what could be the reason for a squeal sound when they put a light touch on their brake pedal. The other complaint was a pulsation in the pedal when stopping. The brake squeal could mean they are getting close to the end of the life of their brake pads. Most brake pads have a thin metal tab that starts to touch the brake rotor when the pads wear down. When brake pads near the end of their life, the tab touches the rotor and it creates a high-pitched squeal when rolling at slow speeds or upon light pedal pressure. This noise usually goes away when heavily braking. If you are experiencing this, it would be a good idea to have the brakes checked because the pads may be wearing out ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes

Dual-clutch automatic transmission causes 4 to 5 second hesitation

Dual-clutch automatic transmission causes 4 to 5 second hesitation

Q. We have an ongoing problem with our 2015 VW Passat with a 1.8-liter, turbocharged TSI four-cylinder engine and 6,400 miles. The problem is a 4- to 5-second hesitation with the engine in drive after a stop light while making a left turn. This hesitation is also encountered after we back out of the garage in the morning. After shifting into drive to move forward, the hesitation is more pronounced. After driving forward about one block, while making a left turn onto another street, this hesitation is no longer as predominant. However, it can happen even after the engine is warmed up or while moving forward after a stop light. It seems like the engine loses power for the few seconds, but if you press down further on the gas pedal, the car will lurch forward. We have been to the dealer and they said this is normal. My wife feels very unsafe driving this car and has become very careful not to enter into traffic because of this problem. The dealer suggested using brand-name premium gaso ... read more

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Transmission

Power Stroke diesel engines have specific maintenance needs

Power Stroke diesel engines have specific maintenance needs

Q. I recently purchased a 2010 Ford F250 with a diesel engine in it. Having never owned a diesel before, what am I looking at for maintenance and how often should it be performed?   A. Congrats on your new truck, I hope it serves you well for a long time and with the proper maintenance it will. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but if you do these basic things it will go a long way to maintain your diesel engine. • Change the oil every 3,500 to 5,000 miles depending on your driving habits. There are a lot of components in a diesel engine that the oil controls, so you definitely don't want the oil thinned out by fuel from the regeneration system present in your truck. • Check the coolant every 15,000 miles for acid content and general quality. You can do this with a dip-strip. • Change the coolant every 30,000 miles. This is very important on a diesel engine because the coolant tends to get acidic and will damage internal engine components. • Cha ... read more

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Engine

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Engine

Your fuel tank should not rust prematurely

Your fuel tank should not rust prematurely

Q. I have a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe with 78,000 miles on it. I just had to replace the fuel tank on it, due to it rusting out! I was quite surprised considering it is garage kept. I didn't have an extended warranty. I contacted Hyundai directly to see if they would at least pay for the parts, to no avail. Is this a common occurrence and do I have any ground to stand on with Hyundai. Thanks for your help. A. I have not seen a rusted fuel tank issue on the Santa Fe in either of our shops, but I did see two complaints online about it for two different 2003 models. Are there lots more of these issues where people are not complaining? I don't know. Fuel tanks will rust out from time to time but I agree, it should not happen with a garage kept car that is less than 10 years old. Did you contact a dealer or did you contact the zone office? If there is a common problem and enough owners inform them of this problem, eventually they will have to address it. I know I haven't been mu ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Make sure to do the online research

Make sure to do the online research

We had a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt towed in the other day because it would not start and, in fact, had to be jump started several times leading up to that point. We charged the battery but quickly determined the battery was bad and needed to be replaced. After replacing the battery the car started and ran fine but on a test drive we noted the check engine light was on and the car was stuck in second gear, basically a "limp in mode." A conversation with the customer indicated no previous problems like this had occurred. A computer diagnostic pointed to a communication problem with the transmission control module, and possibly a bad module. Since there had been no previous problems with this car, it seemed something just wasn't adding up. We started an online investigation into possible known problems with this system and discovered a fair amount of hits where the transmission control module needed to be replaced after charging the battery or multiple jump starts. Now we wer ... read more

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