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How to Tell if You Need Brake Repair

Automobile brake pads replacement in car repair shop or garage
admin 2021-02-10

There are a few obvious indications that something may be wrong with your brakes. To tell if you need brake repair, pay attention to these telltale signs.

High-Pitched Screeching Noises

Hearing a squealing sound when you press the brake isn’t always a bad thing. This can happen if you haven’t driven your car in a while, especially after heavy rain or cold weather. Rust can develop on the brake discs but rub off after you drive the car. Though, if this sound persists, it’s time to schedule an appointment to fix the problem.

Grinding Sounds

This is not a nice sound to hear while you’re driving. In fact, it’s likely a built-in warning that you need brake repair. Pads that have nearly worn down will start making this noise. It’s likely you’ll need to have the brake pads and discs replaced.

Wobbly or Jittery Braking

Sometimes this wobbling can be felt in the steering wheel. If you tend to brake often while driving, you’ll probably need more frequent brake repairs. For example, when the pads heat up, the material they’re made from can actually coat the brake rotors, creating an uneven surface. These discs can become “warped” over time, and may need changing.

Related Content: Car Maintenance Tips to Avoid Expensive Repairs

Slow Response to Braking

If you begin to notice changes when you push the brake pedal, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle inspected. Notably, slow response times can be dangerous—regardless of how fast you’re driving. So, if your vehicle is taking longer to come to a full stop, schedule a brake repair as soon as possible.

Car Pulls to One Side

This is generally the result of brake calipers or a brake hose that is failing. What ends up happening is the balance between the wheels causes one side to brake unevenly. Your car will pull in the opposite direction of the side that’s faltering.

Related Content: What Maintenance is Needed for ABS Brakes?

Mysterious Driveway Puddles

If you start to notice little pools of liquid under your vehicle, these puddles could be coming from the lines that run hydraulic fluid to your brakes. One of the signs that you should look for is a soft brake pedal. If the brake fluid is leaking somewhere, there won’t be enough pressure for the hydraulic system to properly clamp down.

Lafayette Brake Repair

If you’ve noticed any of these signs while driving, it’s best to schedule a local car service for your peace of mind. Regular car maintenance can actually cut down on your need for brake repair and other automotive repair services. Call us today at (925) 284-3390 to learn more about our specials.

How to Learn Basic Car Maintenance

basic car maintenance
admin 2021-01-10

Did you know there’s some basic car maintenance that you can DIY without having to go to an auto repair shop? Understandably, there are going to be some regularly scheduled visits for your make and model, but other things you’ll probably be able to handle on your own. You can stay ahead of the game and do these basic tasks yourself. Here are some great things to learn to ensure reliable auto performance.

Check Your Tire Pressure

A trip to the gas station used to be a good place for checking your tire pressure. These days, it’s easier to do at home. There are even handy air pumps that you can store in your trunk. They work by using the cigarette lighter plug-in. This option is more convenient. You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your driveway. One of the items you’ll want to have handy is a pressure gauge. They’re small enough to leave in a glove box. This tool tells you how much pressure you need and how much your current tire pressure is. It’s important to stay within range for safety reasons, and also to extend the life of your tires. After all, they’re a big investment.

Inspect the Battery

Car batteries are more advanced than they were decades ago, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go bad. It’s a good idea to check your battery from time to time. Look for corrosion that can form at the connectors. Also, examine the condition of your battery to see if there’s anything abnormal. Is your car slow to start? When you inspect the battery, notice if there’s an odd smell. Another sign of trouble is a bulging battery case.

Related Content: Your Car’s Year in Retrospect: Did You Do Your Annual Maintenance?

Refill the Coolant Levels

A radiator works hard to keep your engine from overheating, so it pays to keep an eye on its coolant levels. Learn more about the best coolant for your model. An auto shop can help you make this decision, but it’s still good to do your own research. Using the wrong coolant can be bad for your vehicle, so only use what’s suggested by the manufacturer.

Check the Oil

Popping the hood can tell you what you need to know about the oil level in your car and if it needs to be changed. If you aren’t familiar with checking the oil level, the owner’s manual will explain more about this basic car maintenance task. There are also great YouTube tutorials on how to check your car’s oil level. It’s pretty simple once you understand the steps. The most important issue is keeping the correct oil levels topped off. Learn to identify which oil brand is meant for your make and model.

Related Content: Easy Ways to Maintain Your Car During the Pandemic

Listen For New Sounds

You already know how your car is supposed to sound because you drive it all the time, but listen for any little changes. New sounds can indicate a serious problem is forming. Issues like shaking or vibration are no laughing matter. If there’s a sound that you’re not familiar with, it’s one more sign to call for an appointment. Even little humming or knocking sounds shouldn’t be disregarded. Trust your ears and senses for any changes that happen. It indicates that your car needs more than basic car maintenance.

Beyond Basic Car Maintenance

When you need a local auto shop, call us at Lafayette German Car Repair (925) 284-3390. You can also view our current specials by clicking here. We want to save you money!

Winter Automotive Maintenance Tips

automotive maintenance tips
admin 2020-12-10

Cold winter weather can be tough on your car. So, it’s important to undertake some maintenance tasks to keep everything in the best working condition. These measures can save you from incurring expensive repairs, not to mention prevent you from getting stuck on the side of the road because your car broke down. Let’s review some basic automotive maintenance tips to make sure your vehicle is reliable, even in the winter.

Change the Windshield Wipers

Obviously, being able to clearly see where you’re going is one of the most important aspects of safe driving. But worn out wiper blades can make it harder to see the road through rain and fog. This is a real safety risk.

Fortunately, it’s not expensive to swap out those old, ineffective windshield wipers. This is an easy fix to take care of before winter weather conditions impact visibility. Look for a reputable automotive repair shop to have the best wiper blades installed on your vehicle. Also, make sure to top off the washer fluid since you’re likely to use more of it this time of year.

Check Your Exterior Lights

During the winter months, you’re more likely to drive in the dark because the days are shorter. That’s why you need to ensure your exterior lights are working properly, and that they’re bright enough to light up the road. If they’re dim, foggy, or yellowing, you may need to replace the bulb or the plastic covering.

Have Your Brakes Inspected

This is one of those automotive maintenance tips to pay special attention to because cold weather can have a negative impact on your vehicle’s brakes. You definitely don’t want to take any chances with your car’s brakes.

Have your brakes inspected by a certified professional. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a good braking system in place for any emergency stops on wet winter roads.

Perform a Volt Test on the Battery

Another thing that can be dramatically affected by cold weather is your car’s battery. It’s more difficult for your car battery to function optimally during cold weather. That’s why it’s a good idea to perform a volt test on it to make sure it’s effective enough to last you through the cold season. The last thing you want is to find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere because your car failed to start.

Check the Coolant Levels

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is essential for your car engine, especially in the winter. This helps to prevent your engine from freezing. Even if you aren’t in an area were it snows, it’s not a bad idea to get your engine checked to ensure your coolant levels are in a good range. Also, have the engine inspected for any leaks in order to prevent your coolant from draining.

More Automotive Maintenance Tips

The above automotive maintenance tips are essential winter prep. Cold months can have a great impact on your vehicle, which is why you should always visit a reputable automobile repair shop to have your car maintained.

To schedule an appointment in the Lafayette area, contact us at (925) 284-3390, or click here to redeem one of our specials.

Major Car Repair: Out-of-Pocket Payment or Insurance?

major car repair
admin 2020-11-15

Auto insurance is specifically designed to help absorb the risk of driving, and to protect you from having to pay for everything out of pocket if a major car repair is necessary. In some cases, it’s more than obvious you’ll need to file an insurance claim. But when you make that decision, your monthly premium is going to be higher. If your car experiences major damage, you may be wondering if you should pay on your own for the repair or submit a claim.

There is no black and white answer to this question because, honestly, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration before you make a final decision. In this article, we’ll do our best to help you with the choice by presenting the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Things to Consider

When you’re involved in a car accident and your car is damaged, it’s best to consider some things before instantly filing an insurance claim. Why? Because every situation is different, and you don’t need to immediately decide whether to pay out of pocket or submit a claim.

When to File an Insurance Claim

If the car accident involves other vehicles or other people, it is always wise to file a claim. Even if there is minimal damage or everyone seems unhurt, it is best to notify your insurance. Here’s why… When an accident first occurs, you simply don’t have all the facts about the damage in that moment. So, while it may not look bad at first glance, there could be a hidden car problem that shows up over time. Or, maybe you feel fine because of the rush of adrenaline, but develop a stiff neck later.

When to Pay Out of Pocket

If you experience minor damage from a single-vehicle accident, it may be in your best interest to pay for car repairs out of pocket to avoid raising your monthly insurance premium. Of course, this won’t be the case if a major car repair is obviously going to be needed.

Need a Major Car Repair?

When your car is in a wreck, the biggest priority is certainly getting it repaired, but it’s not always easy to decide if you should pay out of pocket or file a claim with your insurance company. Our ASE certified technicians can help you make that choice by accessing your car. Contact us today at (925) 284-3390, or request an appointment online by clicking here.

Car Maintenance Tips to Avoid Expensive Repairs

most expensive car repairs
admin 2020-10-15

You may be wondering what the most expensive car repairs are and how much you can expect them to cost, especially if your vehicle is aging. But it’s not always as simple or straightforward as it may seem. So, let’s review some of the top maintenance tips to help you avoid the most expensive car repairs.

The Most Expensive Car Repairs

It’s probably no big surprise that engine repairs are almost always the most costly car repair. Whether you’re at the beginning of your vehicle’s life, or you’ve been neglecting your car for a few years, engine damage can be the result of a serious lack of regular maintenance. Although, engine failure is a possibility, even with the best maintenance practices.

Power Steering

If you’ve ever had issues with your power steering, you probably know the signs. You can usually feel the steering wheel begin to loosen, or you may notice that the power steering pump is no longer working properly. Sometimes this can be one of the most expensive car repairs.

The Transmission

Vehicle Transmission failure is something you obviously don’t want. Some signs your transmission is in distress can include slipping gears, a burning smell, as well as shaking or grinding while you’re driving. If your vehicle is having issues like this, you need to bring it in as soon as possible.

Preventative Car Maintenance

Of course, it’s easier and more affordable to schedule regular car maintenance than it is to deal with expensive repairs. Everyone knows it’s important to plan for oil changes, but what else should you prioritize?

Make sure to replace you windshield wipers when they stop working as effectively, especially before the rainy season. Also, rotate your tires and check the air pressure. Usually you can have this done when your oil is being changed, so it’s not an extra trip. It’s also a good time to have your air filter replaced, as well as to take a look at the coolant levels and the transmission fluid. In general, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle looked over every few months to stay on top of minor repairs before they become a real concern.

Lafayette Car Repair

Being aware of the most expensive care repairs beforehand can help you save money when it comes to planning for proper vehicle maintenance. Contact us at Lafayette German Car Repair to schedule today, just click here to make an appointment, or call (925) 284-3390.