Lake Charles Auto Repair

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Articles:

Why do you have to pay for Daignostics?

Why do you have to pay for Daignostics?

I often get questioned about the cost of diagnostics. The most common question I get is, “why are you going to charge me when the part’s store does it for free? I took it to Billy Bob’s Auto Parts, and he put it on his machine for free and it said I needed new spark plugs.” Well yeah, BUT….. But the machine (also known as a diagnostic scan tool) does not test anything, it simply tells you there is a failure in a certain system. Then it tells you what could be the cause. This is what happens at a parts store. At a repair shop, we are here to solve problems. Not just replace parts. We do not sell parts, we do not change parts, and we do not fix parts. We solve problems. Here’s what I’m saying. If your car is running poorly, we need to know what is causing it to run this way. Yes, we put it on the machine, but that is only the start. The machine only tells you what trouble it sees, but it does not know the cause of this issue is. That is where a ... read more

To keep or to trade in? That is the question!

To keep or to trade in? That is the question!

    Do I fix it or do I get rid of it?  Which is better for the bank account and\or peace of mind?  This can be a very complicated issue indeed.  On one hand you have a car that is paid for and the thought of a car note makes you sick.  On the other hand the uncertainty of having a reliable vehicle worries you to death.  Will your old clunker leave you stranded somewhere?       There is a fine line in where it is more painful to keep an old pile of junk that you are constantly fixing.  The truth is it actually is cheaper to keep'em.  Vehicles from the late nineties onward are built much better than the vehicles were in the days of yore.  There was a time when a vehicle with 100,000 miles on it was completely worn out.  Modern vehicles are at their half-life at 100,000 - 150,000 miles.  With proper maintenance it is easy to drive a modern vehicle to the 300,000 mile mark.  In our experience the lifespa ... read more

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Helpful tips

Why do I need to flush antifreeze\coolant?

Why do I need to flush antifreeze\coolant?

Antifreeze (also known as engine coolant) has three major functions.  The first of course is to cool the engine down.  Without antifreeze your engine will very quickly suffer catastrophic damage.  The second function of antifreeze is to keep the coolant in the engine from freezing (It's like the function is right in the name!  Weird right?).  If the coolant were to freeze inside the engine it would expand and crack the engine on the inside.  The third function and one of the more important ones in our tropical climate is corrosion protection.    Degraded coolant will negatively affect all three major functions of the coolant.  Whenever antifreeze gets old it will break down and form solids in the engine.  This looks like either murky coolant or gunk buildup inside the radiator.  These solids will do massive amounts of damage to the engine seals and moving parts like the water pump.   A coolant power flush will remove m ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Why do I need to flush my transmission?

Why do I need to flush my transmission?

Transmission fluid has many functions.  The fluid is used to put pressure on certain clutches and plates inside the transmission which causes the motion of your vehicle.  It is also circulated through the radiator to cool the transmission.   Over the life of a vehicle the transmission fluid is put through large amounts of abuse.  Whenever transmission fluid breaks down it loses its ability to cool the transmission properly.  It will also pick up debris which will be circulated through the transmission causing damage to the moving parts inside the transmission.   A transmission flush will remove the debris and gunk build up inside your transmission and radiator.  It will also replace the old fluid with new fluid that will protect the moving parts inside.  Just changing the transmission filter and refilling the pan will only remove about 25% of the old transmission fluid leaving a large amount of fluid inside the torque converter and radiator ... read more

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Maintenance

My vehicle vibrates when braking! Help!

My vehicle vibrates when braking! Help!

Ever wondered what is happening when your car vibrates when you hit the brakes?  When you operate your brakes it creates an immense amount of heat in the brake rotor.  This heat can cause the metal to warp especially after hitting a puddle with some cold water in it after the brakes are already hot.  When the metal warps it can cause uneven contact between the brake pad and the brake rotor.  This is felt  in the steering wheel if it is your front brakes and the body of the vehicle if it is your rear brakes only when the brakes are applied

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Brakes

Why are my brakes squealing?

Why are my brakes squealing?

There are many causes for brakes to squeal.  We will cover the three most common in this article.   The number one cause of brake squealing is worn brakes.  The brake pads of today come with a small piece of metal that hangs off the side of the pad which is designed to squeal whenever your brakes are thin enough to need replacement.  It is a nice design feature that allows you to change your pads before any damage occurs to the brake rotor.   The second most common cause of brake squealing is poorly designed cheap brake pads.  These "economy priced" pads are made of cheaper material that creates more heat and vibrates across the rotor causing a loud squealing noise.   The third most common cause of brake squealing is glazed brake rotors.  When braking, the brake system will build up immense amounts of heat that cause the surface of the brake rotor to become very slick.  This slick surface will cause even the best of brake pad ... read more

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Brakes

Why is my AC not blowing cold?

Why is my AC not blowing cold?

The air conditioning system in a vehicle is subjected to much more abuse than your typical household AC system.  Between the constant hot and cold cycles of the engine, the harsh vibrations over pot hole infested roads, and the constant dirt and debris there are a number of things that can go wrong.  These are just a few of the most common causes for AC failure.   Number 1 on the list is loss of freon.  Rubber hoses, seals, and valves are all common areas where freon will escape.  Occasionally the condenser on the front of the vehicle will pick up a rock. The seams on the evaporator inside the dash will bust from constant expansion and contraction.  There can be dozens of different o-rings and seals that may fail.   The biggest problem we see with freon leaks typically happen when freon is added to the system without a charge of oil.  When freon leaks out of the system, so will the oil that lubricates the AC compressor.  Once the oil in ... read more

Why do so many mechanics recommend work on my car? It seems to be running just fine.

Why do so many mechanics recommend work on my car? It seems to be running just fine.

Numerous studies have been performed on this subject.  One such study claims when a vehicle has regular maintenance performed it will save you $0.10 per mile driven.  That adds up to $300 dollars in savings between oil changes when you change your oil every 3000 miles.  Why is this you ask?  $300 for a transmission flush for a vehicle with these new super expensive fully synthetic transmission fluids seems like a ton of money.  When you compare that $300 for a transmission flush to keep the transmission like new to $3000 for a new transmission it doesn’t look so bad though.  The same goes for oil changes.  If you calculate $40 for an oil change you can get about 130 oil changes for the price of 1 engine.     Another reason for the lower cost is the increase in gas mileage on a properly maintained vehicle.  We performed an experiment in house recently where we changed the oil in an 06 Prius every 10,000 miles for a ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

My tires are wearing out quickly and unevenly. What is the problem?

My tires are wearing out quickly and unevenly. What is the problem?

The main reason for uneven tire wear or quickly worn tires is alignment.  As suspension components wear out over time and mileage, the slack caused will change the angles of the tires.  This effectively causes the tire to drag across the road rather than roll straight forward.  As the suspension continues to wear the vehicle will become unsafe to drive due to the inability to control the direction of travel.  In extreme cases a component such as a ball joint or tie rod end will separate and the wheel may fall off the vehicle. The solution to the problem of uneven tire wear and vehicle drifting is to check for play in the suspension ball joints, tie rod ends, bushings, shocks, and replace these components as necessary. Only then can the vehicle be aligned properly.  Tire balance also plays a small role in tire wear. #alignment #tire #wear #uneven #ball joint #tie rod

Categories:

Suspension\Tires

Why is my check engine light on?

Why is my check engine light on?

Have you ever had somebody tell you “don’t worry about that light”?  I am here to tell you they are wrong.  The check engine light is also known as a malfunction indicator light (MIL for short), and it means the engine computer has seen a fault in your vehicle systems.  There are literally thousands of reasons a check engine light will come on.  Yes, some malfunctions are more detrimental than others but they are all important for a safe, reliable, and efficient running engine.  Another misconception about check engine lights is that the engine computer will tell you what is wrong with the vehicle.  It only tells the mechanic that a malfunction has occurred in a specific system.  An example would be a P0401 EGR system insufficient flow malfunction.  This code could be caused by a faulty EGR valve, a clogged EGR passage, and/or a failed sensor. The moral of the story is that amputation before diagnosis only leads to malpra ... read more

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