What causes my car to make a pinging noise?

Question: Is there a way to eliminate the pinging that I hear in the engine when I accelerate? Answer: There are three likely causes of the kind of engine ping you are experiencing. It’s a pre-combustion event in which the ignition in the cylinder occurs prematurely. An engine will begin to ping at a relatively Read the full article…


Do I need to check my car’s oil level between changes?

Question: If my mechanic changes the oil every three months, can I assume that the fluid level is adequate? Answer: A quarterly (every three months) oil change is a great way to maintain a healthy car, especially if you are disciplined about it. And for some people, depending upon the conditions, the quarterly oil change Read the full article…


Is it safe to ignore my car battery in the summer?

Question: Do I need to be aware of possible harm to my vehicle’s battery resulting from summer heat? Answer: Car owners tend to worry most about their batteries in the winter, but batteries can also experience considerable stress during the summer resulting from overheating or overcharging. In fact, a battery’s failure in the winter is Read the full article…


Is there an easy way to track my tires’ air pressure?

Question: How do I know when my tires are starting to go flat? Answer: In the “good old days,” you had to carry a tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment, and that’s probably still a good idea. But today’s modern vehicles (dated 2008 and beyond) have technology that gives the driver an immediate indication Read the full article…


How do I distinguish between “severe” and “normal” driving?

Question: If my owner’s manual has two different maintenance schedules, how can I figure out where I fit? Answer: You’re right, most manufacturers these days recommend different maintenance schedules for the same car, depending upon how you drive or the conditions in which you drive. Manufacturers call it “severe” or “normal” driving. You can probably Read the full article…


How closely do I need to adhere to my car’s maintenance schedule?

Question: Do auto manufacturers suggest maintenance checks just so that their service departments can make money? Answer: Every auto and truck manufacturer recommends a maintenance schedule customized for its own vehicles. This month (April) is National Car Care Month, so it’s a good time to consider how well you are adhering to that schedule. You Read the full article…


If my ‘check engine’ light is on, do I have a serious problem?

Question: How immediately do I need to respond to the check engine light? Answer: That dreaded check engine light can cause a lot of stress for vehicle owners. They fear a costly repair bill, and sometimes car owners take a head-in-the-sand approach, preferring to ignore it, hoping it will go away. A check engine light Read the full article…


How do I know whether my vehicle needs a wheel alignment?

Question: If I get a wheel alignment, does it accomplish the same thing as balancing my tires? Answer: Wheel alignments and tire-balancing are different procedures. We talked last month about balancing your tires and how the procedure can solve the problem of uneven wear on your tires. A wheel alignment can also extend the life Read the full article…


What causes my steering wheel to shake?

Question: Does a shaking steering wheel mean that my tires are out of balance? Answer: Other issues can cause a steering wheel to shake – such as bent rims, warped rotors, or even a defective tire. But when somebody brings us a car with a steering wheel that shakes at normal cruising speeds, we first Read the full article…


If I hear a strange ticking noise, is that a problem?

Question: How can I figure out which engine noises need immediate attention? Answer: Prior to making a reservation for repair, one of the first things a customer might tell us over the phone is, “I hear a strange noise … “ There are many different sounds that a malfunctioning vehicle might make during various stages Read the full article…