Frequently Asked Questions

What is a timing belt, and when should I replace it?

The timing belt is a toothed belt that connects the engine crankshaft to the camshaft or camshafts. The timing belt is needed to synchronize the camshaft to the crankshaft position, so the valves will open and close at the proper time in relation to the position of the pistons. The camshaft rotates at exactly 1/2 speed of the crankshaft; meaning two revolutions of the crankshaft are equal to one revolution of the camshaft.

Not all cars have a timing belt. Some of them use a chain or gears instead.

The timing belt must be replaced at a specified mileage. This interval may vary from 60,000 miles to 105,000 miles (in our shop we highly recommend 60,000-80,000 miles). In addition, the timing belt must be replaced if it has any damage like cracks, cuts or excessive wear. If not replaced in time, it may break possibly causing serious engine damage. When a timing belt breaks, the camshaft stops turning, leaving some of the valves in the open position. The crankshaft, because it’s heavier, continues to rotate by inertia. In an interference engine, this will cause the pistons to strike the valves that left open. This may result in broken or bent valves, damaged pistons, and possibly a destroyed cylinder head.

The damage will be less extensive in a non-interference engine but in either case, the engine will stall, leaving you stranded. The manufacturer may also recommend the replacement of other parts, such as the water Pump and seals, when the timing belt is replaced because the additional cost to replace the water pump is negligible compared to the cost of accessing the timing belt.

Can I use my alternator to recharge a discharged battery?

No! When installing an alternator, the battery should be fully recharged before vehicle use. In many cases, depending upon how thoroughly discharged the battery is, it can take 4-8 hours. Most technicians and DIYers don’t want to wait that long so they just get the vehicle running, and figure that by driving the car around the alternator will charge the battery.

In some cases with weather extremes the battery never gets fully charged, and in all cases the alternator is being overly stressed asking it to do a job it was not designed to do. This leads to premature failure.

What is a cabin filter?

A cabin filter is much like the filter used with the furnace and/or air conditioning system in your home. Bosch cabin filters eliminate particles from entering a vehicle’s interior, and keeps passengers and downstream HVAC components protected. This is good news for the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies and hay fever.

How are ceramic brake pads different from semi-metallic brake pads?

Ceramic brake pads incorporate a formula that includes ceramic materials and utilizes less metal (approximately 15% metal content by weight). Ceramic brake pads combine exceptional braking power with very quiet and low-dust braking. However, it is not recommended to use ceramic brake pads for towing applications.

Semi-Metallic brake pads incorporate a formula that utilizes approximately 40% or more metal content by weight. Semi-Met brake pads offer premium braking power and work particularly well for towing applications.Semi-Metallic brake pads incorporate a formula that utilizes approximately 40% or more metal content by weight. Semi-Met brake pads offer premium braking power and work particularly well for towing applications.

How can I tell if I need a new starter?

If the battery is okay but the engine still cranks slowly or not at all, it is time to check the starting system. The starter could have failed, or excessive resistance in the wires and their connections can prevent the proper voltage from reaching the starter causing slow or no cranking.

Check for loose or dirty cable connections or for battery cables with wires that are too small in diameter (gauge). If the starter solenoid clicks but the starter does not operate, it is recommended to use a voltmeter to determine if the proper voltage is reaching the solenoid through the starter control circuit. If the solenoid is receiving the proper voltage and the starter does not crank, then the solenoid ground may be bad, the solenoid contacts may be damaged, or the starter is dead.

If all connections are clean and tight and the voltage drop exceeds 0.2 volts, the solenoid should be replaced. If everything else checks out as okay, measure the starter draw and amperage, if incorrect, replace the starter. If the solenoid is defective but attached to the starter motor, it may be best for you to replace the complete starter and solenoid assembly- there’s a very good chance the starter will die very soon along with the solenoid. Why risk a comeback and more delay getting the vehicle up and running.

What does an oxygen sensor do?

The oxygen sensor sends a signal to the engine computer based on the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gas. This signal is used by the engine ECU to fine-tune the mixture to the optimum level for maximum catalyst efficiency and longevity. A worn-out oxygen sensor can cause excessive gasoline consumption, elevated exhaust emissions, accelerated catalytic converter damage failures and cause engine performance problems such as surging and hesitating.

When Should I Change My Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, it has the ability to attract water molecules from its surrounding environment or through absorption, also whenever you remove the brake reservoir cap you also expose the system even more especially for long periods. Most modern cars have transparent brake reservoirs, with a (Min-Max) Line so in most cases it is not necessary to remove the cap unless you can physically see it at the minimum line.

Many experts differ as to when to service the brake fluid, we belive as a preventative maintenance the brake fluid should be replaced every two years. Moisture/contamination also contributes to internal corrosion in the ABS Unit, calipers, wheel cylinders, and brake master cylinder. The reason for replacing brake fluid periodically is to get rid of contaminated fluid and restore fluid heat and corrosion resistance.

Most cars with ABS systems would recommend Dot 4 Brake Fluid.