Yearly Archives: 2024

Out of Joint (CV Joint and Boot Replacement)

If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it has components called CV joints which enable you to turn your wheels smoothly. The CV stands for “constant velocity.” In essence, it’s a set of gears that connect a shaft that allows power from the transmission to be sent to the wheels.  When you turn the wheels, no matter what angle, the input velocity rotation will be equal to the output. Thus, the name, CV (constant velocity) joint. Other vehicles with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive also use CV joints.  

If one of your CV joints isn’t working right, you may find your vehicle difficult to handle.  If one breaks, your vehicle may stop moving.  So, it’s important that CV joints be in top working condition.  The joints need a lot of lubrication, so they are surrounded by grease.  There’s a rubber enclosure around them called the boot which holds the grease in and protects CV joints from the elements. 
 
The biggest problems come when one of those rubber boots cracks.  Water and dirt can then get into the joint, causing it to wear down and lose all its vital lubrication.  It’s important to have your CV joints inspected regularly so a technician can spot cracks before the CV joints are ruined.  Sometimes just the boot can be replaced before any major damage is done.  But when the joint does go bad, it must be replaced.  

Signs your CV joint needs changing out? You might hear a clicking sound when you turn if the CV joint is worn out. You might notice some thick, black grease around your wheel or on the pavement where you park your vehicle.  You might also feel your vehicle vibrate when you’re going fast.

If you suspect you might have a bad CV joint, bring your vehicle in so a technician can determine what’s going on.  Keep your CV joints in good shape and reduce the risk of them seizing up at an inopportune time so you can avoid being stranded.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Drive Train

A Clean Connection (Battery Cleaning)

A clean connection is a wonderful thing.  Think of a good cell phone signal or an airline connection with ample time and short distance to the next gate. Good connections are also important for your vehicle’s battery, and one secret to that is to make sure it’s periodically cleaned.

If it’s been a while since you have had any service to your battery, bring it in so we can inspect it for any corrosion that might have formed.  Corrosion on the battery terminals will affect the connection between the battery and your vehicle’s electrical system. The amount of corrosion you can expect can be influenced by such things as the kind of climate you live in (dry or humid, warm or cold), if there’s lots of salt on the roads and how old your battery is.  

We have tools and chemicals to safely remove the corrosion for an optimal electrical connection. In order to reduce the amount of corrosion re-forming on the battery, we’ll apply a special protective coating.  

It’s also important to have your battery tested, especially if it’s more than a few years old or hasn’t been tested in a while.  Our equipment can measure how well a battery holds a charge and how much more life you should expect from it. We can discuss when you might expect to buy a new one, since a battery is definitely the kind of thing you don’t want to have fail you when you’re least expecting it.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Battery

The ?Man-Made? Engine Oil (Synthetic Oil Change)

If you own a newer vehicle, your vehicle’s manufacturer may require that it use synthetic oil instead of conventional oil.  Synthetic oils are more stable, don’t break down as easily, and provide better engine protection than conventional oil. All those things can prolong the life of your engine and help it run better.

Imagine the damage that could happen to your engine as it operates at high speeds and very hot temperatures.  Oil reduces the friction between the metal parts.  That’s why it’s important that it maintains its lubricating properties for a long time, which synthetic oil does better than conventional oil.  

Clean oil is better than dirty oil because it has fewer impurities.  Synthetic oil is purer because of how it’s formulated and manufactured.  Plus, as the outside temperatures change, the ability of oil to operate in those conditions is important.  
For example, the colder it gets, it’s important for oil to flow easily to retain its lubricating properties. How thick a fluid is changes in different temperatures, and that thickness is known as viscosity, Synthetic oils are better at maintaining their viscosity throughout temperature changes. 

It’s not only newer vehicles that can benefit from synthetic oil.  If you have an older vehicle, synthetic oil may offer superior lubricating than conventional.  Our technicians can advise you what’s the best oil for your vehicle and how often you need to change it, which may vary from the owner’s manual recommendations.  You might find you’re able to change your oil less frequently than you used to with conventional oil.  

Yes, synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional, so let us help you decide whether its advantages are worth the difference in price.  

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Oil Change

Do I Need Brake Service? (Brake Service)

Think of how many times you put your foot on your vehicle’s brake pedal every day.  And think of how much you rely on your brakes to slow down and stop your momentum.  When it comes to safety systems, your brakes are at the top of the list, and that’s why it’s so important to keep them in top condition. Brakes are something you make sure you keep maintained before they start showing signs of problems.

Some of those signs are a grinding sound when you step on the brake pedal, your vehicle pulling to one side when you brake, you don’t feel your brakes stopping you as quickly as they used to, or you notice the brake light is illuminated on your instrument panel. 

We ask a lot of our brakes.  They have to work no matter how hot or cold it is outside.  That means whether it’s sunny, snowing, raining, or icy; you’re traveling at highway speeds or school-zone speeds; or when suddenly you find yourself trying to avoid hitting another vehicle, animal, person, or obstacle in the road.  They have to work on smooth or rough pavement.

When you bring your vehicle in to us for brake service, we will first inspect your brakes and all the parts in the system.  Our technician will closely check all the components for wear, deterioration, and corrosion.  We’ll check fluids, bushings, seals, and other components and make recommendations for what should be replaced or repaired to keep the system in top condition.  We’ll recommend quality parts that meet your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. 

We want to make sure your vehicle’s brakes are doing for you what they are designed to do.  Your safety—and the safety of all the people around you—is at stake when it comes to your brakes.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Brake Service

Clean Machine (Fuel and Air Induction Cleaning)

As your vehicle ages, its performance isn’t quite what it used to be, but many of us never notice the change because it’s gradual.  So here are a few questions to ask yourself.  Does your vehicle feel like it doesn’t have the pep that it used to? Have you noticed your fuel economy isn’t quite as good as it once was? Does it idle roughly or is it hard to start?  Do you hear the engine knocking? Has it recently failed an emissions test?

All of those can be signs that your fuel and air induction systems are dirty and need cleaning.  Your fuel system takes gasoline from the tank to the engine’s combustion chambers where fuel injectors spray fuel that mixes with air and is ignited by spark plugs.  Black carbon deposits eventually can build up, obstructing fuel flow and diminishing your engine’s performance and fuel efficiency.

The air induction system is what allows air to go into the engine’s combustion chamber.  Getting the proper air flow is necessary for you to quickly start your vehicle, accelerate, and perform the way it should and idle smoothly when you’re standing still.  Like the fuel system, your air induction system can get blocked up with deposits and other contaminants.

A professional fuel and air induction cleaning can help restore your performance and fuel economy, especially when you are experiencing problems.  A technician will use specialized chemicals that can remove the carbon buildup.  In extreme cases, they will remove the fuel injectors and clean them with specialized tools.  

After cleaning, you may notice how much more pep your vehicle has and how smoothly it runs.  Keep your fuel and air induction systems clean and enjoy your vehicle’s performance improvements.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Fuel System

Command Performance (Engine Air Filter)

The internal combustion engine in your vehicle counts on two things that mix together to be burned in the engine for power: fuel and air.  Both are important, of course.  If you run out of fuel, your engine won’t run at all.  Since there’s plenty of air around, you won’t run out of air, but you could feel your vehicle’s performance suffer if the engine air filter starts to get clogged. 

It's important that the air that enters your engine be free of dirt, dust, and debris to prevent damage to internal components.  That’s where the engine air filter comes in.  It prevents those particles from entering the engine, an important job that most people just take for granted.

After a while, your air filter will get dirty, which results in less air reaching the engine.  Modern fuel injected engines can adjust the amount of gas to mix with the air that is getting in, so your fuel economy won’t change significantly.  What will change is how well the engine performs, its acceleration.  In one test, a US Department of Energy study showed that a dirty air filter reduced a vehicle’s get-up-and-go by as much as 11 percent.  

The company that made your vehicle includes guidelines in your owner’s manual on how frequently that filter should be changed, and doing so will maintain your engine’s performance. If you drive in dusty, dirty areas or those with a lot of industrial pollution, we recommend you replace the engine air filter more frequently than the manufacturer’s recommendations.  

When you bring your vehicle to us for regular maintenance, we will routinely check several components, including your engine air filter, and recommend a change when we see signs it’s needed. It’s good for your engine, and you’ll enjoy the performance you expect.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Timing is Everything (Timing Belt)

Talk about exquisite choreography; it happens under the hood of your vehicle every time you take a drive.  Your engine’s many complex parts must work exactly together.  One key is a part called a timing belt, which enables the synchronizing of two of your engine’s components, the camshaft, and the crankshaft.  

The timing belt coordinates the valves in your engine to open and close at the appropriate time to get exhaust out of the engine’s cylinders. Timing belts may also power the water pump and the oil pump.  The belt is made of rubber.  Some engines use a timing chain (made of metal). 

Your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends an interval after which you should have your timing belt or chain replaced, and that service should be part of your vehicle’s regular maintenance.  It’s always better to replace it before it breaks rather than after.  After all, if your timing belt breaks while you’re driving down the road, it throws off the whole sync of engine parts and can cause major damage to the type of engines most commonly used in vehicles today.

It's also important to remember that a timing belt is made of rubber, and rubber deteriorates with time, no matter how much use it gets. Have us look at your timing belt to see if it’s time to get it replaced.  

Here are some signs to look for that will let you know if your timing belt is failing. You might have trouble starting your vehicle, it may misfire or black smoke may come out the tailpipe. If you notice any of those symptoms, bring your vehicle in and have us take a look right away.  When it comes to your engine, timing is everything.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Timing Belt

Strutting Your Stuff (Shocks and Struts)

Ever wonder how your vehicle is able to move over bumps, potholes and other irregularities in the road and you hardly feel a vibration in the cabin? It’s your shocks and struts doing the hard work along with the rest of your suspension and tires.  They keep the ride smooth and are important for your vehicle’s safe operation. 

So, how do you know when your shocks and struts are wearing out? One way is to look at the surface of your tire (where the rubber meets the road—where the tread is).  You might see some little indentations in certain spots, known as tire cupping.  If your vehicle takes longer to stop than it used to, takes a dive when you hit the brake pedal or bottoms out (scrapes) on a big bump in the road, that’s another sign, as are loud, odd noises.

You may also notice your vehicle sways more than it used to. Every once in a while, look around at your shocks to see what shape things are in.  If you see the rubber cover cracked or worn out or see a fluid outside your shocks, those are signs to bring your vehicle in to us so we can see what’s going on. 

Since shocks and struts contribute to the safe operation of your vehicle, this service is important. Shocks and struts are what help your tires stay in close contact with the road and help stabilize your vehicle. They also help electronic safety systems work properly, including anti-lock braking, stability control, and collision avoidance.  Bad shocks and struts are just going to get worse with time.

It's best to have regular maintenance done before anything goes wrong with your struts and shocks.  Your vehicle’s manufacturer has guidelines for how long those intervals are.  If you do start to see some of the warning signs, head on over so we can evaluate any problems.  We’ll replace the parts your vehicle needs and have you strutting your stuff once again.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

A Bright Spark (Ignition Coil Replacement)

Ever wonder how your vehicle’s engine is able to take the 12-volts from its battery and ramp that up to as high as the tens of thousands of volts it takes to fire its spark plugs? The secret is something called an ignition coil.  Most newer vehicles have an ignition coil at each cylinder, but older ones have a coil that serves all of the spark plugs. 

There are telltale signs that you have an ignition coil problem.  As you might expect, one symptom is it’s hard to start your engine or it won’t start at all.  If your engine is misfiring or not running smoothly or you see the Check Engine light come on, those all could point to an ignition coil failure.

Several things can contribute to ignition coil trouble in addition to normal wear and tear. Moisture and dirt may have gotten inside the coil, plus the heat and vibration of your engine over time can contribute to them going bad.  Bad spark plugs or plug wires can also be a cause.  

While ignition coils can last 100,000 miles/160,000 km, depending on how you drive and in what conditions.  If you start noticing some of the signs and symptoms just described, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit to see us so a technician can diagnose what’s wrong. Driving too long with an engine misfiring can damage your catalytic converter, and that can be expensive to replace.

A technician will thoroughly check your ignition system and determine where the failure is.  If it’s only one coil that’s bad, it may be the only thing that will need replacing.  If your vehicle has a distributor, it may also need to be replaced.  Properly-working ignition coils will help your vehicle operate at its best and help prevent future engine damage.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Full Stop (Brake Master Cylinder Replacement)

When you step on your brake pedal, you want to feel confident that your vehicle’s going to stop.  If your brakes aren’t working right, it’s a risk to your safety and the safety of others on the road.  After all, you’re driving a machine that weighs thousands of pounds, and you have to be able to stop that big machine quickly and with control, especially with some of the speeds you travel on the highways. 

The heart of your vehicle’s brake system is the master cylinder.  When you apply the brakes, the master cylinder has pistons, springs, and brake fluid.  That fluid amplifies and distributes the force of your foot through brake lines to calipers at all your wheels.  Those calipers squeeze down on rotors or discs, which is what slows down and stops your vehicle.

For safety, a master cylinder has two cylinders, one for two wheels, and the other for the remaining two wheels.  That way, if there is a failure in one, you’ll still have braking power at half your wheels.

The master cylinder doesn’t last forever, of course, and here are some signs it may have problems.  When you press on the brake pedal, it feels soft and spongy.  You may see the brake light on your instrument panel go on.  You may notice brake fluid leaking, or it may be discolored. 

All of those are signs of brakes that need attention, and among the possible culprits is a master cylinder that has failed.  When you bring it in for a technician to look at, they’ll check not only the master cylinder but also the rest of the components, such as pads, discs, shoes, brake lines, and hoses.  If your master cylinder needs replacing, we’ll make sure all the other parts meet the manufacturer’s specs as well. 

Brakes are important.  Really important. Full stop.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Brakes
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904 Cavalier Blvd Chesapeake, VA, 23323 (757) 487-4420
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