Drips and Puddles

19 07 2018

Dale BertramThose annoying under the car drips can leave your driveway and garage floor a mess…in fact everywhere you park becomes a victim to this mess.  They are also a sign that something is wrong and needs to be taken care of. The only drip you don’t need to be concerned with is the condensation from your air conditioner.  Everything else is a signal that there is a problem. The small drips are giving you fair warning that if ignored, serious problems are in your future. Here are a few examples:

  • A reddish brown drip may mean one of three things; leaking transmission, over tightened pan gasket or a leaking front seal.
  • A green or orange-red drip suggests a cooling system problem such as leaking hose or radiator.
  • A brown to brownish-black drip that is thick in consistency is more than likely engine oil.  This is not a huge problem if it is slight but when it grows to puddle size it is a sign of something serious and if not kept under control could mean severe engine trouble.
  • A leak that looks like tea and feels oily is brake fluid.  This type of drip or leak is always serious!

If you notice a puddle three inches or larger under your car don’t ignore it.  Get it to the professionals as soon as possible. A puddle between one and two inches isn’t as serious…yet…unless it is brake fluid.  Don’t put off having it looked at too long though…it could become a much more serious problem.

It is a good practice not to ignore drips because if left unchecked those drips will turn into puddles that get bigger and bigger until you no longer have a small problem, you have a major problem.  Make an appointment with us today, and your car’s health care professional at Fairway Auto Repair will stop the drips.  Remember, minor problems come with minor price tags…major problems come with major price tags…maybe even the cost of a new engine!

Prevention is always the best medicine for your vehicle.




Is Your Vehicle Ready For Summer?

25 05 2017

Dale BertramMemorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer… and that means summer vacations are just around the corner!  Is your vehicle ready to hit the road?

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too!  Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement while the relentless summer sun shines down on you.  Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack.  Here a just a few things we look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

  • Batteries take a beating. Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last three years.  It is always a good idea to have them tested to determine how much life they have left in them.
  • Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat. You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months.  We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated.  We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays.  If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road.
  • Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated. They need to be just right!
  • Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed. They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.
  • Air-conditioning systems need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb. We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.

A quick inspection will let you know if your vehicle is good to go or if it needs a little service & repair before you head out.  Call today to schedule an appointment!

Cars Want To Be Green For St Pat’s Too!

16 03 2017

Dale BertramEven if you don’t own the newest car on the block it can be greener! With a little tender loving care, it can give you a lot more miles and it will make it environmentally friendly…and save you money.  Improving the environment and your bank account at the same time is a win-win situation!

At Fairway Auto Repair, we know exactly what is needed.  Our techs check out your car’s battery, charging and starting systems; engine mechanical; powertrain control, onboard diagnostic check; fuel; ignition; and emissions systems.  This alone can improve gas mileage by four percent!  The oxygen sensor can be checked too, just to be safe.  That can improve gas mileage up to 40%!

Our technicians also look at your vehicle’s filters as a clogged filter can bring down fuel efficiency by as much as 10%…that’s 15 cents a gallon!  Spark plugs need checking too so they are firing properly.  Misfiring wastes fuel!

The cooling system can also cause a car to boil over if it isn’t in top form.  This can leave you sitting on the side of the road with steam coming out from under the hood.  This is bad at any time, but worse during peak driving hours when you can be the cause of a traffic jam! And you know what else…you guessed it…it wastes fuel and raises emissions.

Last but not least, our techs look at the tires.  If they are over-inflated it makes your vehicle less fuel efficient…if they are under-inflated…same scenario.  Tires need to be just right!

Being environmentally friendly is something we all can help with…especially when it comes to your vehicle!

Smoking Is Bad For Your Car’s Health – Part 1

28 06 2012

Dale BertramIf your vehicle has a smoking problem it needs to be looked at right away by your automotive service and repair professional!  Not only is your car trying to tell you something is wrong, others sharing the road with you will find a smoking car offensive.

Here is a list of what white smoke coming from your car indicates:

White Steam
On a chilly morning it is perfectly normal for your vehicle to have whitish steam coming from the exhaust.  You do not need to worry about this at all.

If you have whitish steam coming from under the hood you need to turn off your vehicle immediately.  Most likely this means your cooling system is overheating.  A sweetish smell is also a sure sign.

If this happens to you here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pull over as soon as possible so the engine can cool down.
  • Open the hood to allow the steam to disperse.
  • DO NOT open the radiator cap until the engine is cool or you will get a steam burn!
  • Check the coolant tank and fill if needed if you happen to have coolant and water with you and you feel confident that you are doing it correctly.  Some cars don’t have a tank but just the radiator.  If this is the case allow the radiator to completely cool before you check the coolant level.
  • If you were not able to refill the reservoir it is best to get your vehicle towed.  If you feel you must drive it or are close by a repair shop, be sure to drive with the air conditioning turned off and the heater turned on full blast.  This takes the heat away from the engine.  Do not attempt to drive it in stop and go traffic, however.

White Smoke
If your vehicle is blowing white smoke out the exhaust it has serious health problems!

  • Cracked cylinder head – This was usually preceded by a recent overheating problem followed by coolant burning.  This usually means your engine will need to be rebuilt.
  • Warped cylinder head – Coolant is leaking beyond the head gasket into the combustion chamber and generally has the same outcome as a cracked cylinder head.
  • Blown head gasket – When the gasket stops working properly it fails to keep the coolant separate from the oil and combustion chamber.
  • Cracked engine block – Coolant flows through the cracks into the combustion chamber.
  • Stuck fuel injector – This causes a cylinder washout.

Next week we will cover blue and black smoke!  To prevent your vehicle smoking make sure it is serviced at the proper intervals to keep it healthy.

Happy Motoring!



Fluent In Coolant

5 04 2012

Dale BertramThings are changing fast in the automotive world as vehicles and the parts and fluids that keep them running properly are being constantly updated to make them more efficient. I thought I would take a moment to share the latest in coolant as I am frequently asked about it.

A few years ago coolant had to be exchanged about every two years to keep your vehicle running well.  If you have an older car, that is still a good rule of thumb because even though coolants have improved, your cooling system is still not brand new.  If you have a newer vehicle then you can be more relaxed as to how often the coolant needs to be exchanged.  The new coolant formulas don’t break down as quickly as the prior versions did.

When the cooling system itself starts to age it does begin to drop little particles of rubber, plastic and aluminum into the coolant.  These particles start circulating in the engine and wreak havoc over time.  Coolant’s job is to keep our vehicles from overheating and enables the radiator and cooling system to keep the engine at the correct temperature.  It extends the life of your vehicle and reduces the number of repairs.

If you go to an automotive parts store and look at the array of coolants available, it can be overwhelming.  You can’t go by color as some think.  You have to be very careful to choose the right coolant required for your vehicle. Will your system fail if you mix different coolants?  No, but it will degrade to the shorter-life coolant. It is always best to use the correct coolant. One-size-fits all coolants are a thing of the past if you want what is best for the life of your vehicle. Water quality is important as well. Coolant is a blend of 50% water, 50% coolant when it is put in your vehicle.  It is necessary that the water be distilled because tap and filtered water contains minerals that hurt the effectiveness of coolant and the iron and chlorine found in water acts as a corrosive.  They cause deposits to form within the cooling system which interferes with the flow of heat and should they break loose they can clog the radiator as well as the heater core tubes.

Don’t use your coolant’s overflow tank to judge if your system is working properly. It can be misleading. The radiator cap also plays an important role. It is designed to hold a specific pressure and if it fails, the coolant will boil at a lower temperature which leads to severe corrosion due to hot spots.

The extended-life coolants do work if you use them as they are meant to be. Do not mix with other types of coolants and keep the radiator full with the same coolant and distilled water mix.  Never re-use old coolant.  When it does come time to exchange the fluid don’t put it off.  It is a small price to pay to keep your vehicle young and healthy!

Happy Motoring,



Spring Cleaning

8 03 2012

Dale BertramSpring cleaning has always been popular and just as our homes need it, so do our vehicles.  Today we’ll talk about getting them clean underneath it all!   During the regular use of your vehicle, the fluids that protect critical components wear out causing unneeded corrosion and wear.  Harmful deposits like carbon, scale, sludge, and rust sneak in and steal the vitality and life from your vehicle.  If maintained regularly, your vehicle can exceed 200,000 miles or more without incurring expensive repair bills.

Oil Change – The engine is the most expensive part of any vehicle, so preserving it is vital.  Motor oil reduces the amount of friction on the engine’s moving metal parts, preventing them from overheating and prematurely wearing.  Over time, motor oil oxidizes, producing harmful sludge that can reduce engine cooling and plug passages necessary for oil lubrication.  The easiest way to prevent sludge build up and reduce friction is to change oil and (filter) every 3 months or 3,000 miles.  We also offer motor oil additives that will prolong the life of your engine.

Transmission Service – Over 90% of all automatic transmission failures are due to overheating and fluid contamination.  Transmissions operate under widely adverse conditions and expose the transmission fluid to wild swings in temperature.  Dirty and contaminated fluid can cause erratic shifting, excessive chatter, and premature wear.  Transmissions should be serviced every 3 years or 50,000 miles.  This can be done via traditional transmission filter and fluid replacement (40% or fluid is replaced) or by exchange service (95% fluid replacement but no filter replacement

Cooling System Fluid Exchange – Cooling system failure is the #1 cause of engine-related breakdowns.  Minerals in water combine with the additives in coolant, forming scale.  The scale build up can result in decreased heat transfer on the surfaces of the radiator and heads resulting in overheating.  Coolant also breaks down over time losing its anti-corrosive properties.  This can lead to leaky radiators and water pumps, stuck thermostats, and plugged heater cores.  The cooling system fluid should be exchanged every 2 years or 30,000 miles to prevent scale and corrosion build up.

Brake System Fluid Exchange – Brake fluid absorbs moisture.  This lowers the boiling point of the brake fluid, reducing braking performance.  In addition, moisture causes brake fluid to become corrosive which can damage the master cylinder, wheel cylinders, brake lines, and abs components.  To prevent a spongy brake pedal and unneeded repairs, brake fluid should be exchanged every 3 years or 50,000 miles or at least whenever brake pads/shoes are replaced.

Fuel System Cleaning – Residual fuel vapors leave behind carbon deposits that restrict the flow of air and fuel to the engine.  These deposits will rob your engine of fuel economy and may cause stalling, knocking, loss of power, or hard starting.  A complete three step air/fuel induction flush performed every 2 years or 30,000 miles will improve engine performance and reduce emission output.

When you get into spring cleaning this year, don’t forget that underneath it all, your vehicle needs to be cleaned too!

Happy Motoring!