The Basics of Your Vehicle’s Cooling System

the basics of your vehicle’s cooling systemHere at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood, we find it is helpful if you know the basics of your vehicle’s cooling system. Cooling systems are more likely to fail than any other mechanical system in your vehicle and yet, many owners pay very little attention to their cooling systems. Unfortunately, the main reason this system fails is neglect and failure to give the system the attention it needs. We hope the more you understand about the basics of your vehicle’s cooling system, the more you will follow the guidelines for preventative care to extend the life of your car.

It’s All About the Heat

Most car owners don’t realize that your engine can produce approximately 4,500 degrees of heat. The heat is so hot, that if not cooled, the pistons would be hot enough that the metal could melt, adhering itself to the inside on the cylinders. The engine would be ruined and a new one would cost you thousands of dollars. To stop this from happening, the water pump in your vehicle runs coolant through various passages to cool your engine and absorb the heat produced. At some point, your water pump will need to be replaced along with some of the belts associated with it. This cost is minimal in comparison to needing to repair the damage done from your engine seizing as a result of not caring for your cooling system.

And Yet, Freezing Can Be a Problem

The coolant in your vehicle serves many purposes. It is a mixture of ethylene glycol and water and is also commonly known as antifreeze. Antifreeze prevents freezing as the name implies. If there is not enough coolant in your system and your vehicle is sitting in particularly cold temperatures, you may experience freezing. Because liquid generally expands when it freezes, the force can be strong enough to crack the engine block. This is not a problem you want to experience. It can be quite expensive to fix. Always make sure your antifreeze or coolant is checked regularly to avoid issues. Your coolant should also be changed on a regular basis.

Your Thermostat is Important

The thermostat is a key component in your cooling system. It controls the flow of coolant based on the temperature of your engine. Sometimes, issues with your cooling system may point to a problem with your thermostat. A faulty thermostat can cause your engine to run too hot or too cold. Sometimes the thermostat fails while in an open position. This means coolant is flowing freely without any regulation and causes the engine to run too cold. On the other hand, the thermostat may fail while in the closed position. This means that no coolant may be flowing through and will cause your engine to overheat in short order. Functioning thermostats are key to a properly running cooling system.

Know about Your Hoses

Hoses keep everything flowing in your cooling system. Unfortunately, the hoses are rubber and over time they may develop cracks. Leaking hoses will cause problems with your cooling system because it will change the rate of flow of your fluid. Your hoses should be regularly checked for cracks and leaks to spot trouble before it becomes a more serious issue.

The Fan Belt

The fan belt drives the water pump and much like the hoses, it can crack or even break. Without a fan belt, no coolant runs through your system and your engine will quickly overheat. These belts are built to last, especially newer ones. Follow the recommendations for checking your fan belt in your owner’s manual. Regular inspections should spot trouble, which will allow you to get the belt replaced in advance of it actually breaking.

Remember Your Radiator Cap

One of the basics of your vehicle’s cooling system is a small and simple part. Your radiator cap is easy to overlook as a source of trouble. Your radiator cap helps control pressure in your radiator system. There is a spring-loaded plunger in the cap, which diverts coolant when the pressure is too high. Sometimes, the spring-loaded plunger gets stuck or jammed. If there is an issue with the cap, your temperature gauge will read normally but you may hear a boiling sound. Coolant may leak from the cap (though if you recently had the coolant filled this may occur as a result of overfilling the coolant). If you ever need to remove your radiator cap, do it only when your engine is completely cooled, otherwise, a rush of boiling fluid will spurt out and cause some very serious burns.

If the Needle is Moving to Red

If your engine temperature is reading more towards the red, there are a couple things you can do. Turn off your air conditioner or even run your heater on high. Turning off the air conditioner will lighten the strain on your engine. Running your heater allows your car to pull additional heat from the engine. Either of these or both may allow you to get to a place, like Sundance Automotive in Lakewood to get your car checked out. If the needle is actually in the red, you may need to pull over.

Regular Checks of Your Cooling System

To avoid serious problems, it is best to have your cooling system checked on a regular basis. If you check your system when you get your oil changed, this will get your cooling system checked on a regular enough basis to spot trouble before you have a serious problem on your hands.

Knowing the basics of your vehicle’s cooling system will hopefully help you understand the importance of paying attention to the system and all its components. If you want to get your cooling system checked over or if you are having issues with your cooling system or one of its components, come see us here at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood. We will take care of your vehicle’s cooling system and make sure your vehicle takes care of you while you are on the road.

Why is My Car Making that Noise?

Why is My Car Making that Noise?At Sundance Automotive in Lakewood, a common question we get here is, why is my car making that noise? Every car makes noise while operating such as the low hum of the wheels on the road, the slight squeak of the dashboard as pieces rub together, and more. Those harmless notes become background for everyone after a while. There are some noises though that are definitely out of the ordinary and are an indication that something is wrong.

It is important to pay attention (maybe turn down the stereo) and know when your car is making new noises or abnormal ones. Identifying the noise will help you track down the problem. Here are a few problematic car noises.

Clunking When Braking

If you step on the brake and a clunking noise occurs, this is a sign of an issue with your brakes. It could be an indicator that a brake caliper is damaged, missing, or improperly mounted. It could also be an issue with the related hardware of the brake.

Noise While Turning a Corner

If you hear odd noises while turning a corner, then the problem may be an indication of issues with the steering linkage. For example, the steering linkage may need lubrication. It may also need replacement.

Flapping Noise

If you hear a flapping noise while driving, there is a possibility that something is interfering with the fan. It could also be related to a belt disintegrating or a flat tire.

Grinding Noise While Shifting

With a manual transmission, if there is a grinding noise when you shift, this is likely a problem with the clutch. The clutch may be worn or may need to be adjusted. Grinding may also be an indication of a deeper issue within the transmission.

Sizzling or Hissing Under the Hood

If you hear sizzling or hissing immediately following turning off the vehicle, there is probably a leak. It could be coolant or possibly oil that is dripping on a heated portion of the engine. It is also possible that a vacuum line has a leak. This sound can also be an indicator that your engine is overheating.

Knocking Noise from the Engine

While many people understand that using a higher-octane fuel than your vehicle requires, produces no actual benefits to the running of your vehicle, some people fail to realize that using a lower than needed octane will likely produce a knocking noise from the engine. When it comes to fuel, oil, and air pressure, it is important to follow the owner’s manual closely.

Loud Bang

If your car makes a small explosive noise from the rear, your car has likely backfired. This occurs when the air to fuel ratio is wrong. It can also be an indication of a problem with your catalytic converter.

Why is my car making that noise? Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what problems are frequently associated with the above problem noises. If you have a noise related issue, call us at Sundance Automotive so we can help get your car back to its less noisy-self.

If Your Car is Overheating, Here’s What to Do Next

If Your Car is Overheating, Here's What to Do NextAs you’re driving down the road, if your car is overheating, here’s what to do next (besides come see us at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood). Before we give you the run down on what to do when your vehicle overheats, let’s go over some basics.

Maintaining Your Cooling Systems in Advance

Your cooling system is one of the most important components to keeping your engine running well and avoiding overheating. There are four major parts to your cooling system: thermostat, water pump, radiator, and coolant.

  • Thermostat: This regulates the coolant. Coolant is required when the engine is no longer running cool enough and it keeps the engine temperature at an ideal level. If the thermostat is not functioning properly, it may not read the temperature incorrectly and fail to send coolant to the engine at the right time. This could cause your engine to overheat.
  • Water Pump: The water pump is responsible for moving coolant through the engine from the radiator. Early signs of water pump failure include smelling coolant while driving or seeing coolant puddles where your car has been parked.
  • Radiator: The radiator consists of a series of channels. Coolant is cooled down while running through these channels. Be sure to check the hoses running in and out of the radiator. These hoses can become brittle and begin to leak and may need to be replaced. Also, your radiator should be inspected every so often to ensure that it doesn’t need to be flushed.
  • Coolant: Coolant consists of Ethylene glycol and water. The ethylene glycol is what lubricates all the moving parts of your car as it moves through and is also what stops the water from freezing (making it an anti-freeze solution).

When Your Car is Overheating

First, pull over and turn off the engine. Allow the car to cool and wait for the temperature gauge to read cool before opening the hood. Find the tank for your coolant (antifreeze). Use your owner’s manual to help you and then check the coolant level.

Be sure the radiator cap has cooled before carefully using a cloth to remove it. Beware of any steam. If you do not wait for cooling of the car and the cap, there will be a lot of pressure created and liquid may spray out.

If you are in need of additional coolant, pour enough in to bring it up to the required level. Examine both the upper and lower radiator hoses for leaks and cracks. Attempt to restart your engine and slowly return to driving. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge and pull over as soon as the gauge crosses the optimal level and repeat the full process if necessary. If possible, you may want to have your car towed to your local shop immediately.

So, if your car is overheating, here’s what to do next: come see us at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood and we well get your car fixed up and get you on your way.

Alternator Problems and Repair

Alternator Problems and RepairGiven that we see a number of alternator issues at Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood, we want to share some information on alternator problems and repair that would be helpful to you as a vehicle owner. Issues with an alternator are common enough that at some point during the life of your vehicle, it will probably need a replacement. The alternator is part of your car’s charging system, which is essential to the workings of all things electric in your car. If it’s not working properly or fails, you will likely find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Basics of How Your Alternator Works

The alternator helps maintain the battery of your car. Essentially, the alternator uses the engine’s power to create electricity then sends it to the battery to keep the battery charged.

The engine’s power arrives at the alternator via the serpentine belt, also known as the engine drive belt. Because of this, it is important to keep the belt tight and running well. This is also why you should replace this belt as soon as a new one is needed. Most people don’t realize that your car uses a great deal of electrical power: windshield wipers, lights, the radio, and other parts rely on and use a lot of electricity, especially when combined. If all these things are operating at the same time, it would drain the battery in your car fast. The alternator stops the battery from being run down and keeps it fully charged at all times.

Signs Your Alternator Might Have a Problem

It can be hard to diagnose an alternator problem without any tools. Problems with the battery are very similar to problems with the alternator and vice versa: for example, the car doesn’t start, your battery goes dead, the battery light goes on and the serpentine belt squeals. Other signs include: having to jump-start your car frequently and dimming lights while operating the vehicle. These are the most common signs that you might have an alternator problem or a potential battery problem. It is important to take care of this quickly because it can create problems and failures with other systems in your car.

Check Your Alternator Voltage

To confirm that the issue is a faulty alternator and not the battery, you will need to use a digital voltohmmeter or DVOM. The DVOM is also called a voltmeter. This tool will allow you to check quickly and easily to find out how much voltage your alternator is putting out.

  • The first step is turning your engine off. You will need to restart your vehicle later for another test, but for now, it needs to stay off.
  • The red lead of your voltmeter should be placed on the positive post of your battery and the black lead should be placed on the negative post.
  • Set your voltmeter to read DC volts if it is not already at this setting. The reading should be above 12.65 volts. This reading would confirm that the battery is fully charged. If the reading is less than 12.65 volts, then either your battery or alternator has an issue.
  • Next, take the leads off and start your car. Then, return the leads to the appropriate posts on your battery, being careful not to catch the leads on the serpentine belt or any other engine part. If you get a 13.5 to14.5-voltt range, then the alternator is probably not the issue. It is possible that the alternator is intermittently bad. That does happen on occasion, in which case, you would need to perform the test several times. If the volt range is consistently good, then you have a battery problem and it is time to get your battery tested.

 

Repairing a Defective Alternator

You can bring your vehicle and alternator into a repair shop, such as Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood, or you can perform the repair yourself if you have a bit of knowledge about your and car repairs in general. While swapping out your alternator for a new one isn’t very difficult, putting the serpentine belt on correctly definitely requires a diagram to ensure you replace it right. If it isn’t replaced just right, you’ll continue to experience issues with your electrical system, even damage or destroy the belt.

Diagnostic and repair information for your specific vehicle is imperative to alternator repair, as well as maintaining, troubleshooting, and fixing your vehicle yourself. To get the diagnostic and repair details specific to the year, make and model of your vehicle, ALLDATAdiy is a good online resource that will help you locate information for your vehicle. It’s also less expensive than buying a factory manual. Additionally, the site offers detailed diagrams and step-by-step instructions that are more thorough than what is available in most printed manuals.

To replace your alternator:

  • First, you need to disconnect the battery.
  • Next, take out the serpentine belt (be sure you have that diagram).
  • Finally, loosen and remove the bolts for the alternator and take off the wiring connectors.
  • To reinstall the new alternator, connect the wiring to the alternator and replace the bolts holding the alternator in place.
  • Follow the serpentine belt diagram carefully to replace the serpentine belt. Double check that the belt is put in place correctly.
  • Finally, reconnect the battery.

 

Alternatively, if you decide to have an auto-repair shop perform alternator repair, it is generally not one of the more expensive repairs and does not take very much time.

Ultimately, knowing more about how the alternator in your vehicle works in conjunction with the battery will help you understand better how to troubleshoot issues with your electrical system. Knowing more about alternator problems and repair will also help you determine if this is a project you want to undertake yourself or if it is something you would rather leave to the experts at Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood. If you decide to bring it to us, you can rest assured that we’ll provide quality work at a fair and honest price.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

For Summer Oil Changes, Do You Need a Heavier Weight?

For Summer Oil Changes, Do You Need a Heavier Weight?For summer oil changes, do you need a heavier weight? With winter behind us, it’s time to get your car tuned up at Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood and this is a question we get often. And while using the right oil for your car is important, let’s look at whether there really are any benefits to using a heavier weight oil in the summer.

According to a Popular Mechanics article, the old wisdom for changing oil was to use a lighter oil weight in the winter and a heavier weight in the summer. But that was back when the oil formulations only had one viscosity, and the oil would thin out if it was heated in the summer weather. When it got cold in the winter the oil would become thick and the pumps couldn’t properly lube the engine. To fix the problem, a lightweight oil such as 10-weight was used for cold weather, so it would flow. Then a heavier 30- or 40-weight oil was used in the summer months to stop the oil from breaking down in the hot weather.

But this is no longer the case when you come in for an oil change. You do not need to change your oil’s weight for the summer and winter because we now have multi-viscosity oil that flows when it’s cold, then thickens and protects better when it’s hot. This handles the needs of both weather types and prevents the need for seasonal oil changes.

Not only has the oil become effective across temperatures, but new engines are also designed and tested to work specifically with only the type of oil listed in your owner’s manual. If you have an older car you can still use the newer and better oils. In deciding which of the newer oils are best for the older cars, base the first viscosity on your climate, and use the original oil spec for the operating weight. Most older cars can perform fine with 10W30.

Newer synthetic oil has better and longer-lasting performance in all the critical areas. Synthetic oil gives better performance in extreme temperatures which makes cranking easier in the cold and gets lubrication to critical components faster. It flows better at freezing temperatures than conventional oil. It is more chemically stable and doesn’t evaporate as easily or break down in the high heat from your vehicle engine. This lets it resist turning into sludge, which can cause engine problems. Synthetic oil has less evaporative loss, a higher viscosity index (resistance to thinning as temperatures rise is the viscosity index), and greater resistance to oxidation thermal breakdown and sludge problems.

While synthetic may cost more, it lasts longer so your vehicle doesn’t need an oil change as often. Your car may actually be able to last up to 7,000 to 10,000 miles between oil changes. Synthetics also have complex additive packages for improving performance in both normal and extreme conditions.

While you should always follow the manufacturer’s suggestions on what oil to use in your car, the answer to the question, for summer oil changes, do you need a heavier weight, is no. Bring your car into Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood for all your oil changes and tune-ups. We’ll take great care of your vehicle all year long, no matter the season.

Common Car Electrical Repairs

Common Car Electrical RepairsIf your vehicle needs some complicated but common car electrical repairs, bring it into our experts at Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood. Electrical systems are complicated and control everything in the car from the windows to starting the engine.

Let’s look at some typical problems you might experience with your vehicle’s electrical system.

Engine

If your car has trouble starting, it could be a defective component in the electrical system that’s draining your battery and stopping the starter from cranking the engine. You may notice the check engine light will be on in these circumstances.

Do you hear a clicking noise when you turn the key? If you do, it often means that the starter can’t get enough current flow in order to engage. Your starter may be the problem. If you hear a grinding noise while it’s cranking is may be caused by a bad starter or a flywheel ring gear.

The chance that the problem is the rotating electrical parts going bad increases if you have an older the car and higher mileage. Hard starting can also signal a problem with fuel injection delivery during cranking. Sometimes a regular fuel injection and throttle body cleaning will help get your engine started.

Battery

Your vehicle’s electrical system depends on the battery which stores the electrical energy for later use. You should replace a car battery every four years so your electrical system is always running at its best. Without a good battery, you may get stranded and need a tow. We can get you a new battery and recycle your old one. We can inspect your battery tray and cable terminal ends and evaluate the battery’s charging and starting system.

Our team at Sundance can check your electrical system instead of just the battery because it could be a bad battery cell or alternator that isn’t charging properly and stopping the car battery from staying charged fully which shortens the battery life.

We can check your battery’s cables for corrosion and to make sure there is a tight fit at the terminal ends. Corrosion creates resistance that stops the power from flowing through the electrical system. If they are corroded, we will remove them and clean them.

Lights

Do your headlights or brake lights dim? If so, it could be an indication of a charging malfunction, resistance in the electrical system, loose wires, a severely discharged battery or a problem with the alternator belt. A loose or cracked alternator belt can stop your alternator from working efficiently and maintaining the battery’s voltage.

It could also mean you have low system voltage. If that happens and the voltage drops below a certain level, then your safety systems like traction control may disable and eventually, your car will stop running altogether.

Smells

If you smell the odor of melting plastic or electrical insulation bring your vehicle into us. Every electrical circuit can carry a certain amount of current and when a wire or component shorts, the circuit draws more power than it can handle. We can fix these vehicle electrical problems before they become dangerous.

Fuses

If a fuse is blown then an electrical device or wiring has drawn too much current. We need to find the problem that caused it to blow, then replace the fuse.

If you have any of these problems, we can take care of these common car electrical repairs, just bring it into our experts at Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood. Our goal is to handle problems before they become bigger problems.

Car AC Repair

car ac repairIf you need car AC repair or a performance check, bring your car, truck or SUV to our expert technicians at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood. We’ll help you get it taken care of before the heat of summer descends on Colorado, because there’s nothing worse than sitting in traffic and dripping with sweat while your fellow commuters are relaxing and enjoying their ice-cold AC.

Of course, the best protection from problems is prevention, including a complete air conditioning performance check by our technicians. If you skip your check-up, here are just a few problems that you may encounter, all of which require car AC repair.

Repair Problem 1: Black Death

Auto technicians describe what they call Black Death, which is the breakdown of the refrigerant-lubricant causing extreme wear inside the air conditioning compressor. This sends metal particles through the system, contaminating other components. When this happens, it will at least require a complete flushing and perhaps a replacement of the air conditioning system.

How it happens. It’s normal for a small amount of wear to occur inside the compressor because of the contact with all the moving metal parts. The refrigerant-lubricant reduces wear. The amount of wear increases when the compressor is operated on a low charge of the PAG (Poly Alkaline Glycol) oil or mineral oil which is recommended for specific air conditioning systems.

When an air conditioning system is operated under low-charge conditions, loose wear particles are circulated throughout the system which can produce damage. They lodge in various system components and frequently impede or even block the flow of the refrigerant-lubricant. If a new compressor is installed in a system that hasn’t been completely flushed, it’s likely that the new compressor will fail again, which could void the warranty and be a very expensive repair.

For the air conditioning system to be able to remove heat from the car’s interior, all the main system components need to be working and efficient. The contaminants from Black Death reduces the system’s efficiency and will eventually lock up the compressor or block the flow of the refrigerant-lubricant. Since refrigerant gives lubrication to protect the engine, if there is a breakdown with the refrigerant it will result in damage to the compressor.

The metal particles made during the compressor breakdown move through the rest of the air conditioning system, damaging the whole system. Symptoms of trouble include:

  • Your compressor is noisy during operation.
  • In turning the compressor clutch, you may feel hard spots.
  • The compressor may be totally frozen or locked up.
  • The orifice tube or the inlet and outlet ports may show signs of contamination when the hose manifold is removed.

Depending on how bad the damage is and the extent of the contamination from Black Death, car AC repair will require flushing the air conditioning system with solvents. During the flushing process, segments of the system have to be cleaned individually.

A new compressor, accumulator/drier and expansion device needs to be installed after the flushing. There are other components that also require replacement, including an accumulator, manifold, liquid line, condenser and orifice tube.

The Black Death gunk bonds to the components in the system. It’s hard to flush out because it’s inside. A flush gun, attached to your air compressor is not powerful enough to get rid of the Black Death material from components. Even a closed loop flush machine isn’t always enough.

An expensive flush machine called the Rotunda is strong enough to break down the Black Death material into a flushable material. Many times, the best thing to do is just replace the whole AC system.

Repair Problem 2: Weak Airflow

If you notice your air conditioning has weak airflow, you should bring it to Sundance Automotive before any damage to your air conditioning system occurs. There are several reasons for weak airflow, including:

  • Mold or mildew is in the evaporator core caused from the residual moisture during the cooling process and air can’t reach your air vents.
  • A loose hose, usually the hose that supplies air to the blower unit.
  • The ventilation fan is broken.
  • Core case seals, blower house seals or evaporator core case seals have opened and compromised the system.

Repair Problem 3: Not Very Cold Air

If you notice that the air is too warm for air conditioning, let us take a look at it and provide car AC repair. It could be caused by several things, including:

  • A Freon leak from by a failed o-ring, seal, hose, or component.
  • A clogged expansion tube or refrigerant charging hose.
  • A failed compressor or compressor clutch.
  • A failed blower motor or blower motor resistor.
  • A failed or damaged condenser or evaporator.
  • A vacuum leak.
  • A broken switch, fuse, relay, control module, blend door or solenoid.

Repair Problem 4: AC Leaks

If your air conditioning system has a leak, it’s called an open system. If a leak isn’t repaired quickly moisture will enter the system and cause damage.

Here are some possible causes. When moisture and refrigerant mix, corrosive acids destroy seals and components, leading to a leak. Rubber seals and hoses can also lose their elasticity over time and break down allowing Freon to escape and moisture to enter your vehicle’s air conditioning system.

Once moisture is present, it can damage the accumulator, receiver or drier because these things remove moisture from the air conditioning system and break when they are exposed to a leak or a crack.

Repair Problem 5: Cooling then Warming

If your air loses its cool temperature quickly you could have a number of problems, including:

  • A clogged expansion valve.
  • A faulty compressor clutch.
  • A blown fuse.

Repair Problem 6: Bad Smells

If the air smells like a musty gym locker several things could be causing it, including an old air cabin filter. It could also be a moldy evaporator case. If water sits in the evaporator case because the case’s drain is blocked, mold can grow.

If you need car AC repair or a performance check, bring your vehicle into our technicians at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood. Get it taken care of before the hot summer comes. It may save you from problems like Black Death, weak air flow, a leak, warm air, and a bad smell.

What is My Car’s TPMS system?

What is My Car’s TPMS system?Good tires that are inflated correctly are vital for your safety. If you have a newer car, you’re in luck because it probably has a tire pressure monitoring system or what is known as a TPMS. You might wonder what is my car’s TPMS system? A TPMS is an electronic system located inside your tire that actually monitors the air pressure in your tires. Our Sundance Automotive technicians in Lakewood can make sure your tires are inflated correctly because having the correct tire pressure is important for braking, gripping the road, and the longevity of your tires.

If your tires are incorrectly inflated, the TPMS will send an alert with a warning light on your car’s dashboard. If there is a steady warning light, you need to get your tire pressure checked, but if the warning light is flashing, it means your TPMS may not be working right.

According to a Popular Mechanics article, a Department of Transportation study from 2001 reports that 60 to 80 percent of cars on the road are driving with tires that are under-inflated by as much as 10 percent. It also reports that 20 to 50 percent of cars have tires that may be under-inflated by as much as 20 percent. But here’s what you want to consider, your TPMS warning light will only go on when your tire pressure is less than 25 percent. And that may be too late. When it gets to that level, it will reduce your car’s fuel economy, not be able to grip the road (particularly in wet conditions), and the tires may run hotter. So even if your car has TPMS, you should bring it to our auto technicians to make sure the tires are inflated correctly.

The Popular Mechanics article also explains how your vehicle may have either a direct-reading or an indirect TPMS. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

Indirect TPMS

An indirect TPMS system uses software and readouts given by the car’s wheel-speed sensors from the vehicle’s antilock brake system. If all of the tires are inflated properly, they will rotate the same number of revolutions. However, if one tire rotates more, then the sensor knows it has a shorter rolling radius because of low tire pressure. This system is cheaper because it just has a display on the dash and some extra code in the operating system.

This can be a concern if your tires are unevenly worn, or if you replace only two tires instead of all four tires. You can try to reset the system to allow for wear when all the tire pressures are correct. TPMS warning lights can be triggered after a normal tire rotation, or if you’re replacing tires of a different size from the previous ones.

The TPMS senders are generally attached to the valve stem or the wheel’s drop center. The metal stem of the sender is usually made of aluminum which can strip the threads if its overtightened. So, bring your vehicle into our trained auto technicians so the senders don’t get damaged from tire mounting machines.

Direct-Reading TPMS

This type of TPMS comes from a more expensive technology that is used to monitor tire pressure, however, it is usually more effective.

These battery-powered sensors are mounted inside the tire and communicate with the TPMS through small antennas in each wheel well. They receive a tire pressure reading and transfer the message to the in-car display. The individual senders have a unique serial number that transmits it to the vehicle so it reads the right tires. Some vehicles even have a sender on the spare tire.

You should resynchronize the TPMS if you rotate the tires or you get a flat. You will need a special tool to communicate with the vehicle and the senders. That’s another reason why it’s important to let us do it for you.

Want to know about maintaining proper tire pressure and driving safely? Bring your car in and our Sundance Automotive technicians in Lakewood can answer your questions about what is my car’s TPMS system more fully and examine your tires to make sure they are inflated correctly. It’s an important safety check that shouldn’t be forgotten.

4 Important Winter Automotive Maintenance Tips

4 Important Winter Automotive Maintenance TipsIt’s February, but don’t think Colorado’s winter weather is over yet. In fact, March and April are some of the snowiest months of the year. So, our technicians at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood suggest following these 4 important winter automotive maintenance tips so your car can handle the driving conditions and you can stay safe no matter how bad the weather.

Battery

It’s a really cold night. You put the key in the ignition and your car doesn’t start. Now, that’s a nightmare. Don’t let that happen and wait until you’re stranded! The moment your car takes longer to turn over than usual, come in for an inspection of your battery, starter, and alternator. You should get a new battery every five to seven years. If it’s been that long or you aren’t getting the battery performance you need, let us install a new battery. It will save you trouble on a very cold night.

Brakes

Really, is there anything more important than brakes in the snow and ice? It’s hard enough to stop when it’s icy, but without good brakes, it could be disastrous. If your brakes squeal or you notice it takes longer to stop, come on in for service today. We can check your brakes and make sure they will work when you need them. If you need new brake pads or rotors we can take care of it for you.

Alignment

Don’t forget to check to make sure your car or truck has the proper alignment. You need to have complete control of your vehicle, particularly on those icy winter roads. Have you noticed uneven tire wear on your tire treads? Do you feel your steering wheel shimmy when you are driving at higher speeds? Does your car drift to one side? Come in today for a computerized wheel alignment and system check before you have to drive those treacherous Colorado winter highways.

Wiper Blades

When the rain, snow, and ice comes, you need to have good wiper blades. There’s nothing more frightening than to be blinded by the slush from another car thrown up on your windshield and your wipers can’t clear it off with your old, ineffective wiper blades. Get new wipers now, so when you need them, they can clean your windshield. We can install new wiper blades for your car, truck or SUV today, so when the winter precipitation comes, you have nothing to worry about.

At Sundance Automotive in Lakewood, we’ve been providing comprehensive auto repair and maintenance services since 2000. Our goal is to always give the best service at affordable prices to get you safely back on the road in no time. Our ASE-certified automotive technicians can help you take care of these 4 important winter automotive maintenance tips that will help keep you safe in bad weather driving. So don’t forget as we enter the snowiest months of the year in Colorado, have your wiper blades, battery, alignment, and brakes in good working order before you venture out on icy roads.

How a Radiator Flush Helps Your Engine’s Cooling System

How a Radiator Flush Helps Your Engine’s Cooling SystemToday, Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood wants to share with you how a radiator flush helps your engine’s cooling system. If you didn’t know, cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system and it’s usually because of neglect. Lucky for you, our ASE-certified technicians have the knowledge, experience, and proper cooling system equipment to quickly diagnose and repair your vehicle’s cooling system problems.

Why do you need to maintain your cooling system?

Your cooling system is not maintenance-free. In many vehicles, when coolant breaks down, it can cause rust. These rust particles can then become electrically charged and cause the coolant to become highly corrosive. This sometimes results in major damage to the engine and cooling system. To avoid such a catastrophic issue, your system needs to be flushed.

Why are antifreeze leaks bad?

If you notice an antifreeze leak, you need to pay attention. If you’re parked on the street or your driveway the leaking antifreeze could get into the storm drain and make its way into your town’s water supply. In addition to the health and environmental problems, a leaking radiator can also cause a cooling system failure. If it’s the radiator that has a leak, it can burst open and spew the rest of the coolant. If it’s a hose leak, it may cause the hose to blow out. Our technicians’ advice is to fix the leak early to prevent dealing with a bigger, more expensive problem down the line.

What do you do when you see your car is overheating?

Cooling an engine involves coolant flow and airflow across the radiator. So instead of pulling over and turning off the engine if your car overheats, you should increase your car’s speed to allow more coolant flow and more airflow. Believe it or not, another thing you can do if your car overheats is to turn your heater on full-blast. Yes, it really works, because the heater is basically a cooling coil that dumps heat from the engine inside the cabin of the vehicle.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on antifreeze.

You should always check your vehicle manufacturer’s warranty because sometimes your warranty is void if you don’t use the recommended antifreeze. It also needs to be filled to the correct specifications. If you live in a cold weather location, your antifreeze can actually freeze if it gets cold enough. One solution is to mix the antifreeze with water. This actually lowers the risk of your coolant freezing. You should also keep the coolant level full.

Because your coolant will eventually break down you will need to put a coolant flush on your maintenance schedule. Our Sundance Automotive Repair specialists can help you.

What is really involved in a cooling system flush?

A cooling system flush, or what is sometimes called a radiator flush, completely removes the fluid from the coolant system. If it’s a normal cooling system service, the coolant is drained and then replaced, but this process only removes about 50 percent of the fluid from the radiator. It also doesn’t help clean out the built-up scale deposits and debris.

Your vehicle may need a full flush, which uses specialized flushing equipment to fully clear the system of fluid. This is known as a cooling system transfusion. Any accumulated water and the coolant are flushed out of the system.

During a coolant flush, the built-up contaminants in the coolant system are also removed. This means all the scale deposits, rust, and particulates are completely cleaned out and the entire system is cleaned out with an engine-safe detergent and protective conditioner.

Bottom line, your cooling system is a complex component that ensures your car, truck or SUV runs smoothly. It’s important to keep your cooling system well-maintained and full of high-quality coolant to protect your car against corrosion and future engine damage. It’s also vital to have a coolant flush service completed for true protection and to keep your car running longer.

When you come to Sundance, our automotive technicians will use flushing chemicals to scrub the coolant system clean. Then additives and a conditioner are added to prolong the life of the system and protect against corrosion. Lastly, the system is refilled with fresh, premium coolant.

What are the benefits your vehicle receives from a coolant flush?

The biggest benefit is removing old coolant before it has a chance to become acidic. Coolant breaks down over time. Antifreeze specifically can become acidic if it is not replaced periodically. If not properly serviced, old and broken down coolant can cause other parts of the vehicle to break down, wear prematurely, or cause corrosion.

A coolant flush also helps lengthen the life of your cooling system. The additives and protective lubricants in the coolant are designed to protect the water pump and radiator. As these properties age, they’re less able to do their job. By flushing the system, you’re making sure clean additives are flowing through your engine.

When do you need a cooling system flush?

Check your manufacturer’s recommended service but generally, your cooling system should get a full maintenance service every 30,000-60,000 miles. We will make sure you get a complete cooling system test. Based on those results, we may recommend a complete system flush.

At Sundance Automotive Repair, our goal is to offer the best services available at affordable prices so you stay safe and your car runs well. Our team of experts offers these cooling system services and repairs for foreign and domestics vehicles, cars, trucks, and SUVs:

  • Complete cooling system diagnostic
  • Repair and service cooling systems
  • Replace thermostat
  • Radiator service
  • Cooling system flush
  • Cooling system leak check
  • Replace antifreeze
  • Replace radiator hoses and fan belts

Now you know how a radiator flush helps your engine’s cooling system. So, bring your car, truck, or SUV into Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood. Our ASE-certified technicians take care of your cooling system so it can keep working well for the life of your car. Putting in a little bit of maintenance really does go a long way.