Signs You Need Transmission Repair Services

Signs You Need Transmission Repair Services Sundance Automotive DenverAt Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood, we understand how important it is to know the signs you need transmission repair services. Transmission trouble can be a big stress for a car owner. These issues can be highly complex, inconvenient and sometimes expensive. The best way to prevent having to deal with a major transmission problem is to give your vehicle proper maintenance regularly. If you’ve had your vehicle a long time though, you should expect to eventually have trouble with your transmission that will require repair.

Here are a few signs you need transmission repair services.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light is generally the first indicator of a problem that has already occurred or has started to develop in your vehicle. Though the check engine light can mean that something relatively small has gone wrong (maybe you left the gas cap off), it can also point to something much, much bigger.

No matter the reason, you should never ignore your check engine light because if a larger issue is left unchecked, it could end up costing you a much larger amount of money. The check engine light is attached to your vehicle’s on board-computer which monitors sensors throughout your car. A number of these sensors monitor your transmission. These sensors pick up trouble as soon as they begin to occur, so again, never ignore a check engine light.

Whining, Clunking, Humming

Transmission noises can be difficult to identify, but they can often be described as humming, buzzing, clunking, or humming. If you hear such noises that you have never heard before, it is a good idea to get it checked out. Unusual noises are usually a sign of a problem. Even if it turns out to be a noise related to something else, it is probably something in your transmission that needs attention.

Grinding or Shaking

You should not hear grinding while driving your car and your car should not jerk or shake. All of these issues are signs you need transmission repair services.

If you have a manual transmission and you hear grinding when you shift, that noise is a sign that you have probable transmission trouble on your hands, though it could also indicate a problem with your clutch.

With an automatic transmission, you are more likely to hear and feel the car experience difficulty getting into gear when you first start to drive. As it gets worse, you may notice shaking. In any case, this is never something to ignore. If you are experiencing this problem, can contact us here at Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood. We can track down the problem and get your vehicle back to running smoothly.

Noise in Neutral

If you hear a bumping noise while your vehicle is in neutral, your vehicle may have low or dirty transmission fluid. Such a noise can also be an indication that some parts of the transmission may be worn such as the reverse idler gear, bearings, or gear teeth. Topping off the transmission fluid will solve the problem only if the issue is related to low fluid. You may need to have the fluid changed or you may have a much larger transmission issue.

Hesitation

If the car pauses when shifting, there is often a clutch issue, but if your car isn’t shifting smoothly, it could be one of the signs you need transmission repair services.

Leaking or Low Fluid

Leaking fluid should never be ignored and a transmission fluid leak is a sure sign of transmission trouble. Do not neglect this problem and be sure to take care of it quickly. An unattended leak can cause irreparable damage to your transmission meaning you may need to replace it entirely. Leaking transmission fluid is easy to spot. Normally, transmission fluid is bright red, clear, and has a slightly sweet smell when everything is working properly. Fluid that is darker or that smells burnt is in need of replacement.

Car Can’t Get into Gear

Trouble with your transmission fluids can be a source of trouble and cause a vehicle to have trouble going into a gear. You should check the transmission fluid level to be sure that this is not the source of the issue. The source of the issue could also be the clutch linkage, the computer system, or the shift cables.

Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell, you need to do something right away. First be sure that nothing is actually on fire. If there is no fire, the smell could be transmission fluid that is overheating. Dirty, sludge-like fluid is not going to cool your car’s engine nor is it going to lubricate very well. A car that is allowed to run on dirty transmission fluid will have an engine problem eventually. This is one of the reasons vehicle maintenance is so important.

Draggy Clutch

If the clutch on your manual transmission seems to be dragging, this could be a sign that the flywheel and clutch disc are not disengaging when the clutch is pressed. When the clutch is spinning, changing gears can be hard and sometimes impossible. This problem is frequently accompanied by a grinding noise.

Gear Slipping

Manual transmissions are supposed to stay in gear until your shift, while the computer does this for you in vehicles with automatic transmissions. If the transmission is slipping in or out of gear, you need to bring it to a mechanic right away. A vehicle in this condition can be very dangerous to drive and can cause you to get in an accident. The problem is likely broken or worn gear linkage. Get this fixed right away because you could be in a situation where you have no power to your wheels and this kind of situation can end catastrophically.

If your vehicle is exhibiting signs you need transmission repair services, contact us here at Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood. We can get your transmission back to humming smoothly and working right so that you are safe on the road.

Prolong Your Car’s Life with One Simple Service

prolong your car’s life with one simple serviceDid you know that you can prolong your car’s life with one simple service? It is so easy that we at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood wanted to share it with you. It may come as a surprise, but an oil change is hands down the easiest way to keep your car running longer and performing better.

It’s estimated that over 20% of car owners have low and/or dirty engine oil. A year’s worth of oil changes could cost on average around $120. Not changing your oil regularly could result in an expensive repair – want to guess how much it costs to replace a car’s engine? It’s not cheap, which is why regular oil and filter changes are the most important maintenance step in your vehicle’s overall care.

So, oil changes. How do you prolong your car’s life with one simple service? Let’s take a closer look at your vehicle and the role oil plays in its engine.

Engine Lubrication

An engine has a number of moving parts that work together at high rates of speed: pistons, valves, cylinders, rods, and more. The movement and speed create intense heat. Oil is the lubrication that keeps the heat from wearing down all the parts of your vehicle’s engine in very short order.  Keeping your oil at the recommended fill volume and with the recommended grade and weight of oil helps your car’s engine in working order.

Engine Components Stay Cool

Without lubrication, the various engine components create friction, which in turn creates heat. Clean oil in the right amounts helps reduce friction and keeps all your engine components cooler than they would otherwise be. This is why it is important to change your oil regularly.

Removes Dirt and Sludge

Dirt can be deadly to your engine. Over time, dirt reduces the life of your engine and can cause corrosion. The oil in your engine can also turn to sludge if left unchanged and unattended. Routine oil changes not only remove the dirt but greatly reduce the chances of sludge running through your engine’s parts.

Better Gas Mileage

Poor engine lubrication increases your fuel usage. Routine oil changes with the proper kind of oil can improve your gas mileage by up to 2%. That sounds like a really small amount, but over a year, appropriate oil changes could save you a decent amount of gas – every gallon counts, right?

Your Vehicle Lasts Longer

Routine maintenance, like regular oil changes, is the best and cheapest way to increase the life of your vehicle. Routine car maintenance will save you time, money, and inconvenience. It can also increase the amount of money you can get for your car when you decide to resell it. Knowing that a car has been serviced regularly points to a level of care that buyers appreciate. Regular oil changes will keep your engine from working too hard which will help you from having engine trouble later.

It is pretty impressive that you can prolong your car’s life with one simple service. Performing oil changes yourself is not always easy or convenient. If you don’t have the time or want the hassle of changing your oil yourself, come see us at Sundance Automotive for an oil change. We’ll help extend the life of your car and its engine.

How to Tell if You Need New Tires

How to Tell if You Need New TiresAt Sundance Automotive in Lakewood, we’re big on safety and want you to know how to tell if you need new tires. With snowy winters, rainy springs and everything in between here in the Denver metro area, your vehicle needs to be in tip top shape. Worn tires can put you at risk for more than an inconvenient flat. They can put you at risk for a blowout, reduced stopping time due to less traction, even an accident.

When Do You Need New Tires?

A tire has exceeded its useful life when it is at 2/32 of an inch or less. If you don’t have a tire tread depth gauge, it can be hard to tell how much tread you have left, but there is a great trick you can use if you don’t have a gauge available.

All you need is a penny. Take a penny and place it with Lincoln’s head pointed down toward the tire. If Lincoln’s head remains uncovered by your tread, you have less than the minimum 2/32 of an inch of tread remaining. Be sure to check multiple places, just in case you have hit a low spot. If most of your measurements are too low, you need to replace your tires right away.

More Than the Tread

Sometimes the tread on your tire may be fine, but the tire is worn out anyway. Here are a few other issues to look for when it comes to how to tell if you need new tires. 

  • Bulging: Sometimes when you hit a pothole or curb, a bulge can occur. A bulge occurs when air has leaked between the inner liner of the tire and the outer fabric and/or rubber, forming an air pocket at the weak spot. This can be a result of impact or it can be a manufacturing defect. Bulging tires should be replaced right away
  • Weathering: Your tires are under constant exposure to all the elements and because your tires are made of rubber, they can only withstand so much exposure before the rubber begins to break down. If your tires looked cracked on the sidewalls or between the tread blocks, your tires are weathered enough to need immediate replacement.
  • Separated tire: When the cords or belts of a tire separate, you may feel like your slow driving speed is a bit lumpy. At higher speeds, you may feel some vibration. It is possible to have a separated tire but not notice. Regular balancing of your tires will alert you to this problem and allow you to replace the tire right away, which is recommended.
  • A leak: A slow leak or a small hole may be patched without issue, but larger holes cannot be safely patched and you will need a new tire.

Now that you know how to tell if you need new tires, call us at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood if you need your tires repaired or replaced. We can take care of your tires so that you’re always safe and never stranded on the side of the road.

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.