Our Current Blog Articles
July 14, 2017
Do Your Brakes Need to Be Replaced?
It’s important to know the signs of your brakes wearing out, so you will know, do your brakes need to be replaced? At Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City, our technicians can also check them out for you and get them quickly replaced if needed. Good brakes are important for your safety and knowing the signs of bad brakes can prevent potential damage and injury.
Eventually, your vehicle’s brake pads will wear out and you will need to replace them. If you wait, the metal parts of the brakes will grind against the rotor and carve grooves in the surface. If it gets to that point, we will try to smooth it out on a lathe. But sometimes the grooves are just too deep or rotor gets warped or cracked. At that point, you’ll need to have them replaced.
Our technicians at Ponder Auto Repair will examine the mechanical sliding and mounting portions of your brake system. If the brake pistons are sticking, you might need to get them replaced. It might be cheaper to replace the entire caliper than to rebuild the piston.
How often brakes should be replaced depends on the brake material, as well as your driving habits, environment, brake pad hardness, and the materials that make up the brake rotor and brake pads.
Keep Track of Your Mileage
Most brake pads will need to be replaced after around 50,000 miles, but others should be replaced after 25,000, and still others 70,000 miles. Your owner’s manual will tell you your car’s specific needs.
Get Your Brakes Checked
A regular brake check is on your car's maintenance schedule. To stay safe, you should have your brakes checked regularly. We are happy to do it. Have our technicians check your brake pads whenever you get your tires rotated or your oil changed. Our ASE-certified technicians can diagnose any problems there might be and repair them. Replacing your brake pads on time can keep you safe and prevent more damage from happening.
As a driver, you need to know the warning signs that your brakes need replacement. There are certain things you should pay attention to, including:
- The brake pads will make a squealing or scraping noise when they are getting thin.
- The brake pedal feels spongy or slow to respond.
- It takes longer to stop.
- The dashboard brake light is orange, showing that there is a problem with your anti-lock brakes (ABS).
- The dashboard brake light is red, meaning there is a system imbalance.
- If it is jittery when you brake, the rotors might be warped.
Do your brakes need to be replaced? If you know the warning signs, you can work with our service experts at Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City to inspect and replace your brakes when it’s necessary. Our team of skilled and personable ASE-Certified Auto Mechanics provide brake system repairs, including service for your pads and drums. We care about your safety and will take great care of your car – and you!
June 12, 2017
How to Maximize the Life of Your Car, Part 2
To keep your car running strong for longer, Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City presents How to Maximize the Life of Your Car, Part 2.
Like we mentioned in our previous article, many of us are driving our cars longer and racking up big miles. So how do you get more from your vehicle? According to a Kiplinger article, there are a number of maintenance items that should be taken care of like changing the transmission fluid or getting oil changes on time using synthetic oil. Let’s take a closer look.
Fewer Short Trips
Your car will last longer if you can avoid driving it short distances because the engine doesn’t have a chance to reach operating temperature. We are talking about trips of less than five miles in normal temperatures or less than ten miles in freezing temperatures.
Because water is a byproduct of engine combustion, it can get into your car’s oil and exhaust system every time the engine runs. When the car first starts, there is more fuel mixed in to get it running. When you take a longer trip the engine gets hot and boils the unburned fuel out of the oil, your engine, and your exhaust. That doesn’t happen on a short trip but instead, the oil, water, and fuel in the crankcase eventually turn into a noxious sludge.
Synthetic oil changes cost more but it is much better for your engine and may prevent costly repair bills down the road. More car manufacturers are recommending synthetic oil, particularly in performance models. To handle the higher thermal stress in turbocharged or supercharged engines, you may want to consider using synthetic oil.
Don’t forget to change the transmission fluid and filter. Check with our technicians about your specific car but generally, you should replace the transmission fluid at least by 100,000 miles. If you still have your owner’s manual, you can usually find your manufacturer’s recommended mileage for this type of service.
Clean Your Car
It’s important to keep your car clean, inside and particularly out. If you regularly wash the road salts and other environmental substances off the car’s exterior and undercarriage it will prevent corrosion and keep the paint looking good. While you’re washing it, look for any problems, like cracked lenses in your headlights.
Bearings, Bushings, and Belts
We can help you replace the tires, brake pads, timing and accessory belts, and shock absorbers. In addition, you should replace the suspension bearings and bushings that isolate your suspension from the rest of the car and dampen noise in order to protect the tires and the alignment. If you are replacing your shocks and struts, go ahead and have all the bushings done at the same time. It’s also important to replace timing belts and the water pump.
Because people are driving their cars longer, it’s important to follow our tips covered here in How to Maximize the Life of Your Car, Part 2. This includes avoiding short trips, using synthetic oil, changing the transmission fluid, keeping your car clean, and replacing the bearing, bushings, and belts. And our technicians at Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City can help you with the entire checklist. Our philosophy is customer care, customer awareness, and customer education.
May 10, 2017
How to Maximize the Life of Your Car, Part 1
Since many of our customers at Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City are keeping their cars longer, here’s How to Maximize the Life of Your Car, Part 1. It’s more common now for cars to be reaching the 100,000-mile mark and beyond. Our experts are dedicated to keeping these vehicles running well for their owners. According to a Kiplinger article, there are some things you can do to help get the most out of your car, including regular maintenance and paying attention to any strange sights, sounds or smells.
If you make sure your car receives regular maintenance it will last longer and keep running great even past 100,000 miles. Look at the car manufacturer’s maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual for a list of services you should be doing. Our technicians can help you build a schedule of appropriate car maintenance because there may be some considerations that are not addressed in the owner’s manual dealing with a car that has over 150,000 miles.
A smell coming from your car can tell you a lot. For example, if you check your oil and smell something burned, it could be a sign that your engine is running too lean, which means it is not using enough fuel. If you tell us, we can fix the problem early and possibly save you from a costly expense of rebuilding your engine. If your automatic transmission fluid has a bad, burned smell, please let us know because you may have a problem that needs repair.
You should always do a visual inspection, from the wear on your car tires to the look of things under the hood. Looking the car over for things that need to be fixed can save you time, money, and avoid bigger problems, even dangerous situations in the future. Even if you don’t know anything about cars, one key way to inspect it for issues is to always check for fluid leaks. Some people park on cardboard to see if there are any drips. If so, you should bring the car into the shop for and have any issues takes care of right away.
Listen for Sounds
If you hear sounds you’ve never heard before, like if something is clunking, bumping or squeaking, it is probably a sign that there is a problem. The louder, the more urgent, especially when paired with any drivability issues. Listen to any sounds that are out of the ordinary or indicate something is wrong. Bring it into Ponder Auto Repair and describe the sound. It will give a great clue to our technicians about what might be the problem. We can check it out before you need a tow or the problem becomes more expensive.
At Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City, we're an honest garage with the experience and expertise necessary to take care of your vehicle. We hope this quick guide, How to Maximize the Life of Your Car, Part 1, was helpful. If you want to get the most out of your car, staying up-to-date with regular maintenance can help, so let us create a maintenance schedule that’s specific to your car’s needs. Of course, if anything looks, smells or sounds weird, bring your car in right away so we can take care of any issues and get you back on the road.
April 22, 2017
What Does the Timing Belt Do and How Do I Know There’s a Problem?
We hear it all the time at Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City: what does the timing belt do and how do I know there’s a problem? At some point, the rubber timing belt in your vehicle will deteriorate and snap in two or sometimes the belt’s teeth break off. If this happens, your engine won’t work. This can be an expensive tow and repair. We can check your timing belt and replace it before it breaks.
What does the timing belt do?
The timing belt rotates the engine’s cam and crankshaft so that each cylinder fires at the right time. It is located in the front of the engine and your engine needs the timing belt to run.
Your car’s manufacturer offers a recommendation on when you should replace the timing belt. We can also take a look at it for you, but let us know if you see any of the warning signs of a worn out or broken timing belt.
How to Identify when the timing belt has a problem?
A Your Mechanic article explains the common signs include a ticking noise in the engine, the engine won't start, a misfiring engine, or oil leaking in the front of the motor.
Ticking noise in the engine
The timing belt pulley system goes to the engine’s crank and cam shaft. The crankshaft powers the engine’s connecting rods which attach to pistons inside the combustion chamber. The camshaft controls the cylinder head valves and rocker arm assembly, which puts fuel into the combustion chamber and expels the burnt gasses out of the exhaust manifold. If your timing belt is starting to wear out, it can make a ticking noise inside the motor.
Engine won't turn over
If you have a broken timing belt, your engine won’t start. When you try to start the engine, the motor will engage but it won’t turn over. If your timing belt breaks, there may be internal engine damage as well as damage to the cylinder head hardware (pushrods, rocker arms, and valves), damage to crank bearings or the oil pump inside the oil pan.
The misfiring of the engine
Even a worn out timing belt can affect the engine's firing. An engine misfiring can be caused when the belt slips on the camshaft drive and causes one cylinder to open or close earlier than it’s supposed to.
Oil leaking in front of the motor
Often the engine leaks oil from the timing belt cover which is secured by nuts and bolts that can come loose over time. Also, oil will leak when the gasket between the engine block and timing cover wears out, is cracked or wasn’t installed right and is pinched. Oil leaking from the timing belt cover causes the engine to overheat and wear out the timing belt.
You should not ignore a scheduled timing belt replacement. If your timing belt breaks, your engine will likely need to be replaced. So bring your car, truck, or SUV to Ponder Auto Care to get your timing belt checked or replaced.
We know a proper car maintenance schedule requires belt replacement before they break. If your car or truck needs other maintenance, we can check the timing belt at the same time. If you don’t know when the scheduled maintenance on your timing belt is due, we can tell you. So if you wonder what does the timing belt do and how do I know there’s a problem, schedule an appointment with Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City and our experienced ASE-certified technicians can check and replace your timing belt so you don’t have to worry.
March 28, 2017
Spring Cleaning Should Include Car and Truck Repair
If you live in Johnson City, part of your spring cleaning should include car and truck repair at Ponder Auto Repair. We’ve worked on all makes and models of cars, trucks, and SUVs. We have been committed to our customers and our community since 1982. So, as the weather warms up and spring gets you out of the house and doing home repairs, don’t forget to take care of your vehicles.
Car maintenance and repairs should be done after the cold, winter driving. Doing the needed work now can save you more expensive and time-consuming repairs later on. You don’t want to be going to a graduation or summer vacation and have car problems.
Our experienced and friendly technicians are ready to help you tackle your auto maintenance and repair chores. Here are some things you may want to put on your spring cleaning list. Some of these you can do yourself like cleaning the exterior and interior of your car, but the others you should have a professional take care of.
Clean the Outside.
It’s time to clean of winter’s grime by washing the outside of your car. It’s best to use a cleaner made for cars and a coat of wax will help protect the finish. A paste wax is usually the best. Don’t forget to wash your car’s undercarriage and wheel wells to wash away any dirt, chemicals and salt residue.
Clean the Inside.
Don’t forget to clean and wipe down the inside of your car. Go ahead and vacuum the carpet and seats, and scrub any stains. Clean out the trash in the back seat and under the seats. Why not take a remove anything in the truck that you really don’t need?
Inspect the Brakes.
One of the most important things to check is your brakes. Our technicians will make sure your brakes are working correctly. You do not want to take chances on your brakes. If there is a problem we can fix your brakes and get you back on the road safely.
Check Hoses and Belts.
Our technicians can take a look at your vehicle’s hoses and belts, checking for cracks, fraying, soft spots, and connections. If you need, we can replace a hose or belt.
Take Care of Fluids.
We always look at your fluids, like window washer fluid, brake fluid, and automatic transmission fluid. If they need, we top them off.
Swap Out Wiper Blades.
All that winter snow, rain, and slush, your windshield wipers have probably taken a brutal beating. They are not that expensive and very important for your driving vision. We can replace them for you. It’s easy and quick. Take a look at your rear-window blade, too.
Get a Radiator Flush.
We can flush your radiator and add water and coolant.
Check Battery Connections.
Your battery affects many parts of your car. So, we will make sure it works. We will inspect the battery posts and connections to ensure they are clean. If not, we will clean them.
You know how important tires are for your vehicle. Our technicians will check your tires’ air pressure, look for wear or damage, and if you need, check the alignment. Don’t forget to check the air pressure in your spare tire as well.
Get a Tire Rotation.
While we’re on the subject of tires, you should have them rotated every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. Tires are expensive and you want to get the best performance and the longest use from them that you can. Rotations ensure even wear and performance.
Yes, the sun is starting to peek out and spring is finally arriving. Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City reminds you that your spring cleaning should include car and truck repair. We are ready to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy for the spring and summer. Contact us for an appointment or swing by the shop and talk to one of our trained technicians.