Archive for January 2021
Memphis Tire RepairPosted January 31, 2021 8:21 AM
Most Memphis residents have experienced a flat tire. You know it's inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn't just a big safety issue for Memphis drivers – it also has a financial impact. With high TN gas prices, we've all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to save on gas. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.
There's another danger with under-inflated tires for Memphis residents. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don't just keep adding air every few days. You want to avoid tire damage.
Memphis residents should only hire qualified tire professionals to perform repairs - we have a whole team of them at Madison Automotive. Memphis folks can buy self-repair kits, but we advise you to save those for emergencies, like when you're off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it's a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.
Wheel Balancing at Madison AutomotivePosted January 24, 2021 7:46 AM
So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Memphis drivers can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on TN roads. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it's a back tire, you'll feel the vibration in your seat.
Don't Start with That (Bad Starter Motor)Posted January 17, 2021 12:06 PM
We've all heard that expression, "That's a non starter." When it comes to your vehicle, that's not music to a driver's ears. That sickening sound when you start the ignition and instead of hearing the engine crank, you hear it slowly turn over and your dash lights go dim.
There can be many reasons a vehicle won't start, so here's a little history of how the starter came to be an important component of modern vehicles.
You have to move the engine's components to start it. The first cars had a crank that the driver would insert into the front, then start turning things over by hand. When the engine started, you had to release that crank immediately or risk a broken arm. Yes, it happened many times. So, they came up with a better idea: an electric starter, which was a big advance in automotive technology.
With this system, an electric motor rotated a series of gears that turned the gasoline engine's crankshaft so its pistons and parts moved and the engine drew in air. While this happened, electricity went to the spark plugs and fuel headed to the cylinders. When the gasoline engine caught, the starter quickly disengaged. Hey, no more broken arms!
Modern systems use the same principle, so when your vehicle won't start, here are a few things to look out for that might point to the starter.
If the engine turns over s-l-o-w-l-y, it may mean the electric starter motor may just be wearing out and doesn't have enough cranking power. Bushings, brushes, wire windings and a special switch called a commutator may be going bad.
If when you engage the ignition you hear a faint click, that could be a symptom one or more of the starter's components have failed. If you hear a loud click, it could mean that an electrical switch called a solenoid may not be switching the motor on.
If you hear your engine start to turn over but then it stops and is followed by a grinding sound, some gears may not be meshing the way they should.
There may be many more causes (bad alternator, relay, battery, engine, key fob), so this is when it's time to turn it over to your service facility. Sometimes they can send out their own tow truck or recommend a reputable towing company.
But it's best not to let it get to this point. Starter problems often give you advance warning that there is a problem with "almost" not starting or "almost" not turning over. So when you see that very first sign, "start" on over to talk this one over with your service advisor. The opposite of a "non-starter" is a starter, and that is music to anyone's ears.
Gas Savings in Memphis: Sharpen Your PencilPosted January 10, 2021 9:08 AM
High gas prices in Memphis increase the cost of living for TN drivers. You've probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Memphis vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.
In this area, we can take a lesson from professional Memphis vehicle owners. I'm talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Memphis folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.
From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in Memphis for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A 15 percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – $650 a year if gas is $4.50 a gallon in Memphis. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.
A) $3.50, B) $4.50, C) $5.50
10 MPG: A) $480, B) $660, C) $840
20 MPG: A) $165, B) $255, C) $345
30 MPG: A) $60, B) $120, C) $180
So catch up on those services you've been neglecting at Madison Automotive. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you'll save a lot of money at Memphis gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.
The Power Behind your Engine (Alternator Diagnosis and Repair)Posted January 3, 2021 7:18 AM
There's nothing like that sinking feeling when you turn the key and nothing happens in your vehicle. A lot of us are quick to blame the battery. But it may instead be your alternator that's failing.
Your battery supplies power to start your vehicle, but the alternator is what sends power when your engine is running. The good news is alternators last a fairly long time, and it's not unusual to get seven years out of one. But they can give up the ghost thanks to the harsh conditions in the engine compartment.
Alternators have bearings inside them that keep things turning smoothly. Debris, liquid, dirt and more can team up with the high temperatures your engine generates to cause those bearings to seize up. That's not good, and if that happens, you may even be able to hear the bearings grind.
Other symptoms of a dying alternator are a squealing noise in the engine compartment or your headlights may go dim and bright, dim and bright. You might even notice an electrical smell. Any of these signs warrants a trip to your service facility.
Here's something else to think about. If your alternator's bearings have seized up and the unit's shaft is not turning freely, that can destroy the belt that's attached to it. So don't be surprised if your service advisor says both parts have to be replaced.
There are different grades of alternators you can buy, but consider just how important this part is to keep your vehicle running. Your service advisor will give you options based on your driving style and vehicle. Remember, if you notice any of those symptoms that may signal a failing alternator, have it taken care of before you wind up stuck somewhere at the side of the road.
Steer Me Right! (Failing Power Steering Hose)Posted January 1, 2021 8:07 AM
Most drivers love how easy it is to turn their vehicles, and they have power steering to thank. Engineers have figured out a way to take some of your engine's power to help you turn. Without it, steering can be quite a chore. New power systems are electric, but there are still plenty of the older hydraulic power steering systems out there, and it's wise to keep them working the way they should so you don't find yourself stranded without power steering.
Those hydraulic power systems use a fluid under pressure that is pumped to a device that helps you turn your wheels more easily. It's that pressure that presents the challenge. After your vehicle's seen a few years on the road, you may find your steering isn't quite as easy as it was. You may hear a groaning or humming sound when you turn.
One component that can fail is the pressure hose that carries that fluid from the power steering pump to that turning assist mechanism. The hose is made of rubber and can leak, crack, get damaged by heat and debris or just get too old. If yours is ten years old or older, it's likely getting close to the end of its life.
If you think you can just wait until it fails completely, think of these possible consequences. If the hose or a coupling fails, power steering fluid can blow all over the hot engine. That fluid is flammable and can start a fire. Or if you've been driving for a few weeks with low power steering fluid, that could ruin your power steering pump. Replacing the pump is an extra expense you can probably live without.
A technician will replace the necessary parts and make sure air and contaminants are bled or flushed from the system. Then, he or she will check for leaks. Just think how important a properly working power steering system is for safe operation of your vehicle. Make sure you keep yours in top shape for your safety's sake and the safety of others on the road around you.
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Patrick Bertsch, 03/23/2023
Top quality shop with professional and accommodating service. Was passing through town when our car broke down and needed the issue diagnosed and resolved to get back on the road. David and team got us in and diagnosed and back on the road with a new fuel pump and recoded fuel flow control quickly and at a reasonable cost. The team then went above and beyond to support in diagnosing and escalating a towing company damage issue which they certainly didn't have to do. Highly recommended.