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Archive for January 2023

Wired! (Battery Cable Service)

Posted January 29, 2023 7:20 AM

Colder weather brings out the worst in a vehicle's battery.  On a very cold day, you may have experienced that your engine cranks slowly when starting.  But while it may be the battery itself, it may also be the parts that transfer the power to other the other electrical components, the battery cables.  After all, you have to have some way to get the current out of the battery and out to where it needs to go.

Battery cables have a couple of enemies: corrosion and age.  You may have looked under the hood and noticed a light-colored powder or crust around the terminals.  That's what happens when acids corrode the ends of the battery terminals.  Corrosion inhibits the connection and may reduce the amount of power getting to the electrical accessories to the point where they are not working correctly, if at all.

Here are some symptoms of problems with your battery cables. You might notice a clicking sound when you turn the key, some of your vehicle's electrical parts (like the sound system or the horn) don't work or, in some cases, the vehicle won't start at all.

When you take your vehicle to a repair facility, the technician will use instruments to check voltages to see how much current is getting to what location. That includes a starter draw test during which the battery's voltage is checked when the starter is cranked.  The technician will also visually inspect the cables and the charging system. To make sure the alternator is putting out the right voltage, the technician will measure that as well. 

If the problem is found to be the battery cable assembly, the entire set may have to be replaced. Sometimes they can be repaired. 

During the colder months, it's vital that your vehicle has the proper power going to its electrical components.  Having a vehicle that won't start or run smoothly is not something you want to battle with when you're already up against challenging weather.  Keep your electrons flowing… and your vehicle moving.


Madison Automotive
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
(901)386-9600
http://www.madisonautomotive.net



Rear Window?Not the Movie! (Why Some Rear Windows Don't Go All the Way Down)

Posted January 22, 2023 7:04 AM

Alfred Hitchcock once made a mystery thriller film called "Rear Window." It had nothing to do with the rear window of today's cars, SUVs, CUVs and light trucks.  But there is one thing that some drivers DO find mysterious.  Why don't the rear windows in the second row of many of these vehicles go down all the way?

You've probably seen or owned one or two. That rear side window only goes down about a third, a half or three-quarters of the way. Yet there are some similar vehicles where the window goes down all the way.  What gives?

There was the rumor going around that the restriction on how far those windows could go down was a child safety feature.  The thought was that if those windows couldn't open up fully, a child (or pet) would be less likely to fall out.  But it turns out the real reason is that the way the rear doors were designed, there was just no room for the window to go down all the way into.

Many vehicles are configured so that the rear wheel arch continues into the rear door.  That arch restricts the space that would accommodate the window, so they had to stop the window somewhere higher than bottom of the door.

Seems buyers would prefer those back windows to go all the way down, so many manufacturers are changing designs to make that happen.  Longer vehicles can have their wheels pushed further back so the wheel arch isn't an issue.  Some have altered the position of the rear window track. 

If you have any questions about your rear side windows, you may want to consult your service advisor to check yours.  If they ARE supposed to go all the way down and they're not, it could be due to a few problems: corrosion, broken or bent window regulator components, electrical issues, etc. But if they're not supposed to go down all the way?  At least now you know for sure.

Madison Automotive
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
(901)386-9600
http://www.madisonautomotive.net



Questions to Ask Your Memphis Service Advisor

Posted January 15, 2023 12:06 PM



We find that a lot of Memphis drivers are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions but don't want to be embarrassed or seem pushy. Vehicles are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it's because vehicles have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn't need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.

You know, your local hospital has a Patient's Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Memphis automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.

It's all about the communication. It's a little harder when you're trying to find the right service center in Memphis. But once you've developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.

What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let's go back to the medical example. When your doctor's explaining something to you, it's something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don't understand or that you don't have the education and training that's foundational to understanding what she's trying to explain.

So you fall behind and get frustrated.

It can be the same with your Memphis automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.

Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you're not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there's a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what's done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.

Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Memphis service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.

Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.

Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that's done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.

Give us a call.

Madison Automotive
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
(901)386-9600
http://www.madisonautomotive.net



Drive Train Service in Memphis at Madison Automotive

Posted January 8, 2023 7:50 AM

The drive train in your vehicle includes all the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.

Let's start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.

Madison Automotive service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.

Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.

Madison Automotive service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.

All-wheel drive vehicles provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.

Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.

Servicing an all-wheel drive at Madison Automotive involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Memphis drivers encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.

Memphis auto owners would be wise to check with their owner's manual for recommendations on how often to service their vehicle drive train. It's also good auto advice to check with your friendly and knowledgeable Madison Automotive service advisor as well. You may live in an area in TN where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.


Good car care at Madison Automotive in Memphis always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your vehicle becomes a very large paperweight.

Madison Automotive
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
(901)386-9600
http://www.madisonautomotive.net



Let's Clear Some Things Up (Headlight Restoration)

Posted January 1, 2023 9:38 AM

You know how exposing your skin to sunlight can cause sunburn and other unhealthy things.  Sunlight can also create major problems for your headlights.  After they've been exposed to ultraviolet light, acrylic headlights can yellow and fog due to oxidation.  And when that happens, less light can pass through the plastic, reducing the effectiveness—and safety—of your headlights. 

It's not just the UV light that causes headlights to turn cloudy.  Road grime and debris gets kicked up and can scratch the plastic, diffusing the light that should pass through them when they're clear.  Plus, when your vehicle was new from the factory, the headlights had watertight seals all around to prevent moisture from getting into them and fogging them up with water vapor.  Just like clouds can hide the sun, tiny water molecules can diffuse the light from your headlight bulbs. 

Sure, you could buy replacement parts and start fresh.  But the good news is many vehicle repair facilities can restore your original headlights to perform like they did when you first bought your vehicle.  Here's how it works:

  • A technician will protect your vehicle's paint by either taking the headlights out or by taping off the paint near the headlights and leaving them in place.
  • Residue is removed from the headlight surfaces by wet sanding to remove the oxidized plastic.
  • Using special compounds, the technician will buff and polish the surface of the lens so it looks as smooth as glass. 
  • The newly-polished plastic is then sealed with wax or a special sealant designed to keep them operating like new. 
  • If the seals that keep the moisture out of the inside of your headlights have dried out or cracked, they will be restored or replaced to keep condensation from forming again.

Visibility at night is vital for safe driving, and if your headlights aren't performing up to their potential, the less you'll be able to see ahead of you.

There are many advantages of having your headlights restored rather than buying new or aftermarket replacements.  It's friendlier to the planet since plastics are made of oil, so it's reducing the amount of plastic that is manufactured.  And it's usually cheaper to have your headlights restored rather than replaced.

Consider headlight restoration a way to literally recycle those parts of your vehicle.  That seems to be perfectly clear!

Madison Automotive
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
(901)386-9600
http://www.madisonautomotive.net



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If you're buying a used car anywhere near Memphis and don't take advantage of the experts at Madison Automotive then you're CRAZY! Open, honest and willing to give you the plain, simple truth (sometimes to the guy trying to sell you a car) is quite refreshing today. Couldn't recommend MA more.

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