Frequently Asked QuestionsQ. My brakes are making a noise, will just replacing the pads eliminate it?
A. There are many types of noises that can be traced to the brakes. Squeaks, squeals, grinding, and chattering to name a few. While many times replacing the pads can eliminate the noise there are other components that might be a factor. It is best to have a full inspection so that the overall system can be evaluated. We may find that the pads have plenty of material remaining but a slide on the caliper is seized causing the problem OR, you may have a backing plate/dust shield that has shifted making contact with the rotor.
Q. Do I need to schedule an appointment or can I just drop my car off?
A. With the volume of vehicles we handle in a day we do require an appointment. There are many times that the schedule will allow for us to work in a non-scheduled vehicle but it is never guaranteed that we will be able to get it checked out, repaired, and back to you in the same day. IF your need is minor, we can schedule an appointment where you can wait while we do the work but we have a limit on the number of waiters we can accommodate per day.
Q. Which maintenance schedule should I follow, Normal or Severe?
A. Nearly all vehicles should follow the Severe service schedule, listed in the owners manual, if you drive your vehicle mainly under one or more of the following conditions:
Q. Is it O.K. to drive my vehicle if the Check Engine Light (CEL) is illuminated?
- Driving less than 5 miles (8 km) per trip or in freezing temperatures.
- Driving less than 10 miles (16 km) per trip.
- Driving in hot [over 9O°F (32°C)] conditions.
- Extensive idling or long periods of stop-and-go driving.
- Driving with a rooftop carrier, driving in mountainous conditions, or pulling a trailer.
- Driving on muddy, dusty, or de-iced roads.
A. There are over 100 different Trouble Codes that will turn on the CEL when they are set. Some are more severe than others but they all indicate that a problem has been seen by the vehicle computer. Depending on the severity of the problem the CEL may flash. Most manufacturers state that if the CEL comes on you should have your car looked at the next opportunity but that it ok to drive in the short term. If the light is flashing you should pull over, shut it off and have towed in for repairs.
Q. How often should I rotate my tires?
A. That depends. Refer to your owner's manual for exact guidelines, but most manufacturers recommend rotating tires roughly every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Again, see your owner's manual for specifics. The front tires wear quicker than the rears. Because of this, it's necessary to rotate the tires front-to-rear several times during their life cycle to 1) equalize tread wear and 2) maximize the life of the tires.
Q. How often should I have my brakes inspected?
A. A common recommendation is once a year, or every 12,000 miles. Brakes wear at different rates for different drivers and being able to stop your vehicle safely is really more important than being able to get it started. Another reason to conduct periodic brake inspections is that it ultimately saves you money -- in addition to the obvious safety and peace of mind you'll get.
The reason that brake repair costs rise when you wait for a malfunction is that the service procedure goes from a "brake job" to a "brake overhaul." A brake job entails more of a "preventive maintenance" procedure, where worn brake parts are replaced before they cause mechanical damage and ineffective braking. That is, a correct "basic" brake job is the equivalent of replacing the soles on a pair of shoes when they look like they're about to develop a hole in the bottom. A "brake overhaul" results when a person brings a car in for service with brakes that are grinding when the brake pedal is pressed. That's like bringing a pair of shoes to your shoe repair shop when the sole's falling off and your toes are sticking out.