Our Current Blog Articles
September 18, 2017
Signs You Need Transmission Repair Services
At 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August 21, 2017
Prolong Your Car's Life with One Simple Service
Did 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.
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.
August 7, 2017
How to Tell if You Need New Tires
At 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.
July 28, 2017
The Basics of Your Vehicle's Cooling System
Here 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.
June 16, 2017
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.
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.
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.