If a driver is heading in for minor non-essential repairs or standard maintenance like an oil change in Longmont, CO, it is usually perfectly fine, if not just plain advisable, to simply drive that vehicle right up to the shop. 

That said, there are a lot of times when driving a car can actually make an issue or problem a whole lot worse, and if this is the case, it is always better to call in a towing service rather than risk making the situation worse than it already is, especially if driving the vehicle could pose a safety hazard of any kind. 

Ideally, of course, the car service in Longmont who tows the vehicle is able a qualified specialist in auto repair in Longmont. This way, anybody who is already going through the pain of experiencing car trouble can save themselves headaches by streamlining the repair process by hitting two birds with one stone. 

Keeping all that in mind though, it can often still be difficult for those people who aren’t professional mechanics to know when to tow and when not to tow. Obviously, nobody wants to cause more damage than what has already been done, but a lot of people tend not to realize how serious the signs are until it is too late. 

With that in mind, this article is hopefully going to clear up some confusion, and maybe even save some drivers some major regret later down the line, by laying down some of the signs that it is better to call up a company that specializes in auto repair in Longmont for a two rather than risk making the situation worse by continuing to drive. 


Whether coming from the tailpipe or under the hood, smoke is never a good sign. Continuing to drive the car in this condition will not only pose a safety hazard but could end up causing some serious issues with essential and vital components like the engine and exhaust system. 

Burning smells are also a tipoff that something is overheated, and it’s best to park the car immediately and call for a tow rather than wait for the smoke to appear. 

Unusual Smells

Aside from red flag burning smells, vehicles might also produce a full range of unusual or pungent smells when not performing their best. 

Another major warning that a vehicle will need to be towed in the smell of fuel. A fuel leak can pose a major safety hazard, so anybody who thinks they might smell fuel should pull over and inspect the vehicle immediately. 

Speaking of leaks, any type of loss of fluid generally warrants a tow, so if there is anything accumulating under the vehicle, it’s time to call up that local specialist in auto repair in Longmont for assistance. A lot of these fluids have strong smells, and the nose can often be a helpful indicator that something is off even if a driver isn’t able to see under their vehicle at the time. 

Strange Noises

There is no such thing as a completely soundless vehicle, but drivers should always be alert for sounds that fall outside of the spectrum of what they normally hear when driving. 

Two very essential components, the brakes and the engines tend to make strange noises when they are not functioning properly, so out-of-the-ordinary sounds should always be a cause for concern. If a driver notices a grinding noise when they put their foot on the brake or notice that any strange screeching, whirring, or knocking noises are coming from under the hood or under the vehicle, it’s time to pull over the vehicle immediately and call for a tow. 

Warning Light Indicators

Drivers also need to be sure to mind their instruments. Aside from the essential warning lights like the oil level light, check engine light or tire pressure indicator light, all of which tend to indicate the type of serious underlying issues that often warrant a tow, drivers should also be sure to always keep an eye on their temperature gauge. Should it ever start wandering toward the red zone, they need to pull over safely as soon as possible. 

Continuing to drive an overheating vehicle can cause serious damage to the engine, so if this is the case, it’s time to pick up that phone and call for a tow truck. 

Handling Issues

Is the vehicle not responding as it normally would? Maybe the brakes feel too easy or too difficult to depress, or the brake pedal is vibrating underfoot. Maybe the steering wheel is shaking, is pulling in one direction or other or feels more difficult to turn than it usually does. Maybe the engine seems to be surging, the clears are clunking loudly or it seems to be taking a long time to get the vehicle to full speed, especially on an incline or hill. 

Basically, handling issues are always serious. If the vehicle is not performing as the driver expects it to, this is a safety hazard, and unless the issue can be remedied on the spot, as is sometimes the case with a flat tire, it almost always warrants a tow. Keep in mind that handling issues also tend to indicate problems with vital vehicle components, and continuing to drive can end up causing a lot more damage than has already been done. 

So listen to the senses and don’t ignore these crucial signs. Play it safe and play it smart. 

The Takeaway: Safety First 

No matter what warning signs a vehicle in need of a fix is or is not exhibiting, the first question that a driver should always ask themselves is whether or not a vehicle is safe to drive. 

In most cases, if the vehicle is just in need of standard tweaks, like say, wheel alignment in Longmont or an oil change in Longmont, it should be perfectly fine to drive it to the shop as long as there are no strange smells, sights or sounds involved and the vehicle is still handling and responding normally. The same goes for problems with most non-essential components like windows, air conditioning or some minor electronic issues. 

The point here is that it is important to tune into the senses and trust those instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it is better to call a company who specializes in auto repair in Longmont for a tow rather than risk making the situation worse. 

If unsure, simply give your local car service in Longmont a call. They have the knowledge and expertise to help a driver identify the signs, and might be able to spot a potential problem that might have otherwise gone overlooked. 

Signs Your Brakes Need Repairing

You most likely use your vehicle on a day-to-day basis running routine errands and making the usual commute to work. If you have children, your vehicle will probably be the most useful tool for getting your kids where they need to be on time. Vehicles are an essential part of life all across America, and if they aren’t running correctly, then you can be put in severe danger. A significant cause of accidents worldwide is vehicle defects. A vehicle is a complex piece of machinery that requires routine maintenance and upkeep to ensure that it is operating smoothly. In most cases, when you buy your vehicle, you will want to make sure that you have a trusted group of mechanics that will take care of your vehicle while giving you helpful tips on how to watch out for maintenance issues. There are signs and signals that a vehicle will express, such as lights and sounds that can help notify the driver if there is a problem. 

Malfunctioning brakes are a significant vehicle issue that can put you in grave danger if repairs aren’t made in time. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle and its age, your need to have the brakes repaired may be more frequent. It is also common that many drivers do not run into this problem for their entire driving life. Regardless of your situation, you will want to know the signs to look out for to make sure that you take your vehicle in for brake repairs before it’s too late. A common way to tell if your brakes are in jeopardy is by monitoring the brake light. While this is common knowledge, this article will outline other signs that aren’t as well known. While you are visiting the mechanic, you can also ask for an oil change in Longmont, CO

Squeaking or Squealing Noises

It is more common for older vehicles to make sounds while driving. Newer models tend to have a more compact and lightweight design in which sounds are almost obsolete. If you have an older model, it will be harder to differentiate a brake repair issue from your regular issues, while with newer vehicles, it will be easier to notice. The main sounds you are going to want to look out for, whether your vehicle is old or new, are squeaking, squealing as well as grinding sounds. These noises are usually very high pitched, and if they silence when you put your foot on the brakes, then it can indicate that your brake pads are worn down.

If you also hear these noises while your foot is on the brake, then several issues could be present. One possibility is that a rock or piece of debris is stuck in the caliper, which can be fixed easily. On the other hand, your brake pads may have worn entirely down, in which case there will be metal rubbing on metal. This issue requires immediate auto repair in Longmont. 


The number one way to tell if your vehicle has a significant issue is by how it handles. If you find that your vehicle maneuvers differently than previous uses, you most likely will need to contact a mechanic for an alignment in Longmont. This wobbling can also be because of uneven brake rotors. These are inside of the wheels, and if the surface of the rotors experience wears over time, then you may experience wobbling. The best way to go about fixing these issues is by contacting a mechanic. They are experts that are trained in diagnosing vehicle issues, and if you tell them that your vehicle is wobbling, they can help you to figure out precisely what is wrong with the brake rotors or if it is an entirely different problem. 

Fluid Leaks

You may have noticed if you park your vehicle in your garage or on the driveway, large stains pool on the ground below. These are often oil leaks, which may eventually lead to an oil change in Longmont. However, other fluids are required for your vehicle to perform correctly, and one of these is brake fluid. The most common way to tell if you are experiencing this leak is if your brake pedal feels soft. A technician will be able to know if the brake fluid is leaking out of the master cylinder or from a different spot in the brake’s system. This cylinder is what gives your brakes their power, and when fluid pumps through the tiny pipes, hydraulic pressure is created. If there is a fluid leak, then you will not have enough energy to apply the brakes. 

Smell Of Burning

If you ever smell something burning while driving, it is a sure sign that you have a mechanical issue that requires car service in Longmont. One reason you may smell burning is if the brake fluid has overheated. This occurs when there is continuous braking on steep hills. If you experience this, the best thing you can do is pull over and let them cool down. While you are waiting, you can call a mechanic to come and check your vehicle out. The roadside assistance can let you know how to proceed.

A sure way to know you have a brake issue is if they feel different from past uses. If your vehicle is producing sounds such as squealing or squeaking, then you have a worn-down brake pad. If this sound continues even after you have applied the brakes, then you may have worn the brake pads out entirely, which requires immediate attention. Additionally, if you smell burning or feel a wobble as you drive, your brakes may be defective.

Before you make your own assumptions, you should take your vehicle into a local shop where their experts can diagnose and treat your vehicle appropriately. If you take your vehicle in for routine maintenance and upkeep, then you prevent more significant issues from arising in the future.

Top Reasons to Trust an Independent Auto Repair Shop Over a Dealership

When someone has a vehicle that is in need of an oil change in Longmont, CO, they essentially have two different choices. They can either bring their vehicle to a dealership or they can get an independent auto repair shop to handle it for them. The choice that they make can have a big impact on both the quality and effectiveness of the oil change they receive in Longmont. Therefore, it is important that drivers know which place they should be going to for all their general auto repair needs in Longmont. 

There are many different reasons an independent shop is the obvious choice. In fact, here are several of the biggest reasons independent shops come out on top in their battle against dealerships.

Better Understanding of Why Vehicle Issues Happen

If someone takes their vehicle to a dealership of the same brand, then chances are that the dealership technicians are simply going to confirm what part is malfunctioning or damaged in the vehicle and then simply swap it out with a new version of the same part. While this is a great short-term solution, it does nothing for the long-run health of the vehicle. That is where independent technicians have the upper hand. 

Because these independent shops work on all kinds of vehicle makes and models, they have to develop an understanding of why something happens and not just what to do when something happens. Although this difference might seem subtle, understanding why something happens instead of just how to react when it does happen is crucial in maintaining the health of something like a vehicle. 

If a certain issue is being caused by some sort of problem in a totally different component of the vehicle, then this may not be something that the dealership technicians are going to be able to identify unless it is a super common problem in their vehicles. For those more specialized problems, someone needs to understand why other similar issues happen so that they can know whether or not there is a totally different component possibly at fault. 

This will be the difference between fixing an issue the first time rather than trying to swap out three or four different parts before finally fixing it. So if someone’s vehicle is not under full warranty or they are not wanting to spend countless hours sitting in a dealership waiting room, then they are often better off going with an independent shop instead. 

More Personalized Service

Not everyone drives the same and a person’s specific driving habits have a big influence on the health of their vehicle. That is why it is so important that independent shops take the time to learn who someone is as an individual rather than just an account number on the screen. A driver does not need to give their VIN number every time that they have an appointment because the technicians at an independent shop will already know their name, which is even more important. 

Nowadays, most independent shops also use equally advanced computer systems as large dealerships, so they have the capabilities to track and look up any previous servicing information for the vehicle just as easily. Therefore, they have all the same data as the dealership and also have the benefit of knowing personal driving information on top of it. 

This is handy in learning valuable pieces of information like how far that person drives to get to work every day, if they go on any off-roading adventures on the weekends, and if they live in a particularly hilly part of town. All this stuff is not information that a dealership is likely to know and even if the driver does tell them, it will probably not be the same technician who is working on their vehicle the next time so they would have to explain the information all over again. 

However, most independent shops have technicians who are more like family than they are coworkers. Therefore, all this information is widely available and it is likely that the same couple of technicians will be working on the person’s vehicle every time anyways. So they only have to explain it once or twice and then that information is remembered and taken into consideration for the next time the vehicle has a problem, like needing a wheel alignment in Longmont, just in case their driving habits have something to do with it. 

No Convincing to Unnecessarily Purchase a New Vehicle

When someone goes to get car service in Longmont, the last thing that they often expect is to be told that they should purchase a new vehicle entirely. However, this is exactly what tends to happen at dealerships all the time. 

This is because dealerships make most of their money on new vehicle sales rather than the servicing of current vehicles. Therefore, if they see that someone has owned their vehicle for more than a few years and is nearing the end of their lease term, then they might try and convince the driver that it would be better for them to simply upgrade to a new vehicle entirely and save themselves from having to pay for repairs on their current vehicle. 

This is not something that drivers will have to worry about when going to an independent shop because they do not sell vehicles or make any money whatsoever from the driver purchasing a new vehicle. And regardless of whether it is their current vehicle or a new vehicle, it is assumed that a loyal customer is going to continue coming to the independent automotive shop for all their servicing needs, so they get the business either way. 

Therefore, they will only ever suggest looking into getting a new vehicle if their current one is in such bad condition that it is going to cost them more money to repair it than what it is worth.

5 Smart Ways to Protect a Vehicle’s Engine

A vehicle is a valuable investment, and the engine is the most valuable component of most vehicles. Not only is the engine absolutely essential to the proper functioning of the vehicle as a whole, but it also tends to be one of the most costly components to fix if things go wrong. 

Basically, a vehicle’s engine is a valuable asset and should always be treated as such. Likewise, when owners take the time to give their engine the tender loving care that they deserve, they are often rewarded with years and years of extra use-value as a result.

However, getting the most out of a vehicle’s engine does indeed entail some proactive ownership steps, but those willing to put in a bit of extra work can almost certainly count on keeping their vehicle in better running condition for the long term, and this article is going to show car owners how to do it. Read on to find out more. 

1. Check That Fluid and Do It Often 

While regularly scheduled oil change in Longmont, CO, or anywhere else is an absolute must, owners also need to make an effort to make sure that their engine is always properly lubricated. There are plenty of issues that can cause an engine to leak, and this is often especially true of older vehicles. In addition, it is not uncommon for engine lubrication fluid to become dirty or cloudy. 

All the driver has to do to ensure the engine is properly lubricated is to insert the dipstick and pull it out, so they should make a habit of performing this simple ritual on a weekly basis. Should they notice that the levels have dropped or the fluid appears murky, they should schedule an appointment with a shop that specializes in car service in Longmont right away. Without the proper fluid balance in place, the engine could easily overheat, so it is important to not risk driving the vehicle if something seems off with the lubrication. 

Meanwhile, pre-scheduling a regular oil change in Longmont on a regular basis will help ensure the consistency stays optimal between scheduled maintenance visits. 

2. Mind that Check Engine Light

So, it is no secret that a lot of drivers tend to disregard the importance of their check engine light, especially if it is not appearing red or flashing to signal a sense of urgency. 

However, the check engine light exists for a reason, and this reason is to let drivers know that there is some sort of problem. While, in some cases the problem may indeed be a minor one, leaving it undressed can still have long-term effects on the overall functionality of the vehicle as a whole. Even worse, a lot of drivers will actually ignore this light until what once was a small issue finally turns into a large and costly breakdown that could have been avoided all along. 

This means that if a driver sees their check engine light pop up on their dashboard or console, they should heed the warning and schedule an appointment with a shop that specializes in auto repair in Longmont who are qualified to get to the root of the problem. 

Of course, a stable yellow light is not as serious as a red or flashing one, and if either of the latter signs appears, the driver needs to pull over immediately and assess whether roadside assistance might be required. 

3. Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

The air filter might seem like a relatively insignificant component, but the clean, fresh air that it delivers to the engine ensures it is always functioning at levels of optimal efficiency. 

Needless to say, if an engine is running side by side with an air filter that has long been bogged down by dirt and debris, it is pretty safe to assume that it is not functioning at peak performance either. 

Basically, the moral of the story here is that while the air filter is not exactly essential, it will help an engine function at it’s best, both in the long and short term, and should be checked and changed out on a frequent basis to ensure a driver is always getting the most out of their engine’s capabilities. 

4. Replace the Fuel Filter

Speaking of filters, another important and often underestimated filter to be mindful of is the overall condition of the fuel filter. 

The fuel filter performs a very similar function that the air filter does from the engine, keeping the fuel source free of dirt and debris so that it will always run smoothly and efficiently through the inner workings of the engine. This means that, just like the air filter, it should be checked on a frequent basis and removed and replaced as soon as an owner notices that it is getting bogged down with grime. 

Keep in mind that clean filters don’t just translate to a healthier, smoother running engine, but will also translate to better fuel efficiency as well, so making the effort to replace them on a frequent basis is something that will almost always pay off in the big picture. 

5. Don’t Forget to Top Up the Radiator Fluid 

All fluids that are used to keep a vehicle functioning at tip-top shape are going to eventually burn off and evaporate over time, and this means that they need to be frequently checked and replaced. 

While many people understand the importance of an oil change in Longmont, far more tend to neglect fluids that feed other vital components essential to the engines functioning, like the radiator, for example. The radiator is a mechanical component whose sole function is actually to ensure the engine is performing as it should be keeping it cool. 

This means if the radiator runs low on fluid, the engine is at risk of overheating, and this, in turn, can cause a very serious breakdown. In addition, drivers who neglect to check and top off their radiator fluid on a regular basis are probably also inadvertently causing their engine to run hotter than it should, and this is a recipe for premature wear and tear. 

Of course, the best way to avoid this type of unnecessary issue is to stay on top of those radiator fluid levels and replace them as needed. 

The Takeaway

For a vehicle to function well, the engine needs to be well cared for. It is really that simple. This is why, in addition to keeping up with all the tips above, it is a good idea to schedule a full engine check-up when booking an annual wheel alignment in Longmont to ensure everything is in optimal working order.

Meanwhile, anybody who is unfamiliar with how to execute any of the above suggestions should ask about them the next time they head in for an oil change in Longmont. A friendly neighborhood car pro will be happy to help. 

Necessary Maintenance to Keep Your Car Running at Its Best

Keeping your vehicle in tip-top condition is critical. If you do not take proper care of your automobile, you may find it is difficult to get from point A to point B. You may spend a large sum of money on fixes and replacements that could have easily been avoided if you simply stayed on top of your car service in Longmont in the first place.  

Here are several necessary maintenance tasks that will keep your vehicle operating. 

1. Check the Oil

An oil change is one of the most common maintenance tasks performed on vehicles in Longmont, CO. This is because it is one of the most important. When your vehicle has the proper amount of oil and the recommended type, it will keep the parts throughout the automobile working at its best. The parts in the vehicle will not have to work as hard to move the vehicle forward, saving you on fuel and reducing the amount of damage and wear and tear that can occur to each part. 

Additionally, when receiving an oil change at a Longmont shop, it takes very little time and is typically inexpensive. During this appointment, an experienced mechanic can also take a look at your vehicle to check for potential problems and to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top condition and will keep you safe on the road. 

2. Tire Alignment

When you receive an alignment at a Longmont automobile center, mechanics will adjust the vehicle suspension so the wheels and tires are at a specific angle. This will help to keep the automobile straight on the road and will help to reduce the amount of wear the tires receive. It can also greatly improve the handling of the automobile and its overall performance. 

Similar to other maintenance tasks, aligning the tires is fairly simple and takes little time to complete. 

3. A/C and Heating Services

It is important that you remain comfortable in your automobile. You want to make sure that your heating and air conditioning units work well and have few problems. If these units are not serviced often, it can affect your entire system. 

When you visit the best auto shops to receive heating and air conditioning maintenance, mechanics will examine the controls and blower inside your vehicle. They will also check various items including: 

  • Radiator coolant
  • Hoses, pressure radiator cap
  • Compressor belt
  • Thermostat

There are several signs that your air conditioning and heating systems need a little TLC. For example, it is blowing room temperature air, the air blowing out of your fans has a musty sell, or it simply does not operate at all. 

4. Brake Repair

The brakes are a critical component of your vehicle. If these items are not in excellent condition it can put yourself, your family, and other drivers on the road at risk. Having the brakes checked and repaired should be an item that is regularly placed on your to-do list. 

There are several signs that you need to replace your brakes. These signs include: 

  • There is a squeaking noise each time you press on the brakes.
  • The brake pedal is mushy.
  • You hear grinding noises when you press on the brakes.
  • The vehicle pulls to one side when you brake.
  • You have to push the brake pedal close to the floor before the automobile will start to slow down.

There are several options available to increase the lifespan of your brakes. These will give you peace of mind knowing that your brakes are less likely to slow down or have issues. 

5. Electrical Work

Your automobile is a complex machine. It needs a strong and well-maintained electrical system. When the electrical system has any glitches or any issues occur, it can affect the entire vehicle. It can also be challenging to find the issue and even larger, more expensive and inconvenient fixes may be needed. 

The electrical system in your vehicle powers many aspects of your vehicle. For example, it affects all lights including headlights and brake lights. If your automobile features any type of powered movements such as powered windows or seats, these are also affected by the electrical system. 

6. Batteries

Your battery plays a critical role in your vehicle. The battery is the item that helps to power the ignition system. If your battery is not in excellent condition, it can make it difficult to turn on your vehicle. You can begin to notice if your battery is dying by how the vehicle starts each day. If you have any questions or worries about your battery, there are tests available to determine the life of the battery and to give you an approximate amount of time you have left until a battery replacement is needed. However, if auto repair is needed in Longmont, you can visit an auto shop to have the item replaced quickly and at a fairly inexpensive price. 

No matter what type of service or repair your vehicle needs, you can find assistance at the best auto shops in Colorado. Your vehicle is a large investment and you do not want to trust just anyone to complete various tasks on it. You want to make sure you have professionals who will help you every step of the way and will complete the tasks on your vehicle well. 

Additionally, it is important you follow the maintenance schedule of your specific vehicle. You can find this information in the owner’s manual. This large book will provide information on the type of maintenance tasks you should complete, how often they should be completed, and the recommended supplies needed.

Useful Car Services for Winter

Winter is a harsh time for a vehicle. Between the snow, slush, salt, and sleet, a car can be tested to its limit. Winter is especially challenging for vehicles because of the increased chance of damage from both environmental factors and driving hazards. Cold winter temperatures and icy conditions can affect a car’s performance in significant ways, and responsible vehicle owners should take the proper precautions to ensure they do not find themselves with unnecessary mechanic bills. Taking the proper precautions to keep a vehicle running smoothly is as simple as recognizing the potential risks of winter driving and addressing them appropriately. It is important to consider all aspects of winter driving when taking proper precautions: a driver should think about the inside of the automobile, like the engine and the passenger area, as well as performance, like how it will handle in the ice and snow. It is easy to be proactive with winter vehicle maintenance, and the time and money proper care will save down the road are invaluable. It takes far less effort to take the proper precautions in the present than to run the risk of having to deal with the consequences of a future breakdown or accident.

Snow Tires

This is what most people think of when they consider their options for preparing their vehicle for the winter. Snow tires are different than regular tires in that they have a wider tread, resulting in greater tire surface area in contact with the road. This increased contact results in increased friction, which counteracts the slippery effects of the wet snow and ice. Drivers should take proper precautions for winter and have a set of snow tires for their vehicles in addition to regular tires. In extreme winter conditions, snow tires need to be supplemented with winter tire chains, which are meant to cut into the snow and ice for increased traction. However, most drivers will never have to experience such measures. Winter tires can be used for multiple winters, and simply require to be installed and removed at the appropriate times. Be sure to contact a mechanic for tire installation and removal services.

Brake Repair

Ice is a driver’s worst nightmare. It can be hard to see but ice can drastically affect a person’s ability to steer their vehicle, leaving them helpless as they spin out of control. Brakes play a major role in maintaining a person’s ability to drive safely in icy conditions, so ensuring they are at their best should be a top priority for anyone looking to prepare their vehicle for winter. Signs that brakes need to be replaced include squeaking noises when being applied, vehicle shaking, and requiring increased brake pressure for use. If a driver detects any of these symptoms, especially before winter, they should make sure to get their brakes checked the next time they are getting auto alignment in Longmont.

Oil Change

Many people wouldn’t think getting an oil change in Longmont, CO, to prepare for colder weather and snow, but different motor oils perform differently depending on the temperature. Before the ice and snow set in, vehicle owners should ensure that their vehicle has motor oil that is rated for the Winter. These would have a “W” rating on them, which is their cold-weather rating. For example, one could have a rating of 5W30—that means that its cold weather rating is 5. Drivers should get an oil change in Longmont and ensure 5W is installed so that it can keep running smoothly regardless of the temperature.


It gets cold in the winter, so drivers should make sure their vehicle’s heating system is running properly. A vehicle’s heating system is important not only for passenger comfort but also for preventing important components from freezing and malfunctioning. Heating is also important in preventing window and windshield fogging, as improper heating systems can result in excess moisture inside the cab. There are indicators that a vehicle’s heating system needs to be replaced, to which all drivers should pay attention. Some of these signs include a heating system that blows cold air, only functions while the car is driving, or is unable to heat the car adequately. If a car owner is experiencing any of these problems, they should bring their car in for service in Longmont to properly prepare for the cold winter months.

Towing Services

Sometimes drivers who do all the right preparations can still find themselves in an accident; after all there are always other drivers on the road who may not be as proactive with their winter driving safety measures. Traffic accidents are a hassle for all involved as they are time-consuming, expensive, and often derail plans. Drivers should do all they can to avoid accidents, such as practicing defensive driving and properly servicing their vehicles. But in the winter when roads are wet and icy, even the most attentive drivers can often slip up and find themselves in an accident. If such a situation does happen, proactive car owners should be sure to have a service they can contact to provide road vehicle maintenance and towing if need be. A good towing service will bring the vehicle back to the garage and perform the necessary maintenance on the car to get it back and running. The next time a vehicle needs auto repair in Longmont due to poor weather, be sure to contact a towing service for expert service.

Be Proactive

Winter can be an exciting time of the year, so drivers should not let harsh winter weather affect their holiday plans. By properly preparing their vehicle for the ice and snow by performing required vehicle maintenance, vehicle owners can ensure their winter driving experience is as safe and comfortable as possible. Don’t take a chance with winter driving safety, as often the money saved in the short term can result in immense costs in the future. Be smart, be proactive. Visit your local mechanic today and get a checkup!

5 Common Warning Signs That a Vehicle’s Engine May Be Damaged

If there is one component of a vehicle that is absolutely essential to its functioning, it is certainly the engine. After all, the engine is fully responsible for giving the vehicle what it needs to power itself forward, or in any other direction for that matter. As such, any sort of damage to the engine or its related components will almost certainly have an immediate negative effect on the way the vehicle performs in some way or another. 

Engine problems are something that no driver wants to deal with. That said, engine issues happen, and when they do, early detection can make all the difference between the vehicle requiring minor repairs such as an oil change in Longmont or a major overhaul. After all, because the engine is such a central component, a once-isolated problem can quickly spread to other mechanical parts, therefore requiring the need for more extensive repairs.

With that in mind, it is important that drivers know how to spot the first signs of engine trouble quickly so that they can seek out a professional specializing in car service in Longmont who can address the issue right away before it becomes worse.

1. The Check Engine Light Pops Up

Vehicles are equipped with certain self-monitoring systems called On-Board Diagnostics systems. These systems will use a variety of commonly recognized symbols that will appear as lights on either the dashboard or console to warn a driver that something isn’t performing as it should or may require attention or maintenance. 

Some of these warnings are relatively benign. For instance, when a light pops up to warn drivers that their washer fluid is low, the issue can quickly be addressed with a quick stopover at a local gas station. However, the check engine light is definitely the type of warning sign that drivers should take seriously. 

There are a lot of different reasons that a check engine light might come up. Some are minor or easy fixes, but some may be more serious. Be especially wary of a check engine light that is red or blinking. If this is the case, the vehicle should be taken into a professional shop that specializes in auto repair in Longmont for a check-up and diagnostic as soon as possible.

2. The Vehicle Is Making Unusual Noises

There are a lot of different noises that a vehicle may make that can signal a wide range of issues. However, some sounds in particular are characteristic of engine trouble. For example, drivers should always be wary of any knocking sounds that are coming from under the hood or the general area of the engine. If the vehicle is making large backfiring noises, this is another warning sign that there may be engine trouble, as are uneven motor noises that might resemble popping or spitting sounds. 

If a driver notices any noises that might be related to their engine, it is imperative that they get the vehicle into a professional mechanic who specializes in generalized services like alignment in Longmont as soon as possible before the problem gets any worse. That said, strange noises coming from a vehicle should never be ignored, so it is always a good idea to get it checked out as soon as possible even if a driver doesn’t suspect that those out of the ordinary noises are specifically engine-related. 

3. The Engine Isn’t Delivering Consistent Doses of Power

There are a lot of potential reasons an engine may be losing power, but regardless of the issue, it is important to get it nipped in the bud quickly before things get worse. 

In addition to noticing the vehicle might not be accelerating as quickly as possible or struggling to climb hills, drivers may notice irregular shaking sensations or stuttering sounds. Sometimes a vehicle will even stall out completely or even noticeably shake when accelerating or climbing. Any of these telltale signs are warnings that the engine might be in danger. 

4. Strange Odors

When vehicles run, they naturally emit fuel emissions that are filtered through the exhaust system and out of the back of the vehicle so that they are not breathed or smelled by any people inside the car. That said, most people can easily recognize the faint odor that is emitted by a vehicle’s exhaust, and should immediately be wary if they smell this kind of odor inside of the vehicle itself or notice a particularly strong smell outside of the vehicle when it is running. 

While the issue might be as simple as the vehicle is overdue for an oil change in Longmont, CO, strange smells are nothing to mess around with, and the vehicle should be brought in for a professional diagnosis as soon as possible.  

5. Increased Fuel Consumption

Obviously, if a vehicle is using more fuel than it should be, this is going to result in increased fuel costs that most people would hardly be excited to shell out for. 

However, increased fuel consumption is also almost invariably the product of some underlying mechanical issue, and the problem could potentially lie in the way that fuel is being processed as it makes its way through the engine. This type of problem will more often than not be accompanied by the presence of dark or black smoke coming from the exhaust. 

Engine related fuel issues can definitely be suspected if a driver notices that the vehicle seems to be burning more fuel and that the check engine light has come on. Regardless, drivers will want to get a drop in fuel consumption diagnosed by a professional car service in Longmont as soon as possible to save money both in the short and long term. 

The Takeaway

Engine issues need not be serious, especially if they are addressed right away. That said, it is important that at the first sign of possible trouble, the vehicle is taken in for professional auto repair in Longmont before the problem gets more out of hand. 

Knowing and understanding the above warning signs can help drivers spot the possibility of an engine-related problem before it comes more serious, therefore helping them save big in the long run.

What Does an Electrical System Do? 

Every vehicle has an electrical system that consists of three very important components: the battery, the starter, and the alternator. All these systems work together in a cyclical way, so an electrical problem that starts in any one of these components will affect the other parts of the system. 

For instance, the battery is the component that provides the power that the starter needs to function, and the alternator provides the energy that the battery needs to run. This means that a flaw in just one of these three crucial electrical parts will result in a vehicle that will not start or run as it should. 

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each major electrical component and how it functions:

The Battery 

A vehicle’s battery is responsible for powering all necessary electrical currents to a vehicle before it starts. This includes providing energy to the ignition, fuel systems, and the starter itself. This is why if a vehicle’s battery is dead or weak, the vehicle won’t start. 

The Alternator

So what powers the electrical system when the vehicle is running? This is where the alternator comes in. Once the engine is powered on, the alternator takes over. It also provides the charge to the battery that keeps the vehicle running. 

Regular electrical system service for your car in Longmont, CO, are the best way to ensure the alternator is getting the proper current and voltage it needs to run properly. 

The Starter

The starter is the component that is directly responsible for starting the engine. The battery provides the power that is needed, but it can’t start the engine on its own. Instead, it relies on the specialized function that the starter provides in rotating the flywheel and activates the crankshaft to throw the engine’s pistons into motion. 

This means that even if the battery is performing as it should, without a working starter, it wouldn’t be possible to start the vehicle. 

How to Recognize Electrical Issues in a Vehicle

The best approach to avoiding electrical systems failure is always to take the vehicle in for regular check-ups at a shop that specializes in auto repair in Longmont. Getting a vehicle maintained and monitored on a regular basis is the best way to prevent electrical failure before it happens. It can often be practical to simply have the vehicle checked while in the process of getting an oil change in Longmont or elsewhere, for instance. Older vehicles or high mileage vehicles are especially prone to starter issues, so it is important to get them checked out often like when getting an oil change in Longmont. 

This way, any potential issues can be quickly nipped in the bud before they become a major concern, and help avoid situations where a driver is left stranded and also to save money on the cost of repairs and parts in the long run. That said, it is also important for drivers to be vigilant for signs that their electrical system is not working as it should. 

So what are some of the most common warning signs to look out for? 

1. The Vehicle Doesn’t Start Easily

When the starter is turned, the battery sends a spark to provide the fuel that the engine needs to start. If an engine isn’t cranking properly, a driver will often hear a clicking noise when they turn the key rather than the usual sound of the vehicle starting. This typically means that there is not enough current flowing from the alternator, starter, or battery to activate the engine. 

More often than not, in this case, the source is the battery or sometimes the starter. Meanwhile, a grinding noise when starting the vehicle is usually related to an issue with the starter. 

2. The Vehicle Is Losing Power

If there is an issue with the alternator, the battery will not have the power supply that it needs to stay charged and the electrical systems will start to lose power. If the alternator is at fault, the vehicle will often start but will not be able to keep running, especially for a longer time period. This is why a dead battery could also be an indicator of an underlying alternator issue. 

Keep in mind that battery problems can also be the source of the vehicle is losing power or won’t keep running. Batteries are generally only built to last about five years, so it is not unusual for them to lose power over time.  If this is the case, the vehicle might also be difficult to start. 

Either way, be wary of erratic performance of the vehicle, especially quirks in the electrical systems. It is always better to get the issue addressed before the alternator fails completely. 

3. The Vehicle’s Lights Are Malfunctioning

Every light on the vehicle receives its power source from the electrical system, so if the lights are malfunctioning, this can often be indicative of an underlying issue with the battery or alternator. Headlights and taillights are obviously crucial, but there are many other lights that are imperative to the safety of the driver including the interior lighting system and the dashboard monitoring system. 

These lights keep drivers and other vehicles safe, so it is important to get the issue checked out quickly if a driver notices that their lights seem dim or aren’t coming on as they should. 

4. Blown Fuses

Vehicles have a built-in control system called a fuse box that ensures the electrical systems don’t draw too much current or short circuits and put people in danger. 

Fuses are designed to blow in the case of an electrical issue, but they sometimes just blow out on their own. While a blown fuse itself is generally a minor issue, multiple blown fuses, especially in short succession, often indicate an underlying electrical issue. 

That said, even if it is only an occasional problem it is always a good idea to mention any blown fuses to a professional mechanic when the vehicle is taken in for regular maintenance like a wheel alignment in Longmont so that they can make sure everything is in good working order. 

5. Strange Smells

One of the first issues of an electrical problem is often an unusual smell when the vehicle is running. Strange smells can mean several things, but electrical smells will often come with a distinct whiff of burning plastic. 

If a driver notices an unusual smell while driving, they should always pull over immediately and identify the source, especially if any of the above issues have also been noticed.

What Dashboard Signals May Mean

Whether you drive a car, SUV, or truck, statistics show that the most likely issue your vehicle is going to develop is some sort of check engine warning or light on the dashboard. Most of the time, these signals occur due to your vehicle’s ECU, a component also known as the engine control unit. When the ECU detects an error code after one of the vehicle’s many sensors is triggered, a corresponding check engine light appears. However, complicating the issue is the fact that there are over 200 of these error codes that can appear at any given time. As a result, as a part of your auto repair in Longmont, it’s essential that when you see a light, you don’t just go off a hunch. Instead, you want a warning light inspection done so you can figure out what the true cause is and get the repairs you need. However, with such frequency, what exactly is the most common root cause of a check engine light? Here’s what you need to know. 

Traditional Auto Repair Problems

A vehicle doesn’t work if the engine isn’t going right, so if there’s a problem there, it will lead to greater issues elsewhere. As a starter example, let’s talk about an issue with your engine sputtering. Most of the time, efficient engine running happens when both the air and the fuel meet and burn in the engine’s combustion chamber. For this to take place, though, a bunch of different parts of the fuel and ignition systems all need to work properly. One single problem with the system could lead to a sputtering engine and your vehicle not being able to do its job properly. This makes it essential that you avoid the issue by getting properly scheduled service or alignment in Longmont. In addition, sometimes, you may need to replace these parts. This is why it’s essential that you follow manufacturer guidelines to replace things as needed.  

However, there are other engine issues you want to be aware of, for example, fuel economy. When an engine is working well, it’s generally burning fuel at a proper rate for your fuel economy. In short, every dollar you spend on this gas will end up having more value. However, the thing about this is that like the rest of your engine, having a good fuel economy is contingent on several different parts working properly. This includes things like fuel filters and oxygen sensors, but the truth is that even missing your oil change in Longmont, CO, can play a role. As a side note, the condition of these parts isn’t affected by how good a driver you are or the quality of your vehicle. Eventually, these parts will get dirty and worn. When this happens, your engine will need to burn more fuel to drive the same distances as in the past.

On the topic of things that can slow your vehicle down, we should mention the battery. On average, a battery lasts around 3 years or 50,000 miles, whichever mark it reaches first. The reason for this is that around this time, a battery will no longer be able to hold a charge and gets a lack of electric currents. However, some issues can speed up exactly when a battery dies. Generally, this is a damaged component like an alternator. However, everything can be going right and your battery will still eventually die, so it’s best to keep to that 3 year/50,000 mile interval when it comes to getting a replacement. This even applies if your battery seems to be working well.

Another component you want to be on top of in terms of wear and tear is the brakes. Part of the issue with the brakes is that when exactly they wear out is more dependent on how you drive versus your type of vehicle or a certain interval. For example, a driver in the country and driver in the city can have the same make and model of vehicle, but the city driver stops more and wears out their brakes faster. How exactly you know this is happening can vary. Some modern automobiles have a dashboard brake wear warning. In other cases, you need to listen for a squealing sound when applying the brakes. 

Off The Beaten Path

Up until this point, most of the issues we’ve discussed are relatively easy to get to the bottom of. If you hear or feel something odd with your brakes, you likely have a brake issue. If your engine has an issue, you’ll have that handy dashboard warning. It’s similar to checking your oil to figure out if you need an oil change in Longmont or not. However, in other cases, you may get a check engine light but have a lot less of a clue what exactly is taking place. Here’s how to tackle those issues. 

As a start, let’s talk about alternator problems. Generally, the alternator should be working to keep your electrical systems running after the car starts. Along with this, it provides a charge to the battery to make sure things stay in proper condition. However, if the alternator breaks, the opposite happens and your battery gets more wear and tear. This makes it essential that you keep to the service schedule.

Another possible problem that could lead to your check engine light appearing is an issue with the starter motor. This component’s job is to make sure your engine properly cranks over, beginning the process of starting. Generally, this fails due to something called the electrical solenoid getting damaged. However, there could be other potential issues in place. It’s taught to detect when your starter motor will break down or is showing its age. As a result, the best thing you can do is regularly get inspection and get car service in Longmont done, so you can have it checked. 

Overheating, funny as it may sound, isn’t likely to be the cause of your dashboard warning, even on the hottest summer day. This is largely because modern models especially have extremely complex and powerful cooling systems in place. As long as you follow manufacturer guidelines and get things like radiator flushes and water pump changes, you should be fine.

Keeping Up with Auto Maintenance

Your automobile is likely one of the most expensive purchases you will make throughout your lifetime. For this reason, once you get a nice new one, whether it is brand new or a used one that is just new to you, chances are you want to keep it running smoothly for a while. There are several ways that you should go about keeping your vehicle in the best shape you possibly can, including regularly performing some maintenance items as well as getting it checked out. From getting an oil change in Longmont, CO, to checking on the tires, here are some things that you should look into having done for your automobile and how to know when it is time to get maintenance done. 

Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Depending on the age of your vehicle as well as how often you use it, you may not need to follow the same maintenance schedule as everyone else. For example, some newer models are being made to run longer before you need to get another oil change in Longmont. For this reason, it is important to check out your owner’s manual when you first get a new automobile as well as any time you have questions about when you should be taking your car in for different services. While reading the manual, consider making some sort of schedule to make it easier for you to remember when you need to take your car in for services. 

Oil and Other Fluids

One of the most common things on your vehicle maintenance checklist is getting your oil and other fluids looked at. For many years, it was recommended to get an oil change every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever came first. However, with some newer models of vehicles, manufacturers are now saying that you can go longer, such as closer to 5,000 miles. This is where it is important to look into your particular model; you wouldn’t want to go too long and end up with a costly auto repair in Longmont because your engine is having trouble. 

While you are getting your oil changed, the shop will likely look into the filter, as well. This should be changed on occasion when it is getting too dirty, because a clog in the filter can cause problems for your engine as well as decrease your fuel efficiency. The levels of other fluids, such as your coolant, will likely be checked and topped off, as well. If these things are not automatically done at the shop that you take your vehicle to, consider asking the mechanics if they can add those features on and how much extra it would cost. 

Proper Tire Care

Taking proper care of your tires is another thing you need to have done regularly to avoid a blowout on the road, which could potentially cause catastrophic problems to your vehicle. There are a few different things to look out for when it comes to your tires, and you should probably be keeping an eye on tire health while you are at the gas pump fueling up. For example, one of the most important things to note is how much tread is on your tire. You can find out more about how to use a penny to accomplish this. 

Another thing you want to make sure you are keeping an eye on in terms of your tires is how much tire pressure you have. Over time, tire pressure may decrease, and if it gets too low it can be dangerous to drive. Some newer models have built-in gauges that give you the readings and inform you when one tire is too low, but you should also learn how to use a tire pressure gauge as well as what level to have your tire pressure at to not accidentally overfill or underfill them. 

Finally, it is important to occasionally take your vehicle in for alignment in Longmont. This helps to make sure your automobile isn’t pulling too much to one side or another, and this can help prevent problems such as uneven wear on one side of the tires over the other. 

Regular Inspections

Getting your vehicle inspected regularly is another thing that you can do to make sure it continues running at its best. Regular inspections help ensure you catch potential problems early, before they become bigger problems. You are required to get safety inspections done to renew your plates every year or two, but it is also important to take your vehicle in for an inspection and car service in Longmont any other time that you think it is acting funny. This could potentially save you hundreds of dollars by fixing a problem before it causes problems elsewhere. 

Windshield Wipers

Finally, it is important to make sure you are routinely checking and changing your windshield wipers. Over time, the wiper blades may begin to dull, making the wipers less efficient and therefore creating a more dangerous situation for you if you are driving in the rain. Once the wipers begin missing spots or causing streaks, it is likely time to get new ones. Someone at the shop should even be able to help you pick out the right ones and get them installed when you take your vehicle in for other routine maintenance. 

There is a lot of maintenance involved with owning an automobile if you want to make sure you are keeping it in the best shape possible. Many things, such as getting your oil changed and checking your tires, are likely things that you think about often. However, there are other parts of your vehicle that sometimes need attention, as well, and that is where the safety inspections come in handy so that you know where yours is at on its maintenance schedule. Don’t put off taking your vehicle to a shop when it is time for maintenance or whenever something just doesn’t feel right.