“Why is my Check Engine lamp on” “Small problems, big trouble”

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some and is totally ignored by just as many.  Just what it means is a mystery to most of us.

First, if your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause severe damage to the catalytic converter or other components.  Get that taken care of right away.  If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads.  Take it easy all the way to the service center.

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two.  If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your service advisor to get it checked out.

Some more information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative.  Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer.  The computer can adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

To make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data.  The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor.  When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the Check Engine Light.

The computer will also try to adjust and compensate for some readings.  Dirty engine oil has caused many cars to run bad and set fault codes.

If the problem can’t be resolved, then the light will remain on and you should get your vehicle looked at.

Your service technician will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer.  The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

Give us a call

All Phase Auto Repair
300 Eastern Blvd.
Baltimore, Maryland 21221
410-687-5030
http://allphaseautorepair.com

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Why is my car shaking?

Why Is My Car Shaking?

Nobody likes the feeling of being broken down on the side of the road with no auto repair shop in sight. Oftentimes, these instances can be avoided with regular vehicle maintenance. While it is typical for some parts to wear down over time, sometimes it costs you much more to solve a bigger problem that could have been avoided with regular vehicle maintenance. Our repair shop employs certified professionals who can diagnose problems and devise a maintenance schedule.

One of the most common problems that drivers experience is vehicle shaking. It can happen while accelerating or braking and there are some common causes as to why this happens.

Top Reasons Your Car May Be Shaking

1. Engine Problems

There are a few parts within a vehicle’s engine that could cause a car to shake if they malfunction. These include the spark plugs and engine air filter. Check the spark plugs and their connections. As a general rule, spark plugs last for about 75,000-100,000 miles, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. If the spark plugs are okay and their connections seem sound, then check your air filter next. A dirty or clogged engine air filter can starve the engine of oxygen and/or fuel that it needs to run properly.

2. Brake Problems

If vibration is occurring when you are applying the brakes, the problem is likely related to your car’s front brake mechanism as the front brakes take the most stress when the car’s brakes are applied. There are a few parts on front disc brakes that need to be replaced every so often – namely, the pads and rotors. The rotor is the round metal disc that attaches to the wheel. Over time it can become warped from heavy wear and tear. There are pads that press against the rotor in order to slow down the vehicle and these pads need to be a certain thickness in order to work properly. If the pads have become too worn, it can cause the vehicle to vibrate. The caliper helps to squeeze the pads against the rotor to slow down and stop the vehicle. All vehicles vary on timelines for when brakes need to be replaced. On average, they should be replaced every 30,000 miles but many makes and models can last longer. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for a more accurate timeline for replacement. In addition, whenever you get an oil change, have your mechanic visually check the condition of your pads and rotors. These professionals can give you a better idea of when replacement is necessary.

3. Axle Problems

Most vehicles have 2 axles – one that connects the front wheels, and another that connects the rear wheels. Vibration can occur if either of the axles is bent or dented – which can happen in an accident or other mishap with the road – and vibration will usually increase in intensity as you accelerate if the problem is related to the axle. Also inspect the CV joints and driveshaft for potential problems. If the CV joints are worn, that can let in dust and other debris which can damage the joints.

4. Wheel Problems

If your steering wheel feels wiggly or wobbles when you drive, this can cause vibration problems as well and it may mean that one of the wheels is not spinning properly, or it may relate to the wheel bearings, tie rod ends, or ball joints.

5. Tires

Depending on the specific type of vibration the driver is feeling, the problem can be related to the tires and can be addressed a number of ways. If vibration is felt at certain speeds, the tires may need to be balanced. If the tires are wearing unevenly and causing the car to vibrate, the driver may need a tire rotation. In some cases, the driver may need new tires to solve the problem of vibration.


Whatever the cause of shaking may be, drivers can prevent this problem by visiting All Phase Auto Repair in Essex to have qualified, certified professionals examine and inspect your vehicle. They will give you a specific maintenance schedule that pertains to your vehicle’s make and model, which will hopefully prevent you from encountering problems like vehicle vibration in the future.

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Why is my car stuck in Park?

Car does not shift from park to drive

You start the car up, put your foot the brake, push the button on the shifter and it won’t shift out of park. What do you do now? Don’t force the shifter. Forcing the shifter out of park may cause more damage. The shifter is connected to the transmission in some cars mechanically or electronically. If an electrical or mechanical component has failed between the shifter and transmission, you won’t be able to shift the car out of park. All Phase Auto Repair will diagnose the problem with your vehicle. The mechanic will then provide an inspection report detailing the scope and cost of the necessary repairs

When to have your shifter inspected or replaced:

Have this system inspected only when a part in the shifter or part of the system that operates the transmission breaks. There is no scheduled time frame for replacing parts in the shifting system. However, all parts can wear out and have the potential to fail, and in a perfect situation, all the parts in the shifting system would last the life of the vehicle.

Symptoms that may indicate your shifter will fail include:

  • Shifter can be moved but has a lot of resistance
  • When shifting into a gear, drive or reverse, it feels difficult to find the right spot. The transmission ends up in neutral instead. You may notice that the engine will accelerate when stepping on the gas pedal but the car doesn’t move.
  • When starting the car with the key, the ignition cylinder feels loose and has play.
  • No brake lights in the vehicle, brake pedal switch could be faulty.
  • Shifter feels completely loose — like it’s not connected to the transmission at all.

How a mechanic will inspect a car that won’t shift from park:

There are a number of reasons why a car will not move from park to drive. They can range from the shifter being locked to a broken shifter cable. Mechanics will check for these things:

  • Failed brake light switch
  • Bad shift interlock solenoid or wiring: The shift interlock solenoid is a safety feature that has been added to all modern automatic-transmission cars. It prevents the driver from shifting out of park without a foot on the brake.
  • Broken transmission shift cable: A cable connects the shifter handle to the transmission, and if that is broken, the shifter will be inoperable
  • Ignition key tumbler is worn out: The ignition switch not only starts your car, but it also locks the steering wheel when the key is taken out. In cars with automatic transmissions, a shift interlock solenoid is also part of the ignition system, and it locks the transmission so it cannot be shifted out of park (as described above).
  • Broken shifter mechanism: It is also possible that the shifter itself is broken. A mechanic will remove the center console to examine the actual shifter mechanism.

Is it safe to drive with this problem?

Since you can’t move the car without shifting from park to drive, it’s important to enlist the help from All Phase Auto Repair to repair the issue.

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“Diagnostics Required”

 

All Vehicle systems are getting more and more complex requiring Diagnostics, Skill, Training and Expensive and Equipment with every passing day. Diagnostics are more common with customer concerns. Scanning for codes is only  a small part within the diagnostics and does not get your final accurate answer. Internet research can lead to inaccurate information leading to mis-diagnostics! Beware!

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Why is my car burning oil?

As the years and miles stack up on your car, it’s not uncommon for the engine to start losing a little bit of oil over time. However, losing too much oil too quickly can lead to problems. If there’s not enough oil in the engine, it can suffer severe damage as bare metal parts will scrape and slide against one another — creating tons of friction, way too much heat, and causing the engine to warp and even fuse components together.

At All Phase Auto Repair, we want to help protect your engine so it lasts as long as possible.  Whether that means pouring a quart of oil into the engine every few weeks or fixing the problem so your engine stops losing oil in the first place. Below, we’ve compiled four reasons why your engine might be losing oil. Learn more about your car, how to take care of it and where to go for help in the article below!

Oil leak puddle
Engine Cross-Section

4. ENGINE OIL LEAK

If your car has been running well and isn’t showing any check engine or low oil pressure lights, but a test with the dipstick reveals that the oil level is still a bit low, you might have a small leak in the engine. If you had a big leak, you’d probably notice it — either by a warning light coming on in the dashboard or a big puddle of oil forming under your car. Oil’s viscous properties means it leaves big, obvious, black puddles under your car. But a very small oil leak could cause the engine to lose a small amount of oil over time without any other symptoms. The oil would slowly leak out of the engine and congeal on metal components like valve covers and exhaust manifolds. You’d see no visible leak and no smoke that would otherwise tip you off to a problem.

Sound like your car? We recommend a visit to All Phase Auto Repair in Essex, MD. Using special tools, we can locate your car’s oil leak and suggest a fix. We’ll also be able to top off the engine oil so your vehicle stays protected!

3. BAD PCV VALVE

The crankcase is a central part of your car’s engine that holds many of its moving parts. Those parts need to be protected from heat and friction by the engine oil. But, over time, pressure can build up inside the crankcase as combustion gasses are forced past the piston rings and into the crankcase. This process is called “blowby.” The Positive Crankcase Ventilation system relieves that pressure, and sends the combustion gasses back to the intake manifold so they can be burned up in the engine. If this system malfunctions, pressure can build up in the crankcase and force the oil inside past seals and gaskets — resulting in an engine leak. Or, the PCV valve can become clogged and cause the engine to consume oil and burn it internally. This problem can even lead to the engine running roughly, backfiring and stalling. Luckily, replacing a bad PCV valve is a fast and easy process for our skilled technicians!

2. FAILED PISTON RINGS

If the engine isn’t leaking oil, and the PCV system is working as it should, that means your engine is probably wearing out inside. As a result, the engine is consuming some oil. If the engine burns enough oil, you’ll actually be able to see blueish-grey exhaust fumes coming from your tailpipe.

The piston rings are designed to rub up against the walls of the engine’s cylinders, keeping engine oil in the crankcase and the air/fuel mixture in the cylinders. Blowby forces air/fuel mixture past the piston rings and into the crankcase as described above, but oil can travel the other way into the combustion chambers, too, if you’ve got bad piston rings. That oil will burn up in the engine and could lead to damage. To fix this problem, you’ll need new piston rings installed, which will require the engine to be significantly dismantled.

Various head gaskets

 

1. BLOWN HEAD GASKET

This crucial component forms a seal between the engine block and the cylinder head — and if it fails, all sorts of things can go bad. One possible symptom of a blown head gasket is an engine that’s consuming oil. Other symptoms you’re likely to notice if your car’s suffered a blown head gasket include a rough idle, engine overheating and poor fuel economy, just to name a few.

Like bad piston rings, replacing a blown head gasket requires a significant repair. When you visit All Phase Auto Repair, our friendly technicians will take a close look at your car and explain exactly what’s going on. In some cases, this repair will be well worth your time and money.  Give Terri a call 410-687-5030 or stop by at 300 Eastern Blvd, Essex, MD 21221.

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“Vehicle Wheel Bearing Noise”

All Phase sees many different wheel bearing failures. Some have growling/roaring noises when driving, can increase or decrease when turning or with speed. Brake pedal pulsations can occur with bent hubs also causing early low speed ABS activation with slow driving or coming to stops. Lastly vehicles that have been in accidents can experience wheel bearing failures even weeks after body work has been completed especially when wheels have made contact with something.  Allphase Auto Repair Diagnoses all Vehicle issues and Noises. https://allphaseautorepair.napavision.com/topic/wheel-bearings/

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Covid 19 Update

All Phase has always used a night drop box in front of building for after hrs service. For those who want no contact service, this is what to use. Fill out information and what you want, just insert through garage door or we can retrieve during business hrs. As always contact Terri for information or services. 410-687-5030

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“Tax Time 2020”

Don’t miss out! Tax time is your best time to get your vehicle repaired or serviced at All Phase Auto Repair. Major discounts given, purchase more, get more. Our maintenance packages come quick with added warranty on your vehicles systems, Transmissions, Engines, as well as Power Steering based on vehicle mileage. We use products that are proven and tested for better fuel economy, extended mileage and piece of mind. As COVID19 is front and center we remain open, clean and committed to our customers.

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“Overheating Vehicles”

Warmer weather is coming and All Phase Auto Repair can keep you and your vehicle cool. Cooling system fluids must be renewed and flushed to clean the small passages which will cause clogs and cause “Overheating Issues.” As a matter of fact all fluids should be changed out to keep your vehicles systems in proper working order for longer, saving you break downs and repair bills. Longer oil change intervals have proven problematic for newer vehicles engine systems as well, causing premature engine warning lamps and damage to timing and oiling systems. Symptoms include no power, engine lamps, oil consumption and engine noises. $10 OFF FLUID EXCHANGES EXPIRES 3/31/2020.

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Why is my car Shaking?

Have you ever been driving your car and it shook so much you felt like you were riding through a jungle? Well, here are three common problems that can cause a car to shake.

  1. The most common reason for a car to shake is related to tires.  If the tires are out of balance then the steering wheel can shake. This shaking starts at around 50-55 miles per hour (mph).  It gets worse around 60 mph but starts to get better at high speeds.
  2. Sometimes brake rotors can be the cause of shaking.  If your steering wheel shakes while you are braking then the problem could be caused by “out of round” brake rotors.  This vibration can also be felt through your brake pedal.
  3. Another common problem that can cause shaking is when a brake caliper sticks on.  When this happens you will experience a vibration through the steering wheel starting at 45 to 50 miles per hour.  It will get very bad the faster you go, and you will also smell a burning odor when you stop.

The good news is that these problems are easily avoided or corrected.

The tire problem can be avoided by purchasing good quality tires and by having all of the tires carefully inspected when your car goes in for preventative maintenance service.

The brake problem can be avoided by including brake caliper service when your brakes are due for maintenance.  This is particularly important for vehicles that have over 75,000 miles on them.  And, like your tires, have all of your brake pads inspected as part of a regularly scheduled preventive maintenance program.

In fact, by sticking to your manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance program, you can avoid or predict these problems.  Normally, the brake and tire inspections are performed when you have an oil change.  In the case of customers who put very little mileage on their cars, this will be performed at the six month vehicle check-up.

Tires wearing in a strange way or having a wheel that’s out of round can both be signs of what’s causing a vibration issue.  You may need a alignment check .  If one of the front or rear brake pads (out of four) is seen wearing more than the other, this is a sign that the brake caliper is sticking.

There are many other things that can cause your car to shake. We suggest bringing your vehicle to All Phase Auto Repair to have it properly diagnosed.

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