We’re often asked questions about the cooling system – the system that cools your engine and keeps it at the proper operating temperature. Let’s examine the topic in two areas: first the coolant itself and, second, the parts that make up the cooling system.
The coolant is the mix of water and antifreeze that circulates through the engine to draw off heat. First, you need to have the proper amount. If you don’t have enough coolant it can’t keep your engine cool.
You also need the right kind of coolant. Different makes of vehicles require different coolant formulation to protect against corrosion.
Finally, your coolant needs to be fresh. Over time and miles, the anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted and the coolant can start to eat away at the cooling system parts. Your owner’s manual and your service adviser can help you with the recommended coolant replacement schedule and make sure you’re getting the right type of coolant.
Now let’s talk about the cooling system components. These will all eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Starting with the radiator, we see them coming into the shop with leaks or clogged with deposits. Depending on the damage, we will clean, repair or replace. We also see radiator pressure caps that can no longer hold the proper pressure. We recommend replacing pressure caps when you change your coolant to avoid this problem. We see leaky water pumps and hoses that need to be replaced. There’s also a part called the thermostat that opens and closes to regulate the flow of coolant. Sometimes they stick open or closed and the cooling system won’t work properly.
Engine damage from overheating can be very expensive to fix so it’s important to maintain your cooling system properly with scheduled coolant replacement and periodic inspections of the cooling system. Certainly, come in if you suspect a leak and have us take a look.
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All Phase Auto Repair 300 Eastern Blvd. Baltimore, Maryland 21221 410-687-5030 http://allphaseautorepair.com
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All Phase Auto Repair understands the best way to stay ahead of gas prices is to stop in for our exclusive “Digital Courtesy Inspection.” Your Vehicle could be costing you money in ways you may not be aware of. Brake issues like rusted slides, Exhaust leaks or clogs, Check Engine Lamps On, worn Spark Plugs, Suspension and Steering issues, Fluids, Tires and more, can waste your money, time, and fuel. Our “Digital Courtesy Inspection” is as detailed as Maryland State Inspection and covers many parts of the checklist but cheaper, and more focused on fuel savings. Call Terri
Are you hearing a squeal, clunk, or clank? Don’t put your headphones on and tune out! Learn which car noises should have you headed to your mechanic as soon as possible and which noises are less than urgent.
SOUND #1: THE SQUEAL OF A BANSHEE WHEN YOU BRAKE
What you hear: A high pitched squealing coming from your tires when you step on the brake pedal.
What’s happening: The brake pad indicator is rubbing up against the rotor.
Cause for concern? This isn’t an emergency. The brake pad indicator is there to let you know when your brake pads have worn down and need to be replaced. While you’re not in any immediate danger, you’ll want to plan to have your brake pads replaced in the near future. When it’s convenient for you, make an appointment for a brake inspection before the squeal turns into a scream.
SOUND #2: THE SQUEAL OF A BANSHEE, BUT UNDER THE HOOD
What you hear: A loud squealing noise coming from under the hood.
What’s happening: This is a classic sign of a loose or worn drive belt.
Cause for concern? Yes, because the serpentine belt powers all of your car’s major systems. A squealing serpentine belt is one that could be about to break. When an old serpentine belt snaps, drive torque to all of the engine’s accessories is lost and you’re left, well…”up the creek” with a car that won’t go. Unless you want to throw down some money for a tow truck, scheduling an appointment for a vehicle inspection may be in your best interest. Your mechanic can help you understand how much life, or how little life, may be left in this essential engine component.
SOUND #3: A CAT THAT DOESN’T WANT TO BE TOUCHED
What you hear:Sounds like a grumpy cat, “rur rur rur,” when you start the engine.
What’s happening:Your battery is losing juice and is struggling to power the engine.
Cause for concern? This is less of a safety concern and more of a convenience concern, as your car could end up failing to start tomorrow, next week, or next month—it’s tough to make an exact prediction. A slow engine crank paired with this unfortunate noise means your battery is on the fritz. It may be low on fluid, be past its prime, or need a jump. Head over to All Phase Auto Repair for a free battery test and our car whisperers will let you know how much “life” is left in your battery.
SOUND #4: A RUMBLE & ROAR UNDER YOUR REAR
What you hear: A loud roaring sound coming from somewhere underneath the driver’s seat.
What’s happening: You probably have a leak or crack in your exhaust manifold. The roaring you hear is excess engine noise that would normally get silenced by the muffler. When your exhaust system fails, all of your engine’s sound waves and vibrations get channeled into the car.
Cause for concern? The driver’s seat is vibrating like a massage chair, which is kind of nice. And the noise isn’t too noticeable when the radio is cranked up. Maybe you can let this one slide? Nope. A malfunctioning exhaust system means that you could have poisonous carbon monoxide venting into the cabin. Don’t delay—this is a sound you want to get checked out right away!
SOUND #5: FLAPPING, LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER
What you hear: A flapping or slapping sound when you run the air conditioner or blowers.
What’s happening: A loose, misaligned or worn out ventilation flap is, well…flapping.
Cause for concern?No biggie. This might impact your airflow and the sound will likely drive you a little nuts, but it’s not a serious safety issue. Turn up the tunes, roll down your window, and feel free to get to it when you have time. Or, nip this annoying little problem in the bud by scheduling an AC service.
SOUND #6: A GIANT, GROANING YAWN
What you hear: When you turn the steering wheel, the car groans and whines like it just woke up from a deep and pleasant slumber. The steering wheel may also feel stiff and unresponsive.
What’s happening: Something in your power steering system is causing friction. The power steering pump could be a issue.
Cause for concern? Yes. Have your power-steering system checked out. As the problem worsens, you’ll slowly lose control over the car’s steering. You could also cause further damage to the rest of the power-steering system. This is a significant safety issue. Schedule a checkup at All Phase Auto Repair as soon as you can. In the meantime, try not to make any fast or sudden turns.
SOUND #7: RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT—SQUEAK!
What you hear: The steering column squeaks when you turn the wheel.
What’s happening: Like a groaning steering wheel, this is an indicator of an issue with the power-steering system, but a light squeak is less concerning than a major groan. It’s likely a symptom of low power-steering fluid.
Cause for concern? Not as big of a safety concern as Sound #6. If topping off your power-steering fluid fixes the problem, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. This fluid is the cheapest part of your power-steering system and changing it/keeping it topped off can help extend the life of the much pricier power-steering pump and rack. If replacing the fluid doesn’t squelch the squeak, you may have a leak in your power-steering lines. Keep an eye on it.
SOUND #8: ARE WE AT A METAL SHOW? OR IS THAT MY BRAKES?
What you hear: Loud, metal on metal grinding sound coming from your brakes.
What’s happening: You’ve worn right through your brake pads and now the calipers are grinding against the rotor.
Cause for concern? When it comes to your car, metal on metal grinding is almost always a cause for concern. In this case, your brakes won’t work properly until you get the pads replaced. What’s more, driving without brake pads is dangerous. When you hit the road, don’t let it hit you back. Schedule a brake inspection service today.
When your car works, everything works. If your car is trying to tell you something is out of whack, listen. Then turn to All Phase Auto Repair for all of your noise-related questions or repair needs.
Winter is still beating us up and putting strain on your vehicles systems including electrical, cooling, power steering, engine, and more. All Phase Auto Repair can get you ready for spring no matter what your vehicle needs are. All Phase Advises customers to start and drive those sitting vehicles so batteries do not go dead. Slow cranking, clicking, blinking or no lights are all symptoms of bad batteries. All Phase Auto Repair will help you get to spring with FREE BATTERY TESTS and #FREECOURTESYINSPECTIONS. 410-687-5030 CALL TERRI for your free courtesy check.
Having car trouble can be incredibly frustrating, but it can also be a safety issue if you’re already on the road. Here are some tips that may help keep you and your passengers safe if your car breaks down or you get a flat tire.
1. TURN ON YOUR HAZARD/EMERGENCY LIGHTS
Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers as soon as you sense something’s wrong. Keep them on until help arrives.
2. SLOW DOWN AND PULL OFF THE ROAD
Aim for the right shoulder of the road. Consumer reports recommends that you pull over to a safe, flat location that is as far away from moving traffic as possible.
3. TURN YOUR WHEELS AWAY FROM THE ROAD AND PUT ON THE EMERGENCY BRAKE
This could help prevent the car from rolling into traffic.
4. STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE
If you’re on a highway or crowded road, avoid getting out of your vehicle to look at the damage or fix a mechanical problem. If you need to get out of the car, get your vehicle to a safe place and make sure the road around you is completely clear. If you’re stopped on the right-hand side of the road, get out through the passenger-side door.
5. BE VISIBLE
Once you’re safely out of the vehicle, prop up your hood to let other drivers know they should proceed with caution. This will alert other drivers that you’re broken down.
6. SET UP FLARES OR TRIANGLES
Place flares or triangles with reflectors behind your car to alert other drivers to the location where you’ve stopped.
7. CALL FOR HELP
Call or use an app to get a tow truck, mechanic or roadside assistance to come help. your insurance company or other provider who may be able to help. If you’re in an emergency situation or are not sure who to contact, call 911 or the local police for help.
CONSIDER A ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE MEMBERSHIP PLAN
Before you find yourself in a tough situation, you may want to consider getting roadside assistance. Knowing you’ll have help in case of a breakdown, or another unexpected car issue can offer peace of mind. Roadside assistance plans may provide services like:
You may be able to purchase roadside assistance from your car insurance company or from an independent provider.It’s important to be prepared for the unexpected, especially on the road. Hopefully you’ll avoid any bumps in the road, but it’s helpful to know what to do just in case.
” WHY IS MY VEHICLE MAKING NOISES” All Phase Auto Repair diagnoses many issues with our customers vehicles including steering and suspension systems. Often times these noises come back to these systems. Extreme forces exerted on system components can and will cause rapid wear that can cause many unwanted noises before they fail. Wheel bearings, struts, springs, ball joints, steering and suspension linkages and tires are by far the most common noise related problems we find. Today’s vehicle often has prolonged oil and filter changes keeping you away from critical vehicle checkups leading to failures with these systems compounding repair bills and inconvenient breakdowns. All Phase utilizes #FREECOUERTESYINSPECTIONS to help out, this can often pinpoint problem areas before diagnostics are involved. Of course, we can find all those hard-to-find noises most shops can’t for a minimal charge. Call for your appointment today. https://allphaseautorepair.napavision.com/topic/suspension/
No car has ever broken down at the “right time”. Whether you’re sitting in a car that won’t start, or preparing for the future, this list might help you figure out what’s wrong with your car. Take a look at these 6 common reasons why your doesn’t start to see if any of these symptoms match your car’s issue.
Warning:If your car won’t start, avoid turning the key for extended periods of time. In cold weather, letting the engine try to turn over for a while might seem like it will work, but if you try to crank the starter engine for more than 15 seconds, you may damage the starter engine.
If you turn the key and the engine won’t crank:
You most likely have an electrical problem.
For any number of reasons, your battery might have died. This is the most common reason for a car to die, and therefore the best reason to keep jumper cables in your car. Once you have your car jump-started, the alternator should recharge the battery as long as the car is running.
If this problem happens frequently, you may be able to help the problem by cleaning out any corrosion that has gathered around the battery terminals. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you will need to replace the battery.
Starter Engine Issues
If you can locate the starter under the hood of your car, you can check if it’s the source of the problem. If you don’t hear clicking when you start the engine, the problem may be a dead battery. If you hear clicking, but the engine doesn’t crank, the starter might not be getting enough electricity.
Using your owner’s manual and a voltmeter, you should be able to test functionality.
Broken or Damaged Ignition
Similar to the starter engine, a broken or damaged ignition switch can stop your car from starting. If your headlights can turn on, but your car won’t crank, that means that your battery is charged, but either the starter or ignition is the problem.
If the starter or ignition is the problem, a starter engine can be jumped by using a charged battery.
If the engine cranks, but the car won’t start:
If an engine is cranking, but will not start, you know that your electrical is good. For the car to start running correctly, you need a few ingredients: spark, air, fuel, and compression.
If you suspect that the problem may be fuel related, there are a couple of solutions. If the weather is cold enough, your fuel line may have frozen, and would need to be thawed. Two more common solutions are:
Gas Tank is Empty
Even if your gas tank isn’t showing that the tank is empty, this could still be the issue. A miscalibrated fuel gauge can lead you to run out of gas.
Fuel Filter Needs to be Replaced
Check your owner’s manual to find out how often, or how long ago your fuel filter should have been changed. A clogged fuel filter will stop gas from reaching the engine. If you frequently run your car to empty, your fuel filter could look much worse.
If your car will crank, but not start, you may not be getting a spark. A spark is used to ignite the fuel, allowing the car to start. It is possible to check for a spark yourself, but this is likely outside of the skill set of the average driver and should be left to a mechanic.
If you have any difficulties starting your car, H&H Mobil can bring your car into the shop and run a full diagnostic on it to see if any or multiple of these reasons are causing issues with your vehicle.
If one of the above reasons is why your car doesn’t start, contact All Phase Auto Repair to have a professional take a look at your car and help you safely get back on the road as soon as possible.
Here are 5 tips from All Phase Auto Repair for used car buyers:
1. Ask for service records. Most owners who document regular maintenance service take care of their vehicle.
2. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Check for uneven tire wear, alignment, suspension issues, strange sounds and funky odors.
3. If everything checks out up to this point, take it to All Phase Auto Repair for a thorough used car inspection. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at All Phase Auto Repair can give you a heads up on any pressing issues or emerging problems that will need to be addressed eventually. If the seller won’t let you do this before you buy, move on.
4. Buy a CarFax report. This will show any major accidents and title status concerns including whether it is a salvaged vehicle. You don’t want a car that was underwater for a week after Hurricane Sandy.
5. After you buy, stay on top of regular maintenance (and save the records). All Phase Auto Repair will help keep your car running well and you will enjoy not having a car payment.
As always, give us a call if you have any specific questions.
Summertime is the period where you’re banking on your car AC to keep you comfortable as you weave your way through traffic under the unforgiving sun. When your AC is functioning well you look forward to taking a ride in the car, but if it starts to malfunction, it can be a hellish experience because the temperature of a hot car can quickly hit 140 degrees or more.
The first sign that tells you something is wrong, is when you turn on the AC but all you feel is warm air blowing out of the air vents. What could be the problem?
There are several culprits that could be responsible for your AC problems, and today we’ll explain 5 reasons why your car AC is blowing hot air and how to fix it, so you can troubleshoot the unit by yourself and get it up and running, or to at least have an idea of what the problem is before taking it in for repairs.
The five most common car A/C issues are:
Faulty cooling fans
Your AC Refrigerant Is Leaking
If your car AC is blowing hot air, it is very likely that the refrigerant in the unit is low. A refrigerant is a special kind of gas (but compressed to liquid) that gives the unit its cooling ability.
What it does is absorb heat from inside your car and radiate or give off the heat outside the vehicle thereby making the interior cooler than the temperature outside.
When the refrigerant circulating in the AC is low or leaking, the unit doesn’t have enough power to perform its cooling function – kind of like when someone has lost too much blood.
The problem in identifying where the leak is due to the nature of the refrigerant.
It is a liquid when inside the unit, but when there’s a fault in the pipeline that it flows through, it escapes as a gas which makes it tough to pinpoint the exact location where it is leaking from.
The most common place where refrigerant can leak from are joints and connection hoses in the unit.
It can leak anywhere in the evaporator, the condenser, the compressor, or in the copper coil.
Like I already mentioned, the liquid refrigerant becomes gas when it leaks, so you won’t see the normal tell-tale puddle of water under the car, you’ll possibly see an oily substance collect around the area that’s leaking.
You or preferably a technician can use a sealant to plug this leak.
I recommend getting a professional air conditioning technician to fix the problem, they’ll inject a dye into the unit to trace and fix all leaks.
Problems With The Electrical System
Your car’s electrical is a jungle of cables, fuses, relays, and switches.
When everything is in sync and working as they should, the electrical system delivers the needed power to run the AC unit, providing you cool air and comfort on demand.
If one of these components in the electrical system fails due to a defect in the system, age, or a power surge. The system is designed to shut power to certain components to prevent further damage or unsafe conditions for the user.
While this setup and protective features help prevent dangerous fires from growing in the electrical system, it also means that something as simple as a blown fuse could cause your AC to stop working.
You’ll need to inspect all the wires entering and exiting the AC to see if any wires are broken or frayed. You should also trace them all the way to the fuse box to see if there’s a broken fuse. If notice any wire that looks melted or burnt, then you’ll need to replace them and possibly change a fuse.
I have to warn you, it’s quite difficult to locate or isolate the cause of an electrical problem without the proper test instruments and the necessary experience to diagnose such problems.
If you’re unable to detect any electrical issue in the system, then it’s time to take your vehicle to the garage for further diagnosis.
The AC Condenser Is Bad
The condenser is the part of the AC unit that’s responsible for radiating or dissipating the heat from the liquid refrigerant coming from the compressor.
When this component works as expected, it allows the liquid refrigerant to cool down a bit so it can return to a gaseous state again as it flows back through the rest of the unit.
On and on, the cycle continues.
When the process fails, that’s when you get punched in the face by a fistful of hot air.
It looks a lot like the engine radiator, only a bit smaller. It is located at the front of the car, between the radiator and the grate.
You’ll spot a pair of cooling fans mounted in front of the condenser to help move the heat away from the unit.
When the ventilation holes on condenser are blocked by the accumulation of dirt and road debris, air won’t flow freely over the copper coil, thereby forcing the component to retain some of the heat and the result is weak cooling or hot air.
If on inspection the condenser doesn’t look blocked or clogged, you should ensure that the copper pipes look okay.
If there’s an area on the pipe that looks compressed, then it might be blocking the free-flow of refrigerant through the unit.
This might result from road projectile smashing into the pipe or an accident that caused a bump in your fender or bumper.
Bad Cooling Fans
Recall that I did mention that the condenser has a pair of cooling fans mounted in front of it. The compressor and the fan(s) work hand-in-hand to get rid of the heat, but if the fan isn’t blowing at the optimum speed needed to get rid of the eat, then the partially cooled refrigerant will leave the condenser bad into the unit.
A visual inspection will tell you if the fan is in good shape and is working properly.
They aren’t the sturdiest component on a vehicle, so consider checking them for cracks that may have formed from impact with road debris.
Other common issues that might cause the fan to operate below-par are fuses and electrical issues. You might have to get a replacement fan in some cases or the help of a professional to address the issue.
The Compressor Has Issues
The compressor is the heart of the AC and its job is to keep the refrigerant moving through the unit at all times.
If it is faulty, the refrigerant cannot move through the system and you will never get anything close to cool air.
Compressors rarely develop issues when you’re using them.
The most common cause of compressor failure is inactivity – try to imagine a component that wants to work all the time or it fails.
An extended period of inactivity tends to shock the component when you finally use it.
This extended period of inactivity perfectly coincides with winter when you don’t need the AC running, but you there’s something you can do to keep it active.
We recommend running AC on full speed for 10-15 minutes every two to three weeks irrespective of the outside temperature.
You could run it in the winter with the fan or air vent block, or maybe leave it on for some time before you lock the car and retire for the night.
Other Possible Issues
Your Compressor Clutch Is Bad
Another issue that might be affecting the performance of the compressor is the compressor clutch. What is a compressor clutch? What does it do?
A car AC compressor clutch is the part of the compressor that connects and disconnects the compressor from the engine’s mechanical power.
Simply put, it connects the compressor to the engine so it can harness the rotational motion that the engine produces to make cooling possible.
Unlike the transmission clutch that can transmit partial power, the AC compressor is either on (full power from the engine) or off (no power from the engine).
Since it cycles between on and off continuously, it is also subject to wear and tear. A slipping AC compressor clutch means there’s an incorrect air gap, shorted clutch coil, or just aging.
The compressor clutch won’t engage if:
The clutch fuse is blown
The clutch relay is faulty
System pressure is too low, which means the refrigerant is leaking.
System pressure is too high, which means there’s a blockage somewhere.
The thermal fuse or flow control valve isn’t working or is blown.
Improper clutch plate air gap
You’ll need the service of a professional car AC technician to figure out which of these is the issue.
A Faulty Expansion Valve
Whenever your car AC continuously switches back and forth between hot and cold, chances are that the expansion valve is faulty.
The job of the expansion valve is to distribute a certain quantity of refrigerant to the evaporator.
In a situation where the valve is clogged, the flow of refrigerant could be obstructed or without restriction.
If the refrigerant is restricted even slightly it can cause the expansion valve to get so cold that frost or ice collects on the exterior of the hardware.
The result? Your car AC blows warm on the inside but cold on the expansion valve.
If you notice a poodle or drops of fluid under the car, then it’s very likely from a bad expansion valve (assuming your radiator isn’t faulty).
This could help your mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.
What Does This Mean For You?
This list of car AC problems is by no means a comprehensive list of all the different things that could be responsible for your AC blowing hot air.
Most of them are fixable and very rarely will you need to overhaul your vehicle’s air conditioning system.
If you have the skills and experience to fix any of these issues yourself, then you should get the best replacement part you can find (if replacements are necessary) so you don’t have to do it twice.
Your friendly technicians at All Phase Auto Repair can diagnose and repair any problem with your AC system.
All Phase Auto Repair is a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility. The AAA Approved Auto Repair program approves only facilities that meet the highest standards in vehicle repair, competency, reliability, cleanliness, overall experience and fair pricing. Repair facilities, such as All Phase Auto Repair must also employ only trained, certified technicians, and offer timely repairs, convenient hours and courteous service. AAA makes sure that your automobile repairs are conducted only by professionals, and All Phase Auto Repair in Essex, MD is backed with the double industry standard 2 year / 24 month warranty .