Our Current Blog Articles
June 20, 2018
Does My Car Engine Need To Be Rebuilt
Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs has put together a list of the most common signs you need car engine repair or a rebuild. Here at our auto shop, we receive plenty of customers with engine trouble, especially during the winter months. We know it's all too common for drivers to put off visiting their local auto repair shop, even when their dashboard warning lights are flashing. And this often results in a complete breakdown of your car. This is not only inconvenient, but it also means that severe damage has been done to your engine and it may require a complete rebuild.
If your vehicle's engine is struggling to perform, it will let you know. The important thing is to be able to recognize the signs of engine trouble and know the difference between a superficial issue and imminent engine failure. Check out the following symptoms and if you notice something similar happening to your car, do not ignore it. Nobody wants to be stuck without their vehicle. So, bring your car to the experts at Bowers Automotive if you notice any of the following signs you need car engine repair or a rebuild.
Thick white smoke billowing out of your tailpipe is caused by one thing only. Coolant and water leaking into the combustion chamber and mixing with the fuel to produce distinctive white smoke. If the coolant has made its way into the combustion chamber, it is usually due to one of three possible reasons: a blown head gasket, a cracked engine block or a damaged cylinder head. These problems can occur if the engine is running hot and can be costly to repair.
Check your engine oil dipstick for changes in color and consistency of the oil. A gooey consistency and brown color indicate that coolant has mixed with the engine oil. When the engine has cooled completely, you can check the level of coolant in the radiator. It will most likely be low, due to the fluid escaping into other areas of the engine. To determine exactly how extensive the damage to your engine is, a technician can remove the cylinder head to examine.
Notice black smoke coming from your exhaust? There's no need to panic just yet. Black smoke usually means your fuel to air ratio is unbalanced, or that your engine is running rich. There are precise mechanisms in your engine that control the amount of air entering the combustion chamber, keeping it in proportion to the amount of fuel and ensuring optimum combustion. If there is a malfunction, too little air is mixed with the fuel, and black smoke is the result. Targeted engine repair by a technician should resolve this problem quickly and easily.
If you see blue smoke coming from your vehicle, the most likely culprit is burning engine oil. Broken seals and general wear and tear can create gaps for engine oil to leak through. To find the location of the leak, your auto mechanic will need to check the top end of the engine where broken valves around the cylinder heads could be responsible.
It's also possible that the bottom end of the engine could be where the issue lies. Worn piston rings that no longer seal properly could be allowing oil to enter the combustion chamber. If you notice blue smoke and low oil levels at the same time, it’s one of the signs you need car engine repair or a rebuild. You are probably burning considerable amounts of oil, and your problem can only get worse. If this problem is not dealt with quickly, you can be looking at paying for serious and extensive repairs of the engine.
Harsh banging noises coming from your engine are an immediate warning sign that something is wrong. Usually, these sounds are coming from the bottom end of your engine where you have high-intensity movement by pistons and the crankshaft. A bearing failure at one of these points can initiate the loud knocking sound. Often this occurs at the piston wrist pins, where the connecting rods meet the corresponding pistons.
Hearing these noises should set the alarm bells ringing in your head immediately as they are common signs you need car engine repair or a rebuild. If you choose to keep driving, you will hear the engine clatter even more in response to acceleration or when climbing a hill. Forcing the car to keep going in that state will cause progressive mechanical damage and is a recipe for disaster. To avoid a complete engine rebuild, get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible and have the problem analyzed.
Loss of Power
Over the lifetime of your car, it can be expected to gradually lose power as general wear and tear takes its toll. This loss of power is usually imperceptible and happens over the course of many years. If you notice a marked difference in your vehicle's power, this could indicate trouble in the engine. Do not ignore a loss of power, especially if other warning signs are present such as unusual noises or rough running. If the physical power of your engine is failing, you are probably dealing with a major component failure somewhere in the engine. Only a trained auto technician will be able to identify the source of the problem and take action to fix it.
Ignore these signs you need car engine repair or a rebuild at your own risk. Unlike other components of your vehicle, the engine cannot be ignored once it shows signs of failure. The block, pistons, and valves that make up your engine undergo substantial mechanical strain to be able to power your vehicle enough to move. If they continue to work with faulty bearings, broken seals, cracks or a lack of lubrication, the mechanical parts are going to be severely damaged within a short period of time.
Avoid the cost and inconvenience of a complete engine rebuild by taking your car to Bowers Automotive at the first sign of trouble. Our team can use advanced diagnostic tools to pinpoint the problem quickly and carry out a speedy repair.
June 8, 2018
What Your Car Alternator Does
When it comes to understanding your car alternator, and everything else under the hood, it is best to consult the experts. Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs has been servicing vehicles since 1993. Our team offers friendly, efficient service at the right price. And helping customers understand their vehicles better is one of our passions. While many components of vehicles have modernized and changed over the past few decades, alternators have held their basic structure and function within your car.
What Does the Alternator Do?
The purpose of your car's alternator is to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, to produce an AC current that can be used to charge the battery. A standard car's battery lasts for years and does not need to charge from an outside source. This is thanks to the alternator, which harnesses mechanical energy from the motor while the engine is running and turns it into an electric current capable of charging the battery of your car.
The battery needs to maintain a constant charge in order to be capable of turning on the lights, radio, heating systems, GPS and internal computers within your car. If you have ever found that your car's battery is dead after not using the vehicle for an extended period, this is because the battery depends on a regularly running motor to remain charged.
How Does It Work?
Understanding your car alternator is a little complicated. It uses the principle of electromagnetic induction to produce electricity. This is when voltage is generated across a conductor by a changing magnetic field. The alternator is composed of an iron conductor with coils wound around it and a magnet that can be rotated inside the conductor. To create the changing magnetic field, the magnet must be physically rotated. Whenever the engine is running, the moving drive belt produces the force necessary to set the magnet rotating.
What Happens When the Alternator Malfunctions?
Some signs of a failing alternator include dimmed headlights, failing electrical components and difficulty starting the car's ignition. A loosened belt could be the culprit, and the problem can be easily solved by having it tightened up.
If you notice that your battery fails to retain a charge, leaks or is completely dead, it may be time to replace the alternator. A good way to check for an alternator malfunction is to charge the battery from an external source. A loud grinding noise will be produced by the alternator if the bearings have started to go and need to be replaced.
At Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs, we have the latest in diagnostic tools and auto repair technology. We can take the guesswork out of understanding your car alternator by quickly identifying any malfunctions. We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality, reliable repair services. If you suspect any issues with your vehicle's electrical system or mechanical parts, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. More often than not, the quicker we address the problem, the easier it is to fix!
April 18, 2018
How Do I Tell If My Car is Having Electrical Problems
Today, Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs will help you figure out if your car is having electrical problems. This system controls more than you may realize. Everything from the starter, sensors, power windows, dome lights, headlights, and even the brake lights are all controlled via the electrical system.
So when it fails, a situation can pretty tricky, pretty quickly. So, let’s talk about what signs to look for to determine if your car is having electrical problems. That way, you can have it fixed by the experts here at Bowers Automotive before it worsens, and you’re put in a tough situation.
This is probably the worst situation to be in. Not being able to start up the engine and go is never pleasant. However, this problem can generally be narrowed down to either the starter or the battery.
Cabin Electronics Not Working
Vehicles these days include a myriad of electronic devices such as GPS systems, tiny TV screens, and of course the stereo. If any of these are not working, it very well may be a problem with the electronic system. This could mean corroded wiring or failing components. However, another possibility is that a fuse is blown. Have this checked by your trusted auto repair specialist at Bowers Automotive.
A battery terminal will show signs of corrosion in the form of white or blue crystals that are clumped around the terminals. If you are knowledgeable in these matters, go ahead and carefully clean them off yourself, but be extremely careful if you use chemical cleaners as they can burn skin and eyes easily. Otherwise, just come into Bowers, and we can provide a thorough cleaning and sealing process to repair and even extend the life of your car battery.
Any dimming of lights inside or outside of your vehicle is most often an indicator that you car is having electrical problems. If you notice only one light dimming such as the dome light, try replacing the bulb. If the problem persists, the problem is more likely with the broader system. Just come on in, and we can determine the source of the problem and get it fixed quickly in most cases.
Possibly the most common sign of an electrical problem is a burning smell. The smell of melting plastic or rubber can indicate an electrical component of the vehicle has shorted out. A short causes an electrical wire to draw too much current. If this happens, the wire will heat up and melt the plastic insulation covering it. You may also see smoke. This can be a minor or a major issue.
No matter what the problem is, we have the solution at Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs. Call for an appointment or come by the shop if your car is having electrical problems. We’ll take a look at the entire system, including your battery, starter and alternator, as well as all wires and connections. We’ll find and fix the issue so you can get back on the road with a safe and reliable vehicle.
April 8, 2018
Spring Car Care and Maintenance
With the change in seasons, Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs offers our favorite spring car care and maintenance tips to get you ready for the open road. Our team of specialists can provide a thorough inspection and any auto repair services needed to get you ready for spring and summer fun.
Read on to get the best spring car care and maintenance tips.
The windshield is an indispensable part of your vehicle’s safety. During the winter, sand and rocks are used to help drivers maintain traction in snowy weather. But those rocks and gravel on the road can fly up and hit your windshield, causing chips and cracks. Before you head out on a spring or summer road trip, be sure to get your windshield repaired or replaced for unhampered driving.
Make sure that you see clearly through the windshield especially when the rain hits this spring. Get your wiper blades changed and even upgraded for a higher quality driving experience.
Another essential safety element of driving is your tires. Keep your vehicle’s tires inflated according to the owner’s manual recommended PSI for a safe trip, near or far. Extend the life of your vehicle's tires with balancing and rotation. Check the tread to ensure there are no bruises or cuts on the sidewalls.
Check all interior and exterior lighting including headlights, hazards, turn signals, brake lights, dome light, and more. If these are not up to par, an emergency could take an unnecessary turn for the worse.
The fluids coursing through your vehicle all perform essential tasks. Be sure that all fluid levels are correct and if not, then top them off. However, low fluid levels can also indicate a leak, so it’s best to have your vehicle looked over by our professionals. We can spot the signs of a leak and get it fixed.
Oil and Filter
We all know that the engine oil in our cars is indispensable. Keep your vehicle happier and healthier with regular oil changes according to the owner’s manual instructions. An oil filter change is a must as well. Forgetting to change either one of these on a regular basis will inevitably lead to problems with the engine and more expenses down the road.
Winter weather temperatures can wreak havoc on your vehicle charging system. So, as part of your spring car care regimen, check that the battery is mounted securely, the terminals are free of corrosion, and it's tightly connected.
Belts and Hoses
These take a beating in the cold weather. Check the belts for cracking, fraying, glazing, or looseness and check the hoses for leaking, blistering, cracking, softening or hardening or any other visible damage.
All of the filters on your vehicle will need replacement periodically. Extend the life of your car with a filters checkup this spring. Just give us a call, we’d love to help.
There is no time like the present, so come in and see us at Bowers Automotive for spring car care and maintenance so that you can drive all year long with no problems. We look forward to you dropping by or scheduling with us soon.
March 13, 2018
How Do I Change the Car Oil?
How do I change the car oil? Here at Bowers Automotive of Colorado Springs, we love to see car owners showing an interest in basic auto mechanics. One of the easiest things to learn to do by yourself is to change the motor oil. This is something that every vehicle needs fairly often. Even if you don't plan on doing it by yourself, there's no harm in knowing how to do it, just in case.
Motor oil is needed by your engine to lubricate it's moving parts. When your car has plenty of clean oil, it runs smoothly, uses less fuel and doesn't overheat due to excessive friction between the engine parts. Over time, oil can break down, pick up dirt and turn into a thick sludge-like substance that does not efficiently lubricate the engine. If you change the car oil before it gets to this stage, you’ll ensure that it runs in top condition.
A regular oil change is one of the most important parts of vehicle maintenance. Your car's manual will state how often the oil should be changed. At an auto shop, you may be able to get an oil change for between $30 and $55. A DIY oil change will probably cost you about $24, or closer to $35 if you also change the filter. In reality, you probably won't end up saving a lot of money by changing the oil yourself, but it's an excellent skill to have.
Gather Your Equipment
To change the car oil, you will need the following tools and materials:
- Jack and jack stands
- Plastic sheet or cardboard to catch any spills
- Safety goggles
- Box end or open end wrench
- Oil collection/recycle container
- Oil filter wrench
- New oil filter
- New oil
Before You Change the Car Oil
It's a good idea to collect all the required tools and materials together before you begin. Find a level and stable surface to jack up the car safely. Lay down some plastic sheeting, cardboard or plywood under the vehicle to avoid creating a mess with spilled oil. You may want to use a foam mat to get under the car.
If you have been driving the car in the previous hour or two, the engine oil will be extremely hot. Allow it to cool for at least a few hours before attempting to change it; otherwise, you can risk burning yourself badly. If the engine is completely cold, it's helpful to start the vehicle and leave the engine running for five minutes. This will warm up any old, congealed oil and get flowing better.
Drain the Old Oil
The first step to change the car oil is draining out the old stuff. Look for an oil pan at the very bottom of your engine. You should see the drain plug at the bottom of the pan; it looks like an oversized bolt. Before touching the plug, position your oil container beneath it.
Using the box end wrench, loosen the drain plug. Remove the cap with one quick movement to avoid getting your hand covered in oil as it starts to drain out. Allow all the oil to drain into your container. You can get this oil recycled at most full-service gas stations and auto shops. Replace the drain plug and tighten it according to your vehicle's torque specifications.
Remove the Old Oil Filter
Next, you have to remove the old oil filter. Using the oil filter wrench, crank the filter counterclockwise until it comes loose. Be aware that there will probably be some old oil held in the filter that can splash out. Make sure the rubber gasket comes away with the filter. If it is still stuck to the engine, you will have to peel it off.
Prepare and Install the New Oil Filter
Take your new filter and use some fresh oil to coat its rubber gasket before installing it. Fill the new oil filter about 2/3 of the way up with new oil. Now you can carefully hand-screw it clockwise into place. Remember to move it slowly to prevent the oil splashing out. There is no need to screw the new filter into place with a wrench, as this might overtighten it. Use your hand to get it as tight as you can; that will be sufficient.
Refill the Oil
Now it's time to refill the engine with oil. Under the hood of your car, look for the oil fill cap. Open it up and place the funnel inside for easy pouring. Before you start to fill it up, check the owner's manual for the oil capacity of the engine. You want to pour a little over 3/4 of this amount into the engine at first. If you are using single quart containers, it should be easy enough to measure it out, and the 5-quart containers will have markings on the side of the bottle to show you how much you are using.
Check the Oil Level
When you change the car oil, the reason you don't add the full volume of oil at once is that there is always some old oil that remains trapped within the engine and tubes. If you don't take this into account, you may accidentally overfill the engine and make a mess.
Use the dipstick to check the current level of oil in the engine. Remember to wipe off the oil before checking the level, as it may be still covered up to the level of the old oil. If the oil is below the lower mark, continue to add more little by little until it reaches the correct level. Remember to replace the oil fill cap.
Now you know the basics of how to change the car oil. While it’s not complicated, it does require some patience and advance preparation. If you are not sure about tinkering with the inner-workings of your car, there's no need to worry. At Bowers Automotive, we can give you a great deal on a basic oil, lube and filter service. Whether you do it yourself or leave it to the professionals, the important thing is to make sure to change the oil at the recommended intervals.