Signs You Need Car Engine Repair or a Rebuild

Bowers AutomotiveSigns You Need Car Engine Repair or a Rebuild Bowers Automotive Colorado Springs 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.

White Smoke

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.

Black Smoke

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.

Blue Smoke

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.

Loud Noises

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.

What’s Causing You Check Engine Light?

what’s causing your check engine light Bowers Automotive Colorado SpringsAt Bowers Automotive, we want to help you figure out what’s causing your check engine light to illuminate. Our team of auto mechanic specialists in Colorado Springs is ready to operate on your vehicle, no matter the year, make, or model. Here is a quick guide to help!

Just in case, you have never experienced a check engine light coming on and staying on your dashboard, it is best to take your vehicle in as soon as possible to auto repair experts.

Unfortunately, driving your car with a check engine light on can irreparably harm the engine or any number of parts in the vehicle. So, do your best to come in right way to see what’s causing your check engine light. We can provide the engine diagnostics necessary to diagnose and resolve the issue quickly.

With a check engine light, the bottom line is there is a problem with the vehicle’s emissions system. The sooner addressed, the better! Basically, the engine control unit and the onboard diagnostics system monitors a variety of parameters for performance. If these parameters are exceeded, there is a problem, and the check engine symbol lights up.

The number of things that could be the cause of a check engine light illuminating is very long. But the more common check engine light problems include:

  • Blown head gasket
  • Loose or cracked manifold or hoses
  • Faulty oxygen sensors
  • Deteriorating or pinched fuel injector o-rings
  • Old spark plugs or spark plug wires
  • Exhaust gas recirculation valves sticking
  • Faulty fuel injector
  • Wet engine
  • Loose gas cap

For starters, go ahead and make sure that your gas cap is tightly secured. This is an actual cause of the check engine light to come on, so if this is the only problem, you’re in luck! If the check engine light remains on after a minute, the absolute best thing to do is drive directly to your favorite auto mechanic shop for help. Here we can run a variety of diagnostics in order to find out the cause of the problem accurately.

Some check engine light problems are simple, easy, and inexpensive to repair, while others are more costly and require more time to provide the labor. Once we discover the issue, we will be able to check in with you about performing the repair and getting your vehicle back to you as soon as possible. Keep in mind, that the longer one waits after the check engine light has come on, the more potential damage is done. Avoid costlier repairs by coming in immediately after noticing the check engine light.

Our team at Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs is ready to take action and repair any problem with your vehicle. We know that you cannot be without it, so we provide consistent quality auto repair for every one of our clients. Come by and see us as soon as possible to find out what’s causing your check engine light to come on. We will find out the problem and get it fixed quickly and efficiently, so you can get back to your life!

Car Repair You Shouldn’t Put Off

Car Repair You Shouldn't Put Off Bowers Automotive Colorado SpringsAt Bowers Automotive, we have 27 years of experience dealing with all of the car repair you shouldn’t put off. Our team is here to make your life better by helping you understand the basics of car maintenance and repair and how to keep yours running great for years. Proper care and maintenance based on these suggestions will increase the life expectancy of your vehicle and help it run smoother while doing so.

Engine Diagnostics

Your vehicle has an array of dashboard lights designed to communicate with the driver. If there is an issue, they will illuminate for a number of reasons, letting you know there is a problem that must be addressed. Anything from a check engine light to a tire air pressure warning light means that it is time to come in for a checkup. Do not ignore these lights! They are essential to keeping your vehicle from a major malfunction and will ultimately keep you and your family safe. So, do not hesitate to check in with our trusted auto repair technicians as soon as possible.

Brakes

Signs of wear and tear on your vehicle’s brakes include loud noises, grinding or high-pitched, as well as not stopping your car as quickly or easily as they should. A general rule of thumb is to change the brake pads every 25,000 miles, but there are many reasons why that number could be less. Due to driving conditions, amount of braking, road surfaces, and more, your car may need brakes sooner than later. No matter what, if you experience any of these signs, it’s a car repair you shouldn’t put off, ever.

Oil Change

On average, your vehicle will need an oil change every 3,000-7,000 miles. It all depends on how your unique vehicle runs and how much dirt and debris have collected. The lubrication effect of motor oil is essential for our cars, so it’s worth it to be on a consistent schedule for oil changes.

Tires

Get your tires rotated every 6000-8000 miles or every other oil change. This will ensure the most even wear possible on the tires, increasing their performance and life expectancy. Additionally, ensure that the tire pressure in your vehicle is at the optimum level. This too, contributes to better gas mileage and better wear of the tread of your tires. Check your tire pressure every month or so to make sure that you are getting the most miles out of them.

Windshields

As the main way to see where you are going while driving, our vehicle’s windshields are a crucial feature to take care of! If a chip or crack spreads enough, it can create a dangerous situation while driving, obstructing your vision. Avoid the chances of an accident by addressing windshield chips immediately or replacing the windshield entirely, if needed.

We can help keep you and your vehicle happy with complete automotive maintenance and repair services at Bowers Automotive. We always address the car repair you shouldn’t put off with knowledgeable and professional auto mechanic specialists. Come by today!

 

All About Your Car’s Braking System

All About Your Car's Braking System Bowers Automotive Colorado SpringsAt Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs, we can help you understand all about your car’s braking system. Brakes are one of the most important components for vehicle control. If you experience a malfunction in your braking system, you will be unable to decelerate the vehicle and driving will become a dangerous and frightening experience. Keeping your brakes maintained is part of general vehicle upkeep. Our team of auto technicians offers repair and replacement of all types of brake systems.

How Do My Brakes Work?

The first step in understanding all about your car’s braking system is to know how it works. Depending on your car, you will either have traditional hydraulic brakes or regenerative brakes. All braking systems have some components in common. To activate the brakes, the driver applies pressure to the brake pedal with their foot. The force applied by the foot is transferred proportionally by hydraulics or electronically to the wheels of your vehicle. Most drivers will be more familiar with hydraulic braking systems that incorporate either disc brakes or drum brakes to generate friction.

Hydraulic Brakes

Hydraulic technology in basic terms is using the movement of liquid in confined spaces to transfer force. In a typical hydraulic braking system, the force applied to the brake pedal by the driver’s foot will cause a piston to slide into the master cylinder. The master cylinder converts non-hydraulic pressure into hydraulic pressure. It does so by pushing brake fluid along the brake lines and into one or more slave cylinders. In a vehicle usually, there will be four slave cylinders, one for each wheel.

Upon reaching the wheels of the car, the hydraulic pressure is converted back to mechanical pressure and used to apply friction to the moving wheels, slowing their rotation. By varying the diameter of the pistons pushed by the pressure of the liquid, the force can be multiplied many times. This is how a small force such as that of the driver’s foot on the pedal can be harnessed and converted by hydraulic pressure into a force large enough to apply the necessary friction to slow down the momentum of a moving car.

Disc or Drum?

If you want to know all about your car’s braking system, this is a key area. Your brakes work by creating friction between the brake pads and either a disc or drum. Disc brakes consist of a caliper clamp that is placed over the rotating disc attached to the wheel hub. When the brake is engaged, hydraulic pressure is converted into mechanical pressure in the caliper, and this closes onto the disc, applying pressure from both sides with the brake pads. Over time, both the rotary disc and the brake pads will wear down. Brake pads must be replaced regularly and the disc can either be resurfaced or completely replaced by a qualified auto technician, depending on the degree of wear.

Drum brakes are found on the rear wheels of some older vehicles, but they are no longer the industry standard. A drum brake consists of a hollow rotating drum attached to the wheel hub that is slowed down by pressure from brake shoes located inside the drum. A wheel cylinder converts hydraulic pressure into mechanical pressure, forcing the brake shoes outwards to push against the inner surface of the rotating drum. Brake shoes are covered in a hard-wearing friction material, similar to that of brake pads.

Regenerative Brakes

Even if you know all about your car’s braking system, you may not know that hybrid and fully electric cars us a new type of braking system in order to maximize efficiency. These vehicles use an electric motor to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy to power the wheels. When such a motor is run in reverse, it is possible for mechanical energy to be converted to electrical energy and stored in a battery for later use. An electronic brake controller monitors the speed of the wheels, and when the driver engages the brake, reverses the motor, slowing the rotation of the wheels and collecting otherwise wasted mechanical energy from the momentum of the vehicle.

The electronic sensors and brake controller are vital in the successful operation of this system. If the brake controller detects insufficient power in the motor to handle the torque exerted by the rotating wheels, it will engage backup friction brakes to complete the deceleration. Taking advantage of this energy to keep the electric battery charge means that hybrids will rely less on their combustion engines and fully electric cars will be able to complete longer journeys between charging. Brake technology, in general, is moving away from being dependent on mechanical components and towards a ‘brake by wire’ system.

Troubleshooting Your Brakes

Once you understand all about your car’s braking system, you’ll be able to detect tell-tale signs if all is not well with your braking system. If you experience any of the following, do not delay in taking your car to a qualified mechanic:

  • Brake pedal goes all the way to the floor. This is not normal, a lack of resistance from the brake pedal could indicate that you are leaking brake fluid.
  • The car takes longer than usual to stop. This problem could be a result of a fault in the hydraulics or the brake rotors and shouldn’t be ignored.
  • If the steering wheel or brake pedal shakes when you engage the brake, you may need to replace warped brake rotors.
  • Squealing or grinding noises. These noises are your brake pads telling you that they are worn down to their limit. If they are not replaced soon, your braking will be less effective, and you can damage the disc.
  • Dashboard ABS light is on. This can mean that you are low on brake fluid or that there is a leak somewhere in your brake lines.
  • The car pulls to one side when braking. Your brakes are worn unevenly or misaligned. They will need to be adjusted by a technician.

Now that you know all about your car’s braking system, you know what goes into keeping it well maintained. Remember that at Bower’s Automotive, we can service all types of brake systems, from drums and discs to ABS electronic systems. As soon as you hear or feel signs of brake wear or malfunction, drop into our auto shop on Ford Street in Colorado Springs. Our team can get you back out on the road again as soon as possible.

Winter is Coming, Is Your Car Heater Working?

Winter is Coming, Is Your Car Heater Working? Bowers Automotive, Colorado Springs, ColoradoWinter is coming, is your car heater working? At Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs, we recommend that you take the time to either thoroughly check your vehicle’s heating system or bring it to be serviced by our pros before the winter weather strikes. 

We’ve noticed that many of our customers experience more problems with their vehicles during the transition into the winter months. A sharp decrease in temperature can put a strain on your car’s battery, lower the tire pressure and even freeze windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze. One of the most frustrating battles waged by drivers in winter is the struggle with their car heater. 

Now, that winter is coming, is your car heater working? Let’s take a look at potential issues you may experience. We recommend you don’t wait until that first below freezing day to crank on the heating system, only to be sadly mistaken. Take the opportunity now to check the vehicle’s heater and see what happens. Usually, there are three possibilities: 

  1. The heater springs to life immediately with a strong gust of warm air
  2. Air comes out of the heating vent, but it is not hot
  3. No air is circulated, and the heater appears to be dead 

Even if your test results in option one, keep the car heater on for the rest of the journey and turn it on once per week until you start needing it. This will give you a good chance to notice any abnormalities in its function. If you experience possibility number two, it might indicate that you have a problem in the heating core component. Option number three indicates an apparently dead heater system and has a number of different potential causes. 

Fortunately, car heaters are relatively simple structures that have not changed much over time. Most issues can be fixed quickly by an auto mechanic. Now, if you’re a car enthusiast with basic mechanical and electrical skills, you may be able to handle the easier repair jobs yourself. 

The first thing to do is to narrow down the cause of your car heater failure

Air Circulating, but No Heat

When you can feel cold air pushed out of the vents, this shows that the blower motor of your heating system is working just fine, but there is likely an issue with the heating core. The heating core has a similar structure and function as a radiator. Extremely hot anti-freeze fluid is continually passed through the heating core, so that air blown over the core by the blower fan, is warmed up before it enters the cabin and raises the temperature. If you have air, but no heat, it is likely that the flow of antifreeze through the heating core is insufficient in volume or blocked. 

If your antifreeze level is too low, there may not be enough circulating to produce heat in the heating core. With a cool engine, you can check the level of coolant by opening the hood and looking at the coolant reservoir. If it does not reach the ‘full’ line, you can top it off, then start your engine again and check if the heating system works. Low antifreeze levels or antifreeze with an unusual color or smell shouldn’t be ignored. If you are regularly losing antifreeze, you probably have a leak in your system, or even worse, a blown head gasket

A blockage in the flow of antifreeze can be caused by a build-up of debris in the heater box, a stuck blend door, or a blocked valve. To diagnose exactly where the blockage has occurred, your auto technician will use a non-contact infrared thermometer to take the temperature at different spots along the heater core hoses where hot antifreeze leaves the engine and enters the heater core box. A point where the temperature of the hose drops dramatically is likely the site of the blockage. The tech will remove the blocked hose and either clean or replace it 

No Airflow and No Heat

If your heater produces neither airflow nor heat, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. No airflow means a problem with your blower motor. The possible reasons for this are many, but they include a blown fuse or other electrical problem, a build-up of dust and dirt in the motor causing it to malfunction, and a complete burnout of the motor. To access the blower motor, it may be necessary to remove part of the dash and open the heater box.

If you suspect a vehicle electrical problem is at fault, first, replace any potentially blown fuses, before looking at the relay switch and blower resistor. A blown fuse can often cause your whole heater system to shut down, and it is easy enough to fix. Just remember never to replace a blown fuse with a larger fuse. If your fuses continue to blow, this is an important warning sign that something is amiss in your electrical wiring.

If you experience trouble when attempting to diagnose the problem with your car’s heating system, there is no need to hesitate before bringing it to Bower’s Automotive in Colorado Springs. We can provide a complete diagnosis and repair service for your vehicle. Our team of certified mechanics will use the latest diagnostic tools to pinpoint the source of the problem quickly. Once the problem has been identified, we can work on carrying out the necessary repair work quickly and affordably.

In some cases, repairing the heater in your car is as easy as replacing a fuse or topping off your antifreeze. In other more complex cases, it is better to leave the vehicle with a professional and not risk causing any more damage by tinkering around with it. Now that winter is coming, is your car heater working? At Bowers Automotive, we are happy to give your vehicle a fall check-up and make sure all systems are ready to handle winter conditions. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or stop by the shop on Ford Street.

How to Replace a Clutch

How to Replace a ClutchThis week at Bowers Automotive of Colorado Springs, we want to talk about how to replace a clutch. Understanding the basic inner workings of your vehicle and getting it to an automotive professional on time can make a huge difference in the cost and simplicity of a repair job.

A failing clutch is a common enough problem that usually occurs when the clutch ‘slips’ or completely fails to engage or disengage. This issue can occur for a number of reasons which we will discuss in more detail, along with an explanation of the method used to replace the faulty components in a failing clutch.

How Does the Clutch Work?

The clutch in manual transmission vehicles is used to allow the driver to change gears. To understand how the entire clutch system works and be capable of repairing or replacing it, you must have a basic understanding of all the different components of the clutch system and how they interact with each other. The clutch pedal, when pressed down by the foot of the driver, will disengage the clutch and allow the car to freewheel from the engine. Slowly easing off the clutch pedal engages the engine to the transmission and allows the transfer of engine power to the wheels.

When the clutch pedal is pressed, the clutch master cylinder produces hydraulic pressure using brake fluid from its reservoir. The hydraulic pressure created controls the movement of the clutch slave cylinder which is located on the bell housing of the transmission. The clutch slave cylinder is responsible for pushing the throwout bearing against the clutch pressure plate. The clutch pressure plate is in turn connected to the engine’s flywheel and crankshaft. Between the pressure plate and flywheel, there is located an asbestos-lined clutch disc which is used to create the necessary friction. 

The pressure of the throwout bearing causes the clutch disc to engage or disengage with the flywheel, allowing power to be transferred to the transmission input shaft. When the clutch pedal is engaged, and the engine is running, the clutch disc is stopped, while the flywheel and pressure plate are rotating at engine speed. This allows you to shift gears without grinding. It is the wearing down of the clutch disc surface that eventually causes the whole clutch to start ‘slipping’ over time. Other reasons for a faulty clutch include brake fluid leaks from the hydraulic components or faulty seals around the master and slave cylinders.

Servicing the Clutch

The most common reason for your vehicle to need a clutch service or replacement is a worn out clutch disc. The replacement components needed for this service include a new clutch disc, pressure plate, and throwout bearing. The first step in servicing the clutch is to jack up the vehicle and support it securely on jack stands. To reach the clutch system, the transmission must be removed first. In some models, it is also necessary to physically remove the exhaust system and drive shaft to access the transmission and clutch.

Once there is clear access to the clutch, the pressure plate can be removed from the flywheel. The pressure plate is securely bolted to the flywheel, and the clutch disc is held in place between them. As the bolts are undone, the pressure plate will move away from the fly disc, and the clutch disc must be supported to prevent it from falling out unexpectedly. When both the pressure plate and clutch disc have been worked free, it will be possible to inspect the surfaces for wear.

Inspecting the abrasive surfaces of a clutch disc usually reveals obvious signs of wear. Often, the asbestos or brake pad material used to coat the disc will be worn very thin, showing exposed metal. The surface of the flywheel can be examined for cracks and hot spots which may have appeared due to the intense friction. One important part of the clutch service is to re-machine the flywheel if it is not going to be replaced.

The next step in how to replace a clutch is to replace the pilot bearing. Over time this bearing can get worn out or lock up. If this happens, it is likely to allow the transmission’s input shaft to wander too much and make it difficult to disengage the clutch. After replacing the pilot bearing it is time to match up the new clutch. Placing the old clutch beside the new clutch disc and line them up to check that they have the same diameter and that the surface area of the abrasive material is similar. If there is a significant difference, there may be trouble engaging or disengaging the clutch with the replacement disc.

When it comes to how to replace a clutch, the flywheel and pressure plate contact surfaces should first be degreased with brake cleaner. The clutch disc has one side that protrudes more than the other. The protruding side must face the pressure plate. The pressure plate and clutch disc can then be lined up with the alignment dowels of the resurfaced flywheel and bolted in by hand. Before tightening the bolts, a clutch alignment tool can be used to ensure the disc lines up perfectly with the pilot bearing.

The bolts can then be gradually tightened in a star pattern to add pressure evenly and gradually. Before finishing the job, it is recommended to replace the throwout bearing, as this component has a high rate of failure. If the throwout bearing is attached to the clutch slave cylinder, then both should be replaced as one unit. The transmission and other components can then be replaced in the reverse order to how they were removed. When driving the vehicle straight after a clutch service, shifting gears can feel a little clunky over the first few miles as the clutch goes through its ‘breaking in’ period before smoothing out.

Knowing how to replace a clutch can be useful, especially for car enthusiasts. To do the job yourself, you will need the right tools and suitable protective clothing and a mask for working with asbestos. To save yourself time and possible frustration, it is recommended that you allow our team at Bowers Automotive to take care of your car for you. We offer a full range of high quality and affordable auto repair services to the drivers of Colorado Springs. Come see us!

Warning Signs that Your Engine is Overheating

Warning Signs that Your Engine is OverheatingKnowing the warning signs that your engine is overheating can save you from seriously damaging your car. Bowers Automotive of Colorado Springs often receives vehicles that have been driven for too long with an overheated engine. When your engine overheats, the pistons powering your car can expand and seize in the cylinder bore. If you continue to run the engine in this state, you can end up cracking the engine block and cylinder heads, resulting in a very expensive trip to the mechanic.

Your engine can overheat for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of this are mechanical failures such as broken fans or blown head gaskets. Problems with your car’s radiator and cooling systems, such as leaking coolant or a stuck thermostat can also result in your engine reaching a dangerously high temperature. Luckily, there are a number of warning signs that your engine is overheating. If you respond quickly, you will have the best chance of minimizing serious damage.

Hot Hood

When the engine is running, you can expect the hood to emit heat and feel warm to the touch. This is completely normal. If however, your car’s hood is extremely hot, this could be cause for concern. You should be able to comfortably place your hand on the hood for 10 seconds without burning it.

Temperature Gauge or Light

On your dashboard, you should see a warning light or gauge indicating the temperature of your engine. If the light flashes on or the gauge reads near maximum, it means there is excessive heat generating in your engine. However, this warning light cannot always be trusted to alert you of an overheating engine. It functions by measuring the temperature of the coolant, so in the case of a huge coolant leak, there would be nothing for it to measure.

Ticking Noise

If your engine is making an audible ticking noise, it means that your engine oil is failing to lubricate the moving parts sufficiently. When engine oil is overheated, it loses its lubricating properties and behaves more like water than oil. At high temperatures, if the mechanical parts of your engine are clacking against each other audibly you can expect them to undergo wear and tear at a much higher rate than usual.

Coolant Leaking on the Ground

If you notice a puddle of coolant under your car, it could be a sign of a leak somewhere in your cooling system. It also could indicate that your engine has overheated and boiled the coolant within the radiator, causing the overflow tank to release excess liquid to relieve the high pressure created. In either situation, your car’s cooling system no longer has the correct amount of coolant flowing through the engine, so it will be prone to overheating. 

Smells “Hot”

There is a distinctive odor emitted when the engine heats up enough to start burning oil. As the temperature increases, the rubber seals, plastic valves, and bits of resin holding the whole engine together may begin to melt, releasing fumes that you would not normally smell otherwise. Most people describe this unusual odor as a ‘hot’ smell. It’s also possible that leaking coolant containing ethylene glycol will fill your car with sweet-smelling, but toxic fumes. Any unusual odors are a bad sign and should not be ignored. 

Steam Coming from the Hood

Steam billowing out from underneath your hood is a sure sign that your engine is overheating. As soon as you notice, pull over and turn off the engine. Coolant that has reached its boiling point will convert into steam and build pressure within the cooling system. When it escapes from your car’s radiator cap or coolant reservoir, you will see it coming out from the front and sides of the hood.

Thumping Noises

The thermostat in your cooling system controls the valve allowing the flow of coolant to the radiator, ensuring efficient engine function. If this valve gets stuck, the trapped coolant in the engine block will become superheated. When cold coolant comes into contact with the superheated coolant, you will hear a loud thumping noise coming from the engine area. Getting the thermostat replaced usually fixes this issue.

Reduced Engine Power

An overheated engine may not be able to deliver enough power to keep your car moving at the rate you want it to move. If you sense the power in your engine is lacking, pay close attention to odd smells or noises that can corroborate engine overheating. Keep an eye on the dashboard temperature gauge or light and pull over if you think the engine is struggling.

If you notice one or more of these signs, there is a high chance that your engine is overheating. The wisest thing to do in this situation is to safely pull over as quickly as possible and turn off your engine. This will allow the engine to cool down naturally and prevent further damage. If you are going to raise the hood to allow excess heat to escape, remember to do so with caution, as escaping steam can easily burn you.

It is best not to touch anything under the hood until the engine has fully cooled down. Attempting to check the coolant level will likely result in a bad burn if the pressure has built up from excess heat. As you wait for the engine to cool, call a trusted local mechanic for advice. With a description of the symptoms, they should be able to advise you on whether to bring the car in yourself or have roadside assistance pick it up.

At Bowers Automotive, we can offer a complete range of auto services including engine repair and replacement, cooling system diagnostics, and electrical repair. We urge our clients and all drivers to pay close attention to any warning signs that your engine is overheating. Promptly addressing the issue will usually allow you to avoid complete engine failure. Save time and money by keeping your car regularly maintained and if you do notice any of the signs, just bring your vehicle to the shop.

How to Make Your Tires Last 10 Years

How to Make Your Tires Last 10 YearsThe experts at Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs have some advice on how to make your tires last 10 years. Most drivers have the idea that their tires should be changed around every two years, allowing some room for adjustment according to the road conditions and the frequency of use. It turns out that this rule of thumb is not as definite as you might think. The lifetime of a tire is highly dependent on where it is stored and how it is maintained.

It is true that the rubber material of tires does degrade over time, even without being in contact with the road. The main reasons for this are damage from ozone, temperature fluctuations, and UV rays. When stored indoors and at a stable temperature, you can prevent a lot of wear and tear on your tires. According to product specialists at Tire Rack, ordinary tires should last for six years of service and up to ten years total lifetime since manufacture.

So why do so many tires need to be changed at a much more frequent rate? The answer lies in the regular maintenance of your tires and better storage. To make the most of your tires and save money, you can follow these simple steps. Have your tire pressure checked and adjusted often. A typical tire will naturally lose 1 psi of pressure per month, and with every 10° increase or decrease of ambient temperature, you can expect to see a gain or loss of 1 psi.

Tires that are under or overinflated will suffer from an increased rate of wear and tear. If you can keep your pressure at the perfect level, you will slow down the wear of your tires significantly. The tire pressure monitoring systems in most vehicles will only alert you when the pressure has dropped below 75% of the recommended value. This is not sensitive enough to prevent damage to your tires and lower your fuel economy substantially. Checking the pressure with a gauge at ambient temperature every month and making necessary adjustments will make a big difference in the lifetime of your tires.

Keeping track of wear on your tire treads can save you some hassle in the future. When getting your vehicle serviced, make sure you have your tires rotated and balanced. This will ensure your tire treads wear down evenly and can elongate their lifetime. Depending on your daily driving conditions, weather and terrain quality, your tires may need replacing more often than every six years. Use the quarter test if in doubt. When you stick a quarter into the tread of your tire, if the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, it’s time for new tires!

It may not be possible for everyone to take advantage of these tips on how to make your tires last 10 years, but by taking these precautions, you will definitely extend their life and save money. Keeping your tires wearing evenly, balanced, and at the right pressure will keep them functioning safely for longer. Store your vehicle and any spare tires in an area away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations if possible. Bower’s Automotive will gladly help you with a simple tire rotation and balance as well as complete vehicle evaluation and maintenance. Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about tire maintenance and replacement.

Auto Air Conditioning Troubleshooting

Bowers Automotive of Colorado SpringsAuto Air Conditioning Troubleshooting is offering our customers some tips on auto air conditioning troubleshooting, just in time for the summer months. As the temperatures rise, you will be relying on your car’s AC to keep cool and comfortable. If you notice your AC system is not cooling as efficiently as it once was, it may be time to troubleshoot some common problems.

One of the most common reasons for an AC system failure is a leak in the system. If you have a loose hose, broken seal or a crack where refrigerant can escape from, you are going to see a reduction in your AC efficiency very quickly. To troubleshoot this issue, your mechanic will introduce a specialized dye into the cooling system to identify the location of the leak and then replace the faulty part. They will then refill your AC system with the right quantity of new refrigerant.

Another source of AC failure can be found in the electrical or mechanical components of the system. Your auto AC system works by moving a refrigerant like Freon through evaporator coils and condensers. As the refrigerant changes state from liquid to gas, it absorbs and transfers heat. If your evaporator coil or condenser is damaged, it is usually necessary to get them replaced.

When troubleshooting your car’s AC system, it is important always to get the opinion of a professional. Some car owners like to think they can DIY all their auto issues. Unfortunately, the AC system of a vehicle is not the easiest to diagnose and repair by yourself. The main danger of trying to fix your own vehicle’s AC is that you can accidentally introduce dirt into the pressurized system, or refill it with the incorrect amount of refrigerant.

Too much or too little Freon running through the system will result in unsuccessful cooling and possibly even severe damage to your AC unit. If the closed system is contaminated with dirty oil or debris, you will quickly experience the effects. Introduced debris very easily blocks the expansion valve. Once this happens, the system is unable to circulate the refrigerant and cool your car’s interior. We all know that driving in an overheated car is no fun for you or your passengers.

You can take some simple steps to extend the lifetime of your air conditioning system and prevent issues. The first thing to remember is the more you use your AC, the faster it `will wear out. Try to only use your AC when you need to. When you do turn it on, close all the windows in the car. This will lessen the strain on your system. If you only use your AC in the summer, remember to turn it on every few weeks during the winter. This will keep the system lubricated and less likely to fail when you need it again in the summer.

If you suspect your car’s AC unit has a problem, don’t ignore it. At Bower’s Automotive, we can offer a complete evaluation using the latest diagnostic tools. Our auto air conditioning troubleshooting service is affordable and worthwhile if you value comfort while driving. To schedule an appointment, simply call us or drop into our auto shop on Ford St. in Colorado Springs.

Common Problems with a Catalytic Converter

Common Problems with a Catalytic ConverterBowers Automotive in Colorado Springs has plenty of experience solving the most common problems with a catalytic converter. If you suspect that your vehicle’s catalytic converter is malfunctioning, don’t delay in getting a professional opinion. The catalytic converter is a fundamental component of your exhaust system. Its job is to convert the toxic by-products of combustion into safer emissions that won’t be as harmful to the environment.

The catalytic converter is located on the underside of your car between the engine and the exhaust muffler. It is susceptible to damage both internally and externally. Due to its location close to the engine, it can easily overheat if your engine overheats. It’s also possible to physically damage your catalytic converter by driving over rough terrain, as it can be impacted from below. If you have any of these common problems with a catalytic converter, you should take it to a qualified technician without delay.

  1. Reduced Performance

If your vehicle is not reacting as fast as it usually does, or if it feels like there is no fuel reaching the engine when you press the accelerator, your catalytic converter could be the source of the problem. If exhaust fumes accumulate in the front of the catalytic converter, it can cause a build-up of back pressure in your engine.

  1. Increased Emissions

The role of your catalytic converter is to reduce harmful emissions. If you notice an increase in dark, odorous fumes coming from your exhaust, this is a clear sign that your catalytic converter is not working efficiently. To keep in line with legal requirements, and to prevent polluting your local environment, get your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as you notice increased carbon emissions.

  1. Low Fuel Economy

A failing catalytic converter can contribute to low fuel economy. If your vehicle is using fuel faster than its normal rate, it means that your car engine is combusting the fuel inefficiently. This can cause you to spend a lot of extra money in a short span of time.

  1. Misfiring Engine

If your engine is frequently misfiring, there could be a serious problem with the fuel delivery. Sometimes a misfiring engine causes the catalytic converter to overheat or allows uncombusted fuel to enter it. If this happens, the raw fuel can ignite, causing the metal components inside of the catalytic converter to melt and cease functioning.

  1. Failing Exhaust System

If you think that the performance of your exhaust system has changed significantly, it is a sign that your catalytic converter may be damaged and not capable of converting the engine fumes into less harmful emissions. If you see an increase or decrease in emissions, or a change in the smell and appearance of your emissions, you should have a mechanic check your catalytic converter.

These common problems with a catalytic converter are easier to repair if addressed quickly. In some cases, if the inner components have melted, you will need to get a complete replacement.  If you have any doubts about your exhaust system, we can offer professional assistance here at Bower’s Automotive. Don’t hesitate to call or drop into our auto shop at 1120 Ford St., Colorado Springs.