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Mechanic using Diagnostic machine tools ready to be used with car

What does a car diagnostic test tell you?

Has your vehicle seemed more sluggish than usual, possibly lacking power when passing a slower vehicle or when trying to go up a hill? Has a dashboard light come on and you don’t know why? With winter here to stay for a while, it would be smart to schedule a car tune up, which should include a diagnostic test.

What does a car diagnostic test tell you? Today’s modern vehicles have computer processors, microchips and sensors so if you want to know what is really going on inside your vehicle, a diagnostics test can reveal problems associated with the engine and transmission, oil and gas tanks, exhaust system, and other systems.

With the use of a specialized computer linked to your vehicle, your mechanic can pinpoint exactly where a problem may exist, producing the fault codes which are stored in the vehicle’s memory system. It is possible to identify the cause of a problem quickly so that the right repair can be made before the problem gets bigger.

A typical tune-up checklist includes both preventative and restorative engine assessments, such as:

  • Spark plugs–Spark plugs should have light tan or gray insulator firing noses so that it is properly igniting the fuel? The wires should not be hard or cracked.
  • Fuel pump and filter–make sure the filter isn’t clogged so the pump will function properly.
  • Fuel injectors–make sure there is no buildup of dirt or other deposits restricting the amount of fuel delivered to the engine.
  • Timing–The timing and idle may need to be adjusted.
  • PCV valve–it should be free of debris and no leaks.
  • Points and condenser–they should be kept clean so they operate properly.

To learn more about what does car diagnostic test tell you, contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for more information about a car tune up and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Service Technician

Rod’s Auto Shop explains the difference between maintenance and repair

Some vehicle owners may not understand the difference between basic vehicle maintenance and auto repair. It’s fairly simple! Routine maintenance includes the items listed on the auto service schedule found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual that should be performed at specific mileage intervals. Taking care of the items on this auto service schedule will keep your vehicle in peak operating condition. Repairs are needed when problems start to occur, such as braking problems resulting from worn out brake rotors or shifting problems caused by a worn out transmission.

Federal law gives you the right to have maintenance items performed at any auto shop without affecting your warranty coverage. Because maintenance items are fairly basic in all vehicles, any professional auto shop should be able to perform the necessary tasks. You don’t have to go to the dealer where you bought the vehicle. Typically, you will find that an independent auto shop can provide the needed auto service at a lesser cost than dealerships.

Most auto shops have access to the manufacturer’s latest technical service bulletins (TSBs), which are basically instructions on how to fix common problems with a particular model. As mentioned above with regard to maintenance items, a reputable independent auto shop should also be able to handle most repairs. A good mechanic will let you know if you should take your vehicle to the dealership or a specialty shop.

Want to know more about the auto service? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for more information about brake repair and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Best Automotive Service

Two Keys to receive the best automotive service possible

Like a lot of vehicle owners, when you have car issues you probably don’t know how to figure out what’s causing the problem. Do you end up paying for a repair that really didn’t need fixing in the first place, hoping that it would take of the problem? Having a problem diagnosed correctly is critical for receiving the best automotive repair service possible. Eliminate the guesswork of repair by trial-and-error that didn’t fix the cause of the problem!

Here are two easy tips for helping your automotive repair technician know where to start looking for a problem:

  • Be observant – If you know how your vehicle typically performs under various driving circumstances, then you will know when something isn’t working quite right. Use all your senses, what you see, hear, and feel, to observe what’s happening to your vehicle.
  • Jot it down – Write down the problem in detail–when, where and what–so that you can describe it in concise and descriptive terms to your mechanic. Relying on your memory isn’t really a good idea.

Here are several common problem areas that you will want to pay special attention to:

  • brakes (worn out pads, drums, or rotors),
  • no-starts (bad battery, starter, fuel filter, etc)
  • suspension (failing shocks and axles, lost wheel alignment or balancing)
  • strange noises (rattles, ticks, grinding, and crunches)
  • dashboard warning lights (check engine light flickers or stays on)
  • transmission (jerky or stiff shifting, fluid leaks, odd smell, lack of response)
  • muffler and exhaust system (loss of power, smoke from the muffler)
  • A/C system/heating unit (air coming into the vehicle is either too warm or too cold)
  • electrical system (bad spark plugs, combustion problems)

Note to Remember: Helping your mechanic make the correct diagnosis will save you time and money!

Looking for automotive repair that is done right the first time? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for more information about automotive service and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Check Engine Light

Worried about why does the engine light come on?

“Oh no, the service engine light just came on!” When this little warning light illuminates while driving down the road, most drivers have a sense of fear and dread. What should they do? Can they keep driving on to work or school, or should they head straight to their auto shop? Maybe they should stop their vehicle completely and call a tow truck? By understanding why the service engine light comes on will help take away some of the fear associated with this light.

Even though you can keep driving your vehicle for a few more miles or days, take it into your auto shop as soon as possible to make sure that long-term engine damage is not taking place, leading to a costly engine repair.

The most common issue that causes the service engine light to come on is a loose, cracked or faulty gas cap that is allowing fuel to evaporate. Pull over if you can (or keep going until you arrive at your destination) and make sure your gas cap is on tight. If this was the trigger, your check engine light should go off within 10 or 20 miles later.

But, there are several other issues that can trigger the service engine light:

  • Damaged vacuum hose
  • Damaged ignition coil(s)
  • Failing catalytic converter
  • Worn out spark plugs.

Don’t panic! A check engine light rarely signals anything disastrous. It’s okay to keep driving for a few more miles or days, but the smart thing to do is get your car into your auto shop as soon as possible and ask for a diagnostic test to make sure there is not a major problem with the engine. Today’s vehicles have an onboard diagnostic system that provides a code identifying the specific issue at hand.

Wondering why does the service engine light to come on? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for more information about engine repair and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Oil Change

How often do you really need an oil change?

The basic oil change is relatively simple and inexpensive compared to other types of car service. However, regular oil changes significantly help extend your engine’s longevity, enhance its overall operating performance, and prevent excessive engine wear and tear.

Over time, oil deteriorates and loses its effectiveness. Once this starts, your car may start to exhibit one or more of the five warning signs below:

  1. Dark and Dirty Oil — Clean oil is an amber color, but after a while, it darkens and gets dirty from the particles it collects from the engine. If the oil on the dip stick looks thick and dark, it’s time for an oil change.
  2. Noisy Engine — When the oil starts to break down, it doesn’t lubricate parts as well. Thus, you will start to hear louder engine noises, such as knocking, rumbling, and even roaring.
  3. Oil Change Warning Light — An illuminated oil change light on the instrument panel indicates that there’s too little oil in the system. Check your oil level and it it’s too low, you may get by with adding a quart or two of oil as needed. However, if the oil looks dark, schedule an oil change service as soon as possible.
  4. Exhaust Smoke — It’s common to see translucent vapor coming from the tailpipe in cold temperatures. If you notice smoke, however, there could be an oil leak or faulty parts in the engine. Ask your mechanic to run a diagnostics to pinpoint the problem.
  5. Oil Smell — If the smell of oil is strong inside your car, it means there’s a leak. If the smell is mixed with the smell of gas or exhaust fumes, it indicates that your vehicle is overheating and oil is burning in the exhaust area. An overheating engine can cause serious damage to your car and even ignite a fire.

If you are noticing any of the warning signs above, it is probably past the mileage interval for an oil change. Although oil changes can be fairly inexpensive, many auto shops provide oil change coupons to help customers keep up with the needed oil changes.

Wondering how often do you really need an oil change? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for information about our oil change coupons and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Need to know what the signs of a bad starter are?

When you turn your key in the ignition do you just hear clicking sounds instead of the engine coming to life? Are you wondering what’s wrong with your car? If this is your situation, you may be wondering, “What are the signs of a bad starter?” Of course, another thought is that the alternator may be starting to go bad–or maybe it’s the battery.

There are several symptoms that can indicate a bad starter—many of which can also be caused by the alternator or the battery. Your auto mechanic can run a simple test to determine the problem. Even though the starter system is meant to be durable–designed for repeated use under a variety of weather and road conditions, the wear and tear of daily use, extreme conditions, and poor maintenance can all create problems.

Six signs of a bad starter:

  1. Slow and intermittent starting. It could be a problem with the starter’s motor, loose or dirty wiring, or a damaged electrical component that is failing to work.
  2. Your vehicle won’t start. You turn the key but the engine doesn’t crank. You may hear no sound at all or there may be a clicking or clunking noise.
  3. The interior lights dim when starting. It can be a sign of a short circuit in the starter motor’s internal wiring, causing the starter motor to draw excess current, leaving less for the vehicle’s other systems. If you notice a chugging sound along with the dimming lights, the bearings in the motor may be failing.
  4. You hear a grinding noise at starting. Grinding sounds indicate a mechanical problem. The gears in the starter motor may be worn or not engaging correctly; they may not be disengaging after the engine starts, or the starter motor may be loose on its mountings.
  5. A burning smell or smoke. Malfunctions in the starter system often combine electrical problems with overheated metal components that are lubricated with grease. When these components heat up, it will give off a burning smell.
  6. The starter is soaked with oil. The starter system sits near the bottom of the engine and gets very hot. If engine oil leaks into the starter motor or other components, there may be permanent damage to the starter.

Need to know more about what are the signs of a bad starter? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for information about the battery, alternator, and starter, and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Brake repairs

Is it time for a Brake Replacement

Are you worried about when brakes need to be replaced? There is really no stated schedule for replacing the various components in the braking system. However, if you notice that it’s taking longer to come to a stop at a red light, it’s time for a brake replacement service.

There are six major warning signs that you should be aware of:

  • Noisy brakes – A lot of cars have built-in wear sensors that scrape against the brake disc when the pads need to be replaced. This creates an annoying screeching or squeaking sound. If you hear metal-on-metal grinding, the brake pads are probably complete worn down.
  • Vibrating – If the brake pedal pulsates under light or moderate braking, it could mean a warped disc.
  • Burnt smell – A burning smell while driving could mean brake fluid is leaking onto the hot motor.
  • Longer stopping distances – If you are pushing the brake pedal down to the floor to stop your car, it also means it is taking a long distance to come to a stop. Because brake linings wear gradually, it could reach the hazardous stage before you notice it.
  • Steering problems – If the steering wheel tugs or the car pulls to one side or the other while braking, the front brake pads are worn down too far.
  • Warning light – Some cars have electronic wear indicators that alert the driver if the pads wear down to a specified measurement. However, it is still best to rely on regular brake service.

Tip to remember: To keep driving as safe as possible, include a full brake inspection at every tire rotation service (about every six months)!

Do you know when brakes need to be replaced? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for more information about a brake replacement service and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Radiator Leaks

Do you know what happens when the radiator leaks?

Well, your vehicle has made it through winter. That means your radiator has been on the job keeping your engine cool! As we head into summer, take time to schedule a radiator service to make sure you don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road with an overheating engine. 

The coolant/water mixture removes heat from the engine by transferring the heat through a series of coils. The cooled air flows back into the engine to prevent it from overheating. If it is overheating, don’t drive your vehicle but have it inspected as soon as possible by your mechanic. If your radiator is leaking, coolant will be lost and you may find your car needs a radiator replacement as it will become prone to overheating.

If you believe you have a leaking radiator, have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. What happens when the radiator leaks?

  • If you see coolant (it could be green, pink, or orange in color) on the garage floor underneath of your vehicle, you may have a radiator leak. In addition, you may notice a sweet smell.
  • If the coolant level drops too low because of a leak, a low coolant light will come on and you will see the temperature gauge rising, indicating that your engine is overheating.
  • Radiator leaks are serious and should be repaired by a certified mechanic. Depending on the severity of the leak, the area can either be sealed, or the entire radiator may need to be replaced.

Driving with a radiator leak is hazardous, as it will very likely cause your engine to overheat, causing even further damage. If you are driving down the road and notice your engine is overheating, pull over immediately and let the vehicle cool down. It would be wise to call a tow truck to get your car to your auto shop.

Remember: For your vehicle to remain a reliable source of transportation, have the radiator inspected periodically for leaking. Don’t neglect a needed radiator replacement!

Wondering what happens when the radiator leaks? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for more information about a radiator replacement service and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

Engine Trouble

What are the signs of engine problems?

Has your car lost power and you don’t know what’s wrong? How do you know if your engine is having problems? The “Check Engine” light is your first warning signal. When this light comes on, don’t panic! Head to your auto shop for a diagnostic service that will indicate what, and where, something is happening under the hood.

What are the signs of engine problems? Here are seven of the most common signs that drivers should be aware of:

  1. Check Engine Light Illuminates – This warning light illuminates when detecting engine issues stemming from the loss of power.
  2. Loss of Power – This could mean there is a problem in the combustion process.
  3. Diminished Fuel Efficiency – This could be an indication that there is an issue in the compression stroke of your engine.
  4. Noisy Engine – Knocking, backfiring, hissing, spitting and popping during the ignition process can occur when there is a problem with the combustion process.
  5. Engine Stalling – This is usually due to the intake stroke not receiving the right spark or air/fuel mixture.
  6. Odors – The exhaust stroke of the internal combustion engine is starting to fail, giving off a noxious odor from the exhaust.
  7. Rough Running Engine – This is commonly caused by clogs in the system, old spark plugs, an incorrect octane level in the gasoline, or a low battery.

Taking care of recommended engine service will help find engine problems early before they get bigger and result in a costly engine repair.

Looking for quality engine service? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at Rod’s Tire and Automotive for more information about the signs of engine problems and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Medina, TN, and the surrounding area.

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Mechanic using Diagnostic machine tools ready to be used with car

What does a car diagnostic test tell you?

Service Technician

Rod’s Auto Shop explains the difference between maintenance and repair