Four Car-Related New Year’s Resolutions

car resolutions, new year’s resolutions

Once again, we come to a new year. What will be different this time around? The usual weight loss and pay raise goals are fine. However, why not add to that with some New Year’s resolutions for your car? Your automobile is an expensive investment and deserves consideration. 

1. Maintenance

Most New Year’s resolutions include earning more or saving more money. Basic car maintenance actually saves you money. A regular oil change, for example, costs between $25 and $75. Not changing the oil at all accelerates engine wear. The cost of an engine rebuild, by the way, runs between $600 and $1,200!

2. Set Up an Automobile Account

Open a separate account, allotting the money solely to auto repairs and car-related expenses. If the year ends and no major repair expenses come up, use the money towards the purchase of a new car.

3. Be a More Alert Driver

You may be guilty of bad driving habits from time to time without even realizing it. Do you multi-task behind the wheel, such as eatngi or talking on the phone? This year, commit to staying focused on driving and nothing else. Distracted driving severely reduces your reaction time.

4. Clean Your Car

This is not really related to auto service, but you should still clean your car inside and out for pride’s sake. A clean car shows that you take care of your property and value your set of wheels. If your car is in really bad visual shape, then consider a professional detailing. 

We Help Motorists Commit to New Year’s Car Resolutions

Whether you own a traditional, hybrid, or diesel car, bring it on over to Bothell Way Garage. Make 2019 the year you keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. New Year’s car resolutions ensure that you don’t run into unexpected mechanical issues.

Year-Round Automobile Maintenance

Serving customers in Bothell, Kenmore, Woodinville, Brier, Kingsgate, Lake Forest Park, and Juanita

Increase Your Chances of Passing an Emissions Test

passing emissions test, emissions test

33 states require an emissions test. Washington is one of those states. The odds of failing a test increase with the vehicle’s age. We’ll show you some easy tricks to increase your chances of passing an emissions test on the first go.

1. Sufficiently Warm Up the Engine

Drive on the highway or freeway for about 20-minutes. This warms up the engine, thereby reducing the level of hydrocarbons in the tailpipe. You should also consider testing on a relatively cool day. A warm engine taking in cool air runs more efficiently; this will factor in to how you do on the emissions test. 

We also suggest making an appointment to prevent having to wait. Waiting means shutting the engine off, which causes it to cool down. Ideally, the engine should be warm at the time of testing.

2. Inflate Your Tires

Check your tire pressure prior to an emissions test. During the exam, the inspector will run the vehicle on what’s called a dynamometer. This allows the testing equipment to collect an exhaust sample while the tires are in motion. Sufficient tire pressure helps the engine turn the wheels with less effort. This leads to slightly cleaner exhaust that can make the difference between a borderline pass and borderline fail.

3. Use Fuel Additives 

Our auto service provides fuel additives that mix with the gasoline and clean the carbon deposits in the engine. This allows a freer flow of fuel and air, thus lowering emissions output. Fuel additives are also available at your local auto store.

We Help Your Vehicle Pass an Emissions Test

Bring your car to Bothell Way Garage prior to an emissions test. Our auto repair includes maintenance that increases the chance of a first-time go. This includes all models, even classic cars with old-style engines. Passing an emissions test is easy, as long as you follow simple pre-test procedures.

Pre-Emissions Testing Inspection

Serving customers in Bothell, Kenmore, Woodinville, Brier, Kingsgate, Lake Forest Park, and Juanita

Car Filters Maintenance: Clean or Replace?

car filters maintenanceCars have multiple filters. In some cases, owners can clean and reuse a filter several times before they need to replace it. Is this the best car filters maintenance practice? We receive this enquiry all the time. Should you clean or replace a car filter?

Intake and Cabin Air Filter

A car’s air filters are made from a combination of cotton, foam, and paper. Engine intake filters prevent pollen, dust, smog, and other contaminants from reaching the engine. Cabin filters prevent the same from reaching and polluting the interior cabin.

DIY air filter maintenace is possible. You can wipe away debris with a damp cloth or use a vacuum. Air filters are also inexpensive; consider a replacement after two or three cleanings. Never reuse a filter indefinitely. Continue Reading →

Four Signs of Manual Transmission Wear

manual transmission wear, worn transmissionYou can’t derive the true pleasure of driving unless you know how to operate a stick shift. That’s the sentiment shared by many manual transmission car owners. If you belong in this minority class, then you will need to be privy to the signs of wear in a manual transmission. We’ll examine the warning signs of a worn transmission.

Grinding Sounds

You may audibly hear the noise of gears grinding against one another. You could also hear this noise when you shift gears without fully engaging the clutch. However, if the noise persists even with proper manual shifting, then you might have a transmission wear problem.

Burning Smell

A burning smell is never a good sign and may be an indicator of an overheated transmission. The car probably lacks transmission fluid. This affects both manual and automatic transmissions. Fresh transmission fluid has a mildly sweet scent and should never have a burned smell. Continue Reading →

How to Spot Car Engine Sludge

engine sludge, oil oxidizationIs the motor oil in your car turning to thick and gooey sludge? Engine sludge has serious ramifications on car performance. The semi-solid gunk will also result in costly auto repairs down the road. Do you know how to spot engine sludge?

The Implications of Engine Sludge

Sludge causes engine combustion problems. As oil oxidization occurs, the oil solidifies and coats the cylinders, leading to stress and heat buildup with each stroke of the engine. Ultimately, the owner will have to replace the engine altogether or opt for an engine rebuild. Either option costs an arm and a leg.

Signs of Engine Sludge Buildup

The biggest telltale sign is the oil change light lighting up on your dashboard. You should also open the hood and look at the engine. Do you see thick black clumps anywhere on the outer part of the engine?

Next, remove the oil cap and use a flashlight to peer inside the oil pan. In a healthy engine, the oil should appear a metallic silver. If you see a lot of black gunk inside, then you have sludge. Continue Reading →

How to Identify the Varying Types of Car Leaks

car leaksAutomobiles have different types of fluids and oils, all of which can leak from the car. Which types of car leaks are serious and which ones are normal? Seeing fluid come out of the car undercarriage can be concerning. However, it’s not always indicative of a dire situation that requires immediate auto servicing.


If the liquid is clear and thin, then it’s probably plain H2O. This is simply water leaking from the air conditioner, which you can expect as you increase AC use this summer. This is a nonissue and no cause for alarm.

Transmission Fluid

This fluid is reddish to brownish in color and may drip from the center of the undercarriage. The fluid acts as a lubricant and coolant for the transmission. A leak is a sign of a broken or worn seal. While not urgent, you will need to bring the car to an auto repair shop to fix the seal. Continue Reading →

How to Remove a Stuck Lug Nut

stuck lug nutRemoving a tire seems like a straightforward task. However, many car owners find it’s hardly ever a smooth process. One of the most common problems is dealing with a stuck lug nut. No matter how much muscle you put into it, the bolt just won’t budge. What do you do?

The Cause of Stuck Lug Nuts

Various causes result in a stuck nut. The most common reason is corrosion, which locks the nut onto the threads.

During a tire replacement or adjustment, an unprofessional mechanic may also overtighten or use the wrong nut. The mechanic realizes the mistake but doesn’t fix it, knowing the owner probably won’t detect the problem for months. Car owners who are replacing a flat tire often face this problem, forcing them to call tow service. Continue Reading →

How to Fix a Stuck Parking Brake

stuck parking brakeHave you ever pulled or pushed the parking brake a bit harder than you should? This may not seem like a big deal, until you realize it’s stuck when you try to release it. Sure, you can try to fix it later and just drive with the parking brake in place. However, this will damage the brake system. A stuck parking brake may require auto service intervention.

What Causes a Stuck Parking Brake?

Were you’re channeling your inner Hercules when you applied the parking brake? The more-than-necessary force, combined with corrosion, can cause brake cable erosion. To prevent corrosion be sure to use the parking brake regularly, even when parking on a flat surface.

Fortunately, modern cars have components within the braking system that protect the parts from moisture. Nevertheless, a stuck brake can occur in any vehicle, including hybrids and classic cars. Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Require an Enhanced Flooded Battery?

enhanced flooded batteryA common complaint we have received over the years is the relatively short lifespan of replacement car batteries. In many of these instances, we realize that car owners are using the wrong battery type for their vehicle. Those that drive a newer model may require an enhanced flooded battery.

Cars with Stop-Start Technology Require an Enhanced Flooded Battery

Here’s the lowdown: if your car has stop-start technology, then it requires an enhanced flooded battery.

Stop-start technology is a feature that cuts off the engine when the car is stationary at a stoplight or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The technology helps curb fuel consumption and emissions. The engine immediately restarts when the driver engages the clutch.

By 2022, 55.4 million cars worldwide are expected to have stop-start capabilities, up from 8.8 million in 2013. Continue Reading →

Does Your Car Require a 150-Point Inspection?

150 point inspectionMany auto repair services advertise a 150-point inspection. The number may be different; some offer a 100 or 50-point inspection. What exactly is this, and should you bring your car to the auto service for one of these checkups?

150-Point Inspection Explained

A 150-point inspection is simply a comprehensive auto check-up, where the mechanic inspects 150 different components of the vehicle. This may include a look at the check engine light or at engine performance under normal operating temperatures. The 150 points may differ slightly from shop to shop. However, they all generally cover the components that are crucial for safe and optimal car operation. Continue Reading →