Has Your Air Conditioning Compressor Failed?

air conditioning compressor, AC compressor

The car air conditioner can be a godsend during the summer months. However, like any car component, the AC can experience troubles, leaving you at the mercy of a baking car cabin interior. Usually, when the AC has problems, the issue is at least in part due to a failed air conditioning compressor.

What Is a Car Air Conditioning Compressor?

The AC compressor activates when you press the AC button. The AC compressor pumps refrigerant through the condenser. The dryer removes contaminants from the refrigerant, shuttling it to the expansion valve. Finally, the refrigerant moves to the evaporator where it cools the air. The air compressor is what kickstarts this entire chain of events.

Symptoms of a Failing AS Compressor 

A failing car AC can be due to a number of causes. If the issue is with the air conditioning compressor, certain symptoms will manifest, such as:

  • Unusual noises from the AC
  • Air that isn’t as cold as it should be
  • A compressor clutch that doesn’t move

An auto repair service will need to perform an inspection to pinpoint the problem. AC failure may also be in part due to the dryer, evaporator, accumulator, or condenser failure.

How to Maintain the Car’s AC

To keep your car’s AC in good condition, we recommend running it at least once a week. Do this for about 10-minutes, even if the weather is blistering cold. You should also clean the air filter. You will need an auto service to do this since the filter is located behind the glove box in most models.

We Repair Car AC Compressors

With summer here, don’t be left without a properly running AC. Bring your car to Bothell Way Garage for a checkup. We service car air conditioners for all models, including diesel vehicles. A failing air conditioning compressor can impede optimal AC performance.

Car Air Conditioner Maintenance

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

Does Your Car Need an Engine Overhaul?

engine overhaul

The engine is the lifeblood of your car and requires regular upkeep. If you have an older car, your local auto service may suggest an engine overhaul. What exactly does this entail? Does this mean the engine is damaged beyond repair?

What Is an Engine Overhaul?

Many mechanics use the term “engine overhaul” loosely, so it can have different meanings. Some technicians use the term to describe a simple chassis-based rebuild. This means the engine requires a few parts replacements, such as a new cylinder liner or piston rings. 

Other mechanics use the term to describe more extensive servicing. In this scenario, the technician needs to remove the entire engine from the chassis and take apart every removable part. Each part is cleaned or replaced with factory-grade replacements.

When a Rebuild Is Necessary

Some car enthusiasts, such as classic car owners, opt for an engine overhaul every few years to keep their older car performing like a newer model. Your car may also need an engine overhaul if you notice some of the classic symptoms of engine troubles. This includes:

  • Low oil pressure: damaged valves and broken piston rings may cause an oil leak. This reduces oil pressure, and the car may use oil more rapidly than usual.
  • Irregular engine noise: you may hear rattling sounds, which may indicate broken piston rings. You may also hear engine “chattering,” which may suggest a faulty valve train.
  • Bad spark plugs: if a spark plug inspection reveals discoloration, then the valve train or piston ring may require replacement.

We Perform Engine Upkeep

Our auto repairs include engine checkups for all car years and models. Bring your car to Bothell Way Garage if the engine shows signs of wear. Depending on the extent of damage, we can perform a complete or partial engine overhaul.

Automobile Engine Overhaul and Rebuild

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

Maintain Your Vehicle in National Car Care Month

national car care month, car care

April is National Car Care Month. While not exactly a federally recognized holiday, it still provides you a reason to pay attention to your vehicle’s health and performance. Find out how to maintain your car to prevent failure on the road and to improve mileage.

What Is National Car Care Month?

The holiday is exactly as its name suggests. It comes courtesy of the Car Care Council, which also created a similar memorial for later in the year: Fall Car Care in October.

Why April? Because this is the peak of spring and when motorists prep for road trips. You certainly want to be sure your vehicle is up to the task. Your car may also have sustained damage over the winter. This may be damage that is not readily noticeable, such as shock or axle damage from hitting a pothole.

How to Honor Your Car

Take care of your car so it can continue to take you where you need to go. Here’s how:

  • Check all fluid levels; these include the engine, transmission, brake, power steering, and windshield oil/fluids.
  • Check all belts and hoses for fraying, brittleness, or looseness. 
  • Check the battery for corrosion. Make sure all connections are secure. If you keep a jump starter in the trunk (highly recommended), be sure to regularly charge it.
  • Check the exhaust system for leaks and broken supports.
  • Schedule a tune-up at an auto service; this will give your engine the best balance between fuel economy and power. 
  • Complete any auto repair services you have been delaying. We know from experience that people have a tendency to delay repairs unnecessarily.

Give Your Car Love

Bring your car to Bothell Way Garage this National Car Care Month. From hybrids to diesels, we service all car models. While April is the recognized time of year for this occasion, you should treat every month as National Car Care Month.

Vehicle Tune-Ups and Maintenance

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

How to Jumpstart a Car: The Do’s and Don’ts

jumpstart car, how to jumpstart

According to one estimate, roughly 90% of drivers have never jumpstarted a vehicle that has a dead battery. While the process might seem straightforward, you can get stumped if you’ve never actually done it before. We explain how to correctly and safely jumpstart a car.

The Step-By-Step Process of How to Jumpstart a Car

Before going through the steps, keep these points in mind: the red jumper cable is the positive; the black is the negative. The same goes for the car battery terminals. The positive terminal should have a red protective covering and the negative a black one.

The steps

  1. Clamp one end of the red jumper cable to the positive battery terminal of the dead car. Hook the other end of the cable to the positive terminal of a healthy car.
  2. Connect an end of the black jumper to the negative battery terminal of the healthy car.
  3. Hook the other end of the black jumper to a metal part of the dead car and away from the battery. 
  4. Start the good car and let idle for about five minutes.
  5. Start the dead car.
  6. Disconnect the cables in reverse order.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • If jumpstarting is unsuccessful, tow your car to an auto repair service. The issue might not be a dead battery.
  • When disconnecting the cables, make sure the clamps do not come into contact with each other.
  • NEVER connect to the negative terminal of the dead battery. This could cause an explosion.
  • Do not turn on the headlights or radio of either car during the process

We Get Your Car Started

Even if the jumpstart is successful, you should still come to Bothell Way Garage. Our auto service provides replacement batteries for all vehicle models, including classic cars. Jumpstarting a car is a basic roadside skill that every motorist should know how to do.

We Get You Back on the Road

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

Understanding Maintenance for Classic Cars & Antique Cars

classic car maintenance, antique car maintenance

Repairing classic cars is one of our specialties. However, classic cars are not to be confused with antique cars. Most people treat the terms interchangeably, but the automobile industry use these terms to describe different vehicle types. Here’s how maintenance for classic cars and antique cars differs.

Understanding The Two Designations

Before we explain the difference, we must emphasize that grey areas exist between classic and antique cars. For instance, where you register your car could determine whether it’s a classic or antique. Therefore, don’t take what we say as absolute truth. 

Under DMV guidelines, you may register your car as an antique if it’s at least 25 years old and you treat it as a collector’s item. Treating your car as a collector’s item means you can’t exceed a certain mileage with it. You also cannot treat it as your primary vehicle. In some instances, it may also require a special license plate.

Classic cars, on the other hand, generally refer to any vehicle more than 20 years of age. Of course, this isn’t black and white by any means. Hardly anyone would consider a 1998 Toyota Camry, for example, a classic car, even though it fits the technical definition.

What About Vintage Cars?

Vintage cars are a third category. This term describes vehicles built between the years 1919 and 1930. Others designate the year gap as 1919–1931. This includes sought-after collectibles like the Ford Model A. The year range usually does not change as time moves forward.

Vintage cars are true rarities, and we get gleeful in the rare instances a customer brings one to our shop.

We Maintain and Repair Classic and Antique Cars

Classic, antique and vintage cars all require extra maintenance if you want them to run well. We love doing this kind of maintenance; and we’re good at it. We also perform auto repair on all cars regardless of the model year. Our auto service can also retrofit the vehicle with modern parts, so it meets today’s performance standards. If you’re an automobile collector, bring your classic or antique car to Bothell Way Garage.

Classic and Antique Vehicle Maintenance

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

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

Driving with the Oil Light On: Is This Safe?

oil light, engine warning light

You never want to see an engine warning light come on while driving. One of these is the oil light. This indicates one of two scenarios: the car is either low on oil, or the oil pressure is low. Can you continue to safely drive with the oil light on?

What to Do When the Oil Light Comes On?

If this engine warning light abruptly comes on, pull over and pop open the hood. Check the oil level by pulling out the dipstick. If the oil is low or appears crusted, then it needs filling. We recommend keeping a bottle of motor oil in your trunk for such situations. Be sure the formula is suitable for your car model.

If the oil level is normal, then you might have low oil pressure. This may be due to a faulty pump, which isn’t circulating enough oil. Adequate oil pressure is vital to t lubricating metal surfaces. Low oil pressure is harder to detect and requires diagnosis from an auto repair service.

Can You Drive with the Oil Light On?

If the dipstick indicates low oil, add some oil and restart the car. If the oil light goes away, then you solved the problem; you may resume driving. If this engine warning light stays on, or if you suspect low oil pressure, then do not continue to drive. While you can probably drive for a few more miles, err on the side of caution and call a tow service. Bring the car to an auto service. Driving with the oil light on may be detrimental to engine health.

We Correct Oil-Related Issues

Oil is the lifeblood of a car’s engine; this goes for all engine types, including diesels. Low oil or pressure warrants immediate professional attention. Bring the vehicle to Bothell Way Garage for a diagnosis. Driving with the engine oil light on might exacerbate engine wear.

Car Engine Diagnosis and Repairs

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 →