Should I Invest In An Electric Vehicle?

electric car driving down a road

About Electric Cars

There are many socially conscious people that believe we are all going to be driving an electric vehicle within the next 20 years. Then there are others that believe that is not going to happen, mainly because not “everyone” can go buy a new vehicle, electric or otherwise. And a handful of us is still waiting for flying cars. 

But electric vehicles are here and aren’t going to disappear, so let’s address some common concerns and questions about this future way of life. Maybe we’ll find out it won’t be as bad as old-school car guys fear.

Do electric cars cost more?

As of May 2022, yes, an electric vehicle cost around $10,000 more than a gas-powered vehicle. Like anything new though, the more that are sold, the price will begin to drop. In the meantime, if you’re really wanting to go all-electric, there are tax incentives up to $7,500 that can ease the sticker price pain. You need to do some research on which electric vehicle will get you the most tax incentive.

Are electric cars worth the investment?

The electric vehicle market was cornered by Toyota first with the Prius, but then Tesla gave electric vehicles an appealing, sleek appearance that made them the popular “I gotta have one!” vehicles. Today, General Motors and other big car manufacturers have their own electric vehicles on the market. 

If the current administration has their way, over half of us will own and drive one by 2030. So, yes, there are some benefits to owning an electric vehicle, but do these benefits make it worth the investment? Maybe for some, but not everyone. Of course, as it has been said, you can’t please everyone. 

What are the benefits of an electric vehicle?

There are several benefits to owning an electric vehicle, with the most obvious one being, no more gas pump visits, if you get an all-electric version. With the price of gas today, this benefit may be pulling more buyers in than ever before. But there are other benefits to examine: 

  • Convenience: No worry about leaving early in the morning to get gas. Simply plug your electric vehicle in when you get home and you’ll be powered up and ready in the morning! 
  • Savings: Not only will not be paying that high cost at the pump, but the government will give you some money back for going green with an electric vehicle. 
  • No Emissions: With an all-electric vehicle, no fossil fuel is emitting toxic fumes into the environment. Even if you go with a hybrid (combustion and electric powered), you’ll still be emitting less of those toxic fumes. 
  • Popular: Back in the late 1970s, the popular kids drove a 442 by Oldsmobile. Today, the electric vehicle is taking that position in the school parking lot. Everyone will want to be ‘that cool dude’ sooner or later.
  • Safety: Vehicle manufacturers put their electric vehicles through the same rigorous testing that they do their fuel-powered vehicles. A key difference in safety is the low center of gravity of electric vehicles gives them more stability if they are involved in a wreck, i.e., less likely to roll over. And if the airbags are deployed, the electric power is automatically shut off from the battery, reducing the possibility of an explosion. 
  • Cost-Effective: So, do electric cars cost more? Yes, but because they are becoming more commonplace and the technology of manufacturing electric vehicles has improved, the cost is coming down. The batteries that were once a hindrance to purchasing these cars are mass-produced now, and the government is offering tax incentives when you purchase an electric vehicle. 
  • Minimal Maintenance: Electric vehicles do not need the same amount of maintenance as gas-powered cars because the engine doesn’t rely on being lubricated. 
  • Noise Pollution Reduced: The noise pollution of electric vehicles is almost 100% nil and void. They offer a smooth drive and higher acceleration. 
  • The Battery: Yes, the battery for an electric vehicle has been the ‘sore spot’ to keep these cars from being more popular, but they are integral for an electric vehicle. A good lithium-ion battery can last for 10 years, and with the improvements in technology every year, the cost of those will be coming down more.
charging an electric car

How do electric vehicles work?

Electric vehicles are plugged into a charge point and use electricity from the power grid. The electricity pulled from the grid is stored in a rechargeable battery that powers an electric motor that makes the wheels turn. An electric vehicle will accelerate faster than a traditional fuel engine, making them feel lighter while driving. Electric vehicles can be charged at home or at a public charging station. 

How long does an electric car have to charge?

It depends on the battery size and the charging point speed, but it can range between 30 minutes and 12 hours or longer. A typical 60kWh battery can charge in under 8 hours from a 7kW charging point when the battery is completely empty. Like adding gas when your car is at ¼ tank, most electric vehicle owners will charge up the battery before it is completely empty. For many electric vehicles, a rapid charger of 50kW can add approximately 100 miles of range in just over half an hour. The bigger the battery, the longer it takes to charge up from empty. 

What are the different types of electric vehicles?

There are three primary types of electric vehicles. They are classified by the level of electricity used for their energy source.  Those three types are: 

  • Electric (BEV)

A Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is an all-electric vehicle, with electricity being its only power using a rechargeable battery.  

  • Plug-In Hybrid

A Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) electric vehicle has a medium-sized electric battery that powers the engine, and it has a diesel or petrol engine as well, allowing the driver to switch between power sources based on needs.  

  • Hybrid 

A Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) has an electric battery where the power is selected by the engine and doesn’t have to be recharged with an external power supply station.  

Are there any cons to owning an electric vehicle?

Yes, there are cons to the electric vehicle that you should consider before making this investment, some of which are: 

1. Recharging points are few and far between, so if you live or traveling through a rural area, electric vehicles may not be right for you at this time. 

2. The Initial cost of purchasing an electric vehicle is high, even with the tax incentive, the upfront cost is an issue for most. 

3. Recharging isn’t free, meaning it will hit your electric bill. 

4. The driving range and speed of an electric vehicle can hinder your driving style. You’ll go maybe 100 miles before you need to recharge. 

5. Recharge time take longer than filling up the tank with gas. Instead of less than 10 minutes, you’re looking up to 6 hours. 

6. The silence can be a disadvantage because nobody can hear you coming, and this has led to many accidents.

7. Two-seater only for electric vehicles, so may not be the vehicle you need for a family.

8. Replacing the battery is needed every three to ten years for all-electric vehicles. 

How long will a electric car last?

Car manufacturers claim electric vehicles can last 8 years or longer, up to 100,000 miles. Since cell phones don’t last that long for most of us, it’s kind of hard to imagine this still, but time will tell! 

In Closing – You Have To Wonder

With all this hype and push for going with all-electric vehicles, just how much money can an electric vehicle save you on gas? Because the price of gas fluctuates daily, especially right now, it is hard to quote dollars to answer this question. 
In March, in the state of California, electric vehicle owners could save up to $1200 by not needing fuel, but in other states, electric vehicles saved car owners just under $1,000. Again, these aren’t numbers to take to the bank! Again, only time will tell you what you could save.

European Plus provides assistance with an electric vehicle in Hopewell and Pennington, NJ. Call 609-737-7226 for more information.

Are Electric Cars Easier to Repair?

white car near an electric car charging station

The Electric Car Revolution

Well, we once thought we’d all be flying in small private jets like in the cartoon “The Jetsons”, but that hasn’t happened… yet. We are well ahead of the cartoon characters in “The Flintstones” running in bare feet singing “YaBaDaBaDo!” though. We’re kind of in between those two scenarios – we have electric cars now! And with that comes new worries about electric car repair

There are a few different types of electric cars, and how an electric car works will vary depending on the type of car it is: 

  • HEV: Hybrid Electric Vehicles are motorized by both an internal combustion engine and used the battery-stored energy for an electric motor. This electric car can’t be charged with a battery charge, but instead requires regenerative braking and an internal combustion engine.
  • PHEV: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles are motorized by batteries and either gasoline or diesel that powers an internal combustion engine. This type of electric car charges the batteries through both charging equipment and regenerative braking.
  • EV: All-Electric Vehicles are plugged into a charging point, using the same electricity we do for our homes and store the electricity in rechargeable batteries that make the car move. 

Do electric cars need repairs often?

The EVs cars (all-electric) require less maintenance because the battery, motor, and all associated electronics require little to no maintenance. There are fewer fluids that need to be checked or have routine maintenance, like motor oil and with the regenerative braking, less maintenance is needed. Because there are fewer moving parts, electric car repairs are fewer too. 

The maintenance needs HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) are comparable to conventional vehicles. An EV (all-electric vehicle) requires fewer maintenance needs for all the same reasons, and they have fewer moving parts than a conventional gas-powered engine. In all types of electric-powered cars, the manufacturers have designed these vehicles with safety at the core and vehicle maintenance second. 

Are electric cars expensive to repair?

Well, you know that purchasing an electric car will cost you more than purchasing a gas-powered car, But, in the long run, when it comes to electric car repair and maintenance, you’ll save money. 

A study that was conducted found that with fewer moving parts, by the 3rd year of ownership, they were the more economical choice of vehicles. Here are some numbers to consider: 

  • Fuel-powered car over 3 years ownership, $800 in service and repairs.
  • Electric-powered car over 3 years ownership, $500 in electric car repairs and services. 

That is a saving of over 30% less, however, in the first year of electric car repairs, the diagnostic costs made them the more expensive choice. 

Is charging an electric car cheaper than gas?

Like anything, when comparing costs of ownership, there are several factors to be considered, and that is true of electric cars. The following factors should be considered when answering this question: 

  • The type of engine is a key factor role.  
  • The size of the vehicle is a consideration too. The heavier the car, the more fuel to make it move. 
  • Per vehicle fuel economy as to how far it can go on a certain amount of fuel. 
  • Government regulation and the taxes you’re paying at the pump. 
  • For the electric car, home charging versus public charging stations.
  • Energy prices versus EV charging.
  • Fast charging options costs. 

What are the pros and cons between an electric vs hybrid car? 

When it comes to making the purchase, it is a personal choice, however, we have do have some pros and cons for you to consider before purchasing a hybrid car: 

The Pros: 

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Saves money
  • Quiet
  • Less maintenance

The Cons:

  • Higher upfront to purchase
  • Electric car repair and maintenance is rare but can be expensive
  • Still produces fossil fuel emission

What is the most reliable electric car?

Each year, car manufacturers are coming out with more models, giving you the choice between the average car, luxury, or even a sports style. Here are seven of the most popular electric cars on the streets for 2022: 

  • Kia Niro EV
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • Honda Insight
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Nissan LEAF
  • Toyota Prius Prime
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E

What is the lifespan of an electric car?

There have been Tesla owners reporting over 400,000 miles, but every driver will have a different experience, just as with gas-powered cars. The average lifespan of an electric car has been reported to be fifteen years with over 160,000 miles on the road. 

electric car hooked up to a car charging station

In Closing 

Just like with solar panels and wind generators, electric cars and electric car repair have created new industry needs, like how to repair electric cars. For students that a 4-year college degree isn’t the way to go, technical school to learn how to repair electric cars is starting to be noticed. 

Can you repair a broken brake line?

car brake parts

Dealing With Brake Problems

You’ve got the car motor running, the transmission cranking, and the wheels turning. Things are going now, but then you hear a grinding sound, almost screeching when you press on the brakes. What does that mean? Most likely, it means you need to take your car to the mechanic for a car brake repair job. 

What are the indications that it is time for brake repair? 

While it is important for the engine, transmission, and wheels all to be in good working order, the brakes are just as important, maybe even more so. The average time between brake pads being replaced is every 25,000 miles to 65,000 miles, and brake rotors typically need to be replaced between 30,000 miles to 70,000 miles. The driving conditions and the driver’s style will cause a difference in these numbers. 

A good thing about car brakes, is there are symptoms that will let you know it is time to schedule a car brake repair appointment. The key is for you to be aware of these five symptoms and not ignore them: 

1. Squeaking or Squealing 

As brake pads near the end of their life, they will begin executing a squeaking or squealing sound when you activate them. This is usually because the brake pads are worn down. You will hear a grinding noise eventually if you keep driving, which can cause more damage and it becomes more dangerous to be driving too. Scheduling a car brake repairs appointment sooner than later is recommended.

2. Grinding

As we just mentioned, ignore that squealing and squeaking sound, you will begin hearing a grinding sound when you press on the brakes. This noise means the brake pads are worn and your brakes are what is called “metal to metal”, meaning there is no brake bad left. You need a car brake repair now; waiting is no longer an option. 

3. Vibration 

If you feel a vibration from your brakes as you press on them, the brake rotors have warped after you’ve ignored the other signs, and a professional car brake repair is your only option. 

4. Slow Stopping

As you apply your brakes, if they aren’t stopping right away, it may be because the brake fluid level is low. Take your car to the mechanic and have them check the fluid. If they add fluid and the brakes start having a slow response again, you may have a leak in the brake line, or the master cylinder may be going out. Can you repair a brake master cylinder? 

Yes, the master cylinder is a common car brake repair. It is usually a matter of replacing the seals. Once that is done, the mechanic will “bleed” the brakes, which is getting all air out of the lines. Can you repair brake hoses? The brake line will need to be replaced. Again, once the line is replaced, the mechanic will “bleed” the air from the brake system. 

5. Brake Light 

Cars today come with a warning light when the brakes need attention. There is the ABS (anti lock braking system) light, the emergency brake light, and the main brake system light. When these lights won’t go off, you need to have your car’s brake system inspected for possible car brake repair. 

Can you repair brake calipers?

Brake caliper kits are expensive car brake repairs that expand the lifespan of a car’s braking system. By 75,000 miles or a car that is 10 years old, it is time to have the entire braking system inspected and possibly rebuild or replace the brake calipers. By that time, the rubber seals have hardened with age, and the caliper could begin to leak or stick, becoming ineffective. 

Can you repair a brake switch?

Yes, and it is one of the easiest car brake repairs possible. The brake switch is found near the tip of the brake pedal, easy to reach and the new brake switch simply snaps in. There aren’t any special tools needed and many car owners can do their own for under $20. Or if your mechanic does the job, it may cost $50.00 for labor and part. 

How much is a full brake repair?

The make and model of a car will be a factor in car brake repair jobs, as well as the problem with the brake system. Some brake repair jobs can cost up to $1,000 with an average between $300 to $800. 

How much is brake repair on a BMW?

Yes, BMW car brake repairs are common, and very likely will be one of those $1,000 or more brake jobs. A BMW front brake pads and rotors repair job can range between $500 and $900 while the rear brake pads and rotors can cost between $450 and $800. 

technician providing car brake repair

How much does it cost to fix Mercedes brakes?

Yes, a Mercedes-Benz car brake repair job will average around $150 and $450 per axle. The make and year of the car and the type of brake pad installed can have an effect on this cost. The brake rotor replacement can cost between $300 and $750 for all four units for parts and labor. 

Bring It All to A Stop Any driver that has to ask, “Why do brakes need to be replaced?”, should probably take a driver’s ed course. When brake issues and problems are ignored, the brake pads and brake rotors will wear out to the point of the car not stopping. All of the components in a brake system work together, and it is in the interest of safety that you have your brakes inspected and replaced as recommended by the car manufacturer or your mechanic.

Why is vehicle maintenance important?

technician cleaning a car engine

Scheduling Your Vehicle Maintenance

Your vehicle is an important part of your life. It gets you to and from work, school, and helps you get your errands done. But did you know that it needs maintenance and upkeep too, like your HVAC system or your lawn and garden? Vehicle maintenance is necessary to keep your car running and to extend its lifespan. 

What is the most important maintenance for a car?

Any part of basic vehicle maintenance is important. Fortunately, some of these maintenance tasks can be done by you in your garage. But some maintenance tasks should be done by a professional mechanic. A vehicle maintenance checklist should include:

Taking Care of the Tires

The tires are essential to your safety and for better handling on the road. Tires in poor condition can be dangerous for you and your passengers. Things in your tires that should be maintained include: 

  • Tire pressure
  • Tire rotation
  • Tire condition
  • Uneven wear
  • Spare tire 

Checking and Changing Fluids

The following fluids should be checked and/or changed by a professional every 5,000 miles and checked for a refill about once a week: 

  • Motor oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Antifreeze or coolant 
  • Transmission
  • Power Steering
  • Washer fluids

Checking the Battery

Having a dead battery when you need to get to work is not fun. Part of routine vehicle maintenance should include checking the battery to make sure it is in proper working order. This includes checking to be certain the cables are clean and firmly connected. A mechanic can check the amount of power output the battery has stored.

Checking the Lights

One easy vehicle maintenance task you can easily do on your own is checking the exterior and interior lights. Make sure that all headlights, brake lights, blinker lights, and fog lights are in working order. Get a new light immediately if you notice a problem.

The Annual Inspection

Most states require an annual inspection, making it one of the most important parts of your vehicle maintenance. This allows a trained mechanic to check that all components are in working condition. This can be a good time to get the spark plugs changed, radiator flushed, the timing belt checked, and the fuel filter changed. 

 What needs to be changed when servicing a car?

In a proper vehicle maintenance program, the first thing that should be changed is the motor oil following the car manufacturer’s recommendations. Other basic fluid changes during routine vehicle maintenance include the following: 

  • Brake fluid
  • Engine coolant
  • Power steering fluid 

Checking the radiator for anti-freeze concentration is also crucial in keeping a car well-maintained.

What is vehicle maintenance and repair?

The difference between vehicle maintenance vs repair is that vehicle maintenance will keep you from needing vehicle repair! By having the fluids checked, changed, or added, along with taking care of tasks such as checking the tires and the different filters in a car, you can avoid most vehicle repair needs. 

If you have kept up with maintenance, vehicle repair is typically only needed when there is mechanical trouble, like the engine overheating or if you’ve noticed a knocking sound in the engine. With routine vehicle maintenance, those things are far less likely to happen.

How long can you go without servicing your car?

This can vary between different cars and how well they are built. Your driving habits and styles will also make a difference in how long a car will last, with or without vehicle maintenance. Most engines can tolerate skipping vehicle maintenance for up to 5,000 miles on average.

Does vehicle maintenance save you money?

Absolutely! With routinely scheduled vehicle maintenance, the engine will run better. ith By having the oil changed, your gas mileage will improve. With the right air pressure and a new air filter, you could see far greater fuel efficiency. 

Can you service your car yourself?

A DIY car owner that is handy with automotive equipment and tools can do most of their own vehicle maintenance. Many “shade tree” mechanics prefer to do their own. If you own a brand new car, you’ll need to keep receipts of when you take care of tasks like the oil change and other basic vehicle maintenance jobs for warranty purposes. 

mechanic performing a vehicle inspection

In Closing – Do electric vehicles require less maintenance?

While electric vehicles still need maintenance, they typically don’t need it as frequently. Parts that will need vehicle maintenance include the battery, motor, and other associated electronics, though they still do not require the amount of regular maintenance that conventional vehicles require. 

Because there are fewer moving parts, there is less to wear out, but there are still fluids, like motor oil, that need to be checked and changed – again, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

What does performance mean in a car?

close up of car

Tuning up your performance

When somebody brags, or complains, about their car’s engine performance, they are talking about how well the engine runs, the fuel mileage it has, how little or how much it is affecting to the pollution level. When they speak of a car’s performance, they usually mean the handling of the car on the road. How well it steers, turns, “grabs” the road. 

Just as we are all trying to find ways to be energy efficient with our homes, engine performance is a concern too. With the price of gas going up and no sign of it coming down, Getting Better Engine Performance From Your Vehicle is a topic of interest today. Before we can determine where to start for improving your car’s engine performance, you need an engine performance evaluation first.

If you’re a DIY kind of person, a “shade tree mechanic”, you can do your own engine performance evaluation. Or you may choose to take your car to a trusted mechanic. There are “big-box” engine analyzers with programmed test sequences programmed and there are hand-held analyzers with similar programmed testing built in them. Regardless of which way you go and which type of equipment that is used,  the following checks should be done: 

Under the Hood

Getting a visual on the following is your base starting point:

  • Battery
  • Belts
  • Vacuum hoses
  • Any obvious broken, frayed, loose, or missing bolts, nuts, studs, or wiring 
  • Any signs of fuel, oil, or other liquid leaks
  • Check the oil
  • Check the coil, distributor, PVC valve, spark plugs and wires (if applicable) 
  • Check the radiator for dirt, rust, etc.

Pretesting Procedures

There are some engine testing procedures that the ignition needs to be disabled. A mechanic will connect a remote starter before beginning the engine performance process. 

Start the Engine

Sometimes, a lot can be determined about the engine performance just by hearing it start and run. Things you want to note are: 

  • Uneven cranking sound
  • Rattling sounds
  • Squealing sounds
  • Rumbling sounds
  • Smoke from engine or tailpipe (note the color black, blue or white)
  • Hissing sounds

 Alternator, Battery, and Starter Testing

Prior to starting the engine, a mechanic will perform some basic tests at the same time to get an accurate test. This will include recording the battery voltage, disabling the ignition system, record the starter draw, battery crank voltage and the cranking rpm. 

These steps give the mechanic an overall general view of the battery capacity, starter condition and the combined ability of both components in cranking the engine at a acceptable speed. Any sign of weakness during this preliminary testing can often be an indicator of the engine performance issues. 

After starting the engine, the mechanic will record the alternator’s performance, starting with the recovery voltage and amperage. With the engine running at 2500 rpm, they will record the CO, CO2, HC, and O2. Getting a combined reading of these four gases are key in troubleshooting an engine performance. 

Compression, Power Balance and Vacuum Testing

Several basic engine performance problems can be determined checking these three things. The idle at a low cruising speed of 1800 to 2200 rpm, and the idel at a high cruising speed of 2500 to 3000 rpm.

Cylinder Leakage and Ignition Testing

Cylinder leakage testing is used when the mechanic finds a weak cylinder with the previous tests. If further testing finds the cylinder is leaking, this will affect engine performance and an engine teardown will be required. When putting the engine back together, other things will be assessed, and performance engine parts can be used to improve the engine performance. 

How can I add more horsepower to my car?

Maybe you can’t afford a professional mechanic to get more from your car’s engine performance. Or you just like doing it yourself, with a few extra dollars and a weekend with no other plans, the following 5 steps will improve your car’s engine performance: 

  • Upgrade the Air Intake: First step in getting more power from your car’s engine performance, improve the cold-air intake. How does a cold air intake improve performance? The engine is basically a large air pump. The more air that comes in, the more power goes out. Eliminating and minimizing restrictive air passages, like sharp bends, increased the airflow that will trigger the engine computer to give the car fuel in the air/fuel mix, meaning more horsepower.  .
  • Upgrade the Exhaust: When there is more air going in, more needs to exit. Upgrading to a performance level exhaust system. If your car has a catalytic converter, you want to upgrade that to a high-flow model.  
  • Engine Tune-Up and Performance chips: The performance chips are tuners that plug into the diagnostic port and modify the fuel and timing which increase the engine performance. You’ll lose your fuel economy in most cases.  
  • Install a Boost Controller: If the car engine is equipped with a turbocharger the factory setting allows it to deliver a specific amount of boost per square inch. An engine boost controller installed will adjust that boost level for engine performance.  
  • Use Synthetic Oil: The boosted horsepower will improve the engine performance, but it may be able to handle the harmful deposits that occur naturally. By upgrading to a synthetic oil, the engine will be lubricated by the synthetics, and improve the wear and tear on the engine because the internal friction is lessened. 

How can I improve my engine performance?

In addition to the things we’ve mentioned above, like getting an engine tune up, adding performance chips, upgrading the air intake and exhaust, for ways on how to improve car engine performance, look online or visit your neighborhood auto parts store for small engine performance kits. Other things you can do for better engine performance are: 

  • CHANGE THE SPARK PLUGS – Spark plugs are inside the cylinder heads. They are what ignites the fuel to create the combustion that makes the engine run. Without spark plugs, you aren’t going anywhere. Over time, the spark plugs corrode and get dirty, start to wear out. While they are still doing their part of making your car go, they aren’t doing it as efficiently as they should, which affects the engine performance. With regular spark plug changes, you will improve your car’s engine performance. 
  • RECUDE THE WEIGHT – No, this won’t give your car ore horsepower, but it will improve the engine performance because it isn’t having to move the car AND everything inside the car and trunk. Clean out unnecessary stuff in the trunk, and if you never have passengers, the only seat you need is the driver’s seat. You don’t see race cars with passenger seats! 
  • EXHAUST HEADERS & MANIFOLDS – Better engine performance is all about better airflow, coming in and going out of the engine. The stock exhaust manifolds from the factory are required to meet government mandated emissions requirements. These requirements will not give optimum engine performance. Change out the header to a long-tube style and you’ll notice immediate improvement in the horsepower and with the RPMs.
car engine close up

What is included in a tune up?

The make and model of a car can determine what a tune-up should entail. A basic tune up will typically consist of an overall engine check then clean, fix, or replace any of the following: 

  • Belts
  • Distributor cap
  • Filters
  • Fluids
  • Hoses
  • Spark plugs
  • Rotor

These are things you can do yourself at home but having a professional comprehensive tune-up once a year can give you the engine performance you want. Call 609-737-7226 today for your car performance service in Hopewell and Pennington, NJ.

What causes electrical problems in cars?

electrical check

What controls a car’s electrical system?

Along with the engine and transmission, a car electrical system is essential for a car to run. The car electrical basics consists of an alternator, a battery, and starter. Each of those items are key in making the other work, like the hand bone is connected to the arm bone is connected to the elbow bone, etc., etc. 

The car electrical system works when the starter gets powered by the battery and the alternator energizes the battery so that it can power the car. A car with electrical problems can be any of those three components that cause it to malfunction. This can keep a car from starting, and if it does start, it won’t run properly. 

Of those three components in a car electrical system, the alternator is key to keeping an engine running. It is the alternator that powers the battery, keeping it charged so that the electrical system can keep going. When the alternator component of the car electrical system is failing, or even quits, a car will start and could run for a time. 

What causes a car’s electrical system to suddenly stop working?

When it comes to cars, a car electrical system with problems are the most difficult to determine, even though there are a few possible issues it could be.  The main components that can create the loss of electrical power are indicated in these ways: 

  • Alternator: Lights dim, engine dies.
  • Battery: Car slow to start or won’t start.
  • Fuses and Links: Car won’t start or car loses all power. 
  • Ignition Coil: Car won’t start or die while going down the road.
  • Starter or Solenoid: Car won’t start due to loss of power.

How do you know if you have electrical problems in your car?

An older car electrical system problems typically will be the battery. A car electrical system in a new car is more complicated. The technology in today’s car has made our driving experiences better, but they have also brought us challenges with that complexity because they rely on the electrical system more than older car did. Issues with the car electrical system can be misdiagnosed, but the following can give you a guideline for those issues that can help you determine, ” Why did my car lose all power?”: 

Engine Starting Incorrectly

Electrical power is required for a car engine to start, and that power comes from the battery. The battery ignites a spark with the engine’s fuel mixture. When the car doesn’t start right, it could be a bad battery, the alternator or another electrical matter that is unrelated.

The most common indication of a car electrical system problem is a clicking sound when starting the car. That clicking sound is telling you there isn’t sufficient energy to battery for the engine to turn. This can be the battery has lost power or has died. It could also be the alternator or starter. A grinding sound while trying to start the car, it is typically the starter or the flywheel. 

A Battery Problems

A dead or discharged battery is one of the most obvious car electrical system problem. When you open the hood, if the battery cables are corroded or not connected to the battery, that will be the first thing you notice. Before replacing the battery though, it should be checked by a professional mechanic with a battery tester. The average lifespan of a car battery is five years, so if the battery has reached that 5 year mark, a replacement may be necessary. Under 5 years, it could be the alternator.

Lights Malfunctioning

All the lights on your car are necessary to be operated safely. The lighting system includes brake lights, headlights, and taillights as well as the turn signals. Each of these lights are how drivers communicate on the road.  The interior lights assist a driver in operating the car as well. When you notice the lights dimming, it is usually an indication of a low voltage or failing battery. Other car electrical system issues can be the alternator belt or loose wires.

Fuses Blown 

The fuse box in your car is there to minimizing any over-voltage or  short-circuiting from occurring. The purpose of the fuse is to break the circuit and shield any fragile electrical components getting too strong of a current. There are indiscernible reasons that can cause a fuse to blow, however, if it is a constant issue, there could be a more severe issues with the car electrical system. 

Burning Plastic 

If you notice the smell of burning plastic along with any of the electrical symptoms we’ve described here, park the car, and call a mechanic immediately. 

electrical plug

Will car run on alternator only?

It depends on the age of the car.  An older car, 20 years old or older, you can drive it for a short distance. A newer car electrical system will not start and cannot be driven.

If it is determined your car needs car electrical wiring repair, it is important to have it done by an authorized and experienced mechanic. They will have the experience and tools, like a car electrical circuit tester, along with a wiring map to do the job correctly. Call 609-737-7226 today for your car electrical repair in Hopewell and Pennington, NJ.

When Should I Service My Brakes?

brake disc repair

Do brakes need to be serviced?

We have talked about getting your car’s oil changed and the tires rotated on a routine basis, and how important it is to stay on schedule with those tasks. Another recommended routine task is brake repair service. 

The brakes on your car are as vitally important as the engine, transmission, tires, and wheels. Therefore, getting brake repair when needed and keeping on top of your car’s brake maintenance are important as well. The brakes on a car are a vital component in the safety system of your car that is used every time you get behind the wheel of your car. 

As much as keeping the engine, transmission, and wheels in good working order is important, having your brakes stop is more important. It can be a matter or injury, life, or even death when your car isn’t able to stop. Routine brake repair and check-up service is recommended to assure that they are working and able to come to an abrupt stop if needed. 

Yes, every car manufacturer has a recommended schedule of brake service check and brake repair, usually every 25,000 to 70,000 miles. Depending on your driving habits and style, the brake pads may need to be inspected more frequently by an authorized mechanic. 

For most drivers, too many driver, don’t think anything about the brakes of the card as long as they are stopping the car when needed. When the pads and rotors become worn out, they can’t stop your car as quickly, leading to a dangerous situation. Besides the apparent danger of having brakes inspected for any needed brake repair, when ignored, it can cause more damage to your car’s wheel system. 

This is why a routine brake maintenance service is recommended before your brakes quit working. Waiting until you’re having issues of your car not stopping as quickly and securely as it should, then getting a brake repair job, is dangerous. A brake repair job should be scheduled as soon as you notice any stopping issue with your car. 

What does brake service include?

Authorized and fully equipped brake repair shops will provide a full inspection of your car’s entire braking system. This goes beyond checking and adding brake fluid and changing the brake discs or pads. This will include disassembling the brake system and checking all parts for brake repair or replacement needs. A good brake check and brake repair isn’t done is just a matter of minutes. 

An experienced auto mechanic will perform the following: 

  • Replace hoses that are broken, cracked, chaffed, or swollen.
  • Replace any hoses that are leaking.
  • Replace corroded, damaged, kinked, or leaking steel brake lines.
  • Perform brake repair or replacement of leaking or worn caliper or wheel cylinder.
  • Repair or replace brake seized guide pins or seized pin caliper.
  • Check for uneven bake pad wear.
  • Check master cylinder for leaks.
  • Check if brake pedal is sinking to the floor.
  • Inspect brake drums and rotors by measuring the wear and tear.
  • Check brake drums and rotors for heat cracks, rusting, warping, or other damage .that requires brake repair or replacement .
  • Replace any brake hardware needed while replacing brake pads or brake shoes.
  • Replace drum brakes retaining clips and return springs.
  • Replace corroded or frozen brake self-adjusters.
  • Brake repair service the wheel bearings if applicable.
  • Lubricate brake caliper slides and shoe pads.
  • Bleed and flush brake fluid, replacing with new brake fluid. 
  • Inspect and adjust parking brake.
  • Inspect any ABS system fault codes, repair or replace any components needed, including accumulator, hydraulic modulator, or wheel speed sensors. 

How do you know when your rear brakes are bad?

Every part of the braking system has a lifespan and knowing if your car needs a brake repair job or when to repair brake pads or other parts of your car’s braking system is important. The brakes on your care an important safety component and not something to take lightly or dismiss any of the following indications. 

  • The Brake Light: When a red or yellow brake light indicators comes on, check that you r emergency parking brake isn’t on and if it isn’t, then it is time to take  your car in for brake service or brake repair. Do not ignore this light. Today’s car’s have electronic sensors that know when something is going bad before it reaches a danger point. 
  • Noises: Any squeaking, squealing, or grinding noises from the brakes needs to be inspected by a mechanic, the sooner the better. A high-pitched noise while applying the brakes usually indicates the brake pads are wearing out and a brake repair job is needed to replace the brake pads. A grinding sound is an indicator of several different issues with the brake system and a brake inspection is recommended. 
  • Scraping, Vibrating, or Wobbling Brakes: A shaking, vibrating response from your brakes could mean your car needs brake repair of the discs or rotors. 
  • Brake Fluid Leaking: If the brakes seem “soft” when you press on them or you notice brake fluid under your car, you need to take your car in for a brake repair service immediately. 
  • Soft, Spongy Brake Pedal: Again, if you have a soft and spongy response when pressing on the brakes, take your car in for a brake repair service immediately. 
  • Car Pulls to One Side When Applying Brakes: This is an indication that your car needs a brake inspection and adjustment, or possible brake repair service.  
  • A Burning Smell: A car should never have any type of burning smell while driving. Especially if you notice a sharp chemical smell after applying your brakes hard in a sudden stop. 

How much does it cost to get your brakes fixed?

Brake repair prices can vary between brake repair shops throughout the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas, but the average cost of a complete brake repair service can start around $300 and go as high as $1,000. 

disc brake

How long does it take to get brakes fixed?

Again, this can vary from brake repair shops in the area and how severe the brake damage is on the car.  The time can be as little as 30 minutes up to a couple of hours.  The make and model of the car have a factor in this time as well. 

Never take your car’s brake system for granted.  Trusting the brake repair to an inexperienced mechanic that may or may not know how to repair a brake line leak is taking a risk on your life, your passengers, and anyone in the area of your car. Call 609-737-7226 today at brake repair in Hopewell and Pennington, NJ.

When You Need Engine Repair

engine repairs

Getting the repairs your engine needs

How do you know your car needs engine repair? Well, you’ll know if you have engine problems, symptoms are pretty obvious. If not, then as a car owner, you need to familiarize yourself with these symptoms, because they aren’t going to go away, in fact, they’ll only get worse. 

  • Knocking Sound: An engine should never have a knocking sound coming out from under the hood, more importantly if it gets louder and softer as you push on the gas pedal. When the increase and decrease of the RPMs is making a knocking sound, that is an indicator the engine bearings are failing. These are important part of an engine that supports the moving engine parts. When the bearing seize up, the engine seizes too, and you’ll have major engine damage that could be more than just engine repair.
  • Exhaust Smoke: If you notice smoke coming from the tailpipe more than normal, depending on the color of the smoke. White smoke, you could have problems with the combustion chamber of the engine, that will need professional engine repair.  Blue-ish smoke is the engine burning oil, which probably is minor engine repair, and black smoke means the car has too much gas usage, another minor engine repair. 
  • Check Engine Light: This light could be telling you there is something minor or major wrong with your engine and never be ignored. As soon as this light comes on, take it your mechanic. It could be a minor engine repair, or it could indicate a bigger problem.  
  • Performance Decreased: Your car’s fuel efficiency isn’t what it was, or it lags when you give it the gas, you need your mechanic to check the engine. It may not be anything more than needing a tune up, but until a professional mechanic has check it out, you won’t know. 
  • Idling Rough: If your car has a difficult time running while you’re stopped at signal light, it may have a fuel problem and should be looked at by a professional mechanic. The possible engine repair it needs could be major or minor, but either way, it isn’t running right. 

What is engine failure?

Engine failure could be anything from the engine simply dies and won’t start again or you could have run out of gas. You’ll know has happened as you’re driving because your power steering locks up, the power brakes aren’t working, and not matter how much you try to give it the gas, it won’t speed up. 

With this type of engine failure car,  what to do is important to know so that you can remain safe. As you notice losing engine power, it will take a lot of strength, steer the car to the side of the road. Coast to the safest place possible and exit the car through the door that is not in traffic, then call a tow truck or 911. 

You’ll need your car towed to your mechanic where they can inspect the engine and determine the problem. Once they have found the problem and provided you a written estimate, you can approve it and have them begin the needed engine repair. 

How do you know engine is blown?

Your car could have multiple symptoms and problems, but that won’t necessarily mean the engine is blown up. Many problems that may seem major can be corrected with some engine repair work. Some common signs that your engine may be blown are: 

  • Dense White Exhaust: White smoke coming from the tailpipe usually indicates that the coolant or water from the engine has seeped into the combustion chamber. The white exhaust will linger where normal exhaust dissipates. in the air unlike that of normal exhaust smoke.
  • A Blue Exhaust: This is often indication of an engine that is about to blow up or already has because water has gotten into the combustion chamber. 
  • Knocking Noises: When your car’s engine has noises coming from inside the engine like banging, knocking, or rattling, something is seriously wrong. If the engine hasn’t already blown, it is going to at any time. This will definitely require an engine rebuild or a new engine. 
  • Coolant and Oil Mixed: The coolant and oil should never be mixed together in a car engine. When coolant has got into the oil, the engine is blown, and the only engine repair is to rebuild it or buy a new engine. 
  • Car Wont’ Start: When your car won’t start, it could be anything from a dead battery, the starter went out, or any number of things. Among those things, it could be engine problems like the timing or heating, either one of those gets really bad, engine repair is not enough. 

What causes a blown engine?

Any of the following could be the cause of a blown engine: 

  • A Blown Piston- A common cause of blown engines and it isn’t specifically the piston, but the piston rings. 
  • Hole in the Engine Block – This is a catastrophe and is usually caused by a blown rod that literally can blow through the side of an engine block, leaving a hole. An engine repair is going to fix this. 
  • Engine Seized – When the engine doesn’t have enough lubrication, aka motor oil, the engine will seize up.  
  • Timing Belt or Chain Broken – A rubber belt or steel chain is what keeps your car engine working with the crankshaft and camshaft. When either of these break, the cylinder head valves will move by themselves instead of with the pistons. 

What are the signs of a blown head gasket?

A car engine operates in extreme heat and if it becomes too hot, it will overheat, and the head gasket will blow because that extra heat can result in too much expanding of the cylinder head and engine block. Indicators that are telling you that your car has a blown head gasket are: 

  • White smoke out of the tailpipe
  • Bubbling from top of radiator and reservoir
  • Coolant loss but no bubbling or leaking
  • Milky white engine oil
  • Engine is overheated

Does insurance cover blown engine?

No, routine maintenance and upkeep of a car is the owner’s responsibility and as such, auto insurance does not cover any mechanical failure that results in a blown engine, including but not limited to engine repair, engine rebuild, or engine replacement. 

engine repair

Can a damaged engine be fixed?

It all depends on how damaged and what kind of damage has been done to the engine. With minimal damage, yes engine repair is possible. Extensive, extreme engine damage, your only hope is the mechanic can rebuild it or you’ll have to have a new engine installed. The 0worst car engine problem you can have is an overheated engine, especially if you ignore it and keep driving it. For your engine repair needs, call 609-737-7226 today.

How does heating in a car work?

driver adjusting car ac

Why is my car blowing cold air when the heat is on?

Living in New Jersey in the winter is not the place for your car heating to quit working! Of all the things you need in this part of the country, you don’t need to run out of gas, and you need car heating in winter. If they don’t, they should review this in driver’s ed classes. 

In this article today, we’re going to answer a few questions about car heating. From this, you may be able to determine what is wrong with yours and if you need to have your mechanic inspect the heating system. Or perhaps, you simply don’t have the settings in the right place! 

The heating and cooling of a vehicle can be a complicated system. In the world of vehicles, there are 3 different types of heating systems: 

  • Water-coolant engines
  • Air-coolant engines
  • Electrical engine heating 

Most  vehicles today, the heating system is from water-coolant engines, with a basic, simple principle of how the heat is generated. As the engine gets warm, the coolant absorbs some of that heat and gets it warmed up to a certain temperature.  It then travels through a thermostat and goes to the radiator, where the temperature is reduced to keep your vehicle from overheating. 

For the car heating portion of your vehicle system, some of that heated coolant travels  through a component, the heater core, a radiator type component. From there, that heat then travels to inside your vehicle by a fan. 

If your vehicle heater is blowing cold as soon as you start your vehicle, that is because the coolant hasn’t had time to get warmed up because the engine is still cold. However, if your vehicle has been running for some time and the heater is still blowing cold, it could be one of the following reasons: 

  • The thermostat is malfunctioning: A malfunctioning thermostat could be stuck opened or closed. If it is stuck closed, the engine will overheat, and this can damage the engine beyond repair if not addressed promptly. If stuck open, the coolant will run continuously through the thermostat, and never heat up. This would cause the car heating selection in your vehicle to blow cold air. 
  • The coolant level is too low: The coolant fluid is a major part of the heating system, so if there isn’t adequate coolant, your vehicle’s heating system isn’t going to get the heat it needs to blow war air inside your vehicle. There could be a leak with the various connections, hoses, the radiator, or any of the engine’s components that work the cooling and heating system.
  • Air bubbles in the system: Cold air will blow instead of heat if the coolant has air bubbles. With air bubbles, the coolant can’t heat up and travel through the system properly. 
  • The heater core has issues: Your vehicles car heating may be blowing cold air if the heater core is stopped up. There are narrow passages in the heater core and if any of them have blockage, it will keep the coolant from passing through and warming up. 
  • The heater controls: If your car heating system is blowing cold air, make sure the controls in the right position for heat. If they are, and the possible issues we’ve covered above are all in proper working issue, then there may be a problem with the controls inside your vehicle. With time, they can break, become clogged with gunk, and get stuck. 

How do you know when your car heater is going out?

The following things are hint that your  car heating broken and needs professional mechanic attention: 

  • There is little or no heat blowing inside your vehicle, even after it has been running for a while and the temperature gauge reads in normal range.  
  • You smell coolant inside the car, a fruity, sweet smell, while the motor is running. 
  • The windows are fogged up, even with the defroster on.
  • There is a leak under the dashboard.
  • Your vehicle is low on coolant and the engine is running hot.

How can I get better heat in my car?

A few tricks to try to get your car heating fixed and heating faster: 

  • If your vehicle’s climate control system has an auto setting, set the thermostat the highest setting and you’re done. 
  • If your vehicle has remote start, start your vehicle 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to leave. This will all the coolant to start warming up and that will heat the interior of your vehicle. 
  • Turn the temperature setting to cold, then turn the fan off. This may seem like you’re doing just the opposite of heating the car, but the cooling/heating system in vehicle will get hot faster. Once you have driven the vehicle a while, move the temperature setting to hot and the fan to full blast. 
  • Drive your vehicle and as you drive, it will warm up. Most vehicles today are heated up in thirty seconds. 
heater vents in car

How can I keep my car warm without heat?

Winter temperatures in New Jersey can be brutal, but when your car heating isn’t working, it just makes it worse. While the common suggested  solution would be having the car heating fixed, sometimes that just isn’t possible financially. Here are a few suggestions that can keep you warm without car heating. 

  • Park inside a garage.
  • Cover the windshield day and night.
  • Buy hand warming packets and if you find anything in the hunting section for deer hunters, consider utilizing them in your car.
  • Buy a heater that will plug into the car cigarette lighter.
  • Keep several blankets in your car. 
  • Take a hot beverage and a thermos of hot beverage.

Does engine heating work with off?

The fan for your vehicle heating is powered through the accessory’s connection at the ignition switch. When the vehicle engine is turned off, it doesn’t get any power. Otherwise, if the fan is on and the engine isn’t running, it would drain the battery within 30 minutes. While we hope nobody is driving around during a New Jersey winter without car heating, we hope there was helpful information for you. Call 609-737-7226 today for your car heater service in Hopewell and Pennington, NJ.

How Often Should Tires be Rotated?

tires on the road

So, do you really have to rotate your tires?

To answer the question how often, what is tire rotation? Tire rotation is the having the tires repositioned on your vehicle in a specific pattern. Typically, they go from front to back and/or side to side. Okay, but Why get a tire rotation? This is an important part of vehicle tire upkeep and vehicle safety. For many tire manufacturers, it is required for warranty purpose. 

Cars are not cheap! As a car owner, there are many maintenance things that have to be done to keep your car on the road and get as long of a lifespan as you can. Still though, you may be asking yourself if a tire rotation is really necessary? Maybe the budget is a little tight this month, is the finance company going to get your car because you missed a tire rotation? 

Absolutely not, they finance company has no concern with your having maintenance completed on your car as recommended or required by the manufacturer. They’re still going to expect you to pay for the car though, whether is drivable or not, so take the time and budget for the routine tire rotation along with the other maintenance actions like oil changes. 

By following the vehicle’s manufacturer recommended tire rotation schedule, this will assure that your tires have even tread wear. What does even tread wear give you? It improves the car’s handling, reduces noises and vibrations, extends the tire’s life, and protect the tire warranty. These are things that keep you from having to buy new tires and give you the best driving experience possible. 

What happens if you never rotate your tires?

Without regular tire rotations, the tread wears unevenly, creating a rough and unstable tire surface for driving. Unevenly worn tread will decrease yours and your passenger’s safety while on the road. NHTSA reports that inadequate tread depth has been found responsible for over 25% of all car accidents related to tires. Ignored tire rotation can cause the following: 

  • Heat Buildup: When a car is moving, it creates friction between the tires and the road, generating heat.  While tires are designed and manufactured to withstand heat, they still need airflow space to cool down. When tires get too hot, they are prone for having blowouts and the tread begin separating.  
  • Hydroplaning: Tire tread’s deep grooves channel water away from the surface. This enables the tires to maintain a solid grip on the roadway. When the tire tread is inadequate, the tires can slide across the road and skim across the water, making controlling, handling, and steering the car dangerous and even impossible. 
  • Poor Traction: With tire tread that is deep, sharp, and wide, and has more irregular treads, like snow tires, it improves the traction by design to grip into packed snow. Insufficient tread makes winter condition driving risky with possibility you can spin out of control and slide on the icy roadway.
  • Blowouts and Punctures: Without regular tire rotation, the excessive strain your tires are under will create a worn spot that will start to wear thin. As tires get thinner in those worn spot, the risk of glass, nail, a sharp rock or any sharp object could puncture the tire, causing a blowout. 

Can rotating tires mess up tire alignment?

A tire rotation should not affect the tire alignment if you have the tire rotation on a routine schedule as recommended by the tire manufacturer. 

How do I know when to get my tires rotated?

If you notice any of these things while driving your car, they are indications that your car needs a tire rotation: 

  • Tires Wearing Uneven: Examine all of the tires on your car and you notice that the tread is wearing differently on each tire, a tire rotation would be a good idea. 
  • Tire Vibration: When driving 45 mph or faster, if you feel a vibration from the tires, you could have a tire out of balance, your tires could need tire rotation, or your car may need a wheel alignment.  
  • Tire Pressure Loss: If one tire is losing air pressure faster than the other three tires, it is probably a leak in that one tire. Taking your car in for a Vehicle inspections and tire rotations will allow the mechanic to check all issues like leaks and get your car secure for the road again.  
tires being replaced

How long will tires last if not rotated?

There are several factors in determining the lifespan of tires.  From how much you drive, the way you drive, the road conditions, and more.  Tire rotation is important in getting the longest lifespan though.  A sixty-thousand-mile tire that doesn’t get a routine tire rotation could get fifty-thousand miles. A routine tire rotation will give your tires a better chance of sixty-thousand miles or longer with good driving and road conditions.

It is important to have the routine tire rotation and just as important to use a service that is experienced in how to do a tire rotation properly. Keeping your tires and other important components of your car will assure safe driving for you and safe arrival for your passengers. Call 609-737-7226 today for your tire rotation in Hopewell and Pennington, NJ.