(704) 372-3885 2641 N. Graham St. Charlotte, NC 28206

Learn About Your Car

Ever get musky odors coming from your car's air vents? It's actually fairly common. Moisture can accumulate in the air conditioning/heating ventilation system allowing mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria to grow.

Disinfecting and deodorizing is a process. Depending on how bad the problem is, there are a couple of approaches we may take to get rid of the unwanted smells. For mild situations (especially on newer vehicles), a special deodorizing disinfectant is introduced into the ventilation system. This may be an aerosol or a mist application.

The treatment kills the offending organisms and deodorizes the system. Sometimes in older vehicles, a good deal of mildew or other microorganisms can grow on the air conditioning evaporator which is housed in the heating/air conditioning air blend box behind the dashboard. In cases like this we'll fill the blend box with disinfecting foam that can eliminate stubborn organisms and return a fresh, clean scent. In all of this, don't forget your cabin air filter. This is the filter that cleans the air coming into the passenger compartment of your vehicle.

We can also replace the cabin air filter to eliminate unpleasant odors. It is the first line of defense... Changing the cabin air filter as needed can actually prevent further contamination problems downstream. If you are experiencing any unusual odors, sounds, vibrations, etc., give us a call. We can recommend the next steps to discover what the is and what it will take to set it right.

Tech Question: I was driving on the freeway in NC and my vehicle engine started to get hot. I turned off my air conditioner and was able to drive the short distance to my meeting and then found a shop in Charlotte. It turns out that my water pump was leaking. It cost me many hundreds of dollars to get it fixed. What could I have done to avoid this?

Answer: This guy's story really did have a happy ending. When you continue driving when your engine's overheating you risk a catastrophic engine failure. It really is a good idea to pull over and let your vehicle engine cool down before driving again. If you add water or coolant, be sure your engine is cool or you risk serious burns.

Now there's no way for Charlotte drivers to know when their water pump will fail – they just wear out. This fellow's water pump replacement was more because his water pump is driven by his timing belt. That requires a lot of hours to get to the water pump and then put everything back on the engine.

A money saving tip from Joey's Truck Repair Inc. in Charlotte: if your water pump is driven by your timing belt – replace the pump when you have your scheduled timing belt replacement. That way most of the work is already done and you don't have to pay for it twice.

Give us a call or make an appointment & we can discuss when your timing belt should be replaced.

When your Check Engine light comes on, you may be torn between utter panic and just wanting to ignore it and hope it goes away. That's perfectly understandable. That same Check Engine light could come on for anything from a serious engine or transmission problem all the way down to a loose gas cap.

There's a very common misconception that the trouble codes stored in your engine computer when your check engine light comes on will specifically identify a problem. It's really more like pointing to the symptoms of a problem.

Think of taking your temperature. Say it's 101°. Your heat sensor – the thermometer – tells you that your temperature is out of the normal range. But it doesn't tell you why you have a fever. Is it the flu or a sinus infection? You need more information, more tests.

For any given trouble code, there could be a number of causes. So our highly trained technician takes the trouble code as a starting point and begins a diagnostic process to determine the cause of the problem. And some problems take longer to solve than others.

When your engine management system logs a problem and illuminates the check engine light, our service technician will plug in a scanner, download the trouble codes and go to work tracing the cause of the problem.

That's just the first step... That's when our training, equipment, databases and skill get put to work diagnosing the problem and fixing it.

If your check engine light is flashing, it means that the problem could lead to serious damage. You should come in as soon as possible to get the problem solved. If it's on but not flashing, you have some time to get in at your convenience.

Question: Why isn't my air conditioner blowing cold air?

Answer: Your air conditioning system uses refrigerant to create cold air. The most common reasons drivers lose their cold air have to do with the refrigerant.

The first is not enough refrigerant. Refrigerant is a gas in the system, and very small holes in a hose, seal or coupler can allow enough to leak out to prevent the creation of cold air.

Another potential problem is contamination. Over time the inside of the rubber hoses can deteriorate, and little bits of rubber can clog up various filters and other parts of the vehicle A/C system, preventing proper circulation of the refrigerant. And a component could also be worn or broken. So the first step for drivers who can't cool their vehicle is a thorough air conditioning inspection, looking for leaks and worn parts. In fact, Federal law requires an inspection before adding refrigerant. Some states do not allow topping off a leaking system.

Once any repairs are made, refrigerant is added. At the same time, special oil is added to the system. This oil cools and lubricates various components as it circulates along with the refrigerant. If you have a refrigerant leak, you also have an oil leak – and it's important that both be replenished for proper function and protection of your A/C system.

Sometimes overlooked is the fact that a worn serpentine belt (which drives the A/C compressor) leads to belt slippage which puts additional strain on the compressor. Replacing your serpentine belt and belt tensioner on schedule will extend the life of your A/C compressor and other belt driven accessories.

You've probably noticed a bunch of warning lights on your dash when you start your engine. They flash on to test the circuits and then go off if everything's OK. One of the warning lights looks like a car battery. Its job is to tell you if your battery's not charging properly.

You know that your battery stores electricity – enough to start your engine and get you moving. But that's about it – you can only get a few miles in Charlotte on battery power alone. You need an alternator to generate enough electricity to run your engine and power your electrical accessories like the stereo, power seats, heater fan, on-board computers and so on. On top of that, the alternator needs to recharge your battery. So when your alternator isn't working properly, there isn't enough electricity for all of those things. When your alternator fails, you aren't going very far.

So why would your alternator not work? Usually they've simply worn out. Alternators are driven by your serpentine belt and spin 2 to 3 times faster than the engine – that's a lot of work. The bearings wear out, as do the copper wire coils and magnets that generate the electricity.

There's no sense in hobbling along with an alternator that's not working properly. It will fail at some point and leave you stranded. Get a bad alternator replaced as soon as you can. We will install an alternator that meets your manufacturer's specifications.

Some folks use a lot of additional electrical gizmos in the vehicle, like computers, DVD players, power inverters and such or may regularly tow a camp trailer with a battery that recharges as you drive. If that sounds like you, give us a call about upgrading to a more heavy-duty alternator to meet your needs.