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How Do Brakes Work?

How Do Brakes Work?

Most of the time drivers don’t think about the systems that make cars work.  We just want to drive from one place to the other safely and comfortably.  This month is Brake Safety Awareness Month, so we thought you might want just a bit more information about how your brakes work. The Flow of Brake Fluid Honestly, brakes are all about the flow of the brake fluid.  When you press the brake pedal, brake fluid moves from the master cylinder through metal lines to the brakes – calipers and wheel cylinders. The brake fluid forces the pistons in the calipers to squeeze a disc brake pad or brake shoe and push the friction material against the surface of the rotor or wall of the brake drum.  And presto, you stop. When you stop pressing the brake pedal the pads and shoes go back to their “ready” position and the brake fluid returns to the master cylinder.   Anytime you experience a mushy brake pedal, there is a serious problem with your ... read more

Road Trip to the Mercedes Benz Plant

Road Trip to the Mercedes Benz Plant

We were on a road trip last week and went to the only Mercedes Benz plant in the United States.  Located in Tuskaloosa, Alabama, the plant produces the Class C vehicles including the high-performance AMG line and all their SUVs.  All the Class C cars are sold within the United States and over 72% of the SUVs are shipped overseas.  The plant produced 300,000 cars last year and is currently being retooled for the fall production.  Maximum production is 800 cars per day. Some interesting facts about Mercedes Benz are: They produced the first motorized car.           They also designed and built the first motorcycle – from wood. When they first exported cars to the U.S. they contracted with Steinway Piano ships to bring their cars to America. Pictures Naturally we took lots of pictures and want to share them with you as well. You'll notice that the steering wheel on some of the early models is on the right even though ... read more

Why Are Ignition Coils So Important?

Why Are Ignition Coils So Important?

When you turn the key and all things go well, the engine starts right up. In the background a whole series of things happen to get your car started.  Your car’s brain (Electronic Control Module) directs the ignition coils to deliver power to your spark plugs. The gap in your spark plugs literally causes a spark in the engine cylinder and ignites the fuel forcing the cylinders to move up and down.  Then the engine spins which causes all kinds of magic to turn your wheels, so you can roll down the road. Ignition coils are copper wires wrapped around a piece of iron.  Modern cars usually have one ignition coil for every spark plug. So, if you have a six-cylinder engine, there is a strong possibility you have six coils.  However, there are exceptions. Some cars have one ignition coil for every two spark plugs.  Why should you care about this?  Well, ignition coils fail and when they do, your engine makes strange and startling sounds.  You may e ... read more

Adolf Hoepfl Renovation Underway!

Adolf Hoepfl Renovation Underway!

We are so excited!  For over two years we’ve been planning the renovation of our service bays and now it’s finally begun.  While the original historic two-story building on the site stays, the 5,000 square foot service bays will be replaced with an 8,000 square foot bright red building.  We expect the renovation to take about four months. What does that mean for you, our friends and customers?  It’s business as usual.  We created a new work area that we are using during the construction.  This same area will be used for repairing large vehicles – for example RVs and trucks – following the renovation.  We’ll keep you updated on our progress in our blogs and invite you to come by to see our progress.  We also want to give you a good reason to come by – besides the cup of coffee that’s waiting for you – so during our construction look for our special offers posted on our Blog. You are a large ... read more

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The Great Spark Plug Confusion

The Great Spark Plug Confusion

There is a lot of misinformation about spark plugs on the internet. We have been looking at much of it and are amazed by how inaccurate most of it is. When to Change Them The best advice about spark plugs that we can provide is that you should change them on your manufacturer's schedule. Here's why. How much spark your plugs produce is regulated by the brain of your car called an electronic control module or ECM for short. Your ECM is going to decide how much spark your vehicle needs and you will never know when your spark plugs are worn out till an ignition coil fails. A Bit of Misinformation All the blogs that say that bad spark plugs will cause your car to consume more fuel, lose power, or cause your car to be hard to start are wrong. Misfires in your engine will cause the check engine light to come on and worn out spark plugs might be part of the repair.  Electronic Control Module Worn spark plugs alone will not cause your check engine light to come on because t ... read more

Car Emergency Kit – Keep It Handy

Car Emergency Kit – Keep It Handy

Having an emergency kit in your car is really smart.  It doesn't take up a lot of room in your trunk and can be very valuable in an emergency.  We have some suggestions for you on the items we keep in our vehicles.  In addition to the items listed below, take your cell phone even on short trips in town.  Make sure your cell phone is charged every time you get in the car.  Keep a cell phone charger in your car, too.  CAR EMERGENCY KIT LIST Keep the below items in a bag in your trunk. Ideally, we’d suggest a clear, plastic container so it’s easy to see everything.  You can buy a pre-packaged kit or create your own.  Minimum list: Flashlight, plus extra batteries. Jumper cables.  We suggest 4-gauge wire.  Heavier wire will start more cars.  The smaller the number, the thicker the wire. First Aid Kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antise ... read more

The Good That Makes America Great!

The Good That Makes America Great!

We have long been students of the history of our country and one of our favorite holidays is Independence Day.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence had the vision and foresight to imagine not only the structure our country needed in their time but also create a plan that lives on 242 years later.  We want to share some of our thoughts on the good that makes American great. Good God: Allow God to bring out the very best of you. God the Father never makes junk.  We all have a purpose. When our Founders established this country, they believed that we were capable of self-government because we could self-discipline ourselves according to Biblical principles. Good News: Our freedoms and duties as citizens boil down to our choices. When we choose wisely, we prosper individually and as a country. The more individual responsibility we assume, the more freedom we enjoy. Good Talks: Our rights and responsibilities are ours to live out, to instruct our young, and ... read more

How Bad Is It? Answers to Your Car Questions

How Bad Is It? Answers to Your Car Questions

We have a new topic for our blog – How Bad Is It?  We’re answering those tricky questions that you wonder about and don’t know who to ask.  To drive with the check engine light on? Kinda Bad. The “check engine” light can come on for any number of reasons, from a loose gas cap to a malfunctioning component or sensor. As a general rule, you can still drive the car. Super Bad. A flashing “check engine” light indicates an engine misfire, which can cause irreversible damage to the car’s catalytic convertor.  Stop the car if the check engine light is flashing and get a tow truck. To rotate tires about every 10,000 miles? Not so bad.  Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that the tires be rotated on the same schedule as oil changes. In most cases that means every 6,000 miles or six months.  Unless you drive fewer than about 7,500 miles per year, it's a good idea to rotate tires every six months or so to prevent ... read more

Five Tips: Be Good to Your A/C so Your A/C will be Good to You

Five Tips: Be Good to Your A/C so Your A/C will be Good to You

Air conditioning during Houston’s summer is a necessity for most of us, and it is one of the most expensive systems to repair.  So literally an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Tip 1: Act Fast When Your A/C Isn't Cooling Most importantly don't postpone repairs to your A/C system once you notice the air isn’t cold.  Most modern systems have less than two pounds of refrigerant.  If your system holds 32 ounces, 10% is 3.2 ounces; that’s not even a half cup.  And the manufacturers tell us if the system is 1.6 ounces low, your compressor is being damaged.  Many people may not be aware that there is a refrigerant oil that lubricates the air conditioner’s metal moving parts.  When your refrigerant is low so is the refrigerant oil.  Running your system on empty is like running the engine without motor oil.  So, our recommendation is to have your refrigerant checked every two years or as it seems not to be c ... read more

We Just Earned the Blue Seal of Excellence!

We Just Earned the Blue Seal of Excellence!

And we’re so excited!  What does that mean for our customers and friends?  The Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition is earned through voluntary testing and certification for automotive repair and service professionals by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service. Eligibility To be eligible for this recognition, 75% of our automotive professionals are ASE certified.  We’ve gone beyond these requirements and 100% of our technicians are ASE certified.  In addition, we have a certified technician in each area of service offered.  We also renew each year and confirm our professionals’ certification status. Our ASE certified technicians use high tech equipment to test and inspect your auto.  The modern automobile is a complex machine requiring knowledgeable and skillful technicians to mai ... read more

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