Minnetonka Blvd.

952.931.9696

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Friday: 7am – 5pm

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Friday: 7am – 5pm

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Car Inspection – Why It Matters and the Importance of it

car inspection

We cannot stress the importance of car inspections enough. Inspecting, spotting, and repairing are three things that you must do to ensure the safety of you and your passengers. By keeping your car in top-notch condition, you can ensure it keeps running smoothly without complications for a long time to come.

The Importance of Car Inspections

Frequent car inspections provide you with plenty of benefits. To start with – you do not have to worry about any car malfunctions when traveling long distances. Being stuck in the middle of the highway is not something that you want to encounter. Therefore, car inspections prevent you from facing any problems or issues while on the road.

Saves You Money having a car inspection done

Frequent car inspection allows your car to run without any major damage. As a result, it will not require you to spend your money on car repairs. Sometimes, the cost of a car repair can be increasingly high depending on how long you drive it without proper inspection.

You must be willing to take some time out to inspect your car to ensure that all of its parts are working properly. Car inspection, along with maintenance, will help you save money in other ways as well. A well-maintained car that has not undergone major repairs has a high selling value. This includes all fluids, even the cooland for your vehicle.

Hence, you must take your car for regular inspections. Also, keep engine fluids, brake fluids, and other important liquids in check. By doing so, you can sell it at a good price.

Ensures Smoother Drive

Lubricating the hoses, pipes, and other parts of the combustion engine allows for a much smoother drive. Car inspection keeps your vehicle from making the rusty and squeaky noises that make your car unable to perform with the same consistency.

A car inspection can provide Better Fuel Consumption

Believe it or not, monitoring all fluids of the engine will result in better fuel consumption. Since basic maintenance involves fluid checks, filter replacements, and coolant replacements, it prevents a vehicle from overheating.

The inspection also involves checking and preventing dirt and debris from entering the engine. This makes your car emit foreign particles that indicate bad mileage. Each wear and tear inside the combustion engine can be the cause of bad fuel consumption of a car.

Conclusion

Car inspections matter the most if you have an old vehicle that has seen many miles. The most basic measure is checking the engine oil. Expert technicians recommend an oil check after every 3000 miles if you have an old car. Today’s modern cars can drive up to 5000 miles without needing an oil change.

 

Driving on Ice and 5 Safety Tips for it

Many of the most dangerous driving conditions you’ll face are icy road conditions. The slippery surface makes it extremely difficult to gain traction, so it could be a life-saving Tip to know how to drive on ice. Today, while driving in icy weather, we are going to be looking at 5 things you need to know.

Have Patience

While driving in icy conditions, the only approach you can find is to take your time and drive slower than you would usually do. Before you depart, you can consider taking some extra time so you can take your time while still arriving on time at your destination. Driving slowly will minimize the risk of having an accident drastically. Not to mention, if you do happen to lose control and hit something, this would also lower the level of damage your automobile will get.

Know How/When To Use Brakes

brakes are usually used to help control your vehicle and bring you to a stop in and out of emergency situations, they can do more harm than good if used incorrectly on ice. Slamming on your brakes in icy conditions can send your vehicle into an uncontrollable skid. What you will want to do is travel slowly enough to allow the weight of your car to bring your vehicle to a stop if needed. If you do need to use your brakes on ice, slowly pump your brakes to avoid locking up your tires.

Skidding – How To Steer Out

Skidding applies to losing hold of a car on ice and slipping without grip through the ice. Often drivers freeze up or overcorrect during a skid, which causes them to fly out of control. In order to get out of a skid safely, you’ll want to slowly turn into the skid and pump the brakes slowly to try to prevent traction. Slowly shift the steering wheel back into place and accelerate out of the skid until you notice your car regaining stability to start straightening out. This does not necessarily mean finishing in the same direction, it may sometimes actually decrease the amount of skidding you would have done if you overcorrected or froze up.

Temperatures – What To Look For

Ice road conditions arise when, due to a decrease in temperature, water on the road freezes. Outdoor temperature tracking is a smart way to keep on top of changing road conditions. A perfect way to distinguish where you can need to check for ice patches on the road is to have an in-car monitor that displays outside temperatures. To see what you should get, you should simply check the temperature adjustments before leaving the house if your car does not have this option.

Are Snow Tires Good For Ice?

Many people claim that in snowy road conditions, snow tires and snow chains can help, close to how they help on snow-packed highways. The solution here is not that no extra traction on the ice is applied. Icy roads are too slippery to make a difference on snow tires and tire chains, so if you do have them on your winter driving car, they sure won’t hurt.

 

 

Air Loss in Tires – Why an ATPMS Could Prevent Long Term Damage

air loss

Every car owner should prioritize sustaining the correct tire pressure. Going for a long road trip only to find out that you have deflated tires can be a massive inconvenience. Not only will you arrive late at your destination, but some people even have trouble finding help when stranded in strange areas.

Consider checking your tires as often as you can to make sure you can avoid unpleasant situations like these. What’s more, regular tire maintenance can also help you save a considerable amount of money and in some cases, prevent a complete tire replacement.

Some people notice pressure loss when they least expect it and you may be one of them too. It’s entirely possible that you filled your tires with air just the previous night, but noticed air loss within days or even hours. In many cases however, PSI loss doesn’t mean that your tires are punctured or damage in any way. Instead, there could be plenty of other issues. Mentioned below are some common reasons behind pressure loss in tires.

Altitude Changes and Air Loss

You may notice increased pressure in your tires when driving in areas with high altitude levels. There are two main reasons for this issue, and they are: atmospheric pressure (outside the tire) and the air in the tire. Driving cars on high altitude places leads to pressure drops. Tire deflation often happens when the gas molecules trapped in your tires move quite frequently and hit each other in the process.

Severe Temperature Changes and Air Loss

In case you didn’t know, a tire’s PSI tends to be quite different during sunny and cold days. The reason why this happens is that temperature dictates how the air molecules in your tires behave. For example, if you park your car in a sunny area, exposing the tires to heat, there is a good chance that it will below up the air molecules, expanding them in the process. However, things are vastly different during the winters, as cold weathers compress air molecules and reduce the PSI levels.

Hitting Impact Breaks

Believe it or not, simply hitting your brakes all of a sudden can cause tire deflation. So, whenever you go out for a drive, make sure that you take extra care when speeding up or making a sharp turn. It would also help if you were extra careful when parking your car as hitting cemented curbs could also damage your tires.

Take Advantage of an ATPMS

As mentioned earlier, keeping your tire’s PSI on an ongoing basis is vital. A lot of people tend to delay tire maintenance and end up paying the price when their tires blow out while driving. This is why using an automatic tire pressure monitoring system would prove to be helpful. Its accuracy is heads and shoulders better than other PSI checking devices, helping you stay on top of your tire’s condition at all times.

 

 

How Winter Affects Your Car’s Stopping Distance

driving

It’s no secret how tough driving during the winter can be. People encounter loads and loads of crashes and accidents due to slippery roads and a plethora of other problems caused by snow. Snow and ice pose a massive threat to all drivers no matter how skilled they are. They often get compacted inside your tire’s tread, significantly affecting its grip. In cases like these hitting your brake’s abruptly can be quite dangerous and result in serious accidents.

It is a major reason why you should consider increasing your stopping distance to steer clear from danger. Many critics argue that stopping distances came into existence when tires used to be thinner back in the day, and that they are not effective anymore. However, if you practice safe stopping distance during the winter, you will notice that it can be remarkably effective, as long as you can safely steer your vehicle and are in control of its speed.

Why do Snow, Ice and Rain Affect Stopping Distance when Driving?

No one feels confident driving their vehicle in the rain and the main reason behind it is hydroplaning. For those who don’t know, this is a phenomenon where a layer of water accumulates between the road’s surface and your tires. This significantly reduces traction from the road and tires, causing difficulty in controlling the vehicle.

Hitting brakes on a vehicle with compromised traction is not only difficult but very dangerous. You will notice difficulty doing simple things like steering, accelerating, braking etc. The combination of these things affects your vehicle’s stopping distance. Despite that however, you must remain calm and avoid making any sudden movements. Instead, it would be best to pump your brakes as slowly as you can while maintaining a firm grip of the steering wheel.

Similarly, too much ice can also be dangerous for drivers. This is because snow and ice can stick to the tread of your tires, resulting in a compromised grip. What happens because of this is that your stopping distance doubles and hitting your brakes becomes quite dangerous. Experts recommend drivers to turn their car’s in the direction where it is sliding, allowing it to stop naturally.

Steer carefully and Driving

When driving on icy roads, make sure that you steer very smoothly. As mentioned earlier, avoid making any sudden movements and be aware of your surrounding at all times. In case your rear tires aren’t able to maintain their grip during a turn, avoid slamming your brakes or steering too much as it could worsen the situation.

While you can do tons of things to drive safely during winters, it’s important to take your car to a professional repair service to prepare it for slippery roads during winter.

Why Do Car Batteries Fail During Cold Weather

Harsh weather, no matter hot or cold, are one of the biggest enemies of your car’s battery. Sure, most batteries can last around four to five years, but if the weather is too extreme, they may become weak sooner. There is a lot of science to explain why most batteries fail or die during the winter season. You can address some of these problems by yourself, while others require professional assistance. Before discussing why cold weather affects car batteries, let us understand how batteries work.

Car Battery – How does it Work?

A car battery’s main job is to get the engine up and running. Once that happens, your vehicle’s alternator will take over and run its electrical systems. Once you switch your car off, its battery provides power to its accessories like heating, AC, light etc, and it can discharge very quickly. Like most batteries, a car’s battery contains negative and positive electrodes.

There are numerous thin plates in each cell that work in unison to form twelve volts. Lead batteries often tend to fail if the discharge is too much. So, leaving your vehicle’s lights on could result in battery failure.

Car Battery and Cold Weather

Winters can be really harsh in some places, causing a lot of difficult to car owners. In many cases, batteries fail to start during cold temperatures. This is because they slow down the chemical reaction that happens in your battery to start the engine. Because of this, the battery requires double the current it would need to run your engine, which often reduces the battery’s life.

Tips to Get Your Car ready for winter

Mentioned below are some tried and tested tips that could prevent your car battery from failing during winter.

Park it Inside

Merely parking your car inside the garage can prevent its battery from damaging. When you park you vehicle outdoors, it is exposed too cold gusts of wind, which are quite detrimental for your battery. Ensuring the battery is safe from freezing temperatures will prevent its performance from deteriorating and may even increase its life.

Keep it Warm and Clean

Batteries are a lot like human beings in the sense that they need to stay warm during cold weathers. In case you do not have access to a garage, sheltering your car with a cover could be a decent alternative. It would also help if you did not open your car’s heater, lights and ignition right after turning on the ignition. It puts extra strain on your battery, and often causes it to fail.

Cleaning away the corrosion, grime, and dirt from the battery’s terminals could also up its performance. You can clean the terminals by dipping an old toothbrush into water mixed with baking soda.

Signs that Show a Car Battery is Weak

The signs mentioned below can help you determine if your battery is becoming weak:

– Your car backfires too much

– The headlights are dimmer than usual

– If your engine is becoming too sluggish, it could be because of a weak battery

– The starter is not getting enough power

– The engine is giving off a sulfur-like odor

 

Show it to a Professional

If you live in St Louis Park, Minnesota and want to get your car ready for the winter season, consider showing it to a seasoned auto repair service like D&D Autoworks. Once you schedule an appointment with them, they will get right on your case, examining your car’s battery and repairing it if necessary.

 

 

 

What is a Fluid Flush, and Why is it So Important?

coolant flush

It’s no surprise that the engine creates a lot of energy and heat to keep your vehicle in motion. The purpose of the cooling system is to make sure the engine stays cool. However, without proper maintenance or a coolant flush, your cooling system could malfunction. This has the potential to cause an overheated engine. In conclusion, in this article, we’ll talk about how coolant flushes help prevent this from happening. We’ll also discuss when you need to get this done.

How does the cooling system work?

Without the cooling system, the heat produced by the engine could cause a total malfunction. Luckily, the cooling system keeps the heat under control to prevent catastrophe. The cooling system is made up of the following:

 

  1. Thermostat
  2. Temperature sensor
  3. Water pump
  4. Pressure cap and reserve tank
  5. Intake manifold gaskets
  6. Head gaskets
  7. Heater core
  8. Hoses
  9. Bypass system
  10. Radiator
  11. Radiator cooling fans
  12. Freeze plugs

 

The cooling system also contains coolant, also known as antifreeze. Similarly, this liquid is transported throughout the engine to help it stay cool.

What is a coolant flush?

Over time, rust particles flake off your engine parts and contaminate the coolant. A coolant flush is done to remove the polluted coolant and replace it with fresh fluids. A cleaning solution is also circulated to help remove excess debris. There’s a big difference between topping off the coolant and having the coolant flushed. Topping off is done to ensure there’s enough liquid in the system for optimal performance. The purpose of a coolant flush is to replace all antifreeze in the system.

Why is it important to get my coolant flush done?

Regular coolant flushes have many advantages. For one thing, they remove harmful contaminants from your coolant. These particles can clog the thin tubes in your radiator and heater core, causing your engine to overheat. Coolant flushes also help the water pump. Keeping debris out of them and making sure they stay lubricated helps the water pump to last longer. However, another factor to consider is the acidity of the antifreeze. If it’s not flushed out and replaced periodically, the antifreeze can become too acidic, which is damaging to the engine. Additionally, antifreeze loses its anti-corrosion properties as it ages. This makes it less effective. After that, regular coolant flushes help lengthen your engine’s lifespan and keep everything well-maintained.

How often does a coolant flush need to be done?

Not all coolants are the same. Some last up to 2 years, and others last as long as 5 years. It’s always best to consult your dealership or owner’s manual for specifics on maintenance for your vehicle. Additionally, our certified professionals can help you figure out when it’s time for your coolant flush.

We suggest a complete cooling system inspection at least every two years. In addition, this examination should include the following:

  1. System pressure level check
  2. Pressure test
  3. Thermostat check
  4. Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
  5. System power flush and coolant refill
  6. Internal leak check
  7. Engine fan test

Do you need your cooling system inspected? Give D&D Autoworks a call today at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Taking Care of Your Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is unassuming. It’s just a liquid, right? Wrong. Without it, your brakes couldn’t
operate, and your engine would rapidly corrode. Today, we’ll discuss the role of brake fluid and
why it’s needed. We’ll also talk about some steps you can take to care for your brake fluid.
Let’s dive in.

What is Brake Fluid and why is it important?

Brake fluid is hydraulic and incompressible. That means it moves through the enclosed braking
system under pressure. This pressure, along with the fact that brake fluid can’t compress, creates
force. This force causes the calipers to fasten onto the rotors, bringing a moving vehicle to a
stop. Without brake fluid, there would be no force. It’s one of the most vital components of the
braking system.

As you know, engines produce a lot of heat. Brake fluid needs to have particular properties to
stand up to high temperatures. One property of brake fluid is its high boiling point. This stops it
from vaporizing, which would cause the brakes to fail. Additionally, brake fluid can keep a
constant viscosity, regardless of exposure to hot or cold temperatures. Viscosity is important
because brake fluid has to flow smoothly throughout intricate engine parts. Having a constant
viscosity helps the brake fluid travel with ease.

There are a few different types of brake fluid, but most of them are glycol-ether-based. This type
of fluid is hygroscopic, meaning that it can absorb fluid from the atmosphere around it. Since
brake fluid can absorb fluid, it contains some water. But, too much water can cause problems for
your system. For one thing, it can damage metal engine parts, leading to faster corrosion.
Additionally, it can lower the boiling point of the brake fluid. This could cause decreased
stopping ability. To avoid these problems, get your brake fluid tested and replaced when with
clean fluids as needed.

How often does brake fluid need to be changed?

Not all brake fluids are the same. How often your brake fluid needs changing depends on the
type you have in your vehicle. Your owner’s manual may have some information on this as
well. Generally speaking, we recommend a full brake fluid flush and replacement every year or
so.

While we’re talking about routine maintenance, it’s also a good idea to get your brake fluid
tested for moisture. Since too much moisture is harmful, this can help you decide if you need to
replace the fluid altogether.

What are some signs my brake fluid needs to be changed?

The best way to figure out the status of your brake fluid is by looking at it. As it ages, brake
fluid changes in appearance. Brand new brake fluid is usually clear or amber-colored. The
longer it’s in your engine, the darker it becomes. You’ll know it’s ready to be replaced if it looks
sludgy and dark brown. If your fluid doesn’t need replacing yet, check its levels. It’s normal to
see a small decrease in brake fluid, but this can be problematic if it’s a regular occurrence.
Losing lots of fluid is often the sign of a leak or another issue needing maintenance.

Does your brake fluid need to be tested or replaced? Our licensed professionals at D&D
Autoworks can help. Give us a call today at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard
location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location. You can also ​ make an
appointment online​ .

 

Transmission Fluid: Why It’s Important and How to Take Care of It

Everyone knows the importance of routine oil changes, but another fluid often gets overlooked. That’s your transmission fluid. Today, we’re discussing everything you need to know about transmission fluid. We’ll discuss its important role in the health of your engine, as well as the different types of fluids available. We’ll also go through some steps you can take to assess the transmission fluid in your vehicle.

What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?

The transmission has a big job. It’s what allows you to shift into different gears, like drive, park, and reverse. Changing gears is hard on the transmission. The role of the transmission fluid is to make this job run smoothly. It lubricates the metal components of the transmission, which decreases wear and damage. It also serves as a coolant to the transmission, making sure its temperature stays under control.

Types of transmission fluid

There are many different kinds of transmission fluid. Different makes and models require different formulas. Most transmission fluids can be categorized as either manual or automatic transmission fluids. Additionally, there are specialty fluids for specified transmissions.

Of these two varieties, manual transmission fluid is less common. It’s made for manual transmissions but is typically only needed for older vehicles. These days, manual transmission cars require automatic transmission fluid.

Automatic transmission fluid is much thinner than manual transmission fluid. That means the transmission can easily move in and out of gears, even when the temperatures drop. Automatic transmission fluid also plays a part in the following engine functions:

  1. Transmission coolant
  2. Gear lubrication
  3. Valve body operation
  4. Clutch operation
  5. Brake band friction
  6. Torque converter operation

Transmission fluids are either traditional, made of crude oil, or synthetic. The type of transmission fluid you need depends on the specifics of your vehicle. Synthetic fluid is formulated to withstand extreme heat from the engine. By contrast, traditional fluid can oxidize or break down at high temperatures. If you’re not sure what type of transmission fluid your vehicle requires, our transmission experts can help you figure it all out.

How to check your transmission fluid

Like other automotive fluids, transmission fluid requires periodic replacement at regular intervals. A visual inspection of your transmission fluid can help you figure out whether it’s time for a replacement. To do this, you need to find the transmission dipstick. This is usually found in the engine compartment underneath the hood. Some modern vehicles have transmissions that are completely sealed. If that’s the case for you, then refer to your owner’s manual or a licensed professional for more details on how to check the condition of your transmission.

If your vehicle does have a transmission dipstick, you can remove it to check the fluid’s level and condition. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Next, slowly replace it and remove it once more. After taking it out a second time, you should see where your current fluid level lines up with the markings on the dipstick. This will help you see if your fluid level is low. Regular issues with low fluid usually point to a leak in your engine. If that’s the case, you’ll want to bring your car to a service provider to assess the situation.

Notice the Color

Once you’ve checked the fluid level, take a look at its color. A pinkish-red hue indicates a healthy transmission fluid. If it’s a darker shade that’s closer to a brownish-red, then your fluid needs to be replaced. You’ll know you have a problem on your hands if the transmission fluid is dark brown or black. This points to a serious issue with the transmission that needs repair. This is typically the result of skipping regular service intervals.

The transmission is one of the most expensive car parts to repair or replace. Routine replacement of the transmission fluid helps avoid major issues, saving you time and money. Do you have questions about the transmission or transmission fluid? Give D&D Autoworks a call today at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location.

 

How Technology Transformed Automotive Comfort

comfort

These days, luxury cars can come with every comfort and convenience feature imaginable. It’s no surprise that early automobiles were much different. Today, we’ll take a look at how technology has transformed automotive comfort throughout the 20th century. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a new sense of appreciation for how far our cars have come.

The early 1900s

The earliest automobiles were open-air vehicles, which exposed passengers to the raw elements. Unless you were traveling in perfect weather, you’d probably be too hot or too cold, or even worse, rained on. In 1910, Cadillac developed the first closed body car, which was a total game changer. As a result, manufacturers began to develop ways to bring comfort to auto interiors.

The next several years saw a few key innovations. In 1912, Cadillac released the Model Thirty. This was equipped with an electronic self-starter, lighting, and ignition. The luxury brand Scripps-Booth began installing power door locks in their cars in 1914. In 1929, Ford began installing the first interior heating systems. These developments opened the door for more interior enhancements down the road.

Music innovations

With a focus on interiors, sound systems saw significant development. The first car radios were installed in the late 1920s, and became standard in the 1930s. It wasn’t until 1950 that the first AM/FM radio appeared. By 1966, 8-track players were offered in Ford Mustangs. However, these were ultimately superseded by cassette players. The 1980s saw the birth of the car CD player, and these remained popular for the next 15 to 20 years. In the early 2000s, compact digital storage media, such as USB ports came into vogue. Nowadays, drivers use smartphones to stream music to their vehicle’s sound systems. These audio systems have come quite a long way since the first AM radios!

Climate control comfort

Packard Motor Car Company had two important inventions for automotive climate. These were power windows and in-car air conditioners. Both were invented in 1940, making it possible to manage a vehicle’s interior temperature. Cadillac built on these ideas and in 1960 developed an automatic climate control system. This allowed passengers to select and set an interior temperature by clicking a button. By 1980, Cadillac improved on their system and released an electronic version. This version is similar to what manufacturers use in modern cars.

Seat improvements and comfort

The first car with heated seats was the 1966 Cadillac DeVille. Since then, the quality has improved tremendously. Additionally, automakers have developed other heated features, from side paneling to steering wheels. In 1998, Saab came out with ventilated seats. The ultimate luxury seat comes from Mercedes, who released a massaging car seat in the early 2000s. A spa experience in the car? Sign me up.

Modern technology and human machine interfaces

Today’s cars come with smart interfaces. These allow for full integration of your personal device. This technology is known as human machine interface, or HMI. HMI technology gives you control over a wide range of interior features, including the following:

  1. Internet and cloud connectivity
  2. GPS
  3. Interior temperature and seat comfort
  4. Touch interfaces
  5. Wireless communication
  6. Sound systems and advanced lighting

HMI technology gives you control of luxury interior features with the simple tap of a screen.

We’ve certainly made significant progress since the days of open-air automobiles. Early manufacturers couldn’t have dreamed the level of comfort and convenience we have available to us today.

Do you want to know more about the interior features in your car? Our experienced technicians at D&D Autoworks have answers. Give us a call today at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location. You can also ​make an appointment online​. We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Prepare Your Car for a Thanksgiving Travel in 2020

Thanksgiving

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Of course, your travel plans may look a little different this year with COVID-19. With an expected rise in car travel, we’ve put together a list to help prepare your vehicle for a road trip. Getting your car ready will help make sure your Thanksgiving travel is as smooth as possible.

1. Check the electrical

Before hitting the road, you’ll want to be sure all your lights are functioning. This includes the headlights, taillights, and blinkers. If you’re traveling in a truck or motorhome, make sure everything’s working here as well.

2. Inspect your tires

Never leave on a long road trip without checking your tires. Specifically, check your air pressure. Under inflated tires will lead to poor gas mileage, and over inflated tires will negatively impact the quality of your ride. Over time, the wrong air pressure can shorten the lifespan of your tires. Our advice is to check the air pressure before you leave, and again for every 1,000 miles of travel. Tire rotation helps increase the lifespan of your tires by helping them wear evenly. Your tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, so you may need to get this done before your trip. Tires will last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 miles. If your tires are old, then you may want to have a professional inspect them before taking a long car trip.

3. Check the battery

Check out your battery before you leave. It should be securely connected and corrosion-free. Car batteries typically last 3 to 5 years. It’s best practice to get yours inspected once a year if it’s over 2 years old.

4. Inspect the belts and hoses

When pushing down on the belts, they should have little slack. If they have lots of give to them, they need to be repaired before your trip. Look for cracks or fraying in your hoses, and be on the lookout for fluid leaks. These issues need to be addressed before you leave.

5. Fluids and filters

If you’re due for an oil change, get this done before your road trip. Also, make sure to top off your other auto fluids, including: power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and windshield fluid. Replace your air filters if you haven’t done so in a while. Air filters in the engine and cabin impact engine performance, fuel economy, and air quality. These should be switched out annually.

6. Listen to the brakes

If your brakes are making a strange squealing sound, it could mean your brake pads need to be replaced. Your brake pads provide the necessary friction to bring your vehicle to a stop. Over time, they wear thin and need replacing. To be safe, make sure your brakes are in great condition before your road trip. We all know how hectic holiday travel can be. By taking care of your car now, you can help prevent any unexpected complications on the road.

Does your car need an inspection before Thanksgiving? It’s not too late. Our experienced technicians at D&D Autoworks are here for you. You can ​make an appointment online​, or reach us by phone. Give us a call today at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location.

Everything You Need to Know About the Master Cylinder

A Brief History of Your Car’s Braking System

The brakes are one of the most essential parts of your car. Over the years, automakers have implemented lots of different braking systems. Today, we’re diving into a brief history of automotive brakes. Keep reading to find out how we got to where we are today.

Wooden block brakes

The very first automotive braking system was wooden block brakes. As the name suggests, these brakes consisted of a lever and some wooden blocks. When the lever moved, it forced the wooden block directly against the steel rim of the wheel. This created friction, which caused the car to stop. Wooden block brakes were first used in horse-drawn carriages. They were also used in steam-powered cars. As long as they went no faster than 10 to 20 miles per hour, wooden block brakes could bring moving vehicles to a halt.

When wheel technology improved from steel rims, wooden block brakes became obsolete. In the 1890s, many automakers began using rubber tires. Since wooden block brakes didn’t work anymore, automakers needed a new system of brakes.

Mechanical drum brakes

In 1899, Gottlieb Daimler thought of a new braking system. He theorized that if a cable-wrapped drum was connected to the chassis of the vehicle, it could bring it to a stop. Based on this idea, Louis Renault built the first mechanical drum brake in 1902. Renault’s brakes are thought of as the basis for modern automotive brakes.

Expanding internal shoe brakes

Although mechanical drum brakes were an improvement, they often malfunctioned. Since they were external brakes, they got exposed to precipitation and extreme temperatures. Eventually, expanding internal shoe brakes were developed. This brake system was stored inside a metal drum, preventing damage caused by natural elements. This metal drum was attached to the wheel. Inside the drum, pistons expanded brake shoes when the brakes were activated. The expanded brake shoe brushed up against the inside of the drum, creating friction. This caused the wheels to slow down and eventually come to a complete stop.

Hydraulic brakes

Expanding internal shoe brakes were an important innovation, but they had one big problem. They required a significant amount of force to operate. This problem was addressed by the invention of hydraulic brakes. In 1918, Malcolm Loughead invented the first four-wheel

hydraulic braking system. These brakes used brake fluid to move hydraulic force from the brake pedal to the brake shoe. Unlike its predecessors, hydraulic brakes required much less force from the driver to operate. Many automakers integrated hydraulics into their braking systems by the late 1920s.

Disc brakes

Hydraulic brakes weren’t a flawless design. For one thing, they often needed maintenance for leaking. Additionally, they became less effective over time as the speed capacities and sizes of cars increased. Instead, automakers began using disc brakes that had hydraulic functions. Disc brakes weren’t new. In fact, they were invented back in 1902 by William Lanchester. In the mid-20th century, they became a popular option for auto manufacturers.

Anti-lock brakes

Anti-lock brakes date back to the 1920s and were first used on airplanes. Automakers began incorporating them in the 1950s and ‘60s as a safety feature. Anti-lock brakes give drivers more control because they stop brake systems from locking up. When a lock is detected, the hydraulic valves reduce the pressure on a wheel. This prevents the vehicle from spinning. By the 1970s, anti-lock brakes were a popular safety feature. These days, they’re a standard feature in most cars.

Does your vehicle need a brake inspection? Our experienced technicians at D&D Autoworks can help. You can ​make an appointment online​, or give us a call. You can reach us at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location. We look forward to seeing you soon.

What is a master cylinder?

For being such an essential part of your brake system, the master cylinder doesn’t get enough love. Today we’re talking all about what the master cylinder is and why it’s so important. We’ll also go back in history to find out its origin story. Let’s dig in.

The master cylinder is a tube in your brake system that transports hydraulic force from the brake pedal to your wheels. When your foot presses down on the brake, it creates a force that passes through the cylinder. The force is pushed through the master cylinder and into the brake lines to reach the calipers. The calipers clamp onto your rotors,and this stops your wheels from rotating.

Car aficionados think of the master cylinder as the heart of your car. In a lot of ways, they serve the same function. Like your heart, the master cylinder pumps fluid out of it. Instead of blood, it pumps brake fluid. Instead of going through arteries, the master cylinder pumps the brake fluid out through brake lines. Both the heart and the master cylinder are vital components. This analogy illustrates just how important the master cylinder is.

How does it work?

Let’s get into the details. When you press down on the brake pedal, it pushes the pushrod further into the master cylinder. Inside this dual-chamber cylinder, there are two pistons and a spring. The pistons work like plungers, pushing brake fluid along through each of the chambers. While they move forward, hydraulic pressure builds up. This is the force that makes the calipers clamp onto the rotors. This prevents your wheels from spinning, bringing your car to a stop.

The hydraulic brake system has to be airtight to function properly. To ensure this, a reservoir sits above the cylinder. When you remove your foot from the brake pedal, brake fluid floods back through the brake lines and into the reservoir.

How did the master cylinder come to be?

Brake systems weren’t always this sophisticated. The first hydraulic braking system was invented in 1918 by Malcolm Lougheed. He figured out how to apply liquid pressure to brake shoes, causing them to push against the drums. This invention caught on, and Chrysler eventually picked it up. They improved Lougheed’s model and named their version Chrysler-Lockheed hydraulic brakes. These were used from 1924 to 1962. Lougheed’s system had problems. Since it was a single-cylinder model, a minor fault or leak could cause the entire system to fall apart. One small issue could affect the entire system, and your brakes could completely die.

 

A company called Wagner Electric found a solution to this problem. In 1960, they invented a dual-cylinder brake system. Around the same time, American motors developed their own dual-cylinder system. Their design separated hydraulic lines by pairing diagonally-opposed wheels. With this model, you would always have one front and one rear wheel with functioning brakes, even if one of the two circuits was faulty. In 1962, Cadillac also created their own dual-cylinder system. Instead of pairing diagonal wheels, they separated front and rear hydraulic lines.

 

This dual system created a safety net, ensuring that one leak wouldn’t ruin the entire brake system. In fact, in 1967, the federal government mandated dual-braking master cylinders. Having separate circuits is reported to prevent tens of thousands of car accidents annually.

The next time you’re driving, take a moment to appreciate your cylinder and how far it’s come. Does your master cylinder need maintenance? Our technicians at D&D Autoworks are here for you. You can ​make an appointment online​, or give us a call. You can reach us at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Signs Your Brakes Need Maintenance

The brakes are arguably the most important safety feature of your car, so you need to take good care of them. Luckily, your car will usually let you know if there’s a problem. Today we’re talking about 7 signs to look for if your brakes need maintenance.

1. Burning smell while driving

A chemical burning smell could be a sign that your brakes are overheating. If this is the case, pull over immediately and allow your brakes to cool down. If your brakes are overheated, it means the brake fluid has reached a boiling point. This could cause your entire system to malfunction.

2. Soft or spongy brake feel or leaking fluid

An oddly spongy or soft brake pedal is an unmistakable sign of moisture in your brake system. This is often because of a leak in your hydraulic system. If this happens, it could cause your entire brake system to malfunction. Without your hydraulics functioning properly, the brake pads won’t be able to clamp down onto the rotors.

3. Wobbling or vibration

If you experience vibrating or wobbling, you could have an uneven rotor. All rotors eventually develop surface variations. These differences in thickness can create a wobbling motion when you hit the brakes. Wobbling or vibrating could also indicate an issue with the calipers. If the caliper’s piston is surrounded by debris or rust, then the caliper won’t be able to retract. This causes a vibrating motion.

4. Squealing noise when braking

When your calipers or brake shoes wear out, they’ll make an unmistakable squealing sound. This comes from the brake pad wear indicators. These indicators are metallic, so when they scrape against the rotor, they make a horrendous noise. This is one of the most obvious signs that your brakes need maintenance.

5. Pulling to one side while braking

If your car veers to one side when you’re braking, you probably have an issue with your front two brakes. This could indicate a caliper problem, a worn out brake hose, or a misaligned rotor. All these problems can cause your vehicle to brake unevenly. Since the functioning side tries to compensate for the malfunctioning side, your car will pull in one direction.

6. Grinding sound from the brake pedal

A grinding noise could indicate a number of problems with your braking system. It might mean you have a loose rock trapped in the caliper, which is a relatively simple fix. However, it could also be the rotor being scraped by the brake pad wear indicator. If this is ignored, it could lead to serious damage to your brakes. A grinding sound could also point to rust in your system. Regardless of the cause, it’s best to have a professional check out your brakes if you hear grinding.

7. Brake light illuminated on the dashboard

An illuminated brake light on your dashboard is a warning sign you can’t ignore. The brake light is triggered by your car’s diagnostics system to let you know your brakes need maintenance. The underlying cause for the brake light could be any number of reasons. To get to the bottom of it, you’ll need to get your system inspected.

No matter the issue, our experienced technicians at D&D Autoworks are always here to help. You can ​make an appointment online or give us a call. You can reach us at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location. We look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Replacing Your Brakes

Brake replacement is no simple task. This is because your brake system is complex, and replacing any part of it can expose a problem with your system. If this happens, you’ll need to troubleshoot and repair the issue. Keep reading to find out more about the process for brake replacement. Understanding this job can help you decide how you want to go about replacing your vehicle’s brakes.

Steps to replacing the brake system

Most professionals will follow these steps when replacing the brakes:

  1. Loosen the lugs​: Engage the emergency brake and unfasten the lugs with a lug wrench. Don’t detach the lugs all the way.
  2. Raise the vehicle​: Place the car jack beneath the frame rail of your car. Make sure that the jack stands are positioned beneath your car, and rest your car on the stands. Once you’re positive your vehicle is stable and that its weight can’t shift, remove the wheels.
  3. Slide out the caliper​: After you remove the bolts, slide the caliper out. Once removed, make sure there’s no strain put on the brake lines and rest the caliper on the suspension. If the caliper doesn’t slide right out, use a flat head screwdriver to help extract it.
  4. Remove the caliper carrier​: Unfasten the bolts that hold the caliper carrier in place and remove the caliper carrier.
  5. Remove the rotor: Before disconnecting the rotor, look for a rotating screw. Some rotors will have this and others won’t. If you have one, take out the screw first. Pulling out the rotor might be difficult if there’s a build-up of rust or debris in the system.
  6. Install new rotor​: Using a wire brush, wipe rust off the hub’s surface. Remove all oily residue from the new rotor with a degreaser. Then, install your new rotor.
  7. Assemble caliper carrier​: Reconnect the caliper carrier and secure it with new bolts.
  8. Compress the caliper​: Check to make sure that the brake reservoir’s cap is removed. Then, line up the piston of the caliper with its housing. You can use an old brake pad and a c-clamp to help you with this.
  9. Install caliper and brake pads​: Install the brake pads in the caliper carrier, and loosely fasten the caliper bolts. Once you’ve checked to make sure the caliper can move without seizing up, fasten the bolts all the way.
  10. Re-attach the wheels​: Attach the lugs by hand. Once your car is back on the ground, torque the lugs.
  11. Repeat, pump, and break in: Repeat this process on all 4 of your car’s wheels. Then, pump your brake pedal until you feel pressure. The last step is to break in your new system. Take your car through a few cycles of speeding up and gradually slowing back down. You’ll probably hear some noises at first, but these should recede if everything is installed correctly.

Should I replace my own brakes?

Brakes can be difficult to replace. The job can easily become more involved than anticipated. Unless you’re used to troubleshooting and repairing brake issues, brake replacement is best left to an expert. Trusting a pro will give you peace of mind that your brakes are getting treated with care.

Does your car need brake replacement? Let our experienced technicians at D&D Autoworks help you out. Give us a call at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location. You can also ​make an appointment online​. We look forward to seeing you soon.

History of the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” Light

history

Nowadays, it’s easy to take our car’s features for granted. Take, for instance, the check engine light. Have you ever ​really thought about it? How did it come to exist? Today, we’re covering the complete history of this handy invention, from the 1930s all the way up to present day.

How exactly does the check engine light work?

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s go over a few things. A check engine light is sometimes called a malfunction indicator lamp (or MIL for short). It’s operated by your car’s computer system and serves as a warning that there’s something wrong with the engine. When activated, it’s a red or orange light that shows up on your vehicle’s dashboard. It will either look like a phrase, like “SERVICE ENGINE SOON”, or it will appear as an image of an engine. If the light is not blinking, it means there’s a minor issue that needs to be addressed sometime soon. If the light is blinking, it means there’s an urgent matter that needs immediate resolution. As soon as the light gets triggered, a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) gets sent to your car’s computer system. A scan tool reads the DTC and identifies the problem.

History of when the check engine light was standardized?

The check engine light as we know it dates back to the mid-1990s. In 1996, the United States government was trying to reduce vehicle emissions. They mandated that all cars sold in the U.S. be equipped with an on-board vehicle diagnostic system, called OBD2. Since all new cars had the same technology, it standardized everything, including DTCs. This standardization allows our skilled technicians at D&D Autoworks to read DTCs using scan tool technology. This means we can diagnose any issue on any vehicle we see, regardless of the make or model.

How has the check engine light evolved through History?

Before OBD2 technology, there wasn’t a systematic approach to identifying and resolving engine issues. In the 1980s, automakers started manufacturing vehicles with computerized engine controls. However, each system was unique to the vehicle’s manufacturer. Because nothing was standardized across the board, the diagnostics process was extremely time-consuming.

The earliest form of the check engine light was called an idiot light (no joke), or warning light. They were first used by the Hudson Motor Car Company in Detroit, who started installing them sometime in the mid-1930s. These tell-tales were only triggered by a major engine fault. Unfortunately, they didn’t give much of a warning before a vehicle broke down. Because of their limitations, idiot lights were eventually phased out in the 1980s.

Luckily, we’ve made significant progress since the 1930s. These days, skilled technicians can conduct diagnostics tests in no time. Modern check engine lights are often activated for minor vehicle issues. Being aware of the smaller issues often prevents you from having crippling car troubles down the line. This saves you time and money.

This concludes our brief history lesson on the check engine light. The next time your check engine light is activated, think about how far we’ve come since the “idiot light” days. Consider the check engine light as your car’s way of talking to you, and give us a call.

 

 

8 Reasons Your Car’s Check Engine Light is On and What You Need to Do About It

The dreaded check engine light. When you see it, you know you have a problem. Although ignoring it is tempting, this will only cause you a bigger headache. Below, we’ll discuss 8 of the most common causes for an activated check engine light.

1. Vacuum leak

One reason your check engine light may be on is a vacuum leak. Cars have lots of vacuum lines, which are rubber hoses that carry a lack of air pressure. They’re used for lots of different things in your engine. Since they’re made out of rubber, they’ll develop cracks or stretch out over time. Finding the leak can take some time, but the vacuum lines themselves are a relatively cheap part.

2. MAF failure

If your MAF (mass air flow) sensor malfunctions, it’ll trigger the check engine light. This sensor tells exactly how much air enters the engine. This lets your car know the amount of fuel needed for it to run efficiently. If an MAF repair is put off, it can damage your oxygen sensor, spark plugs, and catalytic converter. It can also cause reduced fuel economy and performance.

3. Catalytic converter

If your check engine light turns on because of the catalytic converter, it’s usually because there’s another engine part that needs maintenance. The catalytic converter changes poisonous carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. If this part is clogged up, it can’t do its job.

4. Oxygen sensor

Your car’s oxygen sensor tracks the gases present in the engine to make sure enough oxygen is present. A faulty sensor is another reason you may be seeing your check engine light. A problem here can lead to bad gas mileage. Putting off maintenance on your oxygen sensor could lead to issues with your spark plugs or catalytic converter, costing you thousands of dollars in damages.

5. EGR valve

The EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve doesn’t need regular maintenance. However, if your check engine light is on because of this, it’s probably because it’s clogged by carbon build-up. This valve is opened or closed by your vehicle’s computer to control vehicle emissions. It does so by redirecting some exhaust gases back to the intake manifold. If the valve is clogged, it can’t do its job and will need to be replaced.

6. Battery

If your car battery is faulty or isn’t charging, your car’s computer won’t detect the right amount of energy. This will trigger the check engine light in your car, and you may need to replace the battery. A car battery lasts about 5 to 7 years, so this isn’t something that you’ll see too often.

7. Spark plugs and spark plug wires

Faulty spark plugs and spark plug wires can also activate your car’s check engine light. These parts ignite the fuel and air in your engine to produce power. When they don’t work properly, it affects the performance of your engine, and can even cause it to stop running. As long as it’s addressed right away, spark plug replacements are a relatively minor issue.

8. Loose or missing fuel cap

Your gas cap is there to keep fumes from coming out of your gas tank. If the cap is missing, loose, or cracked, your check engine light will turn on. Replacing your fuel cap is an easy, inexpensive fix. Don’t put this off, though. Driving without one will cause bad fuel efficiency and increase your car’s emissions.

These are 8 of the most common reasons your check engine light is on. The only way to know why your check engine light is on is to take your vehicle in for an inspection. Thankfully, our technicians at D&D Autoworks are here to help. Give us a call today or ​book online​ to schedule your inspection.

 

What Should You Do If Your Check Engine Light Is On?

One of the last things you want to see while driving is the check engine light. But, when you see it, you need to know what to do. Check engine lights can indicate a wide range of issues, from simple to serious. The last thing you want to do is ignore it and pretend like it’s not there. Read on to learn about what you can do to troubleshoot the issue.

Should I pull over?

The first decision you need to make is whether or not you need to pull over. Here’s what you need to know. The check engine light on your dashboard will appear in one of two ways. So if you have a serious issue, the light will be flashing. If it’s a less urgent matter, the light will be illuminated but not flashing. This indicates that your engine needs attention at your earliest convenience, but you probably don’t need to stop what you’re doing. If your check engine light is flashing, the safest option is to pull over immediately.

Flashing or not flashing, take a moment to observe your surroundings. Do you notice anything odd with your vehicle? Some telltale signs of major engine problems include engine smoke, loss of power, and strange noises. If any of these things are happening, you should stop driving and seek help. If possible, get your car towed to a service provider for diagnostics.

How to troubleshoot a check engine light

If your check engine light is illuminated but not flashing, you may be able to resolve the problem yourself. However, the first thing to look at is your gas tank. Oddly enough, a loose fuel cap can activate the check engine light. Examine your fuel cap to make sure it’s fastened properly. However, this is a quick and easy fix that could turn off your check engine light, solving your problem. Another spot to check is your oil dipstick. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that it’s sealed. You should also check the oil fuel cap to make sure it’s attached correctly. This might be all you need to do to deactivate your car’s check engine light.

If you want to go a little more in-depth, you can purchase an OBD2 scan tool. This device reads diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) saved by your car’s computer. These DTCs get saved when the check engine light turns on. All you need to do is connect the OBD2 scanner to the data link connector, which is typically found underneath the driver’s side dashboard.

OBD2 Scanners

OBD2 scanners can cost up to $50 to $100. Even though DTCs can point you in the direction, they don’t give you the full story. But the good news is that they can give you a solid idea of how serious your engine problems are. Having this information can help you decide how to address vehicle repairs. If you see the check engine light, try not to panic. Stay relaxed and come up with a plan. Remember to always pull over if you think you have a major issue on your hands.

D&D Autoworks is always here for your vehicle service, maintenance, and repair. You can make an appointment online​, or give us a call. You can reach us at (952) 931-9696 for our Minnetonka Boulevard location, or (952) 922-9696 for our West Lake Street location. Our experienced technicians look forward to serving you.