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Articles:

Can Potholes Damage My Car?

Can Potholes Damage My Car?

Potholes are a common occurrence in regions where the weather fluctuates. They are formed when water and melted ice sink into cracks in the road. These seep further into the ground below, causing the road's surface to expand and create a pocket. The result is an uneven pavement where sections are inflated by water bulge and collapse, forming potholes. Sometimes potholes can be avoided when you see them clearly, though often they are not visible, and swerving to avoid them can be dangerous. If you hit a pothole, even a small one, it's best not to ignore it. There is damage that can occur, even if it is not noticeable at first. Steps to Take When Hitting A Pothole There are important areas to check as soon as your car hits a pothole. It may seem like a minor inconvenience, but reviewing the following areas is important to avoid further damage: 1. Check your tires to make sure they have been punctured. Some potholes may have sharp items or a build-up of ice or debris. 2. Chec ... read more

Let’s Talk About Winter Tires

We’re not talking about all-season tires here, but dedicated winter tires. Modern winter tires do a terrific job in a wide range of winter conditions.  First, below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, regular tires become hard and inflexible.  That means they don’t provide the road grip you need. Even if you don’t live somewhere with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45 degrees in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires. In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That’s the key to traction on ice, packed snow and wet roads. They use a micro-pore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow.  They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better.  The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns.  The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the ... read more

There's More to Exhaust Than The Muffler

We’ve all heard a car or truck that needs a new muffler.  But there’s more to the exhaust system than just the muffler.  The exhaust system has three main functions: To safely get hot exhaust gas from the engine out the tailpipe Treats the exhaust to remove harmful pollutants Muffle the engine noise Exhaust gas is poisonous.  You don’t want it getting into the passenger compartment.  For example, carbon monoxide can be deadly.  That’s why you should never run your engine in a closed garage.  If you have a leak somewhere in the exhaust system, exhaust could get into the passenger cabin and make you sick or even kill you. If you smell exhaust in the vehicle, roll down your windows and get it inspected.  You may smell or see exhaust coming from the engine compartment or under the vehicle if you have a leak.  Sometimes the sound from an exhaust leak is loud and obvious.  Sometimes it’s a ticking sound when you ... read more

Simple Answer Service Intervals: Wheel Bearings

Question: I remember my dad having the shop “pack the bearings” on the family car. Is this something I need to have done? Kacal's Auto & Truck Service Answer: That's a really good question. At one time, all wheel bearings were “serviceable” and needed to be taken care of from time to time. It's a little trickier these days. First off, the wheel bearings in your vehicle make sure your wheels rotate smoothly. As you can imagine, with all those revolutions per minute your wheels can generate a lot of heat. The bearings keep that heat down as much as possible. They're packed in grease for lubrication. The term “packing the bearings” refers to putting fresh grease around the bearings. On many modern vehicles, the wheel bearing assembly is sealed. These wheel bearings are not serviceable so there is n ... read more

✔️ Prevent Transmission Problems!

Question My name is Suzanne.  We were taking a camping trip over a three-day weekend.  About half way to our campsite, the transmission went out on our SUV.  It took all weekend to get towed out and get back home. What can I do to prevent transmission problems in the future?   Answer Transmission repairs can be expensive.  On top of that poor Suzanne was out in the middle of nowhere.  Her vacation weekend turned into three days of car repairs. Look, transmissions are tough and durable.  All you must do to maintain them is replace the fluid on schedule.  The fluid gets contaminated with bits of clutch plates and metal.  Dirty transmission fluid under pressure acts like liquid sandpaper, eating away at important gaskets and seals. Then your transmission doesn’t shift as well.  It can start to leak and overheat.  And then you could end up like Suzanne. Another thing ... read more

Driving, Distractions and Multi-tasking.

When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking.  Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task.  For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking.  Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower.  Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three-dimensional space, performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations, and coming up with an appropriate response.  Admit it – you can’t do that. Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with a myriad of distractions.  77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive.  Can they possibly be right?  Let&rsqu ... read more

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safety

Let's talk about air conditioning service and repair issues for the Houston, Texas area!

Most of us in Houston don't give our air conditioning a second thought as long as it's making cold air. But it's a complex and expensive system that we should think about before it starts blowing hot air. The refrigerant in the air conditioner contains a special oil that lubricates and cools the A/C parts. When enough refrigerant leaks out, your air conditioner still makes cold air, but the parts don't have enough oil to protect them and they wear out faster than they should. So it's important to service the air conditioner as recommended by your Houston, Texas service center. Replacing old refrigerant has another benefit: refrigerant tends to gather moisture and become corrosive. That causes leaks in the system which can be expensive to repair. Fresh refrigerant protects the air conditioning components and keeps the system operating at peak efficiency so it doesn't have to work as hard to keep you ... read more

Need a Suspension Inspection at Kacal's Auto & Truck Service in Houston?

Need a Suspension Inspection at Kacal's Auto & Truck Service in Houston?

Your suspension system keeps your car up off the road.  From there, it’s responsible for a smooth and comfortable ride.  It also keeps your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many critical parts that do a big job.  They should be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year.  A good time would be when you get your semiannual alignment check. Here are some warning signs of suspension problems: the car pulls to one side, wandering, erratic steering, uneven tire wear, leaning, shocks bottom out, poor ride or handling, oil leaking from shocks, and excessive bouncing.  Now suspension parts just wear out over time.  Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride.  If you’re in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment.  Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb, pothole or large rock can mess things up.  If you suspect s ... read more

What's Shakin' with my Brakin'? (Brake Rotor Service)

What's Shakin' with my Brakin'? (Brake Rotor Service)

If you feel your vehicle vibrating when you’re braking, or if you don't stop in as short a distance as you used to, it may be time to have your brakes checked. All newer vehicles have disc brakes in the front, and more manufacturers are using disc brakes all around (instead of an older technology called drum brakes), so there's a pretty good chance at some point you'll find yourself facing a disc brake repair when yours begin to wear out. Before we go any farther, here's how disc brakes work.  If you've ever had a bicycle with hand brakes, you know there is a caliper that pushes pads on each side of your bicycle wheel when you squeeze the brake handle.  Disc brakes are similar, but there's a metal disc (called a brake rotor) there instead of the bike wheel's rim. In disc brakes, the vibration you feel when you are stopping is often because the surface of the rotor is not flat, or the rotors have an uneven thickness. Sometimes, the rotors ca ... read more

Kacal's Auto & Truck Service Tech Question on your Water Pump

Kacal's Auto & Truck Service Tech Question on your Water Pump

Kacal's Auto & Truck Service Tech Question: I was driving on the freeway in Texas 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 Houston. 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? Kacal's Auto & Truck Service 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 Houston drivers to predict when their water pump will fail – they just wear out. This fellow's water pump replacement was more expensive because his water pu ... read more

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