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Monthly Archives: October 2020

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

Kacal's Auto & Truck Service Tech Question on Engine Failure

Kacal's Auto & Truck Service Tech Question on Engine Failure

Question: I’m Collins.  I had my engine go out and had to have it completely re-done.  What could I have done to prevent this? Answer: You’ve got to feel for Collins: an expensive major engine rebuild is extreme.  It’s a tough situation to be in, maybe you’re still making payments on your vehicle and nobody wants to buy it with a blown engine, so you really have no choice but to pay the money to get it fixed. Therefore, your manufacturer has preventive maintenance schedules – to help you avoid major repairs.  Suppose you don’t change your timing belt on schedule, and it breaks.  That can mean bent valves and a damaged cylinder head.  Maybe you’ve skipped over the recommendation to replace your coolant and end up with catastrophic overheating. It could be you’ve skipped a few too many oil changes and now sludge has built up to the point that expensive parts in your engin ... read more

Battery Upgrades at Kacal's Truck & Auto Service

Battery Upgrades at Kacal's Truck & Auto Service

When that car battery finally gives up the ghost and it's time to replace it,  Houston drivers have options. First, let's be clear that you should always get a replacement battery that meets or exceeds your vehicle's specifications. But you may have some special needs. When they first put the battery into your vehicle at the factory, they had no idea where it would end up over its life or how YOU would use it where you drive in Texas. That battery was chosen to meet the needs of a wide range of motorists. Replacement time is a good opportunity to talk to your service advisor about how you use your vehicle so you can get just the right battery. An obvious criterion is where you live, whether in Houston or somewhere else. Cold starts require a lot of power from your battery. The colder the climate, the more power needed. This comes from a combination of cold sluggish oil and the slower chemical reaction within the battery itself when it is cold. If this s ... read more

Suspension Problems in Houston?

Suspension Problems in Houston?

Suspension systems should continue to operate effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles, holding your tires’ footprint on the road. Eventually components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive. As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy roads or hauling heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, your vehicle manufacturer recommends periodic inspections. During an inspection, your service technician will check for worn, broken or missing suspension parts. If the inspection reveals any problems, take care of this important safety and handling work. When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the sam ... read more

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