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FALCONER AUTO REPAIR

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I Want a New Vehicle. Or Do I? (Vehicle Maintenance Payoffs)

Spring is a peak season for vehicle sales; companies aggressively market new models and offer all sorts of incentives.  So you may be tempted to buy a shiny new beauty.  But should you? If you've regularly maintained the vehicle you're driving now, you probably don't NEED a new one.  Even if your current one needs some repairs, how do those costs compare to what you'd spend on a new vehicle? A brand new vehicle starts to depreciate the second you drive it off the lot. How much? Experts say you'll lose half of its value during the first 5 years of owning a new vehicle. So if you pay $30,000 for a new one, you'll lose $15,000 in 5 years.  That's a lot. If you have paid off your current vehicle, think of having to start making car payments again.  Let's say your new payment would be $350 a month.  Bet you can think of a lot of things you can buy with an extra $350 a month. Many considering a new vehicle don't factor how much their insurance and license tag fe ... read more

Categories:

Inspection

Steering You Right (Tie Rod End Replacement)

For drivers, S stands for safety.  And there are three other words that start with S that are all equally important: starting, stopping and steering. For your vehicle to be at its safest, all three functions must be in top shape.  Steering is one of those things we take for granted.  After all, you turn the wheel and your vehicle changes direction. But sometimes you might notice your steering is a little off.  Maybe you've noticed you turn your wheel slightly and your vehicle doesn't turn. You may feel a little vibration in the wheel that increases when you go faster.  You may hear a little squeak from the wheels when you steer and you may notice your tires aren't wearing evenly. These are signs that your tie rod ends may be failing. Tie rod ends help connect your vehicle's steering mechanism to the wheels.  They can wear out after you've hit one too many potholes or just from constant use.  They can cause sloppy steering and loose handling, and they ... read more

Bad Vibrations (Brake Rotor Replacement)

If you’ve ever stepped on your brake pedal and felt your vehicle vibrate, that’s a signal that you shouldn’t ignore.  A pulsating brake pedal is a sign that something is wrong.  Braking action should be smooth, sure, and quiet, not shaky and noisy. Most newer vehicles have disc brakes, called that because they have a round, flat disc connected to each wheel.  Those discs are the rotors. Other parts called brake pads are squeezed against those discs when you press on the brake pedal. Remember that vibration we mentioned? That can be caused by the rotor not having a straight, true surface. Rotors can heat up from friction and warp.  They can become thinner from constant wear.  Rotors can rust from the elements they’re exposed to, such as rain, snow ice, and salt.  They can get grooves in them from so many contacts with the pads.  The signs of worn rotors are vibrations, grooves on the rotor (which you can see sometimes through op ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Straight to the Point (Alignment Signs of Problems)

It’s just common sense that your vehicle will drive better if all the wheels are lined up with each other and the road the way the engineers intended.  When they’re not, that is called being out of alignment.   Here are some signs that your alignment has problems. Your steering wheel isn’t straight when your vehicle goes straight down a straight road. This one’s pretty easy to notice.  If your vehicle’s logo on the wheel is tilted, that’s probably not the way designers wanted it to be. Bring it in and have us check it out. Your steering wheel is vibrating on a smooth road or when you are accelerating.  While this could be caused by several different things, one possibility is misalignment.  If your steering wheel is shaking, it should be examined by a trained technician. Your vehicle is pulling to one side without you wanting it to.  Sometimes the configuration of the road will cause it to pull slightly left or rig ... read more

Categories:

Alignment

Snake in the Engine (Serpentine Belt)

There's a belt that snakes through your engine.  It's even named for a snake, the serpentine belt.  It'll bite you when it breaks, possibly leaving you stranded.  So, it's good to know a little about this snake-like belt. In early engines, there were lots of belts. They were used to convert the rotating power of the engine to turn a mechanical part.  But engineers had an idea.  Why not consolidate all those belts into one that ran a bunch of different parts simultaneously? Voila!  The serpentine belt. It's found in the front or side of your engine unlike older belts which were often in a V shape, the serpentine belt has ribs on it which more effectively connect with the pulleys that power the other components.  A serpentine belt may power the water pump, power steering pump, alternator, and the air conditioning: all from one crankshaft.  Now, all that's fine when everything is working well and the belt is intact.  But when a serpentine belt ... read more

Categories:

Serpentine Belt

Stopping "Brake" Downs (Brake Pad Replacement)

If someone tells you to put the brakes on something, you know it means stop.  And stopping is one of the most important safety maneuvers you can do in any vehicle.  That means your brakes have to work properly.  Let's face it.  You stop dozens of times every time you drive.  And over time, that takes its toll on your brakes.  Friction is what stops your vehicle.  Most newer vehicles have disc brakes, and the parts that wear out the fastest are those that rub against each other every time you stop, the rotors and the pads. The rotors are discs that rotate with the wheels, and the pads are removable surfaces that make contact with the rotors to slow or stop your vehicle.  Bits of both wear off each time you stop, and when enough of either (or both) lose too much material, your brakes become unable to safely slow or stop your vehicle.  The pads usually are the parts that wear out first.  Signs that your brakes might be getting worn are: Y ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service , Brakes

Restore Your Get-Up-and-Go (Fuel and Air Induction Cleaning)

You may have heard the old saying, "My get-up-and-go got up and went." If your vehicle's engine's fuel economy is noticeably worse, your engine is idling roughly or stalling or your vehicle's acceleration isn't what it used to be, ask your service advisor if you might need your vehicle's fuel and air induction systems cleaned. As the hours pile up on your engine, carbon deposits can build up.  It's not unusual for some of the impurities and additives in fuel to leave behind a black residue that eventually will negatively affect your fuel economy and performance. Maybe you're noticing your engine is harder to start, you hear knocking or pinging in your engine and your vehicle just doesn't have the pep it used to. While it's a sophisticated process with a lot of components, a gasoline engine essentially produces power by drawing in air from the outside and mixing it with fuel in the cylinders where this blend of fuel and air is ignited by spark plugs in synchronized explosions. The ... read more

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Cold Weather Vehicle No-Nos (Items to Avoid Storing in a Freezing Vehicle)

It's always easier to leave a few things in your vehicle so you'll have them on hand.  But in cold weather, while it's a good idea to carry items such as a phone charger, blanket and shovel, there are some things you shouldn't store in your vehicle. Medicines and drugs.  Cold temperatures can affect the chemical makeup of some drugs.  Avoid leaving them in a vehicle, especially those in a liquid form like insulin, eye drops and cough syrup. Latex paint.  They are water based, and when they freeze, they get lumpy and lousy.  Your paint job will not be what you had in mind. Cellphones and computers.  Most of these have lithium ion batteries.  If they get colder than freezing (0 degrees C, 32 degrees F), if you try to charge them, you'll more than likely ruin the batteries.  Bottled water, soda, wine or beer.  OK, here's the scoop.  All of these can freeze and split the container they're in.  Yes, soda, wine and beer will take a lowe ... read more

Read a Good Tire Lately? (Tire Wear)

There's lots of good information to read in books and online.  You might not know that you can also "read" your tires and learn a lot about what shape they're in and if they are in need of attention. It's important to know how your tires are doing because a tire failure can be very dangerous to you, your passengers and others on the road near you. You read your tire by looking at the surface that rides on the road, where the tread is.  Check out the outer and inner edges.  If you notice there's more wear on the inner or outer edge than on the rest of the tread, your vehicle could be out of alignment.  Wear on an inner or outer edge could mean your wheels are leaning too much to one side.  When you see this, visit our service center soon to have the alignment checked. What about if both edges are worn? That could be a sign that you don't have enough air in that tire.  In an underinflated tire, the middle is not contacting the road surface as much as the edg ... read more

Categories:

Tires

A Clean Start (Battery Cleaning)

You may be fanatical about keeping the outside of your vehicle clean.  But what about what's under the hood? Have you ever thought about how dirt and grime may be affecting your engine's components? One of the most important parts under your hood to keep clean is your vehicle's battery.  With a daily barrage of dirt and moisture, outside parts of your battery can corrode, namely the cables and terminals. Gases vented by batteries can also promote corrosion.  That can create connection problems and affect your vehicle's electrical system.  If corrosion is not cleaned off, it may damage wires and terminals so badly that they will stop properly conducting electricity.  At that point, they may need replacing. When you bring your vehicle to us for a battery inspection and cleaning, we will remove any corrosion and put corrosion-resistant protection on each post. A technician will also visually inspect your battery.  Plus, we can test how much life is in your ba ... read more

Categories:

Battery