When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard in Rochester or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in MN can cause your wheels to be out of alignment. This can lead to premature tire and suspension wear.
Here are some alignment basics:
The first angle is called toe: Do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire?
The next angle is called camber: Do the wheels tip in or out at the top?
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.
The ideal alignment for your vehicle was designed by its engineers. Alignment service in Rochester, MN at Westgate Auto Repair starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything’s bent, broken or worn out. Then our friendly and knowledgeable repair technician will look at tire condition.
From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to manufacturer’s specifications.
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually … Read More »
Westgate Auto Repair Tech Question:
I was driving down the freeway in Rochester, MN and smoke started coming out of my car. I pulled over and called my husband. I had to be towed to my Rochester mechanic. He said my car had overheated. What can I do to prevent that in the future?
Westgate Auto Repair Answer:
Oh, sounds like a rough experience. Unfortunately overheating is the most common engine failure in Rochester. It’s also one of the easiest to prevent.
The basic idea is this: you need to keep enough coolant/antifreeze flowing through your vehicle engine to keep it cool. Problems come for Rochester drivers when they develop leaks in their systems – like in the radiator or a hose – and the coolant leaks out. Sometimes the coolant gets so contaminated that it blocks up the radiator so the coolant can’t get through. Enough of that and you end up broken down on the side of the road.
Your owner’s manual recommends a schedule for coolant replacement. That’s because your coolant actually becomes corrosive over time and starts to eat away at the cooling system, causing leaks or blockages. New coolant stops that process.
Ask your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Westgate Auto … Read More »
Batteries are a huge part of modern life in Rochester MN. I mean, how many battery chargers do you have?
Of course, our purpose here is to talk about your car battery. With old man winter just around the corner, people come into Westgate Auto Repair and need a new battery, they’re really not that happy about having to spend the money. But the fact is that 70 percent of batteries don’t make it for 4 years.
There are some things that you can do to extend the life of your battery. First, keep it clean. If you see it getting dirty or greasy, let us know at Westgate Auto Repair and we can clean it off. A dirty battery runs hotter and that shortens its life. If your battery terminals are corroded, let Westgate Auto Repair take a look at that too. We can clean them, and if the corrosion has gotten into the battery cables, we can replace them.
Also running your battery way down is bad for it: Things like running the headlights or watching a DVD player with the car turned off can deeply deplete your battery. The typical battery can only take about 10 of those deep cycle depletions before it gives up the … Read More »
(front wheel area making sounds?)
The axle assemblies in your vehicle transfer power out to the drive wheels. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, there is an axle shaft that goes from the differential in the center of the axle to each rear wheels. On a front-wheel drive vehicle, the axle shafts go from the transmission to each front-wheel. All-wheel drive vehicles have axle shafts connected to all four wheels.
Axles assemblies are pretty tough parts: they transfer torque from the engine to the wheels to move the vehicle. Tough as they are, they are still subject to normal wear and tear. The axle shafts are in a sealed housing with lubricant that protects the axle shaft. When there is a leak anywhere in the axle assembly, lubricant gets out and dirt, water, and other contaminates can get in. This can greatly accelerate axle wear. If an axle assembly fails, you’re not going anywhere.
According to a recent NAPA article, a worn or damaged axle assembly on the front will make a clunking sound during low speed turns – often just when turning one way. A worn rear axle also makes noise, but may be more difficult for the driver to hear. Also, if … Read More »
When is it time to add or replace the refrigerant? You could be proactive and have it done before you experience problems.
According to Napa Service Assist, your air conditioning system uses refrigerant to create cold air. The most common reasons Rochester area drivers lose their cold air have to do with the
The first is not enough refrigerant. Refrigerant is a gas in the system and very small holes in a hose, seal or coupler can allow enough to leak out to prevent the creation of cold air.
Another potential problem for auto owners is contamination. Over time the inside of the rubber hoses can deteriorate and little bits of rubber can clog up various filters and other parts of the
vehicle A/C system, preventing proper circulation of the refrigerant. And a component could also be worn or broken. So the first step for Rochester drivers who can’t cool their vehicle is a thorough air conditioning inspection, looking for leaks and worn parts. In fact, Federal law requires an inspection before adding refrigerant. Some states do not allow topping off a leaking system.
Once any repairs are made, refrigerant is added. At the same time, special oil is added to the system. This oil cools and lubricates … Read More »
We’re going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. Unfortunately, every profession has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. In the automotive world, including our local Rochester automotive community, industry associations, professional licensing organizations and Westgate Auto Repair are very committed to high ethical standards.
Yet some Rochester drivers are uncomfortable with automotive service and repair. If we understand what’s recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we’ll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It’s like going to your Rochester doctor. If they are using medical jargon we might have a hard time following there train of thought. It can be like that with your auto too.
If you don’t understand what your doctor’s talking about: ask some questions. If you don’t understand what our automotive techs are talking about: ask some questions.
Let’s go back to those ethical standards. When we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, “Is this really necessary?” Well, here’s the industry standard:
If our Westgate auto technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:
(1) The part no longer performs … Read More »
Symptoms of Bad Car Alignment
Did you hit a curb or snowbank due to icy roads? Does that mess up your front end? If so, how can you tell? These are common questions we hear at Westgate Auto in Rochester, Minnesota, especially during Minnesota winters. As you slip and slide while driving – you run the risk of hitting curbs and snowbanks, especially at the bottom of hills and corners. And when you do bump against cement or solid snow, this impact can put your car alignment out-of-whack.
Signs your car is out of alignment
Most Minnesota drivers notice two things that indicate your car has bad alignment (e.g. your car tires are rolling at a wrong angle). First, the vehicle pulls to one side when driving. It could be slight or pretty severe. You’ll feel it because steering and suspension components are joined together. If your car was misaligned for a while, you’ll also start to see uneven tire wear – the shoulder on either the outside or inside of the tire is worn down more than the other. Alignment is affected by general time on the road – or seasonal events like Rochester, Minnesota winter driving. Joints can loosen. You may … Read More »
Check back soon for updates and news you can use!