Category Archives: brake repair

Why does my car pull to the right (or left)?

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does your car pull to the side of the roadA car that pulls hard to the right or left when driving or braking needs repair. Even if you can handle the pulling now, letting the problem go can lead to some unintended consequences such as other parts of your car wearing down, the cost of repair going up, and some very tricky driving on wet roads. While we can’t tell you what’s causing your car to pull to the right or left until you make an appointment, we can list some of the most common causes of a car that pulls to the right or left:

Alignment

It’s not that surprising, is it? Our Wisconsin winters wreak havoc on our roads, which in turn beats up on cars—from shifting pavement, potholes and ice that causes our car to slide and bump. The result: your tires and suspension are out of alignment (just like your body), which can cause other problems, including a car that pulls to the right or left.

While you can drive with these issues (not always safely!), a car with alignment issues costs more in the long run. A car without regular alignments needs tires more often (because tires wear faster) and needs more suspension part repair and replacement. More importantly, driving in a misaligned car can cause accidents especially during our icy, treacherous winter roads in Wisconsin. The fix for this problem? Schedule an appointment for a complete car alignment.

Brakes

The same parts of your car that make your car stop can also be the culprit when your car is pulling to the left or right. If a brake caliper is stuck, your car is going to pull to the side (right or left) with the caliper that is stuck. A cracked or broken brake hose can also cause your car to pull to the left or right, as well as a host of other brake issues.

Often, you can tell if your brakes are the issue if your car pulls to the left or right while braking. To find out, schedule an appointment with your mechanic. A mechanic can pull off your tires and inspect your brakes.

Tires

There are a million different reasons why your tires could be to blame for your car pulling to the left or right. Tires with different air pressures on each side can cause a car to pull. If you think your tire pressure may differ from side to side, use our step-by-step instructions to check the air pressure of each of your tires.

Uneven tire wear can also make your car favor one side of the road. To correct this issue, have your mechanic rotate your tires, and keep them on a regular tire rotation schedule (usually at the same time as your regular oil change). If your tires are wearing incredibly unevenly, ask your mechanic to check to see if they need to be replaced and if your car is properly aligned. There are other tire issues that can cause your car to pull to the right, so make sure you make an appointment to get your issues diagnosed and repaired.

Suspension parts

Tire rods, wheel bearings, bushings, struts…the list of suspension parts that could be causing your car to pull can go on and on. There are few ways for the layperson to diagnose a worn suspension part, so make sure to schedule an appointment with your mechanic.

When taking your car in for an appointment, make sure you can describe when your car is pulling to the right or left. Does your car pull to the side when braking? Or does the issue happen when accelerating? A mechanic can do a full inspection of your car, diagnose your problem, and give you a quote to get your car going straight—and you on the road safely.

Car Maintenance You Shouldn’t Put Off

You don’t want to get in an accident. You don’t want your car to breakdown. You don’t want to go in the ditch, and you certainly don’t want to pay for a tow truck to come get you. So why are you putting off regular car maintenance?

Though car maintenance appointments may seem like a hassle, car maintenance is IMPORTANT—both for extending the life of your car and keeping money in your pocketbook. Putting off regular car maintenance can damage other parts of your car or cause engine or transmission failure, all of which cost you more money throughout the life of your car. So what car maintenance should you stay on top of?

  1. Oil changes. An engine without regular oil changes is an engine that costs their owner thousands of dollars over the life of the car. The cost of regular oil changes and time spent saves car owners money and inconvenience when your car breaks down. Ask your car mechanic how often you need an oil change, as the amount of miles can vary depending on the type of oil used.
  2. Tires checked and rotated. Regular rotation of your tires ensures that tires wear evenly, and can even prevent surprise flat tires. An inspection of your tires can also find holes that allow air to leak slowly.
  3. Brakes. It’s normal for brakes to make occasional squeaking sounds when they get wet. If the squeak doesn’t go away, or if the noise is a grinding noise, your vehicle needs attention. If you don’t get your brakes looked it, and possibly replaced, brake failure is inevitable—leaving you in the midst of an accident you caused or in a ditch waiting for a tow truck.
  4. Disgusting air filter. We won’t tell you how disgusting your air filter can get, but we will tell you that part of your regular car maintenance should include replacing or cleaning that gross air filter. A dirty air filter can choke your engine of air, causing performance issues and damage over the life of your car.

In addition, track the age of your spark plugs and battery, two car parts that are integral to a smooth-starting and running car. Spark plugs should be changed every 30,000-100,000 miles, depending on the kind of spark plugs in your car. Car batteries can show signs of age every 3-5 years, and usually give car owners clues that it’s time for car battery replacement. If you don’t know the age of your spark plugs or car battery, have your mechanic check your spark plugs and battery at your next oil change appointment. Don’t put the appointment off. Schedule an appointment for your car today for the sake of you and your pocketbook.

Regular Car Maintenance You Shouldn’t Ignore

engineIt’s easy to ignore regular car maintenance. When life gets busy, and schedules get hectic, finding the time for regular car maintenance gets tricky. When it seems like you don’t have time, factor in the inconvenience later when your car breaks down because you didn’t take the time for regular car maintenance. Regular car maintenance is essential to staying on the road, and staying out of the ditch. Regular car maintenance like:

  1. Oil changes. An engine without regular oil changes is an engine that costs their owner thousands of dollars over the life of the car. The cost of regular oil changes and time spent saves car owners money and inconvenience when your car breaks down. Ask your car mechanic how often you need an oil change, as the amount of miles can vary depending on the type of oil.
  2. Get your tires checked and rotated. Regular rotation of your tires ensures that tires wear evenly, and can even prevent surprise flat tires. An inspection of your tires can also find holes that allow air to leak slowly.
  3. Brake inspections. It’s normal for brakes to make occasional squeaking sounds when they get wet. If the squeak doesn’t go away, or if the noise is a grinding noise, your vehicle needs attention. If you don’t get your brakes looked it, and possibly replaced, brake failure is inevitable—leaving you in the midst of an accident you caused or in a ditch waiting for a tow truck.
  4. Replace your spark plugs. True story: a friend of ours delayed having the spark plugs replaced on her truck, leading to a $1,000 bill to replace the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter had plugged up because of faulty spark plugs. The moral of the story is to ask your mechanic when it’s time to replace those spark plugs, and follow through with the repair sooner than $1,000 later (or worse).
  5. Ditching that disgusting air filter. We won’t tell you how disgusting your air filter can get, but we can tell you that part of your regular car maintenance should include replacing or cleaning that gross air filter. A dirty air filter can choke your engine of air, causing performance issues and damage over the life of your car.

Don’t forget to regularly replace your windshield wipers and headlights—two parts of your car vital for proper vision when driving. The good news is that you don’t need to shoulder the task of regular car maintenance alone. Take your car to your trusted car mechanic or shop so they can keep records of your car’s regular car maintenance, and make recommendations based on those records. At the end of the day, don’t take the task of regular car maintenance lightly—so you don’t end up with heavy costs and inconvenient car repairs later.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Those Squealing Brakes

brake_repair_watertownYou’re driving down the street. In anticipation of a stop sign, you start to press your brake pedal down. Suddenly, you hear it.

What?? What in the world was that???

It sounded like a howling cat. Or a squeaking bird. Or a grinding wheel.

Could it be…your brakes?

Take your vehicle into a local repair shop to find out. Most repair shops offer free estimates and inspections before they start working on your car. A technician can determine the wear of pads and rotors, and recommend replacement if needed. Brake rotors do not need to be changed as often as pads.

It’s normal for brakes to make occasional squeaking sounds when they get wet.  If the squeak doesn’t go away, or if the noise is a grinding noise, your vehicle needs attention. If you don’t get your brakes looked it, and possibly replaced, brake failure is inevitable—leaving you in the midst of an accident you caused or in a ditch waiting for a tow truck.

Don’t let your pads wear too low either.  If you wait too long to replace your pads and they get too thin, they can damage the rotors. Replacing rotors is a more costly repair.

If you know well in advance (before they start making noise) it’s time to change your brake pads, watch for specials or discounts at your local repair shop. Don’t wait until it’s too late, and that squealing, squeaking or grinding turns into a safety hazard. Your health, the health of those around you and costly auto body repairs are the ultimate reason to get your brakes checked, and brake pads replaced, on a regular basis.