Clean Air, Happy Drive: The Key to a Healthy Car Interior

Clean Air, Happy Drive:
The Key to a Healthy Car Interior

Have you been noticing a bad odor when you run your heater or air conditioner? You likely need a new cabin air filter! The cabin air filter is often overlooked by drivers, but it’s important for maintaining a clean, comfortable passenger compartment. Like other filters in your vehicle, cabin air filters should be replaced regularly to keep your car’s interior air clean and free from harmful contaminants. Here’s what you should know about cabin air filters, including how they work and how often they should be replaced. 

How Do Cabin Air Filters Work?

Cabin air filters are special types of filters that remove contaminants like pollen, spores, and dust before they can enter the vehicle’s passenger compartment. Found in most late-model cars, cabin air filters are positioned behind the glovebox and work by cleaning the air as it passes through the HVAC system. 

Over time, cabin air filters will get dirty and may begin to smell, so they need to be replaced. While some cabin air filters are easy to access, others can be difficult to get to—so it may or may not be something you’re able to replace yourself. Keeping the cabin air filter clean is especially important for individuals with respiratory conditions like allergies and asthma. 

As with the other filters in your vehicle, automakers recommend replacing the cabin air filter at specified intervals, which can be found in your car’s owner’s manual. Although recommendations can vary based on your make and model, replacements are typically recommended anywhere from every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. If you regularly drive on dirt roads, in urban areas with congested traffic, or in regions with poor air quality, you may need to replace the filter more frequently. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may want to consider replacing your filter every year in February, before allergy season begins. 

In addition to health concerns, a clogged filter can affect the efficiency of your vehicle’s HVAC system by making it work harder. Not only can this cause weak air flow, but it can also cause the blower motor to wear out. A clogged filter also reduces the system’s ability to clear condensation and fog from the windshield, which can impact your visibility. 

Common Signs Your Cabin Air Filter Needs to Be Replaced

If you don’t have your owner’s manual or you’re not sure when your filter was last replaced, here are some common signs to watch for:

  • Weak airflow coming from the air vents, even when the air is set to high
  • A whistling sound coming from the vents 
  • A musty or unpleasant odor coming from the vents
  • Excessive noise while using the air conditioning or heat

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs, schedule an appointment for an air cabin replacement!

Here are some other steps you can take to maintain the air quality in your car:

  • Vacuum the upholstery, carpet, and floor mats regularly
  • Regularly wipe down the interior, including the dashboard, door panels, and steering wheel console
  • Check the weather stripping on the doors and windows to ensure they create a proper seal
  • Clean up spills as soon as possible to prevent mold growth

Complete Care for Your European Car

From helping you get rid of unusual odors to diagnosing and repairing low airflow issues, EuroCar Service is your local European vehicle specialist! Whether you have an AudiBMWMercedesJaguarLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolkswagenVolvoSaab, or Smart Car, we’ll quickly get to the root of the issue. Contact us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment through our online form

Customer Detective Work: Helping Us Help You

Customer Detective Work: Helping Us Help You

One of the most challenging parts of auto repair is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed. Modern vehicles are made up of many complex systems, which means there could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. Not only does this make diagnostics challenging at times, but it can also be very frustrating for drivers when it takes time to get to the root of the issue. If the problem isn’t obvious, it’s easy for drivers to focus on the repairs, rather than the diagnostics. 

Enter Customer Detective Work

Believe it or not, our customers are one of our biggest assets when it comes to diagnostics. You can think of it a bit like detective work! Let’s say your vehicle is making a strange sound. Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell us much. But if you can provide additional details, we can zero in on the problem much easier. For example:

  • Where’s the sound coming from? Around the right front wheel. 
  • What kind of sound? Kind of a clunk, clunk sound. 
  • When do you hear the sound?  When I turn and accelerate. 
  • Right and left? Forward and back? Both sides when I’m driving forward. 

As you can see, that gives us a lot more information to work with and lets us know where to start. Your technician will immediately be able to eliminate any given number of issues and start with the most likely culprits. 

When you first begin to notice issues with your vehicle, take some notes. Instead of writing down that there’s a leak, note what color the fluid is and where it seems to be leaking from. One of the most difficult issues to diagnose is engine sputtering and stalling because it tends to happen intermittently. It might not happen every time you drive; it might not even happen while your car is in the shop. In cases like that, any additional information you can provide will help us diagnose and repair your car faster. 

If we can duplicate the problem, even better! For example, if you tell us that your car stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes at over 50 mph, your technician can experience it personally and make a better diagnosis. After the repair, they can test it again to ensure the problem is resolved. 

Schedule an Appointment Today

In short, diagnosing vehicle issues is very similar in many ways to a doctor diagnosing symptoms. If you need repairs or maintenance, your vehicle is always in excellent hands at EuroCar Service. We specialize in complete care for European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvo,VolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.  

Serpentine Belts: The Unsung Heroes of Car Engines

Serpentine Belts: The Unsung Heroes
of Car Engines

Picture this: You’re cruising down the highway when suddenly, there’s a strange flapping sound coming from under the hood. You pull over to investigate, only to discover the culprit: a damaged serpentine belt. As a vital component of your engine, a faulty serpentine belt can cause all sorts of trouble. In this blog, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about serpentine belts, including how they work, when to replace them, and how to keep them maintained. 

What Does the Serpentine Belt Do?

The serpentine belt is a long, winding belt that’s driven by your car’s engine. They’re typically made of durable rubber and have grooves on one side that fit into pulleys on each of the peripheral devices they power, such as the air conditioning system and the alternator. In some vehicles, the serpentine belt may also power the power steering and power brake pumps, the water pump, and more. 

As the belt rotates, it transfers power from the engine’s crankshaft to the various components it powers using pulleys and a belt tensioner. The belt tensioner is a self-tensioning device that’s designed to maintain the correct amount of tension on the serpentine belt, so it can operate properly. Most belt tensioners have an internal spring and pulley system that keeps the serpentine belt tight and prevents issues like squealing, slipping, or overheating. Over time, the spring can become worn; when this happens, it won’t provide the pressure needed to keep the belt tight.

Serpentine Belt Maintenance and Replacement

Although manufacturers’ recommendations vary, it’s typically recommended to have your serpentine belt inspected once your car reaches 60K miles. Since the belt can lose tension or become damaged before this milestone, periodic visual and audible inspections before 60K miles are also important. 

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the serpentine belt at 90K miles, regardless of its condition to reduce the chances of it breaking. It can be very dangerous if the serpentine breaks while you’re driving—and it can cause severe engine damage. It’s also a good idea to replace the tensioner and idler pulley at that time. To find specific recommendations for your vehicle, check your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor to look it up for you. 

Signs of a Worn Serpentine Belt

If your serpentine belt is damaged or becoming worn, you may notice the following signs:

  • Chirping, squeaking, or squealing sounds coming from under the hood of your car
  • The check engine light or battery light is on
  • The air conditioner isn’t working
  • The power steering isn’t working
  • The engine temperature is high or the engine is overheating
  • An acrid, burnt rubber smell

You can also perform visual inspections of your serpentine belt at home while the engine is off. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Cracks, fraying, or splits on the belt
  • Signs the belt has overheated, such as glazing along the sides
  • Missing chunks or separating layers

If you see coolant or oil on the belt, it’s time to replace it—and get the fluid leaks fixed. 

Schedule an Appointment at EuroCar Service

The serpentine belt is vital for how your vehicle functions. Since it’s not an expensive part, it’s always best to be proactive and replace it before it fails. At EuroCar Service, we offer everything your vehicle needs to stay safe and reliable, including serpentine belt inspections and replacements. We specialize in all European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverVolvoVolkswagenSaabFiatJaguarSmart Car, and Mini-Cooper. Contact us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

Get Your Transmission in Shape for Summer

Get Your Transmission in Shape for Summer

Summer is here, whether you plan to tow a boat or go on a road trip, it’s important to make sure your transmission is up to the task! The hot weather and extra strain on your vehicle can cause it to work overtime, which means your internal transmission temperature will be higher than normal. 

The Importance of Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid helps cool and lubricate the moving parts in manual and automatic transmission systems. If the transmission fluid is low, contaminated, or old, it can quickly cause your transmission to overheat. When this happens, it can lead to complete transmission failure—and an expensive repair bill. 

For this reason, it’s very important to make sure to monitor your transmission fluid regularly and have it replaced at the recommended service intervals. This helps prevent the buildup of grime and contaminants. Transmission fluid also breaks down over time and becomes increasingly acidic; flushing the transmission periodically and adding fresh, clean fluid helps prevent corrosion that can damage the system and cause leaks. 

Transmission Fluid Change vs. Transmission Flush

Although it’s always best to follow the service schedule recommended in your owner’s manual, the color of your transmission fluid can tell you a lot about its condition and whether it needs to be changed. New transmission fluid is bright red; as it ages and is exposed to heat, the fluid can begin to change color. If your transmission fluid is dark red or nearly brown transmission fluid, it’s time to have it changed. 

Transmission fluid changes are typically recommended every 30,000 miles. During a transmission fluid change, the old fluid is drained from the system and the transmission filter is replaced. Although this will help your transmission run better, there will be some old fluid and buildup left in the system. A transmission flush completely drains all the old fluid and replaces it with new fluid. These are typically recommended every 60,000 miles. 

Keep Your Transmission Well-Maintained

Keeping your transmission well-maintained will help your system work its best and help you avoid expensive repairs. So, before you head out to enjoy summertime activities, bring your vehicle to EuroCar Service for a pre-trip inspection. We’ll check your fluids, belts, hoses, and brakes to make sure everything is in good working order. We see all European makes, including AudiBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabVolkswagenVolvoSmart CarFiat, and JaguarSchedule an appointment today by calling 206-527-8828

Why No Two Repairs Are Alike: Understanding the Differences in Repair Costs

Why No Two Repairs Are Alike:
Understanding the Differences in Repair Costs

It’s a warm summer day, so you turn on your car’s air conditioning only to discover it isn’t working. So, you make an appointment and find out the evaporator needs to be replaced. Your friend recently just had the same repair on their car—so why is the estimate so different?

The fact is, no two vehicles—or their repairs—are alike. 

Different Cars, Differences in Repairs

To understand why the same types of repairs can have widely varying costs, let’s take a closer look at the evaporator example. In one vehicle, the evaporator might be easy to access and replace. In another vehicle, the entire dashboard may need to be removed. Depending on how the unit itself is designed, we may also need to use specialized tools during the repair. This all adds to the cost of labor and the amount of time it takes to complete the repair. 

In addition, the part itself may cost more or less than the evaporator for your friend’s car. Parts for newer vehicles and foreign makes can cost considerably more than parts for an older car or domestic make. The more technologically complex a car is, the more the repairs are likely to cost. So, even though an evaporator replacement is essentially the same repair in any vehicle, the process required for the repair and the cost of the part can vary quite a bit. 

How Can You Be Sure You’re Getting a Fair Price?

If all vehicles and repairs were the same, it would be easy to do comparisons to ensure you’re being charged a fair price—but since repair costs vary, how can you know for sure you’re not being taken advantage of?

This is why it’s helpful to establish a lasting relationship with a reputable repair shop. The shop will know you and your vehicle, but more importantly, they’ll value keeping you as a long-term customer. Repair shops that are only interested in money don’t really care about customer retention, and because of that, they often suggest unnecessary services and inflate their prices. 

When you have a regular shop that’s worked on your vehicle for years, you have experience with them; you pretty much know what to expect when it comes to things like labor costs, parts prices, and warranty policies. 

No one enjoys paying a lot of money for auto repairs; fortunately, automakers have made significant strides in things like corrosion prevention and engine and powertrain technology. Newer vehicles can last longer than older models. One study in a major consumer magazine found that if you can keep your vehicle running for 200,000 miles (an average of 15 years), it can save you up to $30,000 or more on the cost of a new vehicle. When you look at it that way, investing in repairs makes a lot of sense!

Keep Your Car on the Road with EuroCar Service

At EuroCar Service, our goal is always to help you maximize the value and road life of your vehicle. Whether you need diagnostics, maintenance, or repairs, you can rely on our skilled team for quality auto care and honest recommendations. We see all European makes, including AudiBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabVolkswagenVolvoSmart CarFiat, and Jaguar. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online.

Understanding Your Vehicle’s EVAP System

Understanding Your Vehicle’s EVAP System

As you drive, your vehicle’s oil and fuel produce vapors that are very harmful to the environment. Because of this, Evaporative Emissions Control Systems (EVAPs for short) are mandated in all cars, trucks, and SUVs. 

The EVAP system works by drawing in fresh air, gathering the unburned vapors, and delivering them to the intake system, where they can be re-burned in the engine—essentially recycling them. If there’s a problem with the EVAP system, such as a leak or blockage, a trouble code will be generated, and the check engine light will come on.

What Causes Issues with the EVAP System?

The EVAP system is a complicated network of hoses, valves, filters, and other components. While any of these parts can cause an issue with the system that triggers the check engine light, some of the most common problems include:

  • Faulty or loose gas cap
  • Damaged gap cap O ring
  • Damage gas tank filler tube
  • Vacuum feed line leaks
  • Vacuum control valve leaks
  • Damaged vapor tube 
  • Leaking charcoal canister

Although it’s not dangerous to drive with an EVAP leak, it’s best to get the issue repaired as soon as possible. Not only is it harmful to the environment, but it also impacts performance and drivability. You may notice:

  • The check engine light is on
  • Poor fuel economy
  • The fuel system service light is on
  • Engine surging or stalling while driving
  • Engine hesitation or misfires
  • Low power or a lack of power
  • The smell of burning carpet or fuel in the cabin
  • Excessive smoke coming from the exhaust pipe

The EVAP System and the Check Engine Light

Issues with the EVAP system are one of the top 5 reasons for the check engine light to come on. While EVAP problems don’t generally lead to vehicle damage, the fact that they trigger the check engine light means that other issues can be masked if you wait too long to get a repair. 

There are hundreds of issues that can cause the check engine light to turn on—but there’s only one light to signal them. So if the light came on because of an EVAP issue that hasn’t been fixed, and another problem arises, you won’t be alerted to the new issue because the light is already on. 

Getting Your EVAP System Repaired 

At your repair appointment, one of our technicians will pull the trouble code and begin performing diagnostics to determine the cause of the issue. In some cases, we may test the valves to find a blockage or perform a low-pressure smoke test to find the leak. After performing the necessary repairs, we’ll reset your check engine light. 

EuroCar Service specializes in all European vehicles, including AudiBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabVolkswagenVolvoSmart CarFiat, and Jaguar. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

How to Prevent a Blown Head Gasket

How to Prevent a Blown Head Gasket

We often receive questions from customers on how they can prevent certain automotive issues. Here’s one we were recently asked:

“I bought a new minivan and it started smoking from the tailpipe because the head gasket went out. What can I do to prevent this from happening again?”

This is a great question! Here’s a look at what the head gasket does, signs of it failing, and what you can do to prevent this expensive repair. 

What is the Head Gasket?

The engine is divided into two parts: the engine block (which houses the pistons and cylinders) and the cylinder head (which houses valves, spark plugs, and other components). 

The head gasket, located between the cylinder head and the engine block, is designed to seal off the internal combustion process and prevent the fuel, oil, and coolant from mixing or leaking.  When it’s working properly, the head gasket ensures your engine has the compression it needs to maintain power.

Since they must be able to withstand a lot of stress, head gaskets are made of high-performance materials that help withstand the heat produced by the engine. Most head gaskets last around 200,000 miles, but they can blow on a new vehicle if there’s an issue with the engine. 

Causes of a Blown Head Gasket and How to Prevent It

Engines operate under extreme heat; when the heat becomes excessive, it can cause your engine to overheat. The excess heat causes the cylinder head and engine block to expand too much, which weakens the head gasket and prevents it from sealing properly. 

Depending on the material, some head gaskets can withstand less heat than others. For example, aluminum expands faster when it’s heated. Another cause of blown head gaskets is detonation. This damages the armors or piston rings, allowing the cylinder pressure to leak past the armors.

Once the gasket blows it allows pressure to escape, which significantly reduces engine power. Oil and coolant may also begin to enter areas of the engine where they’re not supposed to be. If the coolant enters the combustion chamber, it will mix with and dilute the oil. This affects the engine’s lubrication and decreases the efficacy of the cooling system—putting your engine at greater risk of overheating. 

The best way to prevent head gasket failure is to keep your coolant at the proper level using the mixture recommended by your manufacturer. If you have a coolant leak, don’t wait to have the issue repaired—get it taken care of as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your engine temperature gauge as you drive. If you notice your car is running hot, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket?

If you have a blown head gasket, you may notice a few or all of the following symptoms:

  • Overheating
  • White, blue, or gray smoke coming from the exhaust
  • Loss of engine power
  • Discolored oil that looks similar to chocolate milk
  • Coolant leaking from the exhaust
  • Low coolant levels without any visible leaks
  • Bubbling coming from the radiator or an overflowing radiator
  • Engine spitting or sputtering
  • Rough idling 

Why is a Head Gasket So Costly to Repair?

If you’ve ever had to replace the head gasket on your car, you know it can cause sticker shock. There are numerous other gaskets in your vehicle that aren’t so pricey to replace—so what makes a head gasket special?

The biggest issue with a blown head gasket is the labor involved to fix it. The gasket itself isn’t very expensive, but the entire engine needs to be pulled out of the vehicle to replace the part. In addition, diagnostics may discover additional engine damage caused by the faulty gasket that needs to be repaired—which can increase the overall cost. 

For example, engine blocks can crack if the coolant wasn’t keeping the temperatures in a manageable range; if this happens, the oil will need to be drained and refilled, the spark plugs will need to be replaced, and the pistons checked. When the engine suffers damage like that, it’s quite a process to repair it. 

Blown Head Gasket? Schedule an Appointment at EuroCar Service

Preventive maintenance is the key when it comes to avoiding a blown head gasket. Make sure to keep your coolant full, schedule radiator service according to your manufacturer’s recommendations, and have oil changes performed regularly. 

Monitoring your coolant and oil levels at home can also help you spot issues, like leaks, that can cause a blown head gasket. If you notice your car seems to be going through fluids more rapidly than normal, don’t wait to get it checked out. 

At EuroCar Service, we want to help extend the life of your vehicle and prevent expensive repairs. Whether you’ve noticed symptoms of a blown head gasket or need routine maintenance, our ASE-certified technicians will have your car back to you and on the road in no time. We see all European makes, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

Why Oil Change Intervals Matter

Why Oil Change Intervals Matter

Modern vehicles have become increasingly sophisticated, but one thing that remains the same is the importance of clean oil. Oil remains the lifeblood of even the most technologically-advanced engines, so staying on top of your oil change intervals is essential. Fortunately, many vehicles now have an onboard service reminder that will let you know when an oil change is needed; some models even let you know when the oil level is too low. 

Longer Intervals Make Regular Oil Changes More Essential

As advances have been made in both oil and engine technology, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer. The old rule of changing your oil “every 3,000 miles or every three months” is now outdated. Many manufacturers now recommend oil change intervals of every 5,000 to 7,500 miles; some intervals are as much as every 10,000 miles. 

This is great news for many drivers, but longer intervals also mean that it’s even more important to change your oil according to the schedule listed in your owner’s manual. Back in the days of 3 months/3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or extra 1,000 miles, the oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge. However, if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles, and you go over another thousand, you increase the risk of sludge developing. 

It’s not just about mileage, either. If you don’t drive your car a lot, the oil still needs to be replaced regularly—even if you only drive it fewer miles each year than what your manufacturer suggests for changing oil. You should still make a point to get your oil changed twice a year because oil breaks down and becomes less effective as it ages. Once this happens, you risk excessive wear and tear on your engine and overheating. If too much sludge develops, it can even cause complete engine failure. 

What is the Severe Service Schedule?

In your owner’s manual, you’ll find different recommendations based on the “normal” or “regular” operation of your vehicle and a “severe service schedule.” Sometimes, it will be listed as “Schedule 1” and “Schedule 2”. There’s a lot of confusion around this, so we’re going to break it down.  

The severe service schedule recommends more frequent intervals for maintenance items like oil changes, air filter replacement, and transmission service based on your typical driving conditions. Although it can vary based on the automaker, you would typically follow the severe service schedule if any of the following apply to your typical driving conditions:

  • Most of your trips are under four miles
  • Most of your trips are less than ten miles when outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive in a lot of stop-and-go traffic
  • You don’t drive on the freeway very much and mostly stick to low speeds 
  • You drive in an area that has a lot of dust, dirt, slush, mud, or pollution
  • You frequently pull a trailer or haul heavy loads
  • You frequently drive in areas that can get very hot or very cold

Check your owner’s manual for more information on your vehicle, or feel free to discuss which service schedule you should be following with your service advisor. Since many people have some severe service factors mixed into their daily driving, some prefer to follow the severe schedule to play it safe. 

Conventional vs. Synthetic Oil

It’s also worth mentioning that you should always use the recommended oil for your vehicle. This is especially important if you top your oil off at home. If your car came from the factory with synthetic oil, only use synthetic and follow the synthetic oil interval. 

So, what’s the difference between the two types? Synthetics use higher-quality base oils compared to conventional oil, which makes them more stable and less likely to oxidize and acidify. They take longer to break down, so they offer better protection for your engine. Synthetics help your engine run more efficiently and perform better. Another benefit of synthetic oil is that it keeps your engine cleaner and can better resist sludge formation. Many vehicles that run on conventional oil can convert to synthetic; ask your service advisor if your car could benefit from making the switch!

Extend the Life of Your Engine

Service advisors often report that when they talk to someone with 200,000 miles or more on their engine, the drivers always say the secret is changing the oil on time. Although there could be other factors as well, routine oil changes undoubtedly extend the life of your engine. 

If you have questions about your oil change schedule or would need to make an appointment for an oil change, contact the experts at EuroCar Service! We specialize in all European vehicles, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

Is it Time to Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Is it Time to Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Although you may not think about them very often, wiper blades are pretty important! Most of us have experienced sudden snow or rain when a storm hits while we’re driving—then we turn on the windshield wipers and there’s nothing but streaks. Needless to say, this can be nerve-wracking (and dangerous), especially if you’re driving at night and have to deal with the glare of on-coming headlights. The best way to prevent this is to replace your wiper blades before they fail.

Why is it Necessary to Replace Your Wiper Blades?

It probably goes without saying, but the more you use your wiper blades, the sooner they’ll wear out. Rain, road grime, and even cleaning the bugs off your windshield will contribute to wear, but the environment does as well. Even when you’re not using your wiper blades, they’re exposed to UV rays, ozone, soap, grime, and fluctuating temperatures—all of which lead to deterioration over time.

Replacing your wiper blades isn’t just good for visibility, either. The wiper blades use rubber blades that are connected to metal arms to move rain and snow off your windshield; when the rubber gets worn down, it exposes the metal. This can cause the metal to make contact with your windshield, which can scratch the glass and eventually develop into deep grooves. Once this happens, you’ll need to replace or resurface the windshield. It’s much less expensive (and less of a hassle!) to simply replace your wiper blades before they can cause any damage. 

Fortunately, wiper blade replacement is easy to do—even if you have no automotive experience. A general rule is to replace them every 6 to 12 months. Common signs that it’s time for a replacement include:

  • The metal frames are bent
  • A streaky windshield
  • Gaps between the wiper blades and the windshield
  • Noises when the wiper blades are operating, such as grinding or squeaking
  • Visibly damaged rubber
  • The blades skip across your windshield

Wiper Blade Upgrades

Although you can swap out your old blades for the same type, there are also wiper blade upgrades (in both material and design) available. 

Traditional black rubber blades are great for clearing your windshield when they’re new, but their performance degrades over time. Silicone blades are far less affected by environmental conditions and last longer. 

When it comes to design, there are two elements to consider. First, some wiper blades have a single wiping edge; others have multiple edges. The idea is to maximize the wiping power during both swipes of the blade. 

The second element is the wiper frame—the part that applies pressure on the blade as it passes over the windshield. Conventional wiper blades have frames with four to six contact points on the blade, which apply the pressure needed to clear water and snow. The other design is called a “beam frame.” This uses uniform pressure along the entire surface of the wiper. The shape catches the wind passing over the vehicle to provide additional downforce to help get a clean swipe. A hybrid frame has four to six contact points as with a conventional blade, but also incorporates an airfoil to provide additional downforce as with beam blades.

Which blade is best? It’s always recommended to use at least the grade and design listed in your owner’s manual. However, you can always upgrade for better performance and longevity. While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to make sure you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid and that your washer nozzles are working properly. 

Need Assistance with Your Wiper Blades?

Whether you need help installing your wiper blades or recommendations on upgrades for your vehicle, EuroCar Service is here to help! We specialize in all European makes and models, including AudiBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabVolkswagenVolvoSmart CarFiat, and Jaguar. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online. 

Get to Know Your TPMS

Get to Know Your TPMS

All passenger vehicles manufactured since 2006 are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, also known as TPMS. This feature is designed to alert you when your tires aren’t properly inflated by displaying a warning light that looks like the cross-section of a tire with an exclamation point inside of it. In some vehicles, the TPMS may also create a digital readout that shows the psi (pounds per square inch) of air in each tire.

How Does the TPMS Work?

There are two different types of tire pressure monitoring systems: direct and indirect. With a direct TPMS, the tire pressure is monitored by sensors located in each wheel, in either the valve stem or the wheel hub. The TPMS measures the air pressure and sends it to the central control unit. The central control unit then reports the data to the vehicle’s information system. 

Indirect TPMS measures the air pressure using software, rather than physical sensors. Although the TPMS may utilize other sensors in the vehicle, like the accelerometers or wheel speed sensors, indirect TPMS primarily uses the anti-lock braking system, which measures the difference in the diameter of each tire. 

Why it’s Important to Check Your Tire Pressure Manually

Although the TPMS is a great safety feature, you shouldn’t solely rely on it to let you know when you need to add air to your tires. The TPMS warning light is designed to turn on when your tire pressure is 25% lower than the manufacturer’s recommendations. Unfortunately, at this point, your tire is already severely under-inflated. 

Although it’s very handy, the TPMS is not a replacement for a tire gauge. You should still check your tire pressure manually at least once a month. You’ll find the recommended tire pressure located somewhere near the door jamb or in your owner’s manual. If you’re having trouble finding it, we’re also happy to look it up for you! The best time to check your pressure is first thing in the morning when the tires are cold. 

Other Reasons the TPMS Warning Light Can Turn On

In some climates, the outside air temperature can vary as much as 40°F in a single day; that’s enough to change the air pressure by 4 psi. In some cases, that could cause the TPMS warning light to turn on, depending on the starting air pressure. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check the pressure in your tires using a tire gauge, especially if there’s a large temperature fluctuation throughout the day. 

The TPMS warning light will also turn on if there’s an issue with the system itself, like a dead sensor battery or a damaged sensor. The TPMS will also need to be reset when you get new tires or have your tires rotated. 

Why is Tire Pressure Important?

Tire pressure is important for your safety for several reasons:

  • Your vehicle won’t handle properly with low tire pressure
  • Low pressure contributes to friction and greater wear on your tires, which can lead to blowouts
  • At high speeds, a rapidly deflating tire can cause a loss of vehicle control
  • Over-inflated tires can cause uncomfortable rides and uneven tire wear

A major automotive study found that 1 in 4 cars and 1 in 3 light trucks has at least one significantly under-inflated tire. Keeping your tires properly inflated is one of the best ways to stay safe on the road—and reduce the cost of purchasing new tires! 

For questions on tire pressure or to schedule tire services, contact EuroCar Service. We specialize in all European makes, including AudiBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabVolkswagenVolvoSmart CarFiat, and JaguarSchedule an appointment today by calling 206-527-8828