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. 

What is Fuel Injector Cleaning?

What is Fuel Injector Cleaning?

Are you looking for ways to save money at the gas pump? One of the most common issues we see with fuel economy is clogged fuel injectors. When the fuel injectors get blocked by carbon deposits and debris, it can cause your vehicle to use more fuel than it used to. Fortunately, fuel injector cleaning is generally all that’s needed to get your vehicle’s mileage back on track. 

What Are Fuel Injectors, and What Does Fuel Injection Cleaning Entail?

Fuel injectors are components that send fuel from the gas tank into the engine. The injectors atomize the fuel and then force it directly into the combustion chamber at the precise time in the combustion cycle. This process happens thousands of times a minute. Over time, high temperatures under the hood and variations in fuel quality can cause the injectors to collect wax, dirt, water, additives, and carbon. This can cause them to become partially clogged, which prevents them from being able to deliver the right amount of fuel at the proper pressure. 

When your vehicle’s fuel injectors are dirty, it causes the fuel to burn less efficiently, leading to a loss of power and poor fuel economy. Some other signs that can indicate when it’s time to have your fuel injectors serviced include:

  • Rough idling
  • Engine misfires
  • Engine vibration
  • The check engine light is on
  • Fuel leaks
  • A smell
  • Engine surges

If your fuel injectors are completely clogged, there’s a chance your engine won’t start at all. 

During your fuel injection service, our technicians will inspect the various components associated with the fuel injection system, including the system’s connections, vacuum lines, pressure regulator, and fuel rail. We’ll also clean the fuel injectors, so they operate perfectly and deliver the ideal amount of fuel for your engine. Although it can vary based on your make and model, fuel injector cleaning is typically recommended every 36-48 months or around every 45,000 miles. 

Keep Your Engine Performing its Best with Fuel Injection Cleaning 

For an engine to perform well, it needs a carefully balanced mix of fuel and air. If the injectors become clogged, it can disrupt the ratio of the mixture and affect the combustion process, resulting in issues with starting your engine, drivability, performance, and gas mileage. At EuroCar Service, we use state-of-the-art equipment and cleaners during our fuel injection services to restore your engine’s performance and fuel economy. 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. 

Why is Auto Air Conditioning Service Necessary?

Why is Auto Air Conditioning Service Necessary?

Did you know most car owners don’t service their vehicle’s air conditioner until after it fails? 

Just like other systems in your car, regular maintenance is important for your air conditioner and ensures it always has enough refrigerant to do the job. When there are leaks in the system that allow the refrigerant to escape, your AC can’t cool the air as well. In addition to the refrigerant, AC systems use a special oil that lubricates the components and keeps the seals intact. If the oil or refrigerant is low, it can cause your air conditioner’s parts to wear prematurely. 

What’s Involved in Car AC Service?

The air conditioning system cools the air and removes humidity from the inside of your vehicle using three main components: the compressor, condenser, and evaporator. 

The compressor, which gets its power from the serpentine belt, pumps the refrigerant through the closed system where it’s exposed to pressure. The pressure causes the refrigerant to change from gas to liquid and passes through the evaporator, capturing heat. Then, the refrigerant moves through the system lines and into the condenser. The refrigerant releases the heat outside the vehicle and turns back into a liquid. For your AC to work properly, the system needs to have the proper refrigerant and lubrication levels, and all the components must be in good working order.

We begin your air conditioning service by doing a visual inspection of the components. Our technicians look for signs of damage or leaks and inspect the compressor and serpentine belt for cracks or wear. We’ll check that the compressor, evaporator, and condenser are operating correctly and conduct a temperature drop and leak test. If we detect a leak (which will typically be in the hose or connection), we’ll repair it and retest the system.

If needed, we’ll also remove the old refrigerant and recharge the system with fresh refrigerant. Finally, we’ll perform one last test to ensure your air conditioning system is working perfectly, and you’ll be on your way! 

How Often Should Your Car’s Air Conditioner Be Serviced?

The interval for car AC service really varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations, or ask one of our friendly service advisors. It’s typically every two years, but it may be different for your make and model. EuroCar Service specializes in all European vehicles, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! If you need car AC service or repair, call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointmentonline.  

The History of the Dashboard & Important Warning Lights to Watch For

The History of the Dashboard & Important Warning Lights to Watch For

Have you ever wondered why they call the part of your vehicle that sits behind the steering wheel the “dashboard?” It might surprise you to learn that the name comes from a time before cars were even invented. 

When people traveled by horse and buggy, the streets weren’t what they are today. Instead of smooth concrete or asphalt, the roads were rough and unpaved. It wasn’t unusual for mud and stones to get “dashed” (meaning knocked, thrown, or hurled) in the direction of the buggy. Because of this, carriage makers began installing a board to protect them—which became known as the dashboard. 

Eventually, the word carriage got shortened to car, and the dashboard was sometimes referred to as the “dash.” Today’s dashboards sit behind and below the windshield and are used to house a variety of controls and instruments. 

Modern Dashboards Have Become Essential

In addition to the speedometer, tachometer, and gas gauge, your instrument panel has warning lights that can alert you to a variety of issues. These are very important to pay attention to, as they can help you prevent breakdowns, damage to the various systems, and costly repairs. Here are a few of the most important dashboard warning lights to watch for:

Oil Pressure: Oil is essential; it keeps the moving parts of your engine well-lubricated, reduces friction on these parts that can lead to excessive wear and tear, and pulls heat away from the engine. When the oil pressure light comes on, it means there’s been a drop in oil pressure in the engine—so the parts aren’t getting the lubrication they need. Left too long, this can cause serious damage. Call your service advisor immediately and avoid driving until the issue has been resolved. 

Check Engine Light: If your check engine light is on, it means one or more sensors in your vehicle have detected an abnormal situation. This could be anything from a loose or faulty gas cap to a clogged sensor or severe engine misfires. Again, this should be checked out as soon as possible. Our technician will read the code stored in your vehicle to diagnose the issue. If the check engine light is flashing, this means the problem could cause serious damage—so don’t wait! Get it checked out right away. 

Brake Light: If this light is on, it could mean that you left your parking brake on, or there could be a more serious problem, like low brake fluid or hydraulic system issues. Check your parking brake first; if this isn’t on, and the light is on, make sure to get it diagnosed ASAP. 

Tire Pressure: Newer vehicles have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) built in that will tell you if any of your tires are under or overinflated. Both conditions are a problem. Underinflated tires can affect your ability to handle the vehicle and brake safely, while overinflated tires are more prone to damage from debris, potholes, and other road conditions. If the light is flashing, it means the tire pressure monitoring system itself needs attention. 

Of course, there are many more warning lights in your vehicle. If you see any of the following, it’s best to have your vehicle towed to our shop:

  • Oil light
  • Temperature light
  • Charging (Batt) light
  • Brake light

These warning lights indicate issues that could cause serious engine damage, or leave you stranded or with unsafe brakes. 

Visit EuroCar Service for Reliable Car Diagnostics

Although things were simpler back in the horse and buggy days, today’s dashboard warning lights can tell you many things about the complexities of modern vehicles. At EuroCar Service, we want to make sure your driving experience is trouble- and worry-free! We offer reliable diagnostics services for all European makes, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.  

Watch Out for this Warning Light

The gaslight, the seatbelt indicator, the engine temperature warning light, the fog light indicator, the door open light. There are so many lights on car instrument panels. Vehicles have gotten smarter and smarter, and with that, they can tell us more about what areas need attention. For example, many cars can now tell you when the windshield wiper fluid is low. There’s one warning light that demands immediate attention.

The brake warning light tells us that something is wrong with your brake system. We don’t have to tell you that if your brakes aren’t functioning properly, your vehicle may not stop as expected. This can be incredibly dangerous for you and those around you, especially in wet or icy weather here in Seattle.

There are a number of reasons the brake warning light may come on. The most important thing to remember is to get your car to an auto repair shop immediately unless 1) the problem is you left the parking brake on or 2) your vehicle is unsafe to drive. If you have an Audi, BMW, Fiat, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercede, MINI, Saab, Smart Car, Volkswagen, Volvo, or other European make in Seattle, bring your vehicle to EuroCar Service.  

Here are some potential reasons why your brake light flashed on.

  • Parking brake/e-brake/emergency brake is on – this is the easiest issue to fix! If you have left the parking brake on and started to drive the vehicle, you may notice the brake warning light flash on and difficulty driving. Release the parking brake to fix the problem.

  • Sudden loss of hydraulic pressure in the brake lines – if the vehicle notices a change in pressure, it will activate the brake warning light. You won’t have much notice that your brakes are failing, so remember that you have your emergency brake if needed. This pressure loss can be caused by a brake line rupture, road debris cutting the brake line, or corrosion wearing down the line.

  • The brake fluid is low – the fluid may be low or may need to be flushed. A brake fluid flush removes all the old fluid and completely replaces it. An auto technician at our Seattle shop can inspect your vehicle to determine the cause of the problem. There may be a leak in the brake system or your brake pads might be worn down. Unfortunately, just adding brake fluid can leave critical issues unaddressed. An experienced professional can diagnose and fix the problem to make sure your car drives safely.

When you press the brake pedal, you need the vehicle to stop. You rely on your brake system to stop (as does everyone around you!). When you see the brake warning light flash on, bring your vehicle to EuroCar Service as soon as possible.

Make Your Car Breathe Easier, Replace the Air Filter

It doesn’t matter what European-made care you have; you need a clean air filter. An air filter cleans the air before it is burned in the engine. It’s essential, as important as tires with enough tread and clean engine oil.

Many drivers wonder how often they should change their air filters. The simple answer? When it’s dirty.

The manufacturer has recommended mileage intervals for replacing the air filter, but it mostly depends on where you drive. The dirtier the air, the dirtier the filter. For example, if you drive on dusty, gravel roads, your air filter will fill up faster. The same goes for places with lots of pollution or pollen. That’s why we check your air filter every oil service. We keep an eye on it so we can let you know when it needs to be changed out.

Why Does It Matter?

The reason this is critical is that your air filter can only hold so much dirt. After it’s full, dirt begins to pass through to the engine. A dirty air filter causes the combustion chamber to gum up, hurting fuel economy. Neglected for a long time, it can even harm your engine. A dirty air filter can damage your mass airflow sensor, which can cause poor acceleration, lack of power, stalling, and no-starts. Replacing this sensor is expensive, much more costly than changing out the air filter when it’s dirty.

People have a lot of experience with masks these days. You wouldn’t want to breathe through a mask caked with dirt, would you? Could that be good for your lungs or your heart? A clean mask purifies the air going into your body, keeping it healthy. The same goes for an air filter. A dirty air filter restricts and contaminates the air that gets to the engine. This hurts fuel economy and overall engine health, affecting not only function but longevity.

Help From Trusted Experts

When our service advisors show you how dirty your filter is and recommend you replace it, they do so knowing how important driving a high-performance vehicle is to you. You care about how your car runs, and we do, too. We’ll replace your engine air filter with one that meets or exceeds factory specifications. You can even upgrade your filter for enhanced performance.

How long has it been since you changed your air filter? Is your engine struggling to get clean air?

Since 1981, clients have entrusted EuroCar Service with their vehicles, and we have become Seattle’s most dependable, honest European automobile service facility. We are committed to cutting edge maintenance and repair for your vehicle. This means we stay up-to-date with the latest training, tools, and equipment and are proud of our inclusion on Expertise’s exclusive list of Best Auto Shops in Seattle. Call us at 206-527-8828 or schedule an appointment online today!

How To Prevent LSPI

What is LSPI? Defined by, “LSPI is an unexpected consequence of downsizing and boosting engines. Also known as stochastic pre-ignition (SPI), megaknock, superknock or deto-knock. LSPI most commonly occurs at low speeds during a period of rapid acceleration. LSPI is believed to be caused by droplets or particles in the combustion chamber—combinations of fuel and oil—that ignite prior to spark, resulting in uncontrolled, abnormal combustion. This creates spikes in engine pressure, ultimately causing internal engine damage. In some cases, researchers reported that just a single LSPI event was sufficient to cause severe engine damage”. LSPI is ultimately caused by installing engine oil that is not high quality nor treated to prevent LSPI from occurring.

LSPI is common in modern engines, and those that are turbocharged, or are equipped with gasoline direct injection engines. There are multiple steps you can take to prevent LSPI from occurring in your vehicle. The first is choosing a high-quality motor oil that combats abnormal combustion. At EuroCar Service we only use high-quality oil with all of our oil change & filter services. Another way to prevent LSPI is to ensure you’re using the proper fuel for your vehicle. If you’re driving a European vehicle, it is likely your manufacturer calls for premium gasoline. This is one of the reasons you would want to opt for the recommended premium instead of regular gas.

Following your routine maintenance is the most important component of all. At most ASE certified automotive repair shops in the U.S. you can bring your vehicle in for an oil change, and they’ll perform a complimentary safety inspection. Though the range of what this inspection includes varies between shops, what stays consistent is your service advisor informing you of any services due by time or mileage. They’ll also recommend repairs that need to happen, and if they’re a good shop, they’ll help you work within your budget by informing you of what needs to be repaired or serviced now and what can wait.

At EuroCar Service, we take all these actions and then some. It is always important to us for our customers to avoid any possible repairs and to be safe on the road. We never want you to have to deal with sudden major engine damage repair, so make sure you make it in for your oil changes to help prevent the issue from occurring. As always give us a call with any questions or to schedule an appointment.