The Importance of Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

The Importance of Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Advancements in automotive technology have also led to the development of high-tech automotive fluids. One example of this is the cooling system. For decades, the cooling system was primarily made from iron, steel, and rubber hoses. There was only one kind of coolant available to protect the system’s components from corrosion. 

Fast forward to today. Late-model vehicles’ cooling system components are manufactured using various types of metal alloys and plastics. Unsurprisingly, these materials need different types of additives in the coolant to help protect them from corrosion—and since materials vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are several different kinds of coolant on the market. 

Understanding the Advancements in Automotive Fluids

Since coolant contains different additives that offer protection for specific materials, it’s important to use the right type. If you add the wrong kind of coolant, it won’t protect the cooling system—and in some cases, it may even void your warranty! If you think you might have used the wrong fluid, it’s best to play it safe. Bring your vehicle to the shop, and our technicians can flush the system and give it a fresh start with the right fluid. 

Brake fluid is another automotive fluid that can cause confusion. In the past, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid; now there’s Dot 4 and Dot 5. Despite what some people think, these new additions aren’t upgrades—they’re completely different formulations specifically designed to meet the needs of different brake systems. Just like coolant, only one type of brake fluid is recommended for your vehicle. 

Transmission fluid also has different formulations designed to meet the advanced needs of modern automatic transmissions. However, nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident than in motor oil. There’s now a variety of formulations and weights manufactured specifically to meet the demands of modern engines. 

A large part of this is due to the fact that modern engines contain more parts and have tighter tolerances than engines of the past. With each passing year, engines are designed to be more powerful and fuel-efficient. This means the oil they use must be formulated to lubricate, clean, and protect more parts while being thin enough to travel through smaller passageways—while also being resistant to vaporization. 

If your vehicle came from the factory with synthetic fluids, it’s important to use synthetics when you have your vehicle serviced. Your service intervals will be based on synthetic fluid intervals, rather than conventional fluid intervals. 

Keep Your Fluids in Check at EuroCar Service

Each type of fluid plays an important role in the way your vehicle functions. Since the grades of oil and types of coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, you should always take care to use the correct fluid if you top your fluids off at home. The wrong fluids can cause damage, so check your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor if you’re unsure about what to use. 

If you’re not comfortable checking or topping off your fluids yourself, EuroCar Service is always here to help! We see all European makes, including AudiFiatBMWLand RoverMercedesMini CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvo, and Smart Car. Call us today at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online

Is it Time to Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Is it Time to Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

In order to burn fuel efficiently, your vehicle’s engine needs access to a large quantity of clean air—around 216,000 gallons for every tank of gas it consumes. The engine air filter plays a crucial role in catching dust and dirt particles so that only clean air enters the engine. However, if the filter becomes clogged and reaches its capacity, it can cause contaminants to reach the engine and cause a variety of issues. 

How Does a Dirty Air Affect the Engine?

Dirty air passing through the air filter affects goes on to affect the mass airflow sensor. The mass air flow sensors measure the amount of air entering your engine, ensuring it receives the right ratio of air and fuel needed for proper combustion. However, if it’s contaminated by dirty air, the mass air flow can provide incorrect readings. As a result, your engine won’t receive the appropriate amount of fuel, which can lead to it running rough and poor performance. 

Here’s where things can get a bit costly. If the mass airflow sensor becomes severely damaged, it may need to be replaced, and sensor replacements are not cheap. In fact, the cost of replacing a damaged sensor could easily equate to the price of several cases of air filters—a significant expense that can be avoided by simply replacing your filters on a regular schedule!

Unfortunately, it’s not just your wallet that takes a hit when you neglect your engine air filter. The dirty air continues its journey through your engine, where it mixes with the fuel and gets burned. This process causes contaminants to build up in the combustion chamber, which, in turn, increases harmful exhaust emissions. 

How Often Should You Change Your Engine Air Filter? 

Although recommendations can vary depending on the type of vehicle you have and your driving habits, engine air filters should typically be changed every 30,000-45,000 miles. If you frequently drive in dusty conditions, like dirt roads, you may need to have it changed more often. 

If you haven’t kept track of your replacement intervals or are overdue for a replacement, you may notice the following signs: 

  • Engine misfires
  • Black smoke from the exhaust 
  • The check engine light is on
  • Engine hesitation 
  • Engine sputtering or popping noises
  • Low gas mileage

This is where EuroCar Service comes in! With over 40 years of experience in auto maintenance and repairs, we’re here to keep your vehicle performing its best. Whether you need a simple engine replacement or to diagnose engine issues, our skilled ASE-certified team will have your car, truck, or SUV back on the road in no time. 

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. 

The Hidden Stories Behind Auto Parts Delivery Trucks

The Hidden Stories Behind Auto Parts
Delivery Trucks

Have you ever noticed auto parts delivery trucks making the rounds in Seattle? Believe it or not, every auto part has a story behind it—and unfortunately, some of them could have been prevented!

Most vehicles are built to last for many years, but the way you take care of your car has a significant impact on how long you’ll be able to enjoy it. With regular maintenance, you can expect your car to last 20 years or longer; neglecting maintenance, however, can cause issues that compound over time and lead to costly repair bills. To illustrate how neglecting routine maintenance can affect your vehicle, let’s follow the auto parts delivery truck driver as he makes his stops. 

The Price of Neglecting Vehicle Maintenance

The driver’s first stop is to deliver an engine air filter and a mass air flow sensor for a customer’s pick-up truck. The service advisor at the shop has been recommending that the customer replace the dirty air filter for the last couple of oil changes, but the customer didn’t feel it was worth the cost. Since dirty air has been getting into the mass air flow sensor for months, it’s now ruined and needs to be replaced—along with the air filter. 

The next stop on the delivery driver’s route is to deliver a fuel system cleaning kit and a set of four fuel injectors; the auto shop’s customer has never had their fuel system cleaned. Over the years, a buildup of gum and varnish has completely ruined the fuel injectors and they need to be replaced. In addition to replacing them, the technician will also have to clean the system to remove carbon deposits from the valves and combustion chamber. 

The third stop is to deliver transmission fluid and a transmission rebuild kit. This case is really unfortunate! The customer had never had his transmission serviced… The small bits of dirt and clutch material that naturally come loose over time turned the transmission fluid into an abrasive substance that ate away at the seals and gaskets. The transmission had internal leaks, which made it lose the hydraulic pressure needed to shift properly. Rebuilding a transmission isn’t a cheap fix—it can cost thousands of dollars. Even worse, it could have been prevented by changing the transmission on a schedule. 

So, the next time you see an auto parts delivery truck, think about your own car. Is there any maintenance you’ve been putting off or minor issues developing? Check your owner’s manual or talk to your service advisor about your manufacturer-recommended service schedule. It could end up saving you time and money in the long run! 

Trust EuroCar Service to Keep Your Vehicle in Top Condition

The stories behind these auto parts deliveries serve as a cautionary tale for all vehicle owners and showcase how neglecting routine maintenance can lead to costly repairs. At EuroCar Service, we recognize the value of preventive maintenance and take a proactive approach to your vehicle. Our goal is to help you avoid expensive problems and keep your car running at its best for as long as you own it. If your vehicle is due for service, contact us today at (206) 527-8828 or schedule an appointment online. We specialize in all European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car!

The Importance of Keeping a Vehicle Maintenance Record

The Importance of Keeping a Vehicle Maintenance Record

Time has a way slipping by—especially when it comes to getting your vehicle serviced. 

A few years ago, a customer brought his 10-year-old vehicle into the repair shop for an oil change; since colder weather was approaching, the technician servicing his vehicle decided to inspect a few vital components that are essential to have working properly during the winter months, including the battery. 

The technician performed a battery test to check its ability to hold a charge, only to discover it was weak. When the service advisor asked the customer how old the battery was, the driver said he thought he had had it replaced “a couple of years ago.” The battery said otherwise! 

Most batteries have a manufacturing date stamped on them, so the technician was able to determine that it was five years old. This is around the time most batteries start to fail—and cold temperatures can wreak havoc on an old battery with a weak charge. To cover all bases, the technician also checked to see if the vehicle’s charging system was sending enough current to fully charge the battery; it was, so the recommendation was to replace the battery. 

If the technician hadn’t run that simple test on the battery, the customer may have ended up stranded on a cold winter day because the battery didn’t have the cranking power to start the engine. This story is a perfect example of why it’s important to maintain records of your vehicle’s maintenance, rather than relying on memory alone. With so much to keep track of these days, it’s easy to forget when essential maintenance was last performed. 

Why Drivers Should Keep a Car Maintenance Record

While we maintain complete records of every service you’ve had performed at our shop, and we’re always happy to look them up for you, there are several reasons why it’s a good idea to keep a car maintenance record yourself. 

Having your own maintenance records gives you quick and easy access to your vehicle’s service history; you can look it up at any time and don’t need to rely on anyone else to provide the information you’re looking for. This makes it a lot easier to keep track of your maintenance schedule and make sure you don’t miss any important services. It also helps with budgeting!

Some cars have reoccurring issues that can be tricky to resolve; keeping records of maintenance and repairs that have been performed can be invaluable when diagnosing them, especially if you’ve been to several mechanics for the same issue. Using the records as a guide, technicians can better understand the history of the problem and be more effective at solving it. 

If your vehicle is still under warranty, maintaining your own records can help you provide proof of proper maintenance if you need to make a claim. Many manufacturers require you to provide evidence that the maintenance was performed as recommended. If your vehicle changes hands at any point, you can pass on the records to the new owner. A car that has a well-documented maintenance history is also more attractive to potential buyers and can help increase its resale value. 

Tips for Creating a Vehicle Maintenance Record That Works for You

The good news is that creating a vehicle maintenance record is easy and can be completely customized to whatever system works best for you. 

If you prefer the low-tech route, you can file your service records and invoices in a file folder or binder or jot down notes in a notebook. To help you stay organized, consider adding a table of contents and dividers for different categories. It’s also important to keep your log updated with any new services you have performed. 

If you’d like to go the digital route, you can use a spreadsheet or a digital records app (like aCar, Drivvo, or MyCarfax) to keep track of everything. A cloud-based app, like Google Sheets, is a great option because it’s free and can be updated via your phone or computer. You can also create custom tables, filter data, and set up reminders. 

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to keep your physical records and invoices as well, and include the following information:

  • Date the service was performed
  • Type of service performed
  • Mileage at the time of service

This will help you monitor your car’s maintenance needs and keep it on schedule. 

If you purchased a used vehicle, you may have incomplete records. In this case, you may be able to find more information about your car’s maintenance history from:

  • The dealership
  • Online services, like Carfax and AutoCheck
  • The previous owner

As we mentioned before, we also keep records of every service you’ve had performed at EuroCar Service and are always happy to provide any information you need to complete your maintenance record. And if you find your vehicle is overdue for routine maintenance, schedule an appointment today at (208) 527-8828! We specialize in all European makes and models, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Don’t let time slip away—take control of your vehicle’s maintenance today! 

2 Essential Steps You Should Take Before Buying a Used Vehicle

2 Essential Steps You Should Take
Before Buying a Used Vehicle

It’s always exciting to get a new car, but it can often feel like you’re going out on a limb when you buy a used vehicle. While it’s true that people sell cars for many reasons, there’s always the chance that there’s something really wrong with the vehicle you’re considering. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re not getting a lemon. 

Order a Vehicle History Report

When you’ve found a car, truck, or SUV you’re interested in purchasing, it’s always a good idea to order a vehicle history report from a service like Carfax or AutoCheck; all you’ll need to order the report is the vehicle’s VIN number. 

Vehicle history reports include details on a car’s ownership, accident history, title status, mileage, and more. They can also uncover damage that the seller doesn’t disclose or know about, such as fire or flood damage or recall notices. Carfax and other vehicle history reports will also often include any major maintenance or repairs that the vehicle received, which can be very helpful given that many sellers likely won’t have this information available. 

While you probably won’t be able to see when every oil change was performed, the repair and maintenance section is helpful in determining whether the factory scheduled maintenance was performed and if any significant repairs were needed. Keep in mind that a vehicle history report won’t cover things like the mechanical condition of the car, whether certain parts are worn, or whether there are components in the particular model that are known to be prone to early failure. For this reason, it’s also recommended to get a pre-purchase inspection. 

Pre-Purchase Inspections

A pre-purchase inspection from a professional mechanic will go much deeper than how the vehicle looks and drives. It will give you a good sense of the car’s overall condition, the status of major safety systems, and how well it’s been maintained. An auto repair shop will also be able to tell you whether there’s any work that needs to be done, which can help you determine an appropriate value for the vehicle. In some cases, you may also be able to use this information to negotiate a new price with the seller. 

Although pre-purchase inspections can vary depending on the auto repair shop you choose, they will typically check for the following issues:

  • Hidden problems with the body, frame, or engine, 
  • Flood or fire damage
  • Rust
  • Fluid leaks
  • Burned-out bulbs
  • Non-functioning accessories
  • Suspicious odors
  • Overdue maintenance tasks
  • The overall condition of the vehicle, including the tires and brake pads
  • Issues with the engine
  • Trouble codes that can indicate mechanical or electrical problems

It’s pretty easy to see how a used vehicle inspection is worth the cost! If problems are uncovered, you can either steer clear of the vehicle or bargain for a better price. If everything is OK, you’ll have a plan for addressing any routine services that should be done, not to mention a whole lot of peace of mind.

Schedule a Pre-Purchase Inspection at EuroCar Service

It’s easy to fall in love with a vehicle, but it’s important not to let your feelings cloud your judgment. Save yourself the headache that comes from buying a lemon—schedule a pre-purchase inspection at EuroCar Service! Our skilled ASE-certified team has been providing honest, reliable auto care and repairs since 1981. Our team will perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle and let you know if there are any issues that should be addressed. 

We specialize in all European makes and models, including BMWFiatMercedesLand RoverAudiMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolvoVolkswagen, and Smart Car. Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or schedule your appointment online

6 Tips for Preventing Cooling System Problems

6 Tips for Preventing Cooling System Problems

One of the most common reasons for vehicles to experience mechanical failure is cooling system problems. From a leaking radiator to an overheating engine, cooling system issues can quickly cause expensive damage to your vehicle. The good news? They’re largely preventable! Here are six things you can do to keep your cooling system in excellent shape:

1. Regular Fluid Checks and Flushes

The cooling system depends on a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water to keep the engine’s temperature in check. The coolant pulls heat away from the engine. If the coolant level gets too low, it can cause overheating. Even worse, it can blow the head gasket or trigger your car to automatically shut off. 

To prevent these problems, make a habit of checking your vehicle’s coolant regularly. The coolant should be a vibrant green, orange, blue, yellow, red, or violet color—depending on the formulation you use. If the fluid looks discolored or rusty or has visible sediment, it’s time to have it flushed. Flushing the system every 2-3 years helps eliminate built-up debris and contaminants that can clog the system and make it less efficient. 

If the coolant levels need to be topped off, make sure to add the proper amount of water and antifreeze; you can also buy pre-mixed coolant. There are many different formulations of antifreeze, so make sure to choose the one recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Never add coolant when the engine is hot because it can cause serious burns.  

2. Hose and Belt Inspections

The cooling system is a network of interconnected hoses and belts that carry coolant to and from the engine. Since these parts are exposed to heat, pressure, and the elements, they’re highly susceptible to wear and tear. Have your hoses inspected regularly for cracks, leaks, bulges, or loose connections. Similarly, have your belts inspected for signs of fraying or excessive slack, as a malfunctioning belt can disrupt how the water pump operates and cause overheating.

3. Maintain Your Radiator 

The radiator acts as a heat exchanger by dissipating excess heat from the engine coolant. To prevent cooling system problems, it’s important to make sure the radiator’s fins are clean and free from debris like leaves and dirt. A clogged radiator can lead to inadequate cooling and engine overheating. 

4. Mindful Driving Habits

Believe it or not, your driving habits can significantly impact your vehicle’s cooling system. Avoid aggressive driving, sudden accelerations, and abrupt stops, as these actions can strain the engine and generate excessive heat. Prolonged idling can also put unnecessary stress on the cooling system, so it’s a good idea to turn off the engine when you’re parked. 

5. Be Aware of Your Temperature Gauge Readings

The temperature gauge on your dashboard provides a window into your vehicle’s internal health, so it’s important to pay attention to any deviations from the normal operating temperature. If the gauge indicates your engine is overheating, safely pull over, turn off the engine, and allow it to cool before checking under the hood or driving again. 

6. Professional Maintenance

While DIY checks and maintenance are essential, entrusting your vehicle to a professional mechanic for routine inspections is equally crucial! Regular servicing allows us to identify potential cooling system problems early on and address them before they escalate into more significant (and expensive) issues.

For Quality Radiator Service, Visit EuroCar Service 

Whether it’s time for a coolant flush or your radiator is leaking, EuroCar Service is here to help you keep your vehicle in top condition. We specialize in all European makes, including BMWFiatMercedesLand RoverAudiMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolvoVolkswagen, and Smart Car. Let us help you extend the life of your vehicle and prevent costly repairs! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or schedule your appointment online.

The Benefits of Modern Spark Plugs: Enhanced Performance and Longevity

The Benefits of Modern Spark Plugs:
Enhanced Performance and Longevity

The era of changing spark plugs every couple of years has fortunately come to an end. Thanks to advancements in automotive technology, spark plugs now last longer and perform better than ever. Here’s a look at some of the factors that have contributed to the extended lifespan of spark plugs and how modern engine management systems have transformed the way vehicles function. 

The Evolution of Spark Plug Technology

Manufacturers use precious and other metals in the center and side electrodes of spark plugs, which act as a conduit for the high voltage received from the spark plug wires. This allows the spark to jump across the small gap between the central and side electrodes to start the combustion process. 

In the past, copper core spark plugs were the standard choice—and they’re still used today. Although nearly all spark plugs feature a copper core, modern spark plugs also incorporate superior materials like platinum and iridium. These metals offer exceptional durability and wear that help the spark plugs last longer while also minimizing the misfire rate. Modern spark plugs can better withstand the rigors of today’s high-performance engines than conventional copper core spark plugs.

There are numerous benefits to be had from modern spark plugs. Not only do they last longer and save drivers money on the cost of replacements, but they also improve engine performance and fuel efficiency. Long-lasting spark plugs help optimize the combustion process, which contributes to a smoother ride, reduced emissions, and significant savings on fuel costs. 

The extended lifespan of spark plugs also has a positive impact on the environment. With fewer spark plugs being replaced and disposed of, the automotive industry contributes less waste and has a lower environmental footprint. 

Spark Plug Maintenance

Even though modern spark plugs are engineered for longevity and durability, proactive maintenance is still essential to keep your engine operating at its best. Spark plugs will eventually become less effective over time, whether due to age, wear, or electrical or ignition system issues. 

They can also become damaged by contamination, combustion, or overheating. When this happens, they lost the ability to ignite the air-fuel mixture effectively, as well as dissipate heat from the combustion chamber. In addition, the gap between the plugs’ electrodes widens with time—which means the spark has to travel a further distance to initiate combustion. Eventually, this can cause the combustion process to become irregular or erratic. 

Fortunately, modern spark plugs don’t need to be replaced often; most manufacturers suggest replacing them around every 100,000 miles. However, it’s important to note that spark plug replacement intervals vary depending on your engine, its condition, and the type of spark plug you use. Some manufacturers may also recommend more or less frequent replacements depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model. 

There are several signs that indicate your spark plugs may need to be replaced, including:

  • Pinging, rattling, or knocking noises coming from the engine
  • Difficulty starting your engine or starts that feel disjointed and jerky
  • Poor performance, especially when accelerating
  • Poor fuel economy

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, we recommend scheduling an inspection.

The Importance of Professional Spark Plug Installation

Modern engines are becoming increasingly complex, so although changing the spark plugs used to be a DIY job back in the day, it’s now best to leave replacement to qualified technicians—especially if you have performance modifications. 

Aftermarket parts or performance mods may demand specific spark plug characteristics to accommodate the enhanced engine dynamics. Whether you have performance modifications or a completely stock vehicle, professional installation ensures that your spark plugs are fitted correctly and that your engine operates at peak efficiency. 

If you need your spark plugs replaced or inspected, EuroCar Service is here to help! We specialize in complete care for European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.  

EuroCar Service: Your Reliable Partner in Vehicle Maintenance

EuroCar Service: Your Reliable Partner in Vehicle Maintenance

Taking care of your car is essential if you want it to perform well and maximize its longevity. Fortunately, you can always trust EuroCar Service to uphold stringent standards when it comes to servicing your vehicle. From comprehensive inspections to expert maintenance recommendations, our team aims to keep your car in excellent condition. 

Thorough Inspections for Complete Peace of Mind

When you bring your vehicle to EuroCar Service for routine maintenance, such as an oil change, our skilled technicians go beyond the basics. They conduct thorough inspections to identify any potential issues that might require attention. By examining various components, such as windshield wipers and air filters, our technicians ensure that your car remains in top shape. They also refer to your owner’s manual to determine whether any manufacturer’s recommended maintenance is needed. This attention to detail guarantees that no essential maintenance tasks are overlooked.

Transparent Recommendations and Service Prioritization

We understand that receiving a list of suggested repairs or part replacements can be overwhelming for many drivers. That’s why our team takes the time to communicate clearly and honestly with you. If we find any urgent matters that need immediate attention, we’ll prioritize them and explain why the urgency of getting them addressed. We’ll also take the time to let you know about any future maintenance requirements, so you can plan and budget accordingly. By providing transparent recommendations, we help you make informed decisions regarding your vehicle’s maintenance.

Preventative Maintenance: A Wise Investment

Your car’s maintenance is similar to regular dental check-ups. Just as dental visits help identify and address minor issues before they become major problems, following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule can save you time, money, and inconvenience in the long run. Because of these, we emphasize the importance of preventative maintenance. By addressing minor repairs and replacements promptly, we can help you prevent small issues from escalating into costly and disruptive breakdowns. 

Trust in EuroCar Service’s Expertise

Maintaining your vehicle should never be a source of stress or uncertainty. When you entrust your car to EuroCar Service, you can have confidence that our recommendations are always in your best interest. From thorough inspections to transparent recommendations, our team strives to keep your car performing at its best and give you complete peace of mind. 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 Really the Battery? 8 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

Is it Really the Battery?
8 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

If your car won’t start, and you’re more of the DIY-type, your first thought would probably be that you have a dead battery. While that could certainly be the case, many problems can cause starting issues—so it’s important not to jump the gun and replace your battery before getting it tested first. 

For example, we had one client who struggled with battery issues for about a year and a half. He was having trouble starting his car, so he bought a new battery at the auto parts store. Everything was fine at first, but about six months later, he started having problems again. So, he returned to the store and got another new battery. Again, everything was fine up until about five or six months later. So, he went back to the store and had the battery tested—only to find out that the battery was fine and that he’d likely been replacing good batteries. 

The moral of the story? Before you assume the battery is the problem, make sure to get it tested—otherwise, you could end up wasting time and money! With that in mind, here are some of the most common reasons your car won’t start and some signs that can help pinpoint the issue. 

1. Bad or Dead Battery

One of the most common signs of a dead or faulty battery is trouble starting your car. Even though your vehicle runs on gasoline, the starter (which initiates the engine) relies on an electrical signal from the battery to start the engine. If there’s an issue with your battery, you may notice:

  • Your engine fails to turn over
  • Dim or flickering lights
  • A rapid clicking sound when you try to start your car
  • Electrical malfunctions, like issues with the power windows or radio
  • The battery light or check engine light is on

Some of these signs can also be caused by other issues within the electrical system or the vehicle’s components, so it’s always recommended to start with having your battery tested. If your battery is fine, it’s time to move on to other diagnostics. If the battery is the culprit, a jumpstart may get you going again, but you’ll need to replace the battery. 

2. Bad Alternator

The alternator plays a crucial role in recharging the battery and supplying power to your car’s electrical system while the engine is running. While a bad alternator doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bad battery, it can cause the battery to not function properly. Some common signs of a bad or faulty alternator include:

  • Dimming or flickering lights
  • Weak or dead battery
  • Malfunctioning electrical components 
  • A burning rubber smell (which may or may not be accompanied by smoke)
  • The battery light or ALT (alternator) light is on
  • Unusual noises, such as grinding, whining, or squealing

If you notice any of these signs, have your alternator inspected. Ignoring a faulty alternator can lead to further electrical system failures and potential damage to the battery or other components.

3. Starter Motor

In addition to dead batteries and faulty alternators, issues with the starter motor can also prevent your car’s ignition from functioning properly. The starter motor receives the electrical signal that cranks the engine, so if it’s experiencing problems, your vehicle may not respond when you turn the key. Here are some common signs that can indicate a problem with the starter motor:

  • The dashboard lights come on, but the engine doesn’t turn over
  • Signs of electrical failure, like flickering or dim lights or other electrical malfunctions
  • Overheating, smoke, or a burning smell coming from the starter motor

If you notice these signs, have your starter motor inspected by a qualified mechanic. Ignoring issues with the starter motor can cause further damage and potentially leave you stranded. 

4. A Bad Ignition Switch

The ignition switch is a vital component for starting your engine; it carries power from the battery to the engine, allowing the starter motor to engage and initiate the engine’s operation. If your switch is faulty, you may notice: 

  • The starter motor is silent when you try to start your engine
  • Electrical issues, like flickering or dying dashboard lights
  • Difficulty turning the key in the ignition

If you believe you have a bad ignition switch, make sure to have it inspected by a qualified auto repair shop. 

5. Spark Plugs

Spark plugs create the spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture in the engine, which allows it to generate power. If the spark plugs are bad or dirty, they can cause a variety of issues, including:

  • Difficulty starting your car
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idling
  • Overall poor engine performance

To prevent these problems, make sure to have your spark plugs regularly inspected and replaced as part of your vehicle’s maintenance routine. 

6. A Damaged or Malfunctioning Distributor Cap

The distributor cap distributes the high-voltage power from the ignition coil to the spark plugs in the correct firing order. If the distributor cap is broken or malfunctioning, it can lead to various problems, including:

  • Difficulty starting your engine
  • Engine misfires
  • Loss of power
  • An illuminated check engine light
  • Popping or clicking sounds while the engine is running

It’s important to have your distributor cap inspected regularly for signs of damage, such as cracks or moisture accumulation. If any issues are found, it’s best to have the distributor cap replaced. 

7. Damaged Timing Belt

The timing belt is responsible for synchronizing the rotation of the engine’s camshaft and crankshaft so that the valves open and close at the correct time. If your timing belt is failing or damaged, you may experience:

  • Difficulty starting your engine
  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idle
  • Engine hesitation
  • Overall poor performance
  • A noticeable loss of power during acceleration
  • Ticking or clicking noises coming from the engine
  • Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Visible wear or damage on the belt

Timing belts have recommended replacement intervals that are specified by the manufacturers. If the timing belt is overdue for replacement based on the mileage or time recommendations, it’s important to have it replaced promptly to avoid potential belt failure while you’re driving. A broken timing belt can cause severe engine damage, so it’s very important to replace this part proactively. 

8. Clogged Fuel Filter

The fuel filter ensures that clean fuel reaches the engine for combustion. When the fuel filter becomes clogged or restricted, it can block the flow of fuel and cause various fuel-related issues, including difficulty starting your car. Here are some common symptoms of a clogged fuel filter:

  • Engine sputtering or stalling
  • Poor performance 
  • Lower gas mileage
  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idle
  • Engine hesitation
  • Sluggishness, especially during acceleration

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and replace the fuel filter at the recommended intervals, typically around every 30,000 miles. If your car is approaching this milestone and you experience difficulty starting it, it’s worth inspecting the fuel filter to see if it needs to be replaced. 

Avoid the Guesswork—Visit EuroCar Service 

When your car won’t start, it’s completely fair to start with the battery—but once you’ve had it tested and eliminated it as the culprit, it’s important to schedule an inspection and diagnostics. Getting your car on a regular maintenance schedule will also help catch many minor issues that can cause starting issues before they have the chance to become an inconvenient surprise.If you need diagnostics, repairs, or maintenance, your vehicle is always in excellent hands at EuroCar Service. We specialize in complete care for European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form

Navigating the Ups and Downs of Upsizing Wheels: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Navigating the Ups and Downs of Upsizing Wheels: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Many drivers enjoy customizing their cars to make them fully their own; one of the easiest ways to do this is to get custom wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs available to help you get the appearance you want—which for many drivers means bigger wheels. At one time, the largest wheels that came from the factory were 15 or 16-inch wheels. Today, sizes up to 18 inches are standard; you can even find wheels up to 20 inches or more. 

What to Consider When Upsizing Your Wheels

When upsizing your wheels, there are a few important considerations. First, you’ll need to know your vehicle’s rolling diameter, which refers to the overall height of your tires. Unless you want to modify your suspension, you’ll need to find wheels with the same rolling diameter as what your vehicle is already equipped with. 

Maintaining the same rolling diameter is essential for several reasons:

  • Larger tires may not fit properly in the wheel well.
  • The speedometer, odometer, and antilock brake system are calibrated based on the factory rolling diameter; to ensure your anti-lock brakes work properly, the rolling diameter must be within 3% of the manufacturer’s recommendation. 
  • Altering the rolling diameter can have adverse effects on vehicles equipped with electronically controlled suspension.

As the size of a wheel gets larger, the sidewall gets shorter. This also means that the tire holds less air—so the sidewalls must be made stiffer to compensate for that. Top manufacturers of low-profile tires use specialized compounds that provide additional strength to the sidewalls without compromising ride quality. 

Upsizing the wheels often results in needing slightly wider tires, leading to a larger contact patch. The contact patch refers to the portion of the tire that makes contact with the road. With increased rubber contact on the road, your car will have better handling and shorter braking distances. Many drivers, particularly those with trucks or SUVs, enjoy the enhanced control they get by upsizing their wheels. However, it’s essential to ensure that the contact patch doesn’t become excessively large, as that can lead to tire rubbing during turns or driving over bumps—this is known as “fitment”. 

Get the Right Wheels for Your Ride

At EuroCar Service, our service advisors have the expertise to help you select the right tires for your vehicle. They’ll guide you through the installation and, if needed, add spaces to ensure your brakes fit inside the new wheels perfectly. We specialize in all European makes, including BMWAudiLand RoverMercedesMini-CooperSaabJaguarVolkswagenVolvoSmart Car, and Fiat! Call us today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.