Though automobile engineering has come a long way from what it was like when the first automobiles were built, there is still one thing that plagues drivers the world over. Car problems! No matter what manufacturer your car was made by and how recent the model may be; over a period of time, you’re bound to face some troubles.

Sure you can avoid such issues through regular maintenance, but let’s face it. Most of us tend to forget about the wellbeing of our automobiles until they start failing in a way that cannot be ignored!

Automobile Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

We have folks often come into our auto repair shop in Gainesville, FL, with cars that have sustained serious damage due to negligence. If you want to stay safe and save on massive repairs, don’t ignore the problems mentioned below.

Warning Lights

It doesn’t matter if your automobile is a regular sedan, a four-wheeler or something else. The warning lights on the dash are there for a reason. Cars today have complex sensor systems. These are designed to alert drivers that something is not functioning as it should.

If your car’s warning lights start flashing, visit a professional mechanic. The mechanic will run a diagnostics check to pinpoint the problem.

Engine Troubles

Engine troubles can be due to anything from poor engine maintenance and old spark plugs to inadequate oil changes. Engine troubles may include sputtering as well as rattling engines. Missing or misfiring is also another common problem.

If your car shakes aggressively when the engine is running, if it doesn’t always start as it should and you’ve done the plug and oil changes, go see an auto mechanic.

Fuel Consumption

If your car is consuming more fuel than it should, this could be due to a number of reasons. Your tires might need to be changed or your wheels might be misaligned. It could also be due to the use of poor quality oil, a lack of engine maintenance and problems with your catalytic converter or exhaust system.

If your car is giving you fewer miles for the gallon than it should, get it checked.

Brake Troubles

We probably don’t need to get into why your breaks need to be in good shape at all times. When your brake shoes are eroded or damaged, you can hear a shrill grinding sound when you press on the brake pedal. Brake responsiveness may also diminish but you should not wait that long. If your breaks are acting wonky, have them inspected before they fail at the wrong time.

Batteries and Alternators

Problems with your battery or alternator should not be ignored. Both are responsible for all the electrical functions of your automobile. Given most vehicles today are highly reliant on electrical function, any problems with either your battery or alternator should be addressed immediately.

Batteries running out or dying could mean a change in battery fluid is required. It could also be due to problems with the contact nodes or a faulty alternator; either way, have it looked at.

Transmission

Grinding or slipping transmission is a problem. Whether your automobile is a stick shift or an automatic is irrelevant. Problems with transmission are probably beyond your scope if you’re not a trained auto technician, so leave the job to the experts.

Stability

Finally, if you feel your car is unstable, it could be anything from tire alignment to problems with your chassis. A wobbling steering wheel is another thing you should not ignore.

Winding Down

There are other situations like frequent overheating or failure of emission tests that warrant a visit to the auto repair shop. If you’re struggling with any of the problems above, schedule a visit us right away. If you have any more questions, we’re always here to help!

We get a lot of customers and clients at our auto repair shop in Gainesville, FL asking us when they should have their tires replaced. You already know that tire aging is a thing and it may occur due to a number of reasons, which include wear and tear and the resulting rubber oxidation.

If you want to get into the science of why your tires age, you can check out the review on rubber oxidation we have linked as well as other information. If you simply want to know when you should replace your tires, read on!

3 Kinds of Tire Damage that You Should Not Ignore

Though there are many ways to keep your tires in shape, certain situations require you to be extra careful. This is not just to keep your car in good shape. It’s also a matter of your safety as well as the safety of others on the road. Here are three tire damage situations you should not ignore.

Eroded Tracks

Track or tread erosion is normal and something that happens over a period of time. The treading on your tires is what allows them to grip the road firmly regardless of speed. Due to wear and tear, these tracks become shallower over time. A way to check for this is by running a coin through the tread grooves.

If the tire treads have eroded to a point where the groove depth has been reduced considerably it’s best to have your tires changed. Don’t wait until the surface becomes completely smooth and grooveless. That’s a serious safety hazard. Once you see the treads look shallower than they should be, have your tires changed.

Uneven Tires

At times, some parts of the tires might be damaged or over-eroded as opposed to most of the tire face. Broken or cracking rubber is another thing that is easily visible. Apart from the coin method mentioned earlier, there are other ways to tell if your tires are damaged or uneven. You will probably feel your car wobble or drive in an unstable fashion when on the road.

If you feel your car starts wobbling at speeds over 40 MPH, and can see visible damage to the rubber of your tire, it may be time to either get your tires realigned or replaced altogether.

Valves and Punctures

Punctured tires can be repaired in a stopgap fashion. Valves may also be replaced on occasion. This said, neither of the aforementioned is a permanent solution. You could do this maybe a few times but the more you do it, the less reliable that tire becomes.

If you’ve had a few punctures made, gotten your tire valves switched before once or twice, and you’re still struggling with air loss and other such problems, it might be time to have the  tires replaced.

In Conclusion

Just to repeat what we said earlier, your tires and the condition they are in is what determines how safe you and others are on the road. They also affect your drive as well as fuel efficiency. It is for this reason that you should get a tire change immediately if you can relate to any of the situations above.

Feel free to give us a holler if you have any more questions about tires, tire repairs, tire replacement, and anything else pertaining to the condition of your automobile!

Running late to your kid’s ballet recital because your car won’t start? Didn’t you just replace the battery, though? So what could be the reason?! Well, there are several!

So before you start to curse your fate and question your skills as a devoted parent, read this blog to diagnose the problem!

Switch Twitch!

If your engine won’t pick up despite getting the power it needs, the problem is not in your engine but in your ignition switch. This could be because the switch has worn out and the mechanism has gone faulty.

Try switching your headlights on. This will help you determine if the problem is in fact with the switch, as the headlights are controlled by your car’s battery. If they turn on, it means that your engine is fine; it’s just the switch that’s not working.

Trouble Starter

If the ignition switch isn’t the problem, then the next possibility is a faulty starter motor. The purpose of a starter motor is to use the power provided by the battery to ‘startup’ the engine. This happens when you turn on the ignition switch, which sets the starter motor in motion to gear up the pistons. It’s a tiny but important role; because if the starter motor goes bad, battery power won’t be delivered to the engine and as a result, it won’t start.

Try turning the switch on; if it’s accompanied by a clicking sounds, it’s a sign of a worn out starter motor.

However, the symptoms of a faulty starter motor are very similar to a faulty ignition switch’s. These include:

  • The car not starting when turning the ignition switch
  • A loud clicking when the ignition switch is turned on; but the engine still won’t start

Fogged Fuel Filter

Another common reason for an engine not starting is a clogged fuel filter. If the filter is congested, for whatever reason, the necessary fuel won’t be able to reach your engine, preventing it from starting.

On average, a fuel filter should be replaced at 15,000 kilometer intervals, otherwise it’ll be difficult for your car’s mechanism to burn enough fuel to get going and it will further damage the system.

We understand that it can be frustrating to deal with a problem without being able to get to its root. Therefore, rather than making wild guesses, just bring your car to us. We’ll get to the root of the problem, faster than you can say it! Get in touch with us because we provide the best auto repair services in Gainesville, FL for all your automobile troubles!

A car alternator is a device that supplies your car with the electricity that it needs. Alternators are especially relevant in today’s day and age, when we have fully electric cars. Therefore, an uninterrupted, built-in supply of electricity is crucial for your car to function.

Although cars power up using the installed batteries, there are other mechanisms in the vehicle that need a constant supply of electricity, which can quickly drain the battery if not for alternators.

Therefore, you should always keep a check on your alternator, in case it becomes worn out and needs servicing.

Here are a few signs that can help you determine if you have a faulty alternator:

The Plight of the Lights

The most common and evident symptom of a faulty alternator is the dimming of your vehicle’s lights. A flickering center dome light or headlights are a sure-fire sign of a weakened alternator. In fact, if your lights brighten as your car’s RPMs increase, your alternator is probably going to die out soon.

A Call for Help

If you haven’t been clued in by the headlights, your car will tell you what you need to know. In most cases, the service engine light pops up. If your vehicle model is new, you may see a battery icon indicator or an ‘ALT’ sign, but they all mean the same thing. It’s a cry for help that should be answered without delay.

What is that NOISE?!

If you don’t pick up on these signs, your car will eventually start screeching in pain. Jokes apart, you may hear odd noises depending on whether the serpentine belt around the alternator pulley has worn out. This may result in a squealing sound. Moreover, if your car is growling, that’s probably because it’s lost its internal bearing and needs a replacement soon!

Electric Misfires  

If you experience retardation in your automatic window mechanism or if your radio suddenly stops playing your favorite song, don’t worry. Your car isn’t possessed; it’s just the ghost of your deceased alternator that has come back to haunt you! Get it replaced soon so the poor soul can rest in peace!

Battery Dies

As mentioned above, your alternator prevents your battery from running out by supplying electricity to the car parts that aren’t run by the battery. But when your alternator dies, your battery is quick to follow as it gets overburdened by all the electrical needs of the vehicle.

Every car part is important and therefore must be paid attention to. If your alternator is suffering; don’t make delay! Schedule an appointment with us at your earliest convenience and get auto repair services in Gainesville, FL today!

Though car sales in the US the previous year were not as high as they have been in the years prior, the industry still managed to move over five million vehicles according to statistics. If you’re one of the many who purchased cars in 2014 or 2015, chances are your vehicle has already done a decent amount of running.

There Comes a Time

Even cars manufactured by some of the best companies globally, after a few years and through use and wear begin to deteriorate. Even with regular maintenance, certain issues cannot be avoided and warrant repair.

You can tell a lot about the state of your car by observing the way it behaves. One problem many experience after a few years of using the same car is shaking when idle. To be clearer, does your car shake while you’ve pulled over at a red light? Does it rattle when you’re waiting for your kids outside their school with the engine on? Does it vibrate when you’re slow cruising to find an address? If you can relate to these or have a similar problem with your car, you might need to look into it.

Why’s My Car Shaking?

We’re going to highlight some of the reasons your car might be shaking when idle so you can decide if or not you feel that auto repair services are needed.

Motor Mounts

Motor mounts ensure that the car’s engine stays fixed firmly to the car’s main frame. These through time and age can sometimes become damaged or come undone which in turn causes violent engine trembling. The way to tell if this is the case is by shifting into neutral. If you do have an issue with the mounts, the only situation you won’t feel the rattling is when your car is in neutral. This situation warrants immediate attention.

Faulty Belts

The circular or serpentine belts which are used in your car are crucial to its running. These can deteriorate over time and cause problems. Furthermore, if these are not adjusted correctly or damaged or poorly fitted, the result could be serious engine rattling.

If it’s the belts, it’s a small and easy fix for any qualified auto repair technician but again something you shouldn’t wait to get done.

Fuel Intake Issues

Finally, your car may shake and rattle when idling if your fuel intake system is not working as it should or is clogged. Gaps in the fuel supply will invariably cause the engine to stop periodically, jerking the car, hence the rattling and shaking.

Spark Plugs

Your spark plugs are small and easy to replace yet highly essential parts of your car. If these are rusted, worn down or too old, they may not be able to spark as efficiently as they used to. This will cause what people call misfiring.

It is the misfiring engine in this case that is responsible for the car shaking.

Winding Down

A rattling car may also be the result of problems with your intake hoses or due to reasons not mentioned here. In any case, if your car has started rattling and it’s not just because of old spark plugs, you best get it looked at!

Those of you located in Gainesville, FL, in need of a certified auto repair expert can always get in touch with us and come in so we can run a diagnostic on your vehicle. Till then, drive safe folks!

A starter motor is a mechanism that works as a medium between your car’s battery and engine. When you turn your ignition key, it sends your starter motor a signal to use the power from the battery and supply it to the engine so it can start.

The engine runs on its own after that.  This is a small but very important component of your car’s functionality. Without it, your car just won’t start. And if that has been happening to you recently, it probably means that there’s something wrong with your starter motor.

So, without further ado, let’s find out the fault in our starter motors!

Weird Noises

The first and foremost sign of a starter motor going bad is that it starts making grinding noises when you turn your engine key. This means that the connecting gears between the engine and the flywheel have worn out and are now protesting. This noise can also be coming from within the motor. If you don’t take immediate action, it can have a direct negative effect on your engine, racking up your repair costs.

Starts but Doesn’t Go!

Your starter motor could use repairing if it responds when you turn the key in but the motor doesn’t start. Usually, this problem is connected with the gears that lead to the flywheel and can only be fixed by a professional auto repair service provider.

Lights Out!

Another sign of a faulty starter motor is that your lights will dim and start flickering. Although this can also mean that there’s a problem with the alternator. In either case, you need to get it fixed before the damage gets out of hand!

Is that Smoke?!

A glaring red flag that indicates starter motor failure is if you can smell or see smoke coming out of your car when you try to start the ignition. Don’t forget that your starter motor is a machine, and machines can overheat due to overuse. In such events, smoke will start emanating from the hood, which could be the result of a blown fuse, a problem in the wiring connection, or even an engine failure.

These problems can have a grave impact on your engine and take a toll on your fancy ride. Don’t take chances, contact us for a complete set of auto repair services in Gainesville, FL and write a happy ending for your car and its starter motor!

In some ways, cars are like living organisms; they need sustenance and regular maintenance. In fact, if you get your car serviced regularly, you can not only keep it running smoothly, but also eliminate the chances of having to deal with severe auto repair problems.

But alas, 35% of Americans choose to skip recommended car maintenance visits to the mechanic to save time and money.

This isn’t just bad for their car in the long-run, but also for our environment; because a car that’s not repaired on time can be problematic for the whole community, not just its passengers.

When Should I get My Car Serviced?

Automobile manufacturers will tell you to head to the mechanic every year, or once your counter reads 12,000 miles. Some cars will take it upon themselves to notify you if you need to get them serviced. This is usually in case there’s an internal issue that the car has self-diagnosed. Don’t take it lightly, though. Take your car for service at your earliest convenience; no matter if it has reached the 12,000-mile mark or not!

What Services are Available to Me?

Maintenance can range from something small like a simple oil and filter change to a manufacturer service call.

Regular oil and filter replacement maintenance will involve a general check up of the primary components of your engine and overall vehicle. This includes testing the braking system and suspension. This helps in identifying any major or minor problem that might be residing in your vehicle which may end up deteriorating the whole mechanism if not fixed on time.

Why Should I get My Car Regularly Serviced?

Other than to keep your car from breaking down, getting your car serviced regularly keeps maintenance costs low. This is because any potential threat to your car and wallet is nipped in the bud before it gets worse. Therefore, regular service of the car is, at the very least, a financially sound decision.

Another similar advantage of regular maintenance is that it keeps your car’s value from depreciating. Your car is one of your most valuable assets. If you don’t get it serviced regularly, its value in the market will fall and you won’t be able to attract a higher selling price for it.

Selling a second-hand car is already an overwhelming and tiresome experience. To top it off, the market is extremely competitive. Therefore, in order to find worthy potential buyers you’ll have to maintain your vehicle’s value. This will only be possible if you get it serviced often and take care of its insides.

Where can I get My Car Serviced?

It matters significantly where you take your car for service. Many auto repair shops are incompetent and can further increase your problems are than solve them. Therefore, you must always choose certified and experienced auto repair services for your home on four wheels!

We, at Smitty’s Auto Service, Inc., are certified by the ASE to take care of your car and provide high-quality auto repair in Gainesville, FL. We offer a free shuttle service and provide premium auto repair services at reasonable prices. So what are you waiting for? Schedule regular maintenance with us today and enjoy a smooth ride for years to come!

When it comes to common car problems, oversteering and understeering are most certainly up there. As auto repair specialists who specialize in cars manufactured by Audi and Volkswagen, we’ve often had to tune vehicles to help our clients address such problems.

A bit About Oversteering and Understeering

As the name states, oversteering is when your car is overly responsive to your movement on the steering wheel. Understeering, the opposite implies that your car is not responsive enough. The thing is, both of these can be problematic.

What many of you may be wondering is why oversteering and understeering may be happening to begin with.

A Lot of Different Reasons

The thing about oversteering and understeering is that there is not one single reason why either of these may occur. A car may oversteer or understeer due to some of the reasons highlighted below.

Oversteering

Here are some of the known reasons why cars may oversteer:

  • Traction/Imbalance: When the front wheels of your car have a better grip on the road than the rear wheels, the rear end may swing when making turns.
  • Control Problems: If the back of your vehicle fishtails or slides out, the car may oversteer.
  • Rear Wheel Drives: Such vehicles sometimes oversteer upon turning as the rear wheels that provide the power for movement lose their grip transferring more momentum to the front wheels.

Apart from these there are other reasons that a car might oversteer relating to weight distribution etc.

Understeering

Let us now examine some of the reasons why a car might be understeering:

  • Gripping Problems: Old and worn out tires tend to lose their grip on the road well. This can sometimes result in understeering and a diminishing of overall steering responsiveness.
  • Acceleration: This can happen if your foot is still on the gas when you’re making a turn as your front wheels tend to simply pull or plow forward.
  • Front Wheel Drives: Since the front wheels are also  the onesproviding power, they can be a little under responsive when making certain turns.

Do I Need to Worry About These?

Neither phenomenon is worth concern if it happens as a one off; however, if you’re consistently experiencing steering issues, getting it looked at is a matter of safety. Not just your own but that of others on the road and in the car with you.

Luckily, such issues are not usually too difficult to fix and an adept and certified auto repair technician should have your car back out on the road in no time.

Winding Down

If you’re experiencing such issues with your automobile and are looking for a certified auto repair technician in Gainesville, FL, just give us a shout and we’ll see what we can do!

The air intake and injection system within your auto mobile reduces emissions and ensures that the fuel has air containing oxygen within the engine in order for combustion to occur. There are, however, times when there may be problems with these systems resulting in problems.

One error, coded P0413, common among vehicles made by European manufacturers, relates to possible complications within the air injection system.

How Will I Tell?

In order to establish that everything is functioning as it should, the air intake system provides your engine’s control module with data in the form of voltage. If the voltage is not in accordance with what has been prescribed by the manufacturer, it will turn on the ‘check engine’ light.

What’s it About Exactly?

P0413 occurs due to a number of reasons, all of which pertain to the air intake and injection system. These include but are not limited to broken valves, moisture in the pumps and the damage caused when the same freezes.You can see how air injection facilitates combustion engines in the diagram above.

Code P0413 can also be attributed to fault with the pumps air bypass and injection functions as well as poor or incorrectly done system wiring.

Do I Need To Worry About It?

Though P0413 on its own might not require that you go rushing to look for a mechanic immediately, like with all auto mobile problems, the sooner you address it the better.

If left unaddressed, you will need to deal with an underperforming automobile which can be quite a headache in the long run. The good news is that this error is easy to fix if you’re a certified auto repair specialist.

You Will Need a Mechanic

Since this is not something you can fix yourself, we suggest you look for an auto repair expert if you’re experiencing such a problem frequently. Fixes most commonly performed to address this error include replacement of damaged wiring as well as rewiring of the air injection system. It may also include pump replacement and valve inspection however a certified auto mechanic should have you sorted in no time.

If you need a certified auto repair person in Gainesville, FL feel free to call us on (352) 373 3060 and tell us what you need right now!

Car batteries can generally last for a long time. In fact, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the average lifespan for a car battery is 4 to 6 years.  Nevertheless, sometimes, batteries die much sooner than that.

Batteries can die for a wide variety of reasons, so if your new battery just lasted for a couple of weeks, you can write it off as a faulty battery or just bad luck. However, if your battery keeps dying again and again, it generally indicates that there’s an underlying problem.

Why Do Car Batteries Die?

Like we mentioned, there’s a wide variety of issues that can cause a car battery to die. However, all these issues can be shoehorned into 3 categories:

  • A problem with the battery itself
  • Electrical system issues
  • User Error

While some battery issues are simple to fix, others require the attention of a professional mechanic. If your car battery keeps dying repeatedly, it could be due to corroded or loose battery connections, charging problems, alternator problems, or even extreme weather. Here are some problems that can lead to your battery draining repeatedly.

The Battery is on its last legs

If the battery is very old or poorly maintained, it may not be able to hold a charge very well. If this is the case, even a small load on the battery, such as turning on the radio or even using the headlights would drain it out quickly.

Battery Connections are Loose or Corroded

Corroded or loose connections can affect the supply of electrical current from the charging system to the battery, preventing it to charge your battery while you’re driving.

Extreme Weather

While extremely cold or hot weather won’t typically kill a new or well-maintained battery, it can definitely cause a weak or old battery to fail. Extreme weather conditions can also exacerbate other electrical problems.

A Faulty Charging System

A faulty charging system is another common culprit behind a battery dying repeatedly. Worn out serpentine belts and tensioners can prevent an alternator from functioning properly.

What if the Battery Keeps Dying While You Drive?

If your battery is regularly going flat while you’re driving, then probably the problem isn’t with the battery itself. The battery’s job is to supply electricity to the power motor and power peripherals like the lights and the sound system when the engine is turned off. Once the engine is turned on, the charging system takes over these responsibilities. Therefore, if your battery is going flat while the engine is running, it’s likely that the root of the problem is the charging system, instead of the battery itself.

The only component of the charging system you can inspect without any special tools is the serpentine belt. You can check to see if the belt is loose, and simply tighten it if it is. If the problem lies deep in the charging system, you’ll probably need to schedule an appointment with a reputable auto repair shop.

Timely preventive maintenance and repairs are important if you want your vehicle to live a long healthy life. Schedule an appointment with Smitty’s Auto Service, one of the best auto repair shops in Gainesville, FL. and our highly skilled automotive technicians will ensure that your vehicle continues to perform optimally. Get in touch with us at (352) 373-3060 for further information.