Articles:

Questions Answered-Air Conditioning

Question:Why isn't my air conditioner blowing cold air? Hometown Garage Answer: Your air conditioning system uses refrigerant to create cold air. The most common reasons Portland drivers lose their cold air have to do with the refrigerant. The first is not enough refrigerant. Refrigerant is a gas in the system, and very small holes in a hose, seal or coupler can allow enough to leak out to prevent the creation of cold air. Another potential problem for Portland auto owners is contamination. Over time the inside of the rubber hoses can deteriorate, and little bits of rubber can clog up various filters and other parts of the vehicle A/C system, preventing proper circulation of the refrigerant. And a component could also be worn or broken. So the first step for Portland drivers who can't cool their vehicle is a thorough ... read more

Tire Wear

Hometown Garage Tech Question: My name is Dan. My vehicle tires wore out early and I had to replace them. What can I do to make my tires last longer? Hometown Garage Answer: Dan's problem – premature tire wear – is very common for Portland residents. Here are several ways to lengthen the life of your tires: First, tires lose air pressure over time, so check them at least once a month and fill them up as necessary. A sticker on the driver's side door jamb has the recommended pressure. Tire rotation is also important to increase the life of tires. Your front tires take the brunt of stopping and steering forces so they wear faster than the rear tires. They should be rotated regularly so that all four tires wear more evenly. Talk to us at Hometown Garage in Portland for more information. Out of balance wheels can also cause a tire to wear too fast. Portland drivers who feel a vibration in their seat or steering ... read more

Cooling System

Question: My engine never overheats. Why should I get a cooling system service in Portland? Hometown Garage Answer: That's a really good question for Portland drivers to ask, because if you don't have the full answer you may end up in trouble. It would seem that if your engine is running at the proper temperature that everything must be OK. But the fact is that engine overheating is the most common cause of mechanical failure for Portland drivers. So how do you get from everything is just fine to suddenly overheating and potential engine damage? Truth is, it is not a sudden process, but it is an invisible one. Your engine coolant circulates through your engine where it absorbs heat and then flows through the radiator where it is cooled – and then back to the engine again. As long as the coolant is able to flow freely – and there are no leaks – t ... read more

Do I Need A New Battery?

Today’s vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before.  This really strains your electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks, windows and sunroofs.  And then we have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers, and DVD players. We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos.  Plus, there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the car is turned off.  And of course, summer heat can take a real toll on battery life. Fortunately, battery technology has given us resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements.  But the fact is; batteries just wear out over time.  Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start your car. Sometimes bat ... read more

Fuel Pump

Hometown Garage Tech Question: I was driving on a local Portland road and my vehicle started sputtering. And then the engine finally quit and I couldn't get it started. I was towed to a shop in Portland and found out I had to replace my fuel pump. What could I have done to have saved my fuel pump? Hometown Garage Answer: This is a tough one for Portland residents because there isn't any maintenance recommended for fuel pumps. They're inside the fuel tank and you really can't get to them without removing the tank. But Portland drivers can do some things to make their job easier so they last a little longer. A lot of vehicles are equipped with a fuel filter on their gas line. This filters out dirt and rust from the gas tank before it gets to the engine. Replacing a clogged fuel filter as recommended reduces the strain on your fuel pump. Many newer vehicles driving around Portland have their fuel filter inside the ... read more

Engine Air Filters

Today in the Hometown Garage car care blog, we want to talk about your engine air filter. That's the filter that cleans the air before it's burned in your engine. Portland residents wonder how often they should change their engine air filter. The simple answer is: when it's dirty. That's a function of how much air has passed through the filter, so your service advisor will recommend a mileage interval for replacing the air filter. But you can imagine that how dirty the air is would affect how quickly the filter gets filled. If you drive where there's lots of dust, pollution or pollen around Hartford, your engine air filter will get dirty more quickly and need to be changed sooner. That's why we check the air filter with every full-service oil change at Hometown Garage in Portland ... read more

Tire Rotation and Balancing

Portland drivers can make their vehicle tires last longer with regular tire rotation and wheel balancing. Let's start with tire rotation. In normal driving around Portland, CT, your front tires wear more on the shoulders because they handle much of the cornering forces in turns. Front-wheel drive vehicles have even more force on the front tires. At Hometown Garage in Portland, we rotate the tires so that all of the tires do some duty on the front end as well as getting a little break on the back end. That way, all four tires wear more evenly over their life and last longer for Portland car owners. For most vehicles in Portland, CT, tires are rotated front to back. Some recommend a cross rotational pattern that includes the spare tire, and some high-performance vehicles have different size tires on the front and rear and may even have uni-directional tires that can only be on the left or the right side of the vehicle. Your friendly and knowledgeable Hometown Garage can help you s ... read more

Vent Cleaning

Ever get musky odors coming from your car's air vents? It's fairly common for Portland drivers. Moisture can accumulate in the air conditioning/heating ventilation system allowing mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria to grow. Disinfecting and deodorizing is a process. Depending on how bad the problem is, there are a couple of approaches Hometown Garage may take to get rid of the unwanted smells. For mild situations (especially on newer vehicles), a special deodorizing disinfectant is introduced into the ventilation system. This may be an aerosol or a mist application. The treatment kills the offending organisms and deodorizes the system. Sometimes in older vehicles, a good deal of mildew or other microorganisms can grow on the air conditioning evaporator which is housed in the heating/air conditioning air blend box behind the dashboard. In cases like this Hometown Garage fills the blend box with disinfecting foam that can eliminate stubborn organisms and return a fresh, clean sc ... read more

Radiator Hoses

Your radiator hoses carry coolant between your engine and radiator. It’s an important job. If a hose fails, you could lose your engine coolant which might lead to overheating and very expensive engine damage. So you want to make sure you always have good hoses. Radiator hoses are very resilient, but they are subject to very harsh conditions. Think about it, the temperature might be below freezing when you start your engine and the coolant could be up over 100 degrees Fahrenheit within a mile. These extreme internal temperature fluctuations contribute to hose degradation from the inside. Oil splashing on the outside of a hose will cause the hose material to soften over time. Ozone can also eat away at the hose. The bottom line is that hoses don’t last forever and will need to be replaced. If you see steam coming from under your hood, you probably have a cooling system leak somewhere. Other signs are puddles of coolant under the vehicle, bulges in the radiator ho ... read more

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

All new cars and light trucks in Portland, CT, since 2008 have come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, or 'TPMS'. The TPMS system detects when a tire becomes under-inflated and lights up a warning light on the dash. So what's the big deal for Portland drivers? Well, underinflated tires can be a real safety concern for in CT. First of all, they don't handle properly and that can lead to an accident. Second, underinflated tires can overheat and cause the tire to come apart, which can also lead to an accident. Government regulations requiring TPMS systems aim to reduce accidents in CT and save lives, a very worthy goal. There are also positive environmental effects because underinflated tires are fuel wasters – lose 1 percent of their fuel economy for every 3 pounds of pressure below ideal. So proper tire infla ... read more

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