Articles:

Timing Belt

Question: My friend had a broken timing belt and it was very expensive to repair his engine. What can I do to avoid a broken timing belt? Hometown Garage Answer: Well, a broken timing belt can lead to one of the most expensive engine repairs Portland drivers will ever face. The good news is that replacing your timing belt on its recommended schedule can help avoid those problems. Here's a brief overview of what the timing belt does: Air is drawn into the cylinder of the engine through the intake valves. After the air and fuel mixture is burned, it's pushed out through the exhaust valves. The timing belt, which is driven by the engine, turns the camshafts which control when the intake and exhaust valves open and close. It is important that the opening and closing of the valves take place at exactly the right time for the engine to run properly. Beyond that, on some vehicle engines, the valves actually extend int ... read more

The Harm in Skipping an Oil Change

Some new are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 10,000 miles, or 10,000 to 15,000 kilometers, or more. Following these recommendations is very important to avoid engine damage. When Portland drivers go too long between oil changes, oil starts to turn to sludge. This causes small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail. What causes oil sludge? It's a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every vehicle engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions in CT lead to more rapid sludge formation. Severe driving includes short trips around Portland or trips in freezing CT conditions. The engine just doesn't get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate. Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop and go d ... read more

Heater Core

Portland drivers may wonder where the air in a vehicle's passenger compartment comes from. Well, as your engine starts to warm up, it also warms the coolant/antifreeze that circulates around the engine and through the radiator. There is also a hose that carries coolant/antifreeze from the engine to the heater core and another that takes it back into the engine. The heater core looks like a little radiator and lives in the air blend box behind the dashboard. When you turn on the heat, air blows over the heater core, is warmed, and comes into the cabin. Some vehicles have a heater valve that moves coolant through the heater core when the heat is on and bypasses the heater core when the heat is off. In other vehicles, the temperature of the air is controlled within the air blend box by how much air is directed over the heater core. The engine cooling system, in a larger sense, also encompasses the heater core. Things that adversely affect, say, your radiator will ... read more

When do I need to replace my battery?

Question:When do I need to replace my battery? Hometown Garage Answer: That's a good question for Portland drivers. All batteries wear out and need to be replaced – but some are replaced before their time. Look, if your battery is dying and you need a jump-start, it could very well be that you have a bad battery. But Portland drivers should have Hometown Garage test the battery first to see if it's actually bad. The problem could be parasitic drain or a bad alternator that's not properly charging your battery. And Portland drivers in this situation also need to have their service advisor check their alternator and have it tested. A surprisingly high percentage of “bad” alternators brought into Hometown Garage in Portland are actually just fine: the problem is a worn serpentine belt and/or belt tensioner. If the belt is slipping, it's not spinning the alternator properly so it can't full ... read more

Brakes

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) help you stop faster. That is not always the case on loose gravel or snowy surfaces. Anti-lock brakes, in fact, are designed to help you maintain control of your vehicle in an emergency braking situation. Imagine you are driving on a snowy CT road. You need to slam on your brakes and your rear wheels lock up. Chances are good that the rear end of your vehicle will try to pass the front end and you can easily lose control. What would happen in the same circumstance if your front wheels locked up? Well you certainly would not be able to steer properly and your front end would go to wherever momentum leads it. The ABS modulates your brakes on and off as many as 15 times a second. This keeps your wheels from locking up while providing the greatest amount of braking possible. You are better able to steer your vehicle and maintain control. Portland service advisors often talk about the 3 S's of anti-lock brakes: Stomp – Stay – Steer. Stomp on ... read more

Proper Grade of Gas

There are a lot of misconceptions about fuel grades – and by fuel grades I mean the octane rating. With names like “Standard," “Super," “Plus," and “Premium,” it’s no wonder that people associate the octane rating/grade with quality. Octane ratings are expressed as a number that typically ranges from 87 to 91 at the pump. The number does not mean “better” but rather signifies the appropriateness of a particular grade of fuel for a particular engine. Octane is a measure of gasoline’s ability to resist igniting before the spark plug goes off. Gasoline and air are compressed in the engine’s combustion chamber. When the pressure reaches a certain point, the gas will spontaneously combust. You don’t want that to happen; you want the spark plug to ignite the fuel at precisely the right time. When the gas combusts prematurely, the piston will try to go down while it is still being pushed up by the crank sh ... read more

Did You Know?

Racing legend Richard Petty once said, "If you've got good brakes you can stay out of a lot of trouble." If you're hearing unusual sounds when you brake or if your brake pedal is feeling squishy or too hard, have us do a disc brake inspection for you. We'll tell you if there's something wrong and what it'll take to get your brakes all fixed up. At Hometown Garage in Portland, we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 860.342.5777 and let us help keep you safely and economically on the road

Battery Maintenance

In today's Hometown Garage auto care blog, we are focusing on battery maintenance. Eventually your car battery will fail and you will need to replace it. In fact, 70% don't even make it four years. There are some things Portland drivers can do, however, to make their battery last a little longer. It's all about the flow of electrical power. When you start your vehicle, the battery uses power to get your engine cranking. As your engine runs, your alternator generates electricity to run all your electrical systems: like lights, a half dozen computers, anti-lock brake system, traction control, power windows, electronic fuel injectors, stability control, air conditioning, transmission servos – the list goes on. Any leftover electricity goes to recharge your vehicle battery. Then you turn on your radio and seat heaters; maybe plug in your cell phone and computer; the kids watch a DVD and pretty soon there isn't much extra el ... read more

Fuel Saving Tips!

Under-inflated tires waste gas. Think how hard it is to walk in sand; you just have to work harder because of the resistance. When Portland drivers tires don't have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get from one location to another.  Portland residents should always check their tire pressure when they gas up. If they're low, even just a little bit, bring them up to proper pressure. There's a sticker on the inside of the driver's door that gives the vehicle's recommended tire pressure. And don't rely on your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to alert you to when you need more air. The TPMS system is set to warn you when pressure drops twenty percent below recommendations. That's severely under-inflated and you needed more air a long time ago. And if you have a slow leak, get it fixed right away. We can get that done quickly at Hometown Garage in Portland.  

Cabin Air Filter

Question: My car has a bad odor when I run the heater or air conditioner. My friend said I might need a new cabin air filter – what's that? Hometown Garage Answer:cabin air filter is a special filter that cleans the air that comes into the Portland drivers' passenger compartments – or cabin – of their vehicles. Most new vehicles sold in CT now have a cabin air filter. A cabin air filter catches dust, pollen, spores and other pollutants before they can get into your cabin. It's kind of like the filter on your furnace in your Portland home, cleaning the air you breathe inside your vehicle. As Portland drivers can imagine, it eventually gets filled up and can even start to get smelly. So – you just have it replaced. Now some are really easy to access and others are tougher to get to. Your friendly and knowledgeable Hometown Garage will be able to take care of it for you. Your ... read more

If You Are Using A Screen Reader And Are Having Problems Using This Website, please call Hometown Garage (860) 342-5777 For Assistance.