Articles:

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. Get some air a ... read more

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

Synthetic Oil

Question: What is synthetic oil and should I use it? Hometown Garage Answer: Regular oil, also called conventional oil, comes from dead dinosaurs. Conventional oil molecules are long hydrocarbon chains of various lengths. Imagine a bunch of pencils – some used and some brand new. Synthetic oil is often more highly refined petroleum-based oil. The molecules are shorter and closer to the same length. Think a bunch of those little golf pencils. Some synthetic oil is man-made. The molecules are rounder and much more uniform. Think marbles. So you can see that as you progress from conventional oil to synthetic blends (a mixture of conventional and synthetic) to full synthetic oil, there will be less friction in your engine. Less friction means less heat – so better lubrication and protection against wear for Portland drivers. Synthetic blends and full synthetics also cost more. Synthetic oil is more resist ... read more

Suspension

Let's talk about your suspension – you know, the system that connects your wheels to your vehicle, controls your handling and delivers a good ride as you cruise around Portland, CT. Your suspension is critical for proper steering, stopping and stability. Hey, it's a rough world out there in CT – every time you hit a pothole, a bump or an object in the road, your suspension system has to absorb the impact and maintain control. As you can imagine, your suspension has a lot of joints and pivot points that allow your wheels to move up and down over bumps and to turn as you steer. These parts include ball joints, tie rod ends, the pitman, idler arms and the control arm bushing. They simply wear out over time. When a joint or other part is worn the suspension parts don't fit together as tightly as they should. Handling and steering has a loose feel and you may hear strange noises. Your tires will wear unevenly becau ... read more

Used Car Inspections

It’s always exciting to get a new car – even when it’s used. But it can feel like you’re going out on a limb a bit when you buy a used vehicle. I mean, people sell vehicles for a lot of reasons. Maybe they just wanted a new car, maybe there was something wrong with it, and maybe there was something really wrong with it. It’s a great idea to order a report from a vehicle history service. This can uncover title problems and may reveal serious accidents or flood damage as well as any recall notices for the vehicle. Maintenance and repair records are a plus, but most sellers don’t have them. Of course the best thing is to get a professional to perform a used vehicle inspection. The inspection will go much deeper than just how good the vehicle looks and drives. You’ll get a feel for the vehicle’s overall condition, the status of major safety systems and an indication of how well it has been maintained. You’ll ... read more

Fuel Filters

Hello Portland drivers. Today's Hometown Garage auto care post focuses on your fuel filter. When your fuel isn't clean, your fuel injectors can start to become clogged up and your vehicle engine may not get the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure to run efficiently. This hurts fuel economy and performance and can also lead to the buildup of harmful deposits on valves and in the combustion chamber. That's why all vehicles sold in CT come equipped with a fuel filter, although on many newer vehicles, the filter is inside the fuel tank and is not serviceable. The job of the filter is to clean out little pieces of dirt and contamination. Of course, the filter will eventually get clogged up and need to be replaced. Fuel filters for diesel cars need to be replaced more frequently than those that run on gasoline. If your fuel filter is clogged, th ... 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.