Established in 1982 Ron’s Garage Inc is a family-owned and -operated full-service auto-repair center. They have been repairing and maintaining cars in Ann Arbor since 1982. Their blog provide articles related to auto repair techniques.
With summer right around the corner, many of you are turning on your air conditioning only to be hit with an incredibly awful smell. Just what is that smell?? The two more common smells our customers face when turning on their A/C are “rotten egg” or “dirty socks.” If you are experiencing either one of these, give us a call so we can take a look.
Let’s start with something simple. Have you checked your Cabin Air Filter lately? They are designed to trap dust, dirt, pollen, spores and germs. If your Cabin Air Filter is dirty, it won’t filter these harmful particles which could be the cause of the smell. Other common smells could be from food stuck in the seat cracks, pet hair, children’s accidents/spills, and smoke. Over time, as you recirculate the same stale air through your Cabin Air Filter, it won’t be as efficient, hence the smell, and you’ll know it’s time to change it. Ron’s Garage recommends replacing the Cabin Air Filter about every 15,000 miles or every year. If you go too long with a dirty filter, it can become so clogged that it restricts air flow significantly, which in turn stresses other components in your A/C system and can shorten their lifespan.
Dirty Cabin Air Filter
Why Does My A/C Stink?
When you turn on the air, the blower motor forces air across your evaporator and out through the vents on your dash, floor, and defroster. As warm air passes over the cold evaporator coils, condensation occurs. The dirt and dust that is present mixes with the condensation and creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mildew and mold.
Why Does My Car Smell Like Dirty Socks?
That musty, dirty sock smell is likely coming from mold, mildew or bacteria that has built up in your A/C system. The mold could be on the evaporator core/coils, the condenser, in the ductwork or even a clogged condensate line.
Things to Watch Out For:
Visible mold/mildew build up on your evaporator coils and/or mold growth that has spread from somewhere else
Weaker air flow than normal
High humidity levels inside the vehicle
Leaks or standing water by the condensate drain line
A/C shutting off suddenly
What is That Rotten Egg Smell?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your car reeks of rotten eggs, you could have a pest infestation or a dead animal stuck somewhere in your A/C system. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. This might be the issue if you have heard any scurrying noises, noticed any pest droppings/hair, or if the smell is more prevalent the closer you get to your vents. We don’t blame you if you don’t want to investigate.
Let Ron’s Garage check the cause of that awful smell so you don’t have to cover it up with air fresheners any more!
If you’re lucky enough to be reading this without experiencing one of these awful smells, you may want to know how you can prevent it from happening. A good rule of thumb is to allow fresh air to circulate through your A/C system – all you have to do is switch to fresh air instead of recirculated air to help dry out the interior system. Another quick tip would be to run the fan without the A/C on right before you turn off the car. The theory here is that it will allow the system to “dry out” for a couple minutes before turning off the engine. We would also recommend spraying BG Frigi-Fresh through the air intakes under the hood. According to BG Products, “Frigi-Fresh has been formulated to quickly and effectively remove foul, musty odors from automobile air conditioning systems. It will freshen foul-smelling systems by killing odor-producing organisms. Powerful deodorizers in BG Frigi-Fresh keep automobile interiors smelling fresh and clean.”
Either way, if you notice a funky smell coming from your vents when you use the A/C, your best option for taking care of it quickly is to get your vehicle inspected by the professionals. The technicians at Ron’s Garage will track down the cause of the foul smell and you can rest assured that they will take care of the issue to get you back on the road as soon as possible. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment! (734) 662-8379
We’ve all been there, deciding whether or not to pump a bit extra to round off the dollar amount. Maybe you’ve topped off your gas thinking you’ll get a bit more in your tank. However, the short answer is no. Overfilling your gas tank has a negative impact on your vehicle, your wallet, and the environment.
What happens when you fill your vehicle with gas?
Gasoline is a unique property with both liquid and gas states. Believe it or not, the outside temperature can affect gasoline, causing it to expand and contract. Gas Stations store gas underground in large tanks where it always cooler, so after pumping the gas into your vehicle, the gas will warm up and expand.
The size of your gas tank depends on the type of vehicle you drive, but your vehicle is only meant to hold a limited amount of liquid gasoline. All vehicles are equipped with a separate storage container, which is referred to as a charcoal canister, also known as a carbon filter, which holds fuel vapors. As you pump gas, it flows into your gas tank. Your vehicle’s sensors will automatically trigger the gas pump to shut off when the tank becomes full, leaving enough room for your gas to expand as it comes above ground and warms up in your vehicle.
Overfilling your gas tank can lead to several potential mechanical problems. It can alter your car’s performance by making it run inefficiently. Pressure can build which could spring a hazardous leak, or even potentially damage the engine.
When “topping off” your gas tank, the extra gasoline flows right through to the charcoal canister. Since the carbon filter is designed only for vapor, when liquid gasoline enters the canister, it can become saturated. A saturated carbon filter will be unable to absorb any more vapor and will impact its ability to purge properly. Not to mention that extra gas you just pumped isn’t even used.
What exactly is a carbon filter?
The carbon filter is meant to absorb fuel vapor when it evaporates inside the gas tank. The vapor is trapped by the charcoal and released back into the engine through the purge valve. Eventually, during the combustion process, the engine uses it for its mixture of fuel and air needed to run the vehicle.
When this carbon filter no longer functions as intended, it can cause your Check Engine Light to turn on indicating evap related codes. It can cause a power reduction to your vehicle, lower the fuel economy and hamper emission performance. You may notice a fuel odor, or even that your vehicle is flooding.
On a personal note, you may have noticed all of the signs posted at the gas station. They indicate that gasoline is toxic and harmful to breathe. Exposure to too much gasoline can cause dizziness, breathing problems, and headaches when inhaled. Large amounts can even cause death. It’s best not to get gasoline on your clothes and skin, so be sure to wash your hands after you pump!
The most obvious concern when overfilling your gas tank is if the gas were to spill. It could leak into the ground potentially polluting the water or harming wildlife in the area. Since gas is a fire hazard, even a little spark could cause a huge fire. But what you may not know is that gasoline is toxic to the ozone layer as it releases benzene, which is known to be carcinogenic and flammable.
The Environmental Protection Agency requires all vehicles have a vapor recovery system, such as the charcoal canister. This is a safety precaution to ensure excess vapors stay inside the vehicle and not escape into the environment. If gas vapors are exposed to sunlight, the reaction is the leading cause of vehicle generated air pollution: smog. Smog causes poor air conditions, which is heavily prevalent in big cities.
All in all, topping off your gas tank doesn’t benefit you, your car, or the environment.
We would be glad to check your vehicle’s vapor recovery system for possible damage if your Check Engine Light comes on. Give us a call to set up your appointment at (734) 662-8379.
Essentially, alignments keep your wheels pointed in the right direction. When performing an alignment, the suspension components of your vehicle are adjusted to bring the wheels and tires into specific angles which allows for optimal vehicle handling, tire wear and performance.
There are two types; a two-wheel and a four-wheel alignment. The specifications differ by vehicle. Since misalignment happens gradually, it’s hard to tell with a naked eye unless in extreme cases.
Ron’s Garage has a top of the line alignment rack by Hunter Engineering that will tell us the camber, caster, and toe in/toe out specifications. Our free Alignment check will let us know if your vehicle needs a 2 wheel or 4 wheel adjustment.
Why Is An Alignment Important?
Regular alignments will save you a lot of money in the long run. They allow your tires to make proper road contact which provides a smooth ride and good vehicle handling. Alignments provide optimal tire wear, which give your tires full tread life. They also allow for more MPGs to get the best gas mileage.
When Should You Get An Alignment?
While there aren’t any manufacturer recommended intervals for alignments, it’s important to check the alignment at least once a year. A good time to do it is when you get your tires rotated. Never hurts to check… better to be safe than sorry!
If you drive on particularly rough roads, it’s best to check the alignment twice a year since rough roads are a common cause of misaligned vehicles. Since we live in Ann Arbor, MI (the pothole capital of Michigan), Ron’s Garage recommends checking the alignment twice a year, but good news… alignment checks are free of charge!
Any time you hit a pothole, a pesky curb, or even if you get into a fender bender, it’s a good time to get your vehicle checked.
Purchasing new tires is another reason to get an alignment. Misaligned vehicles are notorious for uneven tread wear, so it makes sense to have everything set up correctly from the get go. No reason to ruin those beautiful brand new tires!
When you replace or adjust suspension components that affect your tires, it’s definitely time to get an alignment. This could be when you perform any work related to your struts, shocks, ball joints, tie rods, bushings or control arms.
How Can I Tell If My Car Is Misaligned?
There are a couple of tell tale signs that your car may be misaligned, however, a few of these reasons could be caused by something else. So if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, come on in for a free alignment check.
If you feel your car drifting or “pulling” to one side or another.
If your Steering Wheel is off center.
If your tires squeal while turning.
If you notice that your tires are unevenly wearing. Look at both sides of the tires to see how deep the tread looks. If one side looks smoother than the other, it is wearing unevenly.
Picture Caption: You can see the how the left side of the tire has worn down more than the right side of it.
When you lower or lift your vehicle. This impacts the chassis height, which will impact the alignment.
If you see that the angle of wheel misaligned. This is rarely seen by the naked eye, but if you do see it, come on over!
What Happens If My Car Is Misaligned?
Driving while your car is misaligned could cause a couple very expensive problems. The life of your tire will be shortened, and we all know how much tires cost! You may also have compromised steering and/or suspension parts. Depending on which component it is, the repair bill could be costly.
Anything I Can Do From Home?
If you suspect that you need an alignment, but can’t make it into Ron’s Garage right away, there are a couple of things you can do while you wait for your appointment. Check your tire pressure – it could be that your tires are underinflated, and that’s a simple fix! (Picture Caption: You can check the tire pressure information on the inside of the Driver’s door.)
Another thing to check is how full your trunk is. The added weight off items in your trunk could be throwing off your alignment, so remove all the heavy items before your appointment.
If you haven’t checked your alignment in the last year, call us today so we can schedule a Free Alignment Check for your vehicle! We’d love to help. Stay tuned for our next blog where we will dive in deeper to explain how to read the Alignment Printout.
In honor of National Battery Day, we wanted to fill you in on a few helpful Car Battery Tips. It’s easy to take your car battery for granted while it’s hiding under the hood, but a little battery love goes a long way. Battery checks and regular maintenance are important steps in making sure you get the most out of your battery life.
During your Oil Changes at Ron’s Garage, we perform a Courtesy Inspection. We assess the overall health of your vehicle and then discuss our findings with you. We test the Battery Charge with a Static Tester. The Static Tester lets us know the voltage of your battery so that we are able to determine if the battery is in good shape or if it needs to be replaced.
On occasion, the Static Tester will rate your battery right on the cusp of a good charge. At this point, we recommend taking the next step. Ron’s Garage will Charge and Test your vehicle’s battery to ensure it is functioning properly. The Charge and Test will fully charge the battery to 100% and then “load test” it, mimicking the voltage required to start the vehicle. If your battery passes, then you’re good to go. If not, we recommend a new battery. Typically, batteries can last about 5 years.
What should you look for to determine if your battery is bad?
The biggest indicator that your battery might be nearing the end of its life is if you notice your car is taking longer to crank when you turn the key. When this happens, give us a call so that we can take a look. It’s never fun to be stranded on your way out due to a dead battery. You may be able to jump start your car if it doesn’t start at all.
Battery Light is on
When your dashboard battery light comes on, it’s time to take it in! Typically, it will look like a small, red battery by your speedometer.
Another thing to note could be light output. If you notice that while you are waiting at a red light that your headlights dim, but then become brighter once you accelerate, then checking your battery is a good first step.
No Electrical Power
When you put the key in the car and nothing happens then it’s likely due to the battery not powering any of the electronics. You’ll notice the radio and dashboard lights won’t turn on, the door lights are off, etc. When this happens, your battery likely needs to be fully charged or replaced.
What could impact my battery?
Conditions Surrounding your Battery
The conditions surrounding your battery play a key role in battery life. Keeping your battery clean and dry are very important. Be sure to check your battery regularly for corrosion and keeping it clear of oil and grease. Dirt and oil residue on the case can cause a current drain on the battery. It’s a good idea to check the condition of the battery tray as well. After cleaning the battery case, check for cracks and bulging, which may indicate the battery needs further testing or replacement.
This is a severe case of Battery Corrosion.
Weather: Hot Summers
Weather could play a role in battery life. Living in Ann Arbor, Michigan means we get some crazy weather – hot, hot summers can wreak havoc on your battery, but it may not be apparent until the cold weather hits. The hot summers can cause water in battery acid to evaporate, which then lessens the battery’s ability to get sufficient power to start the car in cold weather.
Vibrations due to an unsecure battery can cause internal damage and result in shortened battery life expectancy. Make sure your car battery is securely fastened to prevent it from jiggling around or even tipping over. Loose batteries can knock against other parts of your engine or possibly short out causing an instant fire. Properly fastened batteries will sit correctly, but be sure to check the battery tray during your battery check up.
Call us today to schedule your Battery Check Up to keep your battery working at peak performance and avoid the worry of being stranded (and a high tow fee)!
It can seem at times that maintaining and repairing your old car is getting more expensive than it’s worth. On average, it costs approximately $1200 a year to repair and maintain a vehicle that is over five years old.
Since you live in Michigan, rust on your vehicle is hard to avoid, and can be helped by getting regularly car washes to remove the salt build up during the winter season. If your car has only cosmetic rust (rust that does not affect the structure of your vehicle), your engine doesn’t burn oil, the transmission seems to be shifting normally, and you have been keeping up on your routine maintenance, chances are you will be better off repairing your car.
If after your Courtesy Inspection you realize that the repairs outweigh the value of your vehicle, looking in to a new one may be your best option. Don’t forget to bring the new car to Ron’s Garage for a Pre-Purchase Inspection to make sure that your new car is better off than your old one.
A Windshield Wiper’s worst enemies are sun and the ice scraper. Wipers typically last up to a year, but if your car is regularly parked out of the sun, they could last longer. It’s time to get new wipers if you hear them chatter as they cross the windshield, if there are streaks across the glass, or if there are tears and/or missing rubber. Most of our customers replace them in the Spring and in the Fall to ensure they are getting the best views from their windshield.