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Archive for January 2023

Greeted by a Screech (Loud Noise when Starting Vehicle)

Posted January 29, 2023 8:09 AM

No one likes to be greeted in the morning by having someone screech at you.  The same goes for a loud, high-pitched noise your vehicle greets you with every time you start the engine.  If you're wondering if that's normal, no, it isn't.  And it is worth getting checked out.  The good news is that it might be nothing serious.  Then again, it may be.

The first things to suspect any time you hear a high-pitched sound coming from the engine are belts.  They have tension on them and they're trying to turn lots of different pulleys, pumps and other equipment the engine needs to work properly.  The noise could come from the belts starting to wear out and dry out. If one of those belts breaks at an inopportune time, not only can it strand you somewhere, the damage to the engine could be very expensive to fix.

Other things that will cause a high-pitched sound are the pulleys and tensioners.  The tensioners keep the right amount of pressure on the belts and some pulleys contain rubber that dampens engine vibrations.  The rubber in the pulleys can crack or deform with age, which prevents them from working correctly and may cause your belts to wear out.

A technician will check to see if the belts are worn or cracked.  He or she will also check the tension on the belts, the condition of the pulleys and whether all  components are aligned the way they should be.

Sometimes, the noise is nothing major to worry about, but it's still worthwhile to rule out any problems that have cropped up now or may appear in the future.  You'll have a properly running vehicle that sounds like its engineers intended… quiet and smooth.


Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



A Head Start on Starting (Battery Testing)

Posted January 22, 2023 11:10 AM

If your vehicle isn't starting or doesn't sound like it used to when you crank it, the culprit may be the battery.  You may have left a light on, or something plugged into one of charging ports.  Maybe you accidentally left your vehicle in the "on" or "accessory" position when you last got out. Maybe you've left it in the garage or driveway for a long time without starting it.  That can spell the end for a vehicle battery.

It's also possible that your battery is just simply too old. There's no standard lifespan of a battery, but 3-5 years is about average, even though some people only get 2 and heavier duty batteries may last many more. It's possible your battery is defective, too.  And it could be your vehicle's charging system isn't recharging the battery. 

Whatever the cause, if you're having problems with your battery, it's a good idea to bring it in and have us perform a thorough battery test.  With state-of-the-art testing equipment, a technician will see if there's a bad cell in the battery or if it can be recharged.  We will also look at the date it was made. 

At the same time, the technician will look at the whole charging system, including the alternator, starter, cables, and connections.  From there, the service advisor can go through your options. 

Your best chance of not getting stranded by a dead battery is to have your system checked as part of a regular maintenance plan.  That should give you a head start on dependable starts.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



Unlock the Secret (Malfunctioning Door Lock Actuator)

Posted January 15, 2023 11:54 AM

What a convenience power door locks are on a vehicle.  The latest don't even require you to push the button on the key fob; all you have to do is have it with you.  But sometimes there's a component of power door locks that can fail, especially when they are used several times each day.  Those are called the door lock actuators.

The actuator is an electric part that works with others (like motors and gears) to lock and unlock doors.  You can hear them work, sometimes with the little whirr of the gear or the quiet clunk of the lock finishing its cycle.  And it's good to pay attention to that sound because if it starts to sound different, it could be a signal that your lock is on the brink of failing. Another sign of a failing power door lock actuator is they start working intermittently or quickly and erratically.  The driver's door is often the first to start acting up since it's the one that usually gets the most use.

When you start to notice these signs, consider a visit to your service facility to get your vehicle checked out.  If you wait too long, you may find yourself getting locked out of your vehicle. Many vehicles do have mechanical keys available as a failsafe so you are at least able to get inside.  Some of them are hidden inside the key fob and you should know how to access them.  Check with your owner's manual or ask your service advisor.

It's extremely inconvenient to have to unlock your vehicle with the mechanical key, then get inside and unlock the other doors. It's even more inconvenient if you have passengers in the rear seats.  And that doesn't even count having to go through the same thing to lock the doors when you arrive at your destination.

There are many things that can cause power door locks to malfunction, but if it turns out to be a power lock actuator, the most common remedy is to replace it.  Some are easier for technicians to reach than others, depending on your vehicle's design.  But once your locks are working again, you might think you've found the "key" to happiness!

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



Serpentine Belt Service at Kingwood Service Center in Kingwood

Posted January 8, 2023 9:39 AM



Don't you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you're zipping down a busy Kingwood road? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator - which charges the battery; the water pump - which cools the engine; the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All are pretty important parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components.

Serpentine belts are amazingly tough. They can last for years and go long distances. Like all moving parts, however, they eventually wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving around Kingwood, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You need to stop the vehicle immediately or it will overheat, potentially causing engine damage. You can be sure that it won't happen at a convenient time or place. (As if there was a convenient time or place!) You might even need to get your vehicle towed to Kingwood Service Center. It's no wonder that vehicle manufacturer's recommend a belt replacement on schedule. It's one of those "have-to's."

Kingwood drivers who hear a squeal when accelerating, or a slow, slapping sound at idle, should have their serpentine belt looked at. The pros at Kingwood Service Center in Kingwood will visually inspect your belt to see if it needs to be changed sooner than scheduled. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch or couple of centimeters, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny, glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

Serpentine belt replacement is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the cost and inconvenience of being stranded or getting a disabled vehicle back to Kingwood Service Center for repairs.

You're mom was right: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



Heat and your Tires (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)

Posted January 1, 2023 7:58 AM

With hotter weather and brutal heat waves becoming more common, the pressure in your vehicle's tires goes up.  After all, heat causes air to expand, and the air in your tires follows the laws of physics. Overinflated tires can reduce your vehicle's traction, cause a hard, punishing ride and make your tires wear out faster; all are important safety issues.

Four out of every ten drivers rarely check tire pressure. Some rely on their vehicle's tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to keep an eye on proper tire inflation.  But it's not designed to do that.

TPMS is a safety feature that has been required on vehicles made in 2008 or later, using sensors in the wheels that alert you to tire pressure problems.  That warning can be a light on your dash, a digital message or a readout of the pressure in each individual wheel.  But a study showed that more than 40 percent of drivers don't even know what the tire pressure monitoring light symbol looks like!

One looks like a horseshoe with an exclamation point in the middle.  The other looks like an overhead view of your vehicle with the tires at all four corners.  They may even show the inflation number (usually in pounds per square inch, or PSI).

The TPMS is designed to alert you that your tires aren't inflated within certain parameters, but the system shouldn't be a substitute for frequently having your tires checked with a tire gauge.  A TPMS light is only required to come on when a tire is 25 percent under the recommended tire pressure; by that time, you're driving on an unsafe tire and causing excessive wear.

Have your vehicle checked regularly by our professionals, and that includes tire pressure checks.  If you do see the tire pressure warning come on, have our service center look at it soon.  You may have a tire with a problem or the TPMS system may not be working right. 

Either way, since your tires are the only contact your vehicle has with the road, your safety depends a great deal on your tires being in top shape and correctly inflated.  Keep your tires properly inflated and your TPMS working to alert you of any problems. And that's not just a lot of hot air.   

Kingwood Service Center
3318 Northpark Dr
Kingwood, TX 77339
(281) 360-7323
http://www.kingwoodservicecenter.net



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