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7 Signs You Need a Brake Inspection

A brake inspection tells you how much brake life your vehicle has left. It also tells you whether the other parts of your car’s braking system — such as the rotors — are functioning correctly. If there’s one part of your car you don’t want to fail, it’s your brakes!

Brake Inspection

A regular brake inspection will only enhance your safety on the roadway, but you definitely need to check in with a mechanic when you notice any of the seven important warning signs that your brakes may need repair.

1. Grinding Noises

A loud grinding when you slow down is never encouraging. Usually it means your brake pads are worn down so much that the metal rotor is making contact with the brake caliper. It’s a sign you need new brake pads immediately. It could also mean there is a foreign object, such as a rock, stuck in the caliper. This may be an easy fix, but you’ll need a brake inspection to find out.

2. Spongy Feeling

When your brake sinks to the floor and feels spongy when you press down, it’s time for a brake inspection. This could mean there’s a problem with your brake lines and the hydraulic system.

3. Car Pulls to the Side While Braking

A sticking brake caliper can wear down one brake pad prematurely, creating a strong pull to either the right or left. It could also mean one of the brake hoses needs repair.

4. Leaking Fluid

Brake fluid is essential to a well-functioning system, so if you spot a leak under your car, it’s smart to ask a mechanic about the source.

5. Dashboard Warning Light

Most cars come with warning lights that tell you when there’s an issue with your braking system. Don’t ignore dashboard warnings — call your mechanic for an appointment right away!

6. Strong Vibrations While Braking

If your car or steering wheel shakes violently while you’re braking, there could be an issue with your rotors. Rotors can rust and become uneven over time. Get your mechanic to take a look during a brake inspection and see if your rotors need reshaping.

7. Increased Stopping Distance

Whenever you notice that it’s taking you a lot longer to stop, you definitely need brake servicing. This is unsafe and puts you and your passengers at risk.

At State Automotive, we take the safety of our clients seriously. Your vehicle’s brakes are vital. Trust our team for an in-depth, detailed brake inspection when you suspect an issue with yours — we take good care of you.

Troubleshooting Car A/C Problems: What’s Wrong?

Car A/C problems are the ultimate frustration in the dry, summer heat. You want to ride in a cool, air conditioned vehicle, not be stuck to the hot, sweaty seats.

Do you have one of the common car A/C complaints listed below? An experienced professional can easily diagnose your car A/C problems.

Car air conditioning problems

Problem #1: Air Isn’t Blowing

No matter how high you turn up the fan, you still have little to no air coming out of the vents. It’s probably a sign of a serious component failure. A car’s cooling system is made up of multiple important parts, including the condenser, evaporator, compressor and fan/blower motors. If one of these parts fails, the A/C won’t work.

Problem #2: No Cool Air

You thought there was nothing worse than a car cooling system that doesn’t blow any air, but a cooling system that blows hot air isn’t any better. It’s normal for the system to blow hot air when it first gets going, but if the air stays hot, you’re better off opening the windows and heading to our shop.

This is one of the most common car A/C problems, and a broken condenser is usually the cause. The condenser is supposed to cool the refrigerant that cools the air in the evaporator. But when it fails to work properly, it cycles warm refrigerant back through the system, making it no longer possible for the evaporator to do its job correctly.

Problem #3: Air Starts Cold Then Turns Warm

When you start out your drive with cool air and then it turns warm, you’re probably wondering what happened. It was just working!

This could be caused by the icing over of some of your vehicle cooling system’s components. If the evaporator freezes, it can’t cool the air, but once it thaws out, it starts working again. This is the reason for your system’s stop-and-go action, and our professional team can fix it easily.

Problem #4: Air Smells Terrible

If you can’t stand the smell of your car’s A/C, it may be time for a cleaning. Mold and bacteria thrive in damp, dark places. You may need a strong cleaning solution on the inner drainage tubes to eradicate harmful spores so you aren’t breathing in dangerous microbes.

Problem #5: It’s Noisy

A lack of lubricant, contaminated refrigerant and overly high air pressure can all make your car’s cooling system louder than it should be. It could also be a sign that your compressor is in its final days. We can pinpoint the source of the noise by testing all the system’s components.

Come in to State Automotive today for an affordable, quick fix when you have car A/C problems you can’t seem to solve on your own — we’re here for you!

Fuel Tanks: What You Need to Know

It seems like your fuel tank has a straightforward role to play: hold the gas needed to get your car from point A to point B. You won’t ever have a problem with your fuel tank, right?

fuel tank

Hopefully you’re right, but just in case, know what to look for in a potential gas tank issue before it poses a safety threat.

Have Your Fuel Tank Inspected Regularly

Your mechanic checks your brakes, your tires and your fluid levels, but do they check the condition of your fuel tank? Make sure you ask them to look at this important component of your car during a regular service appointment.

If your gas tank is made of metal, your mechanic should check it for rust and corrosion, which can eat through the tank and cause a leak. Road salt and condensation contribute to the rusting of metal fuel tanks. Polyethylene gas tanks can be damaged from road debris like gravel.

All the mounting hardware also should be checked to make sure it’s tight and secure.

As with many vehicle systems, regular inspections play an important role in identifying the early beginnings of a problem before it causes major damage. Fuel tanks are no exception.

The Tank’s Cap Must Be Secure

Many car owners assume they have a fuel tank leak because they can smell gasoline, but it turns out the issue lies with the tank’s cap.

Besides preventing water, dust and debris from entering the gas tank, the cap plays a vital role in the vehicle’s evaporative emissions system. It captures fuel vapors for reuse that would otherwise escape and evaporate.

If the cap is loose, cracked or worn, you may smell a distinct fuel odor when the car is running. Your mechanic can identify the problem and replace or repair the cap to eliminate the smell. While it’s not a safety threat, it can decrease your car’s fuel efficiency and cause the check engine light to come on.

It’s Not Safe to Drive with a Leak

If you believe you could have a fuel tank leak, don’t ignore it. Leaking gasoline needs only a spark to set off a combustion and vehicle fire. You put yourself and other motorists at risk if you don’t attend to a gas tank issue immediately.

If you smell gas or see fuel leaking beneath the vehicle, call your mechanic before driving your car. They may suggest you get the car towed to the shop or at least drive directly to the garage. Whatever you do, do not smoke in your vehicle if you suspect a gas leak.

You Need a Trained Mechanic

Fuel tank problems aren’t always easily diagnosed or repaired — you need a mechanic trained specifically for this issue. It’s important to resolve fuel tank problems immediately, both for vehicle fuel efficiency and your personal safety. Call State Automotive today if your gas tank is out of order. We can help.

European Vehicle Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Is European vehicle maintenance as complicated as some people make it sound?

It isn’t if you trust a team of reliable technicians with proven experience in this car repair field. While you should carefully consider all the important factors regarding your next car purchase, stress related to European vehicle maintenance shouldn’t be one of them.

european car maintenance

Here’s what you need to know if you have your heart set on a BMW, Audi or Mercedes:

No, You Don’t Need a Dealer

The manufacturers and the dealers try to make car owners think that the only way to get reliable European vehicle maintenance is to bring it to the dealer for every oil change and air filter replacement.

This simply isn’t true. Yes, dealers staff mechanics who are well-qualified to maintain your make and model, but dealers also typically charge significantly more than the average mechanic. Are you required to trust the dealer and the dealer only? No.

Yes, You Do Need a Qualified Mechanic

Of course, you can’t pick just anyone to work on your European vehicle. You must find a mechanic specifically trained in diagnosing and repairing every type of problem your vehicle could ever possibly have.

European vehicle maintenance takes an extra level of skill because these cars are technologically advanced. American car-manufacturing knowledge isn’t enough for a mechanic to accurately maintain your Volkswagon, Volvo or Fiat.

They Should Have the Right Tools and Parts

Beyond an added level of training, the mechanic you choose should have a garage full of the right tools and most importantly, the right parts. You don’t want a shoddy substitute part — you want the real thing.

While it can be more difficult to locate European parts, the trained technician has the connections and the in-house stock needed to resolve any issues that arise with your car.

More Expensive Repairs? Not Necessarily.

It’s a common myth: You’ll pay more to maintain a European vehicle over its life span.

While in some cases it’s true, it’s not a guarantee. When you partner with a qualified mechanic who knows how to execute preventive maintenance at the right time, you may spend less on repairs than you thought you would.

Always Ask About Warranties

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, you should always ask your mechanic about their workmanship warranty. Do they guarantee their work and their parts? Can you trust them? Make sure the shop you choose has a good reputation, with long-standing, repeat customers.

You Can Trust State Automotive

State Automotive is fully prepared to manage your European vehicle maintenance throughout the life of your car. Stop in or call today, and we’ll inspect the systems and diagnose any potential problems so you can ensure your vehicle is in top shape.

Will Your Car Pass the Safety Inspection and Emissions Test?

Utah vehicle owners must comply with the state’s regular safety inspection and emissions testing standards.

safety and emissions test Utah

The safety inspection and emissions test are required to ensure vehicles operate properly, without posing a threat to other vehicles or damaging the environment.

Is your vehicle prepared?

How Often Are Tests Required?

Testing frequency requirements change based on the age of your vehicle, and for emissions testing, where your car is registered.

A safety inspection is needed when your car is 4, 8 and 10 years old. Vehicles more than 10 years old must pass a safety inspection every year.

If your vehicle is less than 2 years old, it doesn’t have to pass an emissions test, regardless of the county in which you live.

If your vehicle is registered in the following counties and it’s 2 years old or older, it must pass an emissions test every other year:

  • Davis County
  • Salt Lake County
  • Utah County
  • Weber County

In Cache County, vehicles that are 6 years old and older also must pass an emissions test every other year.

To make it easy to keep track of your testing year, remember that even-numbered model cars are tested in even-numbered years, and vice versa for odd numbers.

Maintenance Tips to Guarantee a “Pass”

A vehicle that is in good working order will easily pass both a safety inspection and emissions test. Car owners should keep up with the following preventive maintenance and vehicle repairs:

  1. Regular oil and filter changes: Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for oil and filter changes. Use the right type of oil. Not only will this ensure a successful emissions test, it will keep your car running smoothly and decrease the chances of additional engine trouble.
  2. Immediate repairs for fluid leaks: Don’t ignore fluid leaks — have a mechanic look into the problem right away. Leaking fluid isn’t good for engine performance, and it will mean test failure. Also, purchase a replacement gas cap if yours is lost — it’s required to pass the test.
  3. Resolution of “check engine light” alert: A check engine light will show up in the on-board diagnostics system report that’s used for your emissions test. If your check engine light is interfering with efficient engine performance, it may cause a test failure.
  4. Windshield and light repair: Do you have a crack or chip in your windshield? Are your daytime running lights burned out? Both of these issues directly relate to driver visibility, so make sure these issues are taken care of before you report for a safety inspection.

Get a Professional Assessment Beforehand

Take your car to State Automotive before your safety inspection and emissions test, and we’ll examine it from the inside out, quickly repairing any issues that interfere with a successful outcome. Save time and frustration by getting affordable repairs before your visit to the local motor vehicle office — make an appointment with our team today.

5 Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Transmission

Transmission trouble can be expensive. But it’s not just bad luck — sometimes it results from incorrect driving habits.

transmission repair

Take a look at these five major mistakes drivers make that can quickly result in major transmission damage:

1. Towing Excessive Weight

Those towing limits are in your vehicle owner’s manual for a reason. Your car is not equipped to handle weight in excess of the manufacturer’s limitations, so don’t try it. Even if you are able to safely transport the towed cargo from point A to point B, you could inflict transmission damage that only shows itself later on. It’s not worth the risk.

2. Driving Like You’re in a Video Game

Reserve your “need for speed” tendencies for arcade games. Don’t step on the gas or brake too abruptly when a light changes either. Hard acceleration and sudden braking shortens the life of your transmission. Accelerate gradually and make sure to leave plenty of space between you and other cars so you can brake slowly.

Not only will driving responsibly keep your transmission in good shape, it also will keep you safe.

3. Shifting While Rolling

It’s a common habit. You’re in a hurry. Instead of coming to a complete stop, you quickly shift to drive while you’re still rolling. When you do this, you’re using your transmission’s components as a braking system, and you’re bound to cause damage over time.

Come to a complete stop before changing gears if you want to get the most out of your transmission.

4. Forgetting to Get Regular Transmission Service

A transmission flush, fluid change or filter replacement are not just add-on services that your mechanic is trying to sell you. They are absolutely vital maintenance measures that remove contaminants and help prevent sluggish function and eventual transmission seizure.
Talk to your mechanic and refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines — depending on the type of car you own and your driving behavior, you may need transmission service more often than you might think.

5. Trying to Make DIY Repairs

You like to save a buck when you can, so you figure you can just change the transmission fluid on your own. Don’t make this rookie mistake!

Not all transmission fluid is the same, and using the wrong type can have disastrous results for your car. You should consult with an experienced mechanic before you try to conduct any transmission-related maintenance on your own.

Depend on State Automotive for regular maintenance and good advice regarding transmissions — you have the power to help keep yours running right for years to come.

Plan for Car Repairs: Why You Should Trust Your Mechanic

It might sound like they’re trying to upsell you, but your mechanic is trying to help you plan for car repairs.

car repair planning

Have you ever been frustrated by bringing your car in for one issue only to leave with numerous problems to handle? Even though it’s disheartening, it’s a prime opportunity to start saving for vehicle repairs you know will be on the horizon.

Be Warned — Save Money, Stay Safe

Trusty mechanics don’t go out of their way to cause you stress, but they aren’t going to skim the surface either. They dive in deep when they look at your car, checking every belt and every fluid reservoir. You’re paying your mechanic to diagnose and repair one specific issue, but he is going to deliver a full-vehicle report, because warnings can help you save money — and maybe even your life.

If you weren’t aware that your brake pads were worn, finding out can give you a few weeks to save for their replacement. Or if you own multiple vehicles, drive your other car until you can afford the repair.

If you weren’t aware that you had a leak in your brake lines, you could suddenly lose braking right when you need it. That puts your vehicle, you and your passengers in danger, and ultimately, that’s what your dependable mechanic wants to prevent. Warnings keep you fully aware of what’s happening under the hood.

How Can You Tell if You’re at a Trusty Mechanic’s Shop?

It can be hard to trust your mechanic’s opinion on how to plan for car repairs if you don’t know if you can rely on them to provide factual, unbiased advice.

Here are a few signs you’re at the right place:

  • You Make the Decision: Reputable mechanics will fully inform you of their assessment of your car, but they will not conduct any repairs until you give a clear “yes.”
  • No Pressure: If every repair is deemed “urgent,” you know you’re at a shop that only cares about making a sale, not keeping you safe. In reality, specific issues definitely should be categorized as urgent, but your mechanic shouldn’t pressure you to complete all the work the same visit.
  • They Show You Old Parts: You know they replaced your old drive belt because they showed you the cracked, worn-out component. You can drive away confident that your vehicle received the service it needed.

Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

Good mechanics want to help you understand how your car works. You will know that you’re at a reliable car repair shop when you get complete answers to all of your questions. Call State Automotive if you have a car problem — you’ll get friendly, helpful service and an experienced technician who’s ready to fix your problems and help you plan for car repairs.

5 Signs You Need Clutch Repair

Your car might need clutch repair if your standard transmission starts acting up.

clutch repair

If you proactively get your clutch looked at as soon as you notice one of the following five signs of trouble, you could save yourself a lot of time and money. Clutch repair is much cheaper than paying for a new transmission, so stay on the lookout for these problems:

1. Bad Odor or Burning Smell

Do you smell burning rubber or a general bad odor when driving your car? A worn clutch will give off a nasty smell when it’s been damaged due to overheating or general wear and tear. If you have a habit of riding your clutch, this issue could come up.

2. It’s Hard to Shift Gears

Is it difficult to shift your car into first gear or reverse? Shifting trouble could signal the need for clutch repair. A worn clutch won’t shift smoothly like it should.

3. Clutch Pedal Feels Spongy

Does it have a spongy feel when you step on it? It might need to be adjusted, or you could have a hydraulic fluid leak. Whenever you sense a change in pedal action, it’s smart to get a certified mechanic to take a look.

4. Car Jerks or Shakes

If you feel a shaking when you change gears or the car shakes violently, the cause could be the clutch. Your system may be contaminated or you could have another car problem that’s contributing to the jerking or shaking.

Either way, if it’s affecting your shifting, get it looked at by a mechanic so it doesn’t progress to a more serious problem.

5. Car Slips Out of Gear

Does the engine suddenly lose power when you’re towing a heavy load, driving up a hill or pushing down hard on the accelerator? This is a sign of a problem with gear engagement. Get your car examined, because clutch repair might be the only solution.

Life Span of a Clutch

If you tow heavy loads regularly, your clutch could become worn in as little as 35,000 miles, but modern vehicles have clutches that can last up to 100,000 miles. It’s hard to predict exactly how long your clutch will function properly, since its durability depends on the specific make and model of your car, as well as your driving style and the external environment.

Who should you depend on when you’re having transmission or clutch problems? At State Automotive of Midvale, Utah, we’re dedicated to quality service, so you should call right away if you detect any irregular vehicle function — clutch repair might be the answer.

How Often Should You Get a Vehicle Inspection?

Many drivers get a vehicle inspection because it’s required for registration, but it’s also good for catching problems early, keeping you safe on the roadway and preventing breakdowns.

vehicle inspection

When exactly should you schedule a vehicle inspection?

Before a Road Trip

You never want to break down on the side of the road, but especially not when you’re on vacation or in a distant location where you don’t know any reliable mechanics.

Before a long road trip, get a professional’s opinion on the state of your car. From the tires to the brakes, a car inspection will check the functions of all important vehicle systems and components.

When You Suspect a Problem

Your engine is making that funny noise again. Your brakes are squealing. Your car is shifting roughly. You could ignore all of these little issues and still drive your car, but at what cost?

As soon as you suspect an issue with your car, you need a vehicle inspection to identify the problem so you can get repairs. The longer you drive the car without addressing the problem, the more expensive the final repair bill could be.

Before You Buy a Used Car

Unless you’re a mechanic, it’s hard to know what you’re looking at when you pop the hood of the used car you’re considering buying. An inspection can help you verify the mileage, confirm the proper functioning of the electrical systems and identify any leaks that may point to a larger problem with the engine.

What’s Included in a Vehicle Inspection?

A vehicle inspection may differ from mechanic to mechanic. Every shop has its own standards for what qualifies as a complete assessment. However, a qualified professional will always examine the most important three car systems: the engine, transmission and brakes.

Engine problems that go undetected can quickly escalate. For example, a slow oil leak can cause a loss of lubrication and eventually lead to engine failure.

A slight transmission clunking sound may not seem like cause for alarm, but it could be a sign of a fluid leak. During a vehicle inspection, your mechanic will look at the quality of the fluid and ensure it is at the right level.

Resolving a minor transmission fluid leak can extend the length of the system and prevent the need for a rebuild or replacement.

Your brakes must function well, or your safety is compromised. Your mechanic will check the pads and rotors, ensuring no components are warped, and they will also check for fluid leaks in the brake lines.

Overall, scheduling a vehicle inspection is one of the top ways you can stop problems from escalating and reduce your chances of an accident or a breakdown, and State Automotive is ready to assess your car today — call to make an appointment.

Do You Need a Transmission Rebuild?

Transmission Rebuild

Can a transmission rebuild get your car back on the road and save you money?

In most cases, the answer is yes.

A properly working transmission is central to a functioning car. A troubled transmission will present many problems, and eventually you’ll need to get a professional assessment to determine if repairs will help, or if the transmission needs to be rebuilt or replaced.

Signs You Should See a Professional

One of the early signs of trouble is a fluid leak. Transmission fluid is a reddish brown color. You also may notice that the gears shift for no apparent reason or make a thudding noise.

Or you may shift into drive, but the vehicle won’t move right away. If the vehicle doesn’t accelerate immediately when you give it gas, it could mean you have a transmission problem.

Why Opt for a Rebuild?

Not all transmission problems require a complete rebuild or replacement. In some cases, a repair may be your most economical option. Flushing the system or repairing a leak may solve the issues, especially if you bring your car to the mechanic right away.

A transmission rebuild is recommended when certain parts are worn out and a repair would only delay the inevitable. Transmission rebuilds are less expensive than replacements, and they make more sense. Putting a new transmission in a high-mileage vehicle isn’t the most economical decision.

When you go for a rebuild, you’re opting for the most cost-effective fix, and you’re getting a quality result. Rebuilt systems can come with warranties and provide you with a measure of security so you know your money was invested wisely.

The Rebuilding Process

During a rebuild, the transmission is removed from the vehicle and taken apart. The mechanic inspects each of the over 100 parts that make up the system. If any part is deemed too worn, it is replaced with a new or refurbished component, then the entire transmission is put back together. The process is labor intensive, and can take four days or longer.

Find a Reputable Mechanic

When you’re trusting a shop to rebuild your transmission, be sure you’re working with a certified technician with a proven history of successful rebuilds. You’ll know you are depending on a professional with integrity, because he or she will expertly diagnose the issue and explain why you need a rebuild or replacement versus a simple repair. The shop will break down the cost and give you a free, detailed quote.

Rest assured that your vehicle is in good hands at State Automotive, a team that’s been providing car repair services to clients in Midvale, Utah, for over four decades.