Your engine is one of, if not the most important major component of your car. Without it working in good order, it's impossible for you to go anywhere. If it runs inefficiently, you may face a whole host of problems that can be avoided with relatively simple maintenance. At Van Laar's Auto Service we provide all of the expertise and parts needed to keep your engine running happily and at peak efficiency.
One of the simplest ways to determine the condition of your engine is to examine the oil that drains out during an oil change. The oil circulates through much of your engine, so it's a great way to determine the overall health of your car's power plant. Ideally, we want your oil to be darker than when it went in with uniform viscosity and no solid particles. Solid particles are a major concern because they mean that something inside the engine, be it a seal or anything else, is breaking apart. Engines contain a lot of finely balanced mechanisms with only a few micrometers of space for moving parts to clear each other. Any solid particles moving through your engine can cause a massive amount of damage very quickly. At Van Laar's Auto Service we perform expert analysis on your oil to make sure that everything is working perfectly within your engine's internals, and we carry the best oils to replace that fluid in your vehicle.
Another simple item that can save your engine untold misery, is the coolant fluid, which keeps everything running at the correct temperature. The many moving parts inside your engine, as well as the explosions taking place within its combustion chambers, generate a significant amount of heat. As with any machine, your engine has temperature tolerances at which it happily operates. Once those tolerances are exceeded, things can start to go wrong. A common side effect of overheating can be radiator failure. The water that cools the engine becomes heated and pressurizes the radiator past a safe level causing the scalding water to spray out. This dangerous problem can be avoided with the engine coolants used by Van Laar's Auto Service.
To work efficiently, your car's engine needs the ingredients for combustion to be delivered in the purest form possible. To this end your engine contains a number of filters which keep everything nice and clean. Van Laar's Auto Service's engine thorough maintenance keeps checks on your air, oil, and fuel filters, replacing them as needed to keep your car running at its highest efficiency.
Fuel Injector Cleaning
Working alongside your spark plugs are the injectors that shoot a precise amount of fuel into the combustion chamber. Over time these injectors can become clogged with contaminants from fuel. Van Laar's Auto Service carries a line of specially developed injector cleaning solutions which open the injector tubing back up and get your car back to making the most power that it can.
Engine accessories such as the alternator and air conditioning compressor rely on belts that take power from the engine to run them. Over time, these belts can become frayed and damaged. If your alternator belt snaps, for example, your engine won't be able to generate the electricity it needs to charge the battery and keep itself running. Van Laar's Auto Service can keep a close eye on the health of your accessory belts and ensure that all your engine's pulleys are lined up perfectly to allow for the maximum amount of use from your belts.
Oil, Lube, and Filter
To keep running smoothly, your car highly relies on oil, lube, and oil filters. Oil helps in lubricating, cooling, and cleaning the internal engine components. With time, motor oil becomes contaminated. Your car needs an oil, lube, and filter change every three months (or 3,000 miles). When it is time for a lube, oil, or filter change, take your vehicle to Van Laar's Auto Service in Grand Rapids, MI 49548.
Whether you're in need of simple oil service, or more significant engine maintenance, call Van Laar's Auto Service at 616-455-3940 to learn how we can help you get back on the road quickly!
Check Engine Light Questions and Answers
Q: Is it okay to drive with the engine light on?A: The short answer, "No." The longer explanation is the light may indicate a serious engine failure and continuing to use your car as if nothing is wrong could result in a very expensive repair bill. The check engine light means you should stop driving and have your car looked at as soon as possible by a professional at Van Laar's Auto Service in Grand Rapids.
Q: What could cause a check engine light to come on?A: Come by Van Laar's Auto Service and we can diagnose the reasons for a check engine light turning on. It can range from something serious like a faulty catalytic converter or potential engine failure to something simple like a loose gas cap or the need for a simple 50K or 100K mile manufacturer maintenance check.
Q: What is the most common problem with my check engine light?A: A loose gas cap is the most common cause of a check engine light coming on. But the best method to determine why the check engine light is on is to have a professional at Van Laar's Auto Service read the diagnostic code in the car's internal OBD computer.
Q: What does an intermittent flashing check engine light mean?A: Flashing check engine lights warn of severe situations requiring immediate attention. Get your vehicle to an auto repair shop as quickly as possible or get it safely parked and call a tow truck to take it to your preferred auto repair shop.
Q: What does a solid check engine light mean?A: A steady check engine light indicates a non-emergency issue. Come by Van Laar's Auto Service and we can help.
Q: Can I turn off my check engine light myself?A: It is a very bad idea to try to resolve a check engine light yourself. The DIY method to turn off a check engine light without a scanner is disconnect the battery cables, wait 1 minute, and reconnect the battery cables. If the underlying issue has been resolved, the light should go off. But modern automobiles rely on battery power to maintain important systems such as the O2 sensor and ADAS systems. By disconnecting the battery, you run the risk of damaging these delicate and expensive to replace computer-driven components. If your check engine light is on come by Van Laar's Auto Service in Grand Rapids. Turning off a check engine light is often inexpensive and simple.
Serpentine Belt Question and Answer
Q: How do I know if I need to replace my car's serpentine belt?A: If your serpentine belt is failing, you may notice performance issues with your vehicle. The vehicle may frequently overheat. Your air conditioning or power steering may fail to work or not work properly. You may notice your vehicle battery failing to recharge if the alternator is affected by a bad serpentine belt. If you start to notice any of these issues we encourage you to bring your vehicle to Van Laar's Auto Service as soon as possible to avoid bigger problems and breakdown.
Spark Plug Questions and Answers
Q: What else should I replace when replacing spark plugs?A: If you are considering having your vehicle's spark plugs replaced, there's a high probability that your spark plug wires need changing as well. Ignition wires become brittle over time. Old ignition wires can break and cause misfires or declining fuel economy.
Q: How do you know when a spark plug needs to be replaced?A: The most common sign a spark plug needs replacing is the feeling that the car's engine is hesitating when accelerating, but other signs may include misfiring at start up, rough idling, sluggish acceleration, declining fuel economy and engine knocking.
Van Laar's is nothing short of Excellent Service, every time. I've been using them for a little over 5 years now and I trust them with all my vehicles. BMW, Hyundai, Jeep, Mazda. They're always on point. Prices are fair (Not cheap) but very reasonable and I always get service that is above and beyond. Will continue to use them. Not only my own personal vehicles, but I've also taken all my heavy-duty work trucks for service, new tires, suspension work, drive train, and all my basic preventative maintenance.