What’s Going on With Gas Prices?

February 27th, 2015

After a long, long slide, gas prices have finally bottomed out and are on their way back up. Nationally, AAA reported that the average price for a gallon of gas reached $2.03, the lowest prices have been in 5 years. So why are gas prices going back up? And how long will they continue to go up? Learn what’s going on with gas prices in this week’s blog.

Gas Prices

Gas prices went down last year because the supply of oil jumped. This was in large part due to an increase in production from U.S. oil fields, and the news from OPEC that they would not decrease production as a response. But when 2015 arrived, gas prices started to go back up. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, this is the time of year when oil refineries schedule routine maintenance, because they’re usually less busy. Routine maintenance means production has to be limited or even stopped altogether. So there’s one thing slowing down production, which causes prices to increase.

The weather is another reason prices are going up. The very cold weather and snow that East Coast has seen in February have made operations more difficult for “about two-thirds of the region’s refining capacity, hampering production. Among other setbacks, a partial freeze of the Delaware River snarled deliveries and interrupted the cooling systems refineries in Philadelphia, according to Reuters.”

A third factor is the largest strike in the refinery industry in 35 years, which is happening right now. “Some 6,500 members of the United Steelworkers union at 12 refineries covering about a fifth of U.S. capacity” are on strike as a result of contract negotiations.

Up and Down

So what’s in the future for gas prices? Analysts expect the price of crude oil to remain steady, and supply is expected to continue to be high. Gas prices always rise in the spring as refineries begin to produce more expensive federally mandated summer gasoline blends, so we will see a steady increase over the next few months. But, analysts expect price increases to level off by the summer. But of course, we won’t know for sure until it actually happens!

winter gas

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

What is a Tire Pressure Monitoring System?

February 20th, 2015

Was your car built after 2007? If so, it most likely has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) built in. You may be more familiar with the TPMS as that orange horseshoe light (which is actually supposed to look like a flattened tread and the sidewall of a tire) that goes on on your dashboard once in awhile when your tire pressure is low.

The tire pressure monitoring system is an electronic system that keeps an eye on the pressure in all of your tires. Before the TPMS existed, you had to check your tire pressure manually, which required using this device seen below.

tire pressure

While a lot of people check their tire pressure regularly, there are also many who don’t. Tires with low air pressure wear more quickly, but more importantly, they present a safety hazard for you and other drivers. Not only can low tire pressure reduce the handling abilities of your car, but dangerously low pressure can result in a blowout and an almost certain accident.

This is actually the reason the TPMS exists. You may remember the incident with Firestone tires in the late ’90s when it was discovered that Firestone tires that had lost their tread as a result of low pressure would consistently blow out. This caused many traffic accidents, and unfortunately, fatalities. This led the government to mandate the inclusion of tire pressure monitoring systems on all vehicles manufactured in the United States.

Indirect vs. Direct TPMS

There are two kinds of TPMS: indirect and direct.

Indirect TMPS don’t actually measure your tire pressure. They measure how fast your wheels are revolving. The idea is that if your wheels are revolving faster than they should be for the speed you’re going, the pressure is probably low.

Direct TMPS on the other hand monitor your tire pressure directly, hence the name. With both systems, if the computer detects that the pressure is low, it will send a signal to turn on that light in your dashboard, which alerts you that you need to put air in your tires.

So, if you see that orange light go on, don’t take any chances. Pull over at the nearest gas station and put air in your tires! While you’re doing this, it’s also a good idea to give them a once over and make sure they still have enough tread and aren’t otherwise damaged.

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

CV Joints 101: Everything You Need to Know

February 13th, 2015

CV joints, (short for constant velocity joints) are found on all front-wheel drive vehicles any many rear-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles as well. The CV joint performs an important function in your vehicle: it transfers the torque from your transmission to the driving wheels at a constant speed (hence the name). It’s rare for the CV joint to develop a problem, but it can happen, and when it does it’s important to repair the joint as soon as possible. Learn everything you need to know about constant velocity joints in this week’s blog.

CV Joints

 

The Function of the Joint

There are two sets of CV joints. Two are located on the ends of the drive shafts that connect to the transmission. These are called the inner joints. The other two connect the drive shaft to the wheels. These are the outer joints. In both cases, there is a boot that covers the joint to protect it and keep it lubricated.

The CV joint performs two functions:

  1. Transferring the torque from the transmission to the drive shaft in order to turn the wheels.
  2. Accommodating for the movement of the suspension.

Potential Problems

CV joints are actually well-known for their durability. Many cars with 200,000+ miles on them still have the original CV joints. The main problem with the joint is if the protective joint boot cracks. This allows the lubricant in the joint to leak out, which will result in the joint wearing out and eventually failing. The outer joint boots are more likely to crack than the inner ones.

Signs of a Damaged Joint

Look for a crack in the inner and outer joint boots. There might also be grease leaking out and located on the inside of the wheel rim and inside the drive wheel.

A worn-out outer CV joint will make a clicking or popping sound when you turn the wheel. This sound will get worse when you accelerate through the turn.

A worn-out inner CV joint will cause the car to shudder or shake from side to side when you accelerate. You might also here a clunking sound when shifting from drive to reverse.

Caring for Your Vehicle’s CV Joints

Every time you bring your vehicle in for maintenance, the mechanic will inspect the CV joints to make sure the boot is intact. This is the best way to ensure your CV joints are still in good working order. If you think your vehicle may have a bad CV joint, bring it in to your local auto repair shop in Baltimore, Auto Stop!

cv-joint

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

Why is My Car Vibrating?

February 6th, 2015

Are bad vibrations causing your vehicle to shake rattle and roll? Strange vibrations are never a good sign, and could be the result of any number of issues with your vehicle. In this blog, we’ll talk about the most common reasons your car may be vibrating, and how to determine which it might be.

Why is My Car Vibrating?

 

Tires

A highly likely culprit is a problem with the tires. The tires may be improperly balanced, might have uneven wear, separated tread, or roll unevenly. If the car vibrates at certain speeds, you might just need to have the tires balanced. If the tires have uneven wear or separated tread, then they’ll have to be replaced.

Wheels

Another reason your car may be vibrating is because of a problem with the wheels. It’s possible that the alignment is out, especially in winter when potholes are all over the place. It could also be a problem with the wheel itself. Wheel bearings, tie-rods, or joints may have worn out if the car is old and has been subjected to a lot of wear and tear.

Bad Brakes

If you feel the vibrations strongly when you’re braking, the brakes are most likely the problem. The rotor may have become out of shape, which means the calipers and brake pads can get an even grip on the rotor when you apply the brakes. This would make a distinct vibration. In this case, you may need to get your brakes repaired or replaced.

Bad Axle

A bent axle is not as common as the problems we talked about above, but it’s not impossible. If you got in a collision, the axle may have become bent out of shape. This would cause a vibration that becomes strong the faster you go. Bad constant velocity (CV) joints or a bent driveshaft could also be the cause of the vibration. All of these will need to be diagnosed by a professional mechanic in Baltimore.

Engine Problems

There are lots of engine problems that could be causing your car to vibrate. The engine might not be getting enough air due to a dirty air filter, or you might be close to running out of fuel. The spark plugs may need to be replaced. If the car starts to vibrate during acceleration, at certain speeds, or only begins to shake after you’ve driven it for awhile, these could all be the result of engine problems.

If you’re experiencing vibrations in your vehicle, bring it to your local Baltimore auto repair shop, Auto Stop! We’ll diagnose and fix the problem at the source so you can get back to that smooth ride you know and love.

car-vibration

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

Should You Idle Your Car to Warm it Up?

January 30th, 2015

One piece of auto advice you’ve no doubt heard for driving your car in the winter is to let it warm up for a few minutes before you drive it. This allegedly prevents some kind of damage that can happen to the engine if you drive it before it has warmed up.

So is this true? This practice is so common that it must have some legitimacy to it, right? Well, the answer is, most likely not. Warming up your car may have been necessary for older vehicles, but any modern vehicle doesn’t need to be warmed up for more than 15-30 seconds. Learn why in this week’s blog.

To Idle, Or Not To Idle

 

The practice of idling a vehicle during winter to warm up the engine was actually effective back before fuel injection was common in vehicles, in the days of carburetors and chokes. But today, any car built from the early ’90s on almost definitely has an electronic fuel injection system, which eliminates the need to warm up your car by idling it for a few minutes. If anything, the most you need to do is let it sit for 15-30 seconds to let the oil circulate through the engine once. After that, you’re good to go.

As a matter of fact, not only is idling not necessary, but it is actually not great for your car in a number of ways:

  • Driving you car warms the engine faster than idling does. You’re actually getting the engine to it’s ideal operating temperature faster by hitting the road than sitting in the driveway.
  • Idling wastes gas, which costs you money and is bad for the environment.
  • When the engine is idling, it’s not operating in the most efficient mode. Combustion of gasoline is actually incomplete when the engine is idling, which can cause performance issues over time if you idle a lot. Driving is the most efficient mode of operation for a vehicle.

idle-car

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

How to Know When You Need a Transmission Flush in Baltimore

January 23rd, 2015

Every car owner dreads transmission damage. The mechanical component that literally makes the car move, the transmission is integral to the life of any motor vehicle. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it is a very complex piece of machinery that requires special care to maintain. Because of its complexity, cost, and importance, the transmission is very expensive to repair. In a busy city like Baltimore, people with cars have the advantage of freedom of movement. If the transmission breaks—and may it never fail in traffic—this freedom becomes strangled. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to care for the transmission is to put it through a transmission flush.

Flush Away the Problems

Generally, you should get a transmission flush every 30,000 miles or every two years, whichever comes first. However, sometimes this isn’t enough. There are a number of easily-recognizable signs that your transmission needs a fluid flush in order to maintain itself. The first is grinding or other strange noises. This means that dirt or other nasty compounds have infested your transmission. Transmission fluid is a vibrant red hue. If you find that it’s closer to brown or black, you need a flush. This is also true if your vehicle has trouble transitioning between gears. This is most noticeable in manual transmissions where you find that you need to push or pull the stick shift more forcefully than usual. A dirty transmission will also slip between gears when you don’t intentionally shift speeds or the stick. It may also cause the car to leap forward and lag at near-random intervals. Finally, the car may experience delays after shifting into forward, first, or reverse gear.

What does a Flush do?

A transmission flush removes contaminants from the machinery. Dirt, grime, and sludge build up over time during the natural operation of the car. This is unavoidable, but not necessarily disastrous when the car is well-maintained. This is why the above conditions are recommended: transmission flushes at regular intervals stop buildup before it causes damage. A transmission flush is particularly important in Baltimore for residents who live and work in the warehouse district or near the train yards, where dust and dirt are the most abundant in the air and on the ground and can enter the mechanics of the car on more easily and build up more quickly. Preventing this buildup means a longer-lasting and stronger car that will continue to provide you with the freedom you need.

transmission-flush-Baltimore

 

Auto Stop Limited, Inc. is Baltimore’s local repair shop. Our highly-trained mechanics use the most modern tools to find the source of your car’s trouble and repair it very quickly All of our work is completely guaranteed. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and an A grade from Angie’s List, we provide the best service in Baltimore. We even repair fleet vehicles. Call 410-467-7600 or visit http://www.autostopltd.com/ for more information. Also, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+!

Source:

http://www.carsdirect.com/car-repair/5-most-common-signs-that-your-car-needs-a-transmission-flush

Why Your Car Has a Hard Time Starting in the Winter

January 16th, 2015

So you’ve just turned the key in the ignition on a cold winter morning and: nothing. The engine sputters but just wont turn over. Or maybe the engine doesn’t even respond. The winter is tough on your car, especially in places like Baltimore where we see subzero temperatures frequently throughout the season. Learn why the winter is so hard on your car, and a few things you can try when your car won’t start on those cold winter mornings.

A Difficult Start

First, gasoline has a harder time evaporating when it’s cold. Gas needs to be vaporized in order to combust, and the cold makes it harder for this to happen. One potential solution to this problem is spraying ether into the engine, because it evaporates more easily than gasoline.

Second, the cold causes the oil in your engine to become thick and gooey. The engine wants oil to be smooth and viscous. Thick oil is harder for the engine to push around, which makes it harder to get started. Synthetic oil is more resistant to this problem.

Third, the cold takes a toll on your battery. The battery uses chemical reactions to generate electricity, and these reactions take place more slowly in cold temperatures. Not only that, but the engine is demanding more current from the battery to move that thick oil around. Combined, these two factors can overwhelm the battery and leave it with not enough juice to get the engine started. Car batteries are also more likely to die in cold weather. In either case, a quick jump should do the trick.

Here are a few more things you can do to make it easier to start your car in the winter:

  • Make sure you drive your car enough to charge the battery fully. If you’re taking short 5-10 minute trips, the engine won’t be able to give the battery a full charge. A longer drive means more charge for the battery.
  • Park in a garage if possible.
  • Use thinner or synthetic oil.
  • Try not to let the gas get too low. Condensation can form on the wall of the tank, sink to the bottom and cause problems in the fuel line.
  • If the car doesn’t start after 10-20 seconds, give it a rest for 2 minutes. You don’t want the starter to overheat. This also lets the battery recover.
  • If the car won’t start after several tries, try removing the battery and bringing it inside to warm up. This could take up to two hours, but may do the trick.

 

winterize car Baltimore

 

If you have any questions about our blog Tips for Protecting Your Car from Salt, please contact Auto Stop by calling 410-467-7600 or visit AutoStopLTD.com today! You can also follow Auto Stop on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Sources

http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Car-in-Freezing-Cold-Winter-Weather

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/accidents-hazardous-conditions/start-car-in-winter.htm

Tips for Protecting Your Car from Salt

January 9th, 2015

With the snow this week, the roads are covered with salt, and your car probably is too. Salt is great for making the roads safe to drive on, but it’s bad for your car. Over time salt can have a corrosive effect which can damage your car’s finish and lead to rusting. Protect your car from salt with these tips below.

Tips for Protecting Your Car from Salt

 

Wash Your Car

The best thing to do is to wash your car regularly during the winter. Here are a few tips for optimal washign.

  • Try to wash the vehicle every 10 days.
  • Wash during the day so that the car has time to dry before freezing temperatures come at night. The last thing you want is to be frozen out of your car.
  • Another good way to prevent freezing is by opening and closing the doors, trunk, and gas tank several times after you wash the car.
  • Wash on days when the temperature gets above 40 degrees.
  • Make sure you wash the underside of the car. Salt buildup can do a lot of damage here. The best thing to do is seal the undercarriage before the winter begins, but if you didn’t, just try to wash it regularly.
  • If you go to a car wash, make sure it doesn’t use recycled water. This is because the recycled water will contain salt from other vehicles that have gone through the car wash, so you’ll just be replacing salt with more salt.

Driving Tips

  • Try to avoid driving through puddles of melted snow. The splash will throw salty water all over the undercarriage.
  • The same goes for deep snow. The snow can get packed up in the undercarriage and cause corrosion and other problems like inhibiting airflow or reducing braking action.

car salt

If you have any questions about our blog Tips for Protecting Your Car from Salt, please contact Auto Stop by calling 410-467-7600 or visit AutoStopLTD.com today! You can also follow Auto Stop on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Tips for Driving in the Snow in Baltimore

January 2nd, 2015

We haven’t seen any significant snow in Baltimore yet, but the winter has just begun, and if one thing’s for sure, the weather around here is unpredictable. So whenever the snow does come, here are a few tips for driving in it. But first, the most important tip: if you can help it, don’t drive in the snow! Stay in and stay safe. But if you’re already out there and on your way home, keep these tips in mind.

Tips for Driving in the Snow

Drive Slower

You have much less traction on snowy and icy roads. This means your vehicle won’t respond like it normally does when you accelerate, decelerate, and turn the wheel. Everything takes longer to respond, and moving at high speeds gives you less time to respond to turns, stoplights, and other vehicles. Drive slow, and get home safe.

Easy on the Gas and Brakes

Ease up on the accelerator and the brakes, they won’t react as quickly as you’re used to. Accelerate and decelerate slowly, giving yourself plenty of distance and time to stop behind the car in front of you.

Increase Your Following Distance

A good rule of thumb is to double the distance at which you normally follow another vehicle. Instead of a 3-4 second difference, follow by 8-10 seconds. You may need this extra room to stop.

Going Up Hills

Hills can be tricky in the snow. The best thing to do is build your speed and inertia on a straightaway before you hit a hill. Trying to speed up on an icy hill will just make your wheels spin. Build up enough speed (safely) before you get to the hill, then keep your foot on the gas without trying to speed up on the hill. Don’t stop on the hill if you can help it, as you might not be able to get started again.

Try Not to Stop

Stopping and starting on icy roads is even harder than navigating them. If you can, try to slow down far enough in advance of that light so that by the time it turns green, you still have some inertia left to build up your speed again.

snow driving tips

If you have any questions about our blog Tips for Driving in the Snow in Baltimore from Auto Stop, please contact Auto Stop by calling 410-467-7600 or visit AutoStopLTD.com today! You can also follow Auto Stop on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!

Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau and our Angie’s List rating is an A. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.

Source

http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/

Happy Holidays from Auto Stop Ltd!

December 19th, 2014

The holidays are here, and we’d like to wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah to all of the friends and family of Auto Stop. We hope you enjoy the holiday season, whether you spend it with family in Baltimore or across the country. Happy holidays!

In the spirit of the holidays, we’d also like to ask everyone to come together and think about making a child happy for Christmas. There are many families in our city who are less fortunate and could use our help, especially at this time of year. There are lots of charitable organizations whose goal is to help these families and their children. Consider helping needy families in our community this year through one of these charitable organizations in Baltimore.

Toys for Tots

Toys for tots accepts donations of toys that are given to disadvantaged children in the community. This is the link to the Toys for Tots in Baltimore.

ShareBaby

ShareBaby believes that every baby deserves the proper equipment for the best start in life. ShareBaby collects gently used and new items such as diapers, clothing and basic goods for children between the ages of 0 and 5 and distributes those items to Maryland homeless and domestic violence shelters.

House of Ruth

The House of Ruth Maryland is one of the nation’s leading intimate partner violence centers, helping thousands of battered women and their children find the safety and security that so many of us take for granted.

Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families, and helps to fund programs in the local area that directly improve the well-being of children.

Associated Black Charities

Associated Black Charities is a public foundation that advocates and facilitates the creation of measurably healthier and more prosperous communities through responsible leadership and philanthropic investment throughout the State of Maryland.

holidays