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Consumer Education

Bouncy Bouncy – Are My Shocks Bad?

When Smyrna motorists think about preventive maintenance, what usually comes to mind is oil, fluids and brakes. We don’t generally think about our shocks or struts, but these critical auto parts keep our tires on the road.

Smyrna motorists don’t think about shocks as often as oil changes because shocks and struts last a long time and wear out slowly. They don’t need to be checked as often as our brake pads or air filters. By the time your shocks have fifty thousand miles on them, their performance will have noticeable degraded. If you want to restore the handling and ride designed for your sedan, consider replacing your shocks and struts.

Of course, if you drive off-road around Smyrna, carry heavy loads, tow a trailer, or put in a lot of mileage on poor driving surfaces, your shocks or struts will wear out more quickly. You’ll need to replace them more often or upgrade to better shocks.

Your suspension system uses springs and shocks to absorb the “shocks” and vibrations of driving over road surfaces. Springs support the sedan’s weight, suspending it above the axles so the body of the sedan is protected from most of the bumps on the road. Shocks control the bounciness of the springs by moderating rebound. They also push your tires down onto the road’s surface, maximizing traction. Without shocks, your wheels would bounce over bumps and lift against curbs and corners. Shocks are critical to the safe handling of your sedan as well as a comfortable ride. Struts are a combination shock and spring in one unit.

Worn shocks result in lowered vehicle handling performance. If your vehicle “squirms” around corners or gets “floaty” over bumps, then you need to check your shocks. If the rear end of your vehicle squats while accelerating, the front end dips while braking, or one corner sags, you probably need new shocks.

Uneven tire wear may also be an indication of bad shocks. If shocks are damaged or leaking, they definitely need to be replaced.

If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, you need to replace them all. This will maintain an even ride and predictable, safe handling.

If you’re unsure whether you need new shocks, or if you’re considering upgrading to a higher quality shock, then consult with your Personable Cooper Lake Automotive technician. They can give you vital auto advice on the condition of your shocks and how to match your driving needs to the quality of your shocks.

Good car care is essential to the safety, performance and efficiency of your sedan. It can improve the comfort of your ride as well.


 

The Cooper Lake Automotive Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

The team at Cooper Lake Automotive in Smyrna and GA car owners are all talking fuel efficiency right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Smyrna car owners want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.

And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize gas mileage. But is there something more Smyrna auto owners can do? After all, some of us Smyrna folks can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Smyrna to Atlanta. And that means buying more gas in Smyrna and producing more emissions.

Of course, your sedan’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your sedan. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around GA? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Smyrna home? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your car: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your car. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire—the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in your Smyrna when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around all the time. After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?


 

The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at Cooper Lake

AutomotiveService to a vehicle’s power steering system is a critical part of preventive maintenance for brilliant Smyrna motorists. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your sedan’s wheels would have to come from you.

The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer sedans have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.

Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.

Smyrna motorists should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.

Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner’s manual or ask your Personable Cooper Lake Automotive service specialist to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.

When your fluid is replaced, your Personable Cooper Lake Automotive tech will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. Your Cooper Lake Automotive technician can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner’s manual.

Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, Smyrna car owners who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.

To protect your steering system should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.

Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough GA driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Smyrna auto owners should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.

For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at Cooper Lake Automotive. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.


 

Shake It Up in Smyrna!: Why Wheel Balancing 

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Smyrna auto owners generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Smyrna auto owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your Personable Cooper Lake Automotive service professional spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Smyrna car owners are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Smyrna motorists can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your sedan — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the highway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the dangerous vibration. When Smyrna drivers’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and important suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at Cooper Lake Automotive in Smyrna can prevent pricey repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your sedan as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your fuel efficiency. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Cooper Lake Automotive, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Smyrna vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your sedan. Balancing your tires is part of important preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some costly ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Cooper Lake Automotive. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Smyrna car owners’ nerves.


 

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