Time for a New Car Air Filter? Visit Your Uniontown Toyota Dealer

Many drivers don’t realize how much damage a dirty air filter can do to their engine. Even before dust and dirt work their way inside, the restriction of the airflow itself can lead to misfiring, reduced power, poor gas mileage, and even engine failure. Here are five signs that you might need to visit your Toyota dealer for a new car air filter.

Time for a New Car Air Filter? Visit Your Uniontown Toyota Dealer

Reduced Acceleration

If you find your acceleration becoming sluggish, then the fuel-air mixture in your combustion chambers could well be unbalanced. This usually occurs when the inflow of air is restricted by a clogged up air filter. When the onboard computer of your Toyota detects less oxygen coming in, it will attempt to avoid an uneven fuel-air mixture by cutting back on the fuel, as well. This results in reduced power for acceleration.

Poor Gas Mileage

Have you been visiting the gas station more often than you used to? This might be another sign that your filter is dirtied. When your engine struggles to draw in oxygen, the unbalanced mixture of fuel and air combusts less efficiently. Your entire engine has become less effective, burning through more fuel for every mile it takes you.

Frequent Misfires

An engine misfire means the ignition mechanism inside a combustion chamber didn’t work properly. You’ll notice this as a little stumbling and sputtering when you’re starting your car or sitting in idle. If the misfiring is really bad, you might even stall altogether.

A dirty air filter leads to misfires because the unbalanced fuel-air mixture creates an excess of unburned fuel in the combustion chambers. This unburned fuel creates a sooty residue on the spark plugs, inhibiting their ability to ignite the fuel properly.

Smoke From the Tailpipe

In the case of a clogged air filter, the engine will try to rid itself of the excess, unburned fuel created. The main way it does this is by expelling the unburned fuel from the exhaust in the form of black smoke. Sometimes, you’ll even see flames in the smoke, as the excess fuel ignites on its way out. So if you ever see smoke in the rearview mirror, check your filter right away.

30,000 Miles Have Passed

Under ordinary driving conditions, you should replace your filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. By the time you reach 30,000 miles, you’ll certainly find that your filter is blackened and clogging up in places between the pleats. Even if you haven’t yet noticed signs of trouble, a filter this old is very likely to be impeding the optimal performance of your engine.

Extreme Driving Conditions

If your regular driving conditions are more extreme, then you’ll need to replace your filter more often. Extreme conditions include very hot climates and unpaved roads, where plenty of dust and dirt is thrown up. Dense urban traffic, where the air is thick with pollutants, also puts your filter under more strain. When driving in these conditions, you should have your filter replaced every 10,000 miles or so.

To have your filter inspected and changed today, visit Mike Kelly Automotive. We’re a third-generation, family-owned dealership that’s been helping out the local drivers of Pennsylvania since 1953.

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Do You Need an Alternator Repair?

Your battery provides the charge to the starter solenoid to start your engine. Once your engine starts, the alternator replaces your battery as the source of electrical power for your car. Your alternator will also recharge your battery to keep it at full power. If your alternator starts to fail, it impacts all of your car’s electrical components. As your Toyota dealer, we are here to help you when you need an alternator repair.

Flickering Interior Lights

Flickering lights mean that there’s a problem with your alternator. The flickering is a sign that the electrical supply to the lights is fluctuating. A weakening alternator can’t supply enough electricity to meet all your car’s demands. As the alternator tries and fails to supply enough power and this will cause the lights to flicker.

Damaged Wiring

Wires snake through your engine and connect the alternator to all your car’s electrical devices. Despite their protective coating, the wires can suffer damage. Damaged wiring provides resistance that will block the flow of electricity. The alternator will continue to supply power through the damaged wiring and this will cause the wires to heat up.

Difficulty Starting

Your battery uses a strong electrical charge to start your engine. A good alternator will easily recharge the battery while you drive. When your alternator starts to fail, it won’t provide enough power to fully charge the battery. An insufficiently-charged battery won’t be able to start your engine immediately. If it takes several attempts to crank your engine, you may have an alternator problem.

Dim and Bright Headlights

If your headlights are dim and then suddenly become too bright, you could have an alternator problem. The dim lights mean that a weak alternator has too many demands on its limited power. The lights are supplied with just enough electricity to work. When the demands on the alternator are reduced, your headlights will suddenly blaze brighter than they should. This fluctuating power will also cause your bulbs to blow.

Stalling Issues

Your spark plugs ignite the fuel-air mix in the combustion chamber. The series of controlled explosions that follow allow your car to move. If your car randomly starts to stall, this could be a sign your alternator is failing. A dying alternator may not have enough power to supply even critical systems like the spark plugs.

Battery Warning Light

A working alternator provides 13.5 to 14 volts. This power output will drop if your alternator starts to fail. Sensors are attached to vital components in your engine to monitor them for any unusual changes. The sensors will detect the reduced power output from the alternator. The reduced electricity supply will cause the warning light to come on.

A damaged alternator always gives signs that it’s failing. If your alternator doesn’t seem to be working properly, call our service department ASAP at Mike Kelly Toyota of Uniontown. Our highly-trained technicians will find and fix the problem.

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Does Your Car Need a Transmission Repair?

Transmission service can be one of the most significant repairs you can make to your car. Since transmissions are complex systems, addressing transmission issues early minimizes expensive repairs and helps ensure your vehicle is safe to drive. Let’s explore seven signs from your Toyota dealer that you need a transmission repair.

1. You Hear Strange Noises When You Drive

If you hear strange noises when driving, this is a sign that you need to get your car checked by a professional right away. Strange noises when you drive, like buzzing or humming, are usually caused by damaged gears, a bad bearing, or other problems. Grinding noises are typically the result of issues with the planetary gear system.

2. Your Car Is Jerking or Vibrating When You Drive

You may have been noticing your car jerking and vibrating when you drive. Faulty gears or bad bearings cause vibrations and jerks. If you’ve been noticing your car jerk or vibrate while driving, it’s time to get them checked by a professional.

3. You Notice a Burning Smell Coming From Your Car

You may have been smelling a strong odor, like burning oil. Burnt smells typically mean that you’re burning transmission fluid due to worn-out gears or damaged bearings. If you’re noticing a burning smell coming from your car, it’s likely that your transmission is beginning to fail and needs to be repaired.

4. Reduced Power When Accelerating

One sign you may be having transmission problems with is slowing acceleration. If you notice a significant reduction in power when accelerating, it means that your transmission is having trouble shifting gears.

5. You See Fluid Leaking From Under Your Car

When you see fluid leaking underneath your car, it’s time to get a transmission inspection because there may be serious problems that could lead to an expensive repair bill. If you notice red fluid leaking out of your car, it’s likely that the transmission is overheating and needs immediate attention.

6. Your Check Engine Light Is On

You may be noticing that your “check engine” light just came on, which means it’s time to get your car inspected. If your car’s check engine light comes on, it means that your car’s computer is detecting trouble with one of the engine sensors or other components and needs to be checked out. One of these components could be your transmission system.

7. You Notice Problems Shifting Gears

If you notice a problem with your car’s gear shifting, there could be many reasons for this. One cause could be a faulty solenoid or worn-out gears within your automatic transmission system.

It’s best to have a professional technician inspect your car and determine what needs to be repaired. The sooner you get your car checked, the lower your repair bill may be.

If you’re experiencing any of the above signs, it’s time to have transmission service. While some of these problems may be minor, others could indicate that your transmission is on the verge of failing. Contact Mike Kelly Toyota of Uniontown today for a diagnostic appointment and find out how we can help get your car running like new again.

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5 Signs You Need a Radiator Repair

Maintaining your vehicle involves several different services that need to be done, one of which is radiator repair. Think your vehicle might be due for this crucial bit of maintenance? Here are some signs that you should bring your vehicle to your local Toyota dealer to have the radiator checked out.

1. Coolant Levels Are Low

One important aspect of maintaining your vehicle is checking the levels of the various fluids your vehicle needs to function properly. Your coolant fluid is one crucial fluid that you should be keeping an eye on and replacing as needed. If you find that your coolant levels are running low quicker than you would expect, you’ll want to contact a mechanic to have them take a look, as that may be indicative of a problem with the radiator.

2. Temperature Gauge Is High

During normal operation of your vehicle, the temperature gauge on your instrument cluster should stay steady around the middle. If you notice this gauge is consistently reading higher than it should be, that may be a sign that you need to get some repairs performed for your radiator. There are a few other problems that could cause this however, such as a malfunctioning thermostat, so have your mechanic take a look to diagnose the problem.

3. Signs of a Coolant Leak

Another way to know that you need radiator maintenance is if you notice coolant leaking from the vehicle. Take a moment to inspect the area underneath where your vehicle was parked after leaving it in a parking spot or driveway for a while. If you notice a pool of multicolored liquid has formed beneath where the vehicle was, you should take your vehicle in for maintenance as it is likely you have a coolant leak.

4. Discoloration or Rust on Radiator

Taking a look underneath the hood can be another good way of diagnosing any problems with your radiator. In particular, you should be on the lookout for any signs of rust or discoloration. This could be a sign that a leak has sprung from the radiator or one of the hoses connected to it, with fluid leaking out and causing the rust to form. A skilled technician can address the source of this leak to prevent further issues.

5. Engine Overheating

Of course, the most obvious sign of radiator trouble is when your vehicle overheats due to a failure of this component. You’ll know immediately when this happens because thick white steam will be billowing out from the engine. You should stop the vehicle immediately when you notice this, as continued operation may be dangerous. Get in contact with your mechanic to have your vehicle brought in for essential repairs.

If you want maintenance for your vehicle done right, look no further than our skilled service department. We’ve got the tools and experience to keep your vehicle running as good as the day you got it. Visit Mike Kelly Toyota of Uniontown today!

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