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Is A Valve Cover Gasket Leak Serious?

The short answer, absolutely!

The unsung hero of your engine is the valve cover gasket. This little gasket endures abuse from your engine with every stop, bump, speed, weather, and anything else you can imagine and that is all just from the outside of the engine. The pressure and heat that this little valve cover gasket holds at bay while collecting “gunk” from your engine – it is amazing that one little piece of rubber can do the job.

But make no mistake that this gasket is one of the most important gaskets in your entire engine. And if you notice that there is a leak coming from it, there could be a serious problem in your future.

Even though this gasket seems to be well protected by the engine, just like with anything in a mechanical item, after a while parts start to wear out and need to be replaced. As with most parts in your car there are warning signs prior to failure that if caught can save you a massive headache and save you money too!

When this gasket has lost its integrity and leak begins to leak, which can potentially cause cosmetic issues like leaking oil. Or, on a more serious note, it can cause drivability problems and reduced engine performance. If not properly replaced by an ASE certified mechanic before it is too late, a bad valve cover gasket can lead to complete and utter engine failure.

The warning signs we mentioned earlier are fairly simple. If you heed these signs, you should contact us at German Imports Car Care, as soon as possible so we can replace the valve cover gasket if needed.

Burning Oil Smell

 If you notice that while your engine is running or right after you shut it off you notice that you can smell burning oil, this can be a sign that you have a cracked or worn out gasket. This happens because when the engine is running the extra oil will drip from the engine to the cylinder head or even the fuel intake, which are all very hot when the car is running. When it leaks the oil hits these very hot engine parts and fumes the burnt smell.

Low on Oil

We always try to encourage our customers to check their oil dip stick periodically to ensure that their engine isn’t running low on oil between changes. If you check your oil dip stick and see that you are running low on oil, or that your engine seems to be “going through” oil a lot faster than normal – this is a great indication that you have a leak in your system that could relate back to your gasket failing.

Extra Dirty Engine

As we all know, engines are dirty. It seems like you can’t even refill the windshield fluid without getting some grease or dirt on your hands. But if you open your hood and your engine, especially around where the valve cover is, this is a good sign that you have a leak and it is pushing oil out from the inside of the engine to the outside…not good.

We can help you narrow down and identify the possible serious issues that can arise if your valve cover gasket is leaking or worn out. Call us today to schedule an appointment with us to have your engine and gasket inspected by us at German Imports Car Care.

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How Do You Know When Your Thermostat Is Going Out?

Do you know what your thermostat does for your engine? This is a tiny piece in your engine, though small, is vital to how your engine is going work. If your engine is running too hot or even too cold – this can cause serious damages to your engine’s overall health and performance. So, your thermostat is vital to your engine!

One of the more common issues that many Mercedes owners face is that the thermostat in their engine needs to be replaced or the housing unit (where the thermostat sits in the engine) breaks and needs to be fixed.

What could cause my thermostat to fail?

There are a few reasons why your thermostat is on the fritz, so we are going to give you a few indicators that the issue is with the thermostat and not another component of the car.

Spikes in Temperature Changes:

When your Mercedes’ temperature cannot adjust itself, you’ll noticelowered performance and your engine overheating. This is when you’ll want to check the thermostat first. If your engine’s temperature can’t be regulated, then the primary cause is going to be your thermostat. Thankfully, as far as car engine maintenance is concerned, this fix is often easy to replace and generally inexpensive, depending upon any other damages the engine may have sustained.

Leaking Coolant:

If you have coolant leaking out of your engine anywhere then this can cause your thermostat to be giving an inaccurate reading. Because your thermostat is reading that the engine is either too hot or too cold the coolant being pushed through the system causing the engine to overheat and could “bust a leak”. This isn’t the most accurate way to tell if you have a thermostat issue – there are a number of reasons why your coolant is leaking but the thermostat and the housing case is a good place to start if you see you have a leak of your coolant.

If you have any more questions or concerns about the thermostat or the housing case in your engine, give us a call at German Import Car Care, we are happy to answer any questions that you may have about your thermostat.

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What Happens If Your Cabin Air Filter Is Dirty?

What happens if your cabin air filter is dirty?

Much like the air quality filter in your house, one should not disregard the air filter in your vehicle either. Dangers arise if you don’t replace your cabin air filter on a regular basis. Look at some of the dangers that come with having a dirty air filter:

HVAC system will run poorly: A cabin air filter that hasn’t been replaced in a while will actually start taking a drain on your vehicle’s HVAC system, making it work harder which will cause the motor to fail sooner than expected. Dirty or clogged cabin air filters will block the amount of air flowing through the vents. This also affects cabin air temperature, which depends on a steady flow of air passing through the heater core.

Foul odors: Wondering where that terrible smell is coming from and looking sidelong at your passengers? No, that terrible smell coming from your passengers, it’s coming from not changing your cabin air filter. A dirty cabin air filters will produce a dusty, old mold stench, especially when the HVAC system is turned on. When you change your cabin air filter regularly will help ensure that your passengers don’t have to wind down their windows in the dead of winter to get some fresh air.

Poor window fog clearing: One might think that this is lesser of the problem that arises when airflow is compromised but in the dead of winter and you need to see to drive, this issue become a serious one very quickly. Once the cabin air filter is replaced, there will be less fog buildup on the windshield, and you’ll be able to see easier and faster.

Health troubles: Finally, a well-functioning cabin air filter is vital in keeping the inside of a vehicle free of pollutants. A cabin air filter that’s dirty or clogged won’t filter those contaminants, causing problems for those who suffer from allergies or have breathing difficulties. A good rule of thumb that our technicians use is to replace your cabin air filter every February, this way you have a fresh one before spring allergy season arrives. A new cabin air filter will prevent pollen from making its way into a vehicle and causing its occupants to start sneezing, or even worse.

If you’d like to schedule a visit with us to have your cabin air filter replaced because you don’t know when it was last done or maybe are curious if it needs to be replaced – give us a call at German Imports Car Care today to get a date on the books!

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How Dangerous Is It To Drive With A Bad CV Joint?

CV Axle Shaft Centennial

In a front-wheel drive car, the axles are connected to the wheels with Constant Velocity or CV joints. These allow the axle and wheel to flex as the car drives to compensate for turns or uneven surfaces. However, the CV joint itself is a weak point in the system. It needs lubrication, and protection from dirt, dust, rocks and other debris. If the boot that seals the CV joint is damaged, the grease will leak out and contamination will set in, eventually causing the joint to wear out and fail.

A severely worn out CV joint can even crumble while you’re driving and make the car undrivable. If this happens it is incredibly dangerous because you may lose control of the vehicle entirely. It is not safe to drive with a damaged CV joint. It is good to be on the lookout for a few of the symptoms of a failing CV joint to have it repaired before it becomes unsafe to operate the vehicle.

For example, if you hear a clicking, clunking or popping noise from the front wheels, especially while you are turning, means the ware of the CV joint has progressed to the point where the CV joint is damaged. These cannot be repaired – only replaced. You can drive on a damaged CV joint for a small period of time, but there is no telling how long “safe” it will last. There are many factors, such as where you drive, how fast you are going – particularly around turns, the amount of dirt/dust/debris in the areas you drive, how much water gets into the joint, and more.

In a “worst-case” scenario, your CV joint will fail completely. If this happens this will break the axle, leaving you with a car that won’t go anywhere. If this break happens while you’re driving, it can be serious, and can lead to a total loss of control. It is important to catch a faulty CV joint before this point to maintain safe driving conditions for you and your passengers.

If you believe that your CV joint is damaged or have concerns with your CV joint, it’s important to fix it as soon as possible. This is a critical component, and if it fails completely, the situation can be severe and very unsafe. Before the situation gets worse, bring your vehicle into us at German Imports Car Care so we can replace the joints and get you back on the road safely!

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How To Replace A Valve Cover Gasket On Mercedes

Valve Cover Gasket

When your Mercedes comes back with the diagnosis code of valve cover gasket issues, it’s may not be immediately clear what action you need to take. Things like plugs and brake pads are second nature to car owners, but a valve cover gasket is a bit less well known. If it comes to it, knowing how to replace a valve cover gasket on a Mercedes is important to the longevity of your vehicle.

What is a Valve Cover Gasket?

The valve cover is on top of the cylinder head of the engine, and the valve cover gasket sits conveniently right between them to keep circulating oil inside. The majority of valve cover gaskets are made of a rubber mold, varying in size and thickness based on the vehicle and its engine. In some cases, the spark plug tube gaskets are part of the valve cover gasket, and in that case, it is common to replace both at the same time.

What Does it Do?

The valve cover gasket helps keep oil in the engine so things are running smoothly. A bad valve cover gasket results in an oil leak that can exit the engine and start to leak onto other essential parts of the car. If this starts happening, users start to notice oil under the car or on other parts under the hood. A burning smell usually comes with a damaged valve cover gasket.

Is it Dire that I Replace the Valve Cover Gasket?

Sure, you can drive with a broken valve cover gasket, but problems of a much larger magnitude follow. Leaked oil can damage everything from plugs and hoses. Avoid the problem now and get the replacement taken care of immediately.

Replacing a Valve Cover Gasket

There’s no exact science to when the valve cover gasket will break in a Mercedes, but once it does, replacement is crucial. Getting a valve cover gasket replaced at German Imports Car Care is the ideal way to go, seeing as every step is done by an expert. The team member working on your car removes the valve cover, removes the old gasket, and cleans the surface before installing the new part. After applied to the car, a test will make sure leaking has stopped.

Can I Replace the Valve Cover Gasket in my Mercedes Myself?

Like many car repairs, the parts that are being replaced in a valve cover gasket repair are not complex. In fact, the tools needed are simple as well. The trick here is the assurance that leaking is stopped and that the new gasket is placed correctly. The team at German Imports Car Care is trained to know whether or not the valve cover gasket is in the right position or not, as well as how to clean the area if leaking occurred before the repair. Call German Imports Car Care today for all Mercedes repairs and maintenance.

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What’s Included In The 100K Service For My BMW?

What’s Included In The 100K Service For My BMW?

As we all know, an engine is full of moving parts and sometimes those parts break or are starting to wear to the point of nearly breaking. That is why it is good that our engines have sensors to tell us when there might be something going wrong inside of your engine that can be fixed before there is a major issue that would come of lack of a warning. These sensors tells us on our dashboard with indicator lights, these lights tell you things like if you haven’t buckled your seat belt, your gas tank is low, the parking break is set, your engine is over-heating, or a number of other warning lights to help inform you that there is a malfunction with the safe operation of your vehicle.

Now-a-days people are being able to keep their vehicles for longer. And BMW vehicles are high performance vehicles which, if they are well maintained, can last for many, many years. Following the manufacturer guidelines that BMW suggests all owners take their vehicles in for scheduled maintenance at the mileage milestones like 15,000-mile service when you have your oil changed, fluids checked, tires rotated and balanced and check air filter

When your vehicle starts to get to the 90,000 and 100,000 miles on your odometer you need to have a little more TLC for your BMW’s engine.

If you have followed the service and maintenance schedule for your BMW you know that there is a 90,000-mileage service but not a 100,000k scheduled service. With your 90,000-mile service your BMW should undergo the same complete inspection that it would when your car reaches 30,000 miles.

  • Many of the Same Services from 60,000 Mile Interval
  • Top to Bottom Inspection
  • Check Spark Plugs – Replace as Needed
  • Inspect Vehicle Safety Technology Features

After a certain point, with any model of vehicle, after 100,000 miles your car is living on borrowed time. It is important to give your engine the proper love that it will need to help keep it on the road as long as possible. BMW engines are built to last so if you have reached the golden mile on your odometer – celebrate!

If you need to have your 90,000 or 100,000 mile service scheduled give us a call at German Imports Car Care and we will ensure that your engine will get the love and care it needs to stay on the road for many years to come.

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Why Is My Audi’s Check Engine Light On?

Why is my Audi's check engine light on?

As we all know, an engine is full of moving parts and sometimes those parts break or are starting to wear to the point of nearly breaking. That is why it is good that our engines have sensors to tell us when there might be something going wrong inside of your engine that can be fixed before there is a major issue that would come of lack of a warning. These sensors tells us on our dashboard with indicator lights, these lights tell you things like if you haven’t buckled your seat belt, your gas tank is low, the parking break is set, your engine is over-heating, or a number of other warning lights to help inform you that there is a malfunction with the safe operation of your vehicle.

Audi Warning Lights

An Audi is no different, some models can have upwards of 35 different simples and lights on your dashboard. When your check engine light is on in your Audi there could be a few reasons as to why this could be illuminated.

It could be as simple as your gas cap is loose or it could be much more complicated. If you wanted to check your engine yourself, you can pick up from an auto part store a level 1 OBD-II scanner. This scanner you can plug into your dash (check your owner’s manual to see where the plug is located) and the scanner will send you the fault code, also called Diagnostic trouble code. Then you can look up what that code means in your owner’s manual and understand how serious the situation is that has caused your check engine light to be turned on.

Flashing Check Engine Light

Now if your check engine light is flashing don’t bother with the scanner, call a tow truck and bring your Audi down to German Imports Car Care. This indicates there is a misfire, which means that the engine is going receiving the fuel and the burn off isn’t reaching the cylinders. Since this is a misfire, we DO NOT recommend you drive your care to the care center, it becomes a hazard to drive and you are no longer safe while driving this beautiful piece of automotive.

The scanners can be a little confusing to figure out on your own so be sure to consult with your owner’s manual or call us and we can help decode the codes for you. We are always here to answer your questions that you may have and ensure that you are confident with your Audi. 

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How Do Know If My Mercedes Brakes Need To Be Serviced?

Have you ever been driving down the road and come to a stoplight or sign and heard the car next to you squealing at a high pitch sound that makes your jaw hurt? That is the number one indicator that their brakes desperately need to be changed out.

Mercedes recommends that the break rotors get replaced between 15,000 and 70,000 miles. That’s a lot of miles between those two numbers so what are some signs that you should get your brakes and rotors replaced sooner rather than later.

The main indicator, outside of the squeaky brakes, is when you push on the brake pedal and your stomach drops to your toes because your entire car is shaking. This is a great time to schedule a maintenance visit for your vehicle. You feel the shaking because your rotors are starting to get warped or your brake pads are worn down.

Sometimes you need to just look – that’s right! Change out of those good slacks and kneel down, this is the best way to get a visual idea of what the status of your pads and rotors is. Because the brake pads press against the rotors to slow down your car, it isn’t surprising that the rotors are going to wear out over time. Sadly, that is just how it is with vehicles. When you inspect your rotors, it is good to know what to look for, you are looking for grooves and scoring the brake pads have caused over time. A good rotor will look very smooth and unmarked. If you see grooves or scoring, or both, on the rotors, the fact of the matter is they will likely need to be replaced. If not now, then soon.

Back to the squeaky wheel – though sounds don’t always mean that you have bad rotors. But a squealing or squeaking sound could be a sign of a bad rotor and brake pads. If you feel like your brakes are in a questionable state it is always best to have them checked out. German Imports Car Care is able to give you peace of mind while checking on your brakes.