How to Recognize Dirty Car Air Filter Symptoms in Tacoma

dirty car air filter, dirty air filter, car air filterAll living things require oxygen. The car, while not exactly alive, also requires oxygen. If the air filter is dirty, then the engine won’t get sufficient oxygen. Here’s how to recognize the symptoms of a dirty car air filter. Taking subsequent action will prolong your car’s life.

1. Air Filter Looks Dirty

New filters are supposed to be pearly white. If it’s badly blackened, then it’s time for a cleaning or a replacement. You can also hold the filter to a light source; if the light doesn’t penetrate, then the filter is beyond worn.

2. Engine Misfires

Does the engine have a hard time starting? Does it take multiple attempts to successfully rev the engine? This is a sign the car is not getting enough air. Oxygen is not getting through because the filter is too dirty to let the air pass.

3. Odd Engine Sounds

Pay attention to how the engine sounds when the car is in idle. A healthy engine is supposed to have an even and smooth roar. If the engine sounds uneven or if there is extensive vibration, then you probably have a dirty spark plug. This is often due to a dirty air filter. Bring your car to an auto service to have both checked.

4. Horsepower Reduction

Does the car seem sluggish during acceleration? This is a telltale sign of low oxygen flow. This warrants a checkup from an auto repair technician. If acceleration is slow, then you’re probably getting poor fuel economy as well.

Don’t Ignore the Dirty Car Air Filter Symptoms

It doesn’t matter whether you drive a modern or a classic car. If the filter is in bad shape, the engine isn’t going to perform reliably. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic if you detect any of the symptoms of a dirty car air filter; other damage may also have occurred as a result.

Air Filter Check and Replacement

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston


04/24/2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Common CVT Transmission Problems in Tacoma

CVT transmission problems, CVT transmissionMany modern cars have a CVT transmission, which should not be confused with a conventional automatic transmission. Like any other automotive component, problems can eventually arise that require immediate auto service assistance. What are the common CVT transmission problems to be aware of?

What Is a CVT Transmission?

First, it helps to understand what a CVT transmission is and how it works. It’s not that different from an automatic transmission. The former, though, is designed to deliver more seamless acceleration. In an automatic transmission, you may “feel” the gears shifting as you speed up. With a CVT transmission, the acceleration feels smoother and brisker. Essentially, the transmission adjusts itself to find the ideal torque ratio at any given speed.

CVT transmissions have become a mainstay for some auto manufacturers. They are common in hybrid cars but are yet to be seen in larger diesel vehicles. Some car collectors even retrofit their classic car with a CVT transmission. Continue Reading →

Obscure Auto Repairs in Tacoma

obscure auto repair, spark plug, oxygen sensorWhen it comes to auto repair, scenarios like an oil change, filter change, and brake pad replacement come to mind. However, your car has many other common but obscure maintenance needs that you don’t usually think about. Here are some of these obscure auto repairs.

Spark Plug

When the spark plug needs replacement, the ignition coils may need to be changed as well. The spark plug ignites the fuel inside the cylinder and plays an essential role for initiating engine combustion. If this part goes bad, it can damage the catalytic converter, which is another obscure auto part in itself.

Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor monitors the oxygen level in the exhaust and relays the information to the car ECU. This information is vital for adjusting the air-to-fuel ratio for maintaining smooth engine performance. A damaged oxygen sensor can give false readings, throwing the whole air-to-fuel ratio off. All modern cars, from common manufacturers like Toyota and Subaru to obscure brands like Denza, contain an oxygen sensor.

Other Sensors

Cars have many other sensors besides the oxygen sensor. These include the manifold absolute pressure sensor, crank position sensor, and mass air flow sensor, to list a few. These can all experience malfunctions that require servicing.

Fuel Cap

Believe it or not, a common repair at Jones Automotive Clinic is replacing a missing fuel cap. Most car owners ignore a missing fuel cap, thinking it’s no big deal. However, a missing cap actually hurts fuel economy. According to one study, a missing fuel cap causes your car to consume an additional 22 to 30 gallons of fuel per year.

We Perform Obscure Auto Repairs

If your car requires a repair you’re unfamiliar with, our auto service most likely covers it. Bring your car to our shop if you notice erratic behavior of any sort. With an average car containing roughly 30,000 parts, obscure auto repairs are bound to be needed.

Auto Repairs on all Makes and Models

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Dangerous Driving Habits That Can Damage Your Car in Tacoma

dangerous drivingWhat are your goals this year? Reducing bad habits is often among the list of resolutions. With that in mind, we suggest eliminating your dangerous driving habits, many of which you may not be aware of. These habits slowly damage your car and make auto repair necessary.

1. Driving on a Near-Empty Tank

Some drivers wait until the fuel tank is nearly empty before filling up. The fuel tank contains sediments at the bottom. When you drive with a low tank, these impurities enter the fuel system and clog the filter. Over time, this can lead to decreased performance, stalling, and starting issues. As a general rule, never let the fuel gauge go below the 1/4 mark.

2. Overloading the Car

Do you consistently commute with heavy cargo? This is a bad practice that stresses the suspension and braking system. It also taxes the engine by making it work harder to move the vehicle forward. Know your car’s weight capacity and do not exceed the limit.

3. Abrupt Braking and Acceleration

Our auto service commonly deals with braking and acceleration issues. Often, this is at least partially caused by consistently slamming on the brake pedal. This wears out the braking pads and diminishes their service life.

4. Not Disengaging the Clutch

One notorious habit for manual car owners is pressing down on the clutch even when the car is stationary. This places undue stress on the pressure plate, the release bearing, and the release plate. This can lead to a total transmission break down.

Eliminate Dangerous Driving Habits in 2020

Another bad habit is never bringing your car in for maintenance. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic whether you drive a Toyota or Subaru or own a more obscure brand. Regardless, dangerous driving habits wreak havoc on your vehicle.

Automotive Maintenance for all Vehicle Models

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

New Year’s Car Resolutions for Tacoma Motorists

New Year’s car resolutions, car resolutions

Most New Year’s resolutions concern health and finances. However, we suggest adding a few automotive related goals. After all, you depend on your car for your livelihood when you commute to work or run errands. New Year’s car resolutions keep your car healthy and reliable.

1. Change Your Oil

A routine oil change seems so basic and common sense. Yet, so many people hold off until an engine or transmission issue occurs. This routine auto service only runs around $50, but could prevent thousands of dollars in repairs. Refer to your vehicle’s manual to determine oil change intervals and set a reminder on your mobile phone.

2. Learn How to Change a Tire

This is a street-smart skill that every licensed motorist should know. Yet, 60% of people don’t know how to do it, according to an NBC report. You can google step-by-step instructions for a primer. However, this is one of those things that require hands-on experience. Practice a few times in your garage. Common issues for first-timers include operating the jack, removing the bolts, and pulling out the tire once the bolts are removed.

3. Learn How to Jumpstart a Car

Like changing a tire, this is another skill that many drivers lack hands-on experience in. You should have jumper cables in your car at the very least. We recommend a portable battery booster, so you can jumpstart without requiring a second vehicle. However, we still recommend learning how to jumpstart the traditional way. Remember this: red cable is positive and black cable negative.

Celebrate 2020 With New Year’s Car Resolutions

Auto repairs should be among your resolutions if you’ve been holding off repairs. If your goals for 2020 include a new career, Jones Automotive Clinic has employment opportunities available. Commemorate the start of a new decade with New Year’s car resolutions.

Auto Repair, Maintenance, and Servicing

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Power Steering Flush: What Is It and Do Tacoma Car Owners Require One?

power steering flush

Your car’s power steering system enables you to turn your steering wheel effortlessly, using only a light touch with your hands. Like other components, this system requires fluid to operate. When the fluid goes bad, it may be time for a power steering flush.

What Is a Power Steering Flush?

A power steering flush is not unlike a transmission flush. That is, the power steering fluid is completely removed and replaced with fresh fluid. As the miles rack up, the fluid can accumulate impurities. These include bits of surface metal and rubber from the system. Unlike the engine and transmission, however, the power steering system does not have a filter to remove contaminants. The presence of the impurities can degrade the seals.

An auto service can perform a power steering flush according to your car manual’s recommended intervals or if the fluid turns brownish.

Does My Car Need a Power Steering Flush?

Here’s how to recognize the signs that the power steering is going awry. The most obvious sign is that the steering wheel becomes a lot harder to turn. It feels like you’re getting an arm workout just from navigating the car. You may also hear a squealing noise when you turn the wheel.

If the car is parked, you may notice a fluid leak. This is due to a broken seal; impurities in the fluid, as we mentioned earlier, can degrade the seal.

These symptoms can also point to a faulty power steering pump or a snapped drive belt.

We Perform Power Steering Flushes

Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic if you notice any of the signs of a failing power steering system. Our auto repair center can determine if you need a complete flush or if a simple fluid change will suffice. We perform power steering flushes on all models, including retrofitted classic cars.

Power Steering Flush and Fluid Change

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Signs of Driveshaft Failure in Tacoma

driveshaft failure

Can you recognize the signs of a driveshaft failure? Most car owners are unable to do so because they are only semi-familiar with the driveshaft and its function. This is actually one of the vehicle’s most critical yet overlooked components.

What Is a Driveshaft?

The driveshaft is a cylindrical device that links the gearbox and differential. Its role is to transfer power from the engine to the tires. The driveshaft is a critical component, particularly in rear-wheel drive cars. Vehicles ranging from Toyota and Subaru models to more obscure foreign brands almost all have driveshafts.

The driveshaft seldom fails instantaneously. The wear is gradual and accompanied by symptoms. Be alert for the signs of driveshaft failure outlined below.

Intense Vibrations

Cars vibrate for a number of reasons. However, if the vibration feels intense and comes from underneath the car, then a failing driveshaft may be the cause. The problem may lie in the shaft’s bushings or U-joint. If not fixed, the continued vibrations can accelerate wear of nearby drivetrain parts.

Unusual Noises

As mentioned, a worn driveshaft may indicate worn bushings or U-joint. When these parts fail, they can prevent the driveshaft from rotating properly. The end-result is an audible noise that may resemble a scraping, rattling, or squeaking sound. The sounds may especially be heard when the car is at a low speed. Atypical sounds combined with vibrations should be taken seriously and warrant a prompt trip to an auto service provider.

Turning Problems

The car may feel stiff when making a sharp turn or a complete U-turn. You may feel resistance from the tires, as if they refuse to turn. Parking may also feel more difficult, or maneuvering into a tight space.

Don’t Ignore a Failing Driveshaft

A failing driveshaft can affect maneuvering, making it a serious safety liability. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic for auto repairs the minute you recognize the signs of a driveshaft failure.

Driveshaft Diagnosis and Repair

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Signs of a Bad Car Starter in Tacoma

car starter

Is your car having trouble starting? Most people instantly think it’s a battery problem. However, you may also have a bad car starter. Usually, the vehicle will give you some clues that will help you figure out why it won’t start.

Is the Engine Cranking?

Pay attention when you turn the ignition. Is the engine cranking at all? If it’s cranking but not starting, then the problem probably stems from a faulty fuel system or ignition and not the starter. Either way, an auto repair technician will need to run a diagnostics check.

If the starter is the issue, you may hear a noise when turning the key. Pay attention to what you hear. The following noises point to the probable source of the trouble.

Whirring Sound

The car starter has a component called the overrunning clutch that releases the pinion from the flywheel. The starter solenoid then kicks in and engages the flywheel, which provides the engine with kinetic energy. A whirring sound may indicate a worn solenoid.

Grinding Sound

You may also hear a rough grinding noise. This usually indicates a faulty pinion gear with worn teeth. The teeth may be gnashing due to the pinion and flywheel coming out of place. It’s also possible that the starter motor’s mounting bolts may be loose. An auto service will need to determine the exact cause.

Buzzing Sound

If you hear a subtle buzzing sound, then there may be a poor electrical connection. The flow is inadequate and insufficient for supplying power to the solenoid plunger. A bad electrical current is probably due to low battery power.

We Will Fix a Bad Car Starter

We diagnose a faulty starter for all car models, including common manufacturers like Subaru and Toyota. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic if the ignition is acting up. A bad car starter requires professional diagnosis and remediation.

Car Starter Repair and Replacement

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Is Your Car’s AC Blowing Warm Air? AC Maintenance for Tacoma Car Owners

car AC warm, car AC maintenance, car AC malfunction

Summer is winding down; nevertheless, you can still expect a few more weeks of hot weather. You will still need to rely on your AC for the time being. However, many motorists have complained that their car’s AC is blowing warm air. What’s going on with the AC system?

Refrigerant Leak

The AC’s refrigerant may need to be topped off. If the refrigerant level is low, then there is probably a leak. Without enough refrigerant, the AC begins blowing warm air. Unlike other leaks, this does not necessarily manifest in the form of oily puddles under the car. An auto repair technician will need to identify the more subtle signs, such as oil buildup around the AC hose.

Faulty Compressor

The compressor has the all-important task of circulating the refrigerant and shuttling heat from the car’s interior. If the compressor doesn’t operate correctly, the refrigerant can’t do its job. Warm air out of the AC vent is one of the symptoms.

To prevent premature compressor wear, run the AC at least once a month during the off-season. Alternatively, you can simply run the defroster.

Faulty Electrical System

The car’s AC system is far more complex than the average motorist realizes. It has dozens of wires, fuses, and pressure and relay switches. Any of these components can malfunction at any moment due to old age. When this happens, the AC will automatically shut down to prevent further damage. In some instances, it will continue to operate but blow hot and stuffy air. An auto service will need to determine which specific component has worn out.

Car AC Blowing Warm Air? Bring the Car to Us

Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic if the AC is failing to cool the cabin. We diagnose and repair AC for all vehicle models, including classic cars and hybrids. The car’s AC blowing warm air is not normal; it’s a sign of a faulty system.

Car Air Conditioning Maintenance

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Engine Overheating Prevention: How to Stop Your Car from Overheating in Tacoma

prevent engine overheating, engine overheating

It’s not just people that feel the brunt of the summer heat. Your car is just as susceptible to a heatwave. So, we see more car breakdowns where the hood seems to be blowing smoke. Preventing engine overheating is crucial for minimizing the chances of a breakdown on a hot summer day. Here’s how:

Check the Coolant and the Radiator

During summer, check the radiator and the coolant reservoir at least once a week. You definitely need to do this before an extended road trip. For the coolant, you don’t even need to remove the cap. Just see whether the fluid is at or above the “full” line.

Switch Off the Air Conditioner

It sounds crazy to switch off the AC inside a hot car cabin. However, this is precisely what you should do if you see the temperature gauge rising above normal levels. This takes some of the load off the engine. You should also turn the blower on full blast. This will suck some of the heat from the engine bay and transfer it into the interior cabin. This will turn the cabin into a sauna, but it will cool the engine a bit.

Pull Over

If the temperature gauge continues to rise, pull over when safe to do so. Open the hood to let out the trapped heat. Keep the hood open for about 20-minutes. When the engine has cooled, pour some water over the radiator.

Even if the car appears to operate normally after this, we suggest that you stop at an auto service. Err on the side of caution with a professional cooling system inspection.

Engine Overheating Prevention Is Crucial This Summer

Bring your car to an auto repair station if you notice the temperature gauge consistently moving up. This applies for all models, from modern to classic cars. Let Jones Automotive Clinic examine your car; engine overheating prevention should include professional diagnosis.

Summer Automotive Inspection

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston