car heater

Why does my car heater have a bad smell?

car heaterEvery vehicle runs on energy and produces heat. They also operate using a variety of fluids, gasoline, mechanical parts and an electric system. In other words, chances are good that your car, truck or SUV will emit some bad odors from time to time. This time of year, people turn on their car heater for the first time in months. To their surprise, many are hit with a bad smell when they expect clean, warm air.

Many things create bad odors in your vehicle. Let’s look at eight of these bad smells and what they possibly mean, starting with your car heater.

My Car Heater Creates a Bad Smell

If your heater creates a bad odor, it can mean any of several problems exist. A burning leaf odor coming from the car heater is most common. So why is your heater producing this burning smell?

Dirty Vents

Your car heater’s bad smell could relate to dirty vents. In fact, you should have your car’s comfort system inspected and serviced on a regular basis, such as when you get a tune-up. This vent system gets dirty, typically accumulating debris, dust, leaves, pine needles and dirt. You may not notice any of this buildup until you turn on the heater and expect warmth, but receive what smells like the air from a brush fire. Take your vehicle into Cloverdale Auto for an inspection and service.

Debris in the Engine

A burning bad smell coming through your car heater can also mean you have debris built up on the engine. When leaves, pine needles and other debris get caught under the hood, they toast from the warmth. Then, when you turn on the heater, this characteristic odor comes through the heating vents. If you sense this smell, pull over to a safe parking area and open the car’s hood. Be careful clearing away any debris from hot elements.

Bad Heater Core

When your car heater core ages, it may require replacement. Signs of problems with this part include a burning smell from the heating vents, foggy windows and overheating engine. A regular comfort system check involves service for the heater core, making this maintenance critical. Otherwise, you can face between $600 and $900 in early replacement costs.

Other Bad Smells Detectable through Your Car Heater

Other bad odors possibly detectable through your car heater include:

  • Sulfur or rotten eggs
  • Hot oil
  • Syrup
  • Burned carpet
  • Burned rubber
  • Gasoline
  • Mustiness

The sulfur or rotten egg bad smell from your car heater can signal problems with your catalytic converter. The odor of hot oil often points to a leaky crankshaft or leaky valve cover. With this smell you can sometimes find oil on the pavement where you park or smoke coming from your exhaust pipe.

A sweet, syrupy smell often signals a leaking radiator, hose or heating system. The rich smell comes from ethylene glycol in coolant dripping on hot engine parts. Not as sweet is the smell of burning carpet, which can relate to worn brakes or a dragging brake. Burning rubber is equally unsweet in odor, pointing to loose hoses or belts.

Sometimes when refueling your vehicle, you spill gasoline. This often causes a gasoline odor to enter your vehicle. But coming through your car heater, this bad smell can mean you have a vent hose or fuel injection line leak.

Finally, smelling a mustiness creeping in through your car heater vents can tell you that there is mold or mildew growth in your air conditioner evaporator. Besides the bad odor, this can trigger headaches, itchy eyes, sneezing, breathing problems and other symptoms of allergies or sensitivities.

Inspection, Maintenance and Repair for All Car Heater Problems

Winter is certainly not the time to have a non-working heater or one that creates a bad odor. Besides being irritating, this odor can signal much bigger problems you need to repair before they grow worse. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Cloverdale Auto Service provides inspection to find the source of your heater’s bad smell. We also provide routine service and repairs to get your vehicle back on the road in top form. Call us today at 336-331-3448 to schedule your car heater inspection and maintenance.

auto maintenance

Should I Keep My Auto Maintenance Records?

Auto maintenance is critical for keeping your car, truck or SUV running as it should. But did you know it is important to keep your auto maintenance records? Why should you keep these documents and how can they help you?

Your Vehicle Maintenance Records Can Save You Money

auto maintenanceWhen your vehicle undergoes routine maintenance or even specific auto repairs in a Winston-Salem auto shop, your receipt is your record of these services. If your vehicle breaks down or experiences other problems after the service, these records can come in handy. Auto maintenance and service is often guaranteed, such as for a year after that work takes place.

As an example, if you get your oil changed, you may not think it is important to keep your receipt. But if you leave the auto maintenance shop and the “oil service” light illuminates on your dash, something could be wrong. With your receipt, you have the documentation you need to access the auto shop’s service guarantee.

Of course, this is a minor example. If you have major repair work done on your vehicle or purchase expensive parts for replacement, it is more important to keep this documentation.

Vehicle Maintenance Records Help Your Vehicle Hold Its Value

Maintaining your car, truck or SUV as you should helps it keep its value. This benefits you a great deal when you decide to put it on the market for sale in Winston-Salem or trade it in at a dealership. People want to buy well-maintained cars and trucks, as these are less prone to break down and endure longer. With good records, you can prove how your vehicle is worth its full resale or trade-in value.

At the negotiating table for your new car, you have more power when you have maintained your trade-in well throughout its lifetime. This can mean real cash value and shave hundreds, if not thousands, off your new vehicle price.

It Is Easy to Forget Auto Maintenance

Keeping auto maintenance records is important for recalling specifically what work has been done. You have a busy life and it can be difficult to remember when you last had the oil changed. You can also forget whether that tie rod you had replaced was on the driver’s or passenger’s side of the vehicle. Having these documents works great for recalling other information, too. You can easily find part numbers and mileage counts between routine service.

Auto Maintenance Can Be Tax Deductible

If you use your car, truck or SUV for work, you can possibly deduct your auto maintenance costs. You need to talk to your accountant about specific rules and how these apply to you. But having the documentation comes in handy in April, when you need proof of how much your business use of your vehicle costs you.

Organize Your Auto Maintenance Documents for Real Benefit

The best way to keep up with your auto records is to have one folder dedicated to these documents in your desk, home office or even the vehicle, itself. Even placing an envelope in your glove box can make staying organized easy. Make a point of always placing your receipts in the designated place to enjoy future payoffs of doing so.

Of course, the biggest factor in reaping the financial benefits of keeping your vehicle documents is getting that service done, in the first place. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, schedule your oil change, tire rotation or other service today. Call Cloverdale Auto Service at 336-331-3448.

Dodge repairs

Dodge Repairs: Most Common Fixes

Dodge repairsWhen most people think of the auto brand Dodge, they think of an all-American line of vehicles built right here in the U.S.A. When the Dodge brothers Horace and John started the company in the early 1900s, they originally focused on making auto parts. But then in 1914, they decided to expand into making their own vehicles from bumper-to-bumper. The rest is history as these cars, trucks, and SUVs continue selling well now in Winston-Salem, 106 years later. Of course, as trustworthy as the automaker is at crafting reliable vehicles, sometimes you need Dodge repairs service.

What are the most common Dodge repair needs? Below, we look at some of the most frequently occurring issues with these vehicles. We also examine how your trusted auto mechanic in Winston-Salem, NC fixes them.

Most Popular Dodge Vehicles

To list all of the Dodge repairs on all of the automaker’s vehicles would require writing a hefty book. This is true for any major car brand. So we will just look at a sampling of some of the most commonly owned Dodge cars here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and their biggest issues.

The most popular Dodge vehicles throughout the U.S. today include:

Minivan Grand Caravan
Mid-size crossover Journey
SUV Durango
Full-size sedan Charger
Large coupe with muscle car design Challenger
Common Dodge Repair Needs

On the above five vehicles, below are the most common Dodge repair needs:

Grand Caravan

  • Automatic transmission shuddering and shifting harshness issues
  • Power window motor and switch failure
  • Underbody coolant leaks from rear heat/AC
  • Key fails to start the vehicle or gets stuck in ignition
  • Rattling or clunking noise in the front suspension


  • Intermittent remote keyless entry failure
  • Dampness in the vehicle from a water leak
  • Engine overheating due to debris in the cylinder head coolant port
  • Brake vibration caused by warped brake rotors
  • Whining noise from the power steering pump


  • Broken exhaust manifold bolts causing ticking noise in cold engine
  • Check engine light turning on from water passing through the cowl screen
  • Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) fault code caused by clogged EGR tube
  • Camshaft position sensor failure on the 4.7L V8 engine, causing starting problems or stalling
  • Bacterial growth in the evaporator causing a musty odor


  • Shuddering or rough shifting requiring PCM/TCM software update
  • Window motor or regulator failure, causing power windows to not work
  • Interior lighting and feature electrical problems
  • Check engine light because of engine thermostat closing failure
  • Steering column squeaking during turning


  • Harsh 4th gear to 3rd gear downshifting
  • Honking, hissing or groaning from the steering column at low speed
  • MyGig radio problems after disconnecting and reconnecting the battery
  • EVAP system canister control valve or other issue causes pump nozzle shutoff during fueling
  • Brake rotor or drum assembly retainers causing vibration during freeway speeds

Dodge Repairs You Need, When You Need Them

Certainly, not all Dodge vehicles experience these problems. But if you own one of these cars, trucks or SUVs and notice any of the above issues, you can rest easy knowing you are not alone. For the majority of these problems, the necessary Dodge repairs are known and inexpensive. Repairs do not always cost a lot of time or money.

The key to getting the efficient and cost-effective Dodge repairs you need is taking your vehicle to experienced auto technicians. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Cloverdale Auto Service strives to be the best at auto maintenance and repair. To fix your vehicle’s issues, we start with diagnostic service. We also check Dodge’s documentation for recall, factory service bulletin and parts replacement information. When we find the problem, we discuss it with you before jumping into repair.

At Cloverdale Auto Service, we maintain strong relationships with our customers. We do this by ensuring we meet your Dodge repair needs. We also provide a full array of routine maintenance services, to keep your vehicle running its best.

Lastly, Schedule your Dodge repair or maintenance at Cloverdale Auto Service by calling 336-331-3448 today.

tune up

Vehicle Parts Often Changed during a Tune Up

Your vehicle needs a tune up on a regular basis to keep it running properly. This simple routine checkup at your auto repair shop also helps you avoid costlier problems down the road. But what parts typically need replacing during a tune-up?

Below, we look at these parts and why it is good to replace them.

Spark Plugs

tune upSpark plugs are critical for starting your engine. This makes it important to periodically replace them during a tune up.

Over time, the spark plugs’ electrodes wear down. Being worn increases the distance voltage must travel to create the spark. When the ignition system must produce increased voltage, you risk the spark plugs misfiring and your vehicle not starting. Dust and other deposits can also build up on the spark plugs, interfering with the voltage, too.

When replacing these parts, your auto mechanic can install long-life spark plugs. These last longer, even up to 100,000 miles for typical driving conditions. Although they cost more up front due to being made with gold-palladium alloy or platinum, they can save you time and money in the long run.

Rotor Cap or Distributor Cap

The rotor cap or distributor cap passes voltage from the ignition coils to the engine’s cylinders. This ignites the fuel. A worn cap no longer correctly passes the voltage as it should, causing your engine to not start. You need to have this part replaced at every tune up, since it wears down quickly.

Filters and Valves

Your vehicle has multiple filters and valves. These require replacement from time-to-time during a tune up. Your auto mechanic should pay attention to the fuel filter, air filter and breather filter. He or she should also check the PCV valve, wires attached to the spark plugs, belts, hoses and other easily worn down parts.

Oxygen Sensors

The oxygen sensors in your vehicle play a major role in your engine’s fuel control feedback loop. They measure your exhaust’s unburned oxygen levels and send this information to your car’s computer. The computer uses the data to adjust the fuel mix to manage vehicle emissions.

When your car’s oxygen sensor shorts out, emission levels rise. This triggers the check engine light to turn on in many cases. But sometimes this warning system fails and you do not know the part has failed.

Oxygen sensors can fail for a number of reasons. For example, debris entering the exhaust can obstruct the sensor. Or this part just wears out over time. A tune up is the perfect time for your mechanic to check the sensors for proper functioning and replace them when needed.

Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained through Tune Ups

Many people put off getting their vehicle tuned up, sometimes to avoid the cost. But the price of this maintenance is low, particularly when you consider how much a part breakdown or being stranded can cost. Take your vehicle to Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston Salem, NC to keep it running its best. Call us at 336-331-3448 to schedule your tune up today.

Replace Your Car Battery

Hints that You Need to Replace Your Car Battery

Today’s cars, trucks, and SUVs rely on many electrical components for driveability, comfort and safety. These components strain the electrical system and battery. So, how do you know when you need to replace your car battery before it dies?

Your Car Battery Powers Many Car Parts

Replace Your Car BatteryCan you name all of the electrical parts of your car? Likely not. In fact, the average auto repair mechanic might even struggle to name all of these battery-operated parts.

Some of the electrical parts on your vehicle include:

  • Electrical seats
  • Power windows
  • Power locks
  • Sun Roof
  • Outlets for cell phones
  • Seat heaters
  • Computers and DVD players
  • Navigation systems
  • Stereo systems
  • Transmission computers
  • Stability control
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Sensors
  • Traction control
  • Security systems

All of these systems, controls and components run off of the car battery. They run the battery down, while extreme weather can also deplete it’s energy resources.

In reality, you will need to replace your car battery at some point, if you keep your car for several years or more. Normal use, corrosion or a leak can cause the battery to not hold a charge anymore. With so much relying on your vehicle’s electric power, how do you known when you need to replace your car battery?

Key Signs You Need to Replace Your Car Battery

The best time to replace your car battery is before it dies, leaving your car stranded. Below are some key signs you need to replace your car battery as soon as possible:

Check Engine Light Is On

When the check engine light illuminates, it is signalling that your car has a problem. Although the light can turn on because of any number of issues, it can mean you need to replace your car battery. Take your vehicle to an auto repair shop for diagnostics and battery testing.

Corroded Connectors

If your battery has white, flaky residue on its metal parts, this usually points to corrosion. When the positive and negative terminals corrode on the top of the battery, this causes voltage problems. As a result, your car struggles to start.

Engine Starts Slowly

A slow-starting engine is a potential sign of a dying battery. When battery parts wear out, they do not operate well. This makes it harder to create a charge for the starter, making engine turnover slower.

Something Smells Rotten Under the Hood

When you pop the hood of your car, do you smell rotten eggs? This odor can indicate a leaking battery. This type of gas leak typically occurs when the battery has a short or suffers damage.

A Misshapen Battery Case

Extreme temperatures – whether hot or cold – can lead to internal changes within the battery case. These changes cause the case to swell, sometimes cracking. If you notice your battery is misshapen, you can bet it is not working as it should.

Dim Lights or Other Electrical Issues

When you need to replace your car battery, it is usually losing its charge. With a weak charge, electrical components of your vehicle do not operate on full power. As a result, you notice changes in how the radio, seat heaters, phone chargers and other electrical parts work. You may also notice your vehicle’s lights do not stay lit or alternate between fully lit and dim.

Old Battery

You need to replace your car battery every three to five years. But bear in mind that many factors can affect how long your battery lasts. These factors include your driving habits, the vehicle’s electronic demands and climate. To keep yourself safe from sudden battery failure and getting stranded, get your battery’s performance tested regularly after it is three years old.

Battery Service at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem

Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem, North Carolina provides battery testing and replacement along with a wide range of other auto repair services. If you think you might need to replace your car battery, call us to schedule testing at 336-331-3448.

Auto Maintenance Checklist

Road Trip Auto Maintenance Checklist

Road Trip Auto Maintenance Checklist

Road trips are so much fun, whether you go alone or with a car full of loved ones. However, even a last-minute trip requires some advanced planning for safety and comfort of everyone on board. This planning involves a bit of auto maintenance to ensure your car runs as it should. But even this maintenance is quick and easy when you know what your vehicle needs. Below is an auto maintenance checklist for your next road trip.

Check the Oil and Fluids

 Auto Maintenance ChecklistYou need to change your car, truck or SUV’s oil once every three months or 3,000 miles as part of routine auto maintenance. If your road trip will take you across many miles in North Carolina or out of state, you should probably get your oil changed before leaving. Driving for long periods of time taxes your car more than a typical daily driving pattern. So, you want to give it the fluid it needs to perform its best and keep it from overheating.

Test Your Lights

Before driving anywhere, you need to ensure your lights are all working as they should. Check your low beam headlights, high beams, blinkers in the front and back and brake lights. You will need your lights when driving at night, in inclement weather and as you try to find your way in new places.

Check the Air and Heating

The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable in summer heat or winter cold while on your adventure. Have your air conditioner and heater maintained, including refrigerant levels. Some of the checks your auto technician performs as part of this auto maintenance include:

  • Visual inspection of belts, caps, hoses, cooling fans, radiator, clamps, water pump and radiator
  • Combustion leak test
  • Oil and transmission fluid check to find potential coolant leak in the engine
  • Radiator cap pressure test
  • UV tracer dye injection to find leaks

Change the Air Filter

To improve engine performance, reduce emissions and get more miles to each gallon of gas, have your air filter changed. This routine auto maintenance is important every 12,000 miles for most vehicles. A dirty air filter limits airflow to the engine, which can cause poor performance. Clean air filters keep your engine clean.

Check Your Tires

Look in your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s ideal tire pressure. You can also find this information on a sticker on the driver’s side door. Of course, the easiest method of having your tires checked is requesting this service when you take your car into a shop for regular auto maintenance.

Let the shop know you are headed out on a road trip and need to understand the condition of your tires. They will look for tears and bulges in the tire sidewalls. If the tread is low or there are other problems, they may recommend you have them changed. Otherwise, if they need air to achieve the ideal pressure, the technician will do this for you. Do not forget to ask them to check your spare tire, too.

Speaking of the spare tire, ensure you have all of the necessary tools for a tire change. Look for your jack and the lug wrench. Other helpful tools include a flashlight, gloves, hand wipes and a towel or blanket on which to kneel, if necessary. It is smart to have a 12″ x 12″ square piece of plywood stored with your spare tire, in case you have to change a flat tire on soft shoulder.

Also consider having a road flare or reflective triangle, in case your vehicle breaks down and blocks the roadway. Some people also like to have a rain poncho in the vehicle, too.

Check Your Brakes

You should never neglect your brakes before a road trip. Take your vehicle to a skilled auto technician and have them perform routine brake checks and required maintenance. They will examine the brake pads and rotors and ensure the whole system works as it should.

Test Wipers and Refill Wiper Fluid

On any road trip, your windshield is going to get dirty. Not only do you face a range of weather conditions, but you will also encounter dust, agricultural debris, road dirt and bugs. The last thing you want is to run out of windshield wiper fluid with so many things potentially clouding your view. Also check your wiper blades and replace them if needed.

Complete Auto Maintenance for Your Road Trip in Winston-Salem, NC

When you feel ready to hit the highway for adventure, auto maintenance is the first priority. The experienced auto technicians at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem will get your car, truck, or SUV in top shape to ensure your road trip goes smoothly. Call us at (336) 331-3448 to schedule your service today. We hope this Auto Maintenance Checklist has helped you and prepared you for your next road trip!

A Good Mechanic

What Makes a Great Auto Mechanic?

When it comes to owning and maintaining a car, truck, or SUV, there is one thing you should never underestimate. That is the value of knowing and visiting a trustworthy auto mechanic. But what makes a great auto mechanic and where can you find one to trust in Winston-Salem, NC? Below are the top seven skills your great Winston-Salem auto mechanic must possess.

Customer Service Skills

A Good MechanicA good auto mechanic can find what is wrong with your vehicle and repair those problems. They can also help you avoid these problems in the first place through quality diagnostics and ongoing service. But a great auto mechanic does this while also providing excellent customer care. You need one you can trust who helps you understand the needs of your car.

Diagnostic Skills

When something goes wrong with your vehicle, it disrupts your life. You have to spend time without a vehicle, or at the very least, awaiting repairs before getting your car back. Meanwhile, you still need to get to work, transport the kids to their activities, and handle your personal needs. A great auto mechanic efficiently and correctly uses diagnostics to find your car’s problem to get you back in the driver’s seat.

Work Ethic

A great auto mechanic enjoys the work they do, even when juggling multiple customer vehicles at once. They possess excellent problem-solving and multi-tasking skills to get repairs done.


A good mechanic has hours upon hours of classroom education. But a great auto mechanic has this education plus years of hands-on experience. After all, vehicle systems are constantly changing. A mechanic who works on a wide variety of makes and models gain greater exposure to diverse challenges and what works to solve them. They also build confidence through a lengthy history of education, self-guided study and just getting under the hood.

Problem Solving Skills

Deductive reasoning also called problem-solving skills, helps a great auto mechanic find your vehicle’s issues quickly. It is critical that they are able to deduce where a problem begins and the other parts it affects. These skills also come in handy when working with unhappy customers to resolve conflicts and provide honest, reliable information.

Technical Knowledge

Knowing what tools you need for a particular job helps a good mechanic. But having knowledge about the latest technologies defines a great one. This technology constantly evolves, so you need a mechanic who keeps up with the changes.

Diverse Automotive Knowledge

No one can predict which make or model will come into an automotive repair shop on a given day. This makes it particularly important that your auto mechanic has a diverse knowledge base about automobiles. They must know a lot about electrical systems, computers, air conditioning and heating, fuel systems and transmissions, to start. They must also know as much as possible about the tools available to them for making repairs. Finally, it is key for a great auto mechanic to know where to go for reliable, updated information.

Finding Great Auto Mechanics with All Seven Skills in Winston-Salem

Cloverdale Auto is a locally-owned automotive repair business in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. For years now, local residents and visitors alike have grown to trust our excellent auto mechanics for the services we provide. When you bring your car, truck, or SUV into our Cloverdale Avenue location, you can trust you will receive the quality service you deserve, too.

Services provided at Cloverdale Auto include:

  • Brake repair
  • Check engine light
  • Engine repair
  • Oil change service
  • Bus repair
  • Transmission repair
  • Hybrid repair
  • Radiator repair

Is your vehicle not running as it should? Or is it time for routine maintenance performed by a great auto mechanic? Bring your car, truck, or SUV into Cloverdale Auto for expert diagnostics, service, repairs and parts replacement today. Schedule your visit by calling 336-331-3448.

The Most Common Problems with Manual Transmission

The Most Common Problems with Manual Transmission

More people choose the convenience and ease of driving an automatic transmission vehicle today, instead of opting for a manual transmission. In fact, only about 10 percent of American adults own manual cars. If you drive a stick shift with a clutch, your vehicle actually requires slightly different care and attention than for an automatic car, truck or SUV.

Many people who drive cars with clutches do so because they enjoy improved car handling. They benefit from higher fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs, too.

To keep your manual transmission vehicle from giving you headaches, consider some of their special problems…

Slipping Clutch

A manual transmission clutch transfers power from the engine to the transmission, itself. In other words, this key part enables you to shift gears. If it slips, you notice the engine revving but no movement. Signs like this point to a worn clutch or its pedal requiring adjustment by your mechanic.

Clutches, like other car parts, break down. They wear out from use or misuse, just like tires and brakes. If you feel your floor pedal not working as it should, you risk safety problems. To fix it, your auto technician can replace the clutch and its flywheel, disc, pressure plate and bearing by removing the transmission. For most vehicles with a manual transmission, the clutch needs replacement every 100,000 miles or so.

Gear Shifting Problems

If you experience problems shifting gears, you need to take your vehicle to your Winston-Salem, NC auto repair shop. Not being able to smoothly shift gears often indicates you need the clutch replaced. It can mean your vehicle has worn or damaged transmission parts. It can also indicate your car has electrical problems. Other possibilities include having the wrong transmission fluid in your car or a bad gear.

Sticking Clutch

Auto technicians see many clutches that stick to the floor and do not come back up as they should. Usually, it means the master or slave cylinder has leakage at the external seal. To fix this part, you need air bled from the system and parts replaced. If this is your car’s problem, it does not require removal of the transmission.

Leaking or Dirty Transmission Fluid

Manual transmission fluid requires changing, just like automatic transmission fluid. Without doing so, you risk breakdown of internal components. Most vehicles need this fluid change at between 45,000 and 65,000 miles on the odometer. You can find your manufacturer’s recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual.

Transmission fluid helps prevent hydraulic failure. Fluid leaks often occur in components of a manual transmission clutch, such as in the hydraulic lines and the master and slave cylinder. When you take your vehicle in for routine oil changes, you should also have the auto repair tech check your transmission fluid levels.

Effects of Abusive Driving

Your car is a machine that requires care like any other machine with many working parts. To keep it in its best shape and operating as it should, you must take care of it. Part of taking good care of a manual transmission vehicle is driving it properly. Never start driving in second or third gear to reduce having to shift. Skipping gears abuses the clutch.

Another common abusive practice is riding your clutch pedal. Always ensure your foot comes off of this pedal at traffic lights by first placing the gear in neutral. Keeping your foot on it wears this critical part down very quickly.

Check Your Manual Transmission Health Today

To properly maintain your manual transmission and ensure it works as it should, bring your car into Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Our auto repair technicians check fluid levels, perform diagnostic service and repair these parts as they break down. To schedule your visit call 336-331-3448 today.

What is the purpose of a car and truck's emergency brake?

What is the purpose of a car and truck’s emergency brake?

Parking on a hill does not feel secure on its own. As you prepare to get out of your car, you find yourself wondering if it will be in the same position when you return. Will it roll down the incline? For extra peace of mind and your vehicle’s security, you have an emergency brake system. These brakes help you protect other people and property, too.

This simple safety system of backup brakes hold your vehicle in place. Below, we explore emergency brakes and when you need to use them.

What is an Emergency Brake?

Emergency brakes do not work as part of your main brake system. Instead, car and truck emergency brakes work on their own to keep your vehicle in place. You also hear these brakes called parking brakes, e-brakes and hand brakes. Whatever you call them, they provide backup security should your main brakes fail.

In the past, emergency brakes also helped vehicles stop while driving. They do not perform this function in modern vehicles. Instead, car and truck emergency brakes of today only serve a parking security purpose.

How Emergency Brakes Work

Emergency brakes work independently of your vehicle’s regular hydraulic braking system. They lock the wheels in place using cables attached to the hand lever in your passenger compartment.

These brakes work in one of two ways, depending on whether your vehicle has drum brakes or disc brakes. For drum brakes, the cables activate a lever that causes the brake shoes to hold your car or truck in place. For disc brakes, pulling the e-brake lever causes a corkscrew mechanism and piston to pressure the brake pads. This, in turn, holds the vehicle where you leave it.

Four Types of Parking Brakes

Your vehicle has one of four types of parking brakes. These include:

  • Pedal
    These emergency brakes activate when you push a small pedal on the floor and adjacent to your clutch, gas and brake pedals.
  • Center Lever
    Mostly in late-model cars and trucks equipped with bucket seats, you find the e-brake between the two front seats. You pull the lever up to activate the parking brake and release it by pushing the lever down.
  • Push Button
    Using an electronic system, this e-brake is activated through a button on the dash console.
  • Stick Lever
    Primarily found in older cars and trucks, this type of e-brake is typically found beneath other instruments around or on the steering column.

When to Use Your Emergency Brake

You should not just reserve use of your parking brakes on hills. If you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, you must use this brake every time you park your vehicle. In automatic vehicles, use of the parking brake is not required. But it is a good idea to use the backup system, whether you park on an incline or not.

Regular use of your e-brake keeps it working as it should. Not using it enables it to corrode. Then, when you really need it, the corroded brake could fail.

Simply activate this brake every time you park. It provides you with extra security and peace of mind, while also reducing the stress placed on your driveline and transmission when you park.

If you have a brake failure while driving, you can use your emergency brakes to help you bring the vehicle to a stop. Slowly apply it for safety. But it will not suddenly jolt the car to a stop, instead easing it into place.

Why My Car Pulls to One Side When Braking: Do I Need Brake Service?

Why My Car Pulls to One Side When Braking: Do I Need Brake Service?

When braking, does your car pull to one side? This drifting to the right or left upon braking is a potentially dangerous problem. Sometimes the cause of problem is not a big one. However, take no gambles at all with your braking system. If you suspect your car or truck brakes are bad, immediately seek brake service. In Winston-Salem, NC, visit Cloverdale Auto Service for all your auto repair needs. Our auto mechanic technicians will get you back on the road safely and quickly.

How My Brake System Works

Your vehicle has one of the two types of brake systems. These are disc and drum. Both effectively stop your vehicle using resistance and friction when you apply the brakes. When you take your vehicle in for brake service, the ASE-certified technician checks all working parts to ensure they perform properly and show no defects. If you need new parts, your mechanic replaces the old ones and installs new parts to get you safely back on the road.

If you have drum brakes, your brake system includes a small round drum that rotates with the wheel. The drum has brake shoes within it. When you apply your brakes using the floor pedal, this forces the shoes against the drum’s sides. As a result, this slows the wheel.

If your vehicle has disc brakes, this system includes a disc-shaped rotor that spins inside the wheel. Applying your brakes causes a caliper to squeeze brake pads onto the disc, slowing the wheel.

Regardless of the type of brakes on your vehicle, you must take your car into a licensed mechanic for routine brake service. Otherwise, worn parts fail to work as they should and even damage other parts of the brake system. You need brake service at basically the same time as you have your tires rotated. This schedule is about every 7,500 miles.

Worn brake pads, damaged rotors or stuck calipers are among the leading potential causes of your car pulling to one side when braking. Not keeping up with your brake service schedule can also cause your car, truck or SUV to not stop as it should.

Potential Reasons Why Your Car Pulls to One Side When Braking

Problems within your brake system are among the leading potential causes of your car pulling to one side when braking. Overall, possible causes include:

  • Uneven tire pressure
  • Worn brake pads
  • Worn or warped rotors
  • Stuck caliper
  • Collapsed brake hose
  • Worn suspension parts

Your braking problems could come from something as simple as uneven tire pressure. Obviously, your mechanic fixes this problem in a hurry and sends you back on your way. But if you have worn, damaged or ineffective parts, you need parts replacement and a certified auto technician’s quality checks before you get in the driver’s seat again.

What to Expect from Your NC Brake Service

When you take your vehicle into a mechanic’s shop for brake service or because your vehicle pulls to one side when braking, you need an auto technician you can trust. After all, you need properly functioning brakes to keep you safe, alive and accident-free. If the problem is not your brakes, other parts causing this problem also need prompt and thorough care.

Your mechanic first listens to how you describe the problem of your vehicle pulling to one side when you apply the brakes. They use this information to consider possible root causes. Then they proceed through a thorough inspection of your vehicle’s brake system and wheels, to determine the actual problem. When they determine the cause of your car, truck or SUV pulling to one side, they report back to you and tell you what repairs your vehicle needs.

Brake service for a car pulling right or left when braking includes inspection of the following parts:

  • Brake pads and shoes
  • Rotor and drums
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Calipers
  • Hardware, hoses and lines
  • Master cylinders
  • Wheel cylinders
  • Anti-lock system
  • Tires

Where can I get this brake service in Winston-Salem, NC?

Cloverdale Auto Service on Cloverdale Avenue in Winston-Salem provides brake system inspection and brake service you need to keep your vehicle safely driving its best. If you notice your car, truck or SUV pulling to one side when you apply the brakes, call us at 336-331-3448 to schedule your service today.

Cloverdale Auto Service