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Behind the Wheel

FAQ: Steering System

February 11, 2017
Do you ever wonder how your car magically turns left or right upon your steering command? Well, there is an entire system in place that enables you to do so. The steering system converts your steering wheel rotation into a movement of your vehicle’s wheels correctly. There are three steering systems, but today we are going to focus on the two most common systems.  
  • The Rack-and-Pinion System The rack-and-pinion system is compiled of a steering column with a small pinion inside of it. When the pinion is turned it makes the rack move from side to side. The rack is attached to the vehicle’s wheels allowing for precise movement and turning. The rack-and-pinion system is a simple system and has a few parts that become worn and need to be replaced, but it’s an easy fix nonetheless.
 
  • Power-Assisted Steering System The power-assisted steering system is the most common system nowadays with newer vehicles. In this system, power-assisted steering overcomes heavy gearing. Oil is applied to the rack or the steering box via the vehicle’s engine. There are valves located in the steering rack or box that will open up whenever the steering wheel is turned. Once open, the oil enters into the cylinder and helps to push the steering in the right direction. When the driver stops turning the wheel then the valve shuts. The benefits of power-assisted steering is its ability to alleviate heavy steering. When the power stops working the driver can still steer, but it would just be heavier.
  The steering system is highly important because if you are unable to control where your vehicle is moving, well things could definitely end up poorly. Sometimes the steering wheel can feel loose or lock up when something in the system is wrong. If you are having one of these issues, please feel free to schedule an appointment at one of McCarthy Auto Group’s service centers today!
Behind the Wheel

FAQ: Electrical System

January 14, 2017
Just like a human, a car is made up of different systems that coordinate to keep the car functioning. The electrical system is an important part of any vehicle. It consists of the battery, starter, and alternator. If any one of these parts stops working your car won’t start or run properly. The battery is responsible for providing the electricity needed to power all of the electrical components of your car. This small part converts chemical energy into electrical energy think of it as the heart of a vehicle. When the battery isn’t pumping electricity out, then the car will not start. Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 4.52.45 PM The electric power from the battery is transported to the starter which is what really gets the engine up and running. The starter rotates the flywheel to get the engine’s pistons moving. Think of the starter as an artery transporting blood to an important part in your body. Without the heart (battery) pumping blood to the artery (starter) the important body part (engine) cannot run. An alternator keeps the battery charged while your car is running, and supplies additional electric power throughout the electrical system. Think of an alternator as the blood that is flowing through the artery (starter) and heart (battery) to keep it going and able to perform its duties. Now you have it! The electrical system is essentially what powers the vehicle. It’s important to make sure these parts are always checked. When they begin to wear out, your car battery will weaken and/or die, causing problems to other electrical system parts. Some signs that indicate attention needed to your battery include the check engine light, a slow engine crank, and low battery fluid level. If you are experiencing any of these issues, schedule your next service appointment now!  
Behind the Wheel

Car Accident? Now What?

December 19, 2016
There’s no doubt that car accidents are terrifying for everyone and something we all strive to avoid, but as the saying goes: accidents happen. Although it’s hard to think straight after you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are necessary steps to take afterwards.
  • Get to a Safe Area
            If your car is at all drive-able after an accident, pull over to a safe area to avoid holding up traffic or causing another accident.
  • Check to See if Everyone is Okay  Check to see if you and/or your passengers have any major or minor injuries, then check to see if those in the other vehicle are okay as well.
  • Call the PoliceReport the accident to the police and let them know where you are located. It is important to call the police even if the other person involved in the accident doesn’t want you to. Most states require you to call the police and they are there to help protect you from fraud and establish a liability.
  • Collect Information from Other PersonMake sure to exchange your names and addresses, insurance information, vehicle information, and licenses plate numbers. Collect as much information as you can to help protect yourself as much as possible during this accident. Also, take pictures of the accident. Get photos of both your car and the other vehicle(s) involved.
  • File a ClaimContact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim! As soon as you have all of the information from the other person involved, call your insurance company to make sure you will be covered.