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The Most Common Auto Parts You’ll Need to Replace

When you own a vehicle, you know that anything can happen to your automobile at any time. It is not unusual for your car to operate perfectly when you go somewhere. Then, when you get ready to leave, it won’t start. It’s a frustrating premise, especially because most people do not have extensive knowledge about auto mechanics. As such, it will benefit you to learn about the auto parts in Apopka that require replacing the most.

If your car doesn’t start, chances are the battery could be dead. It doesn’t take batteries long to lose a charge, so it’s not uncommon for them to die while you’re at work or doing errands. A defective starter could also be the issue if your vehicle won’t start. While you may be able to jump a dead battery, it will be better to replace it or a faulty starter.

As soon as you realize your car won’t easily slow down or stop, auto technicians recommend replacing the brakes. New brakes will help ensure your safety on the road. Industry officials also suggest replacing cracked windshields and nonworking exterior lights as soon as possible to improve your vehicle’s performance. You’ll find the most popular auto parts in your trusted auto parts store.

Testing a Vehicle Battery

Indications Your Vehicle’s Battery is Weakening

Your car’s battery serves several different roles when it comes to providing electrical current to your vehicle. Its primary function, however, is to power the starter so you can turn on your car’s engine. When your car battery is weak, it isn’t able to support the starter or the engine, which can mean being stranded. Here are some signs from our auto parts shop to look for when you think you might be having trouble with car batteries in Winter Garden, FL.

Your Engine Is Slow to Start – A healthy battery is one that can quickly provide power where it needs to go. When a battery’s power begins to fade, it can drastically increase the amount of time it takes for your engine to get fired up.

Your Engine Won’t Start – If your battery doesn’t have enough juice to start your car, then you will usually hear a long crank or a simple click instead of the roar of an engine when you turn your key. One of the most common reasons a car won’t start is due to a dead battery.

Your Battery Is Heavily Corroded or Coated – Notice blue corrosion or a clear film over the top of your battery? That means the component is leaking battery acid and reducing its voltage and efficiency.

Your Headlights Are Dim – Your battery is the source of power for your car’s electrical components. A weak battery means these components aren’t receiving the support they need to function normally.

Your Engine Backfires – A dying car battery can create weak sparks that can cause fuel to gather in the cylinders of your engine. When this built-up fuel is ignited, it reacts with force, causing your car’s engine to backfire.

Signs of a Failing Starter

Starter

When your starter starts to fail, there are a few warning signs for you to look for to help you avoid an instance of turning your key and finding nothing happens. By recognizing these signs, you are able to bring your car to a repair shop or purchase the auto parts in Apopka you need to avoid being stranded at the worst possible time.

 

Engine Turns Over Slowly – Most modern vehicles should be able to start very quickly once the ignition has been activated. If you notice that your starter is laboring to spin the motor, or it takes a while before everything fires up, then there might be a problem under your hood.

 

Lights Noticeably Dim – If your headlights or interior lights dim noticeably when the starter begins to spin, there is a good chance that there is a short in your starter. A failing starter will commonly pull more energy than required, which is what causes your electrical system to become overwhelmed.

 

The Sound of Spinning – If you can hear the starter spinning, but your engine doesn’t turn, then you are likely looking at a repair in your future. When your starter continuously spins without starting the engine that means it is no longer making contact with your motor.

 

Grinding Sounds On or After Starting – Mechanical grinding sounds typically mean gear problems inside of your starter. This usually means that the starter is either not engaging properly with the motor or it is continuing to receive electrical power even after it has been disconnected.

Identifying Alternator Problems in Your Watercraft

AlternatorLet’s say you have a pleasure boat or personal watercraft you love using, and let’s say it’s starting to give you trouble. You don’t want to be bobbing about like a cork on the ocean with a craft that won’t run, and at Millikan Battery and Electric Inc., we don’t want that either.

 

We are very familiar with electrical and charging systems, including alternators in Apopka, FL, and our experience tells us you may be looking at a problem with your system, of which the alternator is a big part. We’ll give you tips on identifying problems, in that way, if yours starts to fail, you will be ready to get the service it needs.

 

Your watercraft electrical system should be putting out about 12 volts with the ignition on, but without the engine running. This will drop to 8 or 9 during cranking and then should rebound up to 14 volts when the engine starts. If it doesn’t happen, there’s a good chance you have a problem with your alternator.

 

You can also assess the health of your alternator by checking the voltage at the battery with the engine at 2,000 RPM. A reading over 14.4 means yours is not working correctly. A further test has you check performance at the alternator itself with a voltmeter clipped to the wires. A measurement of less than 14 volts means you need to have your unit serviced by a professional right away.

Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for a Summertime Road Trip

Summertime Road TripIf you are gearing up to hit the road this summer, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Nothing spoils a summertime adventure like a roadside breakdown that leads to more time waiting in the repair shop than exploring the scenery. One crucial consideration is to test your battery. At Millikan Battery and Electric Inc., we check and replace auto batteries in Winter Garden, FL. Whenever you need battery services, our team is here for you.

 

In addition to your battery, there are other things you need to check to prepare your car or truck for the open road. By following the guidelines here, you’ll be ready for a safe and comfortable road trip:

  1. Check Your Tires for Wear and Check the Pressure
  2. Make Sure Your Brakes Work Properly
  3. Change Your Oil and Filter
  4. Top off the Vehicle’s Fluids
  5. If Necessary, Replace Wiper Blades
  6. Replace Aging Drive Belts & Radiator Hoses
  7. Check that the AC Runs Correctly
  8. Pack an Emergency Kit w/ Flashlight, Batteries, First Aid Supplies, Water, Non-Perishable Foods, Jumper Cables, and Other Supplies

 

If you have any concerns, make sure you take your vehicle to your local auto repair shop before you start traveling. And if you need a fresh battery, stop by and see us.

Know Your Auto Parts: Identifying Alternator Problems

Auto Parts in Apopka, FLThe alternator is one of the most critical components of your vehicle. It supplies electrical power while the engine is running, and it also maintains the charge in the battery. If it fails, then there is a high chance that the rest of your vehicle will begin to malfunction soon after.

 

Stores that sell auto parts in Apopka, FL, advise motorists to monitor their alternators carefully. Knowing the signs of impending failure can reduce the likelihood of a breakdown or a roadside emergency. Here are some of the most common alternator problems and how you can identify them.

 

Signs of a Failing Alternator

The most common problem affecting most of these components is wear and tear. An automotive engine and the systems that are connected to it are home to many moving parts, so it’s only natural that friction and heat will eventually cause components to degrade over time. The alternator is no different.

 

One of the first indicators of failure is a persistent whirring noise. This is caused by the fan belt wearing down on the unit’s bearings. When the bearings fail, then the alternator has no means of generating electricity. In these instances, you are better off replacing the entire alternator unit instead of a part.

 

Also, keep your eyes on your vehicle’s dashboard. All too often, an alternator can fail due to overcharging. The voltmeter on your dash shouldn’t have a high reading while you are driving–it should settle down shortly after starting up. An overcharged alternator might also indicate that other auto parts, like the battery or regulator, might be on their way out.

 

If you notice any of these signs while driving, then it is better to have a trusted mechanic inspect your vehicle. Addressing mechanical problems before they escalate can save you a lot of time, money, and energy.

Top 3 Distracted Driving Behaviors You Must Stop Now

Driving while distracted is a very dangerous behavior. We know we shouldn’t text and drive – even talking on the phone while driving can be majorly distracting. There are lots of other dangerous behaviors that can compromise your safety behind the wheel, but today we’ll focus on three hazardous habits.

Using Touchscreen Systems
Touchscreens have become common in many new vehicles and are used for everything from navigation to entertainment systems and dashboard displays. While they are a convenient tool, they require more attention, thus distracting you while driving. Looking at the screen while driving means taking your eyes off of the road. Do your best to avoid unnecessary usage while driving or pull over if you must use them.

Eating
Who hasn’t been guilty of eating while driving? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the likelihood of a crash increases by 80% as a result of eating and driving. Think of that the next time you need to open a packet of ketchup or unwrap a sandwich. Never take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. Instead, pull into a parking lot to eat your meal before hitting the road.

Grooming
Red light beauty maintenance is a problem and needs to stop. Applying mascara, combing your hair, or flossing your teeth at a traffic stop diverts your attention from the traffic light and road in front of you. Don’t pack your brush or mascara for on-the-go grooming when you’re running late. Take the few extra minutes at home or wait until you’ve parked to finish your grooming needs.

When you need reliable and affordable auto parts in Apopka, call Millikan Battery and Electric, Inc. You’ll get quality service from reliable professionals on all your auto service and repair needs.

Tips To Minimize Summertime Heat Damage

Springtime temperatures in Florida can get hot, so summertime temps in Florida are nothing short of scorching. While that warm weather is welcome for heat-lovers, all that sun and humid air can have negative effects on things, too. Did you know that the warm sunny climate is also a problem for your car? Fortunately, there are ways to protect your vehicle to minimize heat damage. Check out this guide for protecting your vehicle now and all year long.

Interior Protection: Surely, you’ve opened your car door after it’s been sitting in the hot sun and it felt like a sauna. Your dashboard, leather, carpet, and other surfaces absorb the sunlight and trap the heat in the car. The solution is to park in the shade when available, purchase shades for the front window, or install window tinting.

Top Off The Fluids: Just like you, your car is thirsty when it’s hot. It uses plenty of oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid, and is working hard and burning even more fluid to keep it cool. During the summer or before long road trips, make sure all of the fluids are properly topped off and check them more frequently than in cold-weather months.

Tire Troubles: Under-inflated tires are more likely to overheat and cause a blowout than properly inflated tires, and the problem is only made worse by hot roads. The solution is to make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

For assistance preparing your car for summer or ahead of a long road trip, visit Millikan Battery and Electric Inc. for replacement auto parts in Apopka.

Spring Safety Driving Tips

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and while we look forward to the blooming of flowers and new leaves on the trees, all that rain can cause trouble driving. Springtime downpours mean driving conditions often include mud, muck, slush, and standing water.

Spring weather conditions present their own driving challenges, including a high number of accidents due to wet pavement. To help keep you safe on the roads in the coming weeks, here are a few spring driving safety tips to follow.

Navigating Heavy Rain
Before you go out in spring driving conditions, make sure that your windshield wipers are new and that you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid. You’ll also want to make sure your tires are in good condition with proper air pressure and with enough tread. If you find either is overly worn or broken, replace them with auto parts in Apopka.

Beware of Standing Water
During or immediately after heavy rainstorms, pools of standing water can form on the road. If you can, avoid the puddles altogether. If there’s no way to switch lanes safely, try to drive through it very slowly, so you don’t slide. Hydroplaning is another major danger with standing water. This occurs when your tires are riding on top of the puddle, rather than gripping the road. Your main defense is to go slow.

Be Cautious of Mud
Steer and brake very carefully when there’s mud on the road to avoid sliding. If you do start to slide, treat it as you would an ice slide and turn your car in the direction of the slide, slowly pumping your brakes.

Car Sounds and What They Might Mean

Grinding. Squealing. Popping. Pinging. Clicking. Screeching. These are all scary noises when it comes to your car. But they are also helpful clues that can be useful. Paying careful attention to the sounds your car makes can help diagnose potential problems with it. Here are a few of the most common car sounds and what they might mean.

  • Squealing Engine: The next time the engine makes a loud squeal, it’s likely telling you it’s time to have the fan belt replaced. Fan belts tend to loosen over time, which can lead to that unmistakable squealing sound.
  • Knocking Under The Hood: There are a few possible explanations for engine knocking, among them, a problem with how fuel is being ignited within your engine, using incorrect spark plugs, using low-quality gasoline, or worn out or loose rod bearings.
  • Squeaky brakes: If your brakes consistently give you a high-pitched, single-note screech, this is caused by worn-out brake pads or, on older vehicles, brake shoes. Other possibilities include overheated brake pads or brake rotor rust.

When your car starts making weird sounds, don’t delay. Treat those noises like symptoms of a more significant problem, which requires a check-up and maintenance right away. For radiators, alternators, starters, or car batteries in Winter Garden, FL, call Millikan Battery and Electric, Inc., for prompt and professional service.