Case Studies

A Collection of the Odd, Unusual and Interesting Found While Servicing Our Client Vehicles.

Originally intended as a showcase for customers of our workshop and staff’s abilities, this page has evolved in an interesting and informative teaching tool, and one of the most popular pages on our site!

By nature, these are rather extreme examples of failures, and not what we typically find during service. Our goal at Atlantic Motorcar is to prevent these from happening to you and your car. But rest assured, if we can fix these challenges, regular maintenance is breeze!

We like to call this our “YES WE CAN!” page. You can also view many of these concerns on our Facebook page. Each photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.

Jaguar Engine – Broken Timing Chains, Bent Valves

Case Studies

Problem
This is an excellent example of what you do not want to see happen to your Jaguar, you’ll note the broken secondary timing chain, and consequently the damaged engine valves.

On the early XK8 and XJ8 Jaguar vehicles, there is a known flaw in the upper timing chain tensioner. What happens is that the chain tensioner fails, causing the chain to slip or completely break like you see here, causing damage to the valves.

Symptoms
A noticeable engine noise while idling or during a cold start can indicate a timing chain tensioner problem. The engine noise may also be accompanied by a rough or uneven engine idle. The Check Engine Light is often on, but may not present on all cars.

What Happens
On the early XK8 and XJ8 Jaguar vehicles equipped with the 4.0 and 4.2 liter motor (supposedly was improved on the 4.2 liter engines, but we have seen many of these now failing as well, there is a known flaw in the upper timing chain tensioner. The plastic/nylon guide plates on the chain tensioner fail, causing the chain to slip, or come loose and fall into the area between the sprocket and chain, causing timing chain failure. Failure of the chain will cause severe engine damage, as the engine valves are no longer synchronized, allowing them to strike the pistons, causing damage to the valves. This necessitates removal of the cylinder heads and rebuilding, or replacement of the complete engine assembly.

Correction
We have developed has released improved metal tensioners, forged roller chains, metal backed timing chain guides which are considerably more durable that the original design. It is important to use all updated parts, in particular not to reuse the tensioner bolts, as new designed bolts have been issued that must be installed.

Often overlooked, for durability and reliability, it is critically important that all the seals and gaskets associated with this job be replaced when the engine is open and apart, particularly the seals on the VVT arm for the intake camshaft, which has a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) mechanism, and that the arm be inspected for wear or damage. This job, when properly done, and regular, proper maintenance followed, this update/repair should last the life of the car.

Have Questions?
For more information on AGM batteries and other types of batteries, please call one of our Service Advisors, they can offer valuable information on various types of batteries and which battery works for you.

Value
At Atlantic Motorcar, we’re all about providing our customers not only Great Service but also Value. We understand that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (my mom would be proud I remembered that.), in other words, preventing, or catching problems like these brake lines early, can save you more than just money.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

 


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Ozone Treatments During Service – Eliminate Odors and Purify Your Car

Case Studies

We’ve all heard it. That smell that could be who knows what coming from the vents of your car or under the seat or in the upholstery itself. You’ve tried cleaning and scrubbing, baking soda, everything you can think of, all of the tips in our post about cleaning your car’s interior. When all else fails, the next step is an ozone treatment. You may have heard of it. Ozone machines are the area of professional detailers. We’ll break it down for you here.

What Is An Ozone Treatment?
Ozone treatment is the use of gas ozone (O3) to remove odors, bacteria, and viruses. Our detailer will place an ozone generator in your vehicle for a designated amount of time, depending on the strength of the odor. As the gas permeates your car, the odor is neutralized and any bacteria and viruses are killed. Ozone treatments are the best method for removing stubborn odors. As a gas, it can reach inside vents, far under seats, saturate upholstery fibers, and reach all the nooks and crannies that you can’t.

How Does Ozone Work?
Ozone is the most powerful sterilant in the world. Ozone uses the chemical reaction of oxidation to break down unwanted molecules. O3 is an unstable molecule that, when it comes into contact with another molecule of any kind, will destroy it through the process of oxidation. Bacteria and viruses are destroyed when ozone comes into contact with the cell wall and breaks it down on a molecular level, effectively destroying the cell entirely.

When Should I Get An Ozone Treatment?
An ozone treatment by your detailer is done using an ozone generator. Typically, this process is done by sending specific-wavelength UV light at oxygen atoms. The generator will be placed in your vehicle for as long as necessary to remove any odor. Ozone odor removal is permanent, provided you have removed the source of the smell. Your detailer will thoroughly clean your car before the ozone treatment. It’s important to make sure that the cause of any smell is taken care of. In the case of mildew, make sure you have dealt with the source of the dampness as well.

Smoke, Pet Odors And Worse
One of the biggest causes of vehicle odors that can’t be removed is tobacco smoke. Phenol, an invisible chemical present in secondhand smoke, is responsible for irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Ozone treatment will completely oxidize any remaining phenol gas, effectively neutralizing the odor. In this case, the odor will not return because the molecules have been destroyed rather than masked or filtered. Ozone is a gas that will dissipate after about half an hour after treatment, so there is no risk of exposure from your vehicle. Your detailer will be sure to sufficiently air out your vehicle before returning it to you.

Can I Use An Ozone Treatment In My House?
It can be very tempting to purchase an ozone generator yourself for use in the home. While some ozone generators are marketed for use in the home, the EPA has not cleared them for indoor use. It’s important to note that ozone is toxic to animals, including humans. Breathing ozone can cause the same chemical reaction to happen in your body that is happening to the bacteria and viruses in your car. Symptoms include irritation of the upper respiratory tract, cough, and difficulty breathing. So if you are looking for odor removal in your home, it’s best to look for natural ways to remove the odor, such as baking soda.

Give Our Team A Call!
Do you have a smelly car or feel like freshening it up?
Make an appointment with our detailing department today for an ozone treatment!

How We Can Help You
As Maine’s leading independent service specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a fair rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any vehicle concerns, please call us right away, we can usually see your car the same day!

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Acura Audi, BMW, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Toyota, Volvo, VW or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

 
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Evaporative Emission (EVAP) Faults – Check Engine Leaks

Case Studies
Evap System
Evap System

The evolution of evaporative emissions systems has been driven by changes in emissions standards. While some vehicle manufacturers have introduced very different designs along the way, most use primarily used a vacuum-based design as a foundation. The exceptions are its hybrid electric vehicles, which use an evaporative leak check monitor (ELCM) similar to the Toyota key-off vacuum pump system, and 2011-03 Ford Fiestas, which use a natural vacuum leak detection (NVLD) system similar to the one used by Kia and BMW.

What is It
The oil and fuel in your vehicle give off vapors that are very harmful to the environment. Evaporative emissions control systems – EVAP for short – are mandated in all cars and trucks. The EVAP system is there to capture these vapors and direct them into the engine to be burned – kind of an on-board recycling program.

The EVAP system is a complicated network of hoses, valves, filters and such. Issues with the EVAP system are in the top 5 reasons for a Check Engine Light to be illuminated. Your friendly and knowledgeable Atlantic Motorcar Center service advisor can pull the trouble codes and begin a diagnostic procedure to isolate the fault.

With the proper equipment, your technician can test the valves in order to trace a blockage. A low-pressure smoke test can be performed to find any leaks. The repairs are then made to get the EVAP system working again and to reset the Check Engine light.

Correction
While EVAP problems don’t generally lead to vehicle damage, the fact that they trigger the Check Engine light can mask other more problems for WISCASSET residents if left unaddressed. After all, there are hundreds of conditions that can trigger a Check Engine light, but there is only one light. So if the light is on because of an EVAP issue you haven’t fixed and another arises, you won’t be alerted to the new condition because the light is already on.

Of course, if you live in a jurisdiction in Maine that requires emissions testing to register your vehicle, you won’t pass the test until you make the repairs. An EVAP trouble code could be caused by something as simple as a loose or worn gas cap, a leak in a hose, problems with a purge valve or even a rusty fuel filler pipe.

When your Check Engine light comes on, bring your vehicle into the Atlantic Motorcar Center team and let us check it out. Your Atlantic Motorcar Center service advisor will be able to diagnose the system and work out a plan to address any problems that are uncovered. There’s peace of mind that comes from knowing what is wrong and taking care of it.

How We Can Help You
As Maine’s leading European and Japanese auto specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a fair rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your own car, please call us right away, we can usually see your car the same day! At Atlantic Motorcar we’ve developed some very specific procedures and tooling, combined with our expert technicians, to make this otherwise onerous repair a snap.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Acura Audi, BMW, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Toyota, Volvo, VW or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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Tire Pressure Warning Light (TPMS) Light Coming On in Cold Weather? Here’s Why

Case Studies
TPMS Light On

TPMS Light Coming On in Cold Weather? Here’s Why!
If your TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) warning light goes on during a cold snap, it may not mean your tire has a leak.

Fun Fact
Tire pressure can decrease about 1 PSI (pound per square inch) for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. It’s not that more air is escaping your tires, but rather the air inside the tire condenses, taking up less space when it’s cold. It’s similar to how a cake, just out of the oven, flattens out a bit as it cools.

Tires also lose about 1 PSI per month just from seepage of air around the edge of the rim and through the tread itself. These two factors combined can cause the air pressure in a tire to go 25 percent below the recommended fill pressure. This is what triggers the sensing transmitters inside your tires to illuminate your TPMS dash light. Whenever your TPMS light comes on, have your air checked and bring your tires up to the proper pressure.

Winter Tire Pressure
Temperature changes outside affect your tire pressure. If it gets up to 45 degrees by day and drops to 15 degrees at night, your tire pressure will vary 3 PSI, not counting normal air loss. This is why it’s not unusual to have the low-pressure indicator light go on first thing in the morning, since it’s usually coldest overnight. The light may shut off on its own after you drive 20 minutes or so, as the air in your tires warms and expands and proper inflation level stabilizes.

Regardless, you should get your air checked right away. The TPMS light means your tires are at least 25 percent below the proper air pressure. This is a safety risk, especially if you’re carrying a load close to your vehicle’s max capacity. There’s a greater chance of tire failure, compromised handling and increased wear and tear on your tires. Your gas mileage could also suffer. When you top off your tires, the TPMS light will go off as the tire regains the proper pressure. Note: If the warning light is flashing, this is a problem with the vehicle’s TPMS system, not your tires, and you should take your car to the shop.

One More Reason Your TPMS Light May Go On
Your TPMS light may flash if your vehicle’s onboard computer can’t detect the sensor because you’re using a spare tire. They typically don’t have TPMS sensors.

How to Get Winter Tire Pressure Right
Once a month, have your pressure checked when the tires are cold (meaning the car is parked outside and hasn’t been driven in four hours) and inflate them to what’s indicated on your placard located on the inside of your car door.
For more information regarding TPMS with your vehicle, please review your owner’s manual.

How We Can Help You
As Maine’s leading European and Japanese auto specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a fair rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your own Volvo, please call us right away, we can usually see your car the same day! At Atlantic Motorcar we’ve developed some very specific procedures and tooling, combined with our expert technicians, to make this otherwise onerous repair a snap.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Acura Audi, BMW, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Toyota, Volvo, VW or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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Tire Wear – Tire Cupping, Causes and Correction

Case Studies

What Does Cupping Look Like?
Tire cupping is an uneven wear pattern, which occurs due to irregular up-and-down motions of a wheel (bouncing). It interferes with the proper contact of the tire with the road, scooping rubber in spots.

When it comes to your tires, cupping is a bad sign and typically means you have other problems with your car that are affecting your tires.

The term “tire cupping” is unfamiliar to many drivers, but it’s a problem that happens more frequently than you’d think. Cupping, also known as tire scalloping, refers to when a car or truck’s tire tread moves from high to low in random spots.

The worn bits are usually 3-4 inches in diameter. The cupped tire may cause a rumbling noise when driving at higher speeds, and is often mistaken for a worn wheel bearing. Your ride may also be quite harsh at slower speeds, due to this issue.

In the image above, which is exaggerated for effect, you can see how a cupped tire might appear when looked at straight on, as well as how the wear appears when looking at a tire from the side, where you can fully see the tread. The orange arrow represents the type of wear you’re probably used to seeing, while the hollow areas represent how cupped tires appear to have holes or dips.

Why Are My Tires Cupping?
It’s most likely due to one of three causes, Tires Out Of Balance, Bent Rim, or Worn Suspension Parts.

Tire Balance – If your car’s steering wheel is shaking, or you feel a vibration through the seat, suspect tire balance. Even if your tires were recently balanced, mud, dirt, snow, and other debris could build up on the inside surface of your wheels, causing an inbalance issue. When we balance tires, we balance down to 1 gram, or about the weight of a paper clip, so you can see it doesn’t take much to cause a balance issue. As small as even a 0.25-ounce imbalance may cause back tire cupping and other problems, so you should check your tire balance every 3,000-6,000 miles. Balancing your tires can improve tire life by as much as 15-20%, by preventing uneven wear.

Bent Rims – Are a common issue here in Maine, all too often a pothole impact does the trick, and the bent is usually on the inner flange, tough to see from the outside, but very visible on the lift. We can usually repair, rather than replace bent rims, saving you both money and time!

Suspension Parts – If your car is bouncing up and down excessively because of bad shocks or struts, the tread on your tire will tear out and wear in certain spots faster than others. Your car literally loses contact with the road for short periods, and over time, this action creates noticeable “cups” that look like dips or craters in the rubber. The problem is made worse if you often drive over bumpy roads or speed bumps. In some cases, tire cupping can also be caused by cheap tires that don’t offer as much tread or durability, as well as by damage from underinflated tires.


Is It Possible To Repair Tire Cupping?

You can diagnose and repair the cause, but not the wear itself. If cupping isn’t severe, treadwear will even out after you rotate the tires. However, if the case is severe, you may need to replace the tire.

You can diagnose the tire-wheel assembly yourself by completing these steps:

  1. Park the vehicle and put it on the emergency brake.
  2. Find the cupped tire by looking at the tread of all four tires.
  3. Push on the vehicle and see how much it bounces, and if it does considerably, the shocker absorbers are most likely the main issue.
  4. Aside from the rear tires, look at the front ones. If there is cupping on the inside of the tread, wheel misalignment may be the cause.

NOTE: It’s best that you go to a qualified service provider to find the exact issue and repair it.

How to Prevent Tire Cupping
Pay attention to your car’s suspension system and have it repaired when recommended by your service provider. If you notice your car bouncing more than usual, have it inspected sooner than later. Also, choose quality tires for your car, truck or SUV that will hold up throughout the years. Check tire inflation every month, along with checking your tire tread to look for signs of strange wear and tear.

If you notice that your tires are cupping, please call and bring your car to us for service immediately. Also, to learn more about tire care, check out our tire maintenance page, which includes information about signs of tire failure as well as when to align and rotate tires.

How We Can Help You
The Service Team here at Atlantic Motorcar is well experienced in this issue, and others, with over 35 years of Volvo specialization, serving clients from the areas of New England, we are familiar with the needs of the special service of your Volvo. Since we have diagnosed and treated this problem many times, we have the experience and qualifications necessary to return your Volvo to its original self.

As Maine’s leading European auto specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a fair rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your own Volvo, please call us right away, we can usually see your car the same day! At Atlantic Motorcar we’ve developed some very specific procedures and tooling, combined with our expert technicians, to make this otherwise onerous repair a snap.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mini Cooper Nissan, Volvo, and VW, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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Why An Oil Filter Housing Leak On A BMW Engine Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Case Studies

What Happens
Oil leaks on any engine are both a nuisance and fact of life but few can cause damage like the BMW oil filter housing gasket.
I haven’t seen too many higher mileage BMWs that don’t have some kind of oil leak that goes without repair. The N 54 and series of engines have been excellent, and very durable, once the oil leaks are handled. However, they are not engines that do well when the oil leaks are not promptly and professionally addressed.

If there’s one oil leak on these engines that is critical to address, it’s the oil filter housing gasket. This rubber gasket seals the oil filter housing to the cylinder head and is one of the most common sources of oil leaks on most BMW engines where the oil filter housing bolts to the engine block or cylinder head. Now, why is oil filter housing gasket leak this serious of an issue on these engines? Simply put, it can lead to severe engine damage or even failure. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, I’m not exaggerating; it can, in fact, lead to engine failure and you’ll see from the photos an engine that met its demise. Again, I want to reiterate that this is from what started as an oil filter housing leak.

Photos
In the photo, you’ll note shards of serpentine belt material that are inside of the engine. How does serpentine belt material end up inside an engine? It’s due to the design of the harmonic balancer/crank pulley assembly on these engines and the position of the serpentine belt relative to the engine block. The oil filter housing leak, when severe enough, can create a trail of oil all the way down the front of the timing cover, eventually coating the serpentine belt and crankshaft pulley. Once the oil is on the serpentine belt and the crank pulley portion of the harmonic balancer, it’s almost inevitable that the serpentine belt will begin to degrade and come off the tensioner pulley. Since the harmonic balancer is in front of the crank pulley, the serpentine belt has nowhere to go but back towards the timing cover if it slips off. Once it slips off the crank pulley, it shreds the belt and forces the pieces through the front crank seal.

Unfortunately, the BMW engine in the photos above suffered this failure. It appears that a new front crank seal was installed and the oil leak was repaired. However, whoever made the repair didn’t bother to inspect as to whether the serpentine belt was sucked inside the engine (they probably thought it was flung off). This engine had severe rod knock, and once it was opened up it became pretty clear what went wrong. The amount of debris in the oil pick-up tube likely created an oil starvation issue which eventually led to rod bearing failure. There, more likely than not is another damage in this engine based on the amount of debris found inside of it.

Save Your Car
The takeaway here is that it’s important not to overlook an oil filter housing leak on these BMW engines. If there’s a small leak I’m not telling you to pull over and get the vehicle towed; what I’m saying is what starts off as a small leak almost always gets worse. In the case of N5X engines, a severe oil filter housing leak that can be repaired with a relatively inexpensive gasket can end up costing you thousands of dollars later on or worse, a complete engine replacement.

How We Can Help You
The Service Team here at Atlantic Motorcar is well experienced in this issue, and others, with over 35 years of Volvo specialization, serving clients from the areas of New England, we are familiar with the needs of the special service of your Volvo. Since we have diagnosed and treated this problem many times, we have the experience and qualifications necessary to return your Volvo to its original self.

As Maine’s leading European auto specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a fair rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your own Volvo, please call us right away, we can usually see your car the same day! At Atlantic Motorcar we’ve developed some very specific procedures and tooling, combined with our expert technicians, to make this otherwise onerous repair a snap.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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Volvo Trailing Arm (Rear Control Arm) Bushings – The Correct Repair

Case Studies

The Problem
We often come across 2008-20015 Volvos that come with for concerns of excessive tire wear, or “loose handling” issues. Often the customer has been at other shops and paid for multiple parts, repairs or alignments in an attempt to correct the issue. Yet it remains, and the car is then referred to our facility for evaluation.

What Happens
Almost invariably we find that the rear trailing arm bushings, a rubber and steel mount, and the only part that secures and locates a critical part of the rear suspension system to the body (attaching to the hub where the wheel bolts on) are very worn or even torn out.

The rubber bushing, which is molded around and attached to the metal collar, splits or comes loose, and the entire rear suspension has no fixed anchor or attachment to the car’s body. It’s a very common finding on all of the 2008 and up cars for us and usually seems to occur right past the 80,000-mile mark, though it can occur even sooner based on environmental exposure.

What It Does
The trailing arm bushing allows your car’s rear trailing arms (which locate the rear suspension and tire) to move up and down over road surfaces and bumps, and allow for compression of the rear coil spring when the car is heavily loaded. Though a bearing could be used in this place, the rubber bushing is generally much for durable, and also serves the dual purpose of the rubber cushioning or absorbing some of the impacts from the road.

But these bushings live in a harsh environmental spot, right in front of the rear wheels, subject to road salt, dirt, grit, water, and temperature extremes from well below freezing, to over 100 degrees on a warm day. It’s a hard job, but bushings have been doing that for well over a century in most auto designs.

Often Overlooked
The problem is often overlooked as most repair shops are not aware of it, or lack the special tools necessary to undertake such a repair. So rather than tell the customer what is wrong with the car, lacking the tools to be able to fix it properly, they try all kinds of things, from alignment to selling tires, to resolve the issue. Money and time are often both wasted until finally, the car winds up on our doorstep.

We get it, the tooling is costly, and the techniques are very important, and unless you specialize in Volvo Service as we do, it’s rare for anyone outside the new car dealer to have this gear. But we think our customers deserve the best and most efficient service possible. See this service process in a video at this link – Volvo Control Arm Bushings

Correction
The real repair is actually quite straightforward, replacement of the failed bushing with an updated part. Volvo has redesigned the bushing to be more durable with what climate here in the northeast, with thermal cycling, and exposure to corrosive chemicals like road salt, a very harsh environment for any mechanical device.

Most shops and dealers will warranty this part for just one year, but here at Atlantic Motorcar, we offer a full Nationwide Warranty of 3 Years and 36,000 Miles. Once the bushings are replaced with the updated parts, we then make certain a proper 4 wheel alignment is carried out, and return your car back to you, running and driving like new.

How We Can Help You
The Service Team here at Atlantic Motorcar is well experienced in this issue, and others, with over 35 years of Volvo specialization, serving clients from the areas of New England, we are familiar with the needs of the special service of your Volvo. Since we have diagnosed and treated this problem many times, we have the experience and qualifications necessary to return your Volvo to its original self.

As Maine’s leading European auto specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a fair rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your own Volvo, please call us right away, we can usually see your car the same day! At Atlantic Motorcar we’ve developed some very specific procedures and tooling, combined with our expert technicians, to make this otherwise onerous repair a snap.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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Porsche Water Leaks and Electrical Problems – Drains Aren’t Just For The Sink

Case Studies

Drains aren’t just for bathtubs, or the kitchen sink, they also exist in your car to drain away from the effects of rain, ice, and snow. Yet, they’re one of the most neglected of service items. Often considered only when it’s too late.

The Problem
If your car has persistent condensation in colder weather and damp mildew smell, chances are that the foam pads in the footwells and on the floor behind the seats are saturated with water. A cursory check will confirm this for you: have a feel around the join of the floor carpet and rear carpet behind the seats – press down on the floor carpet. If you see, feel or hear water squelching, then you’re carrying water down there.

There is no quick fix to this one: forget about gel pads, hairdryers, heaters, etc. The seats have to come out, various bits of the trim removed, the carpet lifted. You will see 2 thick foam pads attached to the carpet, as highlighted in red in the picture.. The pads sit in “sumps” that do not drain anywhere – how clever is that?! Once the foam pads are exposed, that will allow you to squeeze out as much water as possible and then use whatever other means to dry out the pads. The flimsy rear drain trays need to be inspected for any holes that might allow water entry. And we generally run a small dehumidifier inside the car for 2-5 days to thoroughly dry it all out.

That’s just the start, for you now must check the control modules, and there are numerous ones, wiring harnesses, and electrical connectors for the deleterious effects of water entry. Modules really need to be opened up and circuit boards exposed, wiring needs to be checked for insulation integrity, and the small, often very small, electrical connectors checked for any signs of corrosion.

An Ounce Of Prevention
Check, or have checked, regularly, your vehicle’s cowl, sunroof, and other body drains. This is doubly true if the car lives outdoors, rather than in a garage. You’d be amazed at how quickly the “schmutz” builds up in the drains and lines. Pine needles, leaves, road dirt, pollen, you name it. Cars that live outside should have drains checked, and cleaned as necessary, ideally every quarter. As my mother used to tell me, “An ounce of prevention is worth it pound of cure.”

If you’re an Atlantic Motorcar customer, we’re going to be keeping an eye on this for you (Doesn’t hurt to remind us if you’ve noted any water inside your car, odd, musty smells, etc.). If you’re not, make sure it gets done, kind of like that old bromide about voting, “early and often”. 😉

Our Goal For You and Your Car
Our goal is to save you money, not spend it. Which is why each and every car that we service gets a free Courtesy Maintenance Inspection during its first visit. Our goal is to let you know about the small problems before they become big ones. Right now we have a number of customer cars with well over 200,000 miles, and several approaching 300,000! And these cars are not just limping along – most look and drive pretty much the way they came out of the showroom.

Proper maintenance is an investment in the life of your vehicle.
Knowing, not just doing, but actually knowing and understanding the difference, makes all the difference.
Be sure your car is properly loved, our professionals will attend to both you and your car’s needs.
Atlantic Motorcar…Extraordinary Service for Extraordinary Cars, just a phone call away, (207) 882-9969.

Thanks! 

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How to Fix Squeaky Brakes

Case Studies

What Causes Breaks to Squeak?
Don’t expect brakes to be totally quiet—sometimes, they’re going to make some noises. Don’t panic, because a squeaky brake can stop a car just like a silent one can.

What causes the squeal? Modern brakes use a cast-iron disc squeezed between two brake pads lined with friction material. Under the right conditions, the disc, the pads and the caliper they’re mounted in can start to vibrate—in exactly the same way a violin’s string vibrates when stroked by the horsehairs on the bow. Most brake squeals occur at a single discrete frequency. The speed of the vehicle and how hard you press down on the left pedal will only change the volume of noise because the pitch is controlled by the stiffness and mass of the pad and disc.

Normal Brake Pad Noises
Many brake pad compositions will make a swishing or grinding noise for the first few stops in the morning until the pads warm up and drive off any moisture they’ve accumulated overnight. Ever notice a hissing or grinding noise on some rainy or dewy mornings? It’s the pads sweeping a thin film of rust that’s formed on the iron discs, and it’s perfectly normal.

In the past, brake pad friction material relied heavily on asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos tended to give asbestos workers and brake mechanics lung cancer, so the industry has almost completely changed over to less dangerous alternatives. Kevlar is one material that’s seen a lot of use, but it tends to be dusty. Improved brake performance is more important nowadays because of increased safety requirements and equipment—and the extra road-hugging weight that comes along with these. That leads to the increased use of metallics and ceramics in the brake pad friction material. And this stuff can make the brakes hiss or even grind a little as you slow down. It’s a small price to pay for increased performance.

Many brake pads have a small finger of spring steel that will scrape on the disc as the pad reaches its wear limit. This tells you that it’s time to change pads for fresh, thicker ones before the friction material wears completely away, and you’re trying to slow down on the metal backing plates. It’s a sound not easily confused with brake squeal—it’s more of a ripping-sheet-metal noise, not a single, high-pitched note.


Stop the Squeak
Go into any auto parts store and you’ll see a shelf full of potions and widgets claiming to cure squeaks. One class of products I’m leery of is simple aerosols that you spray onto the pad’s friction material. I have no idea if they actually make the squeak go away because I’m unwilling to try anything that changes the friction characteristics of the pad. Let’s not forget, the first reason your brake system exists is, in fact, to make your car slow down. Anything that could reduce that system’s effectiveness in any way is probably not a good idea.

Okay, let’s dig in and silence our brake noise. One fix is to simply change pads to a different type of friction material. It’s usually hard to beat the original-equipment pads for a good compromise of pad life, noise, grip, dust creation and price, but changing to an aftermarket premium metallic or ceramic pad just might change the interaction that affects the resonant frequency of the pad and disc and, literally, change its tune.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists are here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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Mercedes Brake Line Repair – Rust Damage

Case Studies

Mercedes Brake Line Repair – Rust Damage
If you look at this late model Mercedes, you’d think that it hardly would have a problem with rusted brake lines, a safety issue that has afflicted domestic cars for decades, but until recently, was quite rarely seen on European autos.

Why This Happened
We’ve seen the transition from the older bonded phosphate brake lines used on the European cars that never rusted, to painted lines. We’ve found that the painted lines are much more susceptible to cracking the coating and then rusting the exposed metal.

But knowing where to look is the key, Justin, one of our highly skilled techs, removed the plastic cover under the floor pan and found this. Maybe just a few stops left, and then….no brake pedal. Not a good way to start off your morning.

But Wait, There’s More
But we have a solution, we fabricate replacement brake lines out of a nickel alloy brake line that will likely outlast the life of the car!

Value
At Atlantic Motorcar, we’re all about providing our customers not only Great Service but also Value. We understand that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (my mom would be proud I remembered that.), in other words, preventing, or catching problems like these brake lines early, can save you more than just money.

Finally
Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists are here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

Read More