Brandon Auto Repair


Getting Better Fuel Economy Out Of Your Car From Your Brandon Mechanic

Have you heard the old saying, "There are only two things you can count on in life: Death and Taxes"? Well, that saying is no longer true; there are three things now: Death, Taxes, and the cost of fuel forever spiraling upwards. Here at Clarke Automotive, your local Brandon FL mechanic, with over 30 years in the automotive industry we've heard our fair share of complains about the increasing fuel prices. Even if you don't have the newest, most fuel efficient vehicle, there are still things you can put into practice to make your dollar go farther. 1. Be mindful of your right foot. If you're speeding away from red lights and stop signs, you're wasting fuel. If you're racing cars down the interstate at 80 mph, you're wasting fuel. Here's a rule of thumb: your gas mileage can drop off up to 15% when driving at or below 65mph and driving above 65mph. 2. You can change your octane! A lot of people drive around with medium or premium gas in the ... read more

Why Does My Car Smell Like Gasoline? Advice From Your Brandon Mechanic

With over 30 years of experience serving the community of Brandon FL and surrounding areas, Clarke Automotive is proud to be the Brandon FL mechanic that you trust. We love providing an affordable means for our customers to service and repair their import and domestic vehicles. We also love providing education and advice on issues that we commonly see come through our doors. Today we're specifically talking about the issue of your car smelling like gas. It's important to know that you should never have a fuel smell in your car as it can be very dangerous. Trust us, we've seen a lot of fuel leaks in our career. The most common causes: Fuel injector leak Fuel tank leak Fuel line leak Faulty canister Missing gas cap It's important to know that at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what is causing the fuel smell in your car. you just need to bring your car in to Clarke Auto ... read more

Brandon Mechanic Tips: Why Your Car Wobbles When You Break

With our car repair team’s extensive knowledge and training in repairing and maintaining domestic and imported vehicles, our shop guarantees all customers the best service they deserve. As your local Brandon FL mechanic, we're here to help you no matter how big or small your automotive issue is. A common question we get from our customers is, "Why does my car shake when I am apply my brakes?" We've got some insight for you today. If you've check the front brake pads and they seem fine - or if you've had us check them - then it sounds like you may have a classic case of warped rotors. As you brake in your car over time, materials is removed not just from the pads but also from the discs. As your rotors get thinner, they're more susceptible to warping because of the heat and friction generated from braking itself. Although you may not be able to see any irregularity by simply looking at your rotors yourself, it's very likely that warped rotors are ca ... read more

Brandon FL Mechanic Advice: Why Is My Car Overheating?

Having your car overheat can be a major inconvenience as well as an expensive engine killer than can leave your car on the side of the road. Here at Clarke Automotive, your local Brandon FL mechanic, we want to make sure that your car is as reliable as our service is. When your car is running hot, it can be a stressful time and trust us, we know the feeling. Today we have some tips on what could be causing your car to overheat. However, it's important that you bring your car into Clarke Automotive as quickly as you can if it's overheating. The most common cause for your car overheating is that its low on coolant. Your engine relies on coolant to circulate throughout the system and remove heat from the engine. Another common cause of overheating is that your car is experiencing an electric cooling fan failure. If you have an electric cooling fan that isn't turning on, it may be causing your engine to overheat. Another cause of ov ... read more

Brandon FL Mechanic Tips: Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Here at Clarke Automotive, we've been proudly servicing the Brandon FL area's automotive repair and service needs for over 30 years. If you're looking for a Brandon FL mechanic, don't waste your time on the other guys when you could be coming to Clarke Automotive. We have a lot of customers come in who have been driving around with their check engine light on. While a check engine light could simply mean that your computer needs to be reset, it could mean a few things that are much more complicated. 1. Your oxygen sensor may need to be replaced. Your O2 sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust system of your vehicle. If you don't replace your oxygen filter, your engine will burn more fuel than you need it to resulting in loss of fuel economy. 2. Your gas cap may be loose, damaged, or even missing. Remember, your gas cap seals the fuel system and helps maintain pressure within your fuel tank. Plus, it prevents gas fumes ... read more

The Proper Care Of Your Timing Belt

Unless you're a weekend mechanic or serious gearhead, you most likely have no idea what a timing belt is, what it does, or why it matters. At the end of the day, you probably just want your car to run when it's supposed to. But remember that a little bit of knowledge can be powerful. In your engine, the name of the game is precision. It's designed very specifically so that certain parts work in harmony with other parts. The timing belt is responsible for coordinating the movements of the camshaft and crankshaft in the engine, which causes the valves and pistons to move in sync. Usually, a timing belt will last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. It's always best to check the owner's manual for specifics. If you're coming up on the recommended time to swap out the belt, it's best to replace it before it breaks. Why? If a timing belt breaks, your car will simply not run. On top of that, if the belt does break, there can be a collision between a valve and a piston. If t ... read more

Why Is Your Car Vibrating?

When you turn your car on, the engine should have a low and steady rumble. But if car is shaking like it's in the middle of an earthquake, why is it happening, and what can you do make sure it doesn't happen again? First, if the shaking is coming from the engine, it's possible the engine isn't getting the fuel, air or spark that it really needs. Check the spark plugs-time for a new set? If the plugs are relatively new, perhaps the wires for them need to be checked, and maybe the wires aren't connected in the proper order. Another possibility might be that the fuel filter or air filter is badly clogged. If you replace these filters when the manufacturer suggests, you shouldn't have a problem. It's also possible that the wheels might be out of balance. This is a fairly common problem that can make things shake, rattle and roll. If your wheels become too far out of balance, it can become difficult to steer, so get this problem checked out right away. There's ... read more

The Battery Is Your Car's MVP

A good day is when you turn the key in your car's ignition and the engine comes to life. A bad day is when you turn that same key and...nothing happens If you've ever been in a situation where the battery in your car goes dead, you know how frustrating it can be. But how can you make sure this doesn't happen? Usually, a good battery will last around 4-5 years under average conditions. Remember that "average" means the battery isn't subjected to extremes in temperatures and it's attached to a reliable charging system. But there's a few things that can be a fast drain on battery power. When your car first starts up, it usually takes a good amount of power to get the engine going. At this point, the charging system needs to start to replenish power. But if you're driving short distances constantly, the battery never gets an opportunity to fully recharge. Also, heavy vibrations can shake loose the battery, so try to watch those potholes. So how can you keep t ... read more

Serpentine Belt Is The Key To Your Car's Happiness

Remember the last time you were at the auto repair shop getting your car serviced? Your mechanic may have said, "By the way, we checked the serpentine belt and it's in good shape." Maybe you nodded and replied confidently, "Excellent, we all know how important that is!" But maybe you didn't really know what it is and why it matters? Here's a little bit of information to broaden your knowledge base. The serpentine belt is, well, a long belt that drives multiple accessories in the engine of your car. It drives the power steering pump, the alternator, water pump, super charger, and most importantly here in Florida, the air conditioning compressor. If it's working the way it's supposed to, all those components will work properly at the same time. However, if it stops working, best case scenario you'll have a dead battery. Worst case, you could have serious engine damage. So how do you know if it needs to be replaced? First, pop the hood of your car and ... read more

Preventative Maintenance Will Keep Your Car Going Strong

Preventative maintenance for your car is a lot like getting a regular checkup with your doctor. It's a chance to make sure things are running smoothly and catch any issues before they become serious. Here's a few tips we recommend to keep your car running longer and to reduce repair bills. First, read the owner's manual. Most people don't do this, but if you take the time to crack it open you'll find lots of good info tat's relevant to your exact vehicle. You'll learn how often you should really get the oil changed, the right kind of oil to use and the correct kind of gas to put in the tank. Next, get your car washed on a regular basis. Not only will a sparkling car make you look better, but salt and sand used to keep roads clear can cause damage to the undercarriage. Make sure you also frequently inspect the car. Check to make sure front and back lights are functional. Every month or so, make sure the air pressure in the tires is where it needs to be. By doing th ... read more

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