Automotive 101 – Basic Car Systems

Basic automotive parts for general maintenance and repairs.

Welcome to Automotive 101 – Basic Car System. In the this article we will cover everything from brakes pads to battery charging. If you are currently experiencing any of things we cover, you will certainly be able to diagnoize the issue and seek further help. Which of course can be done right here at McKenney-Salinas Honda. You can Schedule an Appointment online or give our Service Department a call at you next convenience.

Why do my brakes squeal or squeak?

Any type of noise from your brakes is the result of a high-pitched vibration from the brake pads. Often caused by poor insulation. This vibration occurs because the pads are not properly insulated from the caliper or secured to the caliper. Brake pads come from the factory with anti-rattle clips, pad insulator shims, and sometimes a silicone backing that literally glues the pad to the caliper to keep the pads security. Sometimes brake squeal is the result of the composition of the brake pads being too hard. These hard and smooth surfaces rub against each other, resulting in a “nails screeching across a blackboard” type of syndrome.

If this is the case for you, we recommend replacing the brake pads and resurfacing the brake rotors. When brake squeal is evident, our technicians start with ensuring that the pads are properly secured and insulated to the brake caliper. They also check that the anti-rattle clips are installed to stop pad rattle. Then, they will make sure the rotors were properly resurfaced for pad break-in. From there we can conclude what the issue was and how it can be or was solved.

Outside vs Circulation Air Conditioning

“Outside” setting means that fresh outside air is being fed into the vehicle’s cabin, along with the climate-controlled air that the HVAC system is feeding into the cabin. “Circulation” means that the air being fed into the vehicle’s cabin through the HVAC system is being recirculated without adding any fresh outside air. See Air Filters 101 for more info

How does my car battery stay charged?


Automotive charging systems keep your car’s battery charged at all times. The battery provides the heavy cranking amperage necessary to crank the starter motor and start the car. After the car has been started, the charging system provides a steady feed of voltage and amperage to keep the battery in perfect health for the next time you have to start the car, or use an electrical device inside the car.

Why do car mufflers “smoke” on cold mornings?

The white smoke you see coming out of your tailpipe in the morning is the result of condensation buildup in the exhaust system. When the hot air in the exhaust from the engine meets with the cold air inside the exhaust system, a cloud forms, resulting in the white smoke you see coming from the exhaust.

Using Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

If you just purchased a new vehicle with ABS that you’ve need used before, don’t worry. ABS is engineered to help and we would just like to point out a few things you should be prepared for. When pressure is applied to the break pedal and ABS is activated, the pedal may feel harder than usual; this is normal. The pedal may seem to ratchet or pulsate (vibrate), or even a combination of these sensations; this is also normal as well. The final thing you may notice is a noise that resembles the sounds of a motorboat engine, this is the hydraulic control unity operating; so once again, normal.

Three Things to Keep in Mind If Your Car Has ABS

  1. Maintain the same safe stopping distance from the vehicle ahead, just as you would with conventional brakes. ABS will not make the vehicle “stop on a dime.” They are built to assist, not control.
  2. Do not pump the brake. Just apply firm, constant pressure and let ABS do the work for you. You may feel a slight vibration or hear noise as the hydraulic control unit functions.
  3. Be ready to push the pedal further if it travels closer the floor. If the ABS fires you can still apply more pressure to the brake pedal.

How much water does it take to hydroplane?

Wiper Insert Special

Hydroplaning or aquaplaning, is a phenomenon that occurs when a layer of water builds between the footprint of your car’s rubber tires and the surface of the road. When this happens, the vehicle cannot respond to your control efforts of steering or braking. According to laboratory tests, hydroplaning can occur on a wet road surface at speeds of 50 mph or higher. Sitting water as little as a quarter of an inch can cause hydroplaning, and the deeper the water, the worse it becomes.

Three Factors That Contribute to Hydroplaning

  1. Vehicle Speed: As speed increases, wet traction is reduced, and thus the chance of hydroplaning increases.
  2. Tire-Tread Depth: The more shallow the depth, the less the tires are able to resist hydroplaning.
  3. Water Depth: The deeper the water, the sooner the tires will lose traction.