How to Check Your Car Battery Voltage

Anyone who has driven a vehicle for any length of time knows that sinking feeling when you climb in to the driver’s seat, turn the key and get nothing. As you try to start your car one more time, and then another, your thoughts turn to how much is this going to cost, and is it just a dead battery or something more sinister?

Of course most major auto parts stores will offer to test your battery for free, but those stores aren’t performing house calls, and as previously stated your car isn’t going anywhere either. So how can you diagnose what might be wrong with your car’s charging system at home? It’s easy enough with a little elbow grease and a multimeter, also sometimes called a voltmeter.

A multimeter can be an intimidating piece of equipment to operate, especially if you have never used one before. Testing automotive batteries is pretty straightforward, however. These units will have a dial on the front that gives you a number of options. No matter what brand, or how many choices, you always want to find the “V.” Sometimes there will be more than one V, and in that case you want to find the one with a straight line over top of it. Can it also have a dashed line? Sure, as long as there is a solid line present above the V, it’s correct.

Before you start working under your car’s hood, there are a couple safety tips that should be followed for good measure. Always make sure you are working on your car in a well-ventilated area, and wear protective eyewear and clothing.

Once you have properly adjusted the dial, it is time to connect the probes. There should be a red (positive) and black (negative). Go color to color, with the red probe connecting to your battery’s positive terminal and the black probe on the negative terminal.

With the probes in contact with the terminals, refer to the multimeter’s gauge. Whether digital or analog, doesn’t matter. Batteries differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and there are other factors at play like battery age, but a good battery should read in a certain range. As long as your battery is measuring somewhere in the neighborhood of 12.6 volts, the battery is good. Find a measurement less than that, and a battery replacement is probably in your future.

For help in diagnosing vehicle ignition problems and Ford service, bring your Ford car, truck or SUV to Cavalier Ford in Chesapeake, VA. We additionally do brake repair in Portsmouth to oil changes in Portsmouth as well. From a new battery that’s a perfect fit for your F-150 to more in-depth repairs for your Ford Explorer, our service department is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. We’ve got the quality replacement parts that are a perfect fit for your Ford, and the competent and professional staff to install them for you. Check out our specials page for Ford service specials!


Tips for Getting Approved for an Auto Loan

If you want to make sure that you are able to get behind the wheel of a vehicle that you can love and enjoy, it is important that you secure the finances necessary. In most cases, people do not have the thousands of dollars available in liquid form to purchase a quality vehicle. Anyone who needs to make sure that they are able to purchase their vehicle should follow these tips to getting approved for an auto loan.

#1: Have a Quality Down Payment Ready

Money talks, no matter what kind of vehicle you are attempting to purchase. For instance, if you are getting ready to purchase an automobile, you have a much better chance of getting approved for an auto loan when you can put some money down behind it. The bigger the down payment, the greater the chance you will have to get approved. The reason for this is that it shows that despite a credit score, you will have the money needed to secure the vehicle. Also, you are making the principal loan amount much smaller but cutting into it with a down payment.

#2: Look at a Variety of Lenders

Many people go to their bank and stop there when it comes to looking for a loan. One of the best things you can do in order to get approved for a loan is branch out and find other lenders who can look out for you. For instance, one of the best resources is a Federal credit union loan. In many cases, these financial institutions will have much opportunity for you, in the form of a great loan, with great interest rates. Make sure that you reach out to as many lenders as you can in order to find out what kinds of rates they are able to offer you.

#3: Get a Personal Loan

If the bank is not able to approve you for a large amount of money, you can go through a friend or family member for a personal loan. The personal loan can be for the entirety of the automobile amount, or can help you secure a smaller loan to finance it, while using the personal loan for the rest of it.

#4: Fix Your Credit

If the vehicle purchase is not particularly urgent, you should take a little bit of time to get your credit together. The first thing you need to do is pull your credit report, so that you know your score and the terms that are laid out within it. This way, you will know exactly what the report says and why your credit is in its current state. You will also be able to dispute any instances on your credit report that you do not feel are valid, such as a bogus collections account. When you take full advantage of the credit report, you will be able to pay off your debt and check your report periodically to boost your credit score and your credit report.

So what are you waiting for? Follow along with these four tips, so that you are able to get behind the wheel of a vehicle that will get you where you need to go. This will provide you with everything that you need in order to get a car that will suit you, without having to worry about where the money will come from. If you follow these tips, you will have the foundation to secure a quality loan and shop for a car, truck or SUV that will get you where you need to go without any unnecessary financial setbacks. For additional financial assistance, visit Cavalier Ford Chesapeake Square‘s Finance Department page or fill out a credit application to see what you can be approved for.

Get Involved with Local Breast Cancer Awareness Month Activities

If you want to be sure that you are able to take full advantage of the breast cancer awareness activities in your area, it is best to give yourself a heads up on the many events that are taking place in the month of October. October has been designated breast cancer awareness month, and when this month rolls around, people and organizations all over the country do their part to fight this deadly disease. The best way to beat breast cancer is to get catch it in its initial stages, with a diagnosis. If you want to learn ways to donate money, get screened, raise awareness or otherwise fight this disease, make sure that you follow these tips and get involved with breast cancer events in your area.

#1: The 50 Shades of Pink Breast Cancer Screening in Colonial Heights

Doing your part by getting screened can not only protect your health, it can also inspire other people to go get screened. If you want to get screened for free, you can do it Oct. 20 at Appomattox Imaging Center. This clinic is taking people from 5 to 7:30 p.m. who are looking to get free screening. While getting screened, professionals will also give out free information about the disease and how it may be hereditary, and how certain risks can present themselves. This event is being promoted through the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation.

#2: Ellen’s Hope Breast Cancer Luncheon

This luncheon is held in Richmond and available to people who want to get involved and find out more about the disease. You will be able to receive educational opportunities from people involved in the field and will learn all about imaging and screenings that can potentially save your life or the life of somebody that you know. There are speakers who will give you the chance to learn from their personal testimonies and experiences, in addition to learning about the books that they have published.

#3: Bootcamp for Breast Cancer

If you want to raise some awareness with the disease, while also getting in shape, Bootcamp for Breast Cancer is a great way to do it. This event is being held at the G.O.A.L. Sports Performance Center in Richmond. It will allow you to participate in some fun activities that will get the blood pumping and allow you to learn some exciting exercises that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. The event will also feature other activities and food, so that you can bring the whole family down for a workout or for a good time. This event starts at 10 a.m. and will lat for approximately an hour.

The most important thing that you can do is reach out to these events so that you are able to participate and do your part for the disease. This will provide you with a platform to get involved in finding a cure for the disease, while also raising money and awareness at the same time. Whether you a breast cancer survivor, a person who has been touched by breast cancer in your family or social circle or a person who just wants to do their part for the greater good, you will be able to take full advantage by participating in these events. You will also be able to network with other people who have an interest in fighting the disease. If this is what you are looking for, stop by these events and close out your October by doing something to fight and raise awareness of this disease. This way, you’ll do your part.

Cavalier Ford Chesapeake Square of Chesapeake, VA supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Transmission Service

Being the part that transmits power from the engine to the drive axle so that the wheels can move, problems with the transmission can bring your car to a complete stop and be a safety hazard. There are a number of signs that will alert you to transmission problems:

  • Lack of response where the car won’t get into gear or does so with resistance
  • Odd sounds of whining, humming or clunking. These are usually louder in cars with manual transmission.
  • Fluid that is low or leaking which is one of the most common causes of transmission problems. Automatic transmission fluid conditions, cleans and lubricates the seals and acts as a hydraulic fluid. Without it or when it is low, the engine seizes and stops completely.
  • Grinding, jerking and shaking which point to a problem with the gears or clutch in cars with manual transmission. With automatic ones, instead of smooth gear transition, there will be a delay when changing from one gear to another.
  • A burning smell which could be caused by overheated transmission fluid or the wrong brand of it for a particular brand of a car. The problem can cause a complete breakdown of the engine.
  •  A car that is not getting into gear at all is another pointer to transmission problems. In manual cars, the car will not shift into gear at all after engaging the clutch. The problem may be that the shift cables need adjustment, the clutch linkage or the wrong consistency of the transmission fluid. In automatic ones, the problem could be with the computerized system.
  • Transmission problems can also be indicated by an engine light that goes on. A car’s engine has sensors on various parts so that an alert is send to the computer if there is unusual activity from a particular part of the engine. The sensors on a transmission pick up the slightest of jerks and vibrations that cannot be seen and felt.
  • A transmission that is noisy even when the gear is in neutral is another indicator of a problem in this part of the engine. Worn out parts like the bearings, gear teeth or reverse idler gear may need to be replaced.
  • A transmission that remains is a particular gear until it is shifted is another problem. A transmission that slips in and out of gear spontaneously is a serious safety risk.
  • Manual cars may have a problem of a dragging clutch where the clutch disk fails to disengage and the clutch keeps spinning with the engine making it difficult or impossible to change gears.

Transmission Service

Periodic transmission service will prevent such problems, some of which present major risk to the driver and other road users. Complete transmission service includes:

  • Removing and inspecting the sump or pan
  • Cleaning the pan
  • Installing a new pan gasket on the pan
  • Replacing or cleaning the filter or screen
  • Adding a friction modifier or additive package
  • Flushing out old transmission fluid and replacing it with fresh, high quality fluid. New fluid optimizes the holding power between the clutches which reduces slipping and heat. Flushing old liquid also removes dirt like tiny metal shavings and clutch bits that clog passages and cause wear throughout the transmission.

Top Transmission Service

If you are in Chesapeake or surrounding areas, you can get the best transmission service at the Cavalier Ford Chesapeake Square dealership. Located on 4021 Portsmouth Boulevard Chesapeake, VA 23321, transmission and other maintenance services are offered six days a week by our friendly service department. If any parts are needed, factory-sourced genuine ones will be used and the job will be done by accredited, experienced auto technicians.

Oil Change

An oil change is not complicated but failing to have it done can cause some serious problems. Motor oil starts breaking down the moment a vehicle is started. The quality of oil used and its additives keep the rate at which the oil breaks down at reasonable limits. Still, standard petroleum oil will break down past acceptable limits over time. It is for this reason that periodic oil changes are necessary.

If oil changes are not done periodically, serious problems can arise.
The most common are:

  • Excessive engine wear since the moving parts are not lubricated which reduces its lifespan.
  • Engine corrosion which occurs when the oil breaks down and the chemicals in it react with oxygen, acids that form heat and corrosive compounds. These compounds react with metals in the engine to cause a lot of wear.
  • Clogging occurs from the sludge and varnish that builds up on the inner parts of the engine. Clogging interferes with important clearances between these inner parts and also increases oil consumption. It also causes valves to stick and pistons to seize.
  • Poor car performance resulting from reduced oil pressure and less oil reaching the engine. If an oil change is not done, the flow of oil can be blocked completely. Oil that has broken down can also cause an engine to run rough and hot which decreases overall engine power.
  • Thermal break down is a process that occurs when the heat of an engine weakens the thickness of the oil. Old oil loses thickness and is no longer able to protect the inner moving parts of an engine. The thin oil slips past seals and rings and burns in the combustion chamber. This is why exhausts start smoking and oil consumption is increased.

Why have it done at the dealership?

An oil change is simple enough for a car owner to do themselves. However, in most cases it’s forgotten or put off until problems develop. The fact is that regular scheduled oil changes are the single most important service needed by a car. Scheduling means the service will always be done at intervals without fail which will prolong engine life and ensure your car performs optimally.

Costs are also reduced as there will be enough oil of the right consistency, quantity and of high quality to lubricate and protect moving internal engine parts and prevent corrosion. Another advantage of having an oil change done at a dealership is that other problems can be caught and worked on before they get seriously damaged and before your car becomes a safety hazard to you and other road users.

A dealership will also have trained and experienced auto technicians who can recommend the best oil for your car. Different car brands and models need different types of oil. You may be doing your own oil change at home and on time every time but you may not be using the best oil for your particular kind of car.

Why have it done at Cavalier Ford Chesapeake Square?

Cavalier Ford Chesapeake Square is the leading Ford dealership serving residents of Portsmouth. It is conveniently located just ten minutes from downtown on 4021 Portsmouth Boulevard, Chesapeake, VA 233321.

Your oil change will be done with right oil for your vehicle. For instance, Ford manufacturers indicate that an oil change needs to be done every 7,500 miles or after six months for Ford models made in 2008 and later. Those that came out in 2007 and earlier need an oil change after every 5,000 miles or after six months. Most DIY oil changers don’t have this information or adhere to it. Our friendly service department staff is always willing to help no matter what the issue is.