Close-up of a vehicle's gas and brake pedals
Your brake pedal may signal that something is wrong with a car’s brakes. Usually, a brake pedal will feel soft and firm when pressed down upon. When a pedal begins to feel rigid and hard to press down, there may be something wrong. It’s a scary feeling knowing the brakes are difficult to use, but that does not mean they have failed. Let’s figure out what may be the cause and what to do.

1. Check Brake Fluid

The brake fluid in a car should be replaced regularly. As you utilize the brakes, the fluid depletes. Over time, the fluid will turn from a golden tint to a harsher brown. This is all due to dirt, moisture, and other organic elements collected over months. This will thicken the fluid and turn from a liquid into a solid, eventually causing a clog in the brakes. If this happens, the fluid will need to be replaced as soon as possible so the brakes can be restored back to their normal function.

2. Vacuum Issues

Brakes have a booster system. This system gauges the power of our foot to the brake and maintains control of the car. If this system fails, then the driver will find pressing on the brake is harder than usual. The boost benefit will be gone, and the driver will have to readjust themselves when braking. This can cause a serious accident, so the system will need to be replaced to maintain safety.

3. Brake Pads Need Replacing

Brake pads have full control over how we slow down as drivers. They determine if we can do it quickly or slowly. This means the pads are constantly used and will eventually wear down over time due to friction. If you begin to hear a screeching sound as you break, then it is time to get the pads checked before you cannot stop as fast as you need to.

4. Calibration Error

The calibration to determine the quality of your brake pads may be off. Just like brake fluid, the calipers may have picked up extra dirt and mud. They may also break all together due to other issues related to the vehicle. If the caliper fails to release a brake pad, then the pedal will be hard to push down on. It’s important to get your calipers readjusted and checked at your next service check, because it can affect the reading of the brake pads.

Key Takeaways

There can be many possibilities for your brakes feeling firm at the push. It is best to visit your local dealer or service agent to find the root cause. Many of these issues can be detected on your own if one is familiar with cars. Although you may be able to identify the problem, it is best to leave the fixing up to the professionals. Brakes are extremely important in your safety, so get them checked as soon as possible before putting yourself or others at risk. Next time you feel that your brakes are hard to press down on, figure out the issue and take your car in for service.
Black smoke emissions from a diesel truck's exhaust

Diesel offers excellent mileage, and with costs falling across the board, they're often a more affordable option. The added power is an attractive bonus as well. As with any vehicle, a diesel engine needs to be correctly maintained to avoid ruining the whole machine. This maintenance can be an intimidating prospect for motorists who encounter diesel issues for the first time, especially if they are inexperienced with the equipment. Diesel engine component failures may occur due to normal wear and tear, but they can also be more complicated. We'll provide some insight into the unique issues diesel engines can face below.

1. Oxidation of Oil

Not only must diesel engine oil be maintained free of solid debris and other liquids, but it must also be kept free of air. Engine lubricants oxidize when they come into contact with oxygen. It results in a chemical reaction that often leads to oil thickening, impairing its lubricating properties. That is because the oil's primary function is to lubricate all engine components, thus preventing the mechanism from overheating and preventing premature wear and tear. The oxidation issue is particularly prevalent in cars that have been in storage for an extended time. These air bubbles can break the thin oil coatings between moving components, resulting in corrosion and friction. As a consequence, a stalled or damaged engine or engine component fails.

2. Engine Noise

Diesel engines are often noisier than gasoline ones. Due to the engine's mechanical components, it's unavoidable for it to generate some noise. These vehicle aggregates tend to become louder than anticipated over time. However, an uneven engine sound or noticeable banging may be an indication of further issues. It may be a defective fuel injector or a compression balance problem. These problems may degrade the engine's performance. If you notice unusual noises, it is good to get your engine inspected by a specialist.

3. Damaged Glow Plug

Starting an engine tends to be difficult, especially during winter weather due to the extreme cold. Diesel engines use glow plugs for their fuel combustion, unlike gasoline engines that use spark plugs. When a pin is faulty or damaged, starting the engine is impossible. The plugs help start the machine since they ignite the air and fuel mixture. The remedy for this is changing the old plug with a new one.

4. Black Engine Exhaust

For a diesel engine, the emission of smoke is not an alarming sign. Black smoke from the exhaust, however, is a sign of a bigger problem. It is also a result of air and fuel mixing in an unbalanced ratio. In the case of black smoke, the fuel levels are usually higher than what would be ideal for the amount of air mixing. The result might even land you into trouble with the authorities since you are not observing the clean air ordinance. These imbalances can be caused by having a damaged injector pump, turbocharger, injector, or some other engine parts.

5. Difficulty Starting

Occasionally, your diesel engine may fail to start for many attempts before eventually starting. This is especially true during the winter season. Unlike gasoline engines, which ignite combustion through an electrical wire or spark plugs, diesel engines ignite combustion via air compression. A problematic start is indicative of low compression or fuel delivery issues. This is a frequent occurrence throughout the winter. If the compression is satisfactory, check the fuel gauge. Then check for blockages in the fuel filters and lines. One benefit of a diesel engine is that it consumes much less fuel than a gasoline engine, and maintaining it correctly will help keep that efficiency as high as possible.

6. Low Power

Diesel engines are more powerful than gasoline engines. This is why heavy machinery mainly uses diesel engines. At times you might notice the power of your engine is low, especially when starting or accelerating. several things might cause this:
  • dirty oil filters
  • clogged delivery lines for fuel
  • excess or low lubrication
  • loose throttle leakage
  • faulty fuel injectors

7. Oil Changes

For a diesel engine to function efficiently, it needs to have regular oil changes. The cost of these changes can add up, causing some people to opt not to have their oil changed as frequently as they should. This, however, can cause more damage to the car which could have easily been prevented. This ignorance can cause the valve gear to have problems, making the costs of repairs much higher than those skipped oil changes. Good maintenance will reduce the amount of repairs needed, saving money in the long run.

8. Engine Overheating

The biggest problem of a diesel vehicle is overheating the engine. This is mainly as a result of pushing the car past its maximum, leading to its overheating. Other than this, interference in the engine cooling system can also overheating. Several causes include:
  • Clogged diesel injectors—the causes of surge may be leaks and bugs in your diesel injector. The engine works considerably harder, resulting in overheating if the injection system cannot release gasoline as needed.
  • Coolant leaks—this is the largest and easiest cause of overheating. Excess bubbles are indications of coolant leakage and low levels of coolant. Excess heat causes the head of the cylinders to widen. Thus, the gasket cannot screen the refrigerant as it should. If this occurs, only an expert can repair it.
  • Damaged thermostat—a thermostat helps to regulate heat in the engine and prevent overheating. It features a valve that opens and shuts to control the temperature of the engine. When it becomes damaged, it doesn't detect when the motor is overheated and thus can't begin cooling.
  • A defective cooling ventilator—this electrical issue causes faulty cooling fans, resulting in the engine's overheating.

9. Fuel Contamination

Diesel is more viscous than gasoline. It is therefore vulnerable to contaminants, be it solid or liquid. There are some major fuel contaminants to be aware of, including water, glycol and soot. The fuel system is delicate, and contact with any contaminant can lead to severe engine damage. Therefore, you need to be very careful with the transfer mode of diesel from one place to another.

Key Takeaways

Despite the many problems with diesel vehicles, they can give you a good service if you maintain them and take care of the different parts, especially the engine. There are remedies for every problem you might face with your vehicle. If you are not familiar with diesel engine maintenance or solving diesel issues, you should always consult with a professional mechanic.
Auto mechanic holding a new spark plug for demonstration

Motor vehicles are a convenient, luxurious way of getting from place to place. Vehicles carry out this function by way of an engine. The engine converts heat energy into mechanical work, which pushes the wheels into motion. But how precisely does this happen, and what parts do this job? Engines are comprised of pistons that…

Pickup truck visiting a local repair shop

Your vehicle is one of the most important assets you own. It gets you from place to place and provides you a method of private transportation. That’s why it’s important to keep your vehicle running at optimum performance and to understand when to take it to a repair shop. You never want to be going…

Jeeps covered in snow in the winter

A car, truck or SUV is one of the most valuable possessions you have, so it’s best to understand the optimal way to take care of it. When the weather gets nasty and cold, it can cause havoc on your vehicle, and damage can easily happen. Sometimes this damage is so severe it will cost you a good deal of money to fix or might even be unfixable. It’s best to never let your vehicle get to this point when exposing it to the elements. If you’re unable to park your car inside a garage, then you should be aware of how cold weather affects your vehicle so you are on the lookout for what issues might arise and how you can handle them.

Battery Problems

Your car battery is no different from any other battery. It will lose its power to the cold when it is exposed to it for long periods of time. Cold weather drains car batteries quickly, so if you don’t have a strong battery then you won’t be able to rely on its surviving in the cold. It’s best to always have a battery with a good amount of charge when going into the winter months so you can be better prepared to brace the elements with a battery that works. You can either buy a new battery if you think yours won’t make it or go to an auto shop to get your battery checked first. No matter what you do, making sure your battery is good to go in cold months is key in your vehicle surviving.

Salt Damage

If you live in an area that experiences frequent freezes, you might notice a white coating your vehicle in the winter months. Typically, this isn’t from snow but from salt. Salt is used to stop roads from becoming icy and to make them safe to drive on. It can also stick to your car, and if it’s there for too long it will eat away at your vehicle. It can eat away at your paint job or even the under carriage of your vehicle. It can create holes and cause damage that is expensive to repair. It’s best to avoid this by getting your car washed as frequently as possible. If you can, getting a wax job done on your vehicle will also help you to preserve the paint job better against salt in the colder months.

Tire Pressure

The last thing that cold weather will definitely affect on your vehicle is tire pressure. Tire pressure can be easily altered by cold weather because air expands and shrinks depending on the temperature around it. It’s common to see your car’s sensors go off and say that you have low tire pressure during the winter months. This is due to the cold air affecting your tires. There are a few different options you can take if this happens to you. You can take your car to a gas station and put air in the tires. Likely, it’s lost some air to the cold weather so you’ll need to add more. Some people just ignore the sensors on their cars, because they know the sensor warning will go away when the weather gets warm again. This might work if you don’t drive your vehicle very much, but it’s always best to keep your tires at optimal pressure throughout all months of the year.

Prevention is Key

Even if we only experience winter weather briefly here in Texas, it’s important to know how it’s going to affect your vehicle and how you can prevent serious issues. If you have any concerns, take your vehicle in to an auto shop like Reliable Automotive as soon as the road conditions allow. It’s better to catch winter-related issues sooner rather than later.

From car inspections, to tire repair, Reliable Automotive in Buda TX has you covered! Consider contacting us today to see how we can help!

Mechanic discussing an auto issue with a customer.

It can be frustrating to have to deal with vehicle repair work. It’s inevitable, however. Cars aren’t flawless. They inevitably encounter problems. The best motorists can do is try to spot vehicle troubles as soon as they pop up. If you’re dealing with a particularly extensive vehicle problem, it may help you to get a second opinion. You don’t necessarily have to take the word of the first mechanic you visit, after all. The advantages of getting a second opinion can be priceless.

Taking Care of the Correct Issue

A second opinion may safeguard you from the stresses of auto repair work that’s costly or overly complex. If you get your hands on a second opinion, it may help you confirm that you’re indeed taking care of the correct issue. It isn’t unheard of for mechanics who lack experience and who aren’t quite so honest to “trick” customers. They may do so because they know that the customers won’t realize that anything is out of the ordinary.

If you want to get a sound opinion on the state of your car, you should restrict yourself to assessments from mechanics who are experienced and who have all of the essential diagnostic supplies and devices. Don’t waste your time on any technicians who aren’t trustworthy.

Proceeding with More Confidence

Second opinions can do a lot for people who feel nervous about the state of their vehicles. If going forward with vehicle repair work is making you so edgy you can barely get any rest at night, it can be priceless to land another opinion from an individual who genuinely knows what he or she is doing. Getting another opinion can help you confirm that you’re proceeding in the correct fashion.

It can help you have faith in the fact that your vehicle is going to perform reliably as well. There aren’t many things that can be more stressful than never knowing whether your car is going to actually run or start the next day. If you have to rely on a car to get to work, school, or anything else on a daily basis, the stress of uncertainty can be too much to take at times. If you get another opinion regarding how to take care of a problem, you won’t have to navigate as much unpredictability.

Developing a Better Understanding

There are so many drivers who don’t know much about their vehicles. If you get another opinion about taking care of your vehicle, it may strengthen your comprehension of the situation. It doesn’t matter if the new opinion simply verifies the dependability of the initial one. That can go a long way for your feelings of security.

If you want to stop squandering precious time and wondering whether you did the correct thing for your vehicle, then there aren’t many things that can top getting multiple opinions. The more opinions you rack up, the merrier. Just make a point to zero in on adept mechanics. You should thoroughly research any and all technicians prior to making evaluation appointments. Doing so can potentially minimize a lot of frustration.

Example of a dashboard with all lights turned on

Knowing the dashboard symbols in your vehicle and understanding when it’s urgent to respond to them can save you a whole lot of money in the long run. It can also be a matter of life and death—a worn out or low-pressure tire can cause you to run off the road, or a blown engine…

Truck with dimmed headlights being inspected at Reliable Automotive in Kyle TX

Owning a vehicle can mean independence in the ability to get around when and where you want. It’s also essential for getting to and from your place of employment, or for family outings and entertainment. Vehicle ownership also means that you need to stay on top of of vital maintenance and be aware of any…

A mechanic inspecting a lifted vehicle's suspension system

The suspension system of your vehicle gives you a smooth riding experience when you are on the road. The design of the suspension system varies from one vehicle to another, depending on make and model. What all suspension systems have in common is that their parts are based on the principles of spring and damping mechanisms. The Spring helps the vehicle adjust to the different conditions on the road, distributes the weight of the car evenly, and determines the height of your ride. The Damping Mechanism helps to stabilize your car by dissipating energy that comes from the up and down movements of the spring.

For your vehicle to ride smoothly, the suspension system and the tires need to work in perfect synchronization. The following tips can help you get a smoother ride from your car or truck.
The Spring helps the vehicle adjust to the different conditions on the road, distributes the weight of the car evenly, and determines the height of your ride. The Damping Mechanism helps to stabilize your car by dissipating energy that comes from the up and down movements of the spring.

Reducing Unsprung Weight

The suspension on your car holds the weight of the components carried on the chassis. The suspension system does not support the parts below the chassis such as the tires, rims, and the elements that hold the suspension system in place. Unsprung Weight is the combined weight of the components that are not supported by the suspension system. Reducing the weight of the unsprung components will ensure that the suspension has a speedier response time, and a suspension with faster response time enables your car to ride smoothly and adapt more quickly to changing road conditions.
Unsprung Weight is the combined weight of the components that are not supported by the suspension system.

Softening Suspension

Changing the suspension system of your car and replacing it with one that is softer yields the best results when it comes to making the riding experience of your vehicle more smooth. Swapping the shock absorbers built for firmness with ones that are made for comfort is an easy way to soften the suspension. Depending on what suspension system is on your vehicle, you can also opt to install Air Suspension. This allows you to adjust the height of your ride and the firmness of the suspension system separately.
Air Suspension allows you to adjust the height of your ride and the firmness of the suspension system separately.

Finding the Right Tires

Car tires come in different sizes and designs. Low profile tires look great and go a long way towards reducing the height of your ride. Putting them on your car, however, changes the handling and smoothness of your ride. The narrow space afforded by low profile tires holds a smaller amount of air, making the ride feel stiff. As such, always use the correct tires that have the right profile as recommended by your car’s manufacturer to ensure the most smooth ride. Moreover, always double check that you have the correct pressure in all the four tires.

Changing Bushings

The bushings on your vehicle are meant to last for a long time. This means that for newer cars, the bushings may not be the cause of any roughness you may be experiencing in your ride. If you have an older car, however, consider changing the bushings by dismantling the steering control arm on the wheels. Good bushings should be clean, smooth, and should have no cracks. Bushings are available in two varieties: rubber or urethane. Rubber bushings will give you a smoother ride as compared to the urethane bushings. Changing bushings is labor intensive and requires you to hire an expert to have them checked and replaced correctly. For this, it’s best if you contact your mechanic or car dealership.
Windshield wipers on car

Windshield wipers might seem like an insignificant aspect of your vehicle, but they play a crucial role in your safety and your car’s drivability. Mainly, your windshield wipers will directly affect your visibility which is one of the most essential factors in safe driving. Odds are, if your windshield wipers are not performing properly, you…

Man Pouring coolant in car

Your car needs regular maintenance or it will fall apart. Just like yourself, you need to take it for regular check ups to make sure it is running smoothly. Your vehicle has the ability to last you decades, but to achieve, it is important that you keep it in great shape. A great place to…

If you own or regularly drive a vehicle, there are a handful of skills, besides safe driving, that you will want to have. Anything can happen on the road, and even the most modern vehicles can malfunction unexpectedly. While having a mechanic that you trust is an important aspect of good car ownership, sometimes these…

Car with Check engine light on

If you do not have a background in car mechanics, it can be tough to diagnose the large multitude of issues that can arise in your vehicle. Paying attention to the many signs and symptoms of a failing vehicle can be tough, and sometimes, there isn’t any obvious signs of an issue like a specific…

Suspension on a car

Even the best built-to-last vehicles will undergo a great deal of wear and tear over time. As your suspension system is tasked to support your heavy vehicle going high speeds over imperfectly paved roads, it is no wonder that eventually it begins to wear out. While the most commonly known job for your vehicle’s suspension…

Thief breaking into car

When you hear about someone having their car stolen, it is easy to feel like that kind of thing would never happen to yourself. Unfortunately, the reality is that car theft is a relatively common occurrence with one car being reported stolen, on average, roughly every 49 seconds. Sadly, less than half of those will…

Man changing a tire

When it comes to your vehicle, it is important to keep track of the wear and tear that is constantly taking place on the many working parts. Your tires are no exception! The tires of your vehicle are made to travel, getting you to and fro, however, if you are running your vehicle on bad…


As you use your vehicle to get you and your family safely to and from your obligations, it is constantly working, utilizing many different complex systems to operate properly. As your engine is running and fuel is being pumped to keep everything moving, your radiator has the ever important task of keeping the whole system…

Man on side of road with overheating car

While the summer temperatures are steadily rising, you want your daily drive to and from various destinations to be cool and comfortable. The vehicle is running fine until suddenly you notice an undetectable sound, and then smell of heat. It does not take long to realize that the car is running hot. You begin to…

Car Emergency Tools

We spend so much time in our vehicles going to and from work, school, and social engagements. This is especially true for parents who often feel like free taxi services! In fact, the average American spends approximately 293 hours driving their vehicles every year. With so much time spent in our cars, it only makes…

Engine light on in Car

When our cars are working properly, we typically do not even consider how it is working. We depend on our cars to get us to work, school, and social engagements everyday, making our vehicles such an important part of our daily lives. While we do depend on them, most people do not know much about…

Page 1 of 21 2

© 2010–2023 Reliable Automotive.   |   SEO by Dagmar Marketing