Frequently Asked Question at Art Morse Auto Repair


Do you have towing?

Yes, we work with several reputable towing companies to provide emergency towing and roadside service. Just give Art Morse Auto Repair a call at (360) 989-5199 and we will help you.

Why do brakes squeak?

Today’s 4 wheel disc brake systems work much like a modern bicycle’s brakes. Brake squealing and noises are common with various causes. Most often it is caused by dust and high frequency vibrations of the brake pads, much like the way a cricket makes noises by rubbing its legs together. Worn or incorrect brake linings also tend to be noisy. Brake systems should be checked regularly to see if they need brake repair and worn parts replaced before ruining expensive calipers and rotors.

I feel a shimmy from the brake pedal, do I need new brakes?

A “shimmy” or “pulsation” that can be felt when the brake pedal is applied can be caused by the brake rotors becoming warped. This does not always mean that you need new brakes, but any abnormal brake feeling or concern should be inspected by an auto repair technician ASAP.

I hit a curb. Should I have the alignment checked?

Yes, often a little bump like that gets forgotten, especially if the car handles the same. Today’s cars are lighter with fewer and smaller suspension components and therefore less forgiving. If damage goes unnoticed, new tires may be needed. Look closely at the tread for uneven wear patterns or bald spots. Have a car repair expert double check. Checking tire pressures helps tires last longer, improves handling and fuel economy. It’s important to set tire pressures at or just below the maximum rating on the tire.

Does brake fluid really need to be changed?

The average driver uses their brakes 75,000 times per year and takes for granted that they’ll work every time. Today’s brake systems are hydraulic and use brake fluid which is hydrophilic, meaning it can absorb moisture from the air. Once the hydraulic system has moisture in it, corrosion takes place and brake components fail. Brake fluid should be flushed periodically to keep corrosion under control. This procedure is not expensive and is included in many preventative maintenance schedules. Brake fluid should be handled with care. It will melt plastics and remove paint.

Why should I change my timing belt?

Most of today’s engines use timing belts, and are an important preventative maintenance item. In yesteryear they were made of metal and called timing chains. As engines became smaller and lighter, rubber belts replaced the heavier chains that had to be lubricated. The belt deteriorates with heat and age and lasts about 60,000 miles or 5 years although some makes have increased the life expectancy. The timing belt’s job is to keep moving parts, primarily valves and pistons, in time with one another. If the timing belt is not replaced, it will eventually break, leaving you stranded, and on some models causing further engine damage which can be extremely expensive to repair.

Why can’t I use plain water in my radiator?

Your car’s engine makes enough heat to destroy itself so a cooling system is needed. Antifreeze mixed with water at a 50/50 ratio provides freeze and boiling protection. Too much antifreeze can cause heat transfer problems which can result in overheating. If you experience overheating, turn the a/c off and the heater on to help remove heat from the coolant. If the engine temperature light comes on or the gauge goes into the red zone, the engine should be turned off quickly and allowed to cool down to avoid costly engine damage. Plain water will start a rust process that is almost impossible to stop. Rust particles deteriorate the entire cooling system, water pump, radiator, hoses, thermostat etc.

Should I have my car checked before a long trip?

Summer outings should be enjoyable and not spent in a roadside auto repair shop with someone named Gomer under the hood. Get car repair and fluid levels checked before any long road trip and don’t forget the windshield washers and wipers. Radiator hoses and fan belts are one of the main causes for breakdowns. Hoses deteriorate from the inside out so looks can be deceiving. Wheel bearings should be packed and correct tire pressures will give a smoother ride and better fuel economy. A little preventative maintenance can help insure you won’t get to know Gomer.

Does my car have to go back to the dealer for all services?

Preventative maintenance for today’s hi-tech cars helps keep small problems from becoming large expensive ones. Most new car warranties are affected by scheduled preventative maintenance, meaning that maintenance must be done in order to keep the factory warranties in affect. New car dealers would like you to believe that they are they only facilities that can perform these services. This is not true. According to the federal Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, you can have your vehicle serviced by any competent independent service station, shop or garage and still maintain your warrant. Anyone can perform the required services, as long as the parts used are Original Equipment quality and all maintenance is performed on time per the manufacturers recommended schedule.

How often should antifreeze be replaced?

Antifreeze should be replaced every two years due to oxidation and deterioration of important additives. These additives lubricate the water pump and protect metal parts from rust and oxidation. They also help keep coolant hoses soft and flexible. Today we can recycle and clean old antifreeze, replacing the additives. Antifreeze is very toxic and not environmentally friendly so recycling makes good sense. The engine’s thermostat should also be replaced every 2 years to keep the engine operating temperatures in the proper range.

Do you have rental cars?

Yes, we work with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to provide you with transportation if you will need a car while we have yours in the shop. Enterprise will deliver the rental car to our shop or provide transportation to their office. Upon delivery of your vehicle you can just drop off the rental with us and Enterprise will pick it up.

What is your hourly rate?

At Art Morse Auto Repair, our work is sold by the job. We have found that this is the fairest way to charge for auto repair in Vancouver WA. We will quote a price for a particular repair and that is the price that you will be charged. If we charged by the hour one customer may have to pay a higher price than another as no two technicians work at the same speed. We do use an industry guide to help us calculate the cost of a repair.

My car just failed the Emissions test. How much is it going to cost?

Failed Emissions diagnostic is $99.95. If the problem can be corrected with adjustments, such as timing, idle mixture, or vacuum lines repaired, etc., that is included in the diagnostic charges. If additional parts and labor are required, you will be given a complete estimate before any other work is performed.

My check engine light just came on, but my vehicle is running great, what do I do?

Your vehicles “Check Engine” or “Service Engine” lamp is the cars way of saying that the computer has seen something wrong. There are several reasons that these lamps can come on, and a steady lamp means that a sensor or sensors are not operating within the pre-designated parameters, and the vehicle should be brought in for a complete diagnostic. However, if the lamp starts flashing, this indicates an engine misfire, which you would probably feel, and the vehicle should be brought in right away. If the engine is missing or not running properly try to get your vehicle in as soon as possible to prevent damage to the catalytic convertor or other parts.

My car is running rough, do I need a tune up?

In today’s vehicles, sometimes just having your vehicle “tuned up” will not cure a rough running engine or a drivability concern. The vast array of electronic components that control your engine today, when failed, or even starting to fail, can give you the same feeling of just needing a tune up.

Winter tips:

Keep your engine tuned for faster cold weather starts and for added traction keep your fuel tank full. Occasionally add gas line antifreeze to the tank to absorb any condensation that accumulates in the tank and may freeze in the fuel lines. On cold and windy nights point the front of the car away from the wind to keep snow and ice from blowing into the engine compartment. Door lock de-icing fluid should be kept in the house, not in the locked car. It may help you get into your car on an icy morning. Clean the battery posts and cable ends with a mix of 2 table spoons of baking soda and a quart of water. Use an old tooth brush. Don’t forget the wiper blades.