Blog

When to Get Brake Service and BMW Repair in Houston, TX

Inspect your brakes yearly to make sure they are in good condition.

Do brakes need to be serviced?

Yes, it’s important to regularly maintain and service your brakes so they will operate properly. If you are hearing a squeaking or squealing noise from your brakes, it’s definitely time to service your brakes.

When should I service my brakes?

An essential part of BMW repair and maintenance is brake service. The difference between good and bad brakes can mean the difference between life and death if your brakes go out at the wrong time. Your brakes should be checked at least once a year. A yearly inspection will give you an idea of the condition your brakes are in.

What is brake service?

Brake service involves checking the condition of your brakes, including the brake pads and calipers, rotors, drums and fluid. Brake service should be done anytime you feel your brakes are not performing well. Mileage may vary on brake wear but is generally seen anywhere between 20,000 miles and 50,000 miles, depending on your driving habits and the road conditions on which you normally travel. An yearly inspection will help determine what repairs or replacements are needed.

For quality auto services in , TX, including brake services and BMW repair services, you can rely on European Service Center. Give us a call at (469) 453-5800.

What does brake service include?

Brake services may vary depending on where you take your vehicle and how comprehensive the service offerings are.

Brake services usually include:

  • Caliper replacement
  • Anti-lock Brake System diagnostics and repair
  • Brake pad and rotor replacement and resurfacing
  • Brake fluid check and exchange
  • Cleaning and adjusting brake drums and parking brakes
  • Repacking wheel bearings

European Service Center offers a comprehensive package of brake services and BMW repair services. Auto repair is an important part of your regular maintenance.

Brake service for BMW

When you have a high-performance vehicle like a BMW, you should entrust any BMW repair, especially brake service, to highly trained and qualified technicians like those at European Service Center.

Typically, brake service for a BMW will be needed somewhere between 20,000 miles and 50,000 miles. When you need brake service for your BMW, you should choose a service that has technicians trained on high-performance vehicles and has the precision tools to maintain the vehicle.

When you receive brake service on your BMW at European Service Center, not only will you receive impeccable service from our technicians, you can trust us for the best parts. The parts used in our services meet German Original Equipment Specifications.

Good brake pads will be about 1/4 inch thick.

How do you know your brake pads are bad?

There are several signs that might warn you that you need new brakes. One of the most common things you’ll notice if your brake pads are bad is a squealing or squeaking noise when your brakes are applied. Usually this noise can be heard even when the windows are up, though it might not be heard over the radio or air conditioner noise. If this noise is infrequent, you may not have a problem. Sometimes you’ll hear a squeal occasionally if your vehicle has been sitting for a long time after being exposed to water. In this case, a small layer of rust has built up on the rotors and when it comes in contact with the brake pads, you may hear a squeal after a couple of stops.

You can also check for brake wear visually. You can look at the brake pads through the wheel’s spokes. About ¼ inch of pad should be visible. Less than that and you should have pads replaced or inspected.

Brake service light

When your brake service light comes on, if your parking brake isn’t engaged, it usually means your brake fluid level is low. If you have low brake fluid, you should get the fluid replaced. Without proper brake fluid levels, you may not be able to apply enough pressure on your brakes to stop properly. A brake service light may also indicate your brake pads are worn and need replacing. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specifics on your vehicle’s braking system.

Brake service price

Brake service price will vary depending on the type of vehicle you have, what repairs are needed and where you take the vehicle to get it serviced. On average, to replace the brake pads on each axle will cost about $300 to $500. Additional repairs to components like the calipers will cost extra.

For affordable repairs on high-performance European vehicles like BMW repair, we are the experts to rely on.

How do you service a brake system?

If you plan to service your brakes yourself, you will need to begin by removing the wheels. To do this safely, you’ll first loosen the lug nuts, then jack the car up to remove the wheels and get to the brake components. Following that, you will need to remove the caliper which holds the brake pads. The pads will need to be replaced if they are less than ¼ inch thick.

Drum brakes require a similar process. In this case you will need to remove the drum to inspect the brake shoes for wear. You will also want to check the return springs for signs of wear. You should also check the wheel cylinder as well at this time.

Anytime you need auto service, including brake service and BMW repair in , TX, give our highly trained team at European Service Center a call. To schedule a service call (469) 453-5800.

What Would Make A Check Engine Light Go On?

Close-up of a check engine light.

How Much Does It Cost for a Diagnostic Test on a Car?

You car makes a particular squeaking sound when you turn on the engine. One of the rear brakes seems to be lagging. Whatever the problem with your vehicle, a diagnostic test will reveal the problems that are occurring within your engine well. Generally speaking, a car diagnostic test is going to cost anywhere from the dollar amount of zero, to approximately $120.00. Due to the fact that a car is made of thousands of parts that must function seamlessly, with a diagnostic test, your friendly mechanic will be able to tell you what is wrong with your vehicle, and what to look out for in the future.

How Long does a Diagnostic Take on a Car?

A diagnostic test performed by a mechanic, is very similar to a diagnostic test performed by a doctor. Instead of blood tests and answering questions, your mechanic tests every function of your vehicle. Due to the thorough nature of a diagnostic test, the process usually takes between two to four hours. One of the repairs your mechanic may recommend is an electrical repair service, which thoroughly repairs all of the electrical systems in your car.

Close-up of a speedometer with signals.

How do you Diagnose Car Problems?

One of the most important ways to diagnose car problems is through investigating the warning lights on your dashboard. The ‘Check Engine’ light covers a wide range of problems ranging in seriousness. There are other signs that demonstrate car needs, such as the engine temperature light, the tire pressure light, or the oil light. These lights are much easier to decipher, and should be addressed with expedience.

What is a Diagnostic Scan?

A diagnostic scan is an excellent tool for car drivers. For example, if you are traveling at high speed down a highway, and your car suddenly breaks down, a tow truck and a scan of your engine diagnostics will be your best bet for getting you back on the highway, and your car in working order. There is a high likelihood that your mechanic will use a diagnostic scanning tool to ascertain what possible problems are occurring in your car, and procedures for correcting them. The codes that the tool has will give your mechanic the proper methodology for fixing up your vehicle so it is in proper working order.

Is it Safe to Drive with an Engine Light On?

It is safe to drive with an engine light on provided there is no loss of power. Please get your engine checked as soon as possible. If your ‘check engine’ light is flashing while you are driving, then the answer is no, it is not safe to drive. Avoid heavy acceleration and driving at a high speed. Stop the vehicle and turn off the engine. Turn it on after two minutes, and see if the ‘check engine’ light is still flashing. If it is, you will need to alert your local, trusted mechanic as to the situation. He/she will know how to help. If you live in , TX, for your engine diagnostic, use European Service Center. Call: (469) 453-5800.

Engine Diagnostics Tool

A scan tool, also known as a car diagnostic tool, has a diverse range of features that help your mechanic get to the bottom of what is ailing your vehicle. Scan tools are engineered to interact with your engine’s “on board diagnostic” system. The scan tool communicates with the signals emitted by your vehicle in a fairly sophisticated manner. The other features that a scan tool possesses range from:

  • Scoring and playing back live data.
  • Displaying pending codes.
  • Graphing data.

And more!

Bosch Engine Diagnostic Equipment

A trusted brand, Bosch has one of the premiere engine diagnostic tools available on the market. These tools are compatible with all 1996 and newer import and domestic vehicles, as well as ‘94 and ‘95 OBD compliant vehicles. This scanning tool is able to decipher diagnostic trouble codes, emissions readiness monitors, and retrieve manufacturer specific, global, and pending codes. With patented TrueLink technology, Bosch scanning tools are able to connect to 99.8% of all vehicles.

Auto Diagnostics Center

European Service Center’s auto diagnostics center is available for vehicle problem diagnosis. Trained mechanics assess the varied functions of automobiles using state-of-the-art technology to determine the exact prognosis for your vehicle.

Engine Noise Diagnostics

If your check engine light is not on, but you are experiencing car issues, utilize this list to better diagram the problem. Use your sense of hearing. Different sounds that your engine is emitting can help you utilize process of elimination. Pay close attention to how your car sounds when you turn on the engine, when you are driving, and while you are parking.

  • Creaking or squeaking. If these sounds occur when turning or steering, it can indicate a problem with worn-out shocks and ball points or damaged suspension.
  • Clicking or popping sounds. If you hear clicking or popping sounds, you could have loose hubcaps or drive belts. Also at fault could be imbalanced tires or low engine oil.
  • Strange noises occurring during braking. If you hear any unusual noises emitting from your brakes, there could be serious issues with your brake pads.

Discover more with European Service Center now at (469) 453-5800 concerning your engine diagnostic in , TX.

BMW Repair Services – Vibrations While Braking

Brake pic with car body

If you own a BMW, especially a 3 series BMW, you may observe that your steering wheel vibrates or shakes each time you hit the brakes. Sometimes, you may feel the pulsations in the brake pads too. As the driver, each time your car shakes when your brake, it may not only be annoying, it can make you nervous as well. A vibrating vehicle can interfere with the performance of your car and it is recommended you get it fixed once you begin to notice the vibrations.

How do the Braking and Steering Systems Work?

The braking and steering systems are two very vital systems in a car. While the brakes are designed to slow down the car to bring it to a controlled stop, the components of the steering system are designed to give the driver control over the direction they want to move the car in. Major components of the braking system include the brake rotors and the brake pads. For the steering and suspension system, the main components include the steering wheel, steering column, gearbox and wheel bearings.

The brakes are connected to the steering system via the brake rotors and the wheel bearings. Thus, if any of these components fail, it could affect other components of both systems. Braking is supposed to be smooth, so if you feel vibrations in your car when you brake, that is a warning sign that there is something wrong with your vehicle. Sometimes, the vibrations may also come with a squealing or scraping noise. The braking and steering systems are vital to the safety of your vehicle and you should get your car to an auto repair shop if you begin to feel any vibrations in your car.

What Causes the Car to Vibrate When Braking?

There are a number of reasons why your BMW may shake each time you apply the brakes. If the brake rotors of your car are wobbly, they may not be perfectly aligned with the brake pads. Thus, each time you step on the brake, the brake pads which are supposed to parallel to the now wobbly rotors will slip. You will feel this as vibrations in your brake pads and steering wheel.

The wheel bearings allow the wheels to support the weight of the car while it is turning. So if you are experiencing vibrations while braking, it could be because the wheel bearings are worn out or damaged. A faulty component in the steering and suspension system such as a bent axle shaft or a loose arm control could also be responsible for vibrations. Basically,  vibrations in the car can be caused by various factors and it is best you get a professional technician to look at your car for accurate diagnosis and repairs.

How to Fix Vibrations While Braking

You should not drive around with your car if you suspect a faulty braking system. It is dangerous for you as the driver and other road users as well. When you bring your car in, we will inspect and check the various systems to pinpoint the root cause of the vibrations to determine which components will need to be repaired or replaced.

If the brake rotors are distorted and no longer meet the manufacturer’s requirements for minimum thickness, they will need to be replaced. In a case where the wheel bearings are damaged, replacing the entire wheel bearing hub assembly is recommended. If the tests point to a fault in the steering and suspension system, we will have to replace the failing components of the system as well. Your BMW may also need a wheel alignment depending on the severity of the damage done.

It goes without saying that it is important to keep up with regular maintenance and service to ensure that both the braking and steering systems of your car are in good condition. A failure in either system could compromise the safe operation of your vehicle and if any car problem can be prevented, regular maintenance and servicing will prevent it.

European Service Center has been servicing European vehicles for over 35 years. If you are experiencing any brake issues or vibrations while braking, schedule a visit with one of our ASE certified service mechanics for any brake services that you might need. We are so confident of our work, that we offer a 3 years / 36,000-mile warranty on all of our services. 

Replacing The Mercedes Benz Sprinter Heater Control Valve

Sprinter heater control valve, sprinter, heater control valveThe Mercedes Benz Sprinter is everything the brand represents; it is large, comfortable and sophisticated. Essentially, the Sprinter van is a beast when it comes to cargo and delivery. However, if you own an MB Sprinter or you are planning to buy one, especially the 2010 model year and later models, you should be aware that the Sprinter heater control valve in the heating system of your car is likely to malfunction sooner than later.

How does the heater control valve work?

The heating system of your car has the sole responsibility of keeping the interior compartment of your vehicle warm. There are a number of features which make up the heating system one of which is the heater control valve. The heater control valve was designed to regulate the amount of heat in the cabin when the heating system is on.

The valve achieves this purpose by controlling amount of coolant flowing from the engine compartment into the heater core. When the valve closes, the vents remain cool as the coolant cannot get to the heater core. Once the valve opens, the air in the vents warms up. Thus, if your heater valve isn’t functioning properly, then you are in for a cold drive.

What are the signs of a bad heater control valve?

When the heater is on, the temperature of the air in the cabin is regulated by the heater control valve. Thus, if the control valve of the heating system fails, the air in the cabin will most likely not be warm even with the heater on. Because the heater control valve regulates the flow of hot engine coolant into the heater, if the coolant is leaking from somewhere, your heating system will definitely be affected. A coolant leak could result in insufficient coolant to cool the engine and could eventually cause the engine to overheat. If you notice a coolant leak or any one of the signs above, then your heating system is malfunctioning.

What Causes The Heater Control Valve Malfunction?

A malfunctioning heater control valve could be as a result of a coolant leak in the system. If the coolant is leaking, the valve may not be able to fully regulate the temperature of the air in the cabin. Wear and tear is also a possible cause of a malfunctioning valve. A worn out heater control valve is likely to be less responsive and efficient compared a brand new one. If you live in a region where temperatures often drop drastically like during winter, a bad heater control valve could pose more than just a slight inconvenience compared for you.

How Do You Fix A Bad Heater Control Valve?

A bad heater control valve may not affect drivability although the ride could be cold and uncomfortable. However, if you notice a coolant leak, then overheating is only imminent and in that condition, you should definitely avoid driving.

To diagnose a malfunctioning heater control valve, we simply inspect the heating system watching out for the movement of the valve when the temperature selector is adjusted. In some cases, there may be movement in the valve without a corresponding change in temperature and in other cases, the valve may be completely unresponsive. We will also inspect the system for any signs of a leak to determine if the malfunction is as a result of a coolant leak.

Once a diagnosis has been made, we will proceed with repairs. It is imperative to know that heater control valves cannot be repaired – a faulty valve must be removed and replaced. Once the new valve is installed, we also flush the system and refill the coolant. This is particularly necessary especially if the old valve was corroded with rust to prevent contamination of the coolant.

The manufacturers of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter recommend changing the heater valve at least once every 100,000 miles. The heater control valve is part of a closed heating system so it is unlikely that your mechanic will be inspecting it during routine maintenance and inspections. Nevertheless, you can schedule an inspection yourself to ensure that the system is running as it should.

European Service Center has been servicing European cars for over 35 years. If you are having issues with your heater control valve, schedule an appointment here or contact us here. Also, check out our new location in Houston, TX, and give us a visit. We look forward to serving your needs. 

BMW Repair services – Fixing a Faulty Water Pump

bmw water pumpBMW remains to date, one of the top brands in the automobile industry. The German automakers have been around for quite some time, and they have become popular for manufacturing sleek and compact luxury sports cars. However, if you own a BMW 325i, 330i or 335i then you need to be aware of the fact that the water pump of your BMW car could develop a problem capable of ruining your driving experience.

How Does The BMW Water Pump Work?

BMWs were one of the first brands of automobiles to feature an electric water pump. The job of the water pump is to circulate engine coolant around the cooling system in the engine compartment. The coolant, in turn, keeps the engine cool and prevents it from overheating. If the water pump fails or develops a fault, the coolant will not be circulated, and consequently, the cooling system will malfunction. A malfunctioning water pump is terrible for the engine of your BMW.

What Are The Signs Of A Faulty Water Pump?

While running, the engine of your car generates a substantial amount of heat, and the engine’s cooling system is responsible for cooling the engine to keep it running an optimum temperature. If your water pump fails, the cooling system may not be able to efficiently reduce the heat expelled during engine combustion. As such, the first and most obvious sign of a failing or failed water pump is overheating characterized by smoke emanating from the engine compartment.

If you notice a coolant (a greenish or reddish sweet-smelling fluid) leak beneath your engine, there is most likely a leak in the cooling system allowing the coolant to flow out. Insufficient coolant to absorb the heat generated by the engine could also cause the engine to overheat. You may also experience engine stalling, and in some severe cases, your car may refuse to start altogether. If you observe any of these signs, you most likely have a failed water pump in your hands, and it’s best you take your car in for repairs.

What Causes the BMW Water Pump to Fail?

The water pump is just one component of the engine’s cooling system which is composed of other components including the head gasket, thermostat, and radiator. If any of these components malfunction, it could affect the normal operation of the water pump subsequently leading to its malfunction. Coolant leaks can also cause the water pump to fail. Air can go into the cooling system through the cracks to create hot spots which can damage not just the water pump but other components of the cooling system as well. Furthermore, water pumps, like other components of your BMW are liable to wear and tear. Thus, if your car has up to 60,000 miles on it, your water pump may be worn out and due for a replacement.

How Do You Fix a Water Pump Problem?

If you suspect the water pump of your BMW is faulty, especially in a situation where the engine is overheating, it is not recommended that you drive your car in that condition. The first thing you should do is to open the hood of your car to let out the smoke, then get your vehicle towed to the nearest automobile repair shop for diagnosis and repairs.
Here, in repairing a water pump, we will first carry out diagnostic tests to confirm that the water pump is the faulty component. A technician will inspect the area around the water pump and the entire cooling system for any signs of wetness and leaks. We will also run codes on the engine’s computer to check if it is an electrical problem to determine the mode of repairs. Once we have concluded that the water pump is faulty, we will then proceed with the repairs.

The best way of fixing a faulty water pump is to replace it with a new one. Depending on the extent of damage to the cooling system, replacing the thermostat, radiator cap, and gasket together with the water pump is usually recommended. This will help prevent problems that may arise from faulty components in the cooling system. We will also top up the coolant levels to ensure that there is enough coolant in the system to be circulated by the water pump. Once repairs are finished, your engine cooling system will be as good as new.

Finally, you do not have to wait for your water pump to malfunction before you replace it. Regular maintenance and servicing will help arrest any faulty component before it causes severe damage to ensure that your car is operating at an optimum level.

European Service Center has been servicing European cars for over 35 years. If you are experiencing a water pump issue with your BMW, schedule your service today to experience our water pump service and repair. Our highly rated reviews speak volumes to the seriousness we put into serving our customers. You can contact us here, and we look forward to serving your needs.

BMW Repair Services – Fixing the Ignition Coil

ignition coil, ignition coil problems, bmw ignition coil, bmwOnce you have had the experience of driving a BMW, there is a chance you may not be interested in any other brand. This is mainly because BMWs are very reliable cars – something every BMW owner can attest to. However, like every other  brand, some models are less reliable than others due to  certain components that are prone to malfunction. In the BMW 318i, M3 (e90) and X5, that component is the ignition coil.

How Does The Ignition Coil Work?

The ignition coil is responsible for turning low voltage to high-voltage electrical power which is then sent to the spark plugs. This high voltage current sent to the spark plugs ignites the fuel in the engine to power up the car. If the ignition coil of your car is malfunctioning, you may be unable to start your car and/or keep it running smoothly.

How to Tell if Your Ignition Coil is Malfunctioning

A bad ignition coil will give off several warning signs. As the ignition coil is an engine component, one of the first signs of a possibly failing coil is an illuminated check engine light. You may also experience engine misfiring and stalling accompanied by a snapping sound from the engine compartment. Sometimes your car may not start at all.

The spark generated by the ignition coil lights the mixture of fuel and air in the engine causing it to start. If the ignition coil is not working properly, you may experience poor fuel economy as a lot of unburned fuel will be wasted. A malfunctioning ignition coil is capable of damaging the engine of your car and leaving you stranded on the road. Take your car to an auto repair facility immediately you begin to experience any of the above-mentioned signs.

What are the Causes of Bad Ignition Coils?

The ignition coil, ignition wires, and spark plugs work hand in hand to fire up the engine, thus if the spark plugs or ignition wires are not working properly, the work output of the coil will definitely be affected. The ignition coil in your engine could also be damaged by oils that leak onto the coils. As such, if there is an oil leak in the engine compartment, especially if the leaking fluid is hot and it is getting to the ignition coils, it wouldn’t take much longer before the coils begin to malfunction.

Also, if there is too much resistance in the wires of the spark plugs, the ignition coil may experience premature failure. Bad ignition coils could, in turn, cause severe damages to your catalytic converter and engine. You should have a mechanic look at your BMW once you suspect a problem before it escalates to a more serious issue that could incur more bills.

How to Fix a Bad Ignition Coil

Try not to drive your car with a bad ignition system, not only is it dangerous, you could damage other components of your car engine in the process. When you bring in your car suspecting an ignition coil problem, we will first examine and test the components of the ignition system to determine the root cause of the problem.

If the coil is faulty, we will extract and replace the failing ignition coil. Considering the fact that the coils and spark plugs work together, it is always best to change both components at once. However, depending on the system of your BMW, replacing the spark plugs may not be necessary.

All the same, the manufacturers recommend replacing your ignition coils and spark plugs regularly at scheduled intervals. Not only does this greatly reduce the chances of a breakdown, but it will also keep the ignition system of your BMW in superb condition so you can enjoy a smooth drive.

If your BMW is having issues starting or running smoothly, bring it in for an inspection. We have been servicing European vehicles for over 35 years and are proud of our highly rated service by members of the community. To experience our Ignition Service and Repair, schedule your appointment here or contact us here.