1627 Berryville Pike Winchester, VA  22603     Hours:  Mon – Thurs  8:00 – 4:30    Fri  8:00 – 4:00             Closed Sat & Sun

Understanding Your Vehicle

To have a better understanding of your vehicle's operation, in this section we provide a description of each on board system. We assume that you know nothing about how a car works and provide clear, understandable explanation of the various systems that make up your automobile.
With this knowledge, you may be able to spot symptoms before they become serious.  It will help you understand the type of repair you may need and help you to better communicate with your repair shop and understand the work your shop is recommending.
The braking system is the most important safety device on your vehicle. Have you ever partially lost your brakes in the past? Then you’ll agree that that is an experience you will not want to have again. You should have your brakes inspected twice a year for wear and damage in order to protect you and your passengers. Doing this will also help save you money by catching any damage before it becomes too costly.

The Brake System and What Can Fail

The master cylinder, the heart of the vehicles braking system, holds the brake fluid when it is not being delivered to the brakes through the brake lines. If brake fluid leaks because the master cylinder is worn or brake lines are plugged or broken, the fluid cannot be delivered and the brake pads will become ruined.
The brake fluid itself can become dirty or contaminated as it draws rust-causing moisture and picks up other debris, or it can break down from excess heat. Clean brake fluid is either clear or slightly yellow, while dirty brake fluid may be brown or even black. Old and dirty brake fluid can damage ABS brake systems internally.
The brake lines connect to the master cylinder through a combination valve, which combines a metering and proportioning valve. It regulates the pressure on the front and rear wheels to make sure both sets of brakes are applied simultaneously. A malfunctioning combination valve may cause the wheels to lock up.
Brake pads and shoes can be made of ceramic, metal or organic materials, while the disc rotors and drums they press against are made of metal. Because the pads and shoes create friction to stop the car, they gradually wear down over time and may wear away completely, letting the metal of the calipers and cylinders they are attached to grind against the rotors and drums and damage them. (Some pads have a metal strip attached that sounds a warning whistle when the pad becomes too worn, but this strip sounds only when the car is in motion and the brakes are not applied.

Cooling System Service

If your car runs hot, you may need to have your cooling system serviced. The most important and effective way to ensure your vehicle’s cooling system stays in top shape is to make sure the system is clean.
Over time, your vehicle’s radiator can build solid deposits which can result in clogged pipes and lines within the cooling system. A quick radiator flush at Ballenger's can solve this problem and keep your cooling system in shape.
Another component within your cooling system is antifreeze. A good maintenance practice is to remember to change your antifreeze seasonally. It is important to remember this to ensure your vehicle’s  cooling system does not freeze up when cold weather strikes.

If a problem with your cooling system extends beyond a simple flush or replacement, our mechanics here at Ballenger's are able to diagnose the problem. We can perform a pressure test to determine if your radiator’s pressure is correct. If the pressure test determines that it is not correct, we will check your cooling system’s caps, hoses and connections to determine if any of these components need to be replaced or repaired. If we determine that they do need to be replaced or repaired, we can give you a fair, honest quote on parts and labor.
From simple pressure tests to full radiator replacements, you can trust the team at Ballenger's Sevice Center for excellent cooling system service.

Lubrication System

The lubrication system of an automobile is mostly used for collecting, cleaning, cooling and re circulating oil in the engine of vehicle. The main function is to circulate and deliver oil to all the moving parts of an engine in order to lessen friction between surfaces that comes in contact with each other. The lubrication system of an automobile acts to reduce engine wear caused by the friction of its metal parts, as well as to carry off heat.
Vehicle owners must maintain a their engine by changing the oil and using the oil appropriate for their vehicle's make and model. Your car comes with a “check oil” light in the dash and an oil filler under the hood. If the “check engine oil” light comes on while driving, this is a strong indication that the car is running low on oil. These components allow you to monitor the oil level and add oil as needed, without having to hire a mechanic.

Changing the Oil
An important part of routine car maintenance is changing the oil regularly. The necessary frequency of oil changes has become a point of contention among

experts. The Engine Oil Bible maintains that engine oil can’t be changed often enough, but Nordic group insists that, with the advent of detergent oils and multi-weight oils, some vehicles can go as far as 6,000 miles before needing an oil change. The best course of action is to check the owner’s manual and follow manufacturer’s recommendations.  A driver does not need a mechanic to add oil. However, if the oil light stays on or lights up shortly after adding oil, there may be a leak and a mechanic should look at the car.
An obvious benefit of changing one’s own oil is saving money, but here at Ballenger's Service Center we perform more than just changing your oil during your service appointment. Along with changing the oil filter, draining the old oil and adding the new, we check your tires and make sure they have the correct air pressure, lube the chasis as required, a visual inspection of hoses, belts any visible leaks and top off all fluids such as brake, power steering windshield washer and antifreeze.