Elie's Auto Service, located in Hingham, Massachusetts
9 Short Street, on Route 228
1.5 Miles Before Junction
Less Than 4 Miles Off
Nantasket Beach, Hull
Snacks, Drinks, Cigarettes, ATM, Lottery & Ice
87, 89, 93 & Diesel Full Service Gas
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Questions, Comments, Concerns?
6 AM to 9 PM (weekdays)
7:30 AM to 9 PM (Saturdays)
8:30 AM to 7:30 PM (Sundays)
8 AM to 5 PM (weekdays)
8 AM to 2 PM (Saturdays)
Closed on the following holidays:
Sundays (repair only)
Easter Sunday (variable)
Independence Day (July 4)
Thanksgiving (Last Thursday in November)
Christmas (December 25)
Does Your Vehicle Have a Problem?
Bring in your car as soon as you think something is wrong. We’ll take care of it! For reference, adhere to the general guide below to find out about the tell-tale signs of a car problem you may have (we have complied information from multiple sources online to provide the best resource that can be bookmarked):
Windshield wipers become worn out over time. You may see a loss in clear vision after about 6 months. If you're struggling to see in the rain or snow, it's time to get new wipers. Here are some warning signs:
- Streaking or hazing on the windshield when it rains or snows.
- A chattering sound when your wipers are on. This noise means they're not swiping smoothly, but popping up and down as they go.
- The blades are pulling away from the windshield at higher speeds, instead of sitting snugly against the windshield.
- The rubber has split into sections or pulled away from the wiper arm. This will cause a slapping sound when you turn on the windshield wipers.
- The rubber edge looks worn or torn in places, or the metal arm is bent or cracked.
Is one of your lights dim? Do any of your lights flicker? Is your turn signal too slow? Does one of your lights just not work? Most car lighting problems you'll face only require replacing a light bulb, cleaning some corrosion, or reattaching a wire. Problems with a single light are usually caused by a burned-out bulb, while problems with two or more lights in a circuit are usually caused by electrical circuit problems. If dealing with the latter case, come see us and we'll repair or replace the circuit board to get your lights up and running.
When it comes to your muffler, don't overlook any possible maintenance. Waiting can drastically increase your repair bill. Instead, keep an eye out for these three warning signs and give your local auto repair shop a call:
- Loud Noises? When working properly, the muffler should operate quietly in the background. When something goes wrong, it becomes a roaring monster. These loud noises are often telltale signs that you should have your exhaust system checked out by a mechanic.
- Lower MPG? A well-tuned exhaust system has a number of benefits, with one being better fuel economy. So pay attention to how often you head over to the pump. More trips than usual could mean your vehicle has a problem. Another helpful way of knowing is if you have a newer model that tracks fuel economy on the dashboard. This will help you monitor monthly performance and catch a problem before it becomes serious.
- Bad Smells? When working, your muffler will funnel exhaust fumes outside and away from the vehicle. If there is a leak or other problem, those fumes could be stuck inside your car. This is the most dangerous problem because exhaust fumes can be fatal over time. If you smell anything out of place, make sure you bring it in to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Most drivers have experienced that dreaded moment when the car won’t start. It’s typically due to a bad battery, which means it’s time to get a replacement. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until the moment when your car won’t start at all, because you can look for several signs that the battery is going bad and should be replaced immediately. Here are some of the most common signs:
- Dashboard Lights? In some cars, the dashboard has an icon that looks like a battery, and it will light up if there’s a battery problem. In cars that don’t have a dedicated battery icon, the check engine light might come on. Either way, a dashboard light is a good sign that you should take your car to a mechanic to check out the problem and possibly buy a new battery.
- Old Battery? Most batteries don’t last more than four or five years, and they last even less time in extreme weather conditions. So if it’s been a few years since the last replacement, it’s a good idea to get a new battery soon, especially if there are any other bad battery signs.
- Slow Start? If your car seems slow to start lately, this may be a sign of a battery problem. After all, the battery is responsible for producing the power necessary to start the car. If there’s not a lot of power in the battery anymore, it’s going to show. It’s possible it won’t start at all next time, so it’s important to get the battery checked out and replaced as needed once the car is slow to start.
- Bulging Battery Case? Extreme weather (including both hot and freezing temperatures) can cause your battery case to start swelling up. The result is that the battery inside the case ends up dying and needs to be replaced. This is one battery problem that should just take a quick glance under the hood to notice, so it’s pretty clear what you need to look for.
- Odd Smell? If there is a strange smell coming from under the hood of the car, it could be due to a battery problem. This is because the battery may be leaking, causing a rotten egg smell. Not only does this issue require a new battery, but it could also affect other engine components, since sulfuric acid that leaks from the battery can quickly corrode car parts.
- Electrical Issues? The battery is not only responsible for starting the car, but also for keeping electrical features running. So if the lights won’t come on, the power windows won’t roll up and the radio doesn’t work, it may be because there’s not enough electricity coming from the car battery. It’s a good idea to have a battery jumper ready to go, in case that this happens to you on the road or anywhere on-the-go.
- Gas Mileage as a Reference? Pay attention to your car's gas mileage; a common symptom of a dirty air filter is a decrease in fuel efficiency. Your engine compensates for the lower amounts of oxygen by consuming more fuel to produce enough power. By maintaining a clean, efficient air filter, you can save on fuel costs.
- Misfiring or Missing Engine? If you're noticing that the engine does not start up easily, it may be due to a dirty air filter. An unclean air filter greatly impedes the amount of airflow to the engine, which in turn causes an overly rich air-fuel blend. Highly concentrated air-fuel mixtures can pollute the spark plugs, which will cause your engine to misfire or miss completely. This is most noticeable when your car idles roughly and you have problems starting the engine.
- Unusual Engine Sounds? When the car is not moving with the engine turned on, you should sense the smooth hum of an efficient engine. If you notice your car is vibrating or hear a coughing or slipping sound, this could be an indication of rough idling taking course. This condition occurs because of a damaged spark plug resulting from a clogged air filter.
- Service Engine Light? The car engine combines thousands of gallons of air with one gallon of gasoline to power your car. Inadequate air can result in deposits accumulating on the engine, which may eventually trigger your service engine light. If this light comes on, you should check your air filter to see if it is dirty and needs replacing.
- Air Filter Appears Dirty? If your air filter is brand new, it will look white or off-white. Over time, as it accumulates dust and dirt, it will turn darker in color. When examining your air filter, you should do it in the light of day or with a flashlight, since pollen and dust cannot easily be seen. If you think your air filter is dirty and may need replacing, visit your local service center to have it checked and replaced.
- Reduced Horsepower? Take notice of your vehicle's ability to accelerate. If your car does not respond normally when you press the accelerator or if you notice jerking movements, this is a sign that your engine is not receiving the air it needs to perform. When this occurs, you should check and replace your filter if it appears dirty.
- Black Smoke or Flames Exiting the Exhaust? An insufficient air supply can result in some of the fuel not burning and exiting the car through the exhaust pipe. If you see black smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, schedule an appointment with your local mechanic to replace or clean the air filter. You might also hear popping sounds or see a flame at the end of the exhaust; this happens when excess fuel in the pipe ignites.
- Gasoline Smell? If there is not enough oxygen entering the carburetor or fuel ejection system when you start the car, the excess unburnt fuel exits the car through the exhaust pipe. That's when you will notice the gasoline scent and know that it's time to replace the air filter.
- Poor air flow? The most common symptom associated with a bad cabin air filter is poor air flow from the vehicle’s interior vents. An excessively contaminated cabin air filter will not be able to filter the incoming air as effectively as a clean filter would. As a result, this will cause restricted air flow for the AC system. Additionally, this will cause the vents to blow with noticeably less force, reducing the overall cooling capacity of the AC system, and will also place an additional strain on the AC blower motor.
- Unusual odor from the vents? Another symptom of a bad or failing cabin air filter is an unusual odor coming from the vehicle’s interior vents. An excessively contaminated filter may produce a dusty, dirty, or musty smell. The smell may become more pronounced when the air is turned on, and may make the cabin uncomfortable for the passengers.A cabin filter is a simple component that should be replaced when necessary to keep the AC system working as efficiently as possible, and to keep the cabin as comfortable as possible for the passengers. If you suspect that your cabin filter may be dirty, have the vehicle examined by us, to determine if your car is due for a cabin air filter replacement.
- Car is hard to start? One of the first symptoms commonly associated with a bad or failing fuel filter is hard starting. A dirty fuel filter may restrict the fuel system flow, or at least make it inconsistent, which can cause the vehicle to experience hard starting. This is more likely if the filter on the vehicle has never been changed.
- Misfires or Hesitation? Under heavier loads, the clogged fuel filter may cause the engine to randomly hesitate or misfire. This occurs as particles clog the filter and deplete the fuel supply going to the engine. It tends to be more notable when accelerating. The engine may also shake or stutter at different speeds, as the amount of fuel varies due to the dirty filter.
- Stalling? If a clogged fuel filter goes unaddressed for too long, it may eventually cause the engine to stall as ideal fuel flow dwindles. Extra stress and heavy loads placed on the engine may instigate the stalling or, if you wait to focus on earlier warning signs, the engine could stall shortly after starting the car.
- Decrease in Power and Acceleration? An overall lack of engine power, especially noticeable when accelerating, can be caused by a dirty fuel filter. The engine’s computer ends up restricting the output to protect the engine from potentially damaging particles. The car may feel sluggish, or even go into limp mode and illuminate the Check Engine light.
- Check engine light comes on? Fuel filter problems can also cause the Check Engine Light to come on. Some vehicles come equipped with fuel pressure sensors that monitor the pressure of the overall fuel system. A clogged fuel filter may cause low pressure, which will set off the Check Engine Light to alert the driver — if detected by the sensor. The Check Engine Light can be set off by a wide variety of issues, so having the computer scanned for trouble codes is highly recommended.
- Damaged fuel pump? If you notice damage to your fuel pump, it may be caused by a restricted fuel filter. A clogged fuel filter puts too much pressure on the fuel pump and prevents the proper amount of fuel in the fuel tank from reaching the engine. Most fuel filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to change. If you suspect that your vehicle’s fuel filter may need to be replaced, have the vehicle inspected by us, to determine if the component should be replaced.
Your transmission contains oil that can carry debris. Here's how to tell if your transmission fluid filters are clogged:
- An Unexplained Rattle? Sometimes, you know exactly what's making your vehicle rattle. It could be a loose exhaust hanger a bad catalytic converter, rusted heat shielding or even worn-out brake pads, to name a few culprits. Yet, if you've checked all the usual spots and you're still hearing what sounds like metal-on-metal or a jiggling rattle, your transmission may be to blame. It's time to turn the car off and pop the hood. And, check the fluid level and condition. Chances are if the fluid looks thick and dark in color, the filter may be restricting flow as well. If it is becoming clogged, It will create performance issues and may, in fact, damage your transmission.
- Whirs or Whines? In addition to (or in place of) a rattle, your car may also make a whirring or whining noise when you shift into gear. In manual transmission, whining or whirring are the more prominent sounds. It will sound like your engine is revving up in between gears; it won't engage as fully or quickly as it should and is an indication that you have a clutch issue. In automatic transmission, the sound is more of a high-pitched whine more so than a whir. It's the most noticeable when you shift from park to drive or reverse. Your shifting process should be inaudible and smooth. Any time it becomes laborious or loud, something is amiss underneath the car or hood.
- Leaking? Leaving a little puddle everywhere you park your car? It may not be your A/C leaking water. Your transmission includes a number of different seals and gaskets that can come worn or tear with mileage and constant wear. In addition, the part the seal rides on itself can be defective or a related bearing can become loose, causing the seal to wear and leak. When any of these issues occur, the transmission fluid can leak and ultimately cause serious damage to your transmission. The same goes for a clogged filter. If the fluid isn't flowing as it should, it may show up outside of your vehicle as it is forced through the vent tube. If you're noticing a trail behind your vehicle when you give your vehicle power, bring it in and we'll take a look.
- A Burning Smell? When you have a partially clogged transmission filter, you may smell it before you see it or notice any other signs. That's because it doesn't take long for a fluid-starved transmission to begin to run really hot. While you never want to smell smoke when you're behind the wheel, there are some instances in which the scent of something really hot is more worrisome than others. This is one of them.
- Problems Changing Gears? When there's nothing wrong with your transmission, it will change gears with ease. However, when it's compromised or has a partially clogged filter, you'll notice hesitation or slipping when it tries to shift. If it feels or sounds unnatural, this can be a major sign that it's time to check your transmission fluid and filter.If you have a manual transmission, you may notice that your gears seem to grind instead of shifting smoothly. You could hear the change, feel it, or both. While this could mean that you've worn out your clutch, your transmission synchronizers, and even the gears could also be to blame. In some cases, a simple fluid change may solve the problem.
- A Noisy Neutral? A noise coming from your car is always a cause for concern. It could mean there's something wrong with your tires, suspension, brakes, axles, engine or transmission. However, it should raise your eyebrows even higher when it happens while you're sitting in neutral gear. Your car should be almost silent during this time, so what's going on? It could be your fluid, prompting you to give it a change and replace your filter while you're at it. If you continue to hear the noise, it could mean that a more serious problem is at play.
When should you change your vehicle's spark plugs? Here are 6 warning signs:
- Engine has a rough idle? Your engine idles when it is stationary and in this position, the engine normally produces around 1000 RPM. The sound the engine gives off is constant and smooth but if your spark plugs aren’t performing as they should, your engine will produce a rough and jittery sound while producing larger vibrations through the car. Not having this checked can lead to costly damage being done.
- Trouble starting your car? Many people assume that their car not starting comes down to being out of fuel or having a flat battery. One possibility you may overlook is having bad or worn spark plugs. If your spark plugs don’t produce the spark needed to get the vehicle moving, then you’re going nowhere. It is also possible that faulty spark plugs are causing your battery to drain. If so you need to have your battery and spark plugs changed as soon as possible.
- Your engine misfires? When your engine misfires, it causes the vehicle to stop for a fraction of a second and then continues it’s usual movement. This means that your car isn’t functioning as smoothly as it should because one or more cylinders aren’t firing properly, which can also lead to higher amounts of emission.
- Engine is surging? When a vehicle sucks in more air than usual while undergoing combustion, it can cause your car to jerk and then slow down or continually start and stop, which means the vehicle's engine is working inefficiently. This is also known as engine hesitation and a dangerous situation can arise if this occurs while in traffic.
- High fuel consumption? If your spark plugs have deteriorated you’ll notice that your vehicle's fuel economy can decrease by up to 30% due to incomplete combustion. If you notice you’re having to fill up more often than usual it can be caused by deteriorating spark plugs. To get back to your vehicle’s optimum level of fuel consumption all you’ll need to do is have your spark plugs changed.
- Lack of acceleration? If your vehicle is accelerating poorly, it is fairly easy to tell. It feels as if the vehicle doesn’t want to respond when you put your foot down, or it does but not instantly as you’ve become accustomed to. It can also feel as if your vehicle is trying really hard to pull itself along. This sluggishness can be easily fixed by having your vehicle serviced with a spark plug change.
- Ticking noise coming from engine? The timing belt is attached by way of a series of pulleys to the engine's crank and cam shaft. The crankshaft powers the engine's connecting rods which are attached to pistons inside the combustion chamber. The camshaft operates the cylinder head valves and rocker arm assembly, which sends fuel into the combustion chamber and expels burnt gases out of the exhaust manifold. When the timing belt starts to wear out, it may create a ticking sound inside the motor. This warning sign may also be an indication of low oil pressure or the engine not having the proper amount of lubrication. Since the timing belt is so critical to the operation of your vehicle, if you notice this warning sign, you should contact us as soon as possible.
- Engine won't turn over? If the timing belt has broken inside, the engine will not be able to turn over or ignite. When you turn the key, you might hear the starter motor engage, but since the timing belt operates the crank and camshaft, it will not turn over. If the issue is due to the timing belt being broken, it may also result in other internal engine compartment damage. In many cases, the timing belt will break while the engine is running. Some of the typical damage done to a vehicle with a broken timing belt includes damage to cylinder head hardware (rocker arms, push rods or valves), damage to crank bearings or the oil pump inside the oil pan. A professional and experienced mechanic will know how to inspect all of these supporting components if the timing belt needs to be replaced.
- Engine misfires? A worn out timing belt might also impact the engine's fire rate. The timing belt is attached to pulleys that drive the crank and camshaft as mentioned previously. However, sometimes the belt will slip on the camshaft drive and cause one cylinder to open or close earlier than it should. This might cause a misfire situation and if not replaced soon, may result in catastrophic engine damage.
- Oil leaking from in front of the motor? It's also typical that the engine will leak motor oil from the timing belt cover. The cover is secured by a series of nuts and bolts that may come loose over a period of time. Another issue that will cause oil to leak is when the gasket between the engine block and timing cover wears out, is cracked or has been improperly installed and is pinched. Leaking oil from the timing belt cover commonly results in engine overheating and can prematurely wear the timing belt.
- Squealing noise from the front of the vehicle? If you notice a squealing noise coming from the front of your vehicle, it could be from the drive or serpentine belt. This could be due to a slippage or misalignment. The only way to make the noise go away is to have a mechanic replace the serpentine/drive belt or diagnose the issue.
- Power steering and AC not working? If the serpentine belt completely fails and breaks, then your car will break down. In addition, you will notice a loss of power steering, the air conditioning will not work, and the engine will no longer be able to be cooled like it should be. If the power steering fails when the vehicle is moving it could cause serious safety issues. Preventative maintenance is one way to make sure your belt does not break while you are driving.
- Engine overheating? Since the serpentine belt helps provide power to cool the engine, a failing belt can cause your engine to overheat as the water pump will not turn. As soon as your engine starts overheating, have it inspected by a mechanic because it can lead to a breakdown and cause damage to your engine if it is left to keep overheating.
- Cracks and wear on the belt? It's a good idea to physically inspect your serpentine belt from time to time. Check for cracks, chunks missing, abrasions, rib separation, uneven rib wear, and damaged ribs. If you notice any of these, it is time to replace your serpentine / drive belt. As soon as you notice a squealing noise, loss of power steering, the engine overheating, or the belt looks bad, call us immediately to diagnose the problem further.
Modern tires are manufactured with several layers of polyester bands, a steel band and rubber. With age, one of these layers can begin to go bad and start creating problems. There are several key symptoms to look for to know if your tires are bad or not, including vibration, noise, wobbling and lack of wet traction. You also need to look out for cracks on the sidewall, bulges and blisters, and treadwear patterns (here is a visual guide for them). A simple penny test is recommended for measuring tire tread depth. Just take a penny and, with Lincoln’s head upside down, put it between the tread blocks of the tire. If you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head - if his head is "buried" between the tread blocks - then you still have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread remaining. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to find new tires because the tread is worn down to or beyond 2/32 of an inch.
Also, don't forget to check and properly inflate your tires for air; a warning light will appear on your dashboard if one or more tires have low air pressure. Even beyond this, frequently look at your tires if you notice any of the following warning signs below while you drive:
- A Spongy Drive? If you’ve been driving and slowly begin to notice that driving the vehicle seems softer, almost sponge-like, this is a sign of low tire pressure. As the tire pressure decreases, the tire begins to flatten out as the tire’s service area is making contact with the road, creating the spongy feel.
- Hard Hits? If tire pressure is too low and the car drives over bumps and ridges, the car will feel like it’s toppling over them without ease. This is a result of less cushion within the tires’ air chambers. As you drive, see if the car feels like the shock absorbers aren’t working. Hard hits and a harsh drive indicate low tire pressure.
- Alignment Issues?As you drive down the road, if your car feels like it’s out of alignment or drifting to one side, it may be suffering from decreased tire pressure. If the tires don’t have equal amounts of pressure, it can push the vehicle out of alignment. As such, check all of tires and bring them to the standardized pressure as prescribed by the tire codes found on the lower edge of the rubber or in your owner’s manual.
- Reduction in Gas Mileage? If your vehicle seems to be using an unusual large amount of gasoline while you’re driving, one cause could be low tire pressure. This is due to the increased surface area of the tire making contact with the road, thus increasing fuel consumption and decreasing mileage. Try to keep a running tally of the distance you go on a tank of gas under normal driving conditions (which includes the tires being at the proper pressure). If this varies or changes significantly, check the tire pressure. Low tire pressure causes low gas mileage, which in turn causes low cash in all of our pockets. Filling your tires will help you save in cash and in safety in the long run.
Do you hear a noise when you brake? Does your car vibrate when you come to even a gradual stop? Those are signs of the brake pads and disc wearing down. It’s recommended that drivers check their brakes every 10,000 to 13,000 miles, but if you’re already noticing signs of deterioration then a check-up should be performed immediately. Bring your vehicle in and let us know the nature of your visit. If the brake pads are showing wear to the extent that much of the pad can’t be seen, then we will recommend having them replaced.
The Six Essential Car Fluids and What to Look For Before Filling
Fuel is what your car uses the most, but don’t neglect the other fluids. Make a schedule so you don’t miss oil changes, and always watch out for unusual noises, odors, or vibrations. These fluids might not stop you like an empty tank of gas, but they’re equally important in keeping your car in great working order.
First, pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean with a towel or rag. Then, reinsert it and pull it back out. The dipstick is marked with maximum and minimum indicators that show how much oil is in your engine. The oil on the dipstick should be near maximum. If it's at or below the minimum, add more immediately. A low reading could indicate your engine is leaking or burning oil, which can cause damage if left untreated.
Oil level is one thing, but its condition is equally important. To check it, you're going to have to get your hands dirty. Smear the oil on the dipstick between your fingers. It should feel slick and smooth.
Also look at the color of the oil. If it's a yellow or amber color, you're good to go. If it's a darker coffee color or black, it's time for an oil change, and if you see a milky color that means coolant is leaking into the engine.
The process to check coolant varies from car to car. If your car has a coolant expansion tank, look to see if the coolant falls between the minimum and maximum indicators on the tank. If it doesn't, open the radiator cap to see if the coolant is filled up to the top. Before you add coolant, make sure it's a type approved for your vehicle and give the radiator a few minutes to "burp" out any trapped air bubbles before you put the cap back on.
Like with other fluids, look for either a dipstick or reservoir in your engine bay. The process is similar in that you'll remove the dipstick or check the markings on the reservoir. If the fluid is low just top it off, but it's essential to use the type specified for your vehicle to avoid damage. If you find that you're frequently adding fluid, it's likely that there's a leak, and your car will become increasingly difficult to steer if it isn't addressed.
Over time, brake fluid can become contaminated by water, which can make brake lines rust. Leaks can also form, leading to a spongy pedal feel or irregular brake performance. Most cars have a brake fluid reservoir in the engine bay, and checking it is as simple as taking a look at its level and color. Like with other fluids, make sure the level falls between the minimum and maximum indicators. Add more if it's below the minimum, but make sure it's a type compatible with your car. Brake fluid comes in several varieties with their own distinct colors, but all should be translucent, not cloudy or dark. If you can't see through your brake fluid, get it replaced.
If you experience any transmission issues, check the fluid first. Some cars have a dipstick, however others require a professional mechanic to inspect the fluid condition. If your car has a dipstick, the process is the same as above, though you'll need to have the engine turned on and the transmission in Park or Neutral to get an accurate read. Inspect the fluid level, as well as its condition. It should be amber or red in color, and feel smooth. Like with other fluids, if it's dark, cloudy, or gritty, it means there is a problem that needs to be inspected.
To add transmission fluid, pour it into the fill tube if your vehicle has one. After verifying the fluid level on the dipstick, move the gear selector through the gears with your foot on the brake to help the new fluid flow through the transmission. Transmissions are complex pieces of equipment, so if you continue to have problems it's best to contact a professional.
Windshield washer fluid doesn't have any effect on your car's performance, but it's still vital to safe driving. After all, if you can't see where you're going, you won't get very far.
Fortunately, it's the easiest fluid to maintain. You can buy jugs of it at gas stations or auto supply stores (or make your own) on the cheap. Simply pour the fluid into the reservoir until it's full, close the cap, and be on your way.
So, If You Are Experiencing Any Car Problems…