4 Wheel Alignment

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Signs You Need an Alignment

  • Vehicle pulling to the left or right
  • Uneven or rapid tire wear
  • Your steering wheel is crooked when driving straight
  • Squealing tires

Here’s What We Do

  • Perform a road test evaluation
  • Inspect suspension components
  • Inspect steering components
  • Inspect tire condition
  • Measure alignment angles
  • Adjust alignment angles
  • Reset steering angle sensor (if needed)

Result

Your vehicle is safer to drive and there is much less wear on your tires.

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Maryland Safety Inspection

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Most used vehicles are required by Maryland Law to undergo a safety inspection prior to its sale or transfer.

Bowie Auto Clinic has the latest technology to conduct a full inspection per the State of Maryland’s safety requirements. All inspections are performed by certified technicians.

How Do I Obtain a Maryland Inspection Certificate for My Vehicle?

To obtain an inspection certificate, you must have your vehicle inspected at an authorized safety inspection station in Maryland, such as Bowie Auto Clinic.

We are authorized to inspect:

  • Passenger cars;
  • Light trucks and SUV’s with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less; and
  • Trailers that are 20 feet in length or less, without air brakes.

It is best if you schedule the safety inspection first, by calling us at 301-383-1277.  Also, before you take the vehicle to be inspected, ensure that it is properly registered, either in Maryland or in another state.   If you are not able to register the vehicle because it has not yet received a safety inspection, you may qualify for a 30-day temporary registration that will enable you to legally drive the vehicle to the inspection station.

The safety inspection should take about 1-½ hours for most vehicles once the registered inspection mechanic begins work.  Certain vehicles (e.g., trailers) may take less time so it is best to check with us.  When our technician has finished, he will prepare an inspection report that shows the vehicle parts or systems examined and whether or not they have met Maryland’s standards.

If the vehicle meets all safety standards, we will prepare and give you two copies of the Maryland Inspection Certificate.  You should take the MVA copy (green) to any full service MVA branch office and submit it with the other documents needed to title and register your vehicle in Maryland.  The Purchaser’s copy (goldenrod) is for your records.  If a dealer owns the vehicle, the Purchaser’s copy must be affixed to the vehicle’s window.

What happens if my vehicle fails the safety inspection?

If your vehicle fails to meet even one safety standard, the Maryland Inspection Certificate cannot be issued.  You must have the problem(s) identified on the station’s inspection report fixed and then have the vehicle re-inspected by the same registered inspection mechanic at the same station.  You have the option of fixing the problem yourself, having the inspection station fix the problem, or taking the vehicle to another facility for repairs.

If the vehicle is re-inspected within 30 days after the original inspection date and you have driven it less than 1,000 miles, we will only need to inspect the defective equipment identified during the initial inspection.  However, if a new defect is visually observed during the re-inspection, the newly discovered defect must also be repaired and re-inspected.  If you do not have the vehicle re-inspected within 30 days or you exceed 1,000 miles, you will be required to pay for a new, complete inspection.

Most Common Reasons Vehicles Fail Maryland State Inspection

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These are few of the most common reasons why many cars fail Maryland State Inspection, from our experience.

Brakes

Unlike your car’s body, auto glass, interior and lights, the condition of your brakes can’t be visually confirmed without partial disassembly. And if you haven’t been diligent with the car maintenance, have driven with your emergency brake on, or purchased a used car with unknown history, it’s a good idea to check the brakes and replace them if necessary before they fail inspection.

Tires

The minimal tire tread depth that will let you pass the inspection is 2/32 of an inch. You’ve probably heard about the test with a penny. Stick a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s figure upside down and facing you. If at least half of his head is covered, you are good to go. You can also repeat this experiment with a quarter, and if a part of Washington’s head is covered, you are even in a better place with 4/32 of an inch tread depth.

Windows

Many drivers don’t realize that most vehicles come with pre-tinted windows. According to the Maryland laws, tinted auto glass must let through at least 35% of light, which means that applying tint that meets this requirement on a pre-tinted window will make the tint too dark to pass the inspection.

Engine

If your “check engine” light is on, don’t even bother sending your car for an inspection, because it will inevitably fail.  “Check engine” light may indicate a wide variety of problems from electrical issues to an unfit gas cap and even a failing engine.

Lights

This includes dashboard indicator lights, headlights, turn signals and tail lights. All of them need to meet state and federal regulations, be fully functional and adjusted to the correct brightness. Some after-market Halogen and Xenon-based lights, such as bluish high-intensity discharge (HID) lights might not be legal in some states, especially if they are not utilizing vehicle’s existing light source. Call Bowie Auto Clinic, and we’ll let you know if your modified headlights will pass the inspection.

Rust and body rot

This mainly concerns older cars with extensive rust issues and body rot. While you can cosmetically mask the rust, you can’t do much about the body rot except for replacing the rotted piece of auto body, which is often rather expensive.

If your local Maryland Safety Inspection station fails your vehicle for the reasons you disagree with, feel free to come to Bowie Auto Clinic for the second opinion. We won’t fail your car just to make you pay for unnecessary repairs.

Fees 

The fee for an initial safety inspection at Bowie Auto Clinic is $89.

  • The fee for the re-inspection of a vehicle varies with the inspection station’s labor rate and the specific parts or systems that need to be re-inspected. A re-inspection fee should not be charged if the repair can be visually confirmed (for example, a burned out light) unless the inspection requires jacking, lifting, measuring, or testing the vehicle. A re-inspection fee for a non visual defect may be charged at up to 1-1/2 times the hourly labor rate if the inspection requires jacking, lifting, measuring, or testing the vehicle. You should inquire about the re-inspection fee before leaving the station.

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BG Air/Fuel Induction Service

Why Do I Need BG Air/Fuel Service?

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Deposits accumulate on intake valves, injectors, ports, fuel injectors and combustion chambers causing loss of power, rough idle, hesitation, misfire, pinging, knocking, mileage and hard starting.

Here’s What We Do

  • Clean fuel injectors
  • Clean throttle body
  • Clean plenum and air-intake
  • Clean intake valves and ports
  • Remove combustion chamber deposits
  • Correct balance of fuel and air in system

Results

Reduced emissions – Restored horsepower – Increased fuel economy – Engine starts and idles smoother and runs quieter.

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Power Steering Flush

Why Do I Need To Get My Power Steering Fluid Flushed?

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Over time, small amounts of wear products (bits of plastic, rubber and metal from inside the system) build up in your power steering fluid.  These can accelerate wear to the seals.  The only way to remove these small particles is to remove the old power steering fluid and add new fluid.

Here’s What We Do

  • Inspect seals and hoses for leaks
  • Drain old fluid
  • Replace with new fluid and run engine until the fluid being drained is clear
  • Re-inspect seals and hoses
  • Test power steering

Result

Ensures proper power steering performance and increases lifespan of your power steering system components.

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Brake Flush

Why Do I Need To Get My Brakes Flushed?

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The fluid in your brake lines absorbs water. As water and dirt get into your brake system, they reduce performance and can eventually corrode your brakes.

Recommended once every two years or 30,000 miles.

Here’s What We Do

  • Inspect brake lines for leaks
  • Drain old fluid from master cylinder
  • Fill master cylinder with new brake fluid
  • Bleed each brake until brake fluid runs clear
  • Replace bleed screws (if necessary)
  • Refill master cylinder
  • Test brakes

Result

Ensures proper brake performance and increases lifespan of your brake system components.

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Transmission Flush

Your Transmission

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Your transmission is crucial to the proper functioning of your vehicle. If your transmission fluid is old and contaminated, it can cause expensive damage. And if your transmission filter is clogged, your engine will not be able to shift gears effectively. Whether you drive a manual transmission or automatic transmission, the auto service experts at Bowie Auto Clinic have the necessary experience for performing whatever maintenance it needs, from a fluid check or filter replacement to a system flush or transmission replacement.

A Transmission Flush

Getting a transmission fluid change and transmission flush is important maintenance for your vehicle’s health – that’s why vehicle manufacturers recommend regularly scheduled transmission service. If you keep up with your transmission maintenance, your car can run newer, stronger longer. Our expert auto technicians can take care of all your vehicle transmission needs and keep your car functioning at peak performance.

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Signs You May Need a System Flush

  • Transmission Grinding or Strange Noises
  • Problems Shifting Gears
  • Slipping Gears
  • Surging of the Vehicle
  • Delay in Vehicle Movement

What We Do:

  • Perform a road test evaluation
  • Inspect the transmission for leaks
  • Drain the transmission fluid
  • Run new transmission fluid through the system to remove grime and contaminants
  • Fill with new transmission fluid
  • Change filters and gaskets as necessary

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Coolant Flush

Why You Need a Coolant Flush

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A coolant flush  helps ensure maximum performance from your car’s heating and cooling systems.

The heating system works off of the same coolant that circulates throughout your engine, performing a coolant flush also prevents overheating – the most common cause of breakdowns and internal engine damage.

New antifreeze will help your car’s engine run cooler, and flushing it will remove any dirt, rust or sediment which may damage the water pump and clog the engine water jacket and radiator.

4 Reasons You Need a Coolant Flush

  • Removes Rust and Scale Deposits
  • Lubricates the Water Pump
  • Removes Contaminants
  • Protect Against Rust and Foam

Here’s what we do when our trained technicians perform a coolant flush on your vehicle:

  • Pressure Test Cooling System
  • Inspect System for Leaks
  • Power Flush System
  • Set Coolant to Proper pH Level
  • Set Coolant to Proper Temperature Level

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Oil and Lube Service

Our Basic Oil Change

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Your vehicle relies on oil, lubrication and an oil filter to keep it running smoothly. Motor oil minimizes friction by lubricating, cleaning and cooling critical internal engine components. Normal driving will cause motor oil to become contaminated with wear metals, water and even fuel. Every three months or 3,000 miles, your vehicle should be ready for an oil change. Check your owner’s manual for the specific recommendations for your vehicle. Oil changes at your Bowie Auto Clinic include:

  • Removal and replacement of existing engine oil and oil filter
  • Checking the air filter
  • Checking and topping off all fluids under the hood
  • Lubricating all fittings
  • Checking engine for leaks
  • Checking belts and hoses
  • Checking tire pressure
  • Checking entire undercarriage

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Transmission Service & Repair

Transmission Service & Maintenance

Transmission fluid check & scheduled maintenance

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Your transmission is crucial to the proper functioning of your vehicle. If your transmission fluid is old and contaminated, it can cause expensive damage. And if your transmission filter is clogged, your engine will not be able to shift gears effectively. Whether you drive a manual transmission or automatic transmission, the auto service experts at Bowie Auto Clinic have the necessary experience for performing whatever maintenance it needs, from a fluid check or filter replacement to a system flush or transmission replacement.

Getting a transmission fluid change and transmission flush is important maintenance for your vehicle’s health – that’s why vehicle manufacturers recommend regularly scheduled transmission service. If you keep up with your transmission maintenance, your car can run newer, stronger longer. Our expert auto technicians can take care of all your vehicle transmission needs and keep your car functioning at peak performance.

What’s included?

  • Transmission fluid level check
  • New transmission filter
  • Linkage and controls inspection and lubrication

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Porsche IMS Bearing Problem

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Problems with Carerra IMS Bearing — One of the weaknesses with the M96/M97 Carerra engine identified in recent years by Porsche has been the (IMS (intermediate shaft) bearing, which supports the intermediate shaft on the flywheel end of the motor.

When the bearing wears out, the timing chains on the engine may disengage, and the engine will quickly self-destruct. When the bearing does begin to deteriorate, foreign object debris from the bearing circulates throughout the engine, causing damage to other areas in the engine. This appears to be one of the most common failure mechanisms present with both the Boxster and 911 Carrera engine.

There are several warning signs. When you first start your car, you may hear a loud rattling noise that goes away after about 10 seconds or so. When you accelerate, you may also hear this noise too. This noise is the sound of the chains or the bearing rattling around in the engine because the bearing has deteriorated the engine is soon on its way to skipping a tooth on the sprocket and costing you thousands of dollars.

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If you have the car up on a lift, you can listen carefully and you should be able to isolate the noise to the area of the IMS. Signs of a failing IMS bearing can also be found by inspecting the oil filter. Shiny metallic debris from the balls used within the bearing itself may travel through the oil system and become trapped in the oil filter as well as small bits of black plastic from the seal on the bearing. During a routine clutch job, you can also simply remove the IMS cover and take a closer look at the bearing itself (lock and check the camshafts prior to removing the cover). If the center shaft is wobbly (see video), or the center of the bearing doesn’t spin freely, then it’s probably on its way to failure.

Luckily, there are a few solutions available. First, change your oil every 5,000 miles or sooner and use a higher viscosity motor oil that has additional anti-wear additives. Use Porsche approved 5w40 viscosity motor oils, preferably one that carries an API SJ-SL rating. Also consider using an oil with more anti-wear additives (like Zn, P, or moly extreme).

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Recent regulatory changes in the United States have caused oil companies to revise their formulations of oil and reduce the amount of anti-wear components in them. The reasoning behind this is the belief that these components contribute to premature deterioration of the catalytic converters. The solution to this problem is to make sure that you run motor oil with the proper anti-wear formulations and change your oil often.

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