Virginia Auto Service

BLOGS

PHOENIX ARIZONA
AUTO REPAIR SHOP,
VIRGINIA AUTO SERVICE

5 Reasons You May Need The Best BMW Emissions Service

If your BMW check engine light suddenly turns on, it may indicate that you need the best BMW emissions service. Many BMW car owners have no idea what this light means. There are many possible reasons for check engine light and issues can be related to emission problems. It’s challenging to detect the problem on your own, so you need to get in touch with BMW mechanics as soon as possible.

Pollution from automobiles is a significant cause of health problems like asthma. We all benefit from clean air, and as responsible BMW owners, we all have a part to play in keeping our air clean for this generation and the next. If you can’t afford a hybrid or electric car, there are ways to lessen the amount of toxic fumes generated by your BMW. Addressing a check engine light problem related to emissions is a responsibility we should take seriously.

Signs You Need the Best BMW Emissions Service

Your car’s emission control system limits the number of harmful gases your BMW releases into the environment. Car components that emit gases are your fuel tank, crankcase, and exhaust. Like all mechanical parts in your BMW, your emission control system can encounter problems and may need repair. A BMW auto repair expert can helps you diagnose the problem and repair the issue. Here are signs that you need a BMW repair service for your emission system problems.

Faulty Oxygen Sensor

When your check engine light turns on, it may mean that there is a fault in your BMW’s emission system. An oxygen sensor monitors your exhaust for unburned oxygen. This is useful for monitoring your engine efficiency and if you have the right fuel to air ratio. 

If there is a problem with your oxygen sensor, it won’t provide the correct data to your computer system. Your computer sends an incorrect code that turns on your BMW check engine light.

BMW mechanics can replace your sensors and deal with your check engine light issue. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible because a delay can damage your catalytic converter and cost more to repair.

Damaged Catalytic Converter

Your BMW’s catalytic converter helps reduce emissions as it converts carbon monoxide and other harmful gases into less harmful emissions. This is essential for human health because we don’t breathe in toxic gases when using your car.

If your catalytic converter starts to fail, your fuel consumption will also be affected, and your car won’t pass an emissions test. If your catalytic converter fails, you need to replace the entire converter. Go to your BMW repair service expert for a diagnosis and replacement when needed.

Loose Gas Cap

Did you know that a small issue like a loose gas cap can turn on your BMW check engine light? Your gas cap is necessary because it seals your fuel system. If your cap is loose, it can mess up the pressure in your fuel system. This will result in poor mileage and increased emissions from your vehicle.

If you notice your yellow check engine light turned on, it may indicate a loose gas cap. You can tighten the gas cap yourself. This may resolve the problem, and your check engine light will turn off. On the other hand, if your gas cap is damaged or the light is still turned on after gas cap tightening, there may be deeper issues that you need checking by a BMW auto repair technician.

Change Spark Plugs

Spark plugs wear out over time, so you need to replace them when they go bad. Bad spark plugs result in hard starting, poor acceleration, lower gas mileage, engine misfires, and rough idling. If your BMW has faulty spark plugs, you need to get in touch with a BMW mechanic to replace them as soon as possible. You can’t wait much longer before you fix this problem because worse issues may arise resulting in major repair expenses.

Mass Airflow Sensor

Your airflow sensor is a vital part of your vehicle as it directs the computer system to add the right amount of fuel based on the amount of air coming into the engine. There is a specific ratio that needs to be followed, and these sensors determine how much to add. 

When your mass airflow sensor starts to fail, you need to go to your BMW Repair Service shop to replace the sensors. You can continue driving with this issue, but you may experience frequent stalling, and more problems may arise.  

Virginia Auto Service: Best BMW Emissions Service in Phoenix, AZ

It is vital to get the best BMW emissions service if your check engine light turns on. Guesswork is not ideal because you don’t know if you have a major or minor problem in your car. If you tighten your gas cap and the problem is solved, then you can continue driving your vehicle. If the light remains, you may have something serious, don’t wait for your car to breakdown in the middle of the road before you call for repairs.

At Virginia Auto Service, our BMW mechanics can diagnose and repair your check engine light issues at once. Here are the top reasons you should choose us for your BMW emissions service in Phoenix, AZ.

  • We are conveniently located in Central Phoenix, which is a plus for major employers and neighborhoods.
  • We can give a second opinion on an estimate from another auto repair shop
  • We offer free transportation to or from work or anywhere in downtown Phonenix using “Virgie,” our shuttle service.
  • You can book an appointment easily through email or phone.

Your emission control system is regulated by a number of local agencies in America and on the federal level by the Environmental Protection Agency. Our Best BMW Emissions Service can help you lower emissions and pass emission testing.

If you suspect any problems with your emission control system, give us a call or send us an email today.

Changing Oil Filter – The Best Time

A Clogged Oil Filter is an indication that it’s time to change your oil filter. Regular oil changes are not only a good idea, it should also be a vital part of routine car maintenance.

The purpose of engine oil is to lubricate your engine’s internal components, keeping it cool. It protects moving parts from grinding against one another. Extreme heat and internal parts rubbing against each other can lead to premature engine wear and damage.

Without frequent oil changes, dirt and sludge can build up in your engine. There is only so much your oil filter can do. Dirty oil leads to severe engine damage and costly engine replacement.

Changing your oil filter is always a part of a regular oil change. An oil change is an inexpensive and simple procedure that you can perform on your own as long as you have the right tools.

Do You Have A Clogged Oil Filter?

Driving with a clogged oil filter is not a good idea. If you notice these symptoms, it’s time to have your oil filter replaced.

When you notice poor engine performance, a clogged filter can be one of the reasons why. An engine that sputters is another sign that shouldn’t be ignored. If the sputtering increases the faster you go, you should visit your auto technician for a check-up.

If your engine is not getting enough oil to moving parts, you may hear audible metallic noise. This indicates metal parts grinding against one another. Stop your car to the side of the road and ask for roadside assistance. Driving in this condition can mean the end of your engine’s life.

Low oil pressure and a dirty exhaust are also symptoms of a clogged oil filter. If your oil pressure gauge arrow points downward while driving, you need to pull over and ask for a tow from your auto shop.

Brown or black smoke coming out of your exhaust means that your vehicle is burning oil. The smell of oil burning is strong, and one of the causes is usually a clogged filter.

What Does The Oil Filter Do?

Oil filters remove contaminants from your auto engine oil to help keep your oil clean longer.

Clean motor oil is essential for engine protection and performance. Unfiltered oil may contain tiny and hard particles that can cause engine wear and damage to the bearing surfaces of your engine.

Picking the right oil filter for your vehicle is essential for the best results. Most oil filters may look alike, but small differences in threads and gasket size can spell the difference between good and bad performance.

The wrong filter may cause an oil leak or may fall off while driving. No one wants this to happen to their engine.

When Should I Change My Oil Filter?

Oil filters are replaced every time you have an oil change. The frequency may depend on your owner’s manual, which usually recommends oil changes every 5,000, 10,000, or 15,000 miles.

Oil filters act as your first line of defense against harmful contaminants. Over time these contaminants will build up on your filter, and you must not wait until it gets clogged before you replace them.

Most oil filters are designed to allow passage of oil even when clogged. A bypass valve allows “dirty oil” to flow in your engine, but the consequence is accelerated wear and tear.

Basic Maintenance – Clogged Oil Filter

A clogged oil filter should be replaced immediately to avoid engine damage. You can lower maintenance costs by changing your oil filter every time you get an oil change.

A new filter is an affordable piece of equipment compared to the cost of an engine replacement.

You have the option of leaving your old filter on while having an oil change but the idea of new oil passing through a dirty and oil filter defeats the purpose of changing oil.

Once you start your engine in the above scenario, your clean engine oil will become as dirty as the oil you had drained out.

Newer cars have an oil change indicator light or an oil pressure warning light that may turn on due to a clogged oil filter.

Driving conditions like stop and go traffic, extreme weather, and towing heavy loads, makes your engine work harder than usual.

More frequent engine oil and oil filter changes are ideal for better protection and performance.

Oil filters can protect your engine and stop contaminants like dirt, metallic particles, and oxidized oil, from causing damage.


4 SIGNS YOUR CAR HAS ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS

Electrical problems are less common in today’s cars than other kinds of problems but they are also more difficult to diagnose than most mechanical problems.

This is one area where you should rely on the expertise of your chosen repair shop to determine the problem and recommend the best solution to fix it. The complicated nature of electrical issues generally requires the use of specialized diagnostic equipment to identify the root cause of the problem. This equipment can access the data your vehicle’s computer stores about how the different components are operating. This data can then be used to pin down the exact problem so that the technician can make the required repairs. Unlike brakes that squeak or an engine that rattles, electrical problems don’t always announce themselves in a way that is easy to understand. The electrical system is compromised of several components including the battery, battery cables, alternator, starter, and computer system. Problems with any of these components can cause problems with the vehicle’s operation. To help ensure you know what to look for, here are some of the common signs there is something amiss with your car’s electrical system.

1. Car Won’t Start This is the most likely electrical problem you will experience in your car. If the car won’t start, there is a good chance you have a problem with the battery, the alternator, or the starter. If you turn the key and nothing happens, check to see if the interior lights came on when you opened the door. If the lights aren’t working and the car won’t start, the problem is likely a dead battery. If the lights are on but nothing happens when you turn the key, the problem is likely your alternator. If you hear a clicking sound when you turn the key, the problem is likely the starter. All of these problems require a visit to the auto repair shop for final diagnosis and repair. 

2. Visible Damage or Leakage from the Battery Inspect the battery from time to time to look for corrosion stains or buildup around the terminal. Both can be signs that the battery is leaking, experiencing a problem, or nearing the end of its life. Be careful if you notice any signs of damage or leakage as the contents of the battery are corrosive and they will damage bare skin. 

3. The Lights Work, But They Dim While Driving If you notice that the dashboard lights or the headlights seem to dim when you are driving at low speeds or when the car is idling, there may be a problem with the battery, the alternator, or the voltage regulator. If the battery is on its last legs it may be charging slower or have trouble holding a charge which can result in dimming headlights under certain conditions. Problems with the alternator or voltage regulator can also cause the lights to be dimmer under some circumstances. 

4. The Car Runs Fine But the Brake Lights Don’t Work If you have replaced the bulbs in both brake lights to no avail, the problem may not be the bulbs at all, it may be a fuse. If some specific part of the vehicle like the brake lights or the radio isn’t working, check to make sure you don’t need to replace a fuse.

6 Tips for Getting Your Car to the 200,000 Mile Mark

Car 200,000 miles
Follow these tips to help your car reach 200,000 miles. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)
For most of us, it seems like the days of buying a new car every couple years are gone. The average age of a car driving on today’s roads is 10+ years. This shows that we are keeping our cars longer than ever.   While today’s cars are designed to last longer than their predecessors, it still takes work to keep them running and ready to go, especially once the mileage hits 6 digits. Whether you are hanging on to your car for financial reasons or simply because you want to drive it until it dies, these tips will help you take care of your car so that it will make it to the 200,000 mile mark, and beyond.
  1. Change the Oil On Time, Every Time

One of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your car is change the oil when it is supposed to be changed, every time it needs to be changed. If you already have 6 digit plus mileage, ask your repair tech if you need to switch to oil made specifically for high mileage cars.
  1. Follow the Maintenance Schedule

One of the other most important things you can do is to follow the recommended schedule of maintenance provided in your car’s owner’s manual. Keeping up with maintenance tasks will make your car last longer and help protect you from costly repairs.
  1. Turn it Off

Some people believe that it is better to leave the car running than it is to turn it on and off when you will be sitting for longer than it takes for the red light to turn green. This is just not true. Running the engine without driving the car puts a lot of stress on the engine components and can cause them to break down more quickly than they normally would.
  1. Pay Attention

If you pay attention to your car, it will tell you when something is not working the way it is supposed to and this is incredibly important with a high mileage car. Listen for unusual noises, pay attention to strange smells, and make note of how it feels to drive the car. All of these things can provide clues that something isn’t working properly long before that problem becomes a major repair.
  1. Take Care of Your Tires

You will have to replace your tires several times on your way to 200,000 miles but you still need to take good care of each set while they are on the car. Rotating your tires, keeping the wheels aligned, and checking the tread on a regular basis all help protect your tires and the other parts of the car they are attached to.
  1. Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations

While we already covered the need to follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule of maintenance and repairs, it is important to point out another recommendation you need to follow. Always use the type of gas and oil recommended by the manufacturer. This recommendation can also be found in the owner’s manual. Related Articles:

Mercedes-Benz Service, Phoenix, Arizona

Robert Gonzales, Virginia Auto Service
Robert is one of our Service Advisers. People say he is able to explain technical things about their cars in a way that is easy for a “non car person” to understand. Robert is an ASE Certified Automobile Technician.

Virginia Auto Service provides complete Mercedes-Benz service in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Here’s what people are saying about Virginia Auto Service!

“I had heard the many radio spots on 1480 over the last couple years, so gave them a try.

Experience was high level customer service, shop was clean and quite busy. The staff was courteous, and kept me informed asap with diagnosis and quote for repair.

A ride home was given when I left the Tahoe. I also like the complete review of my vehicle which found some forcasted problems which can be addressed before larger costs occur.” Jim Rio, Phoenix, Arizona (verified customer)

Why Choose Virginia Auto Service for Mercedes-Benz Service in Phoenix?

  • Convenient!  If you work in downtown Phoenix, it’s easy to drop your car off at Virginia Auto Service in the morning and we’ll give you a free ride to work. Then we will pick you up again after work, or when you’re ready to pick up your car after it is done.  Don’t waste another day off in the auto repair shop waiting room. 
  • We Treat You Like Family!  We want to make a lifelong customer, not just a sale so we treat our clients just like family. We care about you so we tell you what’s going on with your car, but then we help you prioritize. We understand budgets.
  • The Best Mechanics in Phoenix! Our auto mechanics are some of the best in Phoenix.  They are all ASE certified and most of them have 20 years’ experience or more!
  • Non- intimidating Service Advisors. You don’t have to be a mechanic to understand what our service advisors are saying.  We know that most people don’t work on cars for a living so that’s why we make sure to help you understand about what needs fixed with you car.
  • A Shop So Clean You Could Cook Dinner on the Floor!  Okay, well we really don’t want you to cook dinner on our floor, but we believe a clean shop is a sign of a quality shop.  Don’t you?
  • The Latest Computer Software and Tools! It’s important that the auto repair shop you go to has the correct computer software and tools needed to work on your car. For example, a Mercedes-Benz, requires computer software just to change the oil correctly! It’s not just about wrenches anymore! The good news is, we invest in the latest tools and technology so you can be sure we’re going to do the job right the first time!
Call us today at 602-266-0200 to get a FREE second opinion about your recommended Mercedes-Benz service or schedule an appointment online.

Burgie’s Back!

Dear Friends of Virginia Auto Service,

If you've been around for a couple years or more, then you've probably had an interaction with Burgie, our "Goodwill Ambassador".  

Maybe Burgie has taken you to work a time or two and shared some of his stories along the way. Burgie has worked with us at Virginia Auto Service since 2009. 

You may recall, back in December of 2018, Burgie needed to take a leave of absence to address some serious health concerns as a result of complications from diabetes. Unfortunately, he had to have part of his foot amputated. He has made exceptional progress in his recovery. You may not even recognize him!

We are happy to welcome him back to work! While he is no longer acting as our shuttle driver, he is back in the mornings for few hours. 

He is excited to be working again and to be able to reconnect with customers and the friends he has made over the years. 

Burgie will be there to help ensure your drop off goes smooth in the morning. He’s missed all of you and would love to see you again.

So if you need a service done, we've included  $25 in "Burgie Bucks"  as a special bonus for you!  Keep it as a souvenir or bring it in for service on your vehicle! 

Help us welcome Burgie back to his home away from home!

Call or click here to make an appointment. 

All the best,

Matt and Burgie

Virginia Auto Service

602-266-0200

Burgie Buck
Click on Burgie Buck to Print.

How to Deal with Engine Difficulties

car engine
Keep your car running smoothly with by following these car engine maintenance tips.
There isn’t anything worse for a car owner to hear than the news that their car needs a new engine.  But the truth is sometimes the engine in your car simply dies.  While there are things you can do to help keep your engine healthy and your car on the road, it is also important to know what signs might signal trouble ahead.  According to the Car Care Council’s website the following are all signs that there may be a problem brewing in the engine.
  • Excessive smoke pouring out of the tailpipe
  • Using excessive amounts of oil
  • Strange sounds like knocking or tapping
  • Low oil pressure
  • Oil getting into places it shouldn’t be like the air cleaner or radiator
  • Low engine compression
  • Water in the oil
If any of these problems happen, you need to take the care to your local repair shop immediately to have the engine looked at and any problems addressed.  This can make it possible for you to catch a problem early enough that it doesn’t result in having to completely replace the engine. There are several things that can cause engine problems.
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Not performing regular maintenance like oil changes
  • Lubrication issues
  • Constant overheating
It is important to remember that ignoring engine problems is never going to make them go away or get any better.  In fact, most of the time, ignoring it will only make it worse.  And you may end up with an engine that simply dies.  If this happens to you, you will need to decide if it is worth replacing the engine.  For some cars, the high costs associated with engine replacement paired with the value of the car make engine replacement a bad investment. But before you consign your car to the scrap heap, make sure you know all the information.  First, you need to know how much your car would be worth with a replacement engine.  Then, you need to know what the engine replacement will cost.  Factor in what you owe on it and if replacing the engine leaves you with a good car that is worth more than what you owe plus the cost of the engine replacement, getting it fixed is the wiser choice. If you choose engine replacement, you need to understand the different terms you are likely to encounter in order to make the best possible decision.  If you have to replace the engine in your car, you may want to consider using a rebuilt or remanufactured engine rather than buying something brand new.    These engines are rebuilt to specific standards and specifications by highly skilled technicians.  In some cases, a rebuilt engine may actually be better than the original engine installed when the car was built.  So don’t overlook this kind of engine replacement options as being less than something new.  The key is to find a repair shop you can trust who will recommend the best possible parts to get you back on the road.

6 Essential Items to Keep in the Trunk of Your Car

It’s difficult to think of everything that you might want to keep in your car’s trunk, which can result in being unprepared in the event of an emergency. As a responsible motorist, you want to compile a thorough list of what you should always have on hand as a driver. These can include items not only for emergency preparedness, but also convenience and car maintenance. This is a good way to save time and money and eliminate frustration if anything goes wrong while driving. Here are 6 essential items to keep in the trunk of your car in case of emergency.

6 essential items to keep in the trunk of your car
  1. A first aid kit. If you are in any type of accident or your car suddenly breaks down, you want to have first aid supplies ready. A good first aid kit should include sterile gauze and bandages, cotton swabs and medical tape, and a cold pack to reduce swelling. You can also add items like insect repellent, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and an over-the-counter pain relief mediation.
  2. A set of jumper cables. A dead battery is one of the most common car problems that could leave you stranded.  Find a working set of jumper cables and locate your car’s battery and battery terminals. Having a set of jumper cables onboard is also nice to be able to help another motorist that becomes stranded from a dead car battery.
  3. An adjustable lug wrench and tire jack. Tire blowouts are another common problem that can happen while driving, potentially leaving you stranded. You want to be able to take off a faulty tire and put on the spare if needed. It is a good idea to keep a lug wrench and tire jack in the trunk as well as some other basic tools like a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.
  4. An aluminium flashlight. Having car problems while driving at night, especially during bad weather conditions, presents some added complications. Not being able to see well in the dark can prevent you from identifying and fixing car problems. Make sure that you get a high quality aluminium flashlight with LED lights. Keep new batteries on hand, stored separately in a plastic bag.
  5. Tire pressure gauge and air compressor pump. Most modern cars come with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that will alert the driver when tire air pressure is low. But the sensors used in TPMS systems can wear out or get damaged from bad road conditions. There are a lot of inexpensive, quality tire gauges available that will allow you to check the air pressure in your tires at any time. Buying an air compressor will also come in very handy to be able to adjust the tire air pressure on your own. You only need a portable air compressor that can plug into the lighter socket inside your car.
  6. Emergency warning triangles. You want to alert other drivers if your car is broken down on the shoulder of the road close to oncoming traffic. Emergency warning triangles are safer than road flares, and are collapsible, taking up little room in your car’s trunk. Placing these triangles in front of and behind your car, along with using your car’s emergency flashers, will make it much safer if you must make any roadside repairs.

In addition to the essential items needed for emergency preparedness and car maintenance, you can also keep some other convenient things in your car’s trunk. These can include items like a blanket, an umbrella, an all-purpose spray cleaner, paper towels, your car’s manual, and a spare change of clothes.

For all of your vehicle’s service and repair needs in Phoenix, Arizona, you can trust the ASE certified technicians at Virginia Auto Service. Our award-winning staff has been recognized for their leadership, integrity, and commitment to excellence. Just schedule an appointment with us online or give us a call at (602) 266-0200.

What Causes Your Car to Keep Blowing Fuses?

Every passenger vehicle has a fuse box. Fuses are electrical devices that are designed to stop circuits from being overloaded. When automotive fuses blow, they will cause problems with the functioning and accessories of your vehicle. If your car’s windshield wipers, power windows and locks, turn signals, or interior lights suddenly cease to function, then you may have a blown fuse on your hands.

What causes your car to keep blowing fuses?

If your car blows a fuse: Consult your car’s owner’s manual to find the location of the fuse box. The assigned circuit for each fuse should be shown in a diagram. Some fuses will easily come out by hand, while others might require the use of a pair of pliers. A blown fuse will be black on the inside with a melted metal ribbon, and the glass encasing might be cloudy. Visually inspect each fuse and replace faulty ones as needed.

Replacing faulty fuses in your vehicle is an easy fix, but there might be an underlying factor that causes them to keep blowing out. Here are the 2 most common reasons that your car keeps blowing fuses.

  • Your car has a short circuit. Automotive fuses are used to protect the electrical components and wiring system for your vehicle. A short in the electrical system will just cause a fuse to blow, rather than the wiring overheating or melting. A short is just a poor connection between two conductors that supply electricity, causing an electrical overload in the circuit. Fixing a short circuit is much easier than identifying the location of the problem. There are 3 typical causes of a short circuit in your car:
    • Fraying of the wire insulation. If one of the wires is frayed and becomes exposed, it can touch the metal frame or the ground, causing a short in the circuit. The wire might move around a lot and only occasionally come into contact with a surface, causing intermittent shorts. This is still enough to blow a fuse.
    • An electrical device is malfunctioning. Internal damage to your windshield wiper motor or power locking components can cause these systems to use more current flow than normal to keep working. This will overload the circuit causing it to short.
    • A conductor is being exposed to the elements. If there is a leak somewhere in your car, fluid could be wetting the wiring harness and connection points. A wet conductor can easily cause the circuit to short.
  • Improper fuse replacement. Fuses can keep blowing out if someone has replaced a blown fuse with one of higher amperage. There are a lot of different types of automotive fuses in both amperage and material. Your vehicle’s manual should contain a diagram showing the correct amperage rating for each fuse and the circuit that it is in. If you are unsure as to the amperage required for your car’s fuses, consult an automotive professional to be sure that the right fuse is being used in the right location.

If your car keeps blowing fuses, you need to get to the underlying cause of the problem. Replacing a fuse is an easy, cheap fix, but problems that keep causing fuses to blow can be much more complicated. For all of your auto service and repair needs in the Phoenix, Arizona area, you can trust the experts at Virginia Auto Service. Our ASE certified technicians have a reputation for doing the highest quality work and providing outstanding customer service. Just book an appointment online or give us a call at (602) 266-0200.

Are You Making These Common Car Seat Mistakes?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there are 5 common mistakes that parents make when they strap their children into the seat that is supposed to help keep them safe while riding in the car.  As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, we would like to encourage all parents to check and make sure they aren’t making these common mistakes and to participate in Child Seat Check Saturday on September 20th.
  1. Using the Wrong Harness Slot

One of the most common mistakes parents make is that they use the wrong slot for the harness straps in their child’s seat which results in the harness straps being either too high or too low.  Make sure you use the child safety seat owner’s manual to determine which harness slot is appropriate based on your individual child’s height, weight, and age.
  1. Failure to Use the Harness Chest Clip Appropriately

The harness chest clip is a mechanism that clips the two straps of the harness that go over the shoulders together over the child’s chest.  The NHTSA found that many parents are positioning this harness clip over the abdomen instead of the chest or that they simply aren’t using this part of the safety seat at all.  In order to provide your child with the maximum amount of protection and to ensure the safety seat can perform adequately, this harness clip should be used every time and positioned over the chest.
  1. Not Installing the Car Seat Appropriately

In order to protect your child in an accident, the car seat must be installed appropriately in the car.  This means using the car’s restraint system to tightly secure the car seat to the seat in the car.  If the car seat can move more than 1 inch from side to side after being secured with the seat belt, it is not installed properly.
  1. Securing the Harness too Loosely

Another mistake parents make when buckling their child into a safety seat is that they leave the harness too loose.  When the harness is buckled appropriately using each of the attachment points including the harness chest clip, there should be no slack between the harness strap and the child.  If there is slack, the harness isn’t tight enough or it isn’t buckled properly.
  1. Using the Seat Belt Incorrectly

All child safety seats use the car’s safety restraints or seat belts to secure the car seat in the vehicle.  Some use the safety belt to secure the seat only and rely on a safety harness to secure the child.  Others use the seat belt in conjunction with the safety seat to secure the child.  In both scenarios, it is critical that the seat belt be used correctly.  Refer to the owner’s manual for the car safety seat to ensure you are securing the seat and your child appropriately. The best advice for all parents is to read the instructions that came with the car seat to ensure you are using it properly and bring your car to a local Child Safety Seat Check on Saturday September 20th to ensure that your child is as safe as possible whenever they are a passenger in your car.