5 Reasons Your Brakes Could Be Making Noise

When you come to a full stop, the last thing you want to hear is your brakes squealing. There is a litany of reasons why you have brake noise, and you need to remedy the situation immediately. Since there are numerous reasons why your brakes have begun to fail, it is paramount to get your vehicle inspected by a professional right away to find the cause. Here are some of the most common explanations.

  1. Low-Quality Brake Pads

    When the time comes to purchase brand new brake pads, you will always be better off buying a high-quality set. It will cost you more money now, but you will benefit in the long run. The problem with low-quality pads is that they tend to contain pieces of metal. This metal can then scrape and rub up against the rotor’s surface, resulting in substantial damage. Therefore, you are better off buying brake pads from brands you can trust.

  2. Worn-Out Brake Pads

    No matter what type of brake pads you buy, they will wear down over time. Most brake pads need to be replaced once every 15,000 miles. Once you hit this milestone, you will likely hear metal scraping against metal. The material from the pads has worn down too much, and you need an immediate replacement. If you do not replace your pads right away, then your brakes will become extremely damaged. Both the caliper and the backing plate will become destroyed, so do not delay this essential service.

  3. Broken Shims

    When your car develops broken shims, the brakes will produce a grinding sound. This sound comes from the shim making contact with another component of the brake system, usually the rotor. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to replace the shims every time you get a brake job performed. In the event you are unsure if your mechanic will automatically do this, you should ask.

  4. Object Getting Stuck Between the Caliper and Rotor

    As your car drives along Arizona roadways, it can kick up rocks and various pieces of debris. Occasionally, these items will make their way into the brake system and get caught between the rotor and the caliper. This creates a grinding sound when you press down on the brakes. The ensuing friction will ultimately damage the parts if you do not remove it promptly.

  5. Infrequent Driving

    Idleness is not good for any vehicle. If you have a tendency to leave your car idle in the garage for weeks at a time, then you need to be careful nothing deteriorates prematurely. Additionally, bad weather and rain can cause parts in the braking system to rust and corrode. Even if you do not have a need to drive your car, you should still take it for a spin once in a while. As long as you do this, your brakes should be fine for at least 15,000 miles.

Let Us Diagnose the Noise for You

Any time you hear a strange noise coming from your car, you should take it to the professionals at Highline Car Care right away. Our experts are proficient in an array of services, including brake pad replacement and rotor repair. You need to contact us at the first sign of trouble, and we will get your vehicle back on the road in no time.

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Shocks vs Struts: How To Tell the Difference

Shock absorbers and struts provide stability to your car, steadying your tires and suspension in order to prevent jolts every time you accelerate or hit a rough patch in the road. Both of these features are vital to smooth steering and acceleration. Their internal structures are similar, but they work differently and take up a different position under vehicles. Below, you can learn the difference between shocks vs struts.

How Do Struts and Shocks Work?

Shock absorbers don’t support the weight of a vehicle, but they do control the movement of your suspension and springs to keep the wheels steady. They do this by taking the suspension’s kinetic energy and turning it into thermal energy that can be absorbed by the hydraulic fluid.

Shock absorbers generate resistance against the piston in response to the speed at which the suspension moves. Some are velocity-sensitive, which means that they adjust to driving conditions, counteracting the following:

  • Swaying
  • Bouncing movements
  •  Vehicle dive
  •  Squatting while accelerating

Struts can be found mostly on vehicles with front wheel drive and are a part of a suspension’s structure. This is one of the main difference between shocks vs struts because shocks are separate from the suspension system. The struts hold tires in place, keeping them aligned and supporting the spring.

Typical suspension systems have an upper ball joint and upper arm, but a strut takes the place of these two components, with the benefit of being more compact. By taking up this position, they allow the suspension assembly to move along with the vehicle as its direction changes. Struts support the weight of your vehicle using the coil spring, and a damping unit controls the movement of the suspension and the spring. The strut housing provides a rigid casing for these two internal parts.

Are Shocks and Struts Interchangeable?

Shocks and struts have some internal similarities and perform a similar function. Both make use of a piston to push against hydraulic fluid, which allows them to stabilize against your vehicle’s movement. Shock absorbers house a piston and piston rod, which push against the hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube. When the suspension moves, hydraulic fluid is pushed through holes in the piston in order to slow it down. Once it slows, the suspension and spring slow down as a result.

Struts also include the piston and piston rod to control the movement of the suspension and springs, by pushing the hydraulic fluid. The struts resist the up-and-down movement of the suspension and respond to speed by increasing or decreasing the amount of resistance generated.

Though they are similar, vehicles will only have one of these parts at each wheel, never both on one. Any replacement parts should match the original. Shocks cannot be replaced by struts.

When To Replace Shocks and Struts

For most drivers, failing shocks and struts become apparent when they change how it feels to drive a car. Once your shocks or struts stop effectively providing stability to your car, your ride gets much rougher. Roads suddenly seem much bumpier than before, and steering often becomes more difficult and less precise. Braking can also seem shakier than before. Visible leaking fluid is another sign they are worn out.

Because this feature controls so much about your tires, it can cause unusual patterns of tread or tires that seem to be wearing out faster than usual. Lots of driving can also cause them to wear out faster, and an inspection every 50,000 miles can help you identify old or damaged parts before they cause any issues.

Replacing Your Struts or Shocks in Mesa, AZ

Both shocks and struts are vital to controlling your car’s movement. For a smooth, comfortable ride, it’s important to have them inspected regularly. Make an appointment for a thorough inspection at Highline Car Care today.

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Image: Nixx Photography

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Nissan GTR R35 Bellhousing Repair

GT-R R35 Bellhousing Highline Car Care Mesa AZ

Bellhousing failure is an all too common issue with the R35 Nissan GT-R.  It first manifests itself as a faint rattle at idle, but will eventually become an unavoidable clanking sound that reverberates in your head and sucks the pleasure right out of your Sunday drive.  Let’s take a look at what exactly the bellhousing is, what it does, how it fails, and how the folks at Highline have made them more durable:

First off, the R35 GT-R is an all wheel drive vehicle with the transmission located at the rear of the vehicle (as if you didn’t already know!)  That being said, a simple bellhousing is mated to the rear of the engine in lieu of the contemporary transmission placement. The bellhousing is an aluminum housing with a shaft running through the middle.  This shaft is connected to a damper at the engine end that bolts to the engine flywheel – It looks like a sprung hub clutch disc at a quick glance.

GTR Bellhousing Center Shaft with Bearings Highline Car Care Mesa AZ

Center Shaft Assembly with Support Bearings



The other end of the shaft bolts to the driveshaft which travels rearward to the transmission/transaxle.  The shaft is supported by two small bearings inside the bellhousing, and herein lies the problem….  This shaft is subject to 500+ horsepower, and well over 6,000 RPM’s at times.  The resulting torque will cause the bearings (made of steel) to wallow out the aluminum bellhousing over time.  The bearings will eventually float freely from the housing, and the clanking sound is caused by the bearings (and shaft) rattling around.  Believe it or not, Nissan has YET to devise a cure for this.  Even a brand new $1600 Nissan OEM bellhousing may only last a handful of launches.  This is where Highline stepped in with their expertise.

A Modified Bellhousing that is Cheaper AND Stronger than OEM – Only at Highline Car Care

GTR Bellhousing Repair Highline Car Care Mesa AZ

A Bellhousing being milled for new sleeves at Highline

If you’ve followed our blog, you might already know that Wes (Our Owner) picked up a 2010 GT-R project a while back.  It had the “rattle” from the very beginning, which progressively got louder.  It eventually got loud enough to sap the joy out of driving and a solution was to be devised!  In typical Wes fashion, he did not rest until the matter was resolved.  The bellhousing was removed from the car – The Nissan labor guide calls for removal of the entire engine to replace this item.  However, we are able to remove it by supporting the engine and lowering the subframe.  Much less invasive, and quicker!

Once the bellhousing was removed and disassembled, we devised a fix.  Replacement bearings were ordered, and the bellhousing itself would need to be repaired so that the new bearings would not come loose.

The “Highline” Bellhousing is bored out and fitted with steel sleeves that have been retained by set screws

The Highline bellhousing uses precision milled steel sleeves and only high quality replacement bearings to ensure trouble free operation.  Nothing is 100% bulletproof, but we have yet to see one of ours fail.  That’s saying a lot,

considering Nissan hasn’t been able to solve the problem in 10+ years.  Give us a call or shoot us a message today if you’d like to have your bellhousing replaced – The experts are standing by


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Cadillac User Experience CUE Touch Screen Repair in Mesa AZ

Infotainment navigation touch screen in modern car

In this new age of technology and convenience, Cadillac has raised the bar with in-vehicle Gadgetry.  The CUE system is an all-in-one Navigation, Audio, Phone, and climate control display that is very intuitive.  But what happens when this central control system fails?  Drivers are left with no control over the luxuries of their Cadillac.

Symptoms of a Failing Navigation Screen

Many times Cadillac owners have found that the CUE touchscreen will simply stop responding to touch.  Simply stated, the screen lights up and displays all of your options, but it will not recognize that you are touching a particular icon.  Have no fear, the experts at Highline have devised an economical repair and will get you back on the road in no time.  We are able to repair the CUE touch screens on the Escalade ATS CTS CTS-V SRX and XTS models.

If you are local to the Mesa-Phoenix area, we are happy to complete the entire job for you.  Bring us your vehicle and we will perform the repair.  If you are out of state, simply remove your CUE infotainment unit and ship it to us for repair.  We promise a quick turnaround and quality product that will keep your Cadillac reliable for many years to come!

Want to see what goes into a CUE Infotainment Screen Repair?


Want to Purchase Parts for a DIY CUE Touchscreen Repair?

Click HERE

Want to Send Your CUE Unit to Us for Repair?

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