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Uh Oh…My Check Engine Light Is On

March 30th, 2017

So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.

What does it mean?Check Engine Light

Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.

The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Make Sure Your Car's Ready For Winter!

October 14th, 2016

You know that winter and bad weather are coming. Is your car ready? Here’s a quick checklist of things to get up to speed on:

Motor oil: Motor oil has a tendency to thicken in cold weather, making it harder to circulate to upper engine parts at startup. If you haven’t ever used synthetic oil Driving in the Winterbefore, this might be a good time to start. The flow properties of synthetic oil are a lot more consistent, meaning it doesn’t thicken in sub-freezing temperatures or thin out when it’s hot outside.

Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers only last about a year. If your wipers are showing cracks or chips or losing strips of rubber, go ahead and replace them. Don’t forget to refill your washer fluid reservoir…you’ ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Things To Look For When Buying a Used Car

September 15th, 2016
Buying a used car is somewhat less of a crapshoot than it was at one time. You can get detailed information on a vehicle's history via the CARFAX report, and a Car for saletechnician can use onboard diagnostics to get a good picture of what's going on under the hood and what problems might be coming up. 
 
It's always a good idea to get a mechanic to look over any prospective purchase, but there are things you can get a look at yourself before you spend the money for a professional inspection. These are things which will give you a pretty good idea of the kind of use and maintenance a vehicle has seen before you got it. 
 
-- Put your head against a fender and sight down the side of the vehicle with one eye. Look out for ripples or ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

What's Leaking From My Car?

July 14th, 2016
You go out to your car, start it up, pull out of your parking space and see a puddle of...something...where you were parked a moment ago. This is never a good feeling. What could it be? 
 
Fortunately, some automotive fluids are dyed different colors to make this a little easier to narrow down. 
 
Does it appear to be water? Were you recently running your A/C? Chances are that's just condensation from the A/C system, which drips out through a rubber tube and is perfectly normal. No worries there. 
 
For years, antifreeze was dyed a bright green to make it easy to identify. Today, other antifreeze formulations can be colored pink or orange, but it's still not hard to figure out -- antifreeze has a swe ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

A/C Problems Demystified

June 30th, 2016

Believe it or not, the A/C system in your vehicle is fairly simple in principle and design. Like your refrigerator, it operates on a cycle of compression and expansion of a gas, known as refrigerant. The compressor turns the gas into a liquid, and as the gas evaporates it provides cooling. Like your refrigerator, its main components are: 
 
  • Compressor
  • Condenser 
  • Receiver/dryer
  • Thermostatic expansion valve
  • Evaporator
  • Refrigerant
  • Blower 
The good news is most automotive A/C systems have become very robust and reliable compared to cars from a generation ago. Most of the time, poor performance is due to low refrigerant levels due to lea ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Five Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

May 31st, 2016
1. Tires: Ensure tire pressure is properly serviced and maintained for both lengthy travels and everyday driving. Underinflation of tires can cause unnecessary wear and hardship to tire tread, causing tire failure or malfunctions. If not properly inflated, fuel economy can be severely decreased, causing drivers to lose about .6 miles per gallon due to improper tire conditions. Whether over or under inflated, tires can easily lose traction that could lead to an accident if not addressed. Service tires before Thanksgiving travel this holiday season to avoid unnecessary accidents, injury or inconvenience.
 
2. Headlights: Maintaining proper safety and visibility is imperative for winter driving conditions as travelers often drive in less t ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Why Schedule Regular Oil Changes For Your Vehicle?

May 31st, 2016
Many vehicle owners do not take the time to schedule regular oil changes. Regular oil changes are vital to the life of your engine and can extend its performance for years. This is one of the most important and inexpensive things you can do to keep engine protected. Most manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 3,000-6,000 miles, depending on your vehicle use and the type of oil you are using. 
 
Oil Changes are essential to:
  • Lubricate engine to reduce wear and friction
  • Reduce engine temperatures
  • Maintaining proper engine function
With regular oil changes your engine will be protected against much of the harm normal wear and tear will cause. Parts will stay cleaner with less corrosion, which means with regular upkeep there will b ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

9 Tips for your Spring Vehicle Checkup

May 31st, 2016

The temperatures are inching upward, the days are getting longer and the first buds are starting to appear on the trees. Spring is on its way, and  soon it’s going to be time to do a little preventive maintenance on your ride. No need to dread it -- it’s all pretty routine stuff!

  1. Air filter - If you haven’t changed your air filter since last year (or can’t remember when you changed it at all), it might be time. It’s an easy and cheap fix, and it pays off in your vehicle’s performance and fuel economy.
  2. Cabin filter - Older vehicles often don’t have a cabin filter, but it can make a lot of difference in how pleasant your vehicle is to drive. Stale, smelly air? Change it!
  3. Wipers -- Get a good look at them. Are they showing signs ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Get Ready for Summer Road Trips with New Tires

May 31st, 2016

Summer’s going to be here before you know it, and that means time for family road trips! 
 
We know there’s a lot to think about when you’re planning a vacation...money, accommodations, scheduling, keeping the kids occupied in the car...but one thing you definitely should not neglect in those plans is your tires. 
 
Summer road trips are hard on tires. You have to figure you’re in a car that’s likely loaded to the gills, driving for hours and hours to get to your destination in 90-plus-degree weather. That’s a good way to end up with overheated tires, and heat is the enemy of even the best tires. Here are a few things to consider before you load up the car and get going: 
 
...[more]
  Posted in: Tire 101

4 Budget Friendly Ways to Improve Mom’s Ride

May 31st, 2016

So we all know that May is devoted to Mother’s Day. In honor of mothers everywhere, here are a few helpful suggestions for you to show mom just how much you care.  
 
1. Oil Change - Getting Mom’s car an oil change would be a nice way to help her get the most miles out of her car. Regular oil changes keep moving parts lubricated, reducing friction and heat buildup, and prevent deposits of sludge and gunk from building up on internal engine assemblies. 
 
2. Wiper Replacement - Even the best windshield wipers need to be replaced every 12 months or so. We’ll get a look at the wi ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
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