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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

Regular, Synthetic or Blend...What Kind of Oil Do I Need?

May 26th, 2016

At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn't been for quite some time. Here's a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it's time for an oil change:

  • Viscosity: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner's manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many are designed to work a ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Questions You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Repair Tech

March 17th, 2016

Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It’s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.Car questions? Ask them!

As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:

  • Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle? Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, o ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Differential Service: Too Often Neglected by Drivers

February 11th, 2016
Differential Service – Why Is It Important? 
 
Of all the various things on a vehicle that need regular service and maintenance, the differential is too often neglected. But what exactly is it, and what does it do? 
 
Visualize a rear-wheel-drive vehicle making a right-hand turn. As the car turns to the right, the left rear wheel will have to actually cover a longer distance and spin at a different speed than the right wheel. If the rear axle was delivering the same torque to both wheels, the left rear wheel would be binding and skittering as it made the turn. The differential is designed to allow the wheels to turn at different speeds around corners, eliminating that problem. 
 
...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Winter Safety Tips – Don’t End Up In the Ditch!

January 14th, 2016
Some people love winter. They love the snow, the snap in the air, the short days and cozy nights at home. Others can’t stand it, for many of the same reasons. Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, though, chances are you’re going to have to get out and drive in it at some point. We’ve got a few suggestions to help you through the winter safely: 

Make sure you’ve got a well-maintained car. This includes fresh windshield wipers, proper tire inflation, a strong battery, a properly-maintained cooling system and a fresh oil change. If your tires aren’t up to the job of winter driving, you might consider switching to winter tires for a while – just 
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Squeeze a Few More Miles Out of That Gallon of Gas

December 17th, 2015
If you’re past “a certain age,” you might remember when gas was $1.50 per gallon, or $1.00 per gallon, or 59 cents, or what-have-you…but the truth is that everything has gotten more expensive. After all, when gas was $1.00 per gallon, a nicely tricked-out Chevrolet Caprice Classic was selling for about $6,000 brand new. 

 
Now that we’re well into the 21st century, gas prices are likely to fluctuate, but one thing’s for sure: gas is likely to never be “cheap” again. We know that everyone’s trying to get a little more out of every dollar, and whether you’re driving a big SUV or a subcompact, there are things you can do to help your vehicle’s fuel economy: 
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

The Holidays Are Coming – Is Your Vehicle Ready?

November 26th, 2015
Where did this year go? Before you know it, it’s going to be time for the holidays, and that can mean travel in some pretty trying conditions (and we don’t just mean restless kids in the back seat). Is your vehicle ready for some interstate miles?

 
Tires: It’s a good idea to have your tires rotated every 5,000-7,000 miles to ensure even wear. With that in mind, it’s easy to just schedule a tire rotation with every oil change, since the vehicle will be up in the air on a lube rack anyway. Have you checked your inflation lately? Your proper 
inflation levels will be on a sticker on the driver’s side ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Winter is Coming

October 15th, 2015
The days are getting shorter, there’s a snap in the air, and before you know it, the winter months are going to be upon us. Is your vehicle ready? 
 
Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year; normal wear, the sun’s UV rays and the elements take their toll on them. Get a good look and check them for chunks, strips or chips missing, and replace if necessary for a streak-free field of vision in wet weather. Hint: a fresh application of 
Rain-X on your windshield and window glass can help visibility greatly. 
Brakes: Are you hearing any squeaks, squeals or ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

How To Update Your Auto Repair Routine

September 30th, 2015
Time has a way of sneaking up on everyone, and so does mileage on a vehicle. If you have a long commute or regularly put lengthy interstate trips on your car, you can easily rack up 15-18,000 miles a year. Even though today’s cars don’t need as much maintenance as cars from a generation ago, it’s still something you can’t neglect. Here’s a reminder of some important milestones for service on your vehicle: 
 
Monthly 
• Check tire inflation
• Check oil and transmission fluid levels
• Check all lights
• Check windshield washer fluid
 
Every 5,000 Miles
• O ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
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