Fredericksburg Auto Repair

Articles:

Giving Engines Added Boost

Presented by Dan Ritchie: In an effort to wring the most efficiency from engines, automakers are generally following the path of downsizing, in terms of both displacement and cylinder count. In order to harness the most power from these smaller engines, auto manufacturers turn to either “turbochargers” or “supercharges.” Both work to force more air into the engine, which creates more power. Turbochargers work off the engine exhaust, which means their added power comes free. However, there is usually a slight delay from the time that the accelerator pedal is pressed to the time that the turbo generates boost, known as “turbo lag.” Although superchargers siphon energy off the engine-driven belt, their effect is immediate. Both increase mileage by roughly 10%. Regardless of the age and model of your vehicle, its engine is a critical component and the most costly to repair when something goes wrong. We not only service cars-we clean them to. HINT: So-called “twin-scroll” turbo chargers red ... read more

Cylinder Head Gasket Failure

Presented by Dan Ritchie: The gasket sandwiched between the engine block the cylinder head helps ensure maximum compression and prevent leakage of either oil or coolant into the cylinders. The likelihood of gasket failure is increased by the fact that aluminum cylinder heads thermally expand at a somewhat higher rate than cast-iron cylinder blocks. Because the cylinder head moves slightly across the gasket’s surface as the engine warms up to operating temperature, stress is placed on the head gasket. Auto manufacturers have addressed this issue by supplementing head-gasket surfaces with non-stick coatings. Still, if a head gasket were to fail, the resultant compression loss, leakage of exhaust gases into the cooling system, and/or mixing of oil with coolant all warrant immediate attention. The engine is the heart of your vehicle and probably the most costly to repair when something goes wrong. Following a routine maintenance plan can help protect your automotive investment and save you ... read more

Quick on the Draw

Presented by Dan Ritchie: A vehicle owner who discovers a dead battery will generally that the battery or the alternator needs replacing. While these suspects often turn out to be true culprits, there may be other gremlins at work. Modern automobiles are outfitted with all manner of gadgets and electronic processors that draw energy from the battery that draw energy from the battery when the vehicle is turned off. This bye of “parasitic loss” is exemplified by such electronic accessories as car radios. Which need electricity to retain information about preselected stations. Usually, collective parasitic losses do not amount to enough lost power to fully drain a battery, even over several weeks. However, if a stuck relay leads to unacceptable losses, it must be diagnosed and repaired. At Express Auto Service, we recommend regular maintenance inspections to help identify and perform needed services. If you have a question or concern about your vehicle, please stop in for a free visual in ... read more

Dealing with Power Loss

Presented by Dan Ritchie: One of the reasons behind an an engine’s inability to produce sufficient power is poor ring seal, which refers to the rings’ inability to prevent air and oil from being drawn into the combustion chamber during the intake stroke. During the compression stroke the rings make sure that air/fuel remains in the combustion chamber and is fully compressed before it is ignited. During the power strike, the rings prevent pressure from blowing past the pistons as the burning gases force the piston downward. Then, during the exhaust stroke, the rings ensure that all of the by-products of combustion are expelled. Rings that do not seal well during the four-cycle combustion process can reduce horsepower substantially. When something is not right with your car, it sends you a signal. A lack of power for example, could signal a poor ring seal. One of our ASE Certified Master Technicians can inspect the various components of the vehicle and recommend repair or replacement of ... read more

BIG DIFF!

Because the “differential” is located under the vehicle, it is difficult to see and often overlooked. This is very unfortunate because every vehicle relies on the differential to compensate for the difference in distance that the inner and outer wheels travel when the automobile turns a corner. In order for this component to maintain its ability to perform this vital function, vehicle manufacturers recommend that differential fluid typically be changed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. This maintenance chore is as important as changing engine oil at recommended intervals. Cleaning metal shavings and contaminated fluid out of the housing is also recommended. Not changing the differential fluid leads to gear wear and failure that can quickly bring things to a halt. Waiting too long to have differential oil checked can result in more costly issues further on down the road. If you are worried about your vehicle’s maintenance needs, please visit today to keep your car in perfect working order ... read more

ENSURING STABILITY

Vehicles equipped with “electronic stability control” (ESC) have a number of sensors that transmit vehicle operations conditions to an on-board computer. If the computer senses that the vehicle is losing control, it instantly begins to reduce engine speed through the engine management system. Then, it applies appropriate braking action to keep the vehicle in control. This system is so effective that the U.S. government mandated that all 2012 vehicles come equipped with ESC safety systems. However, vehicle owners should not automatically assume that ESC will provide needed safety backup in emergency situations. If the vehicle is not equipped with tires that adequately grip the road and shocks/struts calibrated to perform within the engine’s design, ESC effectiveness may be compromised. It is important to ensure that your vehicle is equipped with proper and functional tires to ensure your safety while driving. HINT: Vehicle owners should consult with technicians about the suitabi ... read more

COOL!

If your vehicle’s air conditioning system isn’t working properly, it may be that the condenser is clogged with leaves, bugs, or road debris that compromises its ability to remove heat from the refrigerant. The result of a dirty condenser is lower cooling capacity, higher pressures inside the air conditioner, and greater wear on the compressor. To avert such problems, look for the condenser in its position mounted in front of the radiator and clean it with compressed air or pressurized water. If problems persist, they are likely caused by something that can only be diagnosed and corrected by a trained automobile technician. It is better to have the problem diagnosed before hot weather makes the driving experience uncomfortable. Though the air conditioner is not essential to your car’s overall performance and safety, a good air conditioner can make your car ride more pleasant. If you are having issues with your AC come see us today. HINT: The air conditioner in your vehicle should be ru ... read more

RUNNING INTO TROUBLE CODES

When the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light in your vehicle’s instrument cluster comes on, there is no need to panic. These warnings indicate that your automobile’s computer system has detected a problem in one of the various systems that it controls and monitors. In some cases, the sensors used to optimize performance, emissions, and mileage may detect a problem that triggers the vehicle to go into “limp mode.” If so, it will become readily apparent to the driver that the vehicle needs immediate service. Fortunately, an auto technician can diagnose the problem by utilizing a diagnostic scan tool, which plugs into the computer system and identifies out of range conditions and trouble codes. Then the technician will use his knowledge and experience to verify the cause of the malfunction codes. Sometimes the repair can be as simple as locating a vacuum leak or an electrical connection problem. Regular maintenance is health insurance for your vehicle. It needs regular maintenanc ... read more

DEALING WITH POWER LOSS

One of the reasons behind an engine’s inability to produce sufficient power is poor ring seal, which refers to the rings’ inability to prevent air and oil from being drawn into the combustion chamber during the intake stroke. During the compression stroke, the rings make sure that air/fuel remains in the combustion chamber and is fully compressed before it is ignited. During the power strike, the rings prevent pressure from blowing past the pistons as the burning gases force the piston downward. Then, during the exhaust stroke, the rings ensure that all of the by-products of combustion are expelled. Rings that do not seal well during the fourcycle combustion process can reduce horsepower substantially. When something is not right with your car, it sends you a signal. A lack of power, for example, could signal a poor ring seal. One of our ASE Certified Master Technicians can inspect the various components of the vehicle and recommend repair or replacement of parts. Keeping your car clean ... read more

HOW IS YOUR BRAKE FLUID HOLDING UP?

One of the best ways to avoid deterioration of brake components is to replace brake fluid regularly. This regular maintenance procedure can help avert costly repairs and ensure safety. How? Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture even in a sealed system. As the brake fluid absorbs moisture, copper alloy in the seams of steel brake lines are subject to corrosion. As the copper corrodes and eventually dissolves the fluid, the rubber seals come under attack. Because brake fluid contamination is more common than most vehicle owners realize, some manufacturers recommend that brake fluid be flushed every 2 years. Brake fluid naturally darkens over time, but coloration reveals little about brake fluid’s condition. It is better to rely on a replacement time table. Brake fluid should be routinely drained and flushed to help prevent corrosion and premature wear of hydraulic components. We service all makes and models—cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and mini vans. One of our ASE Certified Tech ... read more

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