Fredericksburg Auto Repair

Monthly Archives: August 2013

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

A LOOK AT THE VARIABLES

With the goal of better fuel mileage, auto manufacturers are introducing more autos with “continuously variable transmissions” (CVTs). In contrast to an automatic transmission, which has a set number of gear ratios, CVTs generally utilize a pair of variable diameter pulleys (shaped like a pair of opposing cones) with a chain or metal belt running between them. With one pulley connected to the engine and the other connected to the drivewheels, the changing diameters of the movable pulleys seamlessly vary the transmission’s ratio. Cars utilizing CVTs make less noise, as the CVT raises and lowers engine speed as needed. However, it is important to note that CVTs require special transmission fluids, and nothing else should ever be used. There are a variety of transmission fluids. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine which fluid is best. One of our ASE Certified Technicians can inspect your vehicle’s transmission fluid, engine oil, and filters. HINT: While the belts used on some c ... read more

DIRECT INJECTION PROBLEMS

In recent years, auto manufacturers have been introducing gasoline direct injection (GDI) systems paired with turbo-charging, which enables them to downsize engines and increase fuel economy without sacrificing performance. While most fuel-injected engines use indirect fuel injection that premixes the fuel and air in the intake manifold, direct injection also has air flowing into the cylinder from the intake manifold, but the fuel is sprayed into the cylinder separately. As beneficial as GDI systems are, they are showing drivability issues related to carbon buildup on the intake valves, which results in hard starting and random misfire codes. This is caused by fuel’s failure to spray on the backside of the valves, where the detergents can work to remove deposit buildup. Get the maximum reliability and safety from the car you rely on daily by inspecting parts routinely and replacing them before they fail. We will treat you like a friend and your car like it was one of our own. One of our AS ... read more

LIGHT DUTY

When it comes to changing light bulbs in your vehicle, the headlights, taillights, stop lights, turn signals, and backup lights probably come most immediately to mind. If these lights do not illuminate properly, safety is compromised for the vehicle’s driver and passengers in addition to everyone else on the road. These lights should be fixed immediately. Beyond those bulbs, there area variety of light bulbs in and around the vehicle that also require attention, preferably before they burn out. The five most commonly neglected bulbs of this type are the license plate light, the rear highmount stop light, the dome bulb light, and the fog light. Failure of the first two of these lights may get you a ticket. It is important to ensure that lights are in perfect working order for your safety as well as your wallet’s by avoiding costly tickets. HINT: Auto technicians often apply a very light coating of dielectric grease to the contacts of bulbs placed in exterior sockets to prevent corrosi ... read more

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