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Archive for April 2012

Nitrogen Fill For Tires in Folsom California

Posted May 1, 2012 12:00 PM



So, everyone in the Folsom California area knows how great helium is – you know, party balloons, squeaky voices. But a lot of people around Folsom still haven't heard about the benefits of nitrogen in your tires, and how it can help your tires. Here's some great advice from AutoNetTV, brought to you by Folsom AutoTech.

Nitrogen has actually been around for a long time in the Folsom California commercial sector, but it's just starting to catch on for private vehicles in the 95630 zip code area.

Why nitrogen in your tires? Air is air, right? Actually, it turns out there is a difference.

Contact Folsom AutoTech to learn more about nitrogen in your tires
You can find us at:
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
Or call us at (916) 985-0274

The heart of the matter is maintaining proper tire inflation. When your tires are properly inflated, they last longer, handle better and more safely, and save you money at the gas pump.

The problem is that tires filled in Folsom with regular air can lose a pound and a half of air pressure every month. This just happens as the oxygen in the tire seeps out. So if you don't check your pressure for a month or two, well, you can be significantly low – low enough to actually affect your handling, shorten tire life and waste money at the fuel pump.

How does nitrogen help? Regular air contains about 78% nitrogen. Nitrogen is the largest molecule in air. It's dry and non-flammable. Air also contains 21% oxygen, which is smaller and seeps out of the tire three to four times faster than nitrogen.

So, a tire filled with nitrogen at Folsom AutoTech will take about six months to lose as much pressure as regular air does in just one month. So it's more forgiving for those who don't check their pressure every week.

Also, when oxygen is at higher temperatures – like those inside your tire when you've been driving for awhile – it oxidizes the inside of your tire. Getting the oxygen out of your tire means that it'll last longer.

Who's using nitrogen? Well, let's start with NASCAR and Indy. These racers like nitrogen's ability to maintain consistent tire pressure and reduce tire temperatures under very demanding conditions. The US government requires all commercial aircraft to have nitrogen in their tires. NASA and the US Military use nitrogen. The mining industry has been filling those "humongous" tires with nitrogen for years. And semi trucks and trailers are starting to use nitrogen extensively.

You may have heard some detractors of nitrogen. But the studies and white papers from tire and vehicle manufacturers demonstrate that the technology really works.

In fact, a prominent consumer research group did a study where they filled some tires with air and some with nitrogen and stacked them outside for a year. They observed that the nitrogen filled tires did hold their pressure better, but they couldn't see the economic benefit. But that particular test has very little to do with the real world. Most tires are actually holding up cars and they also get driven around and do a lot of work. So if nitrogen helps them last longer, saves gas and gives safer handling, it's worth considering.

Learn more about nitrogen in your tires by watching our attached auto tips video from AutoNetTV.



Air Conditioning Maintenance at Folsom Autotech in Folsom

Posted April 24, 2012 12:00 PM


Warm weather or cold, Folsom drivers still need to think about their vehicle's air conditioning. Most Folsom people don't service their air conditioning until after it fails. At Folsom Autotech, we can advise you on your vehicle manufacturers preventive maintenance schedules for air conditioning service, just as we do for transmission service, oil changes and so on.

Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the vehicle's air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can't cool the air as well. We see that a lot at Folsom Autotech in Folsom.

The refrigerant also contains oil that lubricates air conditioning components and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and all Folsom vehicle owners know that air conditioning repairs can be costly. At Folsom Autotech, we recommended that the air conditioner be run regularly, even during winter months, to keep the parts and seals lubricated.

Folsom drivers need to be aware that there's one more thing that isn't directly related to air conditioning service but does impact the quality of the air in your vehicle. And that's your cabin air filter. This filter cleans dust, pollen, pollution and other impurities in the air that come from the heater and air conditioner. The cabin air filter needs to be replaced when it's dirty. If you don't, it'll start to smell. Not all vehicles have one, so ask your Folsom Autotech service advisor to check your cabin air filter at the same time they're doing your air conditioning service.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



Questions to Ask Your Folsom Service Advisor

Posted April 20, 2012 12:00 PM



We find that a lot of Folsom drivers are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions but don't want to be embarrassed or seem pushy. Vehicles are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it's because vehicles have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn't need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.

You know, your local hospital has a Patient's Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Folsom automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.

It's all about the communication. It's a little harder when you're trying to find the right service center in Folsom. But once you've developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.

What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let's go back to the medical example. When your doctor's explaining something to you, it's something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don't understand or that you don't have the education and training that's foundational to understanding what she's trying to explain.

So you fall behind and get frustrated.

It can be the same with your Folsom automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.

Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you're not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there's a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what's done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.

Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Folsom service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.

Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.

Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that's done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.

Give us a call.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



On Board Diagnostics for Your vehicle

Posted April 13, 2012 12:00 PM



Today we're going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Folsom, California, who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what's involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Folsom.

These are valid concerns. If you don't understand something it's really hard to know its value. Let's start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Folsom, California, have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what's wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle's Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can't adjust for, the computer will turn on the Check Engine light.

It is also called the 'service engine soon' light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your local service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you've searched for Check Engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what's wrong.

That's a common myth. The code itself doesn't tell you what's broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won't tell you what's wrong or how to fix it.

Let's say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads 102 degrees F/38.9 degrees C. You've confirmed a fever, but you don't know what's causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician's examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads 'Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response.' This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that's all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that's stored in the engine control computer. That history's very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Folsom Autotech invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don't need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your Check Engine light comes on, get it checked at Folsom Autotech. If the light burns steadily – don't panic. Get in to Folsom Autotech soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing Check Engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing Check Engine light.

Make an appointment with Folsom Autotech to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



Ethics of Automotive Repair in Folsom

Posted April 5, 2012 12:00 PM



We're going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Folsom automotive service and repair industry hasn't been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Folsom has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Folsom automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

If we understand what's recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we'll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It's like going to the doctor; If she's using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Folsom service advisor too. He's so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don't know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don't understand what your doctor's talking about: ask some questions. If you don't understand what your Folsom automotive advisor's talking about: ask some questions.

Let's go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, "Is this really necessary?" Well, here's the industry standard:

If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose
  2. The part does not meet a design specification
  3. The part is missing

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at Folsom Autotech says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn't want to replace the rotor; Folsom Autotech would ethically have to refuse the repair.

To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could've failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician may suggest repair or replacement if:

  1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
  2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
  3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
  4. Based on the technician's informed experience

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



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What our clients are saying about us

We have established longterm and stable partnerships with various clients thanks to our excellence in solving their automotive needs!

These mechanics fix your vehicle and stand behind their work. They bent over backwards to accommodate me and my schedule. They are located on an easily accessible corner with plenty of parking. The manager, Ron, and owner, Jim, were professional and courteous at all times with such great smiles and information as well as many years of experience and knowledge. A real find and I will continue to use them for my mechanical needs. quotes-image
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Folsom Autotech has been my go-to garage for over 15 years. I asked the guys I work with where they'd send their wife or daughter for car repairs and the resounding recommendations was Folsom Autotech. They were right, this is MY garage and I don't want or trust anyone else to work on our cars!quotes-image
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