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Archive for May 2013

Differential Service at Folsom Autotech

Posted May 28, 2013 12:00 PM

Here at AutoNetTV, we have national viewers, like your neighbors in Folsom, who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we're asked is: "What is a differential and what does it do?" You may have been told by your Folsom Autotech service advisor that your differential needs serviced, or it's seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service at Folsom Autotech covers a lot of things, so let's first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track - the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don't hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow on Folsom area roads. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels - which is why they're often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they'll last.

All vehicles in Folsom have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is sometimes called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. Folsom auto owners with a four-wheel drive vehicle have a differential in the front and the back - and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Folsom Autotech service advisor if you are not sure about your recommended schedule.

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



The Harm in Skipping an Oil Change for Folsom Drivers

Posted May 21, 2013 12:00 PM

People in Folsom have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you're wondering: What are the key issues?

Some new vehicle manufacturers are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles (8,000 km to 13,000 km) or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new vehicle manufacturers announced that owners like those in Folsom were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.

The manufacturers' standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles/12,000 km. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? It's a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.

Severe driving around Folsom includes short trips under four miles (six and a half km)  or trips under 10 miles/16 km in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn't get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.

The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Folsom just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule or to the standard schedule.

Some types of vehicle will give oil change reminders. But it's important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It's programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.

For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Folsom service advisor at Folsom Autotech and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it's a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what's needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.

If you're realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.

So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.

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



Coolant Service at Folsom Autotech

Posted May 14, 2013 12:00 PM

Folsom residents' vehicles have to operate in a wide range of California temperatures which requires the engine coolant to be able to perform 'no matter what.' Think for a moment about the environment where the coolant does its thing. Very hot, high pressure, corrosive...

And all the while, it has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. These components are made from steel and aluminum, plastics and rubber. The coolant has to be formulated to protect against corrosion for all of these different materials. That's why vehicle manufacturer’s recommend different types of anti-freeze for our Folsom, California, vehicles.

There are several different 'families' of anti-freeze available to us here in Folsom. Your owner's manual will tell you what kind you should use. Of course, the automotive professionals at Folsom Autotech will know the right kind for your vehicle.

It's important to stay on top of this because coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have here in Folsom, California. Regular service needs to be done at Folsom Autotech to avoid failures and also to keep your warranty in place.

While the specifics of the service required may vary from vehicle to vehicle, your friendly and knowledgeable Folsom Autotech service advisor will know what to do. You'll be advised to replace the coolant at specified intervals.

Some recommend periodic coolant system flushes. A flush adds a cleaning step to the fluid replacement process. Again, check to see what your owner’s manual recommends.

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



Transmission Care in Folsom, California

Posted May 10, 2013 12:00 PM

Do you have any plans around Folsom, California, for the weekend? Maybe you and some friends are taking the boat up to the lake. Maybe you'll be having a lot of fun water skiing and doing a little fishing.

You got the boat all ready. It's all gassed up. You packed lots of snacks and the cooler's stocked – ready to go.

How about your tow vehicle? It has plenty of gas and you've even vacuumed it out, but is your auto maintenance up to date?

Stop and think. You'll have some heavy traffic on your way out of town. Hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and you may have hot weather. And all the time you're going to be towing around a lot of extra weight.

That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission. Your transmission's going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. What's a fun little blast to the lake for you is really severe duty for your transmission.

It's important that you have enough transmission fluid. If you're running low, the transmission will run too hot and won't have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing.

And if it's time for a transmission service, you really should have it done at Folsom Autotech before your trip. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, you need to have it serviced on schedule to make sure it runs efficiently.

Automatic transmissions contain a maze of passages that the fluid has to pass through to keep them shifting smoothly. If you neglect transmission service, the passages can get clogged up and you start to have problems. Neglect your transmission for too long and it can fail. Believe us – you don't want to pay for a major transmission repair.

You know, most of us in Folsom, California, do a lot of our driving under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions. Things like short trips or driving in very hot or very cold weather. Also, dusty roads, city driving around Folsom, and basically any driving that's not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions is severe driving. We all need to think about whether or not we need to follow the severe service schedule.

So, consider going in for a full service oil change before you leave for the lake to make sure everything has been looked at. Ask for a trip inspection while you're at it. Your Folsom, California, service technician at Folsom Autotech can check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.

Don't forget the sunscreen. And to thank your Folsom Autotech service technician, how about bringing him back a nice trout?

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



Fall and Spring Checkup in Folsom

Posted May 1, 2013 12:00 PM



When I was a kid, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Folsom Autotech for a checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.

My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.

Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family vehicle, most of them used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.

Your owner's manual or Folsom service advisor at Folsom Autotech can tell you the right oil to use.

Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the California summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant  'antifreeze' as it's sometimes called — is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for longer distances than most people drive in a year or two.

So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more driving and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.

You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.

That's pretty practical: a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.

And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.

So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C) or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.

So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Folsom Autotech are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.

And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?

So Spring and Fall, change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and get a check-up for your cars.

See, dad was right again.

Come and see us at Folsom Autotech for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.

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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