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Archive for December 2014

Line Them Up: Wheel Alignment Service at Folsom Autotech

Posted December 30, 2014 12:00 PM

Hello Folsom! Let's talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly for drivers in Folsom.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is costly to repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Folsom drivers and their passengers.

It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday California driving. Folsom road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, and even the bumps and bounces of normal Folsom roads and surface streets can gradually put your vehicle tires out of alignment.

So it's good auto advice to have your vehicle's alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle's owner's manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your vehicle tires might be out of alignment, you should bring your vehicle into Folsom Autotech now.

When you bring your vehicle in for an alignment, your technician at Folsom Autotech will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be fixed in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the vehicle will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

There are three types of adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle's tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.

The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you'll be able to steer where you want to go. Drive safely.

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



Blind Spot Safety for Folsom Driving

Posted December 24, 2014 12:00 PM

Blind spots may be a good thing when it comes to a spouse's annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Folsom, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it's not good marital advice, it's good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Folsom drivers' blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn't include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn't designed to be a baby monitor.

Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver's side window. Now adjust the driver's side mirror so that it just catches the side of the vehicle. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger's side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.

Of course, you can't eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can't see what's there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup's or SUV's blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the vehicle for a few minutes before backing up, it is best to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Folsom. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.

Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in California, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Folsom drivers learned to properly share California roads with trucks.

While learning to share California roads and freeways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good car care. Keeping your vehicle out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.

The team at Folsom Autotech in Folsom urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!

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



Cool Running in Folsom

Posted December 18, 2014 12:00 PM

Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don't hear much any more about cars overheating. That's because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn't mean you can't overheat your vehicle engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the road in Folsom waiting for your vehicle engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Folsom Autotech, your technician will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good vehicle care. Your vehicle owner's manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the vehicle radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He'll also check your water pump. They don't need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need checked regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your vehicle cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your vehicle cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service advisor will know which kind your vehicle's manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Folsom Autotech is always a good source for auto advice. We've been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Folsom for years.

At Folsom Autotech, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

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



Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle in Folsom?

Posted December 10, 2014 12:00 PM

There is a clear and vocal demand in Folsom and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the California market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Folsom area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Folsom auto owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Folsom dealership.

Folsom drivers should carefully research the vehicle care before buying an alternative fuel vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs as well; these vehicles may help save our environment here in Folsom, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You'll need to decide what you can afford and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in California.

Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.

One piece of Folsom Autotech auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your vehicle unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel
Diesel engines are nothing new on California freeways, and many get great fuel economy. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in the Folsom area.

Natural Gas
Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Folsom and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Folsom roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Folsom, ask your Folsom Autotech service advisor about it.

On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some California areas, or even unavailable in many parts of the country.


Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in California some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Folsom auto owners. These vehicles won't come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, many of these cars have a short range before their power runs out and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.

Hybrids
Hybrids have been among the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Folsom and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.

There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard vehicle and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.

In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the vehicle. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV's.

A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.

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



Clean Air for Your Engine: A New Engine Air Filter at Folsom Autotech

Posted December 2, 2014 12:00 PM

All of us in Folsom know we have to get the oil changed in our vehicles periodically. That's just part of good vehicle care. But when Folsom Autotech technicians change your oil, they also usually inspect your air filter. That's why they sometimes let you know that your air filter needs to be changed before releasing your vehicle.

Don't just chock this up to trying to sell you something else. Folsom area drivers really do need to change their air filter when it gets dirty. You can check your owner's manual to see how often your air filter should need to be changed, but remember, if you live in an area in California with poor air quality, or if you drive a lot or drive under harsh conditions in the Folsom area, you may need to change that filter more often than is recommended.

Changing an air filter isn't guesswork. If a filter's dirty, it needs to be replaced. Air filters aren't very expensive at Folsom Autotech. But the problems they cause if Folsom auto owners don't change them can get to be.

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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