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Archive for April 2015

Bouncy Bouncy ? Are My Shocks Bad?

Posted April 29, 2015 12:00 PM

When Folsom drivers think about preventive maintenance, what usually comes to mind is oil, fluids and brakes. We don't generally think about our shocks or struts, but these auto parts keep our tires on the road.

Folsom drivers don't think about shocks as often as oil changes because shocks and struts last a long time and wear out slowly. They don't need to be checked as often as our brake pads or air filters. By the time your shocks have 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers) on them, their performance will have noticeable degraded. If you want to restore the handling and ride designed for your vehicle, try replacing your shocks and struts.

Of course, if you drive off-road around Folsom, carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or put in a lot of mileage on poor driving surfaces, your shocks or struts will wear out more quickly. You'll need to replace them more often or upgrade to better shocks.

Your suspension system uses springs and shocks to absorb the “shocks” and vibrations of driving over road surfaces. Springs support the vehicle's weight, suspending it above the axles so the body of the vehicle is protected from most of the bumps on the road. Shocks control the bounciness of the springs by moderating rebound. They also push your tires down onto the road's surface, maximizing traction. Without shocks, your wheels would bounce over bumps and lift against curbs and corners. Shocks are important to the safe handling of your vehicle as well as a comfortable ride. Struts are a combination shock and spring in one unit.

Worn shocks result in lowered vehicle handling performance. If your vehicle “squirms” around corners or gets “floaty” over bumps, then you need to check your shocks. If the rear end of your vehicle squats while accelerating, the front end dips while braking, or one corner sags, you probably need new shocks.

If you're unsure whether you need new shocks, or if you're considering upgrading to a higher quality shock, then consult your friendly and knowledgeable Folsom Autotech service advisor. He or she can give you advice on the condition of your shocks and how to match your driving needs to the quality of your shocks.

At Folsom Autotech we know good vehicle care is essential to the safety, performance and efficiency of your vehicle. It can improve the comfort of your ride as well.

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



Problems with Suspension Solved at Folsom Autotech in Folsom

Posted April 23, 2015 12:00 PM

A vehicle's suspension system is tough. It can last for years and after lots of driving for Folsom drivers. But it can be damaged quickly by hitting a pothole, curb or rock, and it can wear more quickly if you frequently drive off-road or on bumpy roads. A workhorse vehicle — one that hauls heavy loads — is also going to be hard on its suspension system.

Because the useful life of your suspension system contains these elements of unpredictability, it is important for Folsom drivers to have them inspected periodically. Worn, broken and missing parts can be identified during an inspection at Folsom Autotech . An ineffective suspension system will decrease the driver's control over a vehicle, so when it is damaged it frequently leads to the worst kind of vehicular damage — dangerous accidents.

The suspension system is composed of springs and shock absorbers (or shocks). Springs suspend the weight of the vehicle above its axles. They allow the vehicle to “bounce” over bumps, which reduces the force of the impact on the vehicle. Shocks reduce the rebound of the “bounce,” smoothing out the ride of the vehicle. They also force the tires to retain constant contact with the road. Shocks are responsible for “handling performance,” or the ease with which the driver controls the vehicle.

The springs in the suspension system are heavy-duty and rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers are tough, too, but they will wear out.

Your vehicle might be equipped with struts. Struts are a combination spring and shock absorber. Struts, like shocks, have a limited life span.

Inspecting shocks or struts for damage and wear should be part of your preventive maintenance routine. Since a good suspension system is ultimately a safety feature of your vehicle, it's always better to be proactive about its care. In this case, good car care can prevent accidents.

There are some signs that will warn you that your suspension system may be in need of attention. One of the signs might be a cupped wear pattern on your tires. This is caused by the shocks bouncing unevenly. Other signs of bad shocks manifest themselves in the handling performance of your vehicle. You may notice a drifting sensation when cornering, often referred to as a “floaty” feeling. If the front of your vehicle dips significantly when you brake or if it rocks back and forth after stopping, it's time for new shocks. Your technician at Folsom Autotech will check your shocks visually. If they're leaking, they need to be replaced.

Any one of these symptoms warrants an inspection of the suspension system. You should also get your suspension system inspected if you are involved in an accident involving one of your wheels. Folsom drivers should never put off suspension repairs. If you experience suspension system failure, it can cause a serious accident. If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, then replace all four of them. This allows for even handling of the vehicle. Replacing just one of the shocks is rarely good auto advice.

When you replace your shocks or struts, use parts that are equivalent to — or better than — the original shocks on the vehicle. The original equipment was for the weight and expected use of the vehicle, and Folsom drivers should never downgrade.

Upgrading, however, is another matter for Folsom drivers. If your suspension system gets a workout or you just want to improve your vehicle's handling performance, then you should upgrade to a better shock. If you haul heavy loads around Folsom or tow a trailer, then you should definitely be getting heavy-duty shocks.

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



The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at Folsom Autotech

Posted April 17, 2015 12:00 PM

Service to a vehicle's power steering system is part of preventive maintenance for  Folsom auto owners. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your vehicle's wheels would have to come from you.

The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer vehicles have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.

Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.

Folsom drivers should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.

Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Folsom Autotech to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.

When your fluid is replaced, your technicians at Folsom Autotech will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. Folsom Autotech can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner's manual.

Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, drivers in Folsom who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.

To protect your steering system you should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.

Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough California driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Folsom drivers should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.

For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at Folsom Autotech. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.

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



The Folsom Autotech Guide to Servicing Your Differential

Posted April 9, 2015 12:00 PM

Differential? What's that? And what's it for? I've been told by my service advisor that I need to get it serviced, but is that on the level?

Do these questions sound familiar? They're not uncommon for Folsom drivers. A lot of us in Folsom don't know what a differential is or what it's for. Every vehicle has a differential, and, yes, it does need to be serviced. In fact, it's more important to the operation of your vehicle than the air conditioner or windshield wipers.

A differential allows your vehicle tires to move at different speeds. This happens more than you think. The best example is when a vehicle is turning. The inside wheel travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel during a turn. This means the outside wheel has to move faster than the inside wheel. Without a differential, your tires would hop and skip while turning. They would also lose traction in sand or snow.

The location of your differential depends on what kind of vehicle you drive. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located in the back. For a front-wheel drive vehicle, it is located on the front, but it is usually called a transaxle. Four-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials: one on the front, one in the back and one in the middle. This center differential compensates for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Your differential contains strong gears that need to be protected from dirt, debris, water and other contaminants. A differential is sometimes referred to as a “gear box.” The work of these gears is to transfer power from the vehicle drive train to the wheels.

Your differential needs fluid to lubricate and cool the gears. This fluid, even though enclosed in the “gear box,” can get dirty because the gears grind down over time, releasing tiny bits of themselves into the fluid. Also, the additives in the differential fluid break down and need to be replaced. That's why preventive maintenance for your vehicle needs to include servicing the differential.

Your owner's manual can give you recommendations on how often to service your differential. But you should also consult with your friendly and knowledgeable Folsom Autotech professional. Folsom Autotech can give you some good auto advice on whether your vehicle needs to be serviced more frequently. For example, if you drive in hot or cold California weather conditions, your differential will need to have its fluid changed more often.

Severe conditions will also affect your vehicle care routine and your differential. Check your owner's manual for a definition of “severe service” conditions that affect your vehicle. Examples may include driving with frequent stops and starts, a lot of short trips around Folsom, hot or cold California weather conditions and towing.

Off-roading is particularly hard on a vehicle's differential. If you are an off-roader, especially if you cross California streams or waterways, it is important that you service your differential more frequently than the recommendations suggest.

Properly servicing your differential will extend its life and keep you out of Folsom auto repair shops. A smooth ride is the result of proper preparation and smart choices.

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

 



Budget for Maintenance in Folsom

Posted April 1, 2015 12:00 PM

Sometimes busy Folsom residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around California in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today's automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Folsom residents spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today's vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today's Folsom drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience, and it's likely that yesterday's Folsom drivers didn't care much for it, either. So on today's vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Folsom area auto service centers.

Folsom drivers certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Vehicle care in California  simply costs more than it used to. So if you think about it, Folsom drivers can avoid many vehicle repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Just a bit of auto advice from Folsom Autotech: If you like new vehicles and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new vehicle every few years because you're afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and California auto insurance with an older vehicle and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for preventive maintenance you have done at Folsom Autotech, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less!

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



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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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