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Archive for May 2017

Watching Your Check Engine Light

Posted May 30, 2017 9:00 AM

Did you know that most of the cars driving around Folsom, California, carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?

New cars sold in the Folsom area have as many as 12 networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle's functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Folsom drivers know when there is a problem?

It's simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for Folsom drivers when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Folsom Autotech in Folsom to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your friendly and knowledgeable technicians at Folsom Autotech have special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you're Check Engine light is on.

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



Hey Folsom Drivers: How Do You Save Gas?

Posted May 22, 2017 7:26 AM

Higher Folsom fuel prices aren't going away any time soon. That's not good news for our wallets. A lot of Folsom drivers are trying to find ways to cut down on fuel consumption and hang on to some of their hard-earned money.

North Americans drive billions of miles less during months of high fuel prices. That's right, billions. Of course California vehicle owners can't stop driving altogether, so we still need to find other ways to cut fuel bills.

Preventive maintenance at Folsom Autotech in Folsom and good vehicle care can actually pay for themselves by lowering our fuel consumption. Here's a real-life example of how that can work.

A family planned a four-day camping trip. Before leaving, they took their SUV into Folsom Autotech for an oil change. They flushed the cooling system, serviced all three differentials and cleaned the fuel system. They replaced the PCV valve and breather element. Then they checked the tires to ensure they had enough air.

This was several hundred dollars in maintenance and repair. You may be thinking how the family could possibly recoup the cost in gas and save money. First of all, the repairs all needed to be done anyway. Even if the costs aren't recouped, many of them will pay for themselves by preventing even more costly repairs later. Also, the family had planned and budgeted for the routine maintenance, so it didn't cut into their trip allowance.

The SUV pulled a one-ton trailer and hauled everything the family needed on their camping trip. At the end of the trip, the owner was surprised to learn the SUV had actually gotten better gas mileage than it ever had before—even with that heavy load. The repairs and maintenance at Folsom Autotech had improved the gas mileage by 25%! The family saved $48.00 in gas on their four-day trip. And they are continuing to reap rewards from the improved mileage.

So what can you do to save fuel? First, stay caught up on routine maintenance at Folsom Autotech. Almost every maintenance item listed in your owner's manual will maintain or improve your fuel economy. Second, take your vehicle into Folsom Autotech for scheduled tune-ups. And third, take care of needed repairs. You may be surprised at how much you save at the pump and probably with the improved vehicle performance as well.

If your Check Engine light is on, find out why and take care of it. Some of the problems that set off that warning light can seriously reduce fuel efficiency.

As you schedule preventive maintenance, don't forget your tires. Proper tire pressure and wheel alignment are both essential to good fuel economy.

Here's some more auto advice about some simple things you can do to improve fuel economy, beyond maintenance and repairs:

Dump the junk. More weight in your car equals more fuel. You'd be surprised how much stuff people carry around in their cars. That adds up to a lot of extra fuel. One hundred pounds of extra stuff in your vehicle can add up to the loss of one mile per gallon of fuel.

Get the lead out. No, don't speed up, slow down. Get the lead out of your right foot. The single biggest drain for most Folsom vehicles is speeding or sudden accelerations. Slow down and go easy on turns and lane changes, and don't treat every stoplight and stop sign like a green flag. These small changes can add up to quite a bit of change in your pockets.

We haven't mentioned the pills you can drop in your gas tank or special devices you can hook on your fuel line in order to increase fuel efficiency. There's a simple reason for that: they don't exist. There may be some truth behind some of these claims, but most of them are full-out scams. And if any of these things do actually help, it's not nearly as much as the things we've listed here.

Be smart. Your vehicle and your wallet will thank you for it.

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



Maintenance on My Mind

Posted May 14, 2017 1:56 AM

Ask any Folsom man or woman if they've taken their vehicle in for preventive maintenance lately, and the answer may well be “no.” Surveys indicate that over 80% of vehicles on the road today are in need of some kind of repair or maintenance. Now, ask that same person why he hasn't taken his car in for care. The answer will probably be that he forgot or that he just didn't think about it. Most Folsom residents seem to have a hard time remembering about scheduled maintenance for their vehicles.

Funny, because most of us in Folsom have no trouble remembering to wash our clothes, mow our lawns or brush our teeth. It isn't that we can't remember to take our vehicles for service; it's a matter of making it a priority.

When it comes to our vehicles, Folsom drivers like myself, need to be a little more maintenance-minded. The fact is, we can choose to do it, or we might find ourselves being compelled to do it.

For example, when we consistently forget to brush our teeth, a major consequence usually follows. The pain of that experience usually compels us to be more mindful of our teeth and take better care of them.

The same goes for our vehicles. If we ignore them long enough, a painful experience is sure to follow—painful for our pocketbooks, that is. People in Folsom who have gone through that experience are usually more conscientious about proper car care.

So, if you're not a fan of the school of hard knocks, at least when it comes to vehicle maintenance, remind yourself to look after your car. Pay attention to the little oil change tag on your windshield. When it's time take your car in, do it. But don't just change the oil. Get a full-service oil change at Folsom Autotech. Your technician will then check all of your fluids. He can advise you if any of them need to be changed or if any of them are low.

Low fluid levels can indicate leaks or a worn hose or seal, so they can check those for you as well. Other signs of wear are also immediately evident when you get a full-service oil change, such as a cracked serpentine belt or corroded battery cable. Your Folsom Autotech technician will also check the vehicle manufacturer's service recommendations for your vehicle and advise you of any other routine service that is coming due.

It's like a one-stop shop for auto advice that will keep you on top of your vehicle's maintenance.

If there is more to be done than the budget allows, you can get a picture of what needs to be done.  Then, create a plan with your Folsom Autotech service advisor and budget for it during the coming months. It's a whole lot less painful than unexpected car repairs.

Vehicles are more reliable than they ever have been. They can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But they're also expensive and complicated machines. Folsom drivers can't expect them to run forever without proper fluids and filters. Preventive maintenance at Folsom Autotech in Folsom will improve the reliability and life expectancy of your vehicle, as well as ensuring your safety on the road in California.

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



Serpentine Belt Service at Folsom Autotech in Folsom

Posted May 9, 2017 8:44 AM

If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges the battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead after a short distance.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Folsom vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Folsom drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at Folsom Autotech.

At Folsom Autotech in Folsom, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch or couple of centimeters, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny, glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at Folsom Autotech. There's a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Folsom Autotech, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.

All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it's not that expensive to replace at Folsom Autotech – so it's good to do so before it fails.

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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