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Archive for July 2019

Timing Belt Replacement in Folsom

Posted July 28, 2019 8:15 AM

Today we want to talk to Folsom drivers about timing belts. They're something that many drivers don't know much about and yet your vehicle won't run if it's broken – and it could cause many thousands of dollars damage if it does break. A broken timing belt is usually a tale of woe. Even though timing belt replacement is scheduled in the owner's manual, it's not the kind of thing that most Folsom area auto owners remember because it's not well understood.

Let's review what a timing belt does. As most know, the engine's power is generated in the cylinders. A piston rides up and down in the cylinder. During the first down stroke, an intake valve at the top of the cylinder opens and air and fuel is drawn into the cylinder. Then the piston returns to the top, compressing the fuel and air mix. At the top, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel, pushing the piston down in the power stroke. As the piston once again returns up in the final stroke of the cycle, an exhaust valve opens at the top of the cylinder and the exhaust is pushed out. The timing belt is what coordinates the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It's called a timing belt because the valves have to open and close at just the right time.

Now, not all vehicles have timing belts. Some have timing chains. Like the name implies, they use a chain rather than a belt to perform the function. It used to be that most engines used timing chains, which are extremely durable. The leading vehicle manufactures started using belts rather than chains to save money in the manufacturing process. So now Folsom drivers and their advisors at Folsom Autotech are left with a component that can break. They sort of shifted the problem to us. There are two broad categories of engine design: interference and non-interference. If the timing belt on a non-interference engine breaks, the engine simply stops running. That could be very dangerous for drivers depending on where they are at the time, but it causes no internal engine damage.

Interference vehicle engines, on the other hand, will get real messed up when the timing belt breaks, because the valves will actually fall down into the path of the pistons. Things get chewed up when that happens and it'll cost a chunk of change to repair the vehicle engine.

So, what are the warning signs? Unfortunately, there really aren't any. There aren't tell-tale sounds. In some vehicles, a technician from Folsom Autotech may be able to see part of the belt for a visual inspection, but many have a cover that's in the way. The reality is that if the belt slips even one notch, it might as well be broken for all the damage it'll cause. There's no middle ground.

So how can we avoid these problems? Simply replace the timing belt when your owner's manual calls for it. It can be 60,000 miles/97,000 km; it might be 90,000 or 100,000 miles/145,000 or 160,000 km. The point is, if you have 60,000 or more miles (97,000 or more km), ask your Folsom Autotech service advisor right away if your vehicle requires a timing belt replacement.

Contact Folsom Autotech to learn more about your car's timing belt
You can find us at:

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

Sometimes Folsom drivers can go quite a while without a failure, but we've seen them happen within a couple of oil changes of being due. It's not worth the risk.

What does it cost to replace a timing belt in Folsom? Well, that really depends on what kind of car you have. I can tell you that it's usually not very easy to get to the timing belt – you often have to remove some accessories to get at it. It isn't a cheap procedure, but it's a fraction of what it could cost to repair the damage caused by a failure.

At Folsom Autotech in Folsom, we're all about trying to prevent repairs, keeping you and your passengers safe and increasing your driving enjoyment. 



Buying the Right Tires and Wheels in Folsom, California

Posted July 21, 2019 8:52 AM

Everyone in Folsom, California eventually replaces their tires, whether it's because they're worn out or they're just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Folsom, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let's group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.

One category is often referred to as "summer tires". Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees F (7 degrees C). Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads around California and they're also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.

So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you'll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.

There's a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there's a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.

For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Folsom, California, roads.

Within the all-season category, there are many choices that your tire advisor at Folsom Autotech can help you evaluate.

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

 



On Board Diagnostics for Folsom Motorists

Posted July 14, 2019 7:01 AM

Some Folsom vehicle owners wonder why Folsom Autotech and other Folsom auto repair shops charge a fee for vehicle diagnostics.

Receiving a diagnostic charge at Folsom Autotech for a tricky automotive problem shouldn't be a surprise. In the Folsom area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your vehicle brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy California road, you pull off at the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you're having an intermittent problem with your vehicle engine, however, a Folsom Autotech diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Folsom driver's confusion comes when the problem involves the Check Engine light. The Check Engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There's a common misconception among California drivers that the trouble code tells the Folsom Autotech technician exactly what's wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that's out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the Check Engine light.

The vehicle computer's trouble code just tells the Folsom Autotech technician what engine parameter is out of range, not what's causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that's causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Folsom Autotech customers. The service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Folsom service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These  databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming and difficult. Of course Folsom Autotech wants to figure out what's wrong with your vehicle and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

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



Exhaust Service at Folsom Autotech in Folsom

Posted July 7, 2019 11:48 AM



Whenever they hear the term "exhaust service," most Folsom residents think about exhaust pipes and mufflers. Well, actually, exhaust service at Folsom Autotech is a lot more comprehensive these days. For example, catalytic converters were mandated in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Governmental emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental regulations.

Exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer controlled emissions devices are now a big part of exhaust service. Because it is so sophisticated, your recommends you have your emission system checked out by a qualified Folsom exhaust technician regularly to make sure everything is working right - usually every 6 months or 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers.

If your Check Engine light comes on, especially if it's flashing, get your car looked at right away. Technicians at Folsom Autotech in Folsom handle emission problems everyday. You might have exhaust or emissions trouble if your car is difficult to start, runs rough, is noisy or smoking. Call Folsom Autotech at (916) 985-0274 to schedule an appointment if you experience these problems.


Let's review the exhaust system. We will start from the top with the exhaust manifold. That is the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and various other joints along the way. If the manifold is cracked or loose or a gasket is leaking, gases could escape into the passenger compartment where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it is important that your exhaust system doesn't leak. The exhaust pipes connect the various components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next is the catalytic converter. This part looks like a muffler. It changes chemicals that are dangerous to your health and our Folsom environment into harmless carbon dioxide and water. It doesn't require any maintenance itself. But eventually they wear out. Folsom drivers find this out when their car fails an emissions inspection.

Now the muffler. Its main job is to quiet engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. And you can actually customize your car's sound with different mufflers - anything from whisper quiet to bad-boy rumbley. Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can leak and need to be replaced right away. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Folsom Autotech .

The exhaust system is attached to the vehicle by a series of hangers and clamps. These fasteners hold the system in place. When hangers come loose or break, hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines.

Finally, we end at the tailpipe. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. These can be plain-Jane or pretty flashy. Also, the oxygen sensors monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine control computer can adjust the fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

Exhaust and emissions service at Folsom Autotech in Folsom covers plain old pipes and high-tech computers. It impacts everything from life-and-death safety due to exhaust leaks to fine-tuning the sound of your ride.

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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