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Archive for July 2021

The Red Menace (How to Deal with Rust)

Posted July 25, 2021 8:00 AM

Rust.  It's worse if you drive in places that use salt on the roads in winter, or if you spend time driving near a body of salt water.  But any vehicle has to deal with rust after years on the road.  And it's not just that rust can eat away your vehicle's body and fenders.  It can be a real problem around your suspension, drivetrain or any place where there's metal.

Rust takes its time.  You don't see it until it's already done its dirty work.  It can wreak havoc with your electrical system.  Sure, vehicle manufacturers do their best to keep it to a minimum, but especially with road treatments like brine around, their task is a difficult one.

The one spot everyone notices is in the paint.  You see a little bubbling under the once-smooth surface.  By the time it bubbles, it's well involved in rotting away that spot of your vehicle.  You wouldn't believe how just a little thing can start the process on its way.  A stone chips the paint down to the metal, moisture and salt reach the steel and rust is off and running.  It could be a scratch in the paint, a little dent, acid from a parking garage, tree sap, you name it.  If you spot it, show it to your service advisor because rust can be more than a cosmetic problem.  It can be a safety issue.

While you can see the rust destroy your vehicle's body, you can't see it destroying your engine.  But it can.  It can eat away at such areas as air intakes or the exhaust system.  Not only can it reduce performance, but also it can disable electrical connections.  In this day and age where just about everything in your vehicle has a computer component to it, just a small electrical problem can strand you at the roadside.

Corrosion can attack your vehicle's chassis or frame, and they are what provide the structural strength and stability for everything attached.  Think powertrain, suspension, axles, window frames. The list goes on and on.  Structural integrity is vital to safety, so the stakes are high. 

Now you can see why rust damages more than just the good looks of your vehicle. There's one thing to remember about corrosion - much of it is only visible from underneath the vehicle.  When you bring your vehicle in to Folsom Autotech for service, our technician can look for any problems from that important vantage point.  It's always a good idea to point out any spots that you think might spell trouble.  That way you can stay ahead of it and beat rust at its own game.


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



The Light Nobody Wants to See (Check Engine Light)

Posted July 18, 2021 12:01 PM

You've probably had your Check Engine Light go on.  Then it goes off and you figure, hey, whatever the problem was, it's gone now and I don't have to worry about it.  Well, the problem may have gone away and it may not have.

Your vehicle likely has one of these warning lights on the instrument panel: an amber light that looks like an engine or reads "Check Engine" or "Service Vehicle Soon."  If that light comes on and stays on, it usually means there's something amiss but not urgently in need of service.  (Now if it's blinking, that's another story that we'll deal with in a minute.)

Sometimes when it comes on and stays steadily lit, the problem will go away and the light will go out.  Sometimes it will stay on until you get the problem fixed.  Either way, the engine's computer will store a code that can provide clues to what's not working—or wasn't working—the way it's supposed to.

If you are just dying to know what that code is, you can buy a little code reader or take your vehicle to an auto parts store and they'll read it.  Problem is, the code offers so many options that unless you are a trained technician, you probably won't have a clue what those codes mean. 

So if you want to be sure, take it to your vehicle repair facility and have them check it.  Technicians are trained to decipher the codes and, using their experience and other diagnostic equipment, can get to the root of the problem and fix it. 

As we mentioned before, if that Check Engine light comes on and is blinking, it means a more serious engine malfunction that can damage expensive components such as the catalytic converter and even the engine itself.  It's important to have that checked by a professional as soon as possible. 

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



How Much Does It Cost? (Variations in Vehicle Repair Costs)

Posted July 11, 2021 9:39 AM

Ever wonder why it costs so much more to fix a similar problem in two different vehicles? Let's say you now own an SUV and before that, you owned a car.  Your SUV's air conditioning system needs a new evaporator, but the cost for the new one is way more than you remember it was for your car.  How can there be that big of a difference?

There are many reasons.  For one thing, vehicles aren't all the same.  Yes, they have engines and steering wheels and suspensions, but engineering and design can vary widely among different styles and brands. 

In the case of replacing the evaporator, the one in your former car may have been located in a spot where the technician could get to it easily.  Plus, the part may have been less complicated and, therefore, cheaper.  Your SUV may require the entire dashboard to be removed with special tools to detach the a/c lines from the evaporator.  Plus, since it is supplying cool air to a bigger cabin, it may be more complicated; the part itself may cost quite a bit more.

But you're not an expert, so how do you know the price is fair? This is where it helps to establish a good, long-lasting relationship with a reputable service repair facility.  They know you, they know your vehicle and they value keeping you as a customer. A facility that doesn't care about repeat business may try to suggest more repairs than are needed or inflate their prices.  But those shops are unlikely to stay in business very long since their reputation gets around. 

If you've been taking your vehicles to the same shop for several years, you've had experience with them and know their policy on labor costs and parts prices.  At some point you may wonder if it's worth it to keep putting money into your vehicle, and if you know your service advisor, you have developed a trust for his or her advice. 

Keep this in mind, too.  Vehicle designers and engineers have made significant progress in things like powertrain technology and rust prevention.  That means today's vehicles are meant to last longer.  One study in a major consumer magazine shows that if you can keep your vehicle on the road for 200,000 miles/320,000 km, an average of 15 years, some vehicles can save you up to $30,000 or more. Investing in repairs can make a lot of sense. 

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



Lean Times (Shocks and Springs)

Posted July 4, 2021 12:26 PM

You may have noticed your vehicle going through lean times.  By that, we mean it's literally leaning to one side.  When you notice that, you should get it checked out at your service facility soon because you could have a serious problem.

Many things can cause a vehicle to lean.  You may have problems with your struts, shocks or springs.  They all work in tandem to make your ride more comfortable.  The struts bear the weight of the vehicle's body, the shock absorbers employ a piston that keeps your tires in contact with the road and controls movement of the vehicle's body.  Springs also absorb impacts from uneven road surfaces.

If these components get stuck, either too high or too low, they cause your vehicle to lean.  That's because that side of the vehicle isn't at the height it is designed to be.  A technician will determine where the problem is.  Outside elements such as moisture plus hard knocks to these components can weaken them, eventually resulting in a failure.  The metal can get so fatigued that it breaks.  Often when one side of a vehicle is too high or too low, your service advisor will advise you to have the other side done as well.  That's because if only one side has new parts installed, it won't be level with the side that has old parts. 

There are a couple of other reasons vehicles can lean.  One is that the suspension can be bent or the chassis twisted, again due to wear and tear by driving on rough roads, over badly maintained railroad tracks or in deep potholes. 

Another reason your vehicle may lean is that the tires and/or wheels aren't all the same size.  Or one side might have drastically over or underinflated tires.  This can be a dangerous condition since the imbalance can affect steering and handling.

Considering what drivers put suspension parts, tires and wheels through, it's not surprising that they can be punished so much that they don't hold up like we want them to.  A level-headed driver will make sure to be driving a level vehicle by making sure these components are maintained in good condition.

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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