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Archive for August 2022

Tire or Re-Tire? (Getting Tires Ready for Hot Weather)

Posted August 28, 2022 8:19 AM

Heat isn't easy on vehicle tires, and as the seasons change, make sure yours are ready to take the heat. 

Let's talk first about inflation.  Heat causes air to expand, so heat alone can raise the pressure in your tires.  If you are driving on overinflated tires, they won't have as much contact with the road surface.  In that case, it will take you a longer distance to stop.

On the other hand, you don't want your tires to be underinflated during hot weather, either.  That can cause your sidewalls to flex.  Friction will then hike up the temperature and your tire can be in danger of blowing from the added heat.

Other things can cause problems, such as uneven wearing.  Your service advisor knows the signs to look for and can diagnose where the wear is and what is likely causing it.  Another thing a technician will look for on tires is tread depth and the condition of the sidewalls.  Any cuts, cracks or bulges could be indications that your tire is not healthy. 

Oh, and one other thing.  Your tires could have plenty of tread left on them but still be dangerous.  And that is because rubber ages, gets brittle and cracks after time.  (Ever run across an old rubber band in a drawer that has never been used but breaks the second you try to stretch it? 'Nuff said.) Some tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires after 6 years of their manufacturing date.  Your service advisor can read a manufacturing code and tell you how old your tires are. 

Tire manufacturer Michelin used to have an ad slogan that said, "Because so much is riding on your tires." That includes you and your passengers.  Always keep healthy tires on your vehicle and make sure they're ready for whatever season it is.

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



Not So Cool (Air Conditioning Systems)

Posted August 21, 2022 10:06 AM

There's nothing quite like getting in your vehicle on a hot day, switching on the air conditioning and having warm air blow out of the vents.  You may have had no problem for months and then, one day, you are driving around in a sauna. You're hot stuff, but not in a good way!

So what goes wrong when the AC isn't working? It could be a lot of things because the system has many different components.  One thing that's a common cause is the vehicle is low on refrigerant (it used to be called Freon).  If that's the case, it's not as simple as simply adding more.  Sure, it may fix it quickly for a short time, but it's more likely than not that the refrigerant will just leak out again.

The original Freon used in air conditioners was destroying the Earth's ozone layer, so that's not used much any more.  But the one that's currently used also contributes to global warming, so it's important that as little of that escapes as possible.  So a technician will determine if there's a leak in your system, where it is and fix that before adding new refrigerant. 

Your vehicle also has an evaporator or two, and those can fail.  Leaks are often the problem with them as well.  The big component that can go bad is the compressor, often a victim of age, wear or neglect. 

A technician will also check to see that the blower is working correctly.  That's what blows that cool air into the cabin.  Sometimes the motor will fail, a relay will go bad or a fuse will blow.  As you can see, there are lots of different parts involved here! 

The good news is that your vehicle's service facility has the special equipment to recover the refrigerant and check the system's pressure, both vital to properly servicing the air conditioning system.

As with many vehicle components, regular maintenance can go a long way to minimizing problems in the air conditioning system. It can reduce the chance of the compressor having to be replaced, too.  Pretty cool, huh?

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



Singing a Different Tune (Up) (Tune Ups)

Posted August 14, 2022 8:41 AM

Engines required a lot more maintenance in earlier times.  You'd have to have your spark plugs, wires, rotors, caps, distributor points, fuel and air filters changed periodically.  There were mechanical adjustments of a vehicle's timing, dwell, spark gap and idle mixture, too. Unless you like to tinker with old cars, a lot of those terms won't mean much to you. 

That service was called a "tune up" back then, and you can see why.  But now, computers have reduced the number of maintenance items, and a tune up is a whole lot different than it used to be.  In fact, in some vehicle service facilities, that term is also a thing of the past. 

A tune up of today would more accurately be called simply periodic maintenance. Now, most vehicles still have spark plugs and wires, fuel filters, air filters and PCV valves, and they should be inspected tested and/or replaced at regular intervals.  Your vehicle's manufacturer has made recommendations on how often that should be. But it depends on your driving habits. Do you regularly tow a trailer? Do you drive on dusty roads often? Are you driving mostly stop and go in the city?  Depending on your answers, to those maintenance intervals might have to be more frequent.

Your service advisor will likely remind you about those "must check" items such as spark plugs and wires, air filter and oxygen sensor.  And now that the old-fashioned tune ups don't require you to take your vehicle in for maintenance as often, you can get the same benefit from scheduled oil changes or tire rotations.  When your vehicle is in for those, a technician can keep an eye on your other systems (fuel, emissions, ignition) to make sure they are operating correctly.

One thing to remember.  When you take your vehicle in for regular service or a specific issue, don't ever hesitate to ask you service advisor to explain what's being done and why.  Hey, "In Sync" may have been a boy band of an earlier era, but it's always good for you and your service advisor to be "in sync" when it comes to what maintenance is good for your vehicle.

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



Some New Boots (Suspension Maintenance)

Posted August 7, 2022 10:13 AM

There are some boots that don't come in a shoe box and aren't worn on your feet.  They are called axle or CV boots, and they can be important parts for many vehicles.

That CV stands for constant velocity.  CV axles are mainly used in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles. They're also used in some rear-wheel drive vehicles with independent suspensions.  They have two CV joints, one inner and one outer, placed between the axle and the drive wheels.  That way the vehicle's engine power can drive the wheels, no matter what angle they are.  They also adjust for the different speeds wheels turn as they go around corners. 

Because roads are full of all sorts of hazards (dirt, oil, water, grime), these CV joints need to be protected.  They also have grease in them to keep the bearings moving smoothly.  That's the job of the rubber boots that are supposed to keep that debris out.  These CV or axle boots are made of rubber or plastic and usually last a long time without any problem.  But sometimes they fail, either from being hit by debris or age causing the rubber or plastic to deteriorate.  That can allow the grease to leak out of the joint and the moisture to get in.  And that's where the trouble is.

So it's important to have a vehicle's CV boots checked periodically, especially when they begin to have more than 100,000 miles/160,000 kilometers on them.  A technician inspects them for tears or cracks.  Sometimes if the problems are found early enough, the boots can be replaced and the joints can be re-packed with grease. 

But sometimes the CV joint can wear out even though the boot is intact.  When the CV joint fails, you might hear a grinding, humming or clicking noise and feel vibration.

Some of these can be difficult to access for service, so many service advisors will recommend replacing the joints and boots at the same time.  Just remember, new CV boots won't make a fashion statement, but they will keep your vehicle going down the road for years to come.

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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