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Archive for September 2022

Bad Vibes (Disc brake rotor problems)

Posted September 25, 2022 11:28 AM

If you were to name the most important safety feature on your vehicle right now, what would your answer be? A lot of driving experts would agree that it’s your brakes.  Most newer vehicles use a well-engineered and efficient style of brakes called disc brakes. 

The name disc brakes comes from one of the components: a disc attached to the wheel hub that is squeezed by parts called calipers.  If you’ve ever ridden a bicycle with hand brakes, you probably have seen how they squeeze against the rim of the bike wheel to stop the bike. It’s similar to the way your vehicle’s calipers squeeze against the disc rotor, with added parts called brake pads attached to the calipers that are what create the friction and stop your vehicle.

Here’s why disc brakes need regular maintenance.  Over time, that friction creates wear and tear on the brake pads and the rotors, and you’ll start to see the signs.  Your brakes may have one of the 3 “S” sounds: squeaking, squealing, or scraping. The sound is usually the first sign of brake pad wear which can lead to rotor damage.  Soon you may notice a pulsating or vibration when you brake. That’s because your once smooth and straight rotor disc is warping from the heat generated from friction. Or it may be due to wear.  Eventually, your brakes will take a longer distance to stop your vehicle, and the rotors can have grooves carved into them.

When you start noticing any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have them inspected by a trained technician.  They will measure the rotor thickness, check wear patterns for grooves and heat discoloration, and see how much of the brake pads remain. They will also check to make sure all brake components are moving freely, check your brake fluid, and look for corrosion.

Most vehicle manufacturers require worn or damaged rotors to be replaced, not resurfaced. It’s all part of a complete brake job, replacing pads and the brake hardware parts along with the rotors. It reduces the chance of premature failure.

How often you will need your brakes serviced depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations, your driving habits, and the environment you live in.  Your service facility can recommend the best replacement parts based on those factors. 

Regular maintenance and attention are vital for keeping your brakes performing like they are designed to. Remember, your brakes are your vehicle’s most important safety feature.

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



Round and Round (Wheel Balancing)

Posted September 18, 2022 11:08 AM

In a perfect world, all wheels and tires would be perfectly round and weigh exactly the same at every point of the wheel.  Unfortunately, they're not, and if they're out of balance, they can reduce the lifespan of your tires, make your vehicle shake like a carnival ride, and maybe even damage a few suspension parts along the way.  You don't want that!

Wheel balancing, sometimes known as tire balancing, is a process by which a technician makes sure your tire/wheel assembly has evenly distributed weight.  If it isn't, it can give your ride bad vibrations.  If you feel your vehicle's steering wheel shaking, it can mean unbalanced wheels in the front. If you can feel a vibration in your seats, it could be unbalanced rear wheels.

In addition to your vehicle vibrating at higher speeds, there are other signs that your wheels are out of balance. You may see uneven tread wear, or you may notice you aren't getting the kind of fuel economy you used to. 

When you experience these problems, bring your vehicle in, and we can put your wheels on a machine designed to detect any imbalance.  The technician will start your wheels spinning, and a computer will determine how much weight is needed where.  Then, the technician can add small weights on the inside or outside of your wheel rim to precisely balance out the uneven weight.  When the wheel is balanced correctly, it will spin evenly and smoothly.

Sometimes your vehicle will hit a pothole or object in the road that dislodges one of those weights, which can throw that wheel out of balance again.  If so, you'll have to bring it in to have that corrected

Some drivers confuse wheel balancing with wheel alignment. Alignment is making sure the wheels are perpendicular to the road and parallel with each other.  Sometimes your vehicle will need both balancing and alignment done at the same time.

No vibrations are good vibrations when it comes to your wheels.  Bring your vehicle to us, and we'll perform a balancing act to keep your vehicle riding smoothly down the road.

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



Full of Hot Air (Air Conditioning)

Posted September 11, 2022 11:36 AM

In warm weather, you want to be in a cool vehicle. When we're talking cool, we don't mean stylish or trendy, but cool as in not sweltering inside.  And if your vehicle's air conditioner stops working correctly, it seems to always break at the worst time—during a heat wave. 

Automotive air conditioning problems fail for a number of reasons:

  • Blower motor not working.  No air comes through the vents, even though the rest of the system could be working fine.
  • Refrigerant leak. When the gas that cools the air off escapes from the air conditioning system, your air conditioner can no longer cool off the outside air
  • Condenser and compressor. These are parts of your AC system that compress and expand a refrigerant gas to cool off the outside air. They are fairly complex.

When you bring your vehicle into our service center, we'll run a series of diagnostic tests to figure out what isn't working correctly.  The air conditioning system has a lot of parts. There are electrical and mechanical components plus a series of hoses and tubes that all can wear out over time.  Any one of these can fail.

A lot of drivers think they have a "Freon leak" and believe that if they get their AC system recharged with the refrigerant, everything will be fine.  But AC systems are so complex, it usually takes a trained technician to accurately figure out where the problems are.

Sometimes the solution is simple.  If your blower motor wears out or there's a fuse that has blown, the technician can replace the bad parts and you'll quickly be back to enjoying your rolling refrigerator. But when compressors or condensers go bad, those are much more involved and expensive to fix.

For instance, electrical problems can sometimes lead to acid to build up and corrode other parts of your AC system.  Sometimes that causes so much damage, your whole air conditioning system has to be replaced. That's why it's always a good idea to have your AC regularly maintained.  Our technicians can find a problem early and prevent more expensive repairs down the road. That's really the cool way to go.

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



Busted! Air Conditioning (Air Conditioning Maintenance)

Posted September 4, 2022 7:52 AM

Your vehicle's air conditioning is something you count on when the weather heats up.  But there's bound to be a day when you turn it on and one of these things happens:

  • Only warm air blows out
  • Cold air starts blowing out but then it turns warm on its own
  • It's not blowing air at all
  • It blows smelly air out

Some people are tempted to try to make the diagnosis—and the repair—on their own.  They think it's just run out of refrigerant and they can pick up a can at a local auto parts store and re-charge it.   If only it was that easy.

A vehicle's air conditioning system is complex and made up of many parts.  A compressor, evaporator, condenser, tubing, hoses, sensors, valves… the list goes on and on.

Each of these components could be the reason for the problem.  It could be a leak that's letting the refrigerant escape, but simply re-charging the system hasn't fixed the problem. You have to find the source of the leak and fix it. Service facilities have a device called a "sniffer" which can sniff out refrigerant chemicals. And they can use black light to locate refrigerant that has an ultraviolet dye in it. 

But often other components wear out; blower motors go bad, resistors blow, tubes clog, compressors fail. And diagnosing that takes training and special equipment you'll find at your service facility.

One other thing to keep in mind.  It's always better to catch any problems in the air conditioning system before it fails. Ask your service advisor about having

the A/C checked as part of the vehicle's maintenance.  That's the cool way to go. 

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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