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Archive for January 2023

Go With the Flow (MAF Sensor Replacement)

Posted January 29, 2023 9:01 AM

A driver brought her vehicle into the shop the other day and told us how she was getting lousy fuel economy and that the engine was running rough.  Plus, the Check Engine light was on.  Our technician checked the code the engine had generated (why the Check Engine light was on) and found the problem.  It was a faulty Mass Air Flow sensor, MAF sensor for short.

This MAF sensor is an important part of your vehicle.  What it does is calculate the amount of air going into your engine.  As you may know, air is taken into your engine where it's mixed with fuel.  Then, the spark plugs fire, that explosive fuel/air mixture detonates, and all these sequential explosions together provide the power to get your vehicle moving down the road. 

It makes sense that if the MAF sensor isn't sending the engine's computers the correct information on the amount of air going in the engine, the fuel/air mixture isn't going to be right. It will either too rich (too much gasoline for the amount of air) or too lean (not enough gasoline for the amount of air).

In this driver's case, the MAF sensor was damaged and needed to be replaced.  Another thing that may cause the MAF to give an incorrect reading is if its wires are dirty or faulty.  So, replacing or cleaning the wires important as well.

Other symptoms that your MAF sensor is bad? If your engine hesitates when you step on the gas, it stalls, or your vehicle is jerky when you accelerate. 

A malfunctioning MAF sensor is not just bad for performance.  Driving with your vehicle in that condition can cause more damage to your engine.  When you bring your vehicle in for us to check, a technician will thoroughly examine your engine to make sure all issues are taken care of.

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



That Squeal is Telling You Something (What Causes Squealing While Steering)

Posted January 22, 2023 11:35 AM

If you hear a squealing noise when you turn your vehicle, it's trying to tell you something is wrong.  After all, it never made that noise before, right?  The sound  you hear may becoming from a few sources.  Let's take a look (or a listen) to some of the possibilities.

First, you almost certainly have power steering in your vehicle. Without power steering, you practically have to have arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger to turn, so automakers have technology to assist your steering, either mechanically or electrically.  For a long time, the most common power steering has been hydraulic, using a belt to supply power from the engine that turns a power steering pump full of a fluid that helps you steer. 

Sometimes that fluid gets low because of a leak or some other problem.  The belt could wear out and start squeaking, and you might feel the steering start to become harder.  Your service repair facility can figure out the problem and offer some solutions.

Another cause could be in your suspension.  Some components may not be getting lubricated like they should.  Or you may be hearing your tires squealing when you are turning. 

Properly working steering is a huge safety factor for your vehicle's operation.  Your steering affects handling, vital to your well-being as well as that of drivers around you.  So take your vehicle over to your repair facility and have it checked out.  You'll be doing everyone on the road—including yourself—a big favor by listening to your vehicle. When it comes to steering, silence really is golden.  Get that squealing repaired and get back to safe driving.

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



Always on Guard (TMPS)

Posted January 15, 2023 8:08 AM

One of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle running safely is to make sure your tires are properly inflated.  If one or more is vastly over- or underinflated, that has the potential to cause major handling problems and may result in a dangerous accident.

All vehicles in recent years are equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, or TPMS.  One system uses small sensors in the tires that continually check the pressure in each tire.  That sensor sends a signal to computers in your vehicle which turns on an instrument panel light warning of low pressure when at least one is very low. Or it may update a numeric reading on your instrument panel which gives you an approximation of how many PSI (pounds per square inch) of air is in each tire. 

Another system works with your antilock brake system to measure the size of your vehicle’s tires.  When one wheel is going faster than another, it will spin faster. A computer sees that and alerts you that tire’s diameter is smaller than the others and therefore must be underinflated.

No matter what system you have, it’s also helpful for you to know how much pressure each tire is supposed to be inflated to.  You can find that on a label on the driver’s side door sill. In addition, the TPMS system should not be used as a substitute for checking your tires with a tire gauge since the TPMS accuracy usually isn’t quite as precise.  Keep in mind that tire sensors can fail, so each system acts as a backup for the other. 

Since many vehicles these days don’t have spare tires, it’s good to know that your TPMS can warn you if you have a leak in one of your tires.  If you get a low-pressure warning, many systems will tell you which tire is low, so you can do your own visual check.  Often you can see if you’ve picked up a nail or a screw if it’s sticking out of the tread or near the sidewall.

Being able to receive an early warning from your vehicle of abnormal tire pressure may give you a chance to safely drive to a service center before your tire slowly goes completely flat (which can ruin the tire and badly damage the rim). It also may ultimately prevent you from being stranded somewhere with a flat tire or, most importantly, having a sudden blowout on the road. 

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



Plugging Away (Spark Plug Replacement)

Posted January 8, 2023 12:02 PM

If you drive a vehicle with a gasoline engine, thank the spark plugs for igniting the gasoline/air mixture in each cylinder that keeps your vehicle traveling smoothly down the road every day.  Your spark plugs work hard, firing thousands of times in a well-choreographed order, and you usually don't pay much attention to them until one of them stops working the way it should.

Signs that spark plugs are wearing out include:

  • Engine runs more roughly than it did
  • Vehicle doesn't start as easily as it used to
  • Vehicle hesitates when you press on the accelerator
  • Your fuel economy has gotten worse

When a spark plug stops working altogether, you will find your engine has likely lost a lot of its power and isn't running smoothly.  Your Check Engine light may  come on.  Then it's time to head to come to our service center to have it diagnosed.

If your plugs need to be replaced, they're usually done all at the same time. And if your vehicle has spark plug wires, experts recommend you change them as well. Different type of spark plugs last longer than others, and your service advisor can discuss what's best for your vehicle and driving habits.

A technician will also determine if there are any carbon deposits on your plugs, how healthy the ignition coil is (it's the part that supplies the high-voltage jolt that makes the spark) and will look for other signs and symptoms that may point to other problems in your engine. For instance, if a spark plug is fouled by oily deposits, it's possible oil is getting into the combustion chamber. 

They will also check all the plugs to see if there are problems in just one or all cylinders.  Sometimes a technician will find a plug that has overheated, literally melting the metal.  In that case, they may recommend they correct that problem before replacing the spark plugs.

Most spark plugs will last for a good, long time.  Even if you aren't seeing any symptoms they're wearing out, make sure you have your service advisor check your vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance intervals.  Preventative maintenance will keep your vehicle running reliably so you can count on it to get you where you want to go. 

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



Sounds Exhausting! (Exhaust Service)

Posted January 1, 2023 10:06 AM

Most of us know a bad muffler when we hear it.  That loud, rumbling sound is unmistakable. Did you also know you can get a ticket for driving around with a loud exhaust system?

If your exhaust system has a leak in it, it may be allowing poisonous gases inside your vehicle and could make you seriously ill (or even kill you!) if you breathe too much in.

Unfortunately, your exhaust system faces a lot of destructive forces out on the road.  Rust is the worst, and not just in colder climates where they use salt and brine as de-icers.  Exhaust systems can rust from the inside out when moisture condenses inside the pipes.  Vibrations and jolts from rough roads (and the occasional run in with a rock or a curb) can wreak havoc with exhaust systems.  Even a bad oxygen sensor can send too much fuel into the catalytic converter, and the resulting heat can wind up destroying this very expensive component.

Your exhaust system is made up of several parts, and all need to be in good shape in order for you to be sure that the gases created by your engine's combustion get properly moved out and away from the vehicle. The good news is that many newer exhaust systems are made out of more durable materials like stainless steel.  But all exhaust systems are subjected to some of the roughest elements streets can dish out. So it's a good idea to have your exhaust system periodically inspected and serviced.

There are a lot of parts to keep track of in an exhaust system, including the muffler, manifold, catalytic convertor, oxygen sensors and the muffler (or maybe your vehicle has more than one).  We strongly recommend having your exhaust system periodically checked so we can catch a problem before it turns into something major… and maybe dangerous.  We can recommend repair or replacement that suits your driving habits and budget. 

Oh, and remember one final benefit to a tip-top-shape exhaust system.  Your vehicle will dump far less pollution into the atmosphere if it's working the way engineers designed it.  We'll all breathe a little easier when our exhaust systems are doing their job right.

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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