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Archive for February 2023

Steering You Right (Power Steering Signs of Problems)

Posted February 26, 2023 7:55 AM

Nearly every modern vehicle on the road today has power steering, a wonderful invention that makes steering take far less effort than it did in the "good old days."  Today, we take our steering for granted: until something goes wrong, that is.

Most power steering these days is rack-and-pinion, the rack being a metal bar between the front wheels with notches in it and the pinion being a gear whose teeth fits into those notches.  Adding power assist makes it easy to turn. That assist comes in the form of hydraulic fluid that is pressurized by a pump powered by the engine, an electric motor that adds a power assist or a system that uses both an electric motor and hydraulic fluid.

Your vehicle usually gives you a heads up that something is going wrong with its steering. Here are a few signs to look for:

  • A humming, whirring, rubbing or grinding sound coming from you engine compartment when you turn.
  • Signs of hydraulic fluid leaking, such as wet spots under your vehicle.
  • The smell of burning oil while you're driving.
  • Steering wheel hard to turn or vibrating.

If you notice any of these signs, it's a good idea to have a trained technician check them out.  They may be signs of:

  • Power steering pump going bad
  • Steering rack or gear seals wearing out, causing them to lose hydraulic fluid
  • Broken fluid hose
  • Defective power steering cooler
  • Loss of pressure in the power steering gearbox
  • Worn out steering pump belt
  • Failing electric power steering motor

It's important to have these checked out sooner rather than later. You need to be able to steer properly in order to drive safely. Plus, some of these problems can cause more serious—and expensive—damage if they're not fixed.  Power steering is a wonderful feature of your vehicle.  Keep it well maintained and it will steer you right.

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



Your Vehicle is Talking to YOU (Service Warning Signs)

Posted February 19, 2023 8:02 AM

Your vehicle may be like that famous battery bunny, the one that just keeps going and going.  But while it may seem sometimes like you never need to take your vehicle in to be worked on, there are some things you should keep your eyes, ears and nose out for. They are warning you about something that needs attention at your vehicle service facility.

  • If a warning light is on, don't ignore it; do something about it.  There are warning lights for battery, oil, engine heat, tire pressure… you name it.  And the manufacturer put them there for a reason.  They're telling you something isn't normal. So when one goes on, have it checked out soon, especially the blinking Check Engine light.  The earlier you have any warning light issue diagnosed, the more likely you are to avoid a more serious problem.
  • If your vehicle is vibrating or shaking, it's not only annoying, it could signal trouble.  You can bet your vehicle didn't do that when it came out of the factory! If you can feel a vibration in the seat of your pants or shaking in the steering wheel, head on over to your service facility and have them diagnose what is causing it.
  • Smoke coming out of anywhere in your vehicle is a signal (smoke signal, get it?) that there may be a troubling issue.  Likewise if you can smell something burning (like oil), the nose knows there's something amiss.  Time to find out what.
  • If you aren't getting the distance you used to out of a tank of gas, it may not simply be your lead foot. A lot of vehicles will give you a digital readout of your latest mileage.  If your fuel economy takes a dip, take a trip over to your service facility.  You might have a sticky brake caliper… or it might be something as simple as your tires need more air.
  • Yes, you know the dreaded puddle of something under your vehicle can be a bad sign.  It could smell sweet, it could feel oily.  But it means something is leaking.  Go get it checked.  Sooner is better when it comes to locating the source of a leak.
  • If your brake pedal travels further than it used to while stopping, that could be compromising your ability to stop safely.  Also, if the brakes are making odd sounds, pulsating, grinding or squealing, they're screaming at you for attention.  Proper braking is a must for your safety and those drivers around you.

An old 80s TV show called "Knight Rider" featured a talking car.  You already have a vehicle that's telling you things all the time.  Give it a listen and it will keep you going safely down the road for many years to come.

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



Oil Times are a-Changin' (Oil Change Synthetic)

Posted February 12, 2023 11:30 AM

When it comes to oil changes, things are really changing.  Most newer vehicles require synthetic oil, and while it costs more than conventional oil, it doesn't need to be changed as often.

When conventional oil was the only game in town, you changed your oil every 3,000 miles/5,000 km. But as technology in newer vehicles has rapidly changed, so has oil technology.  Synthetics have been around since the seventies.  Even though they start with a conventional oil base, they are engineered in a chemical processing plant with properties that allow them to keep your engine lubricated at very high temperatures.  They are more uniform and consistent.

Synthetic oil doesn't break down as easily, so it lasts longer than conventional oil.  And synthetic oil can flow more easily, even in extremely low temperatures.  As you can see, it has performance advantages at both temperature extremes.

Generally, in recent years automakers have been shipping most of their vehicles with either synthetic oil or a synthetic blend.  Blends are cheaper and have many of the advantages of synthetics.  Another reason synthetic oil is being used in many newer vehicles is its ability to flow more easily improves efficiency.   

It's important to follow your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations when you have your oil changed, so our service adviser can see what options you have for your vehicle. Many newer vehicles come with specific recommendations for synthetic oil. If you live in an area with wide temperature extremes or do a lot of stop-and-go driving, synthetic oil can offer advantages. 

Older vehicles can do fine with conventional oil, but it will have to be changed more than synthetic oil. Also, if you have an older vehicle with more than 75,000 miles/120,000 km on it, it can be more prone to leak and burn oil. Some synthetic oils are designed to protect those high-mileage vehicles better than conventional oil, and yours may benefit. See what your service adviser thinks.

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



Road Trip? Check! (Trip Inspection)

Posted February 5, 2023 9:59 AM

After months of postponing travel far away from home, a lot of us can't wait to hit the road and scream "Road Trip!" again.  But how long has it been since the vehicle you're planning on taking has had a thorough inspection? And is it roadworthy for several days on the highway? Time to schedule a professional trip inspection in our service center. 

When it comes to long trips, before you go, make sure you can stop.  We can perform a break inspection.  Our technician will visually inspect your brakes for wear and how much life is left in the brake pads and rotors.  They'll also check your brake lines and fluids for fitness and fill.

If it's going to be a long trip, it's important that your engine stays lubricated.  The technician will see when the last time you had an oil change, check the levels and inspect the system for leaks.  If you are close to needing an oil change, it's best to have it done before the trip because no one wants to interrupt a vacation with an oil change in a strange place.  It's also better for your engine to have fresh, clean oil rather than driving with dirty, worn-out oil.

Comfort in any vehicle depends partly on the suspension system.  Our technician can examine shocks and struts so you can avoid an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe journey.  Oh, and you'll definitely want to make sure your wheels are aligned.  A long trip in an out-of-alignment vehicle can be a driving nightmare with potential steering problems and tire damage. 

A couple of little things some drivers take for granted are the engine air filter and wiper blades.  A dirty air filter can cost you money by reducing fuel economy; it adds up on a long trip.  And worn-out wiper blades can make visibility while driving in a rainstorm a blinding, unsafe adventure that you never want to experience, especially in unfamiliar territory.

If you're in the habit of having your vehicle regularly maintained, many of these items may be in excellent condition.  But considering the extra stresses a long road trip places on any vehicle, it's nice to have a set of our trained eyes give your vehicle a closer look. That way you'll be able to gaze YOUR eyes on sights like the Leaning Tower of Niles or the Gopher Hole Museum. 

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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