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Archive for July 2023

To Fix or Not To Fix (Tire Repair)

Posted July 30, 2023 8:52 AM

You know that sinking feeling when you realize one of your tires has a problem.  It may be making an odd noise or behaving oddly when you're driving.  You may hit a pothole or curb and one suddenly goes flat.  Or you may head back to your vehicle and discover it has one tire deflated without a clue of what must have happened to it.

With a lot of different tires hitting the streets these days, the issue of whether to have a tire repaired or replaced can be tricky, and we strongly recommend you have a trained technician help you make that decision. 

One of the most common causes of flat tires is picking up a screw or nail in the tread area.  Many of those can be patched and plugged if the puncture isn't more than ¼ inch/6 mm in diameter. Most tires can handle two of this type of repair, but any more and you should buy a new tire. 

If there's a puncture or bulge in the sidewall or shoulder, the rule of thumb is it's not repairable.  The sidewall doesn't have the reinforcements that the tread area does.  In fact, any puncture that's more than a ½ inch/12 mm away from the edge of the tread should not be fixed. 

Many newer vehicles have no spare tires (to save weight and fuel) and instead have a type of tire called "run-flat."  Sometimes, the only way you know they're deflated is when the tire pressure monitor alerts the driver.  Driving on them more than 50 miles/80km can render them un-repairable.  They may be fixable if you pulled off to the side of the road before driving on them too long. Our technicians can evaluate whether they can be driven further or should be replaced.

Other vehicles with no spare include a can of tire sealant and a compressor.  If you use it, tire experts say to have the tire professionally repaired as soon as possible.

If you have had a flat tire, try not to drive on it unless it's necessary to get your vehicle away from a dangerous situation.  Our technicians can evaluate any tire you may be having problems with and recommend whether repair or replacement is the best option. Your safety is riding on your tires.  

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



Heat and your Tires (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)

Posted July 23, 2023 11:01 AM

With hotter weather and brutal heat waves becoming more common, the pressure in your vehicle's tires goes up.  After all, heat causes air to expand, and the air in your tires follows the laws of physics. Overinflated tires can reduce your vehicle's traction, cause a hard, punishing ride and make your tires wear out faster; all are important safety issues.

Four out of every ten drivers rarely check tire pressure. Some rely on their vehicle's tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to keep an eye on proper tire inflation.  But it's not designed to do that.

TPMS is a safety feature that has been required on vehicles made in 2008 or later, using sensors in the wheels that alert you to tire pressure problems.  That warning can be a light on your dash, a digital message or a readout of the pressure in each individual wheel.  But a study showed that more than 40 percent of drivers don't even know what the tire pressure monitoring light symbol looks like!

One looks like a horseshoe with an exclamation point in the middle.  The other looks like an overhead view of your vehicle with the tires at all four corners.  They may even show the inflation number (usually in pounds per square inch, or PSI).

The TPMS is designed to alert you that your tires aren't inflated within certain parameters, but the system shouldn't be a substitute for frequently having your tires checked with a tire gauge.  A TPMS light is only required to come on when a tire is 25 percent under the recommended tire pressure; by that time, you're driving on an unsafe tire and causing excessive wear.

Have your vehicle checked regularly by our professionals, and that includes tire pressure checks.  If you do see the tire pressure warning come on, have our service center look at it soon.  You may have a tire with a problem or the TPMS system may not be working right. 

Either way, since your tires are the only contact your vehicle has with the road, your safety depends a great deal on your tires being in top shape and correctly inflated.  Keep your tires properly inflated and your TPMS working to alert you of any problems. And that's not just a lot of hot air.   

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



Rubber Match (Tire Replacement)

Posted July 16, 2023 11:39 AM

A set of new tires isn't probably high on anyone's list of exciting purchases.  But since your life is literally riding on them, it's probably a good idea to know when it's time for you to buy new ones.

If you've been feeling your vehicle slipping more in wet weather or it takes a longer distance to stop, those are a couple of signs you may need new rubber all around. Here's how to make your decision.

First thing to do is look at your tires.  The surface of the tire that contacts the road is the tread. When that tire was new, the tread was deep (the grooves in the rubber that provide traction). If they're starting to look somewhat smooth, you have a seriously worn tire that definitely needs replacing.  Bring your vehicle in for us to look at your tires and we can check your tread with a tread gauge.

Also look at the sides of your tires.  If they have cuts or cracks in them, or if you see signs of bulges or scrapes made by hitting curbs or potholes, those could be signs of serious damage. 

Keep an eye on your tire pressure monitors.  If you notice one or more of your tires showing frequent pressure changes, that needs to be checked out. 

One other thing you probably didn't know is that your tires all have birthdays, and they're printed on each sidewall.  When you bring your vehicle in for us to inspect your tires, we can tell you how old they are. That's important because rubber deteriorates with age, even if they don’t have that many miles on them.  Tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires when they reach a certain age, usually from six to ten years old. 

Now the question is, which tires should you buy? That's one for your service adviser who can recommend replacements based on your driving style, the model of vehicle you own, where you drive most often, and other factors. 

Oh, and if you want your new set of tires to last as long as possible, remember to have them rotated regularly, keep the right pressure, and don't drive aggressively. 

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



Oh, Stop! (Disc Brake Service)

Posted July 9, 2023 10:42 AM

Every time you drive your vehicle, you wear down your brakes just a little bit.  And after a while, that adds up.  Gradually, your stopping power isn't like it used to be.  Since brakes are one of your vehicle's most important safety features, it just makes sense to keep them performing well.

Most vehicles have disc brakes.  One key component, as the name suggests, is the disc.  Most vehicles have discs on their front and rear wheels.  The discs (also called rotors) are made of metal, and each rotates with the wheel hub.  Your brakes also have pads that make contact with the rotors when you press down on the brake pedal, and the friction stops your vehicle.

After many, many stops, that friction wears down both the pads and the discs and reduces their ability to stop the way you need them to.  The discs may also become uneven from all the heat they generate, and your brakes won't stop as well as they used to when they were newer. 

Some signs that your rotors need attention include vibration at the wheels when you stop, discolored rotors (the metal looks blue), excessively hot rotors, or grooves in the metal.  If you see any of these signs, it's time to bring in your vehicle for us to inspect your brakes. 

A technician will measure the thickness and trueness of the rotors and check the surfaces for wear.  If they need to be replaced, they'll be done in pairs, so if a front rotor is bad, the other front rotor will also be replaced. Usually, your brake pads will be replaced at the same time.  You can ask your service advisor if higher-performance brakes would benefit you.

When your vehicle is at the shop, the technician will check other components of your brake system to make sure they are operating safely. Brakes are vital to the safe operation of your vehicle.  Keep them well maintained so they can be there when you need them.

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



Giving CV Joints the Boot! (CV Joint and Boot Replacement)

Posted July 2, 2023 11:19 AM

Ever wonder how your vehicle’s transmission is connected to your wheels? After all, when you hit a pothole or some other uneven part of a road’s surface, there has to be something that can maintain the connection between the transmission and the wheel yet keep everything moving at the same speed. 

That very cool device is called a CV joint, a kind of driveshaft running to each wheel.  The CV stands for constant velocity because it keeps the drive wheels moving at a constant speed (velocity).  They’re used mostly on front-wheel drive vehicles but also in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles.

The joints move up and down and adjust to bumpy surfaces.  Plus, they are covered in a rubber boot which protects them from road debris and also holds lubrication in.  There’s a CV joint and boot on the transmission side and one on the wheel side.  Unfortunately, the spot that usually fails first is that rubber protective cover (the boot).  After a lot of wear, tear, bumps, road hazards, heat, and you name it, the rubber rips and the lubrication leaks out.  At that point, it must be replaced. 

Here are signs to tell if your CV joint is bad.

  • Your vehicle is pulling to one side as a wheel loses power or you feel a vibration while driving.
  • You see grease on the inside or edge of your tires.  
  • Your front tires won’t point in the same direction.
  • You hear grinding or clicking when you turn.

Sometimes if a broken boot early is caught early, a technician can pack in new grease and replace just the boot.  But if the lubrication has leaked out and the joint is already wearing badly, the CV and boot both have to be replaced.  Give your vehicle the boot (as in a new boot) and CV joint, and you’ll be back on the road to your next destination.

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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