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Archive for September 2023

Your Vehicle's Hissy Fit (AC System)

Posted September 24, 2023 11:06 AM

When you hear hissing sounds coming from your vehicle, you might start thinking the worst.   One type of hissing coming from around your air conditioner may be a normal sound, or it could be a sign of serious trouble.

First - the normal sound.  When you turn off your vehicle, the refrigerant goes from its high-pressure side to the low-pressure side. Some of those noises are normal.  But when it hisses all the time, that's another story.

One cause could be that the refrigerant is leaking.  Air conditioners are fairly complex systems that involve various pumps, hoses, valves and motors.  When your air conditioner is cooling, the refrigerant changes from a gas to a liquid and back.  That refrigerant is under pressure, and there are many places it can leak from. 

A hissing sound can also be a failed valve in your air conditioner's compressor.  It is what controls the refrigerant's pressurization.  It's important to have this fixed fairly quickly after it develops a problem because when it isn't, that can lead to more extensive—and expensive—repairs.

If you hear screeching coming from your air conditioner at the same time you hear hissing, your compressor may be on its last legs. It could also be a defective clutch. 

Any time you hear a noise you haven't routinely heard before, bring your vehicle to us so a technician can check the various components and properly repair the problems.  Air conditioning systems are complex and are best handled by a professional with the right tools and equipment.  When your AC has a hissy fit, let us cool it off and you at the same time.  

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



Got it Covered! (Timing Cover Maintenance)

Posted September 17, 2023 12:34 PM

You may have heard at one time or another about something called a timing belt or timing chain in your engine.  And you may know that if they fail… well, let's just say that there can be some major engine damage.  So obviously, we want our timing belts and chains to be in tip-top shape.

One part that helps keep them running the way they should is the timing cover.  As you can probably guess, it's something that covers the belt or chain.  The timing cover protects both belts and chains from dirt and road debris.  Timing belts also need to be lubricated so their covers allow them to be lubricated as well.  They have a gasket that insures a good seal for the engine.  If that gasket breaks or develops a leak, then engine oil can escape, and loss of lubrication is never good for an engine component.

Other symptoms of a failed timing cover are leaking coolant, a metallic sound coming from the front of your engine or your Check Engine light coming on.  You might also notice a drop in power when you're going uphill.

It's important that your timing cover be in good condition and functioning properly.  Your repair facility will check out that part of your engine to make sure gaskets are in good shape and the cover is doing the job it's meant to do.  Catch that leaking or broken timing cover in time and your engine will thank you for avoiding some serious damage and an expensive repair.

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



Not-So-Smooth Operator (Transmission Signs of Trouble)

Posted September 10, 2023 12:19 PM

You are heading down a flat, newly paved street when all of a sudden you feel it.  Your vehicle jumps a little bit when you're accelerating and changing gears.  You know it's not the surface of the road because it's smooth as silk.  So what did you just feel?

That kind of jumping—or grinding or slipping—during gear changes could be a sign of trouble in your automatic transmission.  And it's important to get it checked out fairly soon because some transmission problems that aren't fixed early can lead to more involved and expensive repairs.

By far most vehicles on the road in North America have automatic transmissions, and they are workhorses.  Unlike early cars with balky, hard-to-shift manual transmissions, the latest automatics allow you to drive without having to even think about gear changes.  But you should know about a few signs of trouble to look for if they ever start showing up.

  • When you first get going and shift your vehicle from Park into Drive, do you feel a slight pause?
  • How about when you shift into Reverse?  Is there a little lag?
  • Does your vehicle sometimes shake when you're traveling down the road?
  • Do you smell something burning in your engine compartment?
  • Do you hear a clunk when your vehicle shifts?
  • Do you have spots of a reddish or brown, oily fluid in the driveway under your vehicle?

If you do, these are worth getting checked out at our service center.  When automatic transmissions start to show signs of wear and age, it can be because of a number of reasons.  They can be caused by your transmission fluid getting old and contaminated, or its level may be low.  The gears can be worn.  You may have a leak somewhere in your transmission.  Or transmission problems might be caused by a computer problem.

Transmission issues aren't always expensive to repair.  Sometimes there may be a leak in a hose or gasket.  Or a computer needs to be reset.  Other issues may be much more involved.  This is why it's important to get your vehicle checked out when you do notice something doesn't feel, look, shift or smell quite right.  Everyone wants their automatic transmission to be a smooth operator.

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



Alleviate the Creaks and Squeaks (Chassis Lubrication)

Posted September 3, 2023 7:03 AM

If your vehicle creaks and squeaks when you drive down the road, it may mean that some of the metal parts are rubbing against each other and need to be lubricated.  Those could be parts of the suspension, steering system and the drivetrain. 

Years ago, most vehicles had to have their chassis (what you think of as the frame) regularly lubricated.  Newer vehicles are made with what some call "lifetime lubrication," but there are still parts of the chassis that need to be maintained with lubricants.  Your service advisor can help you know when that needs to be done.

In your owner's manual, the vehicle's manufacturer lists components that need regular maintenance. Things like u-joints, steering joints, sway bars, bushings and joints in the suspension. Some of them may have that "lifetime lubrication," while others may not. When you bring your vehicle in for service, a technician will look for any parts that have grease fittings.  They will inspect these components, clean the fittings so dirt and other contaminants won't be forced into the part and then lubricate them with a lubricant that meets the manufacturer's specifications. 

Sometimes a chassis lubrication is done at the same time as an oil change.  That's also an ideal time for the technician to check other parts of your vehicle that may need attention.  That could include greasing other parts such as the fuel door, trunk and door hinges, suspension springs and door latches.

Times have changed since the days when a "lube" job was synonymous with an oil change. Depend on your owner's manual and advice from your service advisor to know when "grease" is the word—and appropriate for your vehicle.

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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