Yearly Archives: 2024

Slipping into Fall (Driving with ABS Brakes)

As the weather changes over from hot to colder, drivers will have to deal with more slippery streets.  And it's important to know how to drive with the brakes you have on your vehicle.  In the 1970s, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) started to be installed on vehicles and they've been a game changer for drivers.  Most modern vehicles have ABS and it's important to know how to drive with them. In older vehicles without ABS, the driver applies the brakes by pushing down the pedal.  That, in turn, sends braking pressure to all four wheels at once.  But all four tires don't have the same traction because the road surface they're each on isn't exactly the same. ABS allows sensors to determine when particular wheels are slowing down more quickly.  The ABS then reduces braking pressure to the wheels that are about to lock up.  That way the wheel turns and the tires keep some grip. (You have to have grip to stop.) It's kind of what drivers try to achieve when ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Losing Your Cool (Why is My Air Conditioning System Not Working?)

When you turn on the air conditioning in your vehicle, you expect cool air to come out of the vents.  You depend on it, especially in hot weather, but it can also be important in humid weather when you need it to help defrost your windows and windshield. The air conditioning system has a lot of parts to it.  It has fans and blowers to move the air through the vents into the cabin.  It has parts that take hot air and cool it off. An electrical problem can be as simple as a broken switch or a broken blower motor. The air may not be getting cool because a hose in the system is broken or the refrigerant has leaked out.  Two major components are the compressor and the condenser.  The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant, one step in the air conditioning process.  The condenser takes that hot refrigerant and cools it down. It also reduces the pressure. Because the climate control system in your vehicle is so complex, it’s best to leave the diagnosis to a ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Let?s Shift Gears (Transmission Fluid Replacement)

If you have a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you probably never think about gear shifting.  When motor vehicles were invented, all of them had to be shifted manually.  But that wonderful self-shifting transmission, referred to these days as simply an “automatic,” changed everything. Automatic transmissions have a lot of moving parts, and they are bathed in a fluid that keeps them lubricated and cool. That fluid also is vital to the whole gear shifting process.  As you might imagine, the longer that fluid does its job, the more chance it has to pick up some contaminants.  Sometimes a leak will spring up in an automatic transmission.  Dirty transmission fluid or not enough of it will both create problems. It may cause your Check Engine light to come on, or your transmission may run rough and make strange noises. The best strategy is not to let it get to this point.  That means you should have your transmission fluid replaced at regular i ... read more

Categories:

Transmission

Feeling Powerless (Why Is My Battery Light On?)

When one of your vehicle’s warning lights comes on, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Oh, no, what’s wrong now?” When it’s the battery light, it means there’s something wrong with your vehicle’s battery or charging system.  And because both are important for your vehicle to work properly, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.  Here are some things that may cause a battery light to illuminate. It could be that your battery has failed.  It could be on its last legs or completely dead.  When it isn’t showing it has the voltage it should, your vehicle lets you know. If it’s not the battery itself, it could be the system that charges it.  The alternator is part of that system and could have a problem.  It could be putting out no power, too little power, or too much.  The alternator may not be working because the belt that drives it (using the engine’s mechanical power) could be broke ... read more

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Battery

I Want a New Vehicle. Or Do I? (Vehicle Maintenance Payoffs)

Spring is a peak season for vehicle sales; companies aggressively market new models and offer all sorts of incentives.  So you may be tempted to buy a shiny new beauty.  But should you? If you've regularly maintained the vehicle you're driving now, you probably don't NEED a new one.  Even if your current one needs some repairs, how do those costs compare to what you'd spend on a new vehicle? A brand new vehicle starts to depreciate the second you drive it off the lot. How much? Experts say you'll lose half of its value during the first 5 years of owning a new vehicle. So if you pay $30,000 for a new one, you'll lose $15,000 in 5 years.  That's a lot. If you have paid off your current vehicle, think of having to start making car payments again.  Let's say your new payment would be $350 a month.  Bet you can think of a lot of things you can buy with an extra $350 a month. Many considering a new vehicle don't factor how much their insurance and license tag fe ... read more

Categories:

Inspection

Catalytic Converter Replacement

Many of us have become aware of how important it is to keep our planet’s air clean, and your vehicle has a key component that helps do just that: the catalytic converter.  It’s in the exhaust system, and its job is to superheat unburned, harmful byproducts in the exhaust, so they don’t get spewed out into the atmosphere. There’s another important purpose the catalytic converter has: it improves your vehicle’s efficiency.  Most of us don’t give the catalytic converter much thought until it breaks or someone steals yours, something that’s been happening much more frequently in recent years.  The reason people steal them is that catalytic converters use precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium to do their job. So, they contain valuable materials thieves can sell. The most likely reason you will have to replace your catalytic converter is age.  The more distance your vehicle travels and the more hours your engine ... read more

Categories:

Exhaust
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