Uh Oh…My Check Engine Light Is On

March 30th, 2017

So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.

What does it mean?Check Engine Light

Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.

The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. Whe ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Driving Safely in the Springtime

March 20th, 2017
Now that winter is over, did you think that the weather would no longer affect your driving? Well, you aren’t in the clear yet. The warm spring rains can make springtime driving almost as dangerous as driving in the snow and ice.
  Posted in: Tires 101

Is Your Car “Rain Safe”?

February 27th, 2017
Two of the most important keys to keeping your car “rain safe” are wipers and tires. For many people, driving on a rainy day is more hazardous than driving in winter weather. According to the American Automobile Association, wet road surfaces contribute to nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes each year. In fact almost 50 percent of weather-related crashes happened during rainfall, but just 17 percent happened, while it was snowing or sleeting. These statistics can be partially explained, of course, by the fact that many drivers have the good sense to stay home during a bad winter weather. But the statistics also reflect a sobering truth: Drivers often do not respect the rain, and they fail to adjust their driving habits to hazardous conditions.
  Posted in: Car Care Tips

Conventional Oil Changes vs. Synthetic Oil Changes

January 17th, 2017
If you’ve ever gotten your car’s oil changed, you may have been asked if you would like a synthetic blend or full-synthetic oil change, instead of a conventional oil change. Though you have probably heard the terminology before, you may not be sure exactly what it is or, more importantly, it might be a good thing for your car.
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Winter Driving Tips

December 12th, 2016
When temperatures fall below freezing and precipitation makes roads slippery, driving can be both stressful and dangerous. Motorists should know what they can do to remain safer when winter driving is a necessity as well as how to deal with winter road emergencies.
  Posted in: Tire Basics

The Scariest Pumpkins Ever

October 24th, 2016
Everyone dreads looking down at their dash and seeing a warning light. But do you know what they indicate, if they show up?
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

What's Leaking From My Car?

July 14th, 2016
You go out to your car, start it up, pull out of your parking space and see a puddle of...something...where you were parked a moment ago. This is never a good feeling. What could it be? 
 
Fortunately, some automotive fluids are dyed different colors to make this a little easier to narrow down. 
 
Does it appear to be water? Were you recently running your A/C? Chances are that's just condensation from the A/C system, which drips out through a rubber tube and is perfectly normal. No worries there. 
 
For years, antifreeze was dyed a bright green to make it easy to identify. Today, other antifreeze formulations can be colored pink or orange, but it's still not hard to figure out -- antifreeze has a sw ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

A/C Problems Demystified

June 30th, 2016

Believe it or not, the A/C system in your vehicle is fairly simple in principle and design. Like your refrigerator, it operates on a cycle of compression and expansion of a gas, known as refrigerant. The compressor turns the gas into a liquid, and as the gas evaporates it provides cooling. Like your refrigerator, its main components are: 
 
  • Compressor
  • Condenser 
  • Receiver/dryer
  • Thermostatic expansion valve
  • Evaporator
  • Refrigerant
  • Blower 
The good news is most automotive A/C systems have become very robust and reliable compared to cars from a generation ago. Most of the time, poor performance is due to low refrigerant levels due to le ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101