Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is your vehicle in good shape for summer?

It is now summer, the time for vacations and lots of car travel. Car travel has been going up in popularity the past few years, with Americans choosing to spend their leisure time driving to some of the great spots in the United States. Getting your vehicle ready for such a road trip during the hot weather can make a vacation much more stress-free. This is most important for vehicles with more than 80,000 miles and those that have not had good preventive care. The most important focus should be the cooling system, one of the largest systems in your vehicle. Your repair shop should pay special attention to the water pump, radiator, all the hoses and other parts of the system. Newer vehicles include a lot of plastic in the cooling system that gets brittle with age. If one plastic part breaks, it is a good idea to replace all of the plastic components of the cooling system at once. This includes many water pumps, which have plastic impellers. If your vehicle is overheating on the road ... read more

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Characteristics of the Ideal Car

I was asked this as a question by a reader of the Register Guard. I’m always looking for new ideas, so thanks Joe for this idea. People often ask me what the ideal vehicle is and the answer is always easy. It depends on a lot of priorities. Is it basic transportation that you want great fuel mileage and dependability? Is a vehicle part of your ego, want to impress people with want you drive. How many people do you want to carry? Do you need to haul loads that would call for a PU truck? Do you like to go around corners fast and take it to autocrosses? The most important item to remember is that NO vehicle is made that is going to have everything you want. Go for what you are going to use it for 85% of the time. If you have two cars in the household, make sure that you have different vehicles such as one that holds a lot and the other that’s fun to drive. I personally love to get a vehicle fully loaded with all the great new gadgets and that is recommended by Consumer Reports. Both ... read more

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Check engine light system – helps maintain clean air

Check engine light system – helps maintain clean air

The biggest challenge in the auto repair and service department is the check-engine light (which often reads “service engine soon”). Most folks think you simply hook up a scanner and it will tell you what is wrong with the vehicle. Actually, it won’t. It will, however, tell you where to start looking. One great example of this is a Jeep we worked on in our shop. It was giving us fault codes for a device called the oxygen sensor, which acts as a “final check” to see if your vehicle’s exhaust is really clean. Oxygen sensors even measure the pre-catalyst and post-catalyst exhaust to see if the catalytic convertor is doing its job. Many problems will cause an oxygen sensor fault code even when the sensor is doing its job. In this particular Jeep, an exhaust leak allowed extra oxygen to enter the exhaust gases, which triggered the check-engine light. Believe me, these are very complicated systems. The check-engine light, part of a system called OBD2 (onboard diagnostics, second generation) ... read more

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