Friday, January 31, 2014

4 Reasons Not to Wait to Check Your "Check Engine" Light

I see it all the time. The customer limps his car in, shaking and shuddering every time he pushes the gas pedal. I could almost write a script - "It seemed to be running OK, then all of a sudden..." After asking a few questions, though, it turns out that it wasn't "all of a sudden."

"Has the check engine light been on long?" I ask. "Well, about a month I guess, but it was running fine so I didn't think anything was wrong", they respond. After checking the codes stored in the computer, it reveals a bad oxygen sensor and a failed catalytic converter, which means for whatever reason the air and fuel entering your engine doesn't burn thoroughly enough, potentially causing gas to enter your exhaust. This gas ignites in the exhaust system, which causes your catalytic converter to melt down, which then plugs the exhaust, which basically means you aren't going anywhere too fast. $800 to $2000 or more later and you're back on the road.

The unfortunate thing is if he had checked it a month earlier, a $200 oxygen sensor may have prevented the problem from getting that bad in the first place.

1. Save yourself a lot of money - your check engine light is called a warning light for a reason. Sometimes you may physically feel a problem, but more often than not you won't. Anything left unattended to could possibly cost you big time down the road. It is true - an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

2. Save yourself a lot of time - I had a fleet customer recently who had a crew driving a work truck several hundred miles to a job. Unbeknownst to him, the check engine light was on the whole time, and eventually caused a major engine failure which required a new engine. Not only did it cost him thousands of dollars, his truck was out of commission for over a week, when it could have originally been fixed in an hour.

3. Save yourself a lot of extra work - in many states, a check engine light is an automatic failure when you go to get an emissions test. Once your car fails, you have to have the problem repaired, and then it has to go through something known as a "drive cycle", which basically means your car has to go through several different conditions to verify it is working properly before the computer resets and allows the emission test to pass. This could take days or weeks, depending on how the car is driven. After all that, you then have to start the process all over by getting it retested at the emission inspection station. Hope it passes this time!

4. Finally, save yourself a lot of stress - I don't know about you, but just the thought of the first three reasons stresses me out. Why not go ahead and bite the bullet, figure out what it's going to take to fix the check engine light, and hopefully save yourself a lot of unnecessary money, time, extra work, and stress!

On a final note, if your check engine light is flashing, that is your cars way of saying, "HEY! you better hurry up! This could be bad!" This typically means you have a severe ignition system misfire, and that could add up to a whole lot of number 1-4, when a simple tune up with new spark plugs and wires (or coil boots, depending on your system) might fix everything.

Don't let your check engine light cause you extra money, time, work or stress. Give us a call or check us out at
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Safe Driving Tip #6:Two Wheels Off the Pavement!

A professional driver explains what to do when two wheels of your vehicle go off the pavement. It's from Ford Motor Company's Driving Skills for Life program, which is designed to help young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60% of teen vehicle crashes, hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed management.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Everything You Could Ever Want To Know About Tire Pressure

With the rising cost of gasoline and no end in sight, people are looking for ways to maximize fuel efficiency to make their dollars go farther. One easy way to increase fuel economy and your car's overall performance is to maintain correct tire pressure. Every car comes with a manufacturer's recommendation on which tires should be used for that vehicle, and what pressure should be your target range.

Inflating your car's tires to the proper psi (pounds per square inch) maximizes driving comfort, tire durability and performance designed to match the needs of their vehicle. Proper tire inflation pressure also maintains the tire's structure through responsiveness, traction and handling. Proper pressure is not usually visible to the naked eye, therefore a gauge is recommended as a standard tool to keep in your glove compartment at all times.


If you tire is leaking air, or is just not inflated as much as needed the life of your tread could be dramatically reduced. Underinflated tires will cause the tire to bend as it rolls, building up internal heat and increasing resistance. This can translate into lower fuel efficiency and a significant loss of steering precision and stability.


Overinflated tires are stiff and less forgiving in nature. Potholes and road debris are more damaging to an overinflated tire. On the other hand, higher inflation offers an improvement in steering precision and stability.

Checking Tire Pressure

The proper time to check tire pressure is first thing in the morning before the tires have been driven on for the day. The manufacturer's recommended pressure is usually a cold tire pressure level, a reading that should be done before the day's rising temperatures.

If you are unable to check your tire pressure before driving for the day, there is a way to figure what your adjusted pressure would be for whatever your circumstance may be. Here are some suggestions:
Afternoon tire check: Try inflating to 2 psi above recommended levels if you are checking the pressure later in the day.

Indoor vs. Outdoor temps: If you store your car indoors overnight, try inflating 1 psi higher than recommended levels for every 10 degrees difference in indoor temperature vs. outdoor temperature.
Driven for short periods: If you have driven a short distance, or have driven less than 45 mph before checking the pressure, set your pressure 4 psi over the recommended level.

A longer drive: For a longer trip or driving at speeds higher than 45 mph before checking your tire pressure, add 6 psi to your recommended level.

One time you should not rely on an accurate pressure reading is after your car has been parked in direct sunlight. Your tires will appear to be overinflated due to the heat absorption from the sun, and pressure cannot be accurately gauged until the car has been out of the sunlight for a while.

In the Winter

Winter tire pressure can be higher than summer tire pressure. A typical recommendation is for tire pressure to be between three and five psi higher than normal tire pressure during the winter months. Winter tires tend to have more aggressive tread designs, softer tread compounds and deeper tread depths so they can be more pliable in the colder winter temperatures. This allows the tires to provide more traction on slippery, snowy roads. Increasing the tire pressure will allow more tire stability and performance responsiveness.

In the Summer

Summertime driving offers fewer weather hazards than winter driving. Therefore, your tires have a different operational performance in the summer. The tread doesn't need to be as deep and it's better for more of the tire to come in contact with the road, allowing more traction. It's not a good idea to overinflate your tires in the warm weather, as that detracts from their traction and fuel efficiency. Remember to measure your pressure first thing in the morning, if you can, so you can get an accurate cold pressure reading.

The best way to keep your tires performing at their best is to use the manufacturer's recommended psi rating located on the vehicle's tire placard or in your owner's manual. Minor adjustments can be made due to circumstances and weather conditions, but is mindful because even just a few psi can make a big difference to your tires and your fuel economy.

by Jason J Junge!
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Minicars Fall Short in Tougher IIHS Front Crash Tests - IIHS News

Minicars fall short for small overlap frontal protection

Only 1 minicar out of 11 tested achieves an acceptable rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test, making these tiny vehicles the worst performing group of any evaluated so far.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Safe Driving Tip #5: Tire Pressure!

A professional driver explains why proper tire pressure is so important -- and how it can save you money at the gas pump. It's from Ford Motor Company's Driving Skills for Life program, which is designed to help young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60% of teen vehicle crashes, hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed management.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Understanding 6 Common Car Brake Problems

The braking system is an important safety aspect of your car. Hence, damaged brakes should be replaced at the earliest. Diagnosing the problems is the key to repair a faulty braking system. This article lists the common problems with car brakes.

Squeals and Screeches

Squealing brakes are the most common and conspicuous problem associated with the braking system. The brakes make sharp, screeching sound when you stop fairly short. This is an indication of worn out, broken or distorted brake shoes and drum. The squealing sound could also be the result of entry of debris in the system or the accumulation of dust on the moving components of the system. Severely damaged pads should be replaced as soon as possible. A grinding sound suggests serious trouble with the braking system.

Pedal Sinks to the Floor

The brake pedal should neither be too firm nor too soft. Many car owners complain that when they step on the pedal, it sinks to the floor, easily. The braking system operates on hydraulic pressure. A pedal that can be easily depressed to the floor indicates a decrease in brake fluid stored in the master cylinder. Check the level of fluid in the master cylinder. Fluids leaks out if the master cylinder is defected or the external seals have worn out. If there is no decrease in the amount of fluid in the master cylinder, the pedal sinks to floor because there is air in the hydraulic system. Driving your vehicle in this condition is unsafe. It should be sent to the mechanic at the earliest.


The brake should release as soon as you take your foot off the pedal. However, many-a-times this doesn't happen and they remain partially engaged. Some of the factors responsible for this problem include a failing master cylinder, forgetting to release the parking brake, misaligned calipers, a broken return spring or a defective proportioning valve.

Partial Loss of Function

This is another dangerous condition when it comes to problems associated with a car's barking system. The brakes are not as effective as they used to be. They travel too far before coming to a halt at high speeds. Lose of partial effectiveness is either due to worn out brake linings, incorrect fluid or an overheating brake drum.

Car Pulls to One Side

If your car pulls to one side when you push the pedal, its braking system needs to examined and fixed. A stuck caliper, fluid leakage from the master cylinder, worn out pads and bad discs are common causes for the car pulling to one side. You should evaluate the problem and fix it at the earliest.

Steering Wheel Shakes

As you cruise down the road your steering wheel suddenly does the wobble the moment you hit the brakes. What caused the sudden vibration? The rotors are the root cause of the problem. Rotors are discs made of metal. Rotors become warped with daily use. Also humidity and rain cause them to rust. When the brake pads clamp down on these imperfect or worn out rotors, the pedal rumbles and the vibrations are transferred to the steering wheel.

By. Eugene T Wallace Visit Our Auto Parts Super Store - At The Below Link.
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Monday, January 13, 2014

1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu IIHS Crash Test

In the 50 years since US insurers organized the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car crashworthiness has improved. Demonstrating this was a crash test conducted between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. In a real-world collision similar to this test, occupants of the new model would fare much better than in the vintage Chevy.

"It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "What this test shows is that automakers don't build cars like they used to. They build them better."

The crash test was conducted at an event to celebrate the contributions of auto insurers to highway safety progress over 50 years. Beginning with the Institute's 1959 founding, insurers have maintained the resolve, articulated in the 1950s, to "conduct, sponsor, and encourage programs designed to aid in the conservation and preservation of life and property from the hazards of highway accidents."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Safe Driving Tip #4: Skid Recovery!

A professional driver gives some important tips on how to recover from a skid from Ford Motor Company's Driving Skills for Life program. It is designed to help young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60% of teen vehicle crashes, hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed management.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Safe Driving Tip #3: Seating Position

A professional driver gives an important tip about seating position from Ford Motor Company's Driving Skills for Life. It is designed to help young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60% of teen vehicle crashes, hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed management.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

"May every day of the new year glow with good cheer and happiness for you and your family"