It’s the first hot day of the summer. Uncomfortably shifting in your seat, you turn on that long-neglected AC knob, only to discover an unwelcome blast of warm air streaming out from the vents. A bad situation made worse: that’s when you turn to us—your air conditioning service and repair experts. Did you know that without regular maintenance an air conditioner loses about 5% of its original efficiency per year? This means that without proper maintenance, your air conditioning unit may be performing as poorly as other models that are years older! But there is good news: you can still recover most of that lost efficiency. Schedule an appointment with one of our ASE trained professionals—we understand all aspects of AC repair, from modern computerized components to environmental disposal concerns. Today’s AC systems are fairly complex, and new improvements are always being initiated. That’s why you need to turn to us, the qualified source for everything related to your air conditioning system. The following is a brief schematic of some of the basic components that comprise this system.
We can help you choose the right battery for your vehicle and lifestyle. Our staff can safely and professionally install your battery and get you back on the road.
Your car’s electrical system powers everything from the ignition and fuel systems to accessories such as your radio, headlights and wipers. The electrical system is, in turn, powered by the engine. Here are the three key components of the electrical system.
Exposure to heat, vibration and contamination makes belts and hoses wear out faster than any other components in your car. That’s why regular inspections are so important. Here are the belt and hose types in your car, along with their applications.
The brake system is actually composed of two kinds of systems—Hydraulics and Friction Materials. Here’s what happens within these systems between the time your foot hits the brake pedal and your car stops.
Computer-controlled anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are a recently developed safety feature. When sudden stops are made, the ABS prevents wheel lock-up. The system is comprised of wheel-speed sensors that monitor wheel rotation, computer-controlled hydraulics that pulse the brakes on and off rapidly, and the on-board computer.
Your modern vehicle’s engine is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment. The days of your father’s gas-guzzler are long gone—instead, Federal Exhaust Emission and Fuel Economy regulations demand that today’s vehicles be equipped with electronic engine control systems, to curb carbon emissions and increase fuel efficiency. With technically-advanced control systems taking the place of simple engine components, common maintenance services such as tune-ups are also a thing of the past. Regular services (such as spark plug and filter replacements) are still required, as well as a computerized analysis of your vehicle’s control computer. Our factory-trained technicians are here to provide these basic services.
Here’s how your modern vehicle’s control computer operates:
A network of sensors and switches convert and monitor engine operating conditions into electrical signals. The computer receives this information, and, based on information and instructions coded within this savvy computer program, commands are sent to three different systems: ignition, fuel, and emission control. Whenever a problem arises (as seen by that nagging “check engine” light), our service pros check whatever command is prompted, in addition to the status of your engine control computer and sensors. That way you’ll know if your vehicle’s performance is caused by a real problem, or just a sensor/computer issue.
What Our ASE Certified Technicians Do
The following components are inspected. Their condition is recorded and compared to manufacturer’s specs. Recommendations are made per the Motorist Assurance Program Uniform Inspection Guidelines:
- Interior controls and blower
- Radiator coolant level, hoses, pressure cap and thermostat
- The A/C compressor belt for condition and tension
- Leaks or other damage
- Component condition, leaks or damage
The axle on your vehicle is the structural component that connects two wheels together on opposite sites. It’s a load-bearing assembly that acts like a central shaft, maintaining the position of the wheels relative to each other and to the vehicle body. The construction of your axle is designed according to what your vehicle is built for; trucks and off-road vehicles are equipped with axles that keep the wheel positions steady under heavy stress (ideal for supporting heavy loads), while conventional axles are constructed for the needs of the general consumer. But no matter what you drive, remember that your vehicle’s axle must bear the weight of your vehicle (plus any cargo) and the acceleration forces between you and the ground. So when it comes to axle inspection, we are your source for professional, knowledgeable service—essential for the equipment that carries you and your family to wherever you need to go
A program designed to periodically check vehicle emissions to ensure they are within limits. Often referred to as an I/M (Inspection/Maintenance) program, they are used in numerous states and areas as required by the Environmental Protection Agency to improve air quality in those areas. Although the requirement comes from the federal government, states and their associated agencies have some flexibility in the type of test used, vehicle populations to be tested and other program-specific details. Some states run centralized programs that have state-contracted test stations exclusively dedicated to testing. Other states run decentralized programs, where emissions can be tested at local repair facilities. In a few cases, states may run “hybrid” programs using both centralized and decentralized test stations. The latest trend is to incorporate the use of second-generation onboard diagnostics (OBDII) into these programs, in many cases altogether eliminating the need for tailpipe emissions tests.
Your exhaust system is more than a muffler. It is a series of pipes that run under your car, connected to your muffler and catalytic converter. The main function of your exhaust system is to control noise and to funnel exhaust fumes away from passengers.
In some ways, a car’s exhaust system works like a chimney on your house, directing the byproducts from burning fuel away from the people inside. A car’s exhaust system routes waste gases from the engine to the rear of the car, where they are discharged into the atmosphere. Exhaust gases contain dangerous substances such as carbon monoxide, which can be hazardous if allowed to flow into the passenger housing of the car.
The exhaust system also converts pollutants into less harmful byproducts, reduces the noise of the engine, and directs exhaust gases so they can be used to heat air and fuel before they go into the engine’s cylinders to be burned. Finally, the exhaust system provides just the right amount of backpressure into the engine to improve its fuel-burning efficiency and increase performance.
Check the owner’s manual to see if your driving habits are considered to be “severe service.” This type of driving requires more frequent oil changes, warns the Car Care Council. Have the oil changed accordingly, usually every 3-5,000 miles. For less wear and tear on the engine, drivers in cold climes (sub-zero driving temperatures) should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30. Your mom and dad would probably suggest simply moving to someplace warmer.
Description: The typical oil filter consists of a high-strength steel housing containing various types of filtering media. An anti-drainback valve prevents oil from running out of the filter when the engine is off. Today’s oil filters have a convenient spin-on design that makes removal and installation easy.
Purpose: The oil filter sifts out contaminants, allowing the oil to flow through the engine unrestricted. Should the oil filter become restricted or clogged with contaminants, they will flow around the filter. This bypassing is a safety mechanism, but you never want to let oil and filter changes go so long that bypassing takes place.
Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: For best results, consult your owner’s manual, but consider that your driving probably constitutes a severe maintenance schedule. Usually, this means oil and filter changes every 3,000 miles or 3 months. If you change the filter yourself, dispose of it properly. Take used filters to a facility that accepts them. Used filters can be crushed, removing the used oil and the steel part of the filter can be recycled. The oil from one used, seemingly innocent filter leaking into a landfill can taint 62,000 gallons of ground water.
Content provided by Car Care Alliance
Suspension and Steering Systems
The primary function of your cars suspension and steering systems is to allow the wheels to move independently of the car, while keeping it “suspended” and stable. Any play or uncontrolled motion in these systems results in a deterioration of handling and accelerated tire wear. Vehicle alignment is closely tied to the condition of the suspension and steering systems.
Worn or loose components affect the ability to control the toe angle, and may result in a loss of directional stability and accelerated tire wear.
Worn or loose components affect the suspension systems ability to control motion and alignment angles, resulting in a deterioration of vehicle handling and stability, and accelerated tire wear.
Description: Tire rotation refers to the regular practice of switching the position of each tire on the car.
Purpose: Tire rotation helps to equalize tread wear and is critical to gain the maximum life from your tire investment.
Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended rotation interval and pattern; generally a rotation interval of 6,000 miles is recommended. The rotation pattern varies with different makes and models, which shows the tire locations during rotation. Some vehicles have different size tires on the front and back or directional tires. This limits the locations that a tire may take on the vehicle. When in doubt, check the owner’s manual or consult a professional technician for guidance. Tire rotation time also offers a good opportunity to have the tires and wheels balanced. It’s another step you can take to maximize your tire investment.
Content provided by Car Care Alliance
For those of you who aren’t mechanically-savvy, you probably still understand that transmission problems are among the most expensive repairs required for your vehicle. That’s because your transmission is a complex system of gears that transmit mechanical power to your engine, ultimately determining the rate of speed you travel. Transmissions convert this power from the engine so that it can supply high torque at low speeds, in addition to selecting which gears are appropriate based on the driving conditions. This is especially true with automatic transmissions—by far the most popular transmissions found in the US. Rather than using a clutch to engage the transmission, automatic transmissions use a torque converter (between the engine and transmission) to control the number of gears when driving. Supplying the power to regulate gear action is a demanding task, which is why it’s important for you to contact us, your transmission service specialists.
Wheel alignment is the position of the wheels relative to your car. When properly aligned, the wheels point in the right direction. Without proper alignment, the wheels resist your steering commands, as well as each other. Alignment also affects gas mileage and tire wear. If your tires are pointed in different directions, they fight against each other and can cause tread wear.
Computerized alignment equipment is used to measure all alignment angles on today’s cars. These include both adjustable and non-adjustable angles.
Often confused with wheel alignment, a properly balanced wheel is a beautiful, perfectly tuned wheel-tire combination. This is accomplished by placing measured lead weights on the opposite side of the “heavy spot”—the noticeable tread wear on your unbalanced tire.
How do I know if I need my wheels balanced?
Is your vehicle vibrating at certain speeds, say, between 50 and 70 mph? If so, chances are your wheel is out of balance. One section of your tire is heavier than the other because it’s endured more exposure to the friction and heat of the road. Come in for prompt, professional service—most people are very satisfied with the difference such a simple and inexpensive procedure makes. Look for these signs, and if you find either one, come see us:
- Scalloped, erratic wear pattern on tires.
- Vibration in steering wheel, seat, or floorboard at certain speeds.