In today’s auto care blog, we are focusing on battery maintenance. Eventually your car battery will fail and you will need to replace it. In fact, 70% don’t even make it four years. There are some things car owners can do, however, to make their battery last a little longer.
It’s all about the flow of electrical power. When you start your vehicle, the battery uses power to get your engine cranking. As your engine runs, your alternator generates electricity to run all your electrical systems: like lights, a half dozen computers, anti-lock brake system, traction control, power windows, electronic fuel injectors, stability control, air conditioning, transmission servos – the list goes on. Any leftover electricity goes to recharge your sedan battery. Then you turn on your radio and seat heaters; maybe plug in your cell phone and computer; the kids watch a DVD and pretty soon there isn’t much extra electricity to go back into the battery.
Most people ignore their tires, yet tires are undoubtedly a critical safety component on a vehicle. Where the rubber meets the road affects traction, handling, steering, stability and braking. Because of this, a sudden tire failure can have serious consequences, especially if it occurs when operating at high speeds.
- Nearly 250,000 accidents occur in the United States per year due to low tire pressure.
- About 75 % of roadside flats are preceded by a slow leak or under inflation.
- According to a recent survey, America could reduce its fuel consumption by 10 % and save a collective $2 billion a year by keeping tires properly inflated.
- NHTSA estimates that tire pressure monitoring systems could prevent as many as 79 deaths and 10,365 injuries each year in the United States.
It’s easy for auto owners to take power steering for granted – you spin the steering wheel and your car turns. But behind the scenes your power steering is making it easy. The vast majority of vehicles on the road today have hydraulic power steering systems, which means that pressurized fluid is used to help you do the work of steering. A pump pressurizes the power steering fluid to provide the boost you need. In some auto owners’ vehicles the pump is driven by the serpentine belt, in other there’s an electric pump.
All of us have those days when we’ve got a bunch of errands to run. Suppose on your day off you need to get gas, pick up some groceries, swing by your ATM and get the kids from school. Now you could make four trips, but that would be a waste of time and money – totally inefficient. Instead you get organized and hit the ATM first and get some gas next. Then you go to the supermarket and pick up the kids on the way home. Way better use of your time.
Hello drivers, lets talk about fuel. Fuel, whether gasoline or diesel, is delivered to your car, truck, SUV, minivan, or fleet vehicle engine to be burned to generate the power needed to keep you moving. This fuel leaves a residue as it moves through your fuel system. This may not seem like much, but it can cause big problems. Gum and varnish build up inside fuel lines, your throttle body and injectors. It’s like plaque build-up in your arteries – it restricts the free flow of fuel and can even clog your vehicle fuel injectors.
A customer came into the shop with their temperature warning light on with their car over heating and in a panic. After it cooled down, we discovered the water pump was leaking and needed to be replaced. Water pumps do wear out as they pump the coolant that cools the engine while its running. We also checked the radiator hoses, serpentine belt, and tensioner which were okay, but did note that the coolant needed to be changed which many customers do not associate with engine maintenance.
My customers have been asking for more information on synthetic oil and how it affects their engine. Basically the inside of your engine gets really hot because of friction from the moving parts and from burning fuel. Oil lubricates the moving parts to keep them from getting too hot.
The problem comes when oil turns to sludge, which is kind of a thick jelly. Sludge clogs up little passages so that the oil can’t protect parts of the engine. So the two best ways for auto owners to prevent sludge build-up is to always change their oil on schedule; and to use synthetic oil.
This is a common scene played out all around America: You pull off the highway and find yourself with a choice of gas stations. While you're almost guaranteed to see at least one nationally recognized brand waiting by the off-ramp, there might also be Brand X, selling gas for maybe 10 or 20 cents per gallon less.
Just like that, you’re on the horns of a dilemma. Saving money is fun―but you're left to wonder whether opting for the cheaper gas will harm your engine. Does cheaper gas equate to substandard fuel? Here, we debunk the myths surrounding cheaper fuel.