AUTONET TV


Archive for August 2020

See the Light (Automatic High Beam Dimmers)

Posted August 30, 2020 12:01 PM

It's happened to all of us.  We're driving down a highway at night and over a crest appears a car with its high beams blazing.  You are momentarily blinded, hoping the other driver will switch them to their low beam setting and restore your vision.

Not only do we not appreciate being blinded, face it; we don’t want to be that other driver, either.  You know, the one who forgets to turn down their high beams.

Why do we want high beams in the first place? They can improve safety when used correctly, giving drivers more reaction time since they can see farther down the road.  But research has found many drivers either don't use them or, when they do, they frequently forget to switch to low beams.  Enter the automatic high-beam dimmer.

The quest for the perfect one began back in the 1950s, General Motors invented something it called the "Autronic Eye." It was a phototube which sat on the dashboard and turned down your beams when it saw other headlights.  While touted as being the biggest advance in night driving safety in 30 years, it didn't work all that well.  But as technology got more advanced, systems improved.

Today's automatic high beam dimmers usually have a camera in the rear view mirror (pointing forward).  When the camera sees lights, software in the system's computer attempts to determine the source of the light, whether it is an oncoming vehicle, taillights, ambient city lights, street lights or the reflection off of a street sign.  It then adjusts the headlights to operate high beams if appropriate or a less-blinding mode if they’re not.

Some automakers are striving to make their headlight systems smarter and safer by developing lamps that can avoid blinding oncoming drivers by means other than simply dimming them. One idea? Splitting the beams so they will block just the portion that shines into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

It's a long way from the Autronic Eye. 

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



Don't Start with That (Bad Starter Motor)

Posted August 23, 2020 9:37 AM

We've all heard that expression, "That's a non starter." When it comes to your vehicle, that's not music to a driver's ears. That sickening sound when you start the ignition and instead of hearing the engine crank, you hear it slowly turn over and your dash lights go dim. 

There can be many reasons a vehicle won't start, so here's a little history of how the starter came to be an important component of modern vehicles.

You have to move the engine's components to start it. The first cars had a crank that the driver would insert into the front, then start turning things over by hand.  When the engine started, you had to release that crank immediately or risk a broken arm.  Yes, it happened many times.  So, they came up with a better idea: an electric starter, which was a big advance in automotive technology.

With this system, an electric motor rotated a series of gears that turned the gasoline engine's crankshaft so its pistons and parts moved and the engine drew in air.  While this happened, electricity went to the spark plugs and fuel headed to the cylinders.  When the gasoline engine caught, the starter quickly disengaged. Hey, no more broken arms!

Modern systems use the same principle, so when your vehicle won't start, here are a few things to look out for that might point to the starter. 

If the engine turns over s-l-o-w-l-y, it may mean the electric starter motor may just be wearing out and doesn't have enough cranking power.  Bushings, brushes, wire windings and a special switch called a commutator may be going bad.

If when you engage the ignition you hear a faint click, that could be a symptom one or more of the starter's components have failed. If you hear a loud click, it could mean that an electrical switch called a solenoid may not be switching the motor on.

If you hear your engine start to turn over but then it stops and is followed by a grinding sound, some gears may not be meshing the way they should.

There may be many more causes (bad alternator, relay, battery, engine, key fob), so this is when it's time to turn it over to your service facility.  Sometimes they can send out their own tow truck or recommend a reputable towing company.

But it's best not to let it get to this point.  Starter problems often give you advance warning that there is a problem with "almost" not starting or "almost" not turning over.  So when you see that very first sign, "start" on over to talk this one over with your service advisor.  The opposite of a "non-starter" is a starter, and that is music to anyone's ears.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



The Light Nobody Wants to See (Check Engine Light)

Posted August 16, 2020 11:45 AM

You've probably had your Check Engine Light go on.  Then it goes off and you figure, hey, whatever the problem was, it's gone now and I don't have to worry about it.  Well, the problem may have gone away and it may not have.

Your vehicle likely has one of these warning lights on the instrument panel: an amber light that looks like an engine or reads "Check Engine" or "Service Vehicle Soon."  If that light comes on and stays on, it usually means there's something amiss but not urgently in need of service.  (Now if it's blinking, that's another story that we'll deal with in a minute.)

Sometimes when it comes on and stays steadily lit, the problem will go away and the light will go out.  Sometimes it will stay on until you get the problem fixed.  Either way, the engine's computer will store a code that can provide clues to what's not working—or wasn't working—the way it's supposed to.

If you are just dying to know what that code is, you can buy a little code reader or take your vehicle to an auto parts store and they'll read it.  Problem is, the code offers so many options that unless you are a trained technician, you probably won't have a clue what those codes mean. 

So if you want to be sure, take it to your vehicle repair facility and have them check it.  Technicians are trained to decipher the codes and, using their experience and other diagnostic equipment, can get to the root of the problem and fix it. 

As we mentioned before, if that Check Engine light comes on and is blinking, it means a more serious engine malfunction that can damage expensive components such as the catalytic converter and even the engine itself.  It's important to have that checked by a professional as soon as possible. 

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



A Honking Big Jam (Stuck Horn)

Posted August 9, 2020 12:29 PM

At one time or another, most drivers honk their horn at someone who might be texting at a stoplight or not paying attention when they're driving.  But what happens when you tap on your horn and all of a sudden it won't quit? Everyone's looking at you like you're an angry jerk and all you want to do is turn it off!

It helps to know the basics of what's happening when you honk your horn.  There's a switch in the steering wheel, of course, and when you press on it, it sends power to a relay which then energizes the horn.  Bingo.  Sound.  When the horn sticks on, one of these parts or the wiring has developed a problem. 

With the ear-splitting noise inside your cabin, it may be hard to keep your cool, but do your best to stay calm.  Try pushing the horn several times; it may un-stick the switch if you're lucky.  If not, there are a couple of things you can try.

First, if you can, pull your vehicle off the road and into a spot where you're not disrupting traffic.  If you feel comfortable rummaging around in your vehicle's fuse box, you might be able to pull the fuse that manages the circuit for your horn system.  A hint: the fuse boxes sometimes have a label inside showing which fuse goes to which part of the vehicle. Find the fuse that goes to the horn and pull it out (sometimes there's a fuse-pulling tool inside the fuse box).

But many people don't feel like tackling that.  Yes, you can drive over to a service facility with the horn blaring (not the best idea).  Or call your service facility and see if they might be able to send someone over to where you are so they can shut off the horn.

At the shop, a technician can check wiring, switches, relays and other components to find out what's wrong.  This is something that should be left to a professional for a couple of reasons.  First, repairs around the steering wheel can involve airbags.  Second, some horn components may be part of a vehicle's alarm system. 

The bad news is that your horn may not give you any warning before it starts blaring uncontrollably.  But the good news is that a horn doesn't malfunction all that often, and now you have a plan if it does.    

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



Taking the Heat (Heater Hose Maintenance/Repair)

Posted August 2, 2020 7:11 AM

If you have an internal combustion vehicle, you know it has a lot of hoses that carry various fluids.  And if you have a heater in your vehicle, you'll have heater hoses.

A heater hose connects to and from the engine so some coolant can be circulated through a little radiator called a heater core.  In cold weather, that heater core acts as a heat exchanger to heat up your cabin.

Even in the hot weather, the heater hoses can prove problematic.  That's because they may remain pressurized even though you're not running your heater.  Heater hoses are made out of tough materials since they must handle heat and pressure.  But even the durable rubber, plastic and metal they are made out of can crack or leak from years of use.  That means coolant can be sprayed out into the engine compartment or leak onto a driveway or garage floor. 

You may be able to see a puddle of coolant under your vehicle or perhaps smell the odor of the coolant under the hood.  Some say it has a sweet smell.  Another sign coolant may be leaking out of the heater hoses is your engine may be running hotter.   You'll be able to tell by watching the heat gauge on your dash.  Let's say your heat gauge usually points just slightly below halfway between the C and H (Cold and Hot) of the heat gauge.  But now it is just slightly above.  That's enough to tell you that the coolant temperature has gone up a little, a possible sign of trouble.

This is a good time to swing by your service facility and have them take a look. If they catch the leak when it's small, it's a relatively simple matter of draining the coolant, replacing the hoses and replacing the coolant.  Sometimes, though, a heater hose can suddenly burst and a lot of coolant can leak out quickly.  That can, in turn, cause your engine to start to overheat.  In that case, you may see your vehicle's temperature gauge shoot up pretty quickly.  Then it's best to pull over and have your car towed to a repair facility since driving with no coolant can cause severe engine damage.

Preventative maintenance is your best insurance against heater hose problems.  A technician will periodically check for any signs of cracks or leaks.  You should expect to replace a heater hose at least once during the time you own your vehicle.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



Search



Archive

November 2011 (5)
December 2011 (4)
January 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
March 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
May 2012 (4)
June 2012 (5)
July 2012 (5)
August 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
October 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
December 2012 (4)
January 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
March 2013 (4)
April 2013 (4)
May 2013 (4)
June 2013 (4)
July 2013 (5)
August 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
October 2013 (4)
November 2013 (4)
December 2013 (5)
January 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
April 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
August 2014 (4)
September 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
November 2014 (4)
December 2014 (5)
January 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
March 2015 (4)
April 2015 (5)
May 2015 (2)
June 2015 (6)
July 2015 (4)
August 2015 (4)
September 2015 (4)
October 2015 (5)
November 2015 (4)
December 2015 (3)
February 2016 (2)
March 2016 (4)
April 2016 (4)
May 2016 (5)
June 2016 (4)
July 2016 (5)
August 2016 (4)
September 2016 (4)
October 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
December 2016 (4)
January 2017 (5)
February 2017 (4)
March 2017 (4)
April 2017 (4)
May 2017 (4)
June 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
August 2017 (5)
September 2017 (3)
October 2017 (5)
November 2017 (4)
December 2017 (3)
January 2018 (5)
February 2018 (3)
March 2018 (4)
April 2018 (5)
May 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
July 2018 (5)
August 2018 (4)
September 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
November 2018 (4)
December 2018 (1)
March 2019 (3)
April 2019 (33)
May 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
August 2019 (4)
September 2019 (5)
October 2019 (4)
November 2019 (4)
December 2019 (5)
January 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
March 2020 (5)
April 2020 (2)
May 2020 (2)
July 2020 (1)
August 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
October 2020 (4)
November 2020 (5)
December 2020 (4)
January 2021 (6)
February 2021 (4)
March 2021 (4)
April 2021 (4)
May 2021 (5)
June 2021 (4)
July 2021 (4)
August 2021 (4)
September 2021 (4)
October 2021 (5)
November 2021 (3)
December 2021 (5)
January 2022 (6)
February 2022 (4)
March 2022 (4)
April 2022 (4)
May 2022 (5)
June 2022 (4)
July 2022 (5)
September 2022 (4)
October 2022 (5)
November 2022 (4)
December 2022 (4)
January 2023 (5)
February 2023 (4)
March 2023 (4)
April 2023 (5)
May 2023 (4)
June 2023 (4)
July 2023 (5)
August 2023 (4)
September 2023 (3)
October 2023 (1)
January 2024 (1)
February 2024 (4)
April 2024 (1)
May 2024 (4)

Categories

Older Vehicles (4)Tires and Wheels (42)Cooling System (20)Tire Rotation and Balancing (4)Service Intervals (9)Fuel System (48)Maintenance (60)Cabin Air Filter (8)Timing Belt (6)Drive Train (10)Fluids (19)Service Standards (13)Transmission (11)Air Conditioning (18)Parts (8)Monitoring System (3)Inspection (11)Automotive News (11)Dashboard (3)Shocks & Struts (10)Safety (7)Steering (15)Wheel Bearings (2)Alignment (17)Fuel Economy (11)Battery (20)Windshield Wipers (9)Tire Pressure Monitoring System (1)Brakes (23)Exhaust (12)Headlamps (7)Winter Prep (7)Check Engine Light (6)Diesel Maintenance (2)Engine Air Filter (2)Diagnostics (5)Keys to a long lasting vehicle (4)Differential Service (3)Suspension (3)Serpentine Belt (6)Auto Safety (6)Emergency Items (1)Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down (2)What Customers Should Know (81)Trip Inspection (4)Alternator (6)Oil Change (7)Customer Detective Work (1)Safe Driving (1)Spark Plugs (2)Tires (10)Winter Tires (1)Water Pump (2)TPMS (3)Fuel Pump (1)Brake Service (4)PCV Valve (2)Transfer Case Service (1)Shocks and Struts (1)

Partners

BG Products
ASA (Automotive Service Association)
AC Delco Professional Service Center
ASE
Napa AutoCare Center
Interstate Batteries
Castrol Engine Oil
Car Care Aware

What our clients are saying about us

We have established longterm and stable partnerships with various clients thanks to our excellence in solving their automotive needs!

Absolutely the best mechanic I have ever been to in my 40 years on this planet. Honest, trustworthy, and reliable. I will definitely be back. quotes-image
reviewicon
These Guys (and Gals!) are great. Love them. Trust them. If you are looking for a REPUTABLE mechanic for your car or truck, look no more. Just go there and see what I mean.quotes-image
reviewicon