AUTONET TV


Archive for July 2022

Passing the Test (How to Prevent Emissions Test Failure)

Posted July 31, 2022 11:45 AM

Vehicle emission testing has become ubiquitous in North America and for a good reason.  Clean air quality is important for the environment and all of us.  Since vehicle emissions are among the main causes of air pollution, emission testing can alert you to problems in your vehicle than can be fixed so it won't needlessly pollute.

Emissions tests are looking for certain toxic gases internal combustion engines produce, such as nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, non-methane organic gases and formaldehyde.  Emissions control systems reduce these gases if they are working properly. 

The best way to minimize pollution is to keep those vehicle systems working properly, and periodic inspection and maintenance is the key.  So if you want to make sure your vehicle will pass an emissions test, it helps to know what might go wrong.

Let's start on the easy one.  Your gas cap could be loose, allowing vapors to escape into the atmosphere.  The most common solution is to replace it.  Or your air filter may be dirty.  A dirty air filter may push your hydrocarbons pass the acceptable level.

Now to the more complicated things.  The mixture of fuel and air in your engine may be tilted toward the "too much fuel" side.  That could cause problems for your vehicle's catalytic converter, a device that converts toxic gases from your exhaust into less toxic pollutants.

Your vehicle has a closed system that prevents fuel tank vapors from escaping into the air; it's called the EVAP system.  A technician can track down problems.

Vehicle engineers have gone to great lengths to minimize the amount of pollution your vehicle produces.  Your vehicle's manufacturer recommends how frequently those systems need servicing.  Keep those systems in good shape and you're likely to pass emissions tests with flying colors.  Neglect them and you might find your vehicle failing an emissions test.  When that happens, you'll have to get the problems repaired before you can get back on the road.

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



Breathe New Life into Your Engine (MAF sensor replacement)

Posted July 24, 2022 9:34 AM

If you’ve noticed your vehicle is hard to start, stalling, or has lost power, the culprit may be a part with an odd name: the MAF sensor.  You may have never even heard of a MAF sensor, but it’s important that it be working correctly, or you may be experiencing some fairly significant engine issues.

All vehicles bring in air and direct it through an air filter before it goes into your engine, where it mixes with fuel to provide power to get you going. There’s a tube-like device with a sensor inside it that measures how much of that mass of air is passing through. That’s why it’s called a mass air flow sensor, or MAF sensor.  If the MAF sensor isn’t working right, the engine’s computer can’t figure out the right amount of fuel to mix with it, and your engine may hesitate or stall.  Sometimes this will cause your Check Engine Light to come on, and any time it does that, make sure you have your vehicle checked by a professional, so you’ll know what’s going on.

When you take your vehicle into your service facility, a technician will thoroughly check the system to see just where the problems are.  If your air filter is dirty, your MAF sensor may get dirty too, which might be causing the problems.  You may find your fuel economy isn’t what it used to be either.

There are other things that can cause the same symptoms, too, such as a leak in a vacuum hose. It’s also possible that the electrical connector between the MAF sensor and the engine has broken. 

The technician can use electronic diagnostic equipment to help pinpoint the exact problem or problems, replace worn parts, and test drive your vehicle to make sure it’s working correctly.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your air filter is changed regularly. A dirty air filter can contribute to a MAF sensor failure. One of the big benefits of having your vehicle regularly maintained at one facility, is they know your vehicle. So, they keep track of which of your vehicle’s parts should be periodically replaced before problems develop. 

If you keep clean air heading into your engine, it can help your engine work efficiently, and with the power it was engineered to deliver. Isn’t that a breath of fresh air?

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



Busted! Air Conditioning (Air Conditioning Maintenance)

Posted July 17, 2022 7:19 AM

Your vehicle's air conditioning is something you count on when the weather heats up.  But there's bound to be a day when you turn it on and one of these things happens:

  • Only warm air blows out
  • Cold air starts blowing out but then it turns warm on its own
  • It's not blowing air at all
  • It blows smelly air out

Some people are tempted to try to make the diagnosis—and the repair—on their own.  They think it's just run out of refrigerant and they can pick up a can at a local auto parts store and re-charge it.   If only it was that easy.

A vehicle's air conditioning system is complex and made up of many parts.  A compressor, evaporator, condenser, tubing, hoses, sensors, valves… the list goes on and on.

Each of these components could be the reason for the problem.  It could be a leak that's letting the refrigerant escape, but simply re-charging the system hasn't fixed the problem. You have to find the source of the leak and fix it. Service facilities have a device called a "sniffer" which can sniff out refrigerant chemicals. And they can use black light to locate refrigerant that has an ultraviolet dye in it. 

But often other components wear out; blower motors go bad, resistors blow, tubes clog, compressors fail. And diagnosing that takes training and special equipment you'll find at your service facility.

One other thing to keep in mind.  It's always better to catch any problems in the air conditioning system before it fails. Ask your service advisor about having

the A/C checked as part of the vehicle's maintenance.  That's the cool way to go. 

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



Mercury Rising (Hot Weather Vehicle Concerns)

Posted July 10, 2022 7:34 AM

The heat is on, and your vehicle takes a beating when it is.  Several of your vehicle's systems are under extra stress in hot weather, so here are a few to make sure are getting the care and maintenance they need.

It makes sense that the cooling system is one to make sure is in top shape.  Vehicle breakdowns in summer are often due to a problem with one of the cooling system's components.  Coolant levels have to be up to specs, the ratio of coolant to water must be correct and the hoses, pumps, belts and radiator must all be working properly in order to prevent vehicle overheating.

Summer is also hard on your air conditioning system.  You might find that no air is blowing out of the vents or maybe only hot air is coming out.  Air conditioning equipment is best diagnosed and repaired by a trained and experienced technician.  The problem could be in any number of components, including the condenser, compressor or blower motor.

You may think the battery gets a break in the summer, but heat will shorten the life of your battery more quickly than cold.  Your service facility can analyze the condition of your battery and tell you whether it's healthy or needs replacing.

Tires take a beating in heat, too.  Pavement can be scorching hot, and the sun's rays break down the rubber.  Watch inflation pressure in hot weather, too, since air expands the hotter it gets.  Your technician can check air pressure, tread depth, cupping and other uneven wear and diagnose the source of any problems. 

And don't forget brakes.  One video online says brakes on a car that were driven hard on a track reached temperatures as high as 500°C/932°F.  Heat can reduce stopping power.  A technician should periodically inspect pads, rotors, drums, lines and other components to find a problem before you lose the ability to stop.

Finally, engine oil is really put to the test when it gets hot.  Your vehicle service facility will make sure you have enough oil and the proper kind to keep your engine's components properly lubricated.  Help your vehicle beat the heat.

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



Tire or Re-Tire? (Getting Tires Ready for Hot Weather)

Posted July 3, 2022 10:38 AM

Heat isn't easy on vehicle tires, and as the seasons change, make sure yours are ready to take the heat. 

Let's talk first about inflation.  Heat causes air to expand, so heat alone can raise the pressure in your tires.  If you are driving on overinflated tires, they won't have as much contact with the road surface.  In that case, it will take you a longer distance to stop.

On the other hand, you don't want your tires to be underinflated during hot weather, either.  That can cause your sidewalls to flex.  Friction will then hike up the temperature and your tire can be in danger of blowing from the added heat.

Other things can cause problems, such as uneven wearing.  Your service advisor knows the signs to look for and can diagnose where the wear is and what is likely causing it.  Another thing a technician will look for on tires is tread depth and the condition of the sidewalls.  Any cuts, cracks or bulges could be indications that your tire is not healthy. 

Oh, and one other thing.  Your tires could have plenty of tread left on them but still be dangerous.  And that is because rubber ages, gets brittle and cracks after time.  (Ever run across an old rubber band in a drawer that has never been used but breaks the second you try to stretch it? 'Nuff said.) Some tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires after 6 years of their manufacturing date.  Your service advisor can read a manufacturing code and tell you how old your tires are. 

Tire manufacturer Michelin used to have an ad slogan that said, "Because so much is riding on your tires." That includes you and your passengers.  Always keep healthy tires on your vehicle and make sure they're ready for whatever season it is.

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



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