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Wet Weather Maintenance Tips

Wet Weather Maintenance Tips

Wet Weather

Wet weather, like we have been experiencing lately, can create road hazards and some detrimental effects on our vehicles.  Some things to be aware of when you are driving are potholes.  The ground is so saturated now that potholes are starting to appear more frequently.  If you drive over a pothole, your tires and steering system can be damaged.  The rubber on your tire can be pinched when you hit a large pothole.  While this may not cause an immediate flat or noticeable damage, this will create a weak point in the rubber where it is pinched.  This may cause blistering on the side of the tire.  If the blister ruptures, your tire will rapidly lose air and create an obviously hazardous driving condition.  Make sure to inspect your tires several days after hitting a pothole to make sure a blister does not appear.  A blister cannot be repaired.  If you notice a blister, you should get a new tire as soon as possible.   A large pothole can also throw off the wheel alignment of your vehicle.  If you start to notice that your vehicle is pulling to the right or left when you are driving after hitting a pothole, you should have your alignment checked as soon as possible.  Driving over a pothole can also cause your wheels to go out of balance.  When your wheels are out of balance you will notice a chatter or shimmy in your steering wheel while driving.  If your wheels are out of balance, it creates an unsafe driving condition and additional wear on your tires you should have your wheel balance checked as soon as possible.

An often-overlooked area of vehicle maintenance is your vehicle’s drains.  All vehicles have drains to eliminate water that accumulates from rainfall or having your car washed.  Over time drains can become clogged by dirt, leaves or other debris.  When a drain is clogged, accumulated water cannot exit and will pool in the vehicle creating extra weight and causing rust. If you notice constant wet spots in your vehicle’s carpet, water stains on your door panels, your sun or moon roof is leaking or hear water sloshing around in your vehicle it could be an indication that your vehicle’s drain is clogged, and water is not draining properly.  You should have your drains checked as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, please give the shop a call so we can get your vehicle taken care of and get your back on the road safely.

Fuel System Cleaning Service

Fuel System Cleaning Service

Your car’s heart and lungs are found in its fuel injection and air induction systems.  Over time, these systems clog with unburned fuel that bakes on in the form of carbon deposits.  Modern engines are finely tuned and extremely sensitive to deposits that accumulate on intake valves, intake ports, fuel injectors, and combustion chambers.  As deposits build up, they cause major problems such as power loss, valve damage, increased fuel usage, and hazardous emissions.

     

The throttle body assembly controls the airflow into the intake ports where the air mixes with atomized fuel and swirls into the combustion chamber.  Heavy deposits build up on the back side of the throttle plate, around and behind the plate, and in the idle air control.

A fuel system service removes performance-robbing deposits in the entire fuel system.  It’s important to clean both the fuel and air systems at the same time because each depends on the other, as do the lungs and heart.

To ensure your vehicle is running at its peak performance and fuel efficiency give us a call and we will be happy to schedule you for a Fuel System Cleaning Service.

Happy Fall 2022

 

Happy Fall 2022! 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our valued customers for their support and continued patronage.  These past few years have been challenging with COVID and all the mayhem caused to our normal way of life due to the pandemic.   It is only because of you that we have made it through and can look forward to the coming year with optimism.

As we move into fall and set goals for the new year, I would like to look back at our last year, to some of our success and improvements so that we can provide the best experience for our customers.

Some of the Changes we made are:

  • Full staff of team players that care about their work and their craftsmanship.
  • Group of young talented guys hungry to learn, goal driven and dedicated to providing 100% every day.
  • New service writers have created a workflow system to better evaluate vehicles, communicate with our customers and get vehicles back to their owners ASAP.
  • New tools and software to help us work on all makes and models of vehicles.
  • Extra Lighting in shop and of course portable swamp coolers for those 100 degree days.
  • New A/C machine to perform service on the new 1234A systems and hybrid vehicles.
  • Purchased property at 1922 O Street.

On a sad note, we lost a truly beautiful person, our long-time tech of 20 years Frank Horne.  Frank was loved by all and an inspiration to our young crew.  He will be dearly missed.

Our Goals for 2023

  • Overall building improvements and exterior paint.
  • Teaming up with vendors to put on clinics for our customers here at the shop to learn about the ins and outs of their vehicles.
  • Excessive tech training to stay up to date on all the new technology in today’s modern vehicles.
  • Continued involvement with downtown communities, sponsoring school fundraisers and neighborhood associations and contributing to our local causes
  • Better ourselves to provide over and beyond customer service

Please feel free to reach out and let us know how we can be better.  We're looking forward to 2023, we hope it'll be a great new year for you too!

October - National Car Care Month

October is National Car Care Month

As Fall approaches and the promise of winter nears it is important to make sure that your vehicle is ready to carry you safely to your holiday destinations.  A few simple checks beforehand can ensure your safe travels.

Heating, Wipers & Lights

Test your heater, defroster and windshield wipers to make sure they work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold-weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.

Check to see that all exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.  One way to tell if headlights are correctly aimed is to park the vehicle on a level surface and shine the headlights on a garage door or wall 25 feet ahead (some cars may require a different distance). The top of the low beam shining on the wall should be at or slightly below the height of the center of the headlight lens for most vehicles. You should expect the light pattern to be higher on the right side (passenger side) to illuminate road signs and lower on the driver’s side to prevent blinding other drivers. This should give you a good idea of whether the beams on both sides are aimed correctly.  Another method is to pull the vehicle within 5 feet of the wall and then use masking tape to mark the vertical and horizontal centers of the light beams on the wall. Move the vehicle back 25 feet. With the aid of the tape line, the light beams should be roughly the same height vertically and horizontally.

Tires

Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure of all tires, including the spare. Put a penny in your tire tread grooves with the top of Abe’s head facing down. If you can see the top of his head, that tire is spent and needs to be replaced. Honestly.  During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.  Tire inflation levels are measured in psi (pounds per square inch). Because air pressure can decrease up to 10 psi a month just through every day driving and may potentially drop 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature drop, it’s important to ready your ride.  When tire tread is reduced or your tire pressure is not correct, your vehicle is at greater risk of hydroplaning.  If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.

Wheel Alignment

The most common signs of misalignment are pulling to one side while you're driving, unusual tire wear and/or a steering wheel that's off-center even though your vehicle is pointed straight.  Even the slightest misalignment from hitting potholes and normal wear and tear can lead to premature tire wear – even if your car’s alignment is off by 100th of a degree or inch. When this happens, it can lead to further misalignment and the need to replace your tires sooner than you hoped.

Brakes

Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.  Bad sounds can be signs that your brakes need work. When you push down the brake pedal, do you hear screeching, grinding, rubbing or squealing? These sounds may mean your brake pads need work or your rotors need replacing.  Another sign something is wrong- when you step on the brake pedal and the car doesn’t stop!  Don’t let it get to that point!!!

Gas, Oil & Filters

Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the cold weather to prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and possibly freezing.

Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter.  The “W” in your type of oil stands for “winter.” And the number before the “W” (i.e. SAE 5W30) lets you know how easily this oil will pump at low temperatures. 0W is for very low temperatures, and higher numbers like 10W are designed for milder winter weather. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate.

Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

System Checks – Charging, Cooling & Exhaust

Have the battery and charging system checked, as cold weather is hard on batteries.

Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.

Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Pack the Essentials

Your vehicle should always have an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, extra clothes, bottled water, nonperishable food and a first aid kit with any needed medication.

Coolant Hoses and the Cooling System

The cooling system in your car is what allows your engine to cool off while creating large amounts of heat. It’s composed of the radiator, water pump, radiator cap, cooling fan, heater core, overflow tank, thermostat, hoses, and freeze plug.  The water pump forces coolant through the coolant hoses to passages in the engine block. From there, the coolant hoses send coolant into the radiator and be cooled off before being cycled back through the engine. The thermostat is between your engine and radiator, opening a valve for the coolant to be sent to the radiator if it’s hot, and sending it back through the engine if it’s still cool. Occasionally, the radiator receives additional cooling help from the cooling fan/fans, also activated by the thermostat or an electrical system that can detect coolant heat levels. Hot coolant from the engine is also sent by coolant hoses to the heater core where it can use the heat from the now hot coolant to keep you warm in a cold morning drive.

Since the engine gets extremely hot, it needs a liquid that has a high boiling point to be there to cool it off, that way once it cools off the engine it won’t begin boiling and potentially damaging something in your engine. So, along with pressurizing the engine, they created coolant as a means to prevent the engine from overheating. While this helps, pressure can still build up inside the engine, and heat up the coolant, which could blow one of the gaskets or hoses. To reduce the likelihood of that, cars have a radiator cap that can release that pressure and coolant into an overflow tank to cool off. 

Coolant also needs to have a low freezing point, otherwise the liquid could freeze in the engine and damage it. However, if your coolant should ever freeze, there are what’re known as coolant plugs that’ll pop out of the engine to prevent the engine block from cracking. During manufacturing, coolant plugs were used to fill in holes that allowed sand to be emptied from the engine, and therefore, prevent coolant from leaking out.

Coolant Management During the Summer

The summer months are finally rolling in, and for Sacramento that means it’s going to become a lot hotter. During these times people are going out and finding different ways to stay cool, but you also need to watch over your own car. Your car experiences that summer heat times 5 almost every day from your drives to work, school, or wherever you need to be. However, with that, your car is going to be experiencing even more heat than usual, which means you should be monitoring not only your coolant hoses, but your coolant system in general. The easiest way to do that is give your coolant hoses a squeeze to check for any cracking noises that could signal corrosion in the hoses. The other thing you can do is check your coolant reservoir levels every so often to make sure it's not low, which will help prevent overheating in your engine.

Regular Check Up

 With constant exposure to extreme temperatures, your coolant hoses will eventually begin deteriorating. Along with that, some acids in your coolant can begin to damage your coolant hoses over time, and with that ruin their integrity. Damaged coolant hoses can be a dangerous thing, and lead to coolant leaks, and reduce its ability to cool the engine. Replacing coolant hoses can be a little costly, but not when compared to replacing your entire engine.

Your coolant hoses need to be changed around every 93,000 miles, or every 6 years. We at Paul’s Automotive recommend changing your coolant hoses every 100,000 miles or every 5 years. You can head to Paul’s Automotive to get your coolant hoses changed and for any other car related issues you may have.  

If you have any questions regarding your coolant hoses, call (916) 444-7216 or schedule an appointment, and then head on over to Paul’s Automotive on 1922 O St. Sacramento, CA 95811. 

 

Brake Components And What They Do

A close up of a car engineDescription automatically generated with low confidenceA car’s main job is to get you from point A to point B as quickly, safely and as comfortably as possible. Just as much as getting to your destination quickly is important, so is the ability to stop when you get there or if something gets in your way. You constantly must be mindful of all the things on the road: fellow drivers, people, animals and other dangers that may appear. That’s where your brakes come in. The brakes in your car are what allow the wheels on your car to stop whenever you hit the brake pedal. What many don’t know is how the brake system actually works nor about the different types of braking systems that exist.

Just like any machine the braking system in a car has multiple parts that allow this complicated system to function properly. Each of these parts play a role in making sure that you can slow and stop your car in any situation. What are these key components you speak of?

Brake Rotor/Disc

The brake rotor is what feels the pressure from the brakes on a disc braking car. Th discs are attached to the wheel and move with it. When you press your foot against the brake pedal, that causes the brake pads on your car to squeeze the disc and force wheels to halt.

Brake Pads

The brake pads are what apply the pressure onto the brake discs and cause them to slow down. Once you press on the brake pedal the pads will squeeze the discs, applying frictional force. Many times, when you hear a squeal or grinding sound that means that your brake pads need to be changed as brake pads slowly wear down over time. 

Brake Shoes

Brake shoes are not common or used at all in recent cars. They have the same role as the brake pads, however, work a bit differently. The brake shoes are attached to the axle inside a drum that can expand and contract. Once you press your brake the shoes will expand to slow down the car.

Brake Drums

The brake drums are what feel the friction from brake shoes. Overtime they’ll begin to wear down from the constant friction of the shoes. At which point, you’ll need to replace them similarly to brake pads.

Brake Caliper 

The brake caliper is what holds the brake pads close to the brake rotor. They’re often visible behind all 4 wheels of your car. There are pistons inside the brake caliper that contain oil and push the brake pads against the rotor.

Brake Booster

The brake booster does exactly what it sounds like, it boosts the brakes. Located between your brake pedal and the master cylinder, it uses air from a vacuum in the engine to increase the strength felt on the brakes when you press the brake pedal. However, since it needs vacuum to work, that means that you’ll have a hard time using them when the engine is off.

Master Cylinder

The master cylinder is the main bay for all the brake fluid to be distributed to each wheel. It’s located near the end of your brake pedals and is responsible for sending all the brake fluid and pressure from the brake booster to each wheel. This allows you to brake.

Wheel Cylinders

Cars use brake calipers to squeeze the brake pads against the rotor. However, brake drums use a different type of cylinder to stop your wheels. In this case, when receiving pressure from the master cylinder, they have two sides that will expand and press against the brake.

We are happy to check your vehicle to make sure that your brakes are in tip top shape.  Schedule your appointment today!

 

 

 

Fluid Break Down, What Happens, and Its Effects

   

 

 

 

Fluid Break Down, What Happens, and Its Effects

Cars are complex machines. Similar to humans, cars are a large system of interconnected parts. When one of those parts doesn't work it can mess up the system as a whole. Therefore, all of those parts need to be in pristine condition for the system to function.

Some of the most important components that can get overlooked in a car are your fluids. The fluids in your car typically include your power steering fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, differential fluid, and even your windshield washer fluid. After a certain amount of time, most of these fluids break down. This can cause premature damage to your vehicles components.

Lubricants and fluids in your car's components are the lifeblood of your vehicle. Clean fluids at the proper levels ensure that your car works properly. Maintaining fluids increases your vehicle's performance and safety. Regular maintenance of your car's fluids will help keep repair costs down.

Fluid Break Down

  • Engine Oil

Engine oil works as a lubricant for most of the parts in the engine, making sure all the parts work smoothly, without friction. Over time, heat and condensation from the engine breaks down the engine oil, which coats the engine components in contaminants and sludge. This can cause your lubricant to become thick and reduce its ability to be pumped/transfer heat and properly lubricate all components.

Since the oil is also used to keep the engine clean, many times it itself will become dirty. Additives like detergents, and dispersants bring dirt and contaminants which are filtered by your oil filter. Eventually, the oil filter will become clogged, and all the contaminants will be sent back through the engine, making the oil more like a thick contaminated smoothie. That's not good. Instead of lubricating your engine, this could cause engine damage, and make it more difficult for engine performance, taking in more gas, therefore increasing your gas bill.

  • Transmission Fluid

The main job of transmission fluid, put broadly, is to keep the transmission functioning optimally. Transmission fluid lubricates the gears in the transmission, dissipates heat, keeping normal fluid pressure, preventing rust, preventing oxidation, and conditioning the seals and gaskets. Over time, as the fluid is exposed to more and more heat, it breaks down quicker, and begins to produce debris that would typically break down the transmission fluid.

Fluid contamination can cause the transmission to overheat, decrease shifting quality, difficulty getting a gear to engage, and transmission slipping. Servicing this fluid on a regular basis will help the transmission last for as long as possible.

  • Coolant

Cars that use internal combustion engines burn gasoline to produce power allowing the car to drive forwards and backwards. However, many times there is energy leftover from that process which is converted into heat. Without regulation the engine can wear down, or, in the worst circumstances, components may begin to melt. Coolant acts as the cooling/antifreeze system for your engine, making sure all your engine components are staying at normal operating temperature.

Typically, coolant will break down over time into glycolic and formic acids as it is used to cool the engine. Over time, as it becomes more acidic, it also loses protection in freezing weather, which can cause corrosion in the radiator, water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, hoses and other parts of the cooling system. However, maintaining engine coolant on a service interval will help protect components and keep down high repair costs.

  • Brake Fluid

Whenever you press the brake pedal you're essentially forcing fluid pressure to brake components which allows you to control the stopping capability of your vehicle.

Brake fluids have an additive package which contains antioxidants, and corrosion inhibitors. The additive package will begin to break down from being used, and/or being exposed to heat and air produced by the braking system of your vehicle. Once this happens metal parts/rubber hoses in the braking system can corrode and fill the brake fluid with contaminants decreasing the quality of your braking performance.

  • Power Steering Fluid

The power steering fluid isn't purely oil. It has additives that work to maintain viscosity in the power steering system, holding the oil's integrity, and prevent foaming. Similarly to brake fluid, power steering fluid acts as a multiplier on your steering wheel making it easier for you to steer.

After being used for a certain amount of time the additives in the power steering fluid will begin to lessen in effectiveness, causing foaming, thinning the fluid, and wearing down the power steering system which can easily be avoided by getting a regular fluid exchange.

Take Care of Your Car!

All of these problems can easily be prevented by doing fluid exchanges on recommended service intervals. We are happy to do a fluid change service to make sure your vehicle is running smoothly. Schedule your appointment today to ensure your vehicle is in peak condition. Remember to stay safe!

Winter driving tips to remember!

Don’t idle your car first before driving it

The best thing to do to warm your car quickly during cold temperatures is to get in and drive. Most parts of modern engines can’t warm up just by idling.

Never pour boiling water on the windshield

You could actually break the windshield if you do. Glass cannot go from freezing to high temperatures quickly. If it does, it could shatter.

What to do—and NOT do—when you hydroplane or hit black ice

Hydroplaning occurs when your tires encounter more water than they can scatter so they lose direct contact with the road and your car skids or slides. You’re most likely to hydroplane during the first 10 minutes of rain or snow as oils and grease on the road mix with water and create extra slippery conditions. Still, hydroplaning can happen on wet roads at any point, so use caution. In cold weather conditions, you’re also at risk of hitting a patch of black ice, a transparent (read: invisible) coating of ice that forms during rainfall with temperatures at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Both experiences can be dangerous, but if you prepare ahead, you can avoid acting out of fear and instead take steps to continue safely on down the road:

  • Don’t accelerate or brake quickly because hydroplaning means you’ve lost traction with the road, and sudden changes in speed could cause you could spin out.
  • If you have front-wheel drive (with or without ABS and traction control) or rear-wheel drive with ABS and traction control, look for open space and plan to travel in that direction.
  • Accelerate just a little and steer gently – without sudden movements – in the direction of the open space.
  • If you have a rear-wheel drive without ABS or traction control, you should still head toward an open space, but instead of applying pressure to the accelerator, ease off it as you steer to the open space.

WINTER CHECKLIST FOR YOUR CAR

Check your coolant -

Make sure you have a true 50/50 mixture of distilled water and antifreeze to prevent the fluid from freezing in your radiator and make sure that your radiator cap is functioning correctly.

Check your battery -

The chemical reactions required to generate power in a car battery slow down in extremely cold temperatures, and your car requires more current from the battery to start the engine. To avoid a car that won’t start on a cold morning, run a battery load test to see if your battery has enough juice. Check battery cables and terminals for cracks and corrosion. 

Fill your wiper fluid -

Having enough wiper fluid is crucial to keeping your windshield free of ice, snow, salt, and mud. Make sure you use a premixed wiper fluid.  Do not use water or mix wiper fluid with water.

Replace your wiper blades -

Most blades are only good for six months to a year, so chances are you need new ones. While you’re at it, you might want to consider choosing a heavy-duty wiper blade specifically designed for winter conditions.

Inspect (and maybe replace) your tires -

Tires with worn treads are a serious hazard in winter conditions. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of snowfall, consider getting snow tires, which are made of softer rubber that remains flexible in colder temperatures, and have treads specially designed to keep their grip in snow and ice.

If you have all-season tires, check to make sure the tread is at least 5/32” for the best winter traction. If your tread is less than 3/32”, your tires will offer virtually zero traction in snow and be prone to hydroplaning in rain, and should be replaced regardless of the time of year.  Here’s an easy way to test your tread: insert a penny into a tread groove with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If no part of Lincoln’s head is covered, your tires need to be replaced. Flip the penny over and do the same test with the Lincoln Memorial facing down. If any part of the building is covered, your tires are ready to tackle winter weather. No matter whether your tires are new or older, make sure they’re properly inflated for winter conditions. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop at a rate of approximately 1 PSI per 10 degrees, so check your tire pressure regularly to make sure it stays at the level recommended by the manufacturer. The usual recommended tire pressure is 30-35 PSI depending on manufacturers recommendation, but check your owner’s manual for the exact number. And don’t forget to check your spare!

Change your oil -

Your engine needs lubrication to run, but cold weather thickens oil and reduces its ability to circulate through the engine, so make sure you have fresh oil to keep things running smoothly.

Check your belts and hoses -

Cold temperatures can weaken the belts and hoses that keep your engine running. Prepare for winter by checking all belts and hoses for cracks or signs of wear and tear, and replace them if needed.

Put together an emergency kit to carry in your car -

Be ready for the unexpected by equipping your car with emergency supplies including blankets, flares, reflective triangles, a jack, a first-aid kit, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, shovel, food, water, matches, tool kit, cell phone charger and kitty litter or sand for traction if you get stuck.

Winter Vehicle Pest Control

In the colder months pests such as rats, raccoons and even insects may look to make a home in your car.  To keep pests out the best thing is to use preventative measures such as not leaving food or drinks in the car, not parking under trees or on dirt and not transporting plants in your car.  Pests are sometimes present because of environmental conditions such as storing pet food in your garage or with colder weather the warmth of your engine.

If you find your vehicle is occupied by something other than you or your intended passengers, here are some tips on what to do:

Give the vehicle a thorough look inside and out to determine what type of bug you are dealing with.  You should also check out the areas where your vehicle is regularly parked. This could be both at home or at work, there will most likely be a larger infestation of whatever you’re dealing within very close proximity.

Ants
Put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place the cotton wherever you have an infestation.  Essential oils can be dangerous when misused, be cautious if you are pregnant or have small children.  You can also try Ant Traps such as Hot Shot Max Attraxs Ant Traps.  These premade ant traps are great because they are discreet and child proof. They would work perfectly for slipping under the seat of your vehicle or placing in the corner of your trunk. The poison starts working immediately and the traps can last for up to six months.

Roaches
Try Trapper Max Glue Traps.  It is a natural and toxin free way of trapping pests. The trap is rectangular and measure 4.5” x 6.5” which makes it a great size for just about any spot in your vehicle.  Traps should be placed beneath the floorboards of your car if accessible, beneath seats, in the corners of the trunk and in the boot

Wasps and Bees
If possible, try to find a beekeeper to come and remove the bees from your car and safely relocate them to a proper home. It is inadvisable to kill bees as they are currently endangered, and a lot of our food supply depends on them. With wasps, hire a professional exterminator if at all possible. Wasps are highly motivated to protect their nest and they do not die like bees do after a sting.

Rats, Mice, and Rodents
Use Western Red Cedar shavings around where the vehicle is parked. These wood shavings contain phenols which kill rodents, though most will hit the road before they come close to dying.  You can also use ultrasonic rodent deterrents or rodent traps.

What To Do If There Is A Bug Or Rodent In Your Car While Driving
Bug related car accidents cause over 650,000 crashes every year! Stay calm. Pull over to the side of the road or a parking lot if it is safe to do so and get out of the car. Open your windows and doors and shoo the pest out of the car. If you have a spider, use a paper document to remove.

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