Auto Repair Tips
Things You Auto Know About your vehicle’s Check Engine Light
We at Val & Mike’s Beach Cities Auto Repair Service realize your car is an investment and we want to keep you safe and your vehicle running for many miles. We provide our ASE Certified Technicians the tools and equipment to diagnose your vehicle as accurately as possible.
We hope the information and examples contained in this article will help you understand the significance of the check engine light so you can make an informed decision regarding the repair of your vehicle.
Your vehicle is equipped with a sophisticate On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system. This is what has turned on your Check Engine Light, or MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp).
Our technicians at Val & Mike’s Beach Cities Auto Repair Service are well equipped and trained, so that in most cases, they will be able to diagnose and repair problems quickly and accurately. However, there may be more than one problem present, even though only one “code” appears in your computer.
The OBD system performs a series of ongoing “self-tests” to determine whether all systems are working as designed. Once a failure occurs, subsequent tests are temporarily turned off. This means that once we fix the problem that caused the original code to set, we may discover other problems that could not be detected until the first problem was solved. This is especially likely if you have been driving with the Check Engine LIght (MIL) on for more than a few days.
Some of the OBD self-tests require certain specific conditions to occur before they can be run. Some, for example, may require that the engine not be started for at least eight hours since the last trip, and that when it is started, the outside temperature must be warmer than 15F. Others require that the fuel tank be between one-half and three-quarters full. Most require that the vehicle be driven for several minutes at a steady speed of more than 50 mph. There are many other requirements for each self-test, and all must be met before those tests will be run. Additionally, some tests must be run more than once before they will register a failure.
When it’s not practical for us to keep your car and drive it so extensively we must rely on you to do your normal driving and if the MIL illuminates, to being the vehicle back for further diagnostics. (Each of the OBD self-test will run eventually during normal driving.)
When you pick your car up after it has been repaired, your receipt will include the specific codes present in your computer at this time. That way, you can have confidence that any future problems are not related to the same cause.
Gas Saving Tips
Here are a few tips to increase your mileage and value of your gasoline dollars
- Make sure tires have the correct amount of air.
- Lighten your vehicle’s load. Remove those articles in your trunk that are creating excess weight.
- Change your air and fuel filter.
- Make sure your gas cap is tight.
- Keep the windows up. There is less drag and wind resistance when the windows are up in the car.
- Slow down. Don’t speed.
Fuel Efficient Tune-ups
The way your vehicle is running can cause poor gas mileage. It may be time for an engine tune-up to get your vehicle up to speed and more fuel-efficient. With an engine diagnostic or performance analysis, our technicians can identify exactly what parts are needed to make certain your car is running properly. This process addresses problems such as rough idle, poor or weak acceleration, hard starts, and poor fuel economy. A maintenance tune-up can make a big difference in your vehicle’s performance and save your gas dollars.
Is It Time For You To Re-Tire?
Tire age is a crucial part to your safety on the road. Recently ABC’s 20/20 program aired a segment reporting how the inner layers of a tire slowly decompose from age, drying out and causing a higher potential for dramatic tread separation. Tires actually separate while in motion despite the visual appearance of an outer deep tread. Several incidents have been reported and several lawsuits are pending.
It is important to know that every tire has a cryptic code of four numbers at the end of the 12-digit Department of Transportation (DOT) serial number. It documents the week and year the tires were manufactured. This number can be found on the outside edge of the tire. For example, if the last four numbers are 4007, the tires were manufactured in the 40th week of 2007. According to the experts interviewed on ABC News, tires older than six years get increasingly more dangerous regardless of how long they have been on the road. Before purchasing your next set of tires, it is important to know the nmanufacture date.
Some Commonly Asked Questions…
My check engine light is on can’t you just turn it off?
Why does it take so long to find what is wrong with my car?
In a word, you want a diagnosis. You want your technician to listen to your description of the problem, run some tests, make some checks, test drive, announce a prognosis and follow it with a cure.
While it is true that today’s vehicles are equipped with computers, digital dashboards, oxygen sensors and more, there is still a lot of old fashioned patience that goes into repairing a car. And to a large extent, a timely diagnosis starts with the motorist.
Is it important, when checking-in your vehicle for repair, to take the time to explain to the service writer the vehicle symptoms. Sometimes just a few extra minutes to communicate the full extent of the problem can save a lot of time on the part of the technician.
For example, if you bring your car in because of a recurring problem tell the service advisor what previously was done to correct the problem. Just as it’s helpful for your doctor to know your full medical history, previous vehicle repair information will assist the technician to make an accurate diagnosis.
A difficult situation for you the customer and for the technician is an intermittent failure. That’s when a problem unpredictably comes and goes. These are difficult problems to pin point and to identify the correct repair takes time and skill. A history of previous repairs can be useful when diagnosing an intermittent failure. Val & Mike’s Beach Cities Auto Repair Service does maintain a complete record of repair and service for each vehicle.
Finally, it’s important to remember that cars are a lot like people. The flu, left untreated can lead to something more serious. One needed repair, gone unchecked, can lead to another, often larger and perhaps more expensive problem. So don’t be impatient if your tech makes a diagnosis, then digs a little deeper. If he uncovers a second problem, and recommends a separate repair, be grateful. Remember a responsible repair shop has one goal: to fix it right the first time.
What to Expect after your Major Brake Service
Thank you for allowing Val & Mike’s Beach Cities Auto Repair Service the opportunity to assist you in the servicing of your vehicle. We’d like to assure you that we appreciate your business and have gone to great extremes to assure that your vehicle was serviced in the most professional manner. After the service was completed your vehicle was test driven, it underwent a final inspection, and was checked for overall quality and cleanliness.
What to Expect
During the break-in period you may notice a slight squealing sound when you apply the brakes. This noise, typically caused by brake dust, is perfectly normal.
Odors & Steam
As new brakes are breaking-in, they will often cause a slight burning odor. In addition to this normal occurrence, many parts that have been handled get extremely hot during normal operation, so it is often normal during the first day or two to notice a slight burning odor as well as a slight amount of steam coming from the undercarriage. This is perfectly normal.
Brake Pedal Heights
You may find your brake pedal to be at a different height. You will also find that as your brakes go through their normal wearing, the pedal will gradually begin to drop in height. If you notice any immediate dropping, or if you have any questions about the safety or operation of your brake system, please call us immediately.
Please Don’t Forget…
We’d like your new brake service to last a long, long time. The best way of assuring that it does is by following these simple steps:
1. Return to Val & Mike’s Beach Cities Auto Repair Service for any recommended recheck so we can complete our follow up services.
2. You should avoid hard stops, especially during the first 1,000 miles. We also suggest that whenever possible you avoid resting your foot on the brake pedal while you’re driving. This “riding the brake” will not only cause premature brake wear, but it is one of the leading causes of brake failure.
3. Always use your parking brake.
4. Return to Val & Mike’s Beach Cities Auto Repair Service once a year for your annual brake inspection.
Val & Mike’s Auto Repair Huntington Beach
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
We look forward to serving you!