Cars and Computer Diagnostics

Blog Archives

Cars and Computer Diagnostics

Introduction

In the early 90’s, vehicles began the biggest change since Henry Ford rolled his first edition off the assembly line. Nowadays, computerization holds sway.

Vehicles have gradually gone from carbureted and naturally aspirated engines to computerized machines. Car repair is not what it used to be. Now, major operating systems are all monitored and controlled electronically.

Computer Diagnostic

The vehicle service and repair industry has gone from mechanics to repair technicians, from grease monkeys to a blend of old school mechanics and computer techs. These changes have dramatically altered vehicles and how drivers interact with them for the better. Car repair is all the much better off too.

Computerized technology has given us smoother running and faster cars. Auto parts that are stronger and lighter have played their role as well. In the old days, 300 horsepower was a speed king.

Now, 300 horsepower is middle-of-the-road fast while the big news is 400, 500, even 1,000 horsepower cars. Emerging and improved technology keeps the changes coming, and techs are constantly learning so they stay current with the newest advances.

Again, more durable auto parts made with more precise machining has greatly aided this progress.Car diagnostics has also kept pace to the point that many in earlier generations would not even recognize what is called car diagnostics today.

Driverless vehicles of all types including 18-wheelers are now all the talk. Of course, the technology behind them is now at the fore. Passengerless vehicles, anyone? Nah, what would be the point; except maybe a real life video game. Yeah, now that is the ticket!

What Computer Diagnostics Do

Car diagnostics is now called computer diagnostics. Are car diagnostics and computer diagnostics the same? Well, yes and no; computerized diagnostics goes a lot farther than the older car diagnostics. They give the technician a view of the car’s vital systems. These internal parts and their status are accessed with a diagnostic scan tool. Much like you scan your desk top or other computer when issues arise, this scanner is the vehicle equivalent.

This tool is a computer, and it has a multi-pin, rectangular computer port plug-in. It is plugged into the car’s computer port, located on the driver’s side at the bottom of the dash. The technician plugs in the diagnostic tool and follows the on-screen prompts to access the main engine control computer and scans it to locate and resolve the problem.

As the diagnosis progresses, the computer gives feedback analysis on the essential systems of the vehicle. It identifies the system that is issuing irregular or inconsistent activity. The process uses OBD I or OBD II applications. OBD stands for, you guessed it already, ‘On Board Diagnostics’. The I or II indicates different versions. Logical, since the computer reveals the status of all the ‘on board’ systems that of the vehicle.

Basically, as the diagnostic tool interfaces with the computer installed in the engine at the factory, it gives the tech an engine analysis. This diagnosis points the technician in the right direction for finding and repairing the dysfunctional part or system.

These tools are also used to re-program electronically controlled modules. These electronic components are assigned working limits or established parameters when they are installed. They are ‘watched’ or monitored by control modules.

When that control module senses a breach of those parameters, it signals the engine computer. The signal is called a DTC or Diagnostic Trouble Code. This signal or code then appears on the scanner’s screen in the form of a code for that system or part.

The technician then knows to check and test the part or check circuit wiring and electronics that monitor that particular system or part. Much of the old school car diagnostics was framed around guessing about the three essentials of the pre-computer engines, spark, air and fuel is eliminated. When you compare car diagnostics with computer diagnostics, you can see how advanced vehicles have come.

With the old car diagnostics, there was no electronic internal engine help. Now, the engine is, in essence, pointing to what component needs reprogramming or replacing. OBD has at least pinpointed the system issuing the code to the scan tool. However, the tech still must go through a process of evaluation based on what the OBD indicates.

The immense benefit is immediately obvious. The tool gives specific repair parameters, and this eliminates, or at least curtails, wrong diagnosis and saves repair costs spent on guesses.

What OBD Can Never Replace

While computerized systems are a tremendous aid with the science of vehicle diagnostics, no computer or machine ever replaces the most vital component of the diagnosis, human judgment and decision making. The human element is what makes the computer diagnosis work, and how he uses these new, better tools determines whether their real potential is ever reached or not.

Computer Diagnostics and the X-431 Torque Diagnostics Tool

Computer Diagnostic

This version of the 431 has a bigger screen, over 10 inches. That means it can be read easily from greater distances when needed. Full coverage is another plus. Full coverage means it includes Asian, European and domestic models as well as.

There is no need for an additional scanner. Its user friendly interface is laid out simply and clearly labeled. The first, older scanners that first appeared in the 90’s had such crowded screens the tech had to look closely to be sure he was looking at the right heading.

It also comes with a full two year warranty including 12 months of software updates. It features VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) Acquisition which means finding the vehicle year of production, make of vehicle, and the particular model of that make is much quicker. It is done in seconds without the user having to manually enter any additional information.

This OBD II also has a connector kit and adapters for OBD I. Remote tech-to-tech diagnostics is also supported with the 431. Finally, a kickstand! I know, I know; the greatly improved technology is excellent; but, do you know how many back-and-forth steps a simple thing like a kickstand can save?

Keep in mind these timely reminders from the about product use. Basically, the same rules for use apply to the Torque Diagnostic that apply to any other technology tool.

Do not expose it to extreme temperatures and climates for extended periods of time. Keep magnetic devices away from it since they can cause data loss and damage the screen. Also, be sure to ground yourself when you disassemble PROM. Your body’s static electricity can damage sensors and ECU’s.

The power source is a lithium battery. When replacing this battery, make sure to replace it with another lithium battery. Other types will not work and may cause explosions.

Again, remember, this tool is a computer; so, the same virus and malware threats are present. Make sure you protect it against these. Otherwise, if you are looking for a diagnostic scan tool that is big enough to read without squinting, that has complete application, and one that will actually stand up so you don’t have to dangerously prop it up, you may want to check out the 431 Torque Diagnostic Tool.

Your Vehicles Cooling System. Reaching a boiling point?

Reaching a boiling point? Your Vehicles Cooling System.
Hot days can bring your car’s cooling system to its knees, and what do you do once it reaches its boiling point? Day in and day out, your radiator keeps your engine running in tip-top condition, but sometimes bad things happen. What do you do when you find yourself in these circumstances where your car parts are malfunctioning? Visiting your local mechanic to identify the problems with specific auto parts helps you to figure out if it is an issue with the radiator of your vehicle.

Cooling System, Coolant

Why Your Cooling System May Need a Replacement

No matter what you do, you want to keep your cooling hoses in check to avoid a breakdown. If you know you have a car parts problem, you should take precautionary measures to keep it at a minimum. As the hoses grow older, they may start to soften, or they may even become brittle and hard. Whichever way it goes, the damage to your auto parts can be exponential, and you want to squish this auto parts problem before it gets out of hand.

How Does It Work?

What does engine coolant even do for a vehicle? Obviously, it keeps the vehicle’s engine cooler so that the car parts will continue running. To expand a little in detail on that, it transfers the hot and cold coolant over from the radiator into the engine to keep everything running. An Essex mechanic might pressure test your system to discover if everything is working well. They might also change the radiator cap or take care of the coolant. To mitigate issues with your radiator, you should occasionally inspect them.

The Myth

For a lot of people, they believe that all they have to do is keep their radiator topped off with engine coolant, and the engine will continue to work properly. That’s not always the case, however. Sometimes the coolant temperatures can reach as high as 250 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, even with engine coolant. In order to stop boiling, the the radiator raises the boiling point by pressurizing the motor. The radiator of your vehicle plays a role where it has to mitigate the heat in the vehicle. In other words, you want to lower the amount of pressure burdening the engine. The heat gets produced as the chemical energy from the fuel converts itself over into energy that will drive the mechanical parts forward. It powers the car so that it moves forward.

You want to stop a breakdown from happening by keeping the hoses in check. Do your best to keep them working. If you think the tough summer heat can wreak havoc on your body, imagine what it does to the vehicle when trying to keep everything in check. Every day the hoses play a major role in transferring the hot and the cold coolant over to the engine block. This will maintain a consistent temperature within the engine, which is critical. If you ever notice how one hose has run its course, chances are some of the others will need replacement as well because the radiator works in harmony with everything else. In fact, it may even be a more economical choice to change all the hoses at the same time because it will cost less than replacing them one by one.

Testing at the Mechanics

An Essex mechanic will pressure test your system to see if it is working properly, and they will try to find out the level of risk for a breakdown. It might be worth investing in having it checked from time to time because you don’t want to be left stranded in the middle of nowhere. Worse yet, you don’t want to be seen losing your temper at the peak of heavy rush hour traffic because of a faulty coolant system.

What Should You Watch For?

On average of once a month, you should check the coolant to make sure everything is in working order. Also, you should use 50/50 solution with antifreeze and water. The water quality will play a big role in how much protection you receive with protecting the cooling system of your vehicle. You have to be aware of the mineral content because water high in mineral content can cause corrosion or scaling to the hoses. Distilled water or deionized water is the best choice for the 50/50 solution.

As a pre-warning, never, ever open the radiator pressure cap when the engine is hot. The contents will be under pressure, and it can cause a serious injury. You should inspect the car belts on a monthly basis, and you will want to replace them if they look frayed, worn or glazed. Whenever the belts are over 1/2 inch, you should depress them between the pulleys. Belts will sometimes have a spring-loaded tensioner, and they will not require a manual adjustment. You can replace the rotten, bulging or the brittle hoses, and you will want to have the hose clamps tightened. If the hose looks hard or soft, you may want to replace it before further damage occurs.

The Belts

With most of the older cars, the water pumps move forward with a serpentine belt or a V belt, which works near the front of the car parts. This also drives the alternator, the air conditioner or power steering pump. You can easily inspect and replace these pumps if they show themselves as worn. Check the engine for dry cracking, which you will find close to the inside surface of the car’s belt.

In general, most mechanics will recommend that you perform a seven-point preventative maintenance check at least every two years on your auto parts. When you look at the owner’s manual of your vehicle, you will see how it has a specific guideline for how you can proceed with specific auto parts like the radiator. The inspection of the vehicle has been designed so that you can identify highly specific areas that need the most attention. With the right maintenance of your vehicle, you can make sure that your car always stays in good condition.

Tips and Tricks for Driving Safely

Tips and Tricks for Driving Safely

There is nothing more exciting than turning 16, getting that driver’s license, and hitting the roads for certain independence that you never had before. However, before you hit the roads for that driving experience, there are few car safety, road safety, and auto safety things that young and old drivers alike should remember. In this article, you will find several ways to stay safe while on the roads so you can easily get to where you need to go.

Driving Safely

Changing a Tire

You’re cruising down the road, and next thing you know, you hear that awful flapping sound accompanied by a sharp pulling of your car to one side. First, you need to safely pull off on the side of the road before you can assess the issue or call your roadside assistance. If you don’t have roadside assistance, you need to gather the following materials:

If you don’t have these things in your car right now, you need to get them and store them in a dry part of your vehicle to ensure that you are prepared for the worst. Most vehicles are equipped with a spare tire, a lug wrench, and a jack, but if you find that they are missing, you should replace them immediately. Those are the bare essentials for changing your tire. You should check your spare tire regularly as well to ensure that it is not flat, and it doesn’t hurt to keep a battery operated tire inflation system in your car either just in case.

First, you need to remove your tools and place the flares or the reflective triangles out where people can see them. This is for your general safety. Next, you’re going to put the wheel wedges up against the tires on the opposite side of the flat to keep your vehicle secure. You will now need to remove your hubcap or the wheel cover.

Next, you loosen the lug nuts but do not remove them. Then, move your jack underneath the vehicle, jacking it up until the car is six inches from the ground, and completely remove the lug nuts from the tire. Remove the flat tire, and then align the spare tire with the lug bolts that are exposed. You will need to put the lug nuts back on and tighten them by hand only.

Carefully lower the jack until the spare is touching the ground. Using your wrench, tighten up the lug nuts all the way by using a star pattern. They need to be extremely tight. Then you can replace your hubcap or cover, check the pressure on your spare, and look into getting a new tire for your vehicle.

All About Airbags

Airbags in the automobile are a giant leap for both passenger and driver safety in the vehicle. They can cause injuries and even death if they are not properly used, which is why airbag safety is very important.

The first thing to note is that kids are not meant to ride in the front seat. Frontal airbags are not designed with children in mind, and it can be dangerous for them. These airbags can be fatal to kids who are under 12 or below the general weight limit, those who are not belted by the shoulder belt, small children in any front facing car seat, or infants in a rear-facing car seat.

Airbag safety is required to have all passengers be belted into the car by using the seat belts. Riders should be sitting up with their feet on the ground. The airbags are put in place to help cushion riders in the event of an accident, which means those who wear their seatbelts can be protected.

Mature Drivers

As you age, your mental capacities change as well. Just as many other important decisions in life, knowing when to surrender the car keys is another. For seniors who have issues with hearing, seeing, and even slower reflexes, driving might not be a good idea any longer. Those who might have joint pain or a reduction in their coordination might suffer from an inability to control the vehicle.

Finally, those with mental changes like slower multi-tasking ability can hinder your ability to spot traffic signals, pedestrians, and road signs. Others with health conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s disease might struggle to drive as well. It is okay to surrender your car operating ability because it can keep you and others on the road safer in the long run.

Using Those Headlights

Some people, even seasoned drivers, find it difficult to remember when they are to use their headlights. However, this is a very important part of driving because it can improve your overall visibility on the road, but it can also help others on the road know that you are there.

Using headlights during the day should be done in situations with adverse weather like snow, rain, sleet, smoke, or fog. It should also be done on the narrow, two-lane highways that are in many rural areas. Those operating a car on rural or mountain roads should be using their headlights during the day as well, and some areas might indicate a daytime headlight zone which legally means your headlights must be on. During the times just after the sun rises and just before the sun sets should indicate a need for headlights as well.

Using high beams is for operating a car on rural or mountain roads and open highways until a vehicle approaches in either situation, you will then need to swap to low beams. The low beams are for operating a car in the city during the night when another vehicle is approaching you, when the road signs indicate the daytime headlight zone, when operating a car in the rain or fog, and when you are following another vehicle in the dark.

Intersection Safety

When two roads meet one another, this is called an intersection. This might include side streets, freeway entrances, cross streets, and roundabouts. The chances of a collision increase in an intersection, which means all drivers should proceed with caution.

You should always decrease your speed when coming to an intersection to be prepared to stop if needed, especially in a yield location. If you are making a right-hand turn, you should look for cyclists or pedestrians and always yield to the drivers that are going straight. When you are making a left turn, you need to give the approaching vehicles the right-of-way, yield to the pedestrians or cyclists and yield to any drivers going straight.

Roundabouts are practically the same. You will need to yield to any and all traffic within the circle, watch for any pedestrians on the crosswalks, and enter the circle only when there is a gap in the traffic.

Conclusion

Knowing the right car safety, auto safety, and road safety tips are ideal for ensuring a safe experience when in the vehicle. By following the laws and maintaining your vehicle, you can be safe and have an efficient vehicle to get you from point A to point B without issues, collisions, and more.

Windshield Wipers Get our Advice

What You Need to Know About Replacing Your Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are an important safety feature for your vehicle. A good pair of wipers will ensure that you have good visibility during heavy rain, snow, sleet, hail, and ice. Here’s what you need to know about wipers and blades before you head to an auto parts store to buy your replacement wipers.

Issues with your wipers

What are the signs that you need to replace your wipers and blades?

Look for these six signs that tell you it’s time replace your wipers.

  1. Change of seasons. You should change your wipers twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. Change your wipers in the fall to prepare for winter, especially for heavy snow and ice. Get a fresh pair in the spring to replace blades that may be cracked from freezing or damage by heavy snow and ice. You’ll be prepared for the heavy rainy season. If you’re in an area with extreme conditions, consider using season-specific wipers.
  2. Noise. If you hear squeaking, squealing, chattering, flapping or dragging sounds, you need to check and consider replacing your blades even if they seem to be working well. These sounds let you know that the rubber is starting to break down or that the blades are cracking or coming loose from the wiper arm.
  3. Visible damage. Visually inspect the blades for cracked or torn rubber. Look for missing and loose pieces on the blade.
  4. Streaks and film on the glass. Look for areas where the wiper doesn’t clean the glass. If you have oily or grimy streaks on the windshield after spraying washer fluid or cleaning the glass and blades manually, it’s time to replace the wipers.
  5. Poor contact. If the wipers aren’t cleaning every part of the glass, check for worn rubber on the blades and for any problems with the wiper frame or arm.
  6. Damaged wiper frame. Check the wiper frame after heavy ice and whenever you go through a car wash. If the frame is bent, the wiper blade can get damaged and not make proper contact with the windshield glass.

If you replace the wipers and continue to have problems, there may be a mechanical problem with the wiper arm, gearbox, module or motor. The symptoms of a mechanical failure with your wipers include:

What are the different types of wiper blades?

There are three basic types of wipers available for use on passenger vehicles including conventional, beam and hybrid blades. There are also premium or high-performance wipers.

Conventional wiper blades, made from durable metal materials, are designed to be an economical choice. They clear the largest part of your windshield ensuring adequate visibility in most conditions. Conventional wipers may not stand up to ice build-up and wind lift, winter blades include an additional rubber boot to handle extreme weather conditions.

Beam wiper blades are aerodynamically designed to resist wind lift. They also do a better job of handling ice and snow. Beam blades are lightweight, frameless, and they prevent streaking better than conventional blades. For extreme snow and ice, winter beam blades are designed to perform in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius.

Hybrid wiper blades are designed for maximum performance by combining the best features of conventional and beam blades. Hybrid blades feature an aerodynamic cover made of hard plastic or soft rubber, combined with a metal frame.

Premium or high-performance wiper blades cost more but offer longer life and may be more visually appealing than traditional wipers. They are made of silicone, double-rubber technology and a spring-steel band that allows the blades to adapt to the curve of your windshield.

How do you select the right wipers and blades for your vehicle?

Wipers coupons, Save $10 or 50% off second wiper

Wipers coupons, Save $10 or 50% off second wiper

How do you replace wiper blades?

  1. You’ll need the correct size wipers, a small screwdriver, and a cloth to protect your windshield.
  2. Carefully lift the wiper arm off the windshield. Extend the arm toward the front of your vehicle and ensure that it stays in place.
  3. Alternatively, if the wiper arm does not lift away from the windshield, turn on the ignition and engage the wipers. Turn off the engine when the blades are standing horizontally on the windshield.
  4. Place the cloth between the blades and the glass to protect against cracking and other damage.
  5. On most newer vehicles, locate the release tabs on the blade assembly. Press the tabs to remove the blade from the assembly arm. On older vehicles, you may need to use the screwdriver to loosen the screw on the blade assembly arm.
  6. Install the new blades according to the instructions. Make sure the release tabs are secured or the screw is secured.
  7. Remove the protective cloth and lower the wiper arm back onto the windshield.
  8. Turn on the wipers to ensure proper operation. Use a small amount of washer fluid to ensure that the blade clears the glass completely.

Maintaining Your Wiper Blades

To maintain your new blades, use a scraper or snow brush rather than using your windshield wipers to remove thick ice and heavy snow. Although wipers need to be replaced every six months, don’t try to stock up on blades now and use them later. That’s because wipers are subject to environmental stress even when they’re not installed on your vehicle. Storing them in high heat or very low colder temperatures can cause the rubber to warp or crack before you ever install them. It’s best to purchase your wiper blades in-season when you’re ready to replace them.

Motor Oil and Your Car – Does it Matter?

Introduction

Today, oil is very important to the world. We use oil in a variety of industries, and our rate of consumption has been increasing while our supply has been decreasing. There are many different types of oils and many different usages for each oil. Aside from the world’s oil needs, you vehicle’s engine needs oil. In fact, an engine cannot run properly without this dark lubricant.

Motor Oil

Importance of Motor Oil

Oil serves as a lubricating barrier between parts that can wear each other out over time. In an engine, oil absorbs heat and protects metal parts from grinding together, increasing an engine’s lifespan. As motor oil cycles through an engine, it also cleans parts and removes carbon deposits. Through its cooling abilities, motor oil may be able to offer engines a minor increase in performance, but oil’s main task is to keep parts lubricated and operating smoothly. It is very rare than the average driver will experience the “power benefits” that oil has to offer engines. As an oil ages it will become more viscous and turn into sludge. For this reason, most manufacturers recommend that an engine’s oil be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

Types of Motor Oil

Oil is differentiated by a few factors such as weight and blend. In an owner’s manual, a manufacturer usually specifies the weight and blend of oil that an owner should use in their vehicle, sometimes even specifying the brand of oil as well.

Crude Oil

Crude oil is actually not used in engines, but is the base oil that leaves the ground of the Earth. Crude oil is used to make products such as gasoline, plastics, and the other types of oil listed below.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a step up from crude oil and is refined for usage in vehicles. Most vehicles use mineral oil and can operate properly without any upgrades. Mineral oil is the cheapest oil option out of all of the oils used in engines.

Synthetic Blend Oil

Synthetic blend oil is a blend between synthetic oil and mineral oil. There are variations in the amount of the blend, and this blend does matter in engines. The engines of most luxury cars and sports cars utilize synthetic blend oil due to its lubricating properties.

Fully Synthetic Oil

Fully synthetic oil is used by engines that require extremely high performance. Oil that is fully synthetic will not contain any mineral oil and will provide an engine with more than enough lubrication. As the most expensive oil on this list, most vehicles on the road will never need an oil that is as refined as fully synthetic.

The Right Oil

There is really no right or wrong oil to use in an engine, but there are oils that are far less effective than their competitors. High quality oil will have updated grades and ratings. Grades such as SA through SJ, are grades for older types of oils that are not used on modern vehicles. These older grade oils usually lack new and improved technology, such as oil additives. Without the new technology, these oils tend to not serve their purposes and go bad quicker than more modern oils; turning to sludge and leaving deposits in an engine. The “right” oil for an engine will remain clean throughout a manufacturer’s specified interval and will serve its purpose in helping an engine stay cool and lubricated.

Motor Oil and Your Car

You should change your motor oil as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Changing oil too early will result in a waste of money, and changing oil to late can result in engine failure, at worst. Using the improper oil can also result in premature engine failure, as the parts will not be able to receive adequate lubrication. However, if you change your oil as recommended, you should have no worries about your engine failing as a result of poor lubrication.

Clean oil serves as a great lubricant to the metal parts, in your vehicle’s engine, that frequently come in contact with one another. Dirty oil, containing various debris such as dirt and carbon, is unable to lubricate your vehicle’s engine effectively and may lead to increased wear on the internal parts of your engine. Dirty oil, much like honey compared to water, is thicker and unable to move around an engine as quickly as clean oil. This sludge will also absorb an engine’s heat without being able to dissipate it quickly enough, resulting in an engine retaining more heat than necessary. As can be expected, an engine that retains too much heat is also prone to damage due to the fact that internal parts can warp or crack over time.

Conclusion

There is far more to oil than meets the eye. This article was a sort of brief description on oil, but there are many more factors that are in play when oil is concerned. The weight of oil is a factor that many do not understand, in addition to the refining process that oil goes through. However, if a vehicle owner follows the instructions given by the manufacturer of their vehicles, then they should never have to worry about oil’s different factors. Oil that is changed properly will lead to a long-lasting, well-maintained, and well-lubricated engine.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Cars Shocks

Signs You Need to Replace Your Cars Shocks

It can be easy to see when your car needs certain things. You know you need to air up your tires when they look flat. You know you need to get an oil change when your oil change indicator light comes on. You know you need to replace your brake pads when you first begin to the hear the squeal indicator as you engage your braking system. Other, less visible parts of your vehicle can be less easy to diagnose. For example, your vehicles suspension system is beneath the car and not readily visible. This being the case, how do you know when your shock absorbers need to be replaced?

These are critical components of the suspension system of you vehicle. The purpose of car shock absorbers is to literally absorb shock, or keep your vehicle from bouncing violently when it travels across uneven or bumpy terrain. The struts are structural supports which are connected directly to the chassis of your vehicle. These parts work together to help your vehicle maintain its strength and provide you with a comfortable ride. The shocks and struts also prevent damage from occurring when you hit a bump too fast or when you simply cannot avoid that pesky pothole. When your shock absorbers and your struts need to be replaced, they have certain ways of letting you know.

shock absorbers

The easiest way to ensure that your car shock absorbers are in good shape is to have them regularly inspected. Most automotive service and repair centers can conduct a comprehensive vehicle inspection which will include a detailed look through your suspension. A good rule of thumb for this is to ask for an inspection at the time of every oil change. Since your vehicle is being serviced at this time anyhow, it is a good idea to have a professional give everything an expert look so they can let you know if any parts are currently in need of attention.

If your shocks are in need of attention in between inspections, there will be some indication of their impending failure. The first noticeable sign is a bumpy ride on a vehicle that used to handle smoothly. A bumpy ride indicates that your shocks are not performing properly and no longer absorbing the shock of the road as they once did. If you experience new bumpiness or shakiness then it is likely your shocks and struts are the source of the issue.

Another sign that your shocks are in need of replacing is problems with steering. If you begin to notice increasingly poor steering response, this could be caused by a failing suspension system. The wheel may become stiff and difficult to turn. There may also be new noises coming from your car as you steer such as grinding. Additionally, you might also find that your car no longer tracks straight and tends to drift to one side or the other, requiring constant correcting in order to maintain a forward direction.

Braking issues are often blamed directly on the brake pads themselves. If your brake pads have been regularly serviced and you do not hear a squeal indicator, it is likely that issues in the suspension are to blame. When your shocks or struts are damaged or very worn, the vehicle must compensate in other ways, and this can translate to poor braking as well as a sort of “nose dive” wherein the front end of the car will dip sharply downward when the brakes are engaged. These signs all point to a failure of critical suspension parts rather than the brake pads.

Your tires can also indicate issues with suspension. If you begin to notice uneven wear on the surface of your tires, your suspension could be to blame. This is called cupping and it occurs when cup-shaped dips and divots develop in the tread of the tires. It is important to note that tires which have undergone cupping can be extremely dangerous and cause accidents due to uneven loss of traction during a maneuver. Even if cupping cannot be visibly seen, it is a good idea to have your tires rotated at the same time that you have your shocks or struts replaced.

Paying attention to your vehicle’s mileage can also help you notice issues with your suspension. As a general rule, shocks and struts need to be either serviced or replaced every fifty thousand miles. If you vehicle has over fifty thousand miles on it and has never had the suspension system serviced, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your trusted mechanic to inspect this critical system.

Everything on a vehicle is connected, and so a damaged part in one system of your car can lead to damage on other parts which you may not expect. Ensuring that your shock,struts and other suspension components are properly maintained will not only help you stay safe, but it will also help you extend the life of your vehicle.

Cold Weather and Car Batteries

Why Cold Weather Results in Dead Car Batteries

Canada is famous for its harsh winters, and freezing temperatures are something that all Canadians learn to deal with. Unfortunately, the cold winter weather can bring with it numerous problems, and this is especially true for your vehicle. Although cold weather can affect your vehicle in various ways and make it harder for your engine to turn over, car batteries can be affected by cold weather more than most other parts.

Car Batteries

Although your battery doesn’t have to work all that hard to get your engine to turn over in warm weather, drivers need to be more alert during the winter as the freezing temperatures make your battery much more prone to failure. Every winter thousands upon thousands of Canadians find themselves stranded due to a dead battery, which is why we’ll now present everything you need to know to avoid this all-too- common problem.

The Effect of Cold Weather on Battery Performance

The average lead-acid car batteries contain lead plates that are submerged in a liquid electrolyte solution, and this produces a chemical reaction that produces the electric charge needed to power your vehicle. Higher temperatures speed up the rate of this chemical reaction, which in turn produces a higher charge and thus provides more power when starting the engine.

However, the opposite is also true, and colder temperatures slow down the reaction and thus diminish the amount of power the battery provides to the engine. As a result, your engine may be slightly sluggish to start in colder weather even when your battery retains a full charge. However, this alone doesn’t fully explain why cold weather causes so many dead car batteries.

Heat Damages Car Batteries, Cold Kills

Although dead car batteries tend to happen more frequently during the winter, this problem actually starts during the summer when the temperatures are much higher. Higher temperatures accelerate the chemical reaction occurring within the battery and thus allow it to produce more power. However, this increased chemical activity also quickens the rate of internal corrosion inside the battery cells.

Over time, this internal corrosion will damage the battery cells and diminish their ability to retain a full charge, and this in turn shortens the battery’s lifespan. However, the fact that your engine requires much less power to turn over during the summer means that this damage isn’t likely to have an effect until the temperatures start to drop. In fact, a damaged battery with a very low state of charge is usually capable of providing enough starting power as long as the weather is warm.

Still, things begin to change once the weather gets colder. A healthy, fully charged lead-acid battery should easily be able to withstand temperatures as low as -50 C without freezing or otherwise being damaged. While these brutally cold temperatures will definitely make it harder for the battery to turn the engine over due to the reduced power, the cold weather alone usually won’t be enough to damage a strong, fully charged battery.

This is where the damage caused by the increased internal corrosion your battery experiences during the winter plays a role. The higher summer temperatures will eventually start to damage the battery and limit its ability to retain a full charge, which in turn makes the battery more likely to freeze during extreme cold.

Whereas a battery with a full charge can withstand temperatures as low as -50 without freezing, a battery with only a low state of charge could freeze as soon as the temperature drops below 0 C. As soon as the liquid inside the battery freezes, it begins to expand and cause irreversible damage to the cells. As a result, the battery will eventually fail since the damage will make it impossible to provide enough power to start the engine during cold weather, and this is the reason that so many people end up with dead car batteries during winter.

The Importance of Proper Battery Maintenance

If you find that your engine is more sluggish to start during cold weather, this generally isn’t something to worry too much about. In addition to slowing down the chemical reaction inside the battery and thus diminishing the power it produces, cold weather also causes your motor oil to thicken up and makes it harder to get the engine to crank over.

Generally speaking, the typical lead-acid battery should easily last for three years or more before it begins to show any signs of damage caused by high temperatures, and this is precisely why most experts recommend that drivers begin paying closer attention to their battery after it’s been in their car for three years. With a damaged battery, the first thing you’ll usually notice is that your engine sounds more sluggish and slow when it starts. Oftentimes you’ll start having to turn the key for far longer before the engine finally cranks over, which is a good sign that your battery is starting to go.

Still, this problem usually won’t affect you that much in warmer weather as long as your battery retains some small amount of charge. The issue is that a sluggish battery can instantly turn into a dead battery once the temperatures drop, which is why it’s essential that you keep your battery well-maintained and occasionally have it checked to make sure it can still retain a full charge.

If you find your battery does need replaced, we offer a variety of car batteries and a whole range of other auto parts in Kingsville. Of course, a sluggish-sounding engine doesn’t necessarily mean your battery needs to be replaced as the problem could be related to something else entirely. Still, thanks to our wide selection of auto parts in Kingsville, we are sure to have the solution to your automotive problem no matter whether it is related to the battery or anything else.

Why Order Auto Parts Online?

Get Parts Faster with Online Ordering

At AutoBarn.ca, we offer a larger selection of auto parts, truck parts, import parts, performance parts and automotive supplies, so you can find the quality parts you need fast online at the lowest price possible. Search our wide inventory online to find both OEM car parts and aftermarket car parts for your ride. We are one of the largest supplier of auto parts in Canada. At CARQUEST our customers have come to know us as the best place to buy auto parts online.

 

Buy Auto Parts Online

 

CARQUEST Auto Parts has everything you need to get your car back on the road and running smoothly! We have the essentials from brake pads to batteries along with all of the final touches like hoses and filters. When you do it yourself, you want the best parts at the best prices. Whether it is for the body or under the hood, we’ll get you the right part so you can pick it up at your local store or delivered to your commercial garage.

 

When you buy auto parts online at Autobarn.ca, you can be confident that you will receive the highest quality auto parts at wholesale prices, and all the parts we sell come with a full auto parts warranty. If there are ever any issues, we will cover the replacement, less labour for any parts at any Carquest store in North America. Now that is a Warranty.

 

All of our  auto parts undergo strict quality control tests to meet the highest industry standards; so you can feel confident that the truck and car parts you’re ordering from us will perform as expected and exceed in value.

 

Carquest Auto Parts is owned and operated by Advance Auto Parts, Inc., the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, servicing both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. As of October 4, 2014 Advance operated 5,305 stores, 109 Worldpac branches, and served approximately 1,350 independently-owned Carquest branded stores in 49 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Canada. Advance employs approximately 75,000 Team Members.

 

We never sell any automobile parts  that don’t meet our strict requirements to our valued customers, so you will never need to worry about the quality and performance of our parts and accessories. We encourage you to explore our huge selection of truck and car parts online, though if you cannot find what you need, please don’t hesitate to call us today to speak to one of our Local auto part specialists, in Essex ON and we’ll help you find the parts you need 519 776 9885 Call Us for Parts.

 

Why Order Auto Parts Online?

Apart from being the largest supplier of autoparts in North America and having a solid warranty for every part you buy, we have made our online ordering system easy for any customer from novice to pro to quickly find the make, model and part for any vehicle in need of service.

 

Why Trust Our Online Ordering System:

 

Just how easy is it to find parts with your online catalog? We made sure you know exactly what you are doing every step of the way by making this quick video walk-through of the online ordering system. Have a look at how easy it is to find and order auto parts online.

 

 

How about an online auto parts coupon to get you started? If you feel like you are going to be doing a lot of volume online with your parts orders We can CUSTOMIZE this dashboard for your company if you create a COMMERCIAL ACCOUNT with us.  Just call the store or e-mail us. With you own personal login you will see SPECIAL PRICING and we really encourage you to set one up for your garage or company today!

5 Ways How Technology Changed Automotive Repair Shops

How Automotive Technology Changed Repair Shops,

Today and Forever…

 

It is very obvious today, that we are working in a technical world, with new advancements in innovation for Auto Shops with a focus on new technology.  When talking about changes in transportation and Auto Repair Shops there is no need to go all the way back to horse-drawn carriages or even the steam engine cars to see how much technology has evolved the Auto Repair Industry.

Once manufacturers like Ford had developed a way to standardize vehicle parts, mechanics, dealerships and mechanic shops became a valuable asset to the auto industry. Most mechanics started out as young children, equipped with a small toolset that consisted of wrenches, a flat-head and a Phillips head screwdriver.

After years of elbow grease, pit time and growing love for these motorized machines, these young apprentices were well trained for the real world of mechanics.

Auto Shop Repair Mechanic

When you take a look at the world of Auto Repair Shops and mechanics, quite a few things have changed over the last few decades.

 

Stronger Focus Towards Mobile & Online Scheduled Maintenance

 

With Technology Giants like Google moving more of its Search Engine to include and focus on Mobile Searches for Repair Shops in the local area. Garages are capitalizing on business, by staying ahead of the curve. The first step is making sure that your Auto Repair Website is smartphone ready, in technology terms, this is called “a responsive website” which means that it will display on all devices, including Desktop, Mobile and Tablets. This ensures no matter what customers are using to find you, if they search, “find auto mechanic” your site is able to come up in a search.

Auto Shop Repair Website

Other Features to Consider for Online Scheduling:

 

 

We find more and more mechanics and auto repair shops are presenting their customers with maintenance plans or scheduled emails to stay on top of routine maintenance, new sales and promotions and customer service surveys. A good example of Website that is accomplishing all of this is this Automotive Repair Shop in Leamington.

 

Better Customer Service

 

Cars don’t need to go to the shop as often as they used to which means customer loyalty isn’t an easy task. It is a known fact that it is much cheaper to keep a current customer than to bring in a new one. Investing a small amount of money to give your current customers a positive experience and in order to become repeat customers will usually be less than you would have spent on advertising or marketing to attain brand new customers.

On way to increase customer service would be to include a program like becoming a Tech-Net Professional Garage which can help services your customer in all sorts of areas, including National Warranty Coverage for any parts that are installed by a certified Tech-Net Garage.

 

Here is what the Tech-Net Warranty Has to Offer your Clients.Automotive Repair Shops

When you have service and repairs performed at a TECH-NET PROFESSIONAL AUTO SERVICE® center, you’re covered by a Worry-free Driving Nationwide Warranty. The Worry-free Driving Nationwide Warranty reaches across North America when you need it most providing vehicle protection on qualifying service and repairs. TECH-NET PROFESSIONAL AUTO SERVICE® centers will protect your new car warranty and are committed to providing a successful and pleasant automotive service experience.

 

Virtual Vehicle MD – Animated Repair Videos

 

Today’s vehicle service customers are sophisticated consumers who demand clear and concise information when spending money on their vehicle servicing and repairs. They will not approve repair recommendations they do not fully understand or that they don’t believe to be genuine.

What to do if you are a garage owner? Surely no one has time to explain the inner workings of a complete brake line job. Right?

 

Auto Shops Videos

 

Service advisors can find the task of explaining technically complex vehicle repairs very difficult, especially when the customer has left the service location and has to be contacted by telephone. With Virtual Vehicle a repair shop can send videos via email, explaining the exact repair to the customers, presented to them electronically in the way of an animated video.

These animated car repair videos are fast and to the point and can explain complex repairs to customers setting their minds at ease and really increasing the TRUST factor in an Auto Repair Garage, that took the time to send over a video explaining exactly what is happening to vehicle and why they needed to invest the type of money that they needed to keep their family safe on a vehicle repair.

 

Better Auto Diagnostic Tools & Mobile Phone Apps

In the old days one of the best sensors a person could have to find the problem with one’s car was one’s nose. Usually, with a few turns of the wrench or a quick part swap, all was back to normal.

When you look under the hood of any car now, there is hardly any room to move around. There are wires, pipes and plastic containers all over the place. Even something as simple as changing a damaged headlight becomes a full-day chore.

Automotive Scanner

Naturally all of these parts are connected to the vehicle’s master computer, which is now the first place to check. There’s no need to go into a panic when the Check Engine Light comes on! For ease of diagnostics and troubleshooting, automotive scanners have been a real godsend for mechanics and technicians. Most Auto Garage Owners have the best handheld scanners around for today’s professional technicians.

It is possible that cars don’t need to be tinkered with so often, but when they do, the professionals need to be ready. Professional tools help things get done faster and with little guess work, if you are looking for the best in Auto Equipment and Diagnostic Tools you can shop directly from our Tools & Auto Equipment Flyer.

 

Auto Repair / Auto Parts Mobile Phone Apps:

 

Also joining the auto tech revolution here is the influx of new smartphone apps that allow auto technicians a quick reference guide to look up VIN numbers or any parts you may be searching for in a pinch.

 

Automotive Repair Apps

 

These little apps pack real punch with a complete online catalog of auto parts, from most auto parts manufacturers so you can find Monroe shocks or an Interstate Deep Cycle Battery with a few clicks or an SKU scan. We love these Mobile App Helpers so much, that we put together the 5 Mobile Apps For Garage Owners you shouldn’t live without.

 

Order Online / Auto Repair Delivery Service

Just Think about the future of Auto Repair: A customer books a repair online with your shop, They scan the Vehicle’s Vin Number and send it over to you. You also know what type of vehicle service the customer needs ahead of time and the complete vehicle type. Emails get sent out automatically reminding the customer of when the appointment is and animated repair videos on how the repair will be done.

 

Order Auto Parts Online

 

Parts are ordered ahead of time or on the day of the repair via CARQUEST’s portal, Order Auto Parts Online and all parts delivered directly to your location. With all the advancement in shop diagnostic tools, you check and repair all the vehicles’ woes and quickly get set up for the next booking. The customer receives follow-up emails for specials, requests to leave reviews on your Social Media Accounts and YellowPages type Directories, all of these tools meant to grow your business reputation and online exposure.

Don’t get us wrong, we believe word of mouth, customer service, and honest repairs will always be the cornerstone of a great business, but we see few Automotive Repair Shops capitalizing on HUGE opportunities and utilizing technology that can only help your business grow.

Car Battery Test Near Me | Free Battery Check

Get A Free Battery Testing to Ensure Safety

Battery failures can happen without almost no warning what so ever. If you would like peace of mind that both your car or truck’s battery is in good working order before you are left stranded somewhere. Come in anytime for a free battery test at AutoBarn in Essex and our expert technicians will check your battery’s key health indicators in under 2 minutes time. You will even get a printed out receipt of all of your batteries stats including its charging and ‘cranking’ capabilities (CCA).  If we find you need a replacement, we have hundreds of batteries in stock to match all vehicle makes and models – with no obligation to buy.

Common Customer Questions about our Free Battery Testing

How Will I know If I need a New Battery for My Vehicle?

The 2 Minute Report is generated quickly after the leads are attached to the Battery in your vehicle and will tell us immediately if your battery will be in need of replacement.

How Will I know What Size Car Battery I will Need?

The expert technicians at Autobarn in Essex Ont. will happily advise you on getting the correct battery for your car. We have hundreds of batteries in stock and you would even be able to select our good, better or best options.

Will You Have My Particular Battery in Stock?

We hold the majority of all major car batteries in stock, however if in the off chance that it is a rare battery, we will still be able to source it from the CARQUEST network from other stores in our area or next day shipping from our main warehouses.

How long will my Vehicle Battery Last?

It is interesting to note that most of the damage done to a car battery is happens in the summer time, not in the winter. However, after a long blistering summer the battery carries on and usually quits in the winter time. No fun, huh? On average must trusted brands of batteries will eventually need replacing around the 4-5 year mark, so if your battery is getting close, please stop by and we will test it for you.

How Much Does a New Car or Truck Battery Cost?

Battery costs are dependent on your car. If you come in to the store for a Free Battery Test we can always provide you with a quote upfront. If you wish, you can look up your vehicles car battery directly from our Order Parts Online Catalog for In-Store Pickup.

Car Battery Test

Book A Free Battery Test Today

As stated above no appointment is necessary for you to stop by and get your battery checked, but if you had any questions about your current batteries health or where looking for a certain brand, please don’t hesitate to call us at 519 776 9885 or stop by directly at 377 Talbot St North Essex Ontario and we will be sure to provide you with a Free Battery Test right there on the spot.