AUTONET TV


Archive for July 2022

Singing a Different Tune (Up) (Tune Ups)

Posted July 31, 2022 10:54 AM

Engines required a lot more maintenance in earlier times.  You'd have to have your spark plugs, wires, rotors, caps, distributor points, fuel and air filters changed periodically.  There were mechanical adjustments of a vehicle's timing, dwell, spark gap and idle mixture, too. Unless you like to tinker with old cars, a lot of those terms won't mean much to you. 

That service was called a "tune up" back then, and you can see why.  But now, computers have reduced the number of maintenance items, and a tune up is a whole lot different than it used to be.  In fact, in some vehicle service facilities, that term is also a thing of the past. 

A tune up of today would more accurately be called simply periodic maintenance. Now, most vehicles still have spark plugs and wires, fuel filters, air filters and PCV valves, and they should be inspected tested and/or replaced at regular intervals.  Your vehicle's manufacturer has made recommendations on how often that should be. But it depends on your driving habits. Do you regularly tow a trailer? Do you drive on dusty roads often? Are you driving mostly stop and go in the city?  Depending on your answers, to those maintenance intervals might have to be more frequent.

Your service advisor will likely remind you about those "must check" items such as spark plugs and wires, air filter and oxygen sensor.  And now that the old-fashioned tune ups don't require you to take your vehicle in for maintenance as often, you can get the same benefit from scheduled oil changes or tire rotations.  When your vehicle is in for those, a technician can keep an eye on your other systems (fuel, emissions, ignition) to make sure they are operating correctly.

One thing to remember.  When you take your vehicle in for regular service or a specific issue, don't ever hesitate to ask you service advisor to explain what's being done and why.  Hey, "In Sync" may have been a boy band of an earlier era, but it's always good for you and your service advisor to be "in sync" when it comes to what maintenance is good for your vehicle.

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



That Squeal is Telling You Something (What Causes Squealing While Steering)

Posted July 24, 2022 12:46 PM

If you hear a squealing noise when you turn your vehicle, it's trying to tell you something is wrong.  After all, it never made that noise before, right?  The sound  you hear may becoming from a few sources.  Let's take a look (or a listen) to some of the possibilities.

First, you almost certainly have power steering in your vehicle. Without power steering, you practically have to have arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger to turn, so automakers have technology to assist your steering, either mechanically or electrically.  For a long time, the most common power steering has been hydraulic, using a belt to supply power from the engine that turns a power steering pump full of a fluid that helps you steer. 

Sometimes that fluid gets low because of a leak or some other problem.  The belt could wear out and start squeaking, and you might feel the steering start to become harder.  Your service repair facility can figure out the problem and offer some solutions.

Another cause could be in your suspension.  Some components may not be getting lubricated like they should.  Or you may be hearing your tires squealing when you are turning. 

Properly working steering is a huge safety factor for your vehicle's operation.  Your steering affects handling, vital to your well-being as well as that of drivers around you.  So take your vehicle over to your repair facility and have it checked out.  You'll be doing everyone on the road—including yourself—a big favor by listening to your vehicle. When it comes to steering, silence really is golden.  Get that squealing repaired and get back to safe driving.

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



Stuck! (Vehicle Door Issues)

Posted July 17, 2022 11:07 AM

This may have happened to you.  You drive somewhere and get out of your vehicle only to try closing the door and it just won't stay closed!  What a helpless feeling.  You can't lock it; you can't leave it like it is. Or, let's say you head down to your vehicle to head out to work in the morning and you can't open the door.  What are you going to do now?

Vehicle doors take a lot of abuse.  They are opened and closed hundreds of times and we expect them to just keep working perfectly all the time.  They do require a bit of tender loving care.  Let's take a look at two different scenarios of stuck doors.

First: the door that won't close.  It's a security issue.  It's also a safety issue.  You can't really safely drive a vehicle with a door that won't close. What if you or a passenger is tossed out?  Sure, some people try to tie a stuck-open door closed or bungee it, but that's dangerous.  It's best to get that vehicle to the service repair facility as soon as you can, and having it towed is the safest way. 

Second: the door that won't open.  There are many reasons this can happen.  Freezing weather is one, a misaligned door is another.  There could be electrical issues.  Corrosion could have broken a part inside the door.  The possibilities, unfortunately, are numerous.

If you can't get into your vehicle's driver's door, with any luck another door might open and you can climb into the driver's seat and head on to the repair facility.  A lot of people may be tempted to try to fix a stuck door themselves, but many wind up causing more damage to the door and have to have a trained technician step in to repair the mess.

One way to minimize the possibility of having a door stick open or closed is to make sure it gets regular maintenance.  Door locks, hinges and latches should be lubricated at certain intervals.  Locks should be kept clean.  While many vehicles now have electronic locks, sometimes an electrical failure in the vehicle or key fob can inadvertently lock you out.  Nearly every vehicle has a mechanical key in case that happens; if you don't know how that works, have your service advisor show you how. 

Also, you technician can make sure your doors are properly aligned and aren't sagging. All of these things can help you keep your doors opening and closing the way they were designed to. Your next trip may "hinge" on your doors being in top condition.


AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



The Power Behind your Engine (Alternator Diagnosis and Repair)

Posted July 10, 2022 9:20 AM

There's nothing like that sinking feeling when you turn the key and nothing happens in your vehicle.  A lot of us are quick to blame the battery.  But it may instead be your alternator that's failing.

Your battery supplies power to start your vehicle, but the alternator is what sends power when your engine is running.  The good news is alternators last a fairly long time, and it's not unusual to get seven years out of one. But they can give up the ghost thanks to the harsh conditions in the engine compartment.

Alternators have bearings inside them that keep things turning smoothly.  Debris, liquid, dirt and more can team up with the high temperatures your engine generates to cause those bearings to seize up.  That's not good, and if that happens, you may even be able to hear the bearings grind.

Other symptoms of a dying alternator are a squealing noise in the engine compartment or your headlights may go dim and bright, dim and bright.  You might even notice an electrical smell.  Any of these signs warrants a trip to your service facility.

Here's something else to think about.  If your alternator's bearings have seized up and the unit's shaft is not turning freely, that can destroy the belt that's attached to it.  So don't be surprised if your service advisor says both parts have to be replaced. 

There are different grades of alternators you can buy, but consider just how important this part is to keep your vehicle running.  Your service advisor will give you options based on your driving style and vehicle.  Remember, if you notice any of those symptoms that may signal a failing alternator, have it taken care of before you wind up stuck somewhere at the side of the road.

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



The Cable Guy (Battery Cables and Maintenance)

Posted July 3, 2022 11:34 AM

If you've ever noticed your vehicle's lights are dim or not working at all, the problem could be many things.  But one possibility is your battery cables aren't doing their job.  A power outage in your vehicle is similar to one in your house and needs to be repaired to get things back to normal.

Battery cables connect your vehicle's battery to the vehicle itself.  There is a positive cable when provides the power and a negative cable that connects to the vehicle chassis and provides a ground for electrical components. 

A failing battery cable may cause your vehicle not to start.  Your starter may turn over very slowly.  Or you may just hear a series of clicks.  One other clue is on your dash—the battery warning light. 

There are many things that can cause power issues in a vehicle, but it's important to keep battery cables clean and maintained.  Salt and corrosion are enemies to any power system.  A technician can keep things in top shape, disconnecting the cables, inspecting them and cleaning their ends and the battery terminals.  Cables, by the way, are often made up of smaller strands of wire.  If they are frayed, some of those smaller wires can touch metal parts of the vehicles that they shouldn't.  The result? Electrical system malfunctions.

So if you see any of these signs that something is not quite right with the power in your vehicle, consult your service advisor and get it checked out.  Feel the power!


AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



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