Auto Repair FAQ

What is ethanol & ethanol-blended fuel?

Ethanol is highly refined beverage (grain) alcohol, approximately 200 proof, and can be made from natural products such as corn, sugar, and wheat. Ethanol that is used for fuel has been denatured with hydrocarbon, rendering it unsafe to drink.

Ethanol-blended fuel is a mixture of ethanol and unleaded gasoline. A mixture of 10% ethanol with 90% unleaded gasoline is known as E10 (E for ethanol, and 10 for 10%). Automobiles that normally use unleaded gasoline for fuel can also run using E10 fuel. Another type of ethanol-blended fuel is E85. E85 refers to a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline.

Will ethanol work in fuel-injected engines?

Yes. Other components of gasoline, such as olefins, can cause deposits that result in fouled fuel injectors. However, since 1985, all ethanol blends and nearly all non-ethanol gasolines contain corrosion inhibitors and detergent additives designed to prevent injector deposits. These detergents have been very effective in alleviating the problem of fouled fuel injectors.

Won’t ethanol burn valves?

No, because ethanol burns cooler than gasoline. This is the reason that many high-powered racing engines use pure alcohol for fuel.

Does ethanol lead to plugged fuel filters?

Ethanol is an efficient solvent, and therefore, the use of ethanol-blended fuel may result in loosened contaminants and residues collecting in the fuel filter. The fuel filter may need to be changed following the first full tank of ethanol-blended fuel has been used. After this, the fuel filter’s normal maintenance.

What care should be given to a car not driven in a long time?

If possible have someone you trust start and run your car at least every three weeks by running it until it is warmed up to prevent items such as gaskets from drying up. Moving the car backward and forward in the driveway will help if you don’t want to take it on roads. Getting everything to operating temperature on a dry and salt-less road at once a month is our best advice.

What type of transmission fluid should I use in my car?

Different transmissions require different types of transmission fluid. Our shop offers several quality transmission fluid brands. We recommend that you change your fluid every 25,000 to 35,000 miles using a BG Transmission Flush as part of our regular suggested maintenance. This service also includes replacing the filter or cleaning the screen, replacing the pan gasket, performing a final leak-check, and performing a road test.

Is changing the oil & oil filter really important?

Yes! Lubricating your car’s engine’s moving parts is the most important job of your car’s motor oil. Dirty motor oil wears out engine parts much quicker. Motor oil cleans the inner parts of your automobile’s engine as well as helping to cool it. Motor oil serves to seal the space between an engine’s piston rings and cylinder walls, forming enough of a seal to help prevent loss of power and increase and engine’s operating economy.
Changing an engine’s oil without replacing the oil filter can result in the new oil picking up the contaminants trapped in the old oil filter and recirculating them to the engine’s moving parts.
Change the oil and oil filter before taking a long trip. The more contaminated the oil, the faster a car’s engine will consume it. Frequent oil and filter changes are an effective way to increase the life of your car – one of your most expensive and valuable possessions. Our auto repair mechanics recommend changing your car’s oil and oil filter every 3,000-5,000 miles.

On a long trip what maintenance should be done?

Every time you stop for gas it is a good idea to check your car’s oil level. If your oil pressure warning light goes on pull over immediately or else the engine could be destroyed. If your car begins overheating check your engine for coolant leaks or broken belts. If there aren’t any such problems, switch off the air-conditioner and turn on the heater to maximum to bleed some heat from the engine. Drive to the nearest automotive service station while keeping an eye on the temperature gauge.

Does using air-conditioning affect my fuel economy?

Most estimates are that the use of air conditioning can reduce fuel economy by one to two miles per gallon. In large cars or when traveling in extreme heat conditions air conditioning cuts fuel economy up to four miles per gallon.

How do I use anti-lock brakes in an emergency?

The best way to use anti-lock brakes in an emergency is to firmly apply and maintain continuous pressure on the brake pedal while you steer away from obstacles. Anti-lock brake systems use very intelligent sensors to automatically pump the brakes up to 18 times per second. Steer normally. The primary benefit of having an anti-lock brake system is that it doesn’t allow your front wheels to lock, which causes loss of steering control. Do not jerk the wheel. Jerking the wheel is a natural thing to do, but with ABS your car will respond to steering input and go off to the side and not slide into an accident.

How much air should be put in tires?

Inflate your car’s tires according to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. This can usually be found inside your driver door panel or in the glove box of your car. Unless you load your vehicle to its maximum carrying capacity, using the maximum pressure listed on the tires will result in a terribly hard ride and may negatively affect steering control.

When stopped for extended periods should I shut off my engine?

Your car’s engine should not be left idling unnecessarily for more than a minute. In a situation where you are waiting for a long freight train to pass you can burn more gas letting the car idle that were you to turn your engine off and then back on again.

Why is my check engine, transmission or overdrive light on or flashing?

Engines as well as transmissions are controlled by on board computers in today’s vehicles. If a malfunction occurs the computer stores a code, that relates to the malfunction, and warns the driver by turning on or flashing one of these lights. These warnings should not be ignored. Early diagnosis, by a qualified tech with proper equipment, can save a customer money and prevent him from getting stranded. We have the equipment and trained personnel to help when this occurs.

Is changing my air filter important?

It certainly is! Your auto’s air filter is the only line of defense in stopping airborne contaminants from getting drawn into your car’s air induction system. The air filter stops these particles from getting into important fuel injections areas and damaging those parts or plugging them up. As the air filter gets filled up with contaminants it’s filtration ability is maxed out – at which point, contaminants will begin getting past it.
A plugged air filter can limit the necessary air flow needed by your engine to run correctly. When this occurs, your car’s engine will run rich and will use excessive amounts of fuel reducing car’s miles per gallon in the process.

How do I clean dirty battery terminals?

First disconnect both terminal cables and then apply a baking soda paste that is three parts baking soda and one part water. This will clean corrosion built-up from battery terminals without the need for using a wire brush. The baking soda paste will neutralize corrosion. After reconnecting the clamps to the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to help prevent future corrosion.

Can spark plugs last 100,000 miles?

There have been times when our repair shop has found spark plugs seized in cylinder heads of vehicles with as little as 60,000 miles on them. Removal of these seized plugs can result in hours of labor. There are documented repairs where it was necessary to remove cylinder heads just to get the remove the plugs. We suggest that to maintain peak performance your spark plugs should not be run longer than 30,000 miles. Car buyers should take those 100,000 mile spark plug marketing claims of manufacturers with a grain of salt.

How often should I wash and wax my car?

We suggest you wash your car at least once a month with an auto wash liquid soap. In the winter pay close attention to remove winter salt deposits from underneath your car. Sometimes car owners forget to rinse off dirt before washing; any dirt rubbed into a car’s paint surface can cause scratches. We also suggest that you run a wash mitt or rag along the inside bottom edges of your car’s doors, hood, trunk or hatch as these areas commonly trap moisture and dirt and can cause premature rusting. We suggest that you do not use household detergents because they can be harsh and can remove the wax finish on your car. A nice chamois does a better job of drying a car than a towel does does because of its absorbency abilities. A bath towel can be abrasive. If you don’t want to use a chamois to dry your car then ask for nonabrasive towel used to dry a car when you visit the auto repair store.
Giving your car a good wax job will protect the car’s body from filthy winter roads. Waxing in the spring is also a great idea. Never wax your car in direct sunlight as this can cause chemicals in the wax to damage your automobile’s finish. Newer cars have an invisible coat that protects the paint. Some people think the clear coat lets them avoid waxing. But road gunk and the elements wear down the very coat that wax protects.

How do I know I will not be overcharged for my repair?

First and most important, understand that our repair shop has an excellent reputation in our community. We will provide a written estimate of repair costs and get your consent to have work performed. If our repair shop finds more work is needed that would increase the cost of the original estimate, we will provide an estimate for the extra work and get your consent to have it performed. We will also provide written invoices that list repairs performed, parts prices and the cost of our labor. If you request them we will return the replaced parts in the event that they do not need to be returned to the manufacturer to satisfy a warranty or exchange agreement.