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Brake Rotors Problem!

Brake Rotors Problem!

Disc brakes are called disc brakes because of the big metal disc – or rotor – that spins with the wheel.  The brake pads rub against the rotor to slow the vehicle.  In technical terms, the motion energy of the moving vehicle is transferred into heat energy by the brakes.  The job of the rotor is to absorb that heat and dissipate it into the atmosphere.  To do that effectively, the rotor needs a certain amount of mass (measured by the thickness of the rotor) and a good surface to mate with the brake pads.  Let’s talk about those two things. First is the thickness.  A new rotor is nice and thick.  It can absorb a lot of heat and dissipate it effectively.  Over time, the rotor will wear away slightly.  If it wears away too much, there is not enough metal to take care of this heat transfer and the vehicle will not brake as well.  In fact, each rotor is stamped with the minimum thickness the rotor must have.  When the ... read more

Question: I was told I need to have my transfer case serviced. What is that?

Question: I was told I need to have my transfer case serviced. What is that?

Answer:   On a four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle, power needs to be transferred to both the f ront and rear axles.  The transfer case is the mechanism that makes that happen.  There are many drivetrain configurations out there, so we’ll just talk in generalities. Trucks and larger SUV’s are often primarily rear-wheel-drive.  When the driver (or the vehicle’s computer) selects 4WD, the transfer case also sends power to the front axle.  The transfer case may also contain an additional gear set for off-roading. The transfer case is lubricated and cooled by special gear oil.  Over time, the oil gets contaminated and needs to be changed, just like your engine oil and transmission fluid.  Your vehicle manufacturer will have a schedule.  Your service advisor can help. Now many vehicles have all-wheel drive (AWD).  AWD vehicles are often based on a front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive vehicle with the addition of a center differen ... read more

Wired! (Battery Cables and Maintenance)

Wired! (Battery Cables and Maintenance)

Chances are you've had the power go out in your neighborhood  at some time, and you know how helpless you feel.  No lights, no microwave oven, no cold refrigerator: Yikes, it's like living in another century.  Well, your vehicle is also highly dependent on having power for it to run properly.  When your battery cables are failing, that power is not transferred as it should be. Battery cables are essentially the wires that connect your vehicle to its battery.  The positive cable supplies the power to various components that use them and the negative grounds the system to the vehicle chassis.  This setup allows you to have power throughout your vehicle. When a battery cable fails, your vehicle may not start, your starter may turn over very slowly, or you may hear a clicking noise.  And you may see your battery warning light go on. Just like a house with no power, a vehicle with no power needs to get it back for things to work the way they sho ... read more

Question: What benefit will I get out of a fuel system cleaning?

Question: What benefit will I get out of a fuel system cleaning?

Answer: Well, the dirtier your fuel system is, the bigger the improvement you’ll see in performance and fuel economy.  But don’t wait until your engine is running poorly, you’ve wasted hundreds of dollars in gas or maybe even damaged your fuel injectors and catalytic converter.   Look, gasoline is a petroleum-based product and will leave some residue, gum and varnish along the way.  Some of that can find its way into your fuel injectors and interfere with their job.  The fuel injectors do just that – inject fuel into your engine.  They spray a precise amount of fuel, at a precise time, in a precise pattern, at a precise pressure.  When they are dirty this precision just isn’t possible.  So, your engine can run rough.  Also, carbon deposits build up on valves and in the combustion chamber.  Fuel economy suffers and performance is degraded.  These poor conditions allow excess unburned fuel to pass out thro ... read more

Proper Grade of Gas: Standard, Super, Plus or Premium

Proper Grade of Gas: Standard, Super, Plus or Premium

There are a lot of misconceptions about fuel grades – and by fuel grades I mean the octane rating. With names like “Standard," “Super," “Plus," and “Premium,” it’s no wonder that people associate the octane rating/grade with quality. Octane ratings are expressed as a number that typically ranges from 87 to 91 at the pump. The number does not mean “better” but rather signifies the appropriateness of a particular grade of fuel for a particular engine. Octane is a measure of gasoline’s ability to resist igniting before the spark plug goes off. Gasoline and air are compressed in the engine’s combustion chamber. When the pressure reaches a certain point, the gas will spontaneously combust. You don’t want that to happen; you want the spark plug to ignite the fuel at precisely the right time. When the gas combusts prematurely, the piston will try to go down while it is still being pushed up by the crank sh ... read more

The 20.9 Percent Factor (Oxygen Sensor)

Do you know what gas makes up 20.9% of the air we breathe? It's oxygen.   Oxygen is an important part of the combustion process that enables your engine to make power.  The amount of oxygen in the exhaust provides clues as to how well your engine is running.  Your vehicle has oxygen sensors that provide the engine computer with the information it needs to adjust the combustion process. Many vehicles have more than one oxygen sensor.  They are positioned in the exhaust system, one between the engine and the catalytic converter, and another after the catalytic converter.  An onboard computer compares the oxygen levels before and after the catalytic converter to determine if the converter is working properly. An oxygen sensor may fail for many reasons.  You could have bad fuel that contaminated it.  Your sensor may have simply worn out.  Your engine may be burning oil, and that soot can ruin the sensor.  Road contaminants, like salt ... read more

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Oxygen , O2

Conventional or synthetic oil?

Conventional or synthetic oil?

Heard of synthetic motor oil but would like to learn more information?  Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for conventional oil.  Synthetic doesn’t gel or gum-up like conventional oil and it doesn’t vaporize as easily.  It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil – with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle. Why is this?  Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy.  To see why we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations.  The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains.  Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules.  Which is slipperier? – A pile of pencils or a pile of marbles? Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there&rsqu ... read more

Cooling System Service. Keeping your engine cool.

Cooling System Service. Keeping your engine cool.

Gilbert drivers often ask questions about the cooling system, the system that cools your vehicle engine and keeps it at the proper operating temperature. Let’s examine the topic in two areas: first, the coolant itself and second, the parts that make up the cooling system. The coolant is the mix of water and antifreeze that circulates through the engine to draw off heat. First, you need to have the proper amount. If you don’t have enough coolant, it can’t keep your vehicle engine cool. You also need the right kind of coolant. Different makes of vehicles require different coolant formulation to protect against corrosion. Finally, your coolant needs to be fresh. Over time and miles of driving, the anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted, and the coolant can actually start to eat away at the vehicle's cooling system parts. Your owner’s manual and your Spectrum Car Care Center service advisor can help yo ... read more

Fuel Saving Tip: Cleaning your fuel system will save you money!

Fuel Saving Tip: Cleaning your fuel system will save you money!

A lot of gas is wasted in dirty fuel delivery systems.  Let’s start at the tank.  The gas tank gathers of dirt, rust and sediment over the years.  That’s why there’s a fuel filter to clean the fuel after it leaves the tank.  A dirty filter will rob the engine of the clean gas it needs to run efficiently. The fuel intake components get coated with gum and varnish over time.  This results in fuel being delivered inefficiently and some of that gunk getting into the engine.  A fuel system service will leave your intake as clean as a whistle.   The big fuel thief is dirty fuel injectors.  They deliver fuel to the engine at a specified pressure and in a specific spray pattern.  When they’re clogged, the fuel doesn’t get atomized the way it’s supposed to and doesn’t get burned as efficiently. See your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor for when fuel system cleaning is recommended

Power Steering 101

Power Steering 101

Steering is one of the things we take for granted in our vehicles. Let’s break it down into two areas: first, the power assist and second, the actual parts that steer the vehicle. Most people under 40 have never driven a car or truck without power steering. Most vehicles today have a hydraulic power steering pump that provides boost to help you steer. The pump is usually driven by the serpentine belt, but some newer vehicles have an electric pump. Some vehicles even have an electric motor that directly powers the steering. The important thing to keep in mind is that these pumps and motors will eventually wear out and the hoses will start to leak. You can postpone that day by having a power steering service from time to time. We will drain the old fluid and replace it with fresh fluid. This removes water and contaminants that can corrode power steering parts. Ask your service advisor for the recommended change interval. What about the mechanical steering parts? Is there anythin ... read more

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