‘Car Advice’ Category

SRS Warning Light (Air Bag Light)

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Air bags are a very important safety feature. In a car equipped with air bags you will see an SRS light (or Air Bag light) on the dashboard. SRS is an acronym for Supplementary Restraint System—the key word being supplementary.

That means it supplements your safety system and that safety system is your seat belt. If you are not wearing your seat belt when you are in an accident that deploys the airbags, a greater amount of bodily injury will occur. For that reason, you should ALWAYS wear your seatbelt.

If the airbag light is on, there is a problem in the system and the airbags will not deploy if an accident occurs. As you can imagine, this can be very serious. If your SRS light comes on, get your vehicle to the shop quickly.

You will notice that the SRS warning light is yellow in color. Yellow warning lights typically indicate that you may continue driving your vehicle without causing immediate further damage to the vehicle. However, keep in mind that this important safety system will not be protecting you so this is definitely one you should not ignore for long.

The Check Engine Light – What Does It Mean?

Friday, January 16th, 2015

The check engine light has been around since about 1990. Its initial purpose was to provide information about the emission control status of the vehicle. Check engine lights are typically orange in color because they still primarily deal with emission controls. However, emission controls now includes additional elements, as well. Remember, a yellow light means you can typically keep driving. If the vehicle’s performance seems normal, you can continue driving but should seek service as soon as it is practical. Emissions concern air pollution—so, for instance, if a spark plug is not working properly, it causes the car to pollute more than it should, and the check engine light comes on. The onboard computer will register the fact that there is a misfire due to the failed spark plug and lights the check engine light to alert the driver that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Formerly, a failed spark plug wouldn’t cause the check engine light to come on. It would come on if you had a fuel canister that was full of gasoline or if the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system failed. Now the check engine light encompasses many things. There are somewhere between six hundred and nine hundred different reasons why the check engine light might come on. A technician needs to run tests on the system to determine the actual cause so they can correct this problem. Even if the vehicle seems to be operating normally, there are a great many things that can cause a check engine light to come on that will cause very expensive repairs to result if the problem is not addressed soon. What is a $200 failure today can easily become a $1500 repair next week. Another reason to not ignore the check engine light is that if it is always on, the driver has no way to know that another system malfunctions and the computer wants to light the check engine light to alert the driver. There is just way too much downside to ignoring a check engine light so don’t be one of those people who cost themselves many hundreds of dollars because they ignored an obvious warning.

Want more great advice on saving money on car repairs? Order Russell McCloud’s book Knowledge is Power by clicking here

What Does the ABS Warning Light Mean?

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The ABS light has to do with the brake system, specifically the anti-lock system. If the ABS light is on, the Anti-lock Brake System computer has found a fault somewhere in the system. It could be anything from low brake fluid to a problem with a particular wheel sensor or another component within the system.

When the ABS light is on, your normal braking will still work. However, if you get into a panic stop, the anti-lock brake system will not take over your braking—that is, your wheels will lock up like a vehicle not equipped with anti-lock brakes. Therefore, you lose the ability to maneuver around objects in your path. Instead, momentum carries you forward and you’ll likely hit the object ahead of you.

You may remember your parents telling you that if you’re on ice you should pump your brakes and not apply them hard. The ABS System uses that principle as well. The ABS system pumps your brakes ten times per second, which is something no human is able to do.

The ABS light typically comes on as a yellow light. It doesn’t mean that you have to immediately stop the car, but it does indicate that the system is not going to work until you get it resolved. It does not mean that your car won’t stop; it does not mean that your brakes have failed completely; it only means that the anti-lock side of your brake system is not going to operate if you get into a panic stop situation or are trying to stop on a slick surface. Drive cautiously—as you always should—and quickly get your vehicle to a shop for testing.

Anti-lock Brake Systems are one of the best safety system improvements made in the past twenty years. It has saved countless lives and far more collisions.

Want more great advice on saving money on car repairs? Order Russell McCloud’s book Knowledge is Power by clicking here

What Does That Dashboard Warning Light Mean?

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

As you sit in the driver’s seat and turn on the key, you see various lights pop up on the dashboard. But what do they mean?

First, there’s a reason for the color of lights on your dashboard. These colors can be associated with the traffic lights you see when you are driving down the road.

If you see a RED light, what does that usually mean to you? Stop. And when you see YELLOW? Caution. GREEN? Green means go.

Let’s apply this to the dashboard lights. If, for example, you have the cruise control on, the button is normally some sort of orange color. Once you set the cruise control, the button turns green.

Your dashboard lights are very important and should never be ignored. If one of your red dashboard lights comes on, you need to seek service by a qualified technician right away. You typically should discontinue driving immediately.

There are a number of dashboard warning lights that are attributed to various systems in your car. If you are looking for information on a particular warning light, there are articles posted in our web site that will give more specific information as to the warning light and what it means to that specific system.

If you cannot locate it or have other specific questions you can always call us at (928) 783-8808 and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have about warning lights or any other vehicle systems.

An example is this:

ABS Light:

The ABS light has to do with the brakes, as we mentioned previously. If the ABS light is on, the Anti-lock Brake System computer has found a fault somewhere in the system. It could be anything from low brake fluid to a problem with a particular wheel sensor or another component within the system.

When the ABS light is on, your normal braking will still work. However, if you get into a panic stop, the anti-lock brake system will not take over your braking—that is, your wheels will lock up like a vehicle not equipped with anti-lock brakes. Therefore, you lose the ability to maneuver around objects in your path. Instead, momentum carries you forward and you’ll likely hit the object ahead of you.

You may remember your parents telling you that if you’re on ice you should pump your brakes and not apply them hard. The ABS System uses that principle as well. The ABS system pumps your brakes ten times per second, which is something no human is able to do.

The ABS light typically comes on as a yellow light. It doesn’t mean that you have to immediately stop the car, but it does indicate that the system is not going to work until you get it resolved. It does not mean that your car won’t stop; it does not mean that your brakes have failed completely; it only means that the anti-lock side of your brake system is not going to operate if you get into a panic stop situation or trying to stop on a slick surface. Drive cautiously—as you always should—and quickly get your vehicle to a shop for testing.

Want more great advice on saving money on car repairs? Order Russell McCloud’s book Knowledge is Power by clicking here

When Should I Have My Car Towed?

Friday, January 13th, 2012

One of the saddest things we see are vehicles that should have been towed but the driver decided to make it “just a little farther.” We hear things like “It was only a half mile away” or “The exit was just right up there.” These scenarios can cause a three hundred dollar job to turn into a several thousand dollar repair bill.

So, how do you know when you should have your car towed? ANY overheating issue should be towed rather than driven. This is the number one increased damage scenario we see. Anything that has turned on a red warning light is a good candidate for a tow call. A yellow warning light indicates you should seek service as soon as practical but it usually will not require a tow.

Any time a brake pedal fades to the floor suddenly the vehicle should be towed. Any loss of oil pressure is the same, tow it, do not drive it.

If the transmission is slipping badly, a tow is usually in order. Any large fluid leaks should end up in a tow call to avoid damage to internally lubricated components or damage caused by slipping or overheating.

Probably the best rule of thumb is, when in doubt, tow it!

Accurate Towing has fast service and professional drivers that can handle any situation for you. Just call 928-783-9309 for the finest tow service in Yuma. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How to prevent breaking down?

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

This could be your worst nightmare – breaking down on I-8 in the middle of the desert without any water in your car. How do you prevent your car from breaking down? The first way is to follow your manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance plan. For all car manufacturers, the engineers that design the vehicle and parts for the vehicle will test the vehicle and determine on average how long parts and fluids last. They also look at the make up of the component and, based off the years of historical data for their brand, they develop a recommended maintenance schedule which must be followed to maintain your warranty and to give you the best value for your automotive investment.

Manufacturer maintenance schedules allow a professional technician at Accurate Automotive to look at your vehicle and identify its maintenance needs based on the mileage and other factors. We follow the manufacturer’s checklist for which parts and systems need inspection and servicing. Also, this is the time that certain fluids need replaced to prevent damage to crucial systems in your car such as transmission and brake fluids. Scheduled maintenance will have each system of your car inspected from your battery to your brakes. Come into Accurate Automotive the next time your “Check Engine Light” or “Maintenance Service” light comes on. We have three convenient locations to help prevent you from breaking down in the middle of the desert (or anywhere else) and that it always gets you to where you want to go.

Express Auto RV Car Wash Video

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Saving Gas and Driving Green

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Driving green helps the environment and your budget. Here are some tips from EcoDriving.com.

Read Your Owner’s Manual

Tip #1: Your glove compartment holds one of the most important sources of fuel economy information, and it is customized for your model and engine. Your owner’s manual may even have a special section on fuel economy. Typically your owner’s manual will provide a recommended service schedule to keep your vehicle operating efficiently. Today’s automobile is designed to operate for well over 120,000 miles, and many vehicles run much further with proper care.

Use the Recommended Motor Oil

Tip #2: Your vehicle’s engine was designed to use a certain oil quality and viscosity, so check your owner’s manual for the recommended type of motor oil. According to the U.S. EPA, you can improve your fuel economy by 1-2% by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” contains friction-reducing additives that can provide additional benefits. Get more information from you service provider. Also, make sure you change the oil regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, because degraded motor oil will degrade fuel economy.

Schedule Periodic Engine Tune-ups

Tip #3: To keep your vehicle running at peak performance, visit your auto shop on a regular schedule. Today’s automobile has been called a computer on wheels, and auto mechanics use computer diagnostics to check motor timing, fuel injection, valves, spark plugs and more. Typically, a tune up can improve gas mileage by an average of 4%, but bigger gains could be seen.

Replace Air Filters Regularly

Tip #4: On today’s automobiles, air flow sensors constantly monitor the amount of air ingested by the engine, and fuel is metered accordingly. An air filter that is clogged with dirt or debris can require more fuel to pump air through the filter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a clogged air filter can increase your mileage by 10%. How often should you change your air filter? As a general rule, if you can see light through your air filter, you don’t need a new one. But it is always best to consult your owner’s manual to determine the replacement schedule that will produce optimum results for your model of vehicle.

Check Your Tire Pressure Monthly

Tip #5:The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on underinflated tires. Tires can deflate naturally, by as much as 1.5 PSI (pounds per square inch) a month. Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure. Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated. So, keeping your tires properly inflated translates into a free tank of gas a year and reduces CO2 emissions too. Check tire pressure at least once a month. The correct tire pressure in PSI can be found on the tire label, usually found on the edge of your door, the door frame or sill. If everyone properly inflated and aligned their tires, we’d save 300 million gallons of gas a year in California alone according to the California Energy Commission.

Check the Weather, then Check Your Tires

Tip #6: Tire pressure changes an average of 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in air temperature. So, a sudden cold snap or heat wave may mean it is time to check your tires. Properly inflated tires run cooler, last longer and improve fuel economy. The U.S. EPA estimates that gas mileage can improve by about 3% by keeping tires properly inflated.

Invest in a Tire Pressure Gauge

Tip #7: New autos are now on sale with tire pressure monitoring systems, including a new warning light on your dashboard. These systems will indicate when your tires are under-inflated by 25%, but it is always advisable to check your tires with a tire pressure gauge before you see the warning light. Tire pressure increases when driving, so to get an accurate reading, check your pressure when you haven’t driven for three or more hours.

Reduce Aerodynamic Drag

Tip #8: Remember the tail fins on circa 1950 vehicles? They were beautiful but not very aerodynamic. At highway speeds, about 50% of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag, according to Consumer Reports. Wind resistance can reduce mileage, so you can maximize your mileage by removing luggage racks, roof-top carriers, and ski racks when they are not needed. Experts at Edmunds.com say that even keeping your car washed and waxed improves aerodynamics. (We recommend Express Auto for this of course!)

Tighten Your Gas Cap

Tip #9: Gasoline evaporates relatively easily, so today’s automobiles have been engineered to significantly reduce evaporative emissions compared to vehicles from the past. But a loose cap can be a quick escape route for gasoline. As much as 30 gallons of gasoline could be lost annually to evaporation when the fuel cap is not fully tightened. Loose, damaged or missing gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council. Your owner’s manual may have good advice because some manufacturers urge drivers to turn their gas caps until they click.

Remove Excess Weight from Your Vehicle

Tip #10: Pull those golf clubs out when not needed. Every pound of extra weight requires your automobile to work harder to move it, and that effort uses fuel. While it is convenient to leave items in your vehicle, weight affects fuel economy and CO2 emissions. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk typically reduces mileage by about 2%.

Maintain Your Air Conditioning System – Professionally

Tip #11: Air conditioning refrigerants can have high global warming potential. Insist on professional service with recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released to the atmosphere. As the refrigerant level decreases, so does the efficiency of the air conditioner. Similarly, too much refrigerant decreases efficiency. Having a professional maintain your air conditioner will maintain optimum performance.

More tips for saving the environment and your budget can be downloaded at www.ecodrivingusa.com, or click here for their Quick Tips.

Counterfeit Parts Warning

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Most of us know that cheap parts manufactured overseas have flooded our markets here in the U.S. We know that using these parts are not in our client’s best interest, or the company’s for that matter. The parts failure rates are high and quality is low. Some parts do not even make it out of the service bay before they fail to perform. There is no cost saving that offsets high failure rates and loss of confidence by our clients so we choose not to purchase and install parts of questionable origin or quality. There is another problem with parts in the service and repair industry however. That problem is counterfeit parts. Go here for a look at the issue first hand, the pictures and captions will astonish you. Click Here

So how do we prevent installing such counterfeit parts on our client’s vehicles? It’s not that hard actually, we purchase through only trusted suppliers. Large suppliers have too much to lose by buying parts from questionable sources so we trust them to buy only directly from the manufacturers of quality parts. We receive phone calls from time to time from folks who offer us amazing deals on “name brand” parts. Usually they are touted as having come from a “large distributor” who either bough too much product by mistake or has closed their doors. As you can see from the photos on the web link, it is difficult or even impossible to tell counterfeit parts from real ones. Because of that, we always refuse the offers and simply hang up. There are no cost savings that are worth compromising our standards or the safety of our clients. We appreciate that our clients place their trust in us and we will always strive to provide the highest in quality of both parts and service that we can.

There may be times that we are able to offer our clients two, or even three levels of parts quality, but even those are from trusted sources. Prime examples of such parts are new vs. remanufactured, brake pads, or shocks and struts. These parts are manufactured with differing quality and service levels but are always up to manufacturers specifications. Some will simply perform better than others but always without compromising safety. If you have any questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us, it will be our pleasure to assist you.

The Hidden Dangers of Ethanol Fuel

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

There is a hidden danger in the use of E-85 fuel (fuel that is 85% ethanol) that has not been publicized and will become a serious issue in the future as its use spreads. That is that ethanol mixes easily with water, environmentally conscious consumers will fill their tanks with E-85 in vehicles not properly equipped, and an ethanol fire cannot be extinguished with the foam normally used by firefighters to extinguish gasoline fires. These issues are destined to weigh heavily in the future.

First is the fact that ethanol is water soluble. Ethanol is just like the alcohol that one uses to make an alcoholic beverage. Take a glass of juice and pour alcohol into it and it readily mixes. Take the same juice and pour some gasoline into it and you have a film on top of the liquid that will not mix and can be easily skimmed off. This is an important distinction when it comes to fuel spills into waterways and other standing water such as ponds. The ethanol will simply dissolve into the water and cannot be cleaned up by normal methods of skimming and absorbent pads placed on top of the water. What will emergency crews do? That is yet to be determined but we see no easy answer or solution.

Second and even more importantly is the use of E-85 in vehicles that are not designed for E-85. This is a serious safety hazard. E-85 fuel will eat through the o-rings and gaskets in vehicles not specially equipped for E-85 fuel. A Kansas firefighter training in these issues reports he sat across the street from an E-85 fuel station and watched driver after driver with older vehicles not equipped for E-85 fuel filling their tanks in a misguided effort to be environmentally conscious. The result can be catastrophic fires due to the erosion of o-rings and gaskets that seal high pressure fuel systems from leaking. These fuel systems run very high pressures and a failed o-ring can and often does cause sudden and severe vehicle fires. You can imagine what might happen if that fire starts inside a garage at home, inside a repair facility, or inside a parking garage. The results can not only involve serious property damage but can endanger lives.

Third is the fact that the foam commonly used to fight gasoline fires will not work on ethanol fires. The alcohol breaks down the bubbles in the foam and can cause a regular fire on the ground to create a potentially dangerous explosion. Most fire fighting agencies do not yet have the special foam that is needed because it is thirty percent more expensive than the foam currently used to fight petroleum based fires.

Please keep these facts in mind and be sure that you do not use E-85 fuel in a vehicle that is not specifically designed for its use.

Source: Automotive Body Repair News

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