Articles:

The Part You've Never Seen (Flat Tires and Solutions)

They say your vehicle has one, but you've never seen it.  And you might not even know it if you stumbled on it accidentally. We're talking about the jack, that tool that allows you to lift one corner of the vehicle up so someone can change a flat tire. So you say you'd never try to change a flat anyway, so you don't care where it is.  But one day, you may find yourself in a spot where you're stranded with no cell service and you'll need to at least know the basics of what to do. Well, here's the ironic part.  Many of today's vehicles don't even have jacks and spares!  Recently, manufacturers have been saving weight by supplying another solution for a flat tire, such as an inflator kit that has a tire sealant in it, or a small compressor.  If your vehicle has one of those, it's a good idea to get to know how to use it before you need to use it.  Hopefully you'll be able to call roadside assistance and they can take care of things, but circumstances may prev ... read more

The Need for Speed (Wheel Speed Sensor Maintenance)

Today's vehicles have some pretty amazing technology in them, including a computerized braking system we all pretty much take for granted these days.  Antilock brake systems (ABS) have been around for years but they help drivers stop in much shorter distances reliably than ever before.  When you see your ABS warning light come on, it's important to find out what's causing the problem. It's a safety issue. Often the problem when the ABS light comes on is a faulty wheel speed sensor.  (In some cases the traction control light will also come on, perhaps because of a non-working wheel speed sensor.) Your vehicle uses the speed sensors to measure the rotational speed at each wheel. That sensor sends the speed data to a computer that can then adjust braking power and prevent your wheels from locking up.  If any of the wheel speed sensors isn't working right, the ABS warning light will go on and the vehicle's computer will turn off the antilock brake system.  You'll s ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Taking the Heat (Heater Hose Maintenance/Repair)

If you have an internal combustion vehicle, you know it has a lot of hoses that carry various fluids.  And if you have a heater in your vehicle, you'll have heater hoses. A heater hose connects to and from the engine so some coolant can be circulated through a little radiator called a heater core.  In cold weather, that heater core acts as a heat exchanger to heat up your cabin. Even in the hot weather, the heater hoses can prove problematic.  That's because they may remain pressurized even though you're not running your heater.  Heater hoses are made out of tough materials since they must handle heat and pressure.  But even the durable rubber, plastic and metal they are made out of can crack or leak from years of use.  That means coolant can be sprayed out into the engine compartment or leak onto a driveway or garage floor.  You may be able to see a puddle of coolant under your vehicle or perhaps smell the odor of the coolant under the hood.  So ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

Positive Crankcase Ventilation ? PCV Valve Service at Twin City Auto

Hello Scottsbluff! Did you know that the first federally-mandated emissions control device was introduced in the 1960's? The Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve, or PCV valve, has been installed in NE vehicles since 1964 and represents the first legislation by the United States government to regulate harmful emissions as well as to improve performance in the country's vehicles.The PCV valve, as you can probably guess, is located on the crankcase. The crankcase is the lowest part of a vehicle's engine. It houses the crankshaft and the engine oil. The crankshaft connects to the pistons that power the engine.Pistons are pushed down when fuel is burned in an engine. This causes the crankshaft to rotate, which sends power to the transmission.  It ultimately turns the axles and causes the vehicle to move. Some of the gases released by the burning fuel squeeze around the pistons and down into the crankcase.If the escaped gases mix with the engine oil in ... read more

Categories:

Exhaust

Straight to the Point (Alignment Signs of Problems)

It’s just common sense that your vehicle will drive better if all the wheels are lined up with each other and the road the way the engineers intended.  When they’re not, that is called being out of alignment.   Here are some signs that your alignment has problems. Your steering wheel isn’t straight when your vehicle goes straight down a straight road. This one’s pretty easy to notice.  If your vehicle’s logo on the wheel is tilted, that’s probably not the way designers wanted it to be. Bring it in and have us check it out. Your steering wheel is vibrating on a smooth road or when you are accelerating.  While this could be caused by several different things, one possibility is misalignment.  If your steering wheel is shaking, it should be examined by a trained technician. Your vehicle is pulling to one side without you wanting it to.  Sometimes the configuration of the road will cause it to pull slightly left or rig ... read more

Categories:

Alignment

Conventional or Synthetic? (Switching to Synthetic Oil)

If you keep up on technology trends, then you may be intrigued about synthetic motor oil.  It was introduced in the 1960s when Mobil came up with it.  Mobil's oil was different from conventional motor oil because it was first broken down to its basic molecules.  Then, Mobil removed additional impurities from crude oil and "tailored them to the demands of modern engines." Synthetic oil is becoming more popular now because of its advantages over conventional oil. It's more resistant to sludge forming in an engine.  It is more efficient and protects engines better under temperature extremes.  Because it allows drivers to go longer between oil changes, many feel it's more convenient.  The downside is that synthetic oil is more expensive, but because it doesn't need changing as often, the cost can be pretty comparable in the long run. Those who drive high performance vehicles (think Audi, BMW, Mercedes) are already using synthetic oil if they're following their ... read more

Categories:

Oil Change

TCB your PCV (PCV Valve Replacement)

Your gasoline engine goes through some exhausting work.  Yes, it's truly exhausting, as in: it produces exhaust! And when your engine starts behaving like it's exhausted, such as running poorly or getting lousy fuel economy, the trouble may be something called a PCV valve. Did you know it's a series of explosions that creates the power in your engine? The spark plugs ignite a mixture of gasoline and air and BANG! A whole bunch of those and you're engine is humming away. Leftover vapors from those explosions go into your crankcase, which is also a place where engine oil goes.  Those vapors still have a lot of unburned fuel in them, and if they had nowhere to go, they'd turn your oil into a thick mess called sludge, not good for a smooth running engine.  Engineers came up with an idea. Re-direct those gasses building up in the crankcase into the engine's air intake and mix them with fresh air.  That way the unburned fuel could go through the engine again and produce p ... read more

Categories:

PCV Valve

I'm Cool With That (AC Exchange)

On a hot day, you want your vehicle's air conditioning to work.  When the air blowing out of your vents isn't cold, it's easy to think, "I'll just take it by the shop and have them top off my refrigerant." But while some people think air conditioning is that simple, it's actually not. If your refrigerant is low, something has to have happened for it to be depleted.  Perhaps there's a leak in the system.  Or some hoses or clamps have failed.  If the system isn't evaluated by someone who knows air conditioning, it's possible that adding refrigerant will just be a band-aid solution. It's also possible that contaminants have gotten into the refrigerant, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, or air.  Some of those gases do not condense like refrigerant does which can increase the pressure inside the system and strain the lines and other components. At that point, the best course of action may be to have the old refrigerant (with its contaminants) bled from the sy ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

All Lined Up (Alignment Inspection)

When you head down a straight road, does your vehicle pull to one side?  Do you feel vibration in any of the wheels? If you've noticed any of these things, it's probably time for you to get your wheel alignment checked. When your vehicle left the factory, its wheels were parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.  That maximizes traction for good steering and braking. Every time you take your vehicle on the road, normal wear and tear will affect your alignment. Hit a bump, a pothole or a curb and all those little knocks will add up Bad alignment not only can cause your steering wheel to pull unevenly, it can also wear your tires out a lot faster than they should. In fact, if you look at your tires and see one side of the tread is a lot smoother than the other, it could be another sign of bad alignment. Since different problems can cause similar symptoms, the first thing our trained technician will do is test drive your vehicle. Then, they'll check the front end a ... read more

Categories:

Alignment

Stopping "Brake" Downs (Brake Pad Replacement)

If someone tells you to put the brakes on something, you know it means stop.  And stopping is one of the most important safety maneuvers you can do in any vehicle.  That means your brakes have to work properly.  Let's face it.  You stop dozens of times every time you drive.  And over time, that takes its toll on your brakes.  Friction is what stops your vehicle.  Most newer vehicles have disc brakes, and the parts that wear out the fastest are those that rub against each other every time you stop, the rotors and the pads. The rotors are discs that rotate with the wheels, and the pads are removable surfaces that make contact with the rotors to slow or stop your vehicle.  Bits of both wear off each time you stop, and when enough of either (or both) lose too much material, your brakes become unable to safely slow or stop your vehicle.  The pads usually are the parts that wear out first.  Signs that your brakes might be getting worn are: Y ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service , Brakes