Auto Express Bloghttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blogMost recent posts.Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:42:11 -0700en-ushourly1Why Come to Auto Express of Sacramento for Smog Inspections? http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-come-to-auto-express-of-sacramento-for-smog-inspectionshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-come-to-auto-express-of-sacramento-for-smog-inspections#commentsSat, 25 Feb 2017 15:42:11 -0700TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-come-to-auto-express-of-sacramento-for-smog-inspections<p> As a driver in California, you already know that our state has some of the most stringent air quality laws of any state in the union That, of course, translates to some <img alt="Smog Test in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/203/smog-test-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 207px; margin: 10px; float: right;" />pretty tough auto emission standards as well.</p> <p> So, why come to Auto Express Sacramento for your smog tests?</p> <p> Auto Express Sacramento is fully accredited and licensed by the State of California, not only for smog inspections but for emissions-related repairs. We know exactly what your vehicle needs to bring it into compliance with state emissions standards.</p> <p> Our technicians are all ASE-certified; the blue ASE patch means that a technician has to stay current on the latest technologies with continuing education and recertification at regular intervals.</p> <p> We have decades of experience in smog testing and emissions repair&nbsp;and can leverage that experience and knowledge when it comes time to renew your vehicle&rsquo;s inspection sticker.</p> <p> Vehicle emissions are controlled and managed by the engine control computer, and an illuminated Check Engine light is the first sign that you may not be able to pass inspection. At Auto Express of Sacramento, we know how to read between the lines and ascertain what might have caused that trouble code that&rsquo;s illuminated your Check Engine light in the first place.</p> <p> One thing is for sure&hellip;you won&rsquo;t be able to legally drive on the roads in California without that sticker. Don&rsquo;t go anywhere else when it&rsquo;s time to renew your smog inspection; make an appointment with us at Auto Express of Sacramento and we&rsquo;ll make sure it&rsquo;s done right. &nbsp;</p> /blog/view/why-come-to-auto-express-of-sacramento-for-smog-inspections/feed0Does My Car Need A Tune-up?http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/does-my-car-need-a-tune-uphttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/does-my-car-need-a-tune-up#commentsMon, 03 Oct 2016 08:36:30 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/does-my-car-need-a-tune-up<p> In the 1960s and 70s, when vehicles had distributors, carburetors and mechanical ignition, tune-ups were necessary about every 35,000 miles or so. Those <img alt="Auto Repair in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/197/auto-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 166px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />days are long gone, and today&rsquo;s vehicles are more low-maintenance than ever when it comes to tune-ups.</p> <p> So what does a &ldquo;tune-up&rdquo; even involve today?</p> <p> First off, consider that on modern vehicles, spark plugs only need to be replaced &nbsp;at about the 100,000 mile mark. It&rsquo;s really not necessary to replace them before that point; on many vehicles, changing plugs is a difficult job that can equate to many hours of labor.</p> <p> Since today&rsquo;s vehicles use processors to govern fuel metering, ignition timing, transmission shift points, emissions and other variables, our starting point for any performance issue is to connect a code reader and troubleshoot what&rsquo;s going on by obtaining the trouble codes stored in the engine computer. The codes give us the information we need to look at the problem from different angles and determine what caused the code to register in the first place and make the right calls on what to repair or replace. Your dashboard Check Engine light is designed to light up when a trouble code is stored in the computer, but sometimes &ldquo;pending&rdquo; codes can be stored without lighting up that indicator.</p> <p> Other items on a tune-up today might include:</p> <p> --Replacing the air filter</p> <p> --Replacing the fuel filter(s)</p> <p> --Checking belts and hoses</p> <p> --Replacing the coil-on-plug packs that supply voltage to the spark plugs</p> <p> --Checking the battery, cables, terminals and charging system</p> <p> --Checking or replacing the engine&rsquo;s oxygen sensor(s)</p> <p> --Checking the exhaust and emissions system</p> <p> While we&rsquo;re under the hood, we&rsquo;ll perform a thorough inspection for wear and tear on other parts of the vehicle. This is the kind of preventive maintenance that can head off problems before they worsen.</p> <p> At Auto Express of Sacramento, you can count on a thorough and accurate tune-up and straight talk about whatever issues your vehicle might have, with no jargon or shop talk. It&rsquo;s the way we do things at Auto Express of Sacramento &ndash; honest and straightforward, every time. It&rsquo;s the kind of personalized and honest service that our loyal customers in the Sacramento area have come to expect from us. Got concerns about your vehicle&rsquo;s performance?<a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/contact"> Make an appointment with us today.&nbsp;</a></p> /blog/view/does-my-car-need-a-tune-up/feed0What's Happening With My Brakes? http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-s-happening-with-my-brakeshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-s-happening-with-my-brakes#commentsThu, 29 Sep 2016 18:12:50 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-s-happening-with-my-brakes<p> So lately you&rsquo;ve noticed that your brakes &ldquo;feel&rdquo; different and are making some noises.<img alt="Brake Repair in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/188/brake-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 259px; height: 194px; margin: 5px; float: right;" /></p> <p> In many cases, you may hear a clicking noise that increases with speed, a squealing or groaning noise or a metal-to-metal grinding sound. These aren&rsquo;t the only signs, however, that your brakes might need service. In fact, with the hard ceramic or semimetallic material of newer brake pads, a certain amount of noise isn&rsquo;t unusual. &nbsp;Other symptoms can include:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> -Steering wheel pulls to one side while braking</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> -Shake or pulsation through pedal or steering wheel while braking</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> -Excessive brake pedal travel</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> -Brake pedal feels &ldquo;soft&rdquo; or &ldquo;spongy&rdquo; underfoot</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> -Longer stopping distances</p> <p> These are all signs that shouldn&rsquo;t be ignored, and should be serviced by professionals soon!</p> <p> We&rsquo;ll start with a test drive, then pull off the wheels and have a closer look at the problem. In most cases, it&rsquo;s worn brake pads that are at fault. Brake pads can last 40-60,000 miles and it can be hard to notice when brake pads have worn to a point where they need service. One thing is for certain, though &ndash; a metal-to-metal grinding noise is bad news. It means that either your brakes have worn to the point where the wear indicators are dragging on the rotors, or the pads have worn down to their metal backing plates.</p> <p> Not all brake pads are created equal. Cheaper pads simply will not wear and last as long as good-quality pads. At Auto Express of Sacramento, we use the same pads you&rsquo;ll find on police cars, ambulances and other vehicles where brake performance is crucial, and that&rsquo;s what you can depend on with us.</p> <p> Note that pads aren&rsquo;t always the problem. Sometimes there can be issues with the brake calipers, the rotors, vacuum problems or brake lines. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s so important that your brakes be serviced by trained and certified professionals. Brake problems? Make an <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/contact">appointment </a>with us today!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/what-s-happening-with-my-brakes/feed0Why Does My Car's A/C Blow Warm Air? http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-does-my-car-s-a-c-blow-warm-airhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-does-my-car-s-a-c-blow-warm-air#commentsWed, 10 Aug 2016 11:24:45 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-does-my-car-s-a-c-blow-warm-air<p> You turn on your A/C and it seems like it&#39;s blowing air that&#39;s barely cooler than the hot air outside. Or, &nbsp;it blows cool-ish air while you&#39;re moving, only to have it blow warm air again when you come to a stop. Why is this happening?<img alt="Air Conditioning Repair in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/185/air-conditioning-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; margin: 5px; float: right;" /></p> <p> &nbsp; &nbsp;There can be several reasons this happens. People tend to think that low refrigerant level is the be-all and end-all for this problem, and usually that&#39;s correct. It&#39;s normal for the system to lose about five percent of its Freon over a year&#39;s time, making an a/c recharge a regular part of spring maintenance. If it&#39;s losing Freon quickly, though, it has to be escaping from somewhere.</p> <p> We recommend have the system checked for mechanical problems or leaks. Leaks can occur at the compressor, seals, lines, the condenser, evaporator or really anywhere in the A/C&#39;s closed-loop system. Overpressurizing the system by adding too much Freon can lead to more problems, causing tiny O rings to leak or causing other parts to fail. Buying unnecessary parts or over adding Freon can be costly, which is why it&#39;s important to be certain where the problem lies before going any farther.&nbsp;</p> <p> At Auto Express of Sacramento, CA, we use the Bacharach detection system which can detect the tiniest of pin holes and drops in system pressure. While refrigerant contains a fluorescent dye which helps detect leaks, the Bacharach system has a higher degree of accuracy and can quickly help pin down problems.</p> <p> This will tell us if everything is in working order or needs attention. It&#39;s important to remember that Freon refrigerant also contains a light oil which keeps the compressor lubricated. If you continually run the system with an insufficient amount of Freon, it can destroy the compressor by depriving it of lubrication -- and in some cases, the compressor can come apart and send fragments of metal through the rest of the system, effectively causing much bigger problems.&nbsp;</p> <p> At Auto Express of Sacramento, we&#39;re certified and experienced in A/C service and repair, and we back all our work with a guarantee. Don&#39;t suffer through the hot months in a stuffy car -- make an appointment with us today!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/why-does-my-car-s-a-c-blow-warm-air/feed0What Is A Smog Test? http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-is-a-smog-testhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-is-a-smog-test#commentsThu, 28 Jul 2016 19:52:14 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-is-a-smog-test<p> It&#39;s common knowledge that California emissions standards for vehicles are pretty strict. These are a few of the questions we hear regularly at Auto Express <img alt="Smog Test in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/184/smog-test-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 207px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />Sacramento:</p> <p> <strong>Does every vehicle have to have a smog test?</strong></p> <p> Yes, every vehicle registered in the state of California is required to have a state-authorized smog test. This is emissions testing, and all vehicles must comply. All vehicles are required to have a state mandated smog test.&nbsp; This is emission related and must be in compliance to operate on the highway.</p> <p> <strong>Does my Check Engine light have something to do with a smog test?&nbsp;</strong></p> <p> Part of the engine control computer&#39;s job is to regulate engine emissions, and it illuminates the Check Engine light if there&#39;s a problem. If the Check Engine light comes on and goes off again intermittently, or even if you reset the computer and the light comes back on, there could be an emission problem. Smog testing involves scanning your vehicle&#39;s computer for trouble codes, for a true depiction of what is going on inside your vehicle&#39;s engine.&nbsp; Even if you have the Check Engine light reset, the computer will still indicate a problem.. You can&rsquo;t fool the system, which is why it should be maintained by a professional.&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>What&#39;s involved in a smog test?&nbsp;</strong></p> <p> During a Smog test the vehicle is tested for compliance; if tailpipe readings and the computer show no problems, your vehicle passes. If the vehicle fails, then the problem must be corrected and inspected again.&nbsp; The vehicle is non-compliant until it passes.</p> <p> <strong>What do I do if I fail a Smog test?</strong></p> <p> If you the vehicle fails a smog test, we need to track down the problem that caused the failure and address it in order to become compliant.&nbsp; If the vehicle was tested at our facility, we will diagnose the problem and determine what&#39;s needed to correct it.&nbsp; If the vehicle was tested elsewhere, we will look to see why it was failed and &nbsp;take care of the problem.&nbsp; An inspection will be done to ensure no other issues are going on at the same time.&nbsp;Often a &nbsp;vehicle may code or fail emissions, but the actual problem might be more complex. &nbsp;For instance, the computer might indicate &nbsp;a bad O2 sensor; however, the problem could be a broken wire or something more.&nbsp; The code just gives us a place to start and we go from there. Smog testing facilities must have a license to test, however, the state mandates a special, separate license to perform the repair work. We are ASE certified with a specialty in emissions-related issues.</p> <p> At Auto Express Sacramento we have been repairing emission for over 26 years in the same location.&nbsp; All work is backed by our guarantee. Diagnostic price on the site. Let us make <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/smog-inspection-sacramento-ca">smog testing</a> and compliance easy for you. We will walk you through every step to keep you on the road longer. Check Engine light on? Emissions test coming up? <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/appointments">Make an appointment with us!&nbsp;</a></p> /blog/view/what-is-a-smog-test/feed0Brake Repair – Don’t Put It Off!http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-repair-don-t-put-it-offhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-repair-don-t-put-it-off#commentsThu, 05 May 2016 19:10:31 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-repair-don-t-put-it-off<p> <img alt="Brake Repair in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/183/brake-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 259px; height: 194px; margin: 5px; float: right; border-width: 2px; border-style: solid;" />Now, really&hellip;have you ever known anything that just got better on its own, with you doing nothing about it? Probably not!</p> <p> Your car&rsquo;s brakes work something like the handbrakes on a bicycle. When you press the brake pedal, a piston moves inside the master cylinder reservoir, sending hydraulic pressure through the brake lines to the wheel calipers. The wheel calipers enclose the smooth steel rotors , and another piston forces two brake pads of friction material against the rotor, causing enough drag to slow and stop it.</p> <p> Friction material is semimetallic or ceramic and wears very slowly &ndash; brake pads typically last 40-60,000 miles. As a result, it can be hard to tell when brakes are becoming significantly worn. These are all signs you need brake replacement soon, though&hellip;</p> <ul> <li> Pronounced pull to one side while braking</li> <li> Excessive brake pedal travel</li> <li> Pulsation through brake pedal while braking</li> <li> Brake pedal slowly goes to floor while holding car at a stop, in gear</li> <li> Longer stopping distances</li> <li> Tendency for one or more wheels to lock up and skid while braking</li> <li> Squeal, groan or metallic grinding noise while braking</li> </ul> <p> Of all the above, the metallic grinding noise is the worst sign, by far, and it means that your brake repair costs are about to go up. It means that the brake pads are worn down to their steel backing plates and rivets; all the braking effect you&rsquo;re getting is from metal-on-metal as the rivets dig into the smooth steel surface of the rotors. A routine brake job just got a lot more expensive, as you&rsquo;re now going to have to replace the rotors&hellip;not to mention that your car is very unsafe until you get the repairs done!</p> <p> The moral? Don&rsquo;t put off your brake service unless you are just dying to spend a lot more money on brake repair costs. We know you&rsquo;ve got a lot of choices when it comes to brake repair shops, and we hope you&rsquo;ll come to Auto Express for brake replacement in Sacramento. <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/appointments">Make an appointment</a> with us today!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/brake-repair-don-t-put-it-off/feed0Brake Replacement – Or Repair? http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-replacement-or-repairhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-replacement-or-repair#commentsWed, 13 Apr 2016 18:26:21 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-replacement-or-repair<p> If you&rsquo;ve got a health problem that&rsquo;s troubling you &ndash; let&rsquo;s say your blood pressure is consistently too high, your knee hurts like crazy or you&rsquo;re having dizzy spells <img alt="Brake Repair in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/180/brake-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 259px; height: 194px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />&ndash; chances are you&rsquo;ll go see a doctor for it, right? Maybe it&rsquo;s not much of anything, or maybe it&rsquo;s something serious, but there&rsquo;s one thing for certain &ndash; it isn&rsquo;t just going to get better on its own, and it will most likely just get worse if you put it off.</p> <p> It&rsquo;d be great if we had the same sort of diligence about keeping our vehicles maintained, but too often we just don&rsquo;t. We tend to slam the hood and forget about it, and take things for granted for far too long, far too often.</p> <p> Brakes wear very slowly. The friction material on your brake pads can easily last 40-60,000 miles, with the right driving habits. Because they wear down so slowly, it&rsquo;s easy to not notice signs of wear as they slowly develop:</p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Car pulls noticeably to one side while braking</strong></p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Pulsating sensation through brake pedal</strong></p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>One or more wheels tends to lock up and skid </strong></p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Longer stopping distances</strong></p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Excessive brake pedal travel before brakes engage</strong></p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Brake pedal slowly goes to the floor while holding the vehicle stopped and in gear</strong></p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Screeching, squealing or grinding noises</strong></p> <p> This is where we come to the &ldquo;repair or replace&rdquo; dilemma of the title. Disc brakes are comprised of smooth steel rotors, to which your wheels are bolted. A caliper encloses the rotor, and when you step on the brakes, two brake pads grip the rotor and slow the car down in much the same fashion as handbrakes on a bicycle.</p> <p> &nbsp;If you address brake problems early, it&rsquo;s not a big deal&hellip;not much more than just replacing the brake pads. But if you let them go too long, the friction material of the pads will wear all the way down to the pads&rsquo; backing plates. If you hear a metal-to-metal grinding noise while braking, that means that all the braking effect you have is coming from the metal backing plates and rivets digging into the smooth steel surface of the brake rotors. At that point, your simple brake job has just about doubled in price; the rotors will be ruined and in need of replacement along with the pads.</p> <p> Not only is this more costly, it&rsquo;s also extremely dangerous&hellip;as you&rsquo;ve probably realized by now, due to the difficulty of trying to bring your vehicle to a stop.</p> <p> Because brake wear is so gradual, it&rsquo;s important to keep tabs on it. Don&rsquo;t let your brakes go more than six months without an inspection of the rotors, the pads and the entire brake system.</p> <p> At Auto Express of Sacramento, CA, brake repair is a big part of what we do. Our ASE-certified technicians are trained and experienced with all sorts of brake repair for just about any car, minivan, light truck, SUV or crossover on the road. Make an <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/appointments">appointment</a> with us today for a brake inspection and service on your vehicle. Whatever you do, though, don&rsquo;t let your brakes go too long!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/brake-replacement-or-repair/feed0Timing Belts Demystifiedhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/timing-belts-demystifiedhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/timing-belts-demystified#commentsMon, 01 Feb 2016 15:49:17 -0700TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/timing-belts-demystified<p> At Auto Express in Sacramento, CA, we occasionally run across customers who are a little confused about <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/belt-tips">timing belts </a>and what they actually do. We&rsquo;d like to <img alt="Timing Belt Replacement in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/174/timing-belt-replacement-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 322px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />take a little time to clear that up&hellip;</p> <p> <strong>Q: Is the timing belt the same as the serpentine belt? </strong></p> <p> A: In a word, no. Older vehicles had multiple belts to drive the water pump, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor and other accessories. In the 90s, the serpentine belt was introduced; the <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/belts-hoses-sacramento-ca">serpentine belt</a> is a much longer belt that loops around to drive all the accessories at once. This saves parasitic drag on the engine and saves space under the hood, since the accessories and multiple belts don&rsquo;t have to all be offset from each other. The timing belt, on the other hand, is concealed under the engine&rsquo;s front cover and isn&rsquo;t visible.</p> <p> <strong>Q: What does the timing belt do? </strong></p> <p> A:The internal combustion engine&rsquo;s bottom end consists of pistons, connecting rods and a crankshaft. The pistons are driven down when the spark plugs detonate explosions of fuel/air inside the cylinders and generate power. The upper end consists of valves that supply fuel/air and then allow the spent exhaust gases to be expelled. The valves are opened by the lobes of a camshaft and closed again by their own springs. The timing belt, then, is what connects the upper end and lower end of the engine (or, the camshaft and crank) and allows the valves to work in sync with the pistons for the four strokes of the combustion process. Older engine designs used a bicycle-style chain rather than a belt, and many still do; timing chains generally last the entire life cycle of the vehicle..</p> <p> <strong>Q: Why is it so important to change the belt at the manufacturer&rsquo;s specified interval? </strong></p> <p> A: The timing belt, like any other elastic belt, will stretch and eventually fail over time. If the pistons and valves suddenly go out of sync with each other, that means that the pistons are traveling upward in the cylinder at a moment when exhaust or intake valves are open. The pistons&rsquo; crowns will &nbsp;crash into the opened valves, bending them, punching holes in the pistons, bending the pistons&rsquo; connecting rods and generally wrecking the engine&rsquo;s internals. Some engines are &ldquo;non-interference&rdquo; engines, specifically designed to prevent this from happening, but many aren&rsquo;t. That&rsquo;s why if the manufacturer says to change the engine at 60,000 miles, every mile past that is borrowed time.</p> <p> <strong>Q: How involved is it to change the timing belt? </strong></p> <p> A: It&rsquo;s a fairly big job. It requires removing accessories, often removing the radiator, cooling fan and hoses, and the engine&rsquo;s front timing cover. On about 60 percent of engines, the water pump is also driven by the timing belt. Many technicians will advise replacing the water pump as well at that time, since everything&rsquo;s already disassembled. It&rsquo;s also advisable to replace the belt&rsquo;s pulleys and tensioner at the same time; the tensioner, in particular, can wear out and seize, causing the timing belt to jump from its pulleys and causing major engine damage.</p> <p> <strong>Q: Is there a way to check for wear on the timing belt? </strong></p> <p> A: Not really. &ldquo;Inspecting&rdquo; the belt will usually mean disassembly, at which point you may as well just go ahead and replace it. Sometimes you might hear a rattle or squeak from the front end of the engine, but more often than not the belt will just fail without warning. A car that has a broken timing belt will just make a steady &ldquo;whirrrrrr&rdquo; when it cranks, rather than the usual rhythm of an engine that&rsquo;s trying to start.</p> <p> We hope this clears up any questions you might have about timing belts and their purpose. Check your owner&rsquo;s manual for manufacturer&rsquo;s recommendations on timing belt service intervals, then check your odometer. If you&rsquo;re coming up on the recommended mileage for a timing belt change, don&rsquo;t put it off this important auto maintenance detail. Give us a call at Auto Express Sacramento and <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/appointments">make an appointment!&nbsp;</a></p> /blog/view/timing-belts-demystified/feed0A Few Questions About Tune-Ups…Answeredhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/a-few-questions-about-tune-ups-answeredhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/a-few-questions-about-tune-ups-answered#commentsMon, 04 Jan 2016 16:50:13 -0700TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/a-few-questions-about-tune-ups-answered<p> At Auto Express in Sacramento, CA, we sometimes see customers who have questions about tune-ups. Today, we&rsquo;re hoping to clear up a few of them:<img alt="Auto Repair in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/173/auto-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; margin: 5px; float: right;" /></p> <p> <strong>Q: How often does a tune-up need to be performed? </strong></p> <p> A: Not nearly as often as they did 30 or 40 years ago. In the 60s and 70s, a tune-up involved cleaning the carburetor, setting the idle speed and mixture and possibly rebuilding the carburetor&rsquo;s internal parts. It was also common to change the spark plugs, replace the plug wires, distributor cap, breaker points and rotor and reset the distributor&rsquo;s dwell settings. Today, distributors, plug wires, mechanical ignition and carburetors are all things of the past!</p> <p> <strong>Q: So what does a tune-up involve today, then? </strong></p> <p> A: A typical tune-up today might include replacing the spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter and cabin air filter. The distributor and plug wires of a generation ago have now been replaced with coil-on-plug packs that deliver spark directly to each plug; sometimes these coil packs will fail and need to be replaced. A technician will hook up a code reader to the engine computer&rsquo;s diagnostic connector to check for trouble codes. Other than that, the tune-up today might also include a check of all the engine and drivetrain fluids and a thorough examination of hoses and belts.</p> <p> <strong>Q: Is the timing belt part of a tune-up?</strong></p> <p> A: No, but the timing belt should be replaced at the manufacturer&rsquo;s recommended interval. The timing belt coordinates the opening and closing of valves with the rotation of the crankshaft. On many engines, a broken timing belt can mean that the valves and pistons go out of sync with each other; the pistons travel upward in the cylinder and smash into opened valves, effectively ruining the engine. Note also that, rather than a belt, many vehicles still use a timing chain, which is good for the lifetime of the engine.</p> <p> <strong>Q: So how often does a tune-up need to be done today? </strong></p> <p> A: Today&rsquo;s engines are much less maintenance-intensive than cars of a generation ago. The 30,000 mile tune-up of the 60s is now only needed at about every 80,000 or even 100,000 miles. Spark plugs in particular have a much longer service life than they once did.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> If you&rsquo;re noticing problems like lack of power, rough running, an illuminated Check Engine light, rough idle, a tendency to stumble or stall or a drop in fuel economy, it might be time for a tune-up on your vehicle. Don&rsquo;t just put up with drivability problems like those&nbsp; -- give us a call at Auto Express in Sacramento, CA, make an appointment and let our techs perform a tune-up on your car!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/a-few-questions-about-tune-ups-answered/feed0Brake Questions -- Answered! http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-questions-answeredhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-questions-answered#commentsMon, 07 Dec 2015 14:57:36 -0700TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/brake-questions-answered<p> At Auto Express of Sacramento, CA, we occasionally see customers who have some questions about their<a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/brake-repair-sacramento-ca"> brakes. </a>We&rsquo;d like to take a moment to clear up a few <img alt="Brake Repair in Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/172/brake-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 238px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />common questions and misconceptions about brake systems and brake performance:</p> <p> Q: My brakes are noisy. Does that mean they need to be replaced?</p> <p> A: Well, not necessarily. Brake noise isn&rsquo;t uncommon, especially when braking hard or as the vehicle is almost coming to a stop. Some brands of brake pads and brake pad materials are more prone to noisy braking as the pads vibrate against the brake rotor. Most vehicles are designed with an anti-rattle clip on the backing of the brake pads; this clip should be replaced along with the pads, as it&rsquo;s prone to metal fatigue. There are also special greases and compounds that can be applied to the backing plate of the pads to reduce noise. Often the noise will subside as the brakes begin to wear and break in. The sound you need to be worried about, however, is a metallic grinding or high-pitched squeal that could indicate seriously worn brakes. Many brake pads feature a spring-steel wear indicator that protrudes from the backing plate and is designed to rub on the rotor when the brake pads reach a certain minimum thickness.</p> <p> Q: I sometimes hear a buzz when I apply the brakes and feel a slight vibration through the brake pedal. Is that something to worry about?</p> <p> A: What you are experiencing could be your ABS system activating. Antilock brakes (ABS) use a system of sensors on each wheel, monitoring the wheel&rsquo;s rotational speed. The sensors then inform a central processor that distributes braking effort to each wheel via a system of valves and pumps. If a sensor notes that one wheel is slowing down more and is in danger of locking up during a hard stop, the ABS system lessens braking effort to that wheel. Chances are the buzzing noise and sensation through the brake pedal are the result of the ABS pump at work.</p> <p> Q: What are some signs of brake problems?</p> <p> A: At least this is an easy question! These are all signs of worn brakes that will soon need to be replaced:</p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Pulsating sensation through brake pedal, indicating a warped rotor</p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Vehicle pulls to one side while braking</p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Increased stopping distances</p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Increased brake pedal travel before brakes engage</p> <p> &middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Loud squeal, scraping or metallic grinding noise while braking</p> <p> If you&rsquo;re experiencing any of these, you&rsquo;ll need to get your brakes serviced soon. If left too long, your brake pads will wear all the way down to their backing plates and rivets, which will soon cut grooves into the brake rotors. This is not only very dangerous, but it will soon cost you a lot more money for brake repair.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> At Auto Express in Sacramento, CA, our automotive techs are trained and experienced in all aspects of brake repair. If you&rsquo;re noticing that your brakes aren&rsquo;t performing as well as they used to, don&rsquo;t delay &ndash; call us and <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/appointments">make an appointment </a>before your brake repair gets a lot more expensive.&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/brake-questions-answered/feed0Why do I Need to Have my Vehicle Tested for Smog Emissions?http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-do-ihttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-do-i#commentsMon, 01 Jun 2015 12:54:31 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/why-do-i<p> <img alt="Smog Inspection in Sacramento, CA" src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/161/smog-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 5px; float: left;" /></p> <p> California drivers may see emissions testing as a costly nuisance, but it&rsquo;s in place for a good reason.</p> <p> While smog may not be bad in downtown Sacramento, it has long been a big problem in the Los Angeles area, with millions of cars, fog from the ocean and neighboring mountains trapping smog close to the ground. In 1943, Los Angeles was stricken with a smog so thick that residents believed they were under a chemical warfare attack by the Japanese! The state&rsquo;s first serious attempts to address air pollution began in 1947, when Governor Warren signed the Air Pollution Control Act, authorizing the establishment of air pollution offices in every county in the state.</p> <p> In the early 60s, General Motors developed Positive Crankcase Ventilation, a system which cycled exhaust gases back into the engine&rsquo;s intake manifold; GM offered the PCV system as an open patent to other manufacturers, and it became the first emissions control technology on cars. California, of course, had its own set of problems; in 1966, long before smog diagnostic testing equipment was a reality, California legislators were beginning to recognize that tailpipe emissions and air pollution were real problems. It was California that imposed the first exhaust emissions standards that year, and standards became more stringent with each passing year.</p> <p> Over the years, the EPA came into being and automakers scrambled to meet emissions standards. Leaded fuel was eliminated, catalytic converters became standard equipment&hellip;and by the mid 70s, in an effort to comply with emissions laws, American cars were de-tuned to a point of being underpowered and hard on gas. Those days are long behind us, though, and emissions controls are now just one more part of the engine control computer&rsquo;s functions. As engine technology has advanced, cars are getting great fuel economy with plenty of horsepower and lower tailpipe emissions than ever.</p> <p> Today&rsquo;s smog diagnostic testing in California is done every other year. Vehicles older than 1976 models are exempted from smog diagnostic testing, as are motorcycles, hybrid or electric vehicles, and vehicles under six years old. In addition, no smog diagnostic testing is required when transferring or selling a vehicle to a family member. For 1996 and newer vehicles, the test also requires a check of the engine computer for trouble codes, along with tailpipe testing.</p> <p> We hope that clears up any questions that you might have about smog diagnostic testing in California. We invite you to come down to Auto Express in downtown Sacramento for emissions testing the next time your sticker needs to be renewed and take advantage of our $5 discount!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/why-do-i/feed0Beat Smog with Auto Expresshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/beat-smog-with-auto-expresshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/beat-smog-with-auto-express#commentsMon, 23 Feb 2015 14:40:42 -0700TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/beat-smog-with-auto-express<p> <img alt="smgo sacramento ca" src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/144/smog-sacramento-ca.jpeg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; margin: 5px; float: left;" />Drivers in the state of California are required to complete a biennial smog inspection in order to complete vehicle registration each year. Residents moving to California will also participate in required initial smog inspections even with proper inspections from former state of residency. Schedule an appointment with Auto Express in Sacramento, CA for trusted smog inspections, checks and repairs. Offering comprehensive auto repair and tire services, Auto Express is thrilled to assist customers in proper smog testing, repair and maintenance for all vehicles.</p> <p> Interested in learning why smog inspections are important for cleaner and safer driving conditions? Auto Express takes careful steps to ensure careful protection is taken of both customers and roadways. Learning more details about smog inspections, smog test prices and smog repair in Sacramento, CA. Technicians of Auto Express look forward to servicing customers with outstanding services and quality smog inspections to keep drivers safe and on the road.</p> <p> Schedule an <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/appointments">appointment</a> with Sacramento, CA&rsquo;s first choice in <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/services">auto repair</a>, <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/tires">tires</a> and smog inspections with Auto Express. Staff looks forward to servicing drivers of all makes, models and budgets with excellence in smog inspections, smog checks and smog repairs. Combining decades of experience with state-of-the-art auto repair technologies, Auto Express can service all smog inquires quickly and effectively!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/beat-smog-with-auto-express/feed0Fall into Improved Auto Repair http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/fall-into-improved-auto-repairhttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/fall-into-improved-auto-repair#commentsThu, 16 Oct 2014 16:33:24 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/fall-into-improved-auto-repair<p> <img alt="auto repair sacramento ca" src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/134/auto-repair-sacramento-ca.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; margin: 5px; float: left;" />Drivers in Sacramento, CA looking to improve vehicle safety this fall, stop by Auto Express for prompt and dependable auto repair that will keep your vehicle on the road this season. Servicing all makes, models and budgets, Auto Express is eager to show customers how routine auto repair can provide drivers both better handing and sounder peace of mind when traveling. Through simple auto repairs such as: brake repair, smog inspections and transmission repair, Auto Express of Sacramento, CA can ensure any vehicle is prepared for seasonal changes and holiday travel. Planning ahead with routine auto repairs from Auto Express will guarantee both vehicle longevity and sustainability.</p> <p> Consult Auto Express for all auto repair concerns, as knowledgeable technicians look forward to helping customers achieve their most reliable vehicle. Too often this reliability is breached without drivers ever knowing there was problem, thus Auto Express encourages drivers to have scheduled check-ups to ensure auto repair is current. At Auto Express of Sacramento, CA staff works diligently to ensure vehicles are serviced correctly with only the highest quality products and most innovative auto repair technologies.</p> <p> Schedule an appointment with Auto Express in Sacramento, CA for out outstanding customer service and auto repair from technicians who genuinely care. Start this season off with auto repair to keep your vehicle running all winter long with smog inspections, transmission repair and brake repair from Auto Express!&nbsp;</p> /blog/view/fall-into-improved-auto-repair/feed0Stay Ahead of Brake Problemshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/stay-ahead-of-brake-problemshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/stay-ahead-of-brake-problems#commentsFri, 20 Jun 2014 15:25:04 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/stay-ahead-of-brake-problems<p> <img alt="brake repair Sacramento CA " src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/133/brake_repair_sacramento_ca.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />Like most auto repair and maintenance- brake complications are considerably easier to resolve when addressed at the beginning of the problem. However, many vehicle owners do not realize when signs of these problems begin to appear. Let the trained professionals of Auto Express in Sacramento, CA assist you in learning the signs of when brake repair might be needed and trustworthy solutions when they do.</p> <p> Grinding, rubbing and squealing are recognizable indicators of when brake repair could be needed. Never dismiss unnatural noises as normal vehicle operation. Technicians of Auto Express understand avoiding these small issues is what will cost customers greatly in the future. Providing customers with the knowledge to avoid large brake repairs if possible by staying up-to-date with scheduled maintenance not only improves vehicle performance, but ensures safety.</p> <p> While strange noises are common signals of needed break repair other more interactive signs often include: pressing break petal further than usual for braking, vibration in steering wheel or petal and a distinctive burning smell near tires. If a vehicle is showing any of these signs it is certainly worthwhile to bring it into Auto Express.</p> <p> Serving their loyal customers since 1996, Auto Express is pleased to help the drivers of the Sacramento, CA area improve their brakes with routine brake repair to provide top safety. Stop in or schedule an <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/appointments">appointment</a> today and let the knowledgeable staff of Auto Express assist you in any brake repair or other <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/services">auto repair</a> needs in the Sacramento, CA area.</p> /blog/view/stay-ahead-of-brake-problems/feed0Benefits of Transmission Flushes and Maintenancehttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/benefits-of-transmission-flushes-and-maintenancehttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/benefits-of-transmission-flushes-and-maintenance#commentsTue, 15 Apr 2014 12:11:40 -0600http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/benefits-of-transmission-flushes-and-maintenance<p> by: John Khoschcar</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Your cars transmission serves many purposes for your vehicle. &nbsp;Aside from giving it the ability to maintain speeds and forward momentum, it also makes sure that you can stop, reverse, and idle properly.</p> <p> Dirty transmission fluid and higher than normal transmission fluid temperatures along with filter restriction are the number one causes of transmission failures. &nbsp;This is why some manufacturers include a temperature warning light that appears on your dash when certain preset temperatures are exceeded. &nbsp;The towing of heavy loads with your vehicle add extra stress to your transmission. &nbsp;This is why it is suggested that before any such activity you see your mechanic and possibly have a transmission cooler installed to decrease the fluid temperatures.</p> <p> Neglecting and not servicing the transmission filter can cause the fluid to circulate improperly or not circulate at all. &nbsp;When this happens, it can cause cavitation - the creation of air bubbles in the fluid - which causes a loss of pressure within the transmission allowing it to slip out of gear.</p> <p> We at Auto Express Sacramento recommend that you service your transmission around every 30,000 miles or in the even that you will be doing a greater than normal amount of towing. &nbsp;We also recommend that you have the fluid inspected at least once a year or every 15,000 miles to prevent malfunctions and give you a long lasting, trouble free, transmission.</p> /blog/view/benefits-of-transmission-flushes-and-maintenance/feed0Auto Express Launches New Websitehttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/auto-express-launches-new-websitehttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/auto-express-launches-new-website#commentsFri, 21 Mar 2014 10:15:03 -0600TCShttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/auto-express-launches-new-website<p> This press release recently went out for Auto Express:</p> <p align="center"> <strong>Auto Express Launches New Website</strong></p> <p> by: John Khoschcar</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> <em>Locally owned and operated Sacramento auto repair business, Auto Express, is pleased to announce the launch of their new website. The new customer-friendly website features online scheduling, quote requests, and a sleek new design.</em></p> <p> Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) &ndash; March 17, 2014</p> <p> Locally owned and operated Auto Express launched its new website at <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/">http://autoexpresssacramento.com</a> . The new customer-friendly website features online auto repair scheduling, quote requests, and a sleek new design. With streamlined search tools as well as blogs, car-care tips, and information on services and specials, the website offers features that puts the customer into the driver&rsquo;s seat.</p> <p> The new Auto Express website offers exclusive online specials and offers, printable from the comforts of home for big savings. Scheduling an appointment for an auto repair service has never been easier. With a few clicks of the mouse, customers can schedule auto repair services with no hassle. The fully interactive website puts the tools for great auto repair services into the customer&rsquo;s hands and allows them to find the right service at the right price in no time at all.</p> <p> About Auto Express: Serving Sacramento, California since 1990, Auto Express offers quality auto repair and smog inspection services at the best prices around. Owner John Khoschcar says, &ldquo;With over 40 years of mechanic experience, I&#39;ve learned that maintenance is key. Once you try Auto Express, you will see how many more miles your car will give you. Read our reviews, and you will see why people come to us. We are an honest auto repair facility with honest mechanics, and we intend to always be that way with any customer. It&#39;s not the car that has the heart, it&#39;s the mechanic.&rdquo;</p> <p> <a href="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/">http://autoexpresssacramento.com</a> was built and powered by TCS Technologies, the complete tire software solution company. TCS Technologies is on a mission to provide its clients with the best customer support in the industry by producing a stable, reliable product backed by a competent and knowledgeable staff. With nine years in business offering tools, resources and support, TCS Technologies strives to be the leader in customer satisfaction. TCS Technologies is located at 3313 Williams Enterprise Dr. Cookeville, Tennessee 38506, with a second office in Salt Lake City, Utah. For contact information, visit their website at <a href="http://www.tcstire.com/" target="_blank">http://www.tcstire.com</a>.</p> /blog/view/auto-express-launches-new-website/feed05 Simple New Years Resolutions for Your Vehiclehttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/5-simple-new-years-resolutions-for-your-vehiclehttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/5-simple-new-years-resolutions-for-your-vehicle#commentsTue, 14 Jan 2014 14:30:42 -0700http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/5-simple-new-years-resolutions-for-your-vehicle<div> <img alt="Resolutions For Your Vehicle" src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/85/Resolutions-for-your-vehicle.jpg" style="width: 282px; height: 192px; margin: 10px 20px; float: right;" /> <p> by: John Khoschcar</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> This year you might resolve to fix your house, work out more, eat healthier, or go for that goal you&rsquo;ve had your eye on for years. This year should also be the year that you resolve to fix or maintain your vehicle, lower your repair costs, lower your gas usage, and add a few years onto your trusted vehicle. With a few simple resolutions, you can keep your vehicle as happy and healthy as you strive to be this year.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> <span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p> <div> <strong>This year, resolve to:&nbsp;</strong></div> <p> <span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <ol> <li> Keep up on your oil changes! Your seasonal (every 3 months or every 3,000 miles) oil changes are the best thing you can do for your vehicle. An oil change helps flush out the used oil and debris that can cause your engine parts to start wearing down. Oil changes prevent damage and keep all of your moving parts cool, moving, and free from harmful friction. This is one of the simplest, fastest, and most cost-efficient forms of maintenance you can get. &nbsp;When you take your vehicle in for an oil change, you get the additional benefits of spot checks, battery checks, fluid top-offs, and filter changes.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> Clean your filters! Keeping an eye on your filters and replacing them when they are obviously dirty or breaking down will keep the air flowing in your vehicle. Not only is your air filter important for your heating and cooling system in the cabin, but it is also important to keep enough oxygen going through the engine. This reduces your gas usage and maintains proper performance.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> No more jackrabbit starts! You may not realize how hard these are on your engine and your wallet. These quick stop and go driving habits can use unnecessary gas and cause damage to your engine, transmission, and brakes. Ease into your stopping and starting, and you&rsquo;ll notice a difference in your vehicle&rsquo;s performance and your gas use.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> Mind your tires! Most people don&rsquo;t pay enough attention to their tires. Do you know that a good pair of tires is an investment that should last around 3 years? If you are monitoring your tire pressure, you can prevent your tires from needing to be replaced due to uneven wear. Tire rotation and wheel balancing and alignment will also help with the wear and tear caused by normal driving conditions. Properly filled and aligned tires result in a smoother ride, and will help you inevitably save money on gas because your vehicle isn&rsquo;t trying so hard to maintain its course.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> Don&rsquo;t forget the little things! Little periodic fixes can actually save you in the long run in big repairs, and you will ultimately be safer. Replace your windshield wipers when they start to show signs of wear. Don&rsquo;t wait until that big storm to hit. Keep a spare container of washer fluid and oil in your trunk, just in case. Wash your car when it&rsquo;s dirty to prevent the debris from causing engine troubles. &nbsp;Keep your tires free from rocks and obstructions that can cause leaks, and replace that squealing belt before it cracks and causes a breakdown. The little things add up to big savings when it means keeping you on the road.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The good news is we are here to help! We can schedule your quick fixes and routine maintenance, answer questions, and provide you with tips to keep your vehicle up and running through all of your new years resolutions! &nbsp;</div> /blog/view/5-simple-new-years-resolutions-for-your-vehicle/feed0What Does Your Check Engine Light Mean? - Auto Expresshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-does-your-check-engine-light-mean-auto-expresshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-does-your-check-engine-light-mean-auto-express#commentsFri, 27 Dec 2013 13:12:40 -0700http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/what-does-your-check-engine-light-mean-auto-express<p> <img alt="Check Engine Light" src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/57/checkengine.jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 177px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 5px 20px; float: right;" /></p> <p> by: John Khoschcar</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> When your car&#39;s &quot;Check Engine&quot; light comes on, it&#39;s usually accompanied by a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. The light could mean a costly problem, like a bad catalytic converter, or it could be something minor, like a loose gas cap. But in many cases, it means at minimum that you&#39;ll be visiting your mechanic to locate the malfunction and get the light turned off.</p> <p> The Check Engine light, more formally known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), is a signal from the car&#39;s engine computer that something is wrong. Older vehicles may not have this, but any newer vehicle is equipped with a tiny all-knowing computer that will be your lifeline in communicating any problem with how the engine is running. Your Tire and Automotive service department can diagnose the problem, but there are ways to preview what the problem might be.</p> <p> Prior to 1996, carmakers had their own engine diagnostic systems, primarily to ensure their cars were compliant with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pollution-control requirements. Starting with model-year 1996, automakers standardized their systems under a protocol called OBD-II, which stipulated a standardized list of diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) and mandated that all cars provide a universal connector to access this information. It&#39;s usually located under the steering column and is easy to access. What this means for you is, there is a standardized way of your car actually telling you when there is a problem.</p> <p> Experts say that many drivers confuse the &quot;service required&quot; light on the gauge cluster for the Check Engine light. These warning lights are unrelated. The service required light just means the car is due for an oil change or other routine maintenance. It is not the indicator of trouble that the Check Engine light is, but routine maintenance may prevent engine failure or issues.</p> <p> Check Engine lights come in orange, yellow or amber, depending on the manufacturer. If the light begins flashing, however, it indicates a more serious problem, such as a misfire that can quickly overheat the catalytic converter. These emissions devices operate at high temperatures to cut emissions, but can pose a fire hazard if faulty. Regardless of severity, it&rsquo;s a good idea to get any and all alerts from your check engine light looked at. A quick stop in for a diagnostics reading may prevent further damage and save you from a breakdown.</p> <p> Don&#39;t Ignore That Light! Get in to your mechanic as soon as it turns on to prevent any damage to your vehicle and get you back on the road fast!</p> /blog/view/what-does-your-check-engine-light-mean-auto-express/feed0Winterizing Your Vehicle - Auto Expresshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/winterizing-your-vehicle-auto-expresshttp://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/winterizing-your-vehicle-auto-express#commentsFri, 13 Dec 2013 13:00:53 -0700http://autoexpresssacramento.com/blog/view/winterizing-your-vehicle-auto-express<p> <img alt="Winterizing Your Vehicle" src="http://autoexpresssacramento.com/images/display/56/winter1.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 250px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 5px 20px; float: right;" /></p> <p> by: John Khoschcar</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Another winter storm coming? Before you rush to the store for the last gallon of milk and loaf of bread, you&rsquo;ll want to be sure your car is ready to battle the elements. Follow these tips before venturing out into the winter wonderland.</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Check your Cooling System.</strong> Have your mechanic check your hoses, belts and anti-freeze. A weakened hose or belt can break and leave you stranded, or a weak solution of anti-freeze can ice up and damage your cooling system. Hoses shouldn&rsquo;t have cracks or become softened. In extreme temperature drops, keep an eye on your hoses and belts, as low temperatures can cause additional breakage or weak spots.</li> <li> <strong>Check Your Battery.</strong> Make sure your car&#39;s battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. The battery should be securely mounted. If the battery is three years old or more, have it tested and replace it if necessary. Have your mechanic check the fluid (distilled water) level in your battery. In the darker winter months, don&rsquo;t forget to turn off your headlights and your dome lights to prevent battery drainage.</li> <li> <strong>Check Your Heater and Defroster.</strong> If your heater isn&#39;t working, you&#39;ll probably know. But what about front and rear defrosters? Before you&#39;re faced with a frosty windshield, turn your front and rear defrosters on and off to make sure they&#39;re working.</li> <li> <strong>Brakes. </strong>If you have the slightest concern that something&#39;s amiss with your brakes, get them inspected immediately. If you have anti-lock brakes, you should avoid pumping the brakes if you begin to slide. Your brakes are crucial to be able to give you control in stopping on icy roads. Make sure you don&rsquo;t have any grinding noises or trouble stopping before inclement weather hits.</li> <li> <strong>Have Your Exhaust System Checked.</strong> Ask your mechanic to double check the exhaust system for leaks, which can emit dangerous carbon monoxide into your car. If you become stuck in the snow and want to run the engine and heater, make sure your tail pipe is clear of the snow and crack open a window to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.</li> <li> <strong>Fill up with Washer Fluid. </strong>Slush and mud splashed on a windshield can spell danger for a winter driver. Make sure your washer fluid reservoir is sufficiently full, and keep a spare jug in the trunk. In colder areas, you can upgrade your winter washer fluid to one rated for lower temperatures, specifically designed to de-ice and not freeze in extreme cold weather.</li> <li> <strong>Consider New Wiper Blades.</strong> Even if your windshield wiper blades are in good condition, you might want to upgrade to a rubber coated snow blade that can handle the extra weight of wet snow. They&#39;re not expensive, and could make your winter driving a lot safer in the long run.</li> <li> <strong>Take a Look at Your Tires.</strong> Your tires need to have adequate tread with &quot;grip&quot; to propel you through the snow. Consider winter tires, snow tires, studs, or chains if you live in areas with deep snow, ice, or bad road conditions.</li> <li> <strong>Fill &#39;er Up!</strong> One of the best driving tips for winter is to keep your tank more than half full at all times. It will help you avoid freezing in your fuel lines, and will keep you safer in winter weather situations. Fuel additives may also be an option to keep your fuel lines free from freezing up.</li> </ul> /blog/view/winterizing-your-vehicle-auto-express/feed0