The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Alternator Replacement Service in Lancaster
Feb 28, 2017
Your vehicle alternator doesn't get enough credit. Though your battery gets your engine started, after that – it's all about the alternator.
Driving around Lancaster is a lot of work for your alternator, and as upgrades such as heated steering wheels, cooled seats, stability control and lane departure warning become more common, it will have to work even harder. Eventually this workhorse just wears out. When it does you have no choice but to order an alternator replacement because your vehicle won't run without one.
Come see your friendly and professional service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to learn more.
Starting in 1996, The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service technicians have been able to use a standardized diagnostic system to help determine what is wrong with a vehicle. This diagnostic system works in tandem with the Engine Control Modules for each vehicle's engine. The Engine Control Module is a computer that monitors and controls many engine functions.
Sensors throughout a vehicle send readings to the Engine Control Module. These readings help the computer make adjustments in various vehicle systems to allow for constantly changing driving conditions and even to compensate for minor problems. However, if the computer encounters a situation it can't adjust for, it turns on the Check Engine light. (The Check Engine light is called the “service engine soon” light on some vehicles.)
If the Check Engine light is burning steadily, it indicates a problem that needs to be taken care of soon. If it is flashing, however, the vehicle needs immediate attention at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. When the Check Engine light is flashing, the vehicle should not be driven at high speeds, haul heavy loads or tow a trailer. Lancaster drivers need to understand that doing so can cause major damage.
When a vehicle is brought to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster because the Check Engine light is on, a technician will scan the Engine Control Module to learn why it turned the light on. The answer comes as a “trouble code.” The technician has access to software that allows him to enter the code and find out what it means. The software will also let your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley technician know what might be causing the problem and how to diagnose it.
Notice that the trouble code does not tell your technician at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley exactly what is wrong with the vehicle. It can only let him know where to start looking to find the problem.
Scanning a trouble code and determining what it means is fairly simple for the pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. But the ensuing process of actually diagnosing a vehicle's trouble can take a skilled technician some time. Sometimes this can add up to a significant repair bill. Some vehicle owners mistakenly believe that the “trouble code” is all they need and think they can then fix their vehicles themselves. Some have tried to save money by purchasing an inexpensive scanner, or they take their vehicles to an auto parts store that offers the scan for little or no cost.
These options are often not the money-savers they seem for Lancaster vehicle owners. They can end up costing the vehicle owner extra in unnecessary repairs and engine damage.
For example, the trouble code P0133 reads “Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response.” Translated, that means the front oxygen sensor shows a slow response time in changing the mix of air to fuel. The seemingly obvious conclusion is that the sensor needs to be replaced. The vehicle owner purchases a sensor, installs it and happily goes on his way.
However, read the trouble again: a slow response time in changing the mix of air to fuel. Nowhere does this indicate that the sensor is bad. There are a lot of parts involved in changing the air-fuel mix, any of which could be causing a slow reaction time. Those include a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, an exhaust leak, a problem in the electrical system or a leak in the intake manifold. The sensor is merely relaying that the response time is slow; it doesn't indicate where the trouble is.
So the vehicle ends up with an oxygen sensor it did not need, and the delay in repairing the actual problem may have led to further damage to the engine. Both are added costs for the vehicle owner.
Cheap scanners also don't have the ability to read the history stored in an engine's computer. This operating history contains clues that can help in diagnosing engine trouble since it can indicate a developing problem. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley invests a lot of money in high-end diagnostic equipment so that we have access not just to service codes but also to the operating history of the engine.
On-board diagnostics, then, are a tool to help diagnose what is wrong with a vehicle. They cannot specify what part needs to be fixed or replaced, and they cannot replace a well-trained and well-equipped service technician.
Unless you are a trained mechanic, it's good auto advice to use The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for your car care. In the long run, it can save you time, unnecessary expense and frustration. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can also help you keep up with your scheduled preventive maintenance, which can also save you on repair bills by alerting you to potential problems before they get expensive.
Would you be surprised to learn that about half of the passenger cars in Europe have diesel engines? You might also be surprised to learn that most manufacturers produce a variety of diesel-fueled cars for purchase abroad.
Diesel-fueled vehicles haven't been as popular in the North American markets like California. But that won't be true for long. North Americans are seeing a lot more diesel-fueled vehicles on the road. And we're not talking about buses and trucks. These vehicles will be passenger cars, pick-ups and SUV's.
There are two reasons for this. The first is a recent change in environmental laws that have upgraded emissions standards for diesel fuel in North America. Diesel fuel in North America used to have higher sulfur content than European fuel, meaning that it was a dirtier fuel to burn. That was okay for larger vehicles, but the lighter-weight engines in passenger vehicles just couldn't tolerate it.
But that high sulfur content is now a thing of the past. Fuel producers are now required to sell cleaner diesel fuel in Lancaster. That opens the North American market to more diesel-powered vehicles. The second reason we're going to see more of these vehicles in Lancaster is that they're more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel fuel has higher energy density than gasoline. That translates to more power per barrel of fuel. In your tank, that translates to better engine performance and about 20% better fuel economy.
People in Lancaster may associate diesel engines with black smoke, noise and a definite “shake, rattle and roll.” That's also a thing of the past. Modern diesel engines are smooth, quiet and produce cleaner emissions than gasoline engines. Also, forget that three-second wait behind a diesel vehicle at a stoplight. Modern diesels are just as quick to accelerate as other vehicles on Lancaster roads.
Diesel engines have other advantages over gasoline engines. Diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines because they require more heavy-duty parts, but that means the engines are more durable and can last longer than gasoline engines. Also, diesel engines may be the engines of the future since they can burn many of the new bio-fuels.
Bio-diesel can be manufactured from vegetable oils, including used cooking oil from Lancaster restaurants. Just think, one day you could fuel your vehicle on stuff that was once considered waste—one step closer to a cleaner environment here in California. And if you think hybrid cars are environmentally sound, consider what a diesel-electric hybrid could mean.
Lancaster drivers who are considering buying a diesel-fueled vehicle should know that preventive maintenance and inspection schedules are different for a diesel engine than a gasoline engine. Diesel fuel is harder on emissions systems than gasoline, so the filters and other devices have to be changed and checked more often. Also, the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures for diesel than for gasoline, so keeping it clean becomes a higher priority.
When you switch from a gas vehicle to a diesel, you'll have to learn some new rules of vehicle care. But you won't be alone. Most Lancaster service centers are aware that diesels are coming to North America and are already prepared to provide service for diesel engines. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we are well-versed in diesel technology. You can rely on our team of automotive professionals to provide quality service for diesel-powered vehicles.
Fuel System Cleaning the Professional Way at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Feb 07, 2017
Your fuel system needs to be clean to do its job properly. When it gets dirty, the results are lower engine performance, reduced fuel economy and impaired safety. It can even lead to costly repair bills for Lancaster drivers. So keep your fuel system clean as part of your routine preventive maintenance.
Fuel injectors have replaced carburetors in most of today's vehicles. These injectors deliver better fuel economy than a carburetor, but they can be compromised by rust, dirt and other contaminants. They need to be clean to maintain the correct pressure, spray pattern and volume of delivered fuel so that the vehicle engine can run at peak efficiency.
There are products on the market that Lancaster vehicle owners can add to their gas tank that will help keep your fuel injectors clean. These products will keep a clean fuel system clean but have trouble cleaning a system that has already gotten gummed up.
If your fuel system needs a major cleaning, The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can help. We have the tools and chemicals necessary to clean up your fuel system. We can remove accumulated carbon, grit, gum and varnish and get your fuel system and those all-important fuel injectors back up to snuff. Once your fuel system is clean, you'll notice the difference in improved power and better fuel economy. You may not notice that your vehicle is now producing fewer emissions, but our California environment will be better for it.
Lancaster drivers should consider adding a cleaning product to their gas tank after a fuel system cleaning. Those cleaners will help prevent your fuel system getting gummed up again, plus they can prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system.
Ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley if your vehicle is in need of a fuel system cleaning. That kind of auto advice can save you big bucks in repair bills down the road.
Your owner's manual and The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can help you with other car care advice that can help improve the safety and performance of your vehicle. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster can also help you set up a schedule to perform that maintenance and help you customize that schedule so it accounts for the climate and road conditions in your area.
Lancaster drivers should remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to vehicle care, that old adage has proven itself true.