The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Lancaster drivers, and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most people.
Let's get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your Check Engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn't drive at high speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Lancaster service center.
If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn't go off, schedule an appointment with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to get it checked out.
Some more information on how the Check Engine light works may be helpful for Lancaster drivers. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.
In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range, the computer runs some tests and may turn on the vehicle's Check Engine light.
A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn't know if it's a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine light.
Now when you tighten up the gas cap, the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn't come up again, it turns off the Check Engine light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it'll then turn off the Check Engine light.
If the problem can't be resolved then the light will remain on, and you should get your vehicle looked at. Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.
TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring for Your Lancaster Vehicle
Apr 13, 2012
Lancaster drivers may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in California come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around the Lancaster area have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.
If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the vehicle manufacture’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When drivers see the warning light, they know it's time to put some air in the tires.
There are many benefits to people in Lancaster who drive with properly inflated tires. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel economy. Driving on underinflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel economy. Drivers in Lancaster will also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires will last longer.
Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety for Lancaster vehicles. Underinflated tires become hotter, and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your vehicle and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Lancaster with properly inflated tires.
Local California consumer groups and law-makers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can't put a value on saving a life, Lancaster drivers should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren't free.
The systems themselves are added into the price of the vehicle. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around California, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.
In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs we want you to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.
Lancaster service centers such as The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley must purchase equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Lancaster area service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.
Since there is no uniformity among manufacturers, technicians need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Lancaster service center managers.
That's why the team at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is anxious for people in the Lancaster area to understand the financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we've been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services and then pass the low cost on to customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require equipment.
Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a vehicle battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.
So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in California, please keep in mind that it's because of this new safety equipment. The team at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price.
It's important to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely underinflated. You'll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here's wishing you safe travels.
Contact The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for more information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.
ICE - In Case Of Emergency In Lancaster California
Jun 16, 2011
When accidents occur in Lancaster, California, the victims' emergency contacts are extremely important. Too often, those involved aren't able to provide rescuers with phone numbers and medical information.
When California police and rescue workers must sift through pockets, glove compartments, wallets, purses and cell phone directories, they waste precious time.
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident, you have people in the Lancaster, California, area who you'll want to be contacted to arrange help, give consent to treatment and inform Lancaster paramedics of medical conditions, allergies or medications.
A brilliantly simple solution is now spreading through Lancaster and around the globe: ICE. ICE – standing for In Case of Emergency – is a way to identify emergency contacts in your cell phone directory.
Simply put 'ICE' before a contact name in your cell phone, like 'ICE – Dad,' 'ICE – Nancy.' or 'ICE – Doctor Roberts.' Rescuers will be able to quickly identify your emergency contacts, saving valuable time.
Bob Brotchie, a Cambridge, England, paramedic came up with the idea and a promotional campaign in England in 2005. This idea is gaining attention in Lancaster, California, and in other countries. Lancaster rescue workers all know of how many times they are unable to find a wallet or purse on an accident victim, yet most Lancaster area folks over 14 years of age are seldom without their cell phone.
There are national and worldwide disaster databases, but participation can cost up to $200 a year. 'ICE' is free to the 276 million cell phone users in the U.S.
It is easy for you and your families to designate some ICE contacts in your cell phone. Remember to keep the listings current.
Please join The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in getting the word out. Help us put Lancaster, California, on ICE!