Direct Fuel Injection Update from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Jan 25, 2012
For those of you in Lancaster, California who pay attention to these things, you may have been hearing about the new direct injection engines and want to learn more about them. Some deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.
For example, in one family of engines the conventional V6 makes about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version of the same engine makes over 300 horsepower and gets essentially the same fuel economy. The turbocharged version makes over 350 horsepower.
So what are the differences from a conventional engine?
The core difference is in the fuel injection system. The system most vehicles use now is called a port injection system. The fuel injector squirts fuel into a port just outside the cylinder where it's then drawn into the engine with the air.
With a direct injection system, the injector squirts the fuel directly into the cylinder. The gain in power and economy come because fuel injected directly into the cylinder during the combustion cycle is burned much more efficiently.
First, the fuel is squirted in at hundreds of times more pressure, so it's atomized much better and burns cleaner and stronger. The other big advance is in electronics. Faster engine management computers can control the additional precision required to manage direct fuel injection.
Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver a precise amount of fuel at exactly the right time. The design of the engine also dictates a particular spray pattern for the fuel. If a fuel injector is dirty or gummed up, it can't do its job as well. That means less power and worse fuel economy for your vehicle and can lead to damaged fuel injectors.
Replacing fuel injectors at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley isn't cheap. Direct injection injectors are even more expensive because of the extremely high-pressure they use. Same thing for diesel fuel injectors; we're talking mortgage payment-range to replace a set of diesel injectors.
A professional fuel system cleaning from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley gets out the gum and varnish in the whole system, including the fuel injectors. Keep those injectors clean and they'll last a long, long time.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high nighttime accident rate in the Lancaster area, things like drowsy driving and a higher rate of impaired driving. Without a doubt, visibility is a major contributor. Let's focus on visibility…
It's said that 90 percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. Nighttime driving has the effect of reducing 20/20 vision to the equivalent of 20/50 vision. What you could clearly see at 50 feet in daylight can't be seen until you are just 20 feet away at night.
Too make sure your headlights are giving you the greatest visibility, visit us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, located at 226 West Avenue I, Lancaster, California 93534. Please give us a call to make an appointment: 661-949-8484.
Accident avoidance is dependent on reaction time. Reaction time deteriorates measurably in low light conditions. One thing we can do to improve visibility is to make sure our headlights are as bright as they can possibly be.
Headlamps dim over time. They dim so gradually that you may not notice it. Many experts suggest replacing your standard or halogen headlamps once a year.
If your vehicle has standard headlamps, consider upgrading to halogen lamps. They make a big difference. And there are upgrades available within the halogen category as well. This once-a-year expense is very modest compared to the safety benefits.
Some vehicles come with high intensity discharge – or HID – headlamps. These lamps should last for the life of your vehicle. They are very bright and are clearly the best option for nighttime driving. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to upgrade to HID headlamps. Talk with your Lancaster area service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley about options for your car.
Another startling fact is that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have dirty or yellowed headlight covers. Dirty is easy to fix. Just run the window washer over the headlight cover when you stop for gas. Get those bugs and dirt off the cover.
Now plastic headlight covers can yellow or become hazy over time. They can be restored to clarity with a special polishing process. Our pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can help you with this service.
It's also vital to keep your windshield clean and streak free when driving at night. Make sure you have plenty of washer fluid and that your windshield wipers are in good working order.
We recommend replacing wiper blades twice a year – in the spring and fall. Fall is also a good time to replace headlamps so you'll be ready for those long winter nights.
Fuel Injector Cleaning at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Jan 10, 2012
In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your vehicle engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute in every single fuel-injected vehicle driving down Lancaster roads.
Most fuel injectors for gas engines are known in the Lancaster automotive community as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. The fuel pump provides pressure needed to squirt the right amount of fuel into the engine.
A few have recently introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines. They are now available at some California dealerships. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure – many times the pressure of port injection systems.
Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel economy. California motorists can expect to see more of it in the future.
High temperatures under your vehicle hood and variations in Lancaster gas quality cause fuel injectors to be fouled with wax, dirt, water, additives and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure.
When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn't burn as efficiently resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it's wise for Lancaster residents to keep their fuel injectors clean.
Your technician at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can perform a fuel system service for you in which the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.
Proper maintenance of your vehicle fuel system means that you will spend less on gas, enjoy strong performance and prevent repair bills down the road.
Get Where You're Going with Power Steering Service in Lancaster
Jan 04, 2012
Today we're going to talk about power steering service in Lancaster. If you took an informal poll around Lancaster you'd probably find that most vehicle owners have never heard of power steering service. That's not surprising. Even though power steering is standard on every vehicle, most people in Lancaster aren't aware that it needs periodic service.
If you're younger than a certain age, you've probably never driven a vehicle without power steering. To get an idea of the difference; if you've ever cut a board with a hand saw, you know it's a lot of work. Using a power saw is easy-peasy by comparison.
Without power steering, your arms have to do all the work to steer the wheels, and that's hard, especially around downtown Lancaster. That's why old cars had such big steering wheels: to get enough leverage to steer.
Most vehicles in Lancaster have a hydraulic power steering system. The serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid. This actuates a hydraulic cylinder that provides power to help steer.
Some vehicles in Lancaster use an electric pump to pressurize the fluid rather than a belt driven pump. We're also seeing vehicles with electric motors providing the power assist, not using power steering fluid at all. We'll see a lot more electric systems as more hybrids and electric vehicles hit the market.
At least for now, the vast majority of power steering systems use power steering fluid that needs to be serviced. The fluid needs to be changed for a couple of reasons. For one, it attracts moisture. Water has different hydraulic qualities than power steering fluid, and that makes a difference in steering performance. Water is also corrosive and can damage power steering components. The fluid also just gets dirty and needs to be changed. Removing the old fluid and flushing out the system gets rid of dirt and deposits. The clean, fresh fluid lubricates and provides better corrosion protection.
So ask your Lancaster service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley or check your owner's manual to see when power steering service is recommended. It'll extend the life of your power steering components.