Monthly Archives: October 2022

Restore Your Get-Up-and-Go (Fuel and Air Induction Cleaning)

You may have heard the old saying, "My get-up-and-go got up and went." If your vehicle's engine's fuel economy is noticeably worse, your engine is idling roughly or stalling or your vehicle's acceleration isn't what it used to be, ask your service advisor if you might need your vehicle's fuel and air induction systems cleaned.

As the hours pile up on your engine, carbon deposits can build up.  It's not unusual for some of the impurities and additives in fuel to leave behind a black residue that eventually will negatively affect your fuel economy and performance. Maybe you're noticing your engine is harder to start, you hear knocking or pinging in your engine and your vehicle just doesn't have the pep it used to.

While it's a sophisticated process with a lot of components, a gasoline engine essentially produces power by drawing in air from the outside and mixing it with fuel in the cylinders where this blend of fuel and air is ignited by spark plugs in synchronized explosions.

The fuel and air enter your engine through the fuel induction system and air induction system. Because of things like high operating temperatures and impurities, carbon in the fuel can leave behind dark, sooty deposits in the fuel induction system such as the fuel injectors and the throttle body. These and other residue reduce your engine's efficiency and performance. Our service center can use special fuel injector cleaners to remove those deposits from your engine.

The technician may manually clean some of the deposits and also put a fuel additive in the fuel tank that will get rid of other deposits that are still in the fuel system

Keeping the air induction system clean is also important.  A technician can use a liquid cleaner specially designed for the job. Not only can this improve your fuel economy, it may also reduce exhaust emissions and help your engine last longer.

Most gasoline now contains detergents that help reduce or prevent these problems, but direct injection is now being used in more vehicles that are more susceptible to clogging. Ask your service advisor if your vehicle could benefit from fuel and air induction cleaning. 

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Steering You Right (Power Steering Signs of Problems)

Nearly every modern vehicle on the road today has power steering, a wonderful invention that makes steering take far less effort than it did in the "good old days."  Today, we take our steering for granted: until something goes wrong, that is.

Most power steering these days is rack-and-pinion, the rack being a metal bar between the front wheels with notches in it and the pinion being a gear whose teeth fits into those notches.  Adding power assist makes it easy to turn. That assist comes in the form of hydraulic fluid that is pressurized by a pump powered by the engine, an electric motor that adds a power assist or a system that uses both an electric motor and hydraulic fluid.

Your vehicle usually gives you a heads up that something is going wrong with its steering. Here are a few signs to look for:

  • A humming, whirring, rubbing or grinding sound coming from you engine compartment when you turn.
  • Signs of hydraulic fluid leaking, such as wet spots under your vehicle.
  • The smell of burning oil while you're driving.
  • Steering wheel hard to turn or vibrating.

If you notice any of these signs, it's a good idea to have a trained technician check them out.  They may be signs of:

  • Power steering pump going bad
  • Steering rack or gear seals wearing out, causing them to lose hydraulic fluid
  • Broken fluid hose
  • Defective power steering cooler
  • Loss of pressure in the power steering gearbox
  • Worn out steering pump belt
  • Failing electric power steering motor

It's important to have these checked out sooner rather than later. You need to be able to steer properly in order to drive safely. Plus, some of these problems can cause more serious—and expensive—damage if they're not fixed.  Power steering is a wonderful feature of your vehicle.  Keep it well maintained and it will steer you right.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Steering

Road Trip? Check! (Trip Inspection)

After months of postponing travel far away from home, a lot of us can't wait to hit the road and scream "Road Trip!" again.  But how long has it been since the vehicle you're planning on taking has had a thorough inspection? And is it roadworthy for several days on the highway? Time to schedule a professional trip inspection in our service center. 

When it comes to long trips, before you go, make sure you can stop.  We can perform a break inspection.  Our technician will visually inspect your brakes for wear and how much life is left in the brake pads and rotors.  They'll also check your brake lines and fluids for fitness and fill.

If it's going to be a long trip, it's important that your engine stays lubricated.  The technician will see when the last time you had an oil change, check the levels and inspect the system for leaks.  If you are close to needing an oil change, it's best to have it done before the trip because no one wants to interrupt a vacation with an oil change in a strange place.  It's also better for your engine to have fresh, clean oil rather than driving with dirty, worn-out oil.

Comfort in any vehicle depends partly on the suspension system.  Our technician can examine shocks and struts so you can avoid an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe journey.  Oh, and you'll definitely want to make sure your wheels are aligned.  A long trip in an out-of-alignment vehicle can be a driving nightmare with potential steering problems and tire damage. 

A couple of little things some drivers take for granted are the engine air filter and wiper blades.  A dirty air filter can cost you money by reducing fuel economy; it adds up on a long trip.  And worn-out wiper blades can make visibility while driving in a rainstorm a blinding, unsafe adventure that you never want to experience, especially in unfamiliar territory.

If you're in the habit of having your vehicle regularly maintained, many of these items may be in excellent condition.  But considering the extra stresses a long road trip places on any vehicle, it's nice to have a set of our trained eyes give your vehicle a closer look. That way you'll be able to gaze YOUR eyes on sights like the Leaning Tower of Niles or the Gopher Hole Museum. 

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

Categories:

Trip Inspection

Go With the Flow (MAF Sensor Replacement)

A driver brought her vehicle into the shop the other day and told us how she was getting lousy fuel economy and that the engine was running rough.  Plus, the Check Engine light was on.  Our technician checked the code the engine had generated (why the Check Engine light was on) and found the problem.  It was a faulty Mass Air Flow sensor, MAF sensor for short.

This MAF sensor is an important part of your vehicle.  What it does is calculate the amount of air going into your engine.  As you may know, air is taken into your engine where it's mixed with fuel.  Then, the spark plugs fire, that explosive fuel/air mixture detonates, and all these sequential explosions together provide the power to get your vehicle moving down the road. 

It makes sense that if the MAF sensor isn't sending the engine's computers the correct information on the amount of air going in the engine, the fuel/air mixture isn't going to be right. It will either too rich (too much gasoline for the amount of air) or too lean (not enough gasoline for the amount of air).

In this driver's case, the MAF sensor was damaged and needed to be replaced.  Another thing that may cause the MAF to give an incorrect reading is if its wires are dirty or faulty.  So, replacing or cleaning the wires important as well.

Other symptoms that your MAF sensor is bad? If your engine hesitates when you step on the gas, it stalls, or your vehicle is jerky when you accelerate. 

A malfunctioning MAF sensor is not just bad for performance.  Driving with your vehicle in that condition can cause more damage to your engine.  When you bring your vehicle in for us to check, a technician will thoroughly examine your engine to make sure all issues are taken care of.

West Service Center
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420
http://westservicecenter.com

904 Cavalier Blvd Chesapeake, VA, 23323 (757) 487-4420
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