Wednesday, October 28, 2015

8 Questions to Ask your Auto Mechanic

When taking your car for repairs at the mechanic, don’t just drop it and leave. Ask your mechanic a number of questions that will help you understand the service they are capable of providing.

1.     What credentials do your technicians have?
Auto repair technicians have expertise in different areas. You need to find out this information before you entrust them with your car. For instance, find out if the technicians have been trained to repair engines or provide quality car servicing.

2.     Are you familiar with my car’s make/model?
Taking your car to the dealership for repairs may be somewhat expensive and that’s why most car owners prefer to look for a private mechanic. However, it’s important to ensure that the private mechanic you have chosen is well versed with your model or make. This will prevent a lot of issues and ensure you get proper repairs done the first time.

3.     What kind of repairs do you specialize in?
Auto mechanics can focus on a number of different areas but there are others who are well versed with a single type of repair. For instance, if you want auto glass repairs, it is best to consider technicians who are experienced in this area. Find out what kind of service the technicians do best and focus on that.

4.     Can you provide free estimates?
You should be able to get a free written estimate from the mechanics before you can finally commit to having them repair your car. It gives you the opportunity to understand what you will be paying for and even negotiate for a better rate.

5.     Can you explain all the repairs needed in detail?
When your car is experiencing serious problems, you need a mechanic who can break it down to you in a way you’ll understand. Find a good mechanic who can explain issues and ways to prevent them in future. You’ll end up spending less on car repairs.

6.      Do you provide an alternative car for a client?
There are auto shops that provide their clients with a courtesy car when their car is undergoing repairs. This really works great especially if you rely on your car for day to day transportation. However, this may come at an additional cost that should be quoted in advance without any hidden costs.

7.      What guarantees do you offer?
You need to ensure that the car repairs done are of the highest quality and that the mechanic is able to stand behind their work. They will only do this if they offer reasonable guarantees. For instance, if the repairs do not work within a predefined period then they should be able to redo it for free.

8.     Do you offer warranty on parts or labor?

Most important, you need to find out if the mechanic will make use of quality auto parts and provide high standard labor. Most auto shops that provide a high standard of service will have warranties on their parts and labor so that you are rest assured that your money is well spent. 

Posted By: Faircloth Automotive

Friday, October 16, 2015

Understanding Your Vehicle's Oxygen Sensors

Every automobile on the road today is comprised of thousands of parts, large and small, working in harmony allowing us to enjoy the experience of driving down the road. When one of these parts fails, engine performance can decline and oftentimes it can have a cyclic effect on other parts of the vehicle as well. Arguably the most important part of any vehicle is the engine which creates the power needed to operate it. Today, we are going to look at the oxygen sensor and how it helps to keep the engine running efficiently, as well as its effect on the vehicle's exhaust system.
To understand the importance of the oxygen sensor and why it is needed, we first need to understand how the engine itself operates. The basic concept of combustion engines is to add a tiny amount of fuel to a small enclosed space and ignite it; there is an incredible amount of energy released in the form of expanding gasses from this combustion which is utilized to power the vehicle. There have obviously been many changes since the first vehicle was created back in the 1800's but one thing has remained constant, the four-stroke design of all combustion engines.
The four-strokes in each engine cylinder are broken down into the intake stoke, compression stroke, combustion stroke and finally the exhaust stroke. In the intake stroke, oxygen and gas enter the cylinder, the compression stroke adds pressure to this mixture, the combustion stroke ignites the mixture and during the exhaust stroke the exhaust is released out of the cylinder to eventually exit the tailpipe. Each cylinder in the engine goes through these four strokes hundreds of times in a minute, and there must be a precise mixture of gasoline and oxygen each time for maximum efficiency. This is where the oxygen sensor comes into play.
The oxygen sensor measures the exhaust from the cylinders and depending on the amount of oxygen remaining after combustion, sends a message to the engine's computer to make adjustments. The perfect ratio of oxygen to gasoline is 14.7 to 1. When there is too much oxygen entering the cylinder during the intake stroke, it can cause poor engine performance, engine damage and will release more nitrogen-oxide pollutants into the environment. On the other hand, if there is too much fuel during the intake stroke, there will be unburned gasoline left over which will create excessive pollution and can ignite in the catalytic converter, causing it to fail which leads to a significant repair bill.
Every engine has a baseline set of parameters it utilizes to determine the amount of gas and oxygen to send to the cylinders but that amount fluctuates depending on a variety of factors. The air temperature, engine temperature, altitude, barometric pressure and even the load on the engine can all change how much oxygen is pulled into the engine. In order to maintain the perfect ratio of 14.7:1, the engine needs to make periodic adjustments, which it can only do if the oxygen sensors continue to send information. If the oxygen sensor is faulty, then the engine's computer has to guess how much oxygen and fuel to send to the cylinders which can cause the engine to perform poorly and dramatically decrease fuel efficiency.
Most vehicles today have a minimum of two oxygen sensors; however some modern vehicles can have up to six or more. When one of these sensors fails, the Check Engine light will generally go on, but you might notice some other symptoms as well. A faulty oxygen sensor can lead to rough idling, hesitation during acceleration, engine misfires, engine surges or bucks, poor fuel economy, unexpected catalytic converter failure or a rotten egg odor emitted from the exhaust.
Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor is a fairly inexpensive repair, however if you put it off it could end up costing you quite a bit more in the long run. If it causes damage to the catalytic converter you will be looking at repair costs in the thousands instead of just a couple hundred. A bad oxygen sensor could also cause you your gas mileage to drop up to 40% as well, which at today's gas prices is a huge chunk of change. If you suspect that your vehicle might have a faulty oxygen sensor, it is in your best interest to take it into an auto repair shop and have it checked out sooner rather than later; from the impact to your pocket book to the negative impact on the environment from excess pollution, it is well worth the price of replacement.

Posted By: Faircloth Automotive