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Are You Going Nuts? (Lug Nut Replacement)

If your vehicle has a few years on it, you've no doubt had your tires rotated a few times. That means, of course, that a technician has loosened the lug nuts (which hold the wheels on) to remove the wheels and then put them back on.  Many vehicles have lug bolts that go through the wheel into the wheel hub rather than bolts that are attached to the hub and poke out through the wheel.  For our purposes, we’ll simply refer to both styles as “lug nuts”.  Don't be surprised if your Service Advisor tells you it's time for several of those lug nuts to be replaced.  Here's why. There are different styles of lug nuts.  Many of them are constructed from two separate pieces.  One is the main part that is steel, and the other is a chrome, aluminum, or stainless steel cap that fits on top and makes it look pretty.  Time takes its toll on your lug nuts because they're exposed to the elements (salt, water, grime).  The st ... read more

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Tires

Brake Rotor Problems

Disc brakes are called disc brakes because of the big metal disc – or rotor – that spins with the wheel.  The brake pads rub against the rotor to slow the vehicle.  In technical terms, the motion energy of the moving vehicle is transferred into heat energy by the brakes.  The job of the rotor is to absorb that heat and dissipate it into the atmosphere.  To do that effectively, the rotor needs a certain amount of mass (measured by the thickness of the rotor) and a good surface to mate with the brake pads.  Let’s talk about those two things. First is the thickness.  A new rotor is nice and thick.  It can absorb a lot of heat and dissipate it effectively.  Over time, the rotor will wear away slightly.  If it wears away too much, there is not enough metal to take care of this heat transfer and the vehicle will not brake as well.  In fact, each rotor is stamped with the minimum thickness the rotor must have.  When the ... read more

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Brakes

Simple Answers from D AND E AUTO REPAIR for CHICO: Battery Replacement

Question When do I need to replace my battery? Answer That’s a smart question.  All batteries wear out and need to be replaced – but some are being replaced before their time.  Look, if your battery is dying and you need a jump-start, it could very well be that you have a bad battery.  But have your service center test the battery first to see if it’s bad.  The problem could be parasitic drain or a bad alternator that’s not properly charging your battery. But you also need to have your alternator tested.  A surprisingly high percentage of “bad” alternators are actually just fine: the problem is a worn serpentine belt and/or belt tensioner.  If the belt is slipping, it’s not spinning the alternator properly so it can’t fully charge the battery. So, you see a dead battery can be the result of a chain of events: a worn serpentine belt, a worn belt tensioner, a bad alternator or a bad battery.  If you ... read more

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Batteries

Radiator Fans

CHICO residents who are old enough have probably heard the term “fan belt”. Back in the day the radiator fan in your vehicle was turned by a belt driven by the engine. There are still belt driven fans, although most are now driven by the serpentine belt. But most CHICO vehicles now have electric fans that draw fresh air across the radiator to cool it. As coolant/antifreeze circulates in the cooling system it captures heat from the engine and flows into the radiator. Air cools the radiator and the coolant in it before it sends it back into the engine to pick up some more heat. Now your engine has an ideal temperature range in which it is most efficient: it shouldn't be too hot or too cool. The electric radiator fans help maintain the ideal temperature. A switch mounted in a cooling system passage checks the temperature of the coolant. If the coolant is at the low end of the range, the switch turns off the fan motor. When the coolant rises to a certain temperature ... read more

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Radiator

Simple Answers from D AND E AUTO REPAIR for CHICO: Water Pump

Question: My water pump went out and it costs much more to replace than ones I've had replaced in the past. My CHICO technician said it's because of where it's located. Why is that? D AND E AUTO REPAIR Answer: Some water pumps are driven by the serpentine belt and are bolted on out in the open with the alternator and air compressor and such.  Other water pumps are driven by the timing belt.  These water pumps take a lot of labor to access and replace.  I suspect your current vehicle has a water pump that is driven by the timing belt. Water pumps are fairly simple devices that circulate engine coolant/antifreeze around the engine and out to the radiator.  Like any mechanical device, they eventually wear out.  Although having a cooling system service done on schedule at D AND E AUTO REPAIR will extend the life of your water pump and its seals and gaskets, it will eventually fail and need to be replaced. Those wate ... read more

Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Diesel engines are appearing in more and more vehicles in nearly every category from compact cars to pick-up trucks to high-performance luxury vehicles.  In much of the world, 40% or more of passenger vehicles are equipped with diesels.  North American is beginning to appreciate the power and fuel economy benefits of diesel engines. Many maintenance items for diesel engines are similar to gasoline engines.  One notable difference is the requirement of Diesel Exhaust Fluid, or DEF.  Modern clean-diesel engines burn very lean to reduce soot and other pollutants.  A side effect is the production of nitrogen oxides which are harmful to the environment.  DEF is added to the exhaust and reacts with nitrogen oxide to produce harmless water and nitrogen. Diesel vehicles have a tank to hold the DEF.  A small amount of DEF is metered into the exhaust as the engine runs. When the DEF starts to run low, the DEF tank must be refilled. Because DEF is so importan ... read more

CHICO: Have You Considered Synthetic Oil?

I recently saw an ad for synthetic oil.  I really hadn’t heard about it before, so I asked by service advisor for some background.  Basically, the inside of your engine gets hot because of friction from the moving parts and from burning fuel.  Oil lubricates the moving parts to keep them from getting too hot.  The problem comes when oil turns to sludge, which is kind of a thick jelly.  Sludge clogs up little passages so that the oil can’t protect parts of the engine.  So, the two best ways to prevent sludge build-up is to always change your oil on schedule; and to use synthetic oil. Synthetic oil’s much more resistant to becoming sludge than conventional oil.  My technician says it has the added benefit of lasting longer than conventional oil, so the recommended change interval Can be longer. The thing I think is cool is that synthetic oil is slipperier than conventional oil.  Regular oil molecules are long chains where synth ... read more

Service Intervals 2

Question: I'm really confused about auto service intervals for various items on my car. Help! D AND E AUTO REPAIR Answer: The simple answer for CHICO residents is to follow the vehicle's recommended service intervals listed in your owner's manual or in your service center's database. But the team at D AND E AUTO REPAIR in CHICO sympathizes with CHICO residents because of the confusing intervals for modern vehicles. The days of simple rules of thumb that applied to most vehicles are long gone. For example, let's look at an oil change: manufacturers' recommendations run anywhere from every 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) to 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers). This big range comes from engine design and recommended types of oil - so CHICO residents really do need to read and follow the recommendations for their specific vehicle. Your owner's ... read more

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Maintenance

Simple Answers from D AND E AUTO REPAIR for CHICO: Exhaust Service

Question:My car failed its emissions test – what do I need to do? D AND E AUTO REPAIR Answer: Let's get this out of the way: a leak in your exhaust system could be deadly. If CHICO drivers smell exhaust in the passenger cabin or hear an unusual exhaust sound, they should get their exhaust system checked and repaired. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at D AND E AUTO REPAIR. Carbon monoxide in your exhaust is odorless, colorless and tasteless can be fatal to you and your passengers, so don't delay if you suspect an exhaust leak. There could be a number of reasons for a failed CA emissions test so some diagnostic work is in order. A common reason is that the catalytic converter has failed. The catalytic converter removes some of the harmful elements in exhaust. When a catalytic converter fails it must be replaced, which isn ... read more

D AND E AUTO REPAIR Fuel Saving Tip: Myths

With high fuel prices comes lots of gas saving advice.  Some of it, like what you hear on AutoNetTV, is great.  Some is myth.  And some is just designed to prey on people desperate to save some money on gas. When you get one of those e-mails that’s going around telling you how to save gas, try to think it through.  Does it really make sense?  Does it defy the laws of physics?  Do some research on the internet or ask your service advisor. There aren’t any magic pills you can drop in your gas tank and the government hasn’t suppressed a device you can clamp on your fuel line to make your car run on air. So next time you get one of those e-mails, check it out with an automotive professional.  You’ll get more bang for your buck with an oil change or an engine air filter replacement. Give us a call D AND E AUTO REPAIR 3328 D ESPLANADE CHICO, CA 95973 (530)

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Tips