Yearly Archives: 2019

Simple Answers from D AND E AUTO REPAIR: Alignment

Question How do I know when I need a wheel alignment? Answer When your wheels are properly aligned, they all point in the same direction.  When they are out of alignment, most people notice a couple of things.  First the car pulls to one side when driving.  It could be slight or severe.  If your wheels have been out of alignment for a while, you’ll also start to see uneven tire wear – the shoulder on either the outside or inside of the tire is worn down more than the other.  A whole bunch of steering and suspension components are joined together.  Everyday driving can cause your wheels to go out of alignment over time just from the joints loosening up.  That’s why most manufacturers recommend an alignment check every couple of years.  Depending on where you live or the conditions you drive in (off-road driving, harsh winter conditions, poor pavement, etc.) – an alignment inspection every year may be called for. Suspe ... read more

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Wheels

Fuel Pump

Your fuel pump sends fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. Fuel pumps just wear out over time; it might be the electric motor, a sensor, a valve, a relay or some other electrical component. Whatever the exact cause for the fuel pump failure may be, the solution to getting you back on the CHICO road is to replace the pump assembly. When one component has failed, another one is probably just around the corner, so it makes sense to replace everything at once and save the future labor costs. The fuel pump is inside the fuel tank on most vehicles, and for many cars, trucks and SUVs, the fuel tank must be removed to replace the fuel pump. As you can imagine, that is pretty labor intensive: removing heat shields, retaining straps, all of the EVAP lines, fuel lines and electrical connections. And, of course, there is properly and safely handling the fuel that must be drained from the tank. Some vehicles have an external fuel filter that should be replaced at the same time. The fuel tank may ... read more

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Maintenance

Wheel Alignment Service at D AND E AUTO REPAIR in CHICO

When all a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment.  Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving can cause your wheels to be out of alignment.  This can lead to expensive premature tire and suspension wear. Here are some alignment basics: The first angle is called toe: do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire. The next angle is called camber: do the wheels tip in or out at the top. And finally, there is castor.  Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.  Alignment service starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – so see if anything’s bent, broken or worn out.  Then the technician will look at tire condition.  From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading ... read more

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Maintenance

Looking Down The Road In CHICO: Wiper Blades

It’s said that 90% of our driving decisions are based on visual information.  Our wiper blades play an important role in this.  A dirty or streaked windshield can catch the glare of the sun or on-coming headlights and make it nearly impossible to see. Most of us deal with our wiper blades from a failure perspective.  We address them when they no longer function.  Instead, we should think about wipers blades as an important safety system that we should maintain, rather than repair. And don’t think that your wiper blades will last longer because you don’t use them very often.  Hey, they live outside in the harsh sun and freezing cold – ice and wind.  They just dry out and crack over time. Experts recommend that we change our wiper blades twice a year, in the spring and fall.  That way you have functional blades for those spring showers and winter storms.  And consider a windshield treatment to help repeal water and make i ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Severe Driving In CHICO

Severe Driving In CHICO

Most CHICO motorists know that their owner's manuals have schedules for  vehicle maintenance. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The distance and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule. Now when you hear “severe service”, you may think it doesn't apply to you because you don't feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it's just normal everyday driving around CHICO. At D AND E AUTO REPAIR, we discuss the conditions that manufacturers classify as severe so that you can make the judgment on your own driving. Most CHICO drivers operate under severe driving conditions at least some of the time. How do you know which schedule to follow for your vehicle? Carefully think about your driving conditions and decide if you should do your preventive maintenance closer to the severe service recommendation or th ... read more

Categories:

Tips

EGR Valve

It is pretty amazing how auto makers have been able to consistently build more powerful engines in vehicles that get better fuel economy while at the same time meeting increasing environmental standards.  One of the little miracles that helps make this happen is the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve.  The EGR valve routes some exhaust back into the air intake system in both gasoline and diesel engines.  The exhaust gas takes up some space in the engine cylinders, replacing some of the oxygen-rich air that would otherwise be in there.  This means that the fuel burning event is cooler.  Cooler combustion means fewer harmful nitrous oxides are produced. Your EGR valve can get gummed up, messing the timing and amount of exhaust that is supposed to be recirculated in the engine.  Symptoms of EGR valve problems are rough idle and poor engine performance.  Performance can be restored by cleaning or replacing the EGR valve, depending on how dirty it is ... read more

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EGR Valve

Growling that Grates

A driver who uses his or her ears has a leg up on those who don't.  In addition to noises helping you be aware of traffic, they can give you clues to potential problems in your vehicle.  One noise to pay attention to is growling. Growling is a universally recognizable noise; you know it when you hear it.  In a vehicle, it's usually the sound of metal contacting metal, and not in a good way.  So, what is your vehicle telling you if you hear growling when you are turning your steering wheel? There are a few possibilities.  One is the mechanical linkage that helps your steering wheel turn your wheels and tires.  That system frequently has a hydraulic system that makes turning the steering wheel easier for you.  That can be a source of growling sounds as well.  A NAPA AutoCare technician can check your power steering fluid to see if it's at the correct level and still in good shape.  There are a few things that can go wrong with y ... read more

Categories:

Troubleshoot

Service Intervals

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 service manual will have a schedule for maintenance services a ... read more

Alternator Facts (Alternator Diagnosis and Repair)

When your vehicle doesn't start, the first thing you think of might be the battery.  That may be the culprit, but it also might be that your alternator has gone bad. An alternator sends power to your vehicle's electrical systems and accessories like your entertainment system, charging ports, and so on.  Any extra electricity goes to re-charge the battery.  So, your battery is what gets your engine started, but once the engine's running, your alternator is what's turning out the power.  A failing alternator may not be able to keep the battery charged. One of the most common causes of an alternator's demise is the bearings fail and seize up.  That can happen from dirt and liquid getting into the bearings combined with the heat of the engine. You might hear a grinding sound, an early warning that something's wrong. Other signs your alternator may be failing? A squealing noise in your engine, or your headlights dimming when engine RPMs dr ... read more

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Alternator

Engine Air Filter

Engine Air Filter

Today we want to talk about your engine air filter. That's the filter that cleans the air before it's burned in your engine. Many people in CHICO wonder how often they should change their engine air filter. The simple answer is "when it's dirty." That's a function of how much air has passed through the filter, so your vehicle manufacturer will recommend a mileage interval for replacing the air filter. But you can imagine that how dirty the air is would affect how quickly the filter gets filled. If you drive in CHICO where there's lots of dust, pollution or pollen, your engine air filter will get dirty more quickly and need to be changed sooner. That's why we check the air filter with every full-service oil change at D AND E AUTO REPAIR. We can visually tell if the filter needs to be changed. Your filter can only hold so much dirt. Once the filter is full, dirt will pass through to th ... read more