Yearly Archives: 2020

Simple Answers from D AND E AUTO REPAIR for CHICO: Tire Tread Depth

Question How can I tell when my tires are worn so much that they need to be replaced? Answer That is a very important question.  As we discuss the matter, keep in mind that one of the most important jobs of your tire tread is to move water. The channels in the tread act as passages for water to escape from underneath the tire.  The deeper the tread, the deeper the channel – and the more water that can be evacuated.  When enough water can’t be moved from underneath the tire, the tire can ride on the water – often called hydroplaning.  The tire is literally not contacting the road but rather is “floating” on the water so there is little traction and the vehicle can slide. So somewhere between a brand-new tire and a bald tire lies the point at which the tire should be replaced.  Some governmental jurisdictions have minimum tread depth requirements others do not.  So, check the laws where you live to learn the legal minimum ... read more

Categories:

Tires

Battery

Batteries are a huge part of modern life.  I mean, how many battery chargers do you have? Of course, our purpose here is to talk about your car battery.  When people come into our service center and need a new battery, they’re not that happy about having to spend the money.  But the fact is that 70% of batteries don’t make it for 4 years. There are some things that you can do to extend the life of your battery.  First, keep it clean.  If you see it getting dirty or greasy, let us know and we can clean it off.  A dirty battery runs hotter and that shortens its life.  If your battery terminals are corroded, let us look at that too.  We can clean them, and if the corrosion has gotten into the battery cables, we can replace them. Also running your battery way down is bad for it. Things like running the headlights or watching a DVD player with the car turned off can deeply deplete your battery.  The typical battery can only take ab ... read more

Categories:

Batteries

Smooth Shifting In CHICO

If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that CA vehicles are getting more and more powerful and at the same time are getting better and better fuel economy . Much of that's because of better transmissions. To get a understanding of why that is, let's turn to gear experts – CHICO bicyclists. A cyclist's cadence is the number of times per minute he or she pedals. Their ideal pedal speed is the zone where they can most efficiently generate power over a sustained period of time. The experienced cyclist uses his gears to keep his pedal speed in the ideal zone whether he's climbing a steep CHICO hill, cruising on a flat stretch or killing a downhill. Look at how it works: if you have a 1-speed bike, you really have to pump hard to get up to speed. And your top speed is limited by how fast as you can pedal. And if you've got a hill to climb – forget about it. Now let's add a couple of gears: one lower and another one higher. With the lowe ... read more

Questions to Ask Your D AND E AUTO REPAIR Service Advisor

A lot of  service and repair customers in CHICO are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions but don't want to be embarrassed or to seem pushy. Cars are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us CHICO drivers have the time to learn. At D AND E AUTO REPAIR, we think automotive service customers have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their vehicle and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction. It's all about the communication. What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, most D AND E AUTO REPAIR service advisors are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get CHICO drivers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information. Finan ... read more

Your Nose Knows Gasoline

Each time we fuel up our vehicles, we get a little whiff of gasoline, so the smell is very familiar. There shouldn’t be any gasoline smell in or around your vehicle when you are away from the gas station. When you do smell gasoline away from the gas pump, the cause ranges from something simple to something that can be very dangerous. Let's start with the simple causes.  It could be a loose or faulty gas cap, or you might be missing one entirely. You may also have a leak in the fuel tank vent hose. These are relatively straightforward things to repair.  By the way, because your vehicle has fans that draw in outside air, you may be able to smell these outside fuel leaks inside the cabin. Here are some other possible sources of a gasoline smell.  You may have a leak in your fuel tank, and these are more common than you might think.  Fuel tanks can rot or get punctured by road debris.  The tank can be fixed or replaced.  The fuel lines can also de ... read more

Categories:

Troubleshoot

Thermostat

The thermostat is part of your cooling system. CHICO residents' vehicle thermostats perform a similar function to the thermostats in their homes. At home, you set your thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature range. When your home gets too hot, the air conditioning kicks on and when it gets too cool, the heater turns on. Now your engine also has an optimal temperature range: warm enough to run efficiently and not so hot as to cause engine damage. Your vehicle's thermostat is a valve between the engine and the radiator. When CHICO residents first start a cold engine, the valve (thermostat) is closed, allowing the coolant surrounding the engine to warm up to the proper operating temperature. As the coolant gets hotter, the thermostat opens, allowing coolant to flow through to the radiator to be cooled. The thermostat opens and closes to keep the engine within a certain temperature range. Now thermostats are rated for a specific temperature depending on the engine &ndash ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

Emergency Items for Your Vehicle

Emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So, you may always want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip. Your close-to-home kit would have some basic items to work on your car:  everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You’ll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots.  Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card. If you live in an area with frequent severe weather or earthquakes, may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies. For trips away from home, consider the weather and geography as you asse ... read more

Categories:

Emergency

D AND E AUTO REPAIR Advice on Your Cooling System

Last week I was out running errands and my temperature warning light came on – total panic!  I pulled over and my car was overheating After it cooled down, I went right in to my service center to have them look.  My service advisor told me my water pump was leaking and needed to be replaced.  He said water pumps just wear out and that you need to replace them because they pump the coolant that cools the engine.  He told me they checked out my radiator hoses, serpentine belt and tensioner and that they were OK.  But I was overdue for changing my coolant – like, embarrassingly overdue.  I didn’t realize there was a schedule in my owner’s manual for when to change my coolant.  My service advisor said that the coolant becomes corrosive over time and could damage my radiator, head gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, heater core, metal cooling pipes, expansion (frost) plugs, etc.  That’s why they recommend changing the flu ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

All new cars and light trucks since 2008 have come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system.  The TPMS system detects when a tire becomes under-inflated and lights up a warning light on the dash. So, what’s the big deal?  Well, under-inflated tires can be a real safety concern.  First, they don’t handle properly and that can lead to an accident.  Second, under-inflated tires can overheat and cause the tire to come apart, which can also lead to an accident. Government regulations requiring TPMS systems aim to reduce accidents and save lives:  A very worthy goal.  There are also positive environmental effects because under-inflated tires are fuel wasters – you lose 1% of your fuel economy for every 3 pounds of pressure below ideal.  So proper tire inflation can save you a tank of gas a year.  And your tires last longer so you won’t have to replace them as often. There are two kinds of TPMS systems.  So-called ... read more

Categories:

Tires

Fuel System

I’d like to give you a quick overview of the fuel system.  It starts with the fuel tank.  The fuel pump is located inside the tank and pumps fuel out to the engine.  Somewhere along the way is a fuel filter whose job is to filter out dirt before it hits the engine.  Then there’s the fuel intake system and the fuel injectors that deliver the fuel to be burned in the engine. Our focus is to discuss how to make the various components of your fuel system work well and last as long as possible.  Now the best thing you can do for your fuel pump is to use good quality fuel.  Top tier gas typically has fewer contaminants and more detergents to keep things clean.  Using good gas, or adding a fuel system cleaner to your tank, can prolong the life of your fuel pump.  Because the fuel pump lives inside your tank, it’s expensive to replace, so helping it last as long as possible is a worthwhile goal. The fuel filter catches dirt and contam ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System