What Is The Check Engine Light?

Your cars check engine light is part of the onboard diagnostics system or OBD. The computer in your car will monitor and control the vehicles performance and regulate such items as ignition timing, fuel mixture, engine speed and can even tell your automatic transmission when to shift.

When the OBD system comes across a problem it cannot adjust it will have the computer turn on a warning light or check engine light and store the code in the computers memory. These trouble codes will help in identifying the cause of the problem such as a misfiring engine or a bad sensor. In order to read the code you will need to have a scanning tool or take it to your local automotive repair shop or dealer. Car manufacturers used the OBD system originally to aid technicians in troubleshooting and pinpointing the malfunction in the vehicle. What the OBD system looks for will depend on the year, make, and model of the vehicle.

The original computer system in a vehicle varied widely in there capabilities and most systems would only check the various electronic sensors to make sure they were hooked up and working. When the OBD II systems came out federal regulations made it mandatory that all auto manufactures were to install this system into their vehicles. Its main purpose was to act like a built in emission monitoring station that would alert you if a problem has occurred in your emission system. If there is a problem, your check engine light will come on and cannot be turned off until a scanner is hooked up and the problem is diagnosed.

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Downtime For Your Fleet Vehicles

Downtime on your fleet vehicles is often a concept that is misunderstood.  Downtime is a measure of time when the vehicle is available for use, but is not time for a scheduled service or repair. If the fleet vehicle is not in use by its assigned driver and the vehicle goes in for service this is not considered downtime since the vehicle was not in use.

Take, for example, a sedan that must be available to a driver 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The sedan is dropped off for service at 5:45 p.m. on Friday. The work is completed and the driver is notified by 5 a.m. Monday. The total downtime is 15 minutes. Because the bulk of service time occurred during off hours, downtime is limited.

Understanding how downtime is measured allows configuring the shift or service hours associated with each fleet vehicle and equipment piece. Shifts should be defined in a master table screen (e.g., system settings and defaults) and linked to an asset or group of assets. This step allows the system to accurately calculate downtime based on the vehicle shift, opposed to a 24/7 clock, which counts as downtime the total time from the point the work order was opened until the driver is notified the vehicle is available.

With this information, services hours, shop shifts, etc., can be set to manage downtime. A good fleet operation will have an average downtime of less than 5 percent when properly calculated.

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Saturn Cars – Tough and Reliable

Saturn LogoIn an attempt to combat Japan’s hold on the automobile market, GM introduced the Saturn brand in 1985. The basic concept behind Saturn was simple: to compete with Japanese car maker’s emphasis on cheap maintenance, part availability, low running cost, and cost effectiveness. From their inception to their discontinuing in 2010, Saturn managed to hold their own on the worldwide automobile market.

If you were to ask a Saturn owner what the brand’s strengths are, they will most likely say “tough and durable.” Many have claimed that their side panels are dent proof. Saturn is also known for fixed advertised prices. Car buyers have often said Saturn is one of the best deals in town. To top it off, thanks to their tough design, Saturn cars have been awarded high safety ratings and are considered quite safe in serious accidents.

Although Saturn has been discontinued, a large fan base still exists due to the car’s high build quality and reliability. However, like any car, a Saturn needs proper maintenance and service to keep running at peak performance. If you don’t want to maintain the car yourself ask your local repair shop if they do Saturn repair.

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What Are The Signs My Brakes Are Going Bad?

The braking system on your car usually goes unnoticed since you cannot see it. The first sign of a brake problem is usually when noises start coming out when you apply the brakes.

Here are a problems that might help you determine if your brakes are ready to be replaced (Brake Repair San Diego)?

Your brake pads have become crystallized and hardened from heating up over time and no longer have the ability to stop your car.

If your brakes have oil or grease on them this is going to affect your braking power. Most common reason for oil on your brake pads is an oil seal going bad or a leaky differential. The oil will find its way to the pads and damage them.

Your brake booster can get a loss of power due to a bad diaphragm or vacuum leak resulting in poor to know breaking power.

Your rotors or brake drums can develop hot spots in them from your brakes overheating which leaves your brake shoes or pads with nothing to grip to.

When your car wants to pull or grab when applying the breaks this could mean a few things. Most common is brake fluid leaking from the system, a brake pad is frozen or the brake shoes are not adjusted properly.

One of the most common problems is when your breaks make a grinding or squealing noise. This is usually a sign that your brake pads are worn or glazed and are ready to be replaced. When your brakes start to squeal this is an indication that it is time to have your brakes checked. Most people ignore this symptom until they hear a grinding noise which indicates your brake pads have worn down to the metal. By waiting to you hear the brakes grinding will end up costing you more money for the repair.

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How And When To Clean Your Furnace

Gas FurnaceWhen it comes to your home heating furnace, dirt is the biggest problem that causes most heaters to run inefficient or fail. Dirt will effect three components in your furnace, the motor, the blower and the filter system. Let us start with the furnace filter. The filter should be cleaned or replaced before the beginning of the heating season. Then depending on the amount of use it will get during those cold winter months it should be checked and cleaned once a month. In order to check the filter you will need to remove it from the heater and hold it up towards the light. If you cannot see light coming through the filter it is clogged and will need to be replaced. If you are using a disposable filter in your furnace you can look on the side of filter and the size of the filter will be printed on the frame. When replacing the filter make sure and check to see the arrow on the filter is pointing in the correct direction. The air flows from the return air duct and towards the heater, so the arrow will be pointing towards the heater and away from the return air duct. If you are using a cleanable air filter simply rinse it off and let it dry before reinstalling it.

Next we will want to look at cleaning your blower assembly and the housing of the motor. If your furnace is designed with a squirrel cage type fan you will want to close attention to cleaning the openings since they are easy clogged with dirt and will make your furnace run less efficient. In order to clean the blower you will need to take off the panel that covers the filter. This will give you access to the panel or blower on the front side of the furnace. Once you have access to the blower unit, it can be removed by unscrewing a few screws from the blower and slide it out. You now can clean the assembly and reinstall it. If this scope of work is beyond your capabilities, then you should look for a qualified heating repair company that can do the work for you. An online search for something like Heater Service San Diego will reveal many local companies.

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