When To Flush Your Air Conditioning System In Your Car

If the compressor on your cars air conditioning system has failed or the system is contaminated, the entire system will need to be flushed with an approved A/C cleaning solution.

When the compressor fails it contaminates the air conditioning system with metallic debris. Most of the contaminates collect in the condenser which then leads to blockage reducing your cooling performance. If the debris passes through the condenser and gets into the liquid line, it most likely will plug the expansion valve and orifice tube. This can reduce the flow of the lubricating oil and refrigerant resulting in compressor damage and loss of cooling.

If sludge is found in the A/C system it means there has been moisture contamination. The sludge looks like a thick black liquid and can plug the expansion valve or damage the compressor. The receiver drier is supposed to prevent moisture contamination from happening. The drier can only hold so much moisture and once it is saturated sludge begins to form. When flushing the system it is a good idea to replace the drier.

Another good reason to flush your ac system is if you are changing your coolant from a R-12 to a R-134a refrigerant.

Once the flushing is complete it is a good idea to install a high side filter to your system. This will protect the expansion valve and orifice from any debris that might remain in the air conditioning unit.

How To Avoid A Dead Battery In Your Motorhome

Replaced RV Battery

How many times have you taken your motorhome out of storage and found the batteries are completely dead? You went through your pre storage checklist and made sure lights were off, circuit breakers were off and still your batteries come up dead. Why is this happening?

Almost every motorhome or RV has what is called a parasitic draw from their 12 volt electrical system. Usually what causes the parasitic draw will be the radio, LP gas detector or the refrigerator. Your inverter, even shut off can draw a small amount of current. After a few weeks all these draws can drain your battery bank to its knees. This is why you want to install a battery cut off switch and avoid the parasitic draw.

There are several battery switches that offer various functions and come in a variety of sizes. The most common switch is a cut off switch that goes between the battery and the positive connection. Another type has a key that can be removed when shut off to avoid someone turning it back on or being able to start your motorhome if used on the starter battery. If you are willing to pay a little more you can get a switch that will disconnect between two battery banks and ensure that all 12 volt devices are not getting to the battery.

If you will be installing a cut off switch, it is recommended to place it on the positive side of your DC circuit. Most cut off switches can be found at your local RV parts store or automotive store.

Temporary Radiator Hose Repair

Radiator Cap

Being stranded along the side of the road is no fun, especially when your car radiator is pouring smoke out of the hood because it has overheated. Before you get on your cell phone and call a towing company there might just be a quick fix that can get you home or to your local mechanic. Once the engine has cooled off, open the hood and see if you can see where the steam or leak is coming from. If the leak is coming from one of the radiator hoses there is a chance you can make a quick fix to get you out of your predicament. After locating the hole in the hose make sure and dry it completely.

If you are carrying duct tape with you then the fix got a whole lot easier. If not any hardware store will carry it. You will want to tear off a 3 inch piece of your duct tape and wrap it around the hole in your radiator hose. Start at the center and apply the first piece of duct tape. Next tear off a piece of duct tape that is long and start about 3 inches above the smaller piece of duct tape you put on. Wrap the duct tape around and around tightly pressing it into place. Once you are satisfied your duct tape is applied correctly you will want to check your radiator fluid and make sure it is not low. If it appears low you can add regular water to get you home. Below is a list of how the fix should play out.

1) Make sure you engine has cooled off
2) Locate the hole and dry it off completely
3) Put a 3 inch piece of duct tape over the hole.
4) Add additional duct tape around the hose covering the first piece of duct tape.
5) Check your radiator fluid level and add regular water if low.
6) Take your car home or to a mechanic to fix the hose

What Is The Check Engine Light?

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.

Downtime For Your Fleet Vehicles

Fleet of Trucks

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.

Saturn Cars – Tough and Reliable

Saturn Logo

In 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.

What Are The Signs My Brakes Are Going Bad?

Replace Car Brakes

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 you need to replace your brakes:

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.