Heart in Hands

Monthly Archives: May 2013

What Are Engine Diagnostics?

"Engine diagnostics" sounds like something from a Star Trek episode: "The coaxial warp drive is what caused the anomaly in the first place," Scotty reports. "Commence engine diagnostics." Kirk directs! But other than checking for cosmic problems such as your engine generating a galactic disturbance, what do engine diagnostics really consist of? Since your vehicle doesn't come with equipped a Scottish engineer, it warns you of engine problems with a "check engine" displaying a glowing outline of the shape of your engine. Cars are now more futuristic than we give them credit, more controlled by computers and electronics than we think. Indeed, todays' car carries more computing capability than Apollo 13! Anyway, think of engine diagnostics as a full-body CT scan for your car. First, a skilled mechanic plugs his computer into your car's onboard computing system interface, usually located under the driver's side dashboard. Your car's system them communicates specific codes to the me ... read more

What the Check Engine Light Means

Almost everyone has experienced it: you're driving along, minding your own business, and the dreaded check engine light illuminates on the dashboard. For the more nervous among us, this strikes fear into the heart: is the car about to break down? Will auto repairs be expensive? For others, it's more a source of annoyance, and some choose to ignore the light altogether, waiting until a breakdown actually happens before they decide to do something about it. But what does the check engine light really mean? And more importantly, how should you respond when it lights up? Many possible issues Simply put, this indicator is something of a catch-all sensor that can be triggered by many different issues--some serious, and some not so much. Here are just a few things that can trigger the light: Faulty exhaust system Bad spark plugs Failing alternator Failing catalytic converter Bad oxygen sensor Vacuum l ... read more

What is 30/60/90K Maintenance?

What is 30/60/90K Maintenance?

For automobile owners, the terms "factory scheduled maintenance" or "30/60/90K maintenance" are widely misunderstood ideas. They basically refer to the same thing, namely, the auto maintenance schedule recommended by the car's manufacturer. It's often called "30/60/90K factory maintenance" because for most vehicles, the maintenance is scheduled every 30,000 miles. Many drivers consider this maintenance schedule to be optional, or worse, they think it's a ploy by the dealership to get more money out of them. Neither is actually true. For most manufacturers, the 30/60/90K maintenance schedule is a condition for honoring the warranty. Furthermore, keeping this maintenance schedule can actually extend the life of your vehicle, as well as saving you money on more costly repairs down the road. What does factory scheduled maintenance entail? In most cases, the scheduled maintenance involves a thorough inspection of your vehicle's systems to look for iss ... read more

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