Don't wait until next summer to service a failing A/C system. Contact us today and schedule your A/C service to avoid long delays and dangerous driving this winter!
It may be October, but this 2005 Honda CR-V is getting some pretty major and pretty important A/C work. Even though it is cold, it’s always a good time to have the A/C system service or repaired as the A/C system helps defrost your windows!
Don't wait until next summer to service a failing A/C system. Contact us today and schedule your A/C service to avoid long delays and dangerous driving this winter!
There's a misunderstood myth that warns car owners not to have their windows tinted in the winter time. The belief is that the cold air temperatures won't allow the tint to properly adhere, and over time, the tint will come undone and your money will be wasted.
Don't fall for this myth. Our window tinting is done indoors in a climate-controlled atmosphere. Under the right conditions and with proper care, there are no more risks in the winter time than in the summer, so don't wait if you'd like your windows tinted. Take care of the winter glare today and give us a call! Our window tinter is the best in the business and worth every penny!
Each day, we have 1 or 2 unscheduled flat repairs come into our shop. Normally, customers are happy to have their tire repaired properly, which is a permanent repair completed by de-mounting the tire and repairing it from the inside. This is called a uni-seal repair and maintains the manufacturers tire performance and warranty.
Occasionally, we have a customer that insists on a plug repair, which we refuse to perform for safety, performance and, of course, insurance liability reasons. I had a customer walk out recently because we would not perform a plug repair on his tire. The next hour a customer came in that had been to a competitor's shop who TRIED to repair their tire using not only 1 string plug, but 6! The tire was seeping after the first plug so they installed more plugs trying to stop the leak. What they actually did was stretch the repair hole which tore as the tire flexed ruining the tire and creating an unsafe condition.
Photos of the improper plug repair showing the 6 plugs and torn tire wall are above. We had to replace the tire at that point, which could have been saved had the proper repair been completed.
The bottom line – Come to Laker Tire & Service LLC for a proper and safe flat tire repair.
With almost 400,000 3.5L EcoBoost engines on the road today, these engines have proven to be a solid power unit. Many of these engines are out of warranty and heading to your shop. Here are the top failures and what to look for.
1. REFLASH: There have been at least 7 updates to change calibrations and operation software for the 2011 models to address problems with the vacuum, ignition and transmission shifting. If you notice a loss of power or stalling, check the PCM to make sure it has the latest calibration. TSB 13-8-10 covers 2011-2013 models with the 3.5L V6 and discusses how new software calibrations can resolve a buck/jerk at steady cruise conditions with the transmission in sixth gear and lugging up grades at 1500-2000 RPM.
2. Timing Chain Wear: Since the 3.5L EcoBoost is turbocharged, the oil is under extreme stress. If the driver pushes it past the recommended oil change interval, the first item to show the abuse is usually the timing chain. Worn-out oil can damage the chain, guides and tensioner. When the chain is worn and stretched, the PCM detects the changes in camshaft position and sets code P0016 for crankshaft/camshaft correlation.
3. Ignition Issues: If you get a 3.5L EcoBoost in your shop with misfire code(s) P0300-0306, pull the plugs and coil boots and look for carbon tracks on the insulator of the plugs. If any tracking is present, replace all the plugs and boots. See TSB 14-0180 for more information.
4. Induction Cleaning Mistakes: The 3.5L has not had many issues with carbon build-up on the intake valves. But, some DIY owners will use induction cleaners that are injected into the intake. These types of cleaners can damage the turbochargers’ bearings, seals and turbines. The best advice is to use high-quality fuel. Also, Ford has released new PCV parts and PCM calibrations to reduce the amount crankcase vapor ingested into the intake.
The Liberty (2002-2007 KJ and 2008-2012 KK) was Jeep’s replacement for the Cherokee (XJ). The major changes from the Cherokee to the Liberty were an independent front suspension and trailing arm rear suspension. Compared to the Cherokee, the Liberty is actually easier to align.
Instead of having to install offset ball joints and shims to adjust camber and caster, the adjustments are performed with the cam bolts in the lower control arms. The rear is not adjustable.
The Liberty’s front suspension uses upper and lower control arms. The replacement of the upper control arms can be tedious and require the removal of the battery tray, power distribution center and other components to get at the passenger-side upper control arm.
If serviced, the control arms should be tightened with the vehicle at normal ride height due to the bushings. It is important to have the springs supporting the weight of the vehicle when the fasteners are torqued. If springs are not at their normal ride position, premature bushing wear may occur.
The control arms of the Liberty are robust, but the stock ball joints are recognized as a weak link. Jeep issued five recalls concerning ball joint failure for various 2002-2006 models. Most of the recall documents cite corrosion of the joint as the cause of the failure. The culprit is water intrusion, which has often been blamed on poor sealing of the boot and/or a missing heat shield on early models that allowed the boot to be degraded.
Use care when applying the load to the knuckle so the parts are not damaged, and be careful not to tear the boot. From the front of the vehicle, insert a pry bar to get it rested on the lower control arm and use the lever principle to push the knuckle up until the arm of the dial indicator no longer moves.
The rear suspension on the Liberty is non-adjustable, and the only specification is for the thrust angle. When taking the initial readings, pay attention to the thrust angle and suspension setback. If the thrust angle is greater than specifications, inspect the rear suspension for damage or worn bushings.
On 2002-2007 models, the single upper control link looks like a boomerang and utilizes a single ball joint mounted to the axle. There should be no play in this joint. If it is worn, it may not change the thrust angle, but it will make noise.
On 2008 and up KK models, Jeep changed the rear suspension and ditched the single upper control arm for a four-link setup with a lateral link.
Front ride height is defined by the vertical distance between the spindle and the rear pivot point of the front lower control arm bolt. When the car rolls off the line, the two points should be parallel, +/-10mm.
Rear ride height is defined by the vertical distance between the top of the lower spring seat strike surface and the bottom of the jounce cup (true metal-to-metal jounce travel). This is to be measured vertically inside the coil from the point intersecting the inboard edge and the fore/aft center of the jounce cup down to the strike surface. The distance should be 97mm (+/- 10mm).
For the front and rear, the heights should not differ more than 7mm side-to-side.
Jeep has gone back and forth on whether they should install cams on the lower control arms, but every Liberty has the fences for the cams. Before you quote the price of the alignment, make sure to check for the cams.
Camber and caster angle adjustments involve changing the position of the lower suspension arm cam bolts. Moving the rear position of the cam bolt in or out will change the caster angle significantly and the camber angle only slightly. To maintain the camber angle while adjusting caster, move the rear of the cam bolt in or out, then move the front of the cam bolt slightly in the opposite direction.
6 Reasons The Steering Wheel Is Not Straight
1. Rear Toe/Thrust Angle: Rear toe and thrust angle is directly related to the position of the steering wheel while going straight. You can align a vehicle with perfect front toe, but if the rear toe is off, the steering wheel will not be straight going down the road.
2. Tie Rod Length: When performing a toe adjustment, the front tie rods should be adjusted equally so the total toe is within specifications. Adjusting just one tie rod in most cases will give you an off-center steering wheel.
3. Ride Height: The rear toe is sensitive to ride height on rear independent suspensions. This is done to increase vehicle stability under braking and acceleration. Camber is also a consideration because camber can cause the steering to pull in one direction.
4. Tire Pressure: Inflation is one of the most critical items to check before performing an alignment. A low tire will cause changes in the rolling circumference of the tire. A low tire on one side of the vehicle can cause a pull in towards the side of the low tire and cause the steering wheel to be off-center when driving.
5. Bent Components: Many vehicles have aluminum suspension components. Aluminum does not bend like steel, it tends to break in a catastrophic manner. Most OEMs have engineered components that are allowed to deform in case of a curb impact. Typically, these are toe links, steering arms and control arms. These items might be made of steel so they can bend without breaking.
6. Tire Constructions: Not all tires are the same. Even the same model can have small changes in the manufacturing and construction of the tire. Small changes in layers of the tires can cause the vehicle to pull in one direction. Technicians can solve this problem by changing the position of the tires, or they can use a balancer that can measure the amount of force in a tire and wheel assembly to recommend optimal placement.
In the all-new Ford 5.2-liter V8, the connecting rods attach to the flat-plane crankshaft at aligned 180-degree intervals – creating what looks like a flat line of counterweights when viewed down the axis of the crankshaft. This crankshaft configuration improves cylinder exhaust-pulse separation, improving airflow and increasing power.
When the phrase “bundle of snakes” is uttered about an exhaust system, two cars come to mind: the Ford GT40 and Lotus 38. These were not the first vehicles to use this type of exhaust configuration, but they were the first to be called a “bundle of snakes” and make exhaust systems look more like art than science. These complex exhaust systems were created as a solution to the problem caused by the use of a flat-plane crankshaft.
Most engines use a cross-plane crankshaft. On this type of V8, the crankshaft fires every 90 degrees, and two pistons in a bank are always at the top and firing. This is good for scavenging exhaust gases because the exhaust pulses and the cylinder to be scavenged are on the same bank if using a four-into-one exhaust collector. But, a cross-plane crank does not rev as quickly due to the weight of the rotating mass caused by the counter weights.
A flat-plane crankshaft is lighter due to the lack of counter weights. But, the exhaust pulse needed to help scavenge a cylinder is 180 degrees apart and now on the opposite bank of the engine due to the crankshaft configuration and firing order. This is what the “bundle of snakes” solves.
The bundle of snakes uses two four-into-one collectors. The equal-length exhaust runners crisscross so the appropriate runners are positioned next to each other in the collector to create the scavenging effect.
During winter, particulate emissions from vehicles are higher. Cabin air filters can remove particles as small as one micron.
When some people think about cabin air filters, they conjure up images of summertime, air conditioning and musty smells. The reality is that cabin air filters work the majority of their magic when temperatures drop and cause winter breathing problems.
Every technician knows vehicle tailpipe emissions are higher when the engine is cold. You can smell these emissions in the air when a vehicle starts and is idling on a cold winter morning while you are scrapping the window. During these cold starts, the engine is running rich and the catalytic converter has not yet started operating. These emissions are substantial to the point that what’s coming out of the tailpipe can be damaging to the driver’s respiratory system.
According to a Kansas City Light-Duty Vehicle Emissions Study published in 2010, scientists found particulate emissions increased exponentially as the temperature decreased. They calculated that particulate emissions doubled for every 20° F temperature drop.
The most damaging component of tailpipe emissions for humans is particulates, or “soot.” Vehicle emissions particulates range in size from 2 microns to 10 microns in diameter. Smaller particulates are invisible or appear as smoke, while larger particles can be seen sticking to the end of the tailpipe. Exhaust particulates can cause serious health concerns because they can pass through the nose and throat, and then lodge deep into the tissues of the lungs. Particulates smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter can pass through lung membranes and enter the cardiovascular system.
Particulates in the exhaust can even aggravate lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. They can make people cough, wheeze and be short of breath. The one thing that can stop exhaust particulates from reaching vehicle occupants is a cabin air filter. Some cabin air filters can even stop particulates that are as small as 1 micron in diameter.
Some filters are electrostatically charged, similar to how many household HVAC filters work, ensuring that particles stay attached to the filter.
There are two kinds of cabin filters available for modern vehicles — particulate and activated-charcoal cabin filters. Particulate types filter out pollutants and irritants. Some filters are electrostatically charged, similar to how many household HVAC filters work, ensuring that particles stay attached to the filter. Activated-charcoal cabin filters absorb most toxic and foul-smelling gases such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbons by incorporating filter media that is impregnated with charcoal.
This may seem like a scare tactic to get customers to buy more cabin air filters, so you might feel it is easier to sell a cabin air filter on the benefits of fewer smells and less pollen. But, the ability to keep particulates out of vehicle occupants’ lungs is the greatest benefit for the driver. This is the main reason why almost every new vehicle has a cabin air filter as standard equipment.
OEMs are also stepping up their game by positioning the cabin filter to filter both fresh and re-circulated air. Many automatic temperature control HVAC systems are using re-circulated air whenever possible to further reduce particulates in the cabin.
If you do not feel comfortable focusing on health benefits to sell cabin air filters during winter, there is one benefit no driver can ignore, and that’s defroster performance. If a cabin air filter is clogged, it will create a restriction that will decrease the amount of hot air the blower can deliver to the windshield. This is one benefit the driver can see with his or her own eyes.
For those who store their RVs during the winter months, it’s important to keep in mind that your generator will still need some regular attention if you expect it to be in good running condition when you get back on the road. While it is always important to consult your generator manufacturers documentation regarding maintenance and storage, some of the procedures are fairly complex. I will guide you through the basics of how to prepare your generator for storage, without the need to perform all the steps outlined by the major manufacturers.
Most manufacturers recommend purging the system of fuel and disconnecting the fuel line, as well as removing the spark plugs and adding a touch of motor oil to each cylinder. It is generally felt that these major steps are not required, providing the other actions in this article are undertaken. It is especially important to periodically run (exercise) the generator as outlined here. If you are unable to exercise the generator on a regular basis (at least once per month), especially if it will be in storage for an extended period, following all the manufacturers advice is recommended.
It is a good idea to perform a full oil and filter change prior to putting the generator in storage. This ensures that the oil is clean, preventing particulates suspended in dirty oil from settling on engine components. It is also a good opportunity to inspect the spark plugs, air filter, as well as external wires and hoses for wear or damage. A quick external wipe-down is not a bad idea.
If you have a gas or diesel generator, be sure to add the appropriate stabilizer to the fuel tank and run the generator for several minutes to allow the stabilizer to enter the genset. Make sure the fuel tank is at least ¾ full at all times during storage. This prevents condensation from forming in the tank. These steps are not required for LP (propane) generators.
As indicated above, the key to keeping the generator healthy during periods of inactivity is to be sure to exercise it at least once per month (two week intervals is better). This should be done at high current load (at least 20 Amps). Note that it is never a good idea to start or stop a generator with a load applied. Some transfer switches and energy management systems prevent loads from being applied to the generator during start-up, but your system may not be so equipped. Ensure all A/C sources are turned off (such as air-conditioning, washer/dryer, fridge, water heater, etc.) during generator start-up and shut down. Once the genset has a chance to stabilize after start-up (15-20 seconds is my recommendation), apply enough load to create a 20-30 Amp draw. If you have an air-conditioner with a heat-pump option, this is a good load source. I will assume that the generator storage is occurring during cold winter months, but if not, the air-conditioner itself can also be used as a load. If you don’t have a heat-pump, I recommend using portable space heaters, hair dryers, and the like. Even if you are using the heat-pump, it is still a good idea to add extra load. The goal is to fully exercise the generator in order to keep the engine components and seals, as well as the generator itself, from deteriorating due to lack of use. Once you have sufficiently loaded the generator, allow it to run for 20-30 minutes.
These simple steps will help ensure your generator stays healthy during storage and is ready to be called into action when your next RV adventure comes calling.
CarThrottle.com put together an interesting article about engine oil. This information is information we take for granted in our daily business at the shop, and often, we incorrectly assume everyone knows these 6 basic things about their engine oil. Check these out before you schedule your next oil change at Laker Tire & Service LLC, and feel free to ask any other questions about your vehicle the next time you're in our shop. We're happy to share our knowledge and take you step-by-step through the intricate details we perform every time, even during a simple oil change.
Your engine is a big chunk of metal, inside which are numerous other metal parts that move about and potentially crash together. Here's a look at the basic ways oil protects your engine, as well as the fascinating sciences involved in ensuring your engine doesn't go bang
1. What exactly does engine oil do?
There are a few reasons why it’s important you keep your car’s engine topped up with oil. First and foremost, it provides lubrication to all the moving metal parts, ensuring they don’t grind together and cause unnecessary wear or too much heat. Oil also holds all of the nasty by-products of combustion. In the long run keeping your oil level topped up will save you cash on repairs, and will even give a very small improvement to your fuel economy, as the engine won’t be working quite so hard.
Over time, your engine will pick up dirty deposits, meaning it won’t last forever. If you’re wondering how often you should change your oil, check your car’s manual.
2. What does that alpha-numerical rating actually mean?
3. What's the difference between synthetic and mineral oils?
4. Synthetic oil is more than just oil
5. Adding metal to the oil reduces friction
6. Magnetic particles reduce wear
To find the answers to the rest of these questions, check out the full article at carthrottle.com.
Do you find yourself with automotive questions, but no one to ask? Email us or ask us your questions on Facebook, and your question could be the subject of our next blog.