Posts Tagged ‘SEMA’

What is Your Check Engine Light Telling You?

July 17, 2009

One of the most vital components to a properly functioning vehicle is the ‘Check Engine’ light. It alerts the driver to a variety of potential problems based on the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system. When the ‘Check Engine’ light comes on, it means that some system in your vehicle, including ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating at peak performance, even if your vehicle appears to you to be running normally.

According to the Car Care Council, a glowing ‘Check Engine’ light doesn’t mean you have to immediately pull the car over to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Ignoring the warning light could severely damage engine components and incur additional repair expenses.

If your ‘Check Engine’ light comes on, first check the gas cap to make sure it wasn’t left loose after refueling. Sometimes this can trigger the ‘Check Engine’ light. If the cap was loose, the light should go out after a few short trips.

If the gas cap wasn’t the problem and the light remains on steady, have the system checked out as soon as possible. A light that flashes requires more prompt attention, indicating a more severe condition that must be checked out immediately to prevent damage to the catalytic converter. When you experience a flashing light, minimize driving at high speeds or under heavy loads.

When scheduling service, make sure the automotive shop that diagnoses your car has professional technicians who are properly trained and certified for OBDII diagnosis and repair. The technician will connect your vehicle’s computer to a diagnostic computer, which will provide a “trouble” code indicating why the ‘Check Engine’ light was activated.

While the diagnostic computer is connected to your car, the technician can check the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, manifold vacuum, exhaust emission levels and many other key indicators. Once the problem is diagnosed and fixed, your car’s computer makes sure everything is back to normal, and then turns off the ‘Check Engine’ light.

The Car Care Council recommends reading your vehicle owner’s manual and familiarizing yourself with the purpose of the ‘Check Engine’ light and every other gauge and warning indicator on your dashboard.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit www.carcare.org.

When Only the Best Is Good Enough.

July 14, 2009

“My customer asked me how much he’d have to spend for a pair of shocks,” said a repair shop owner. “I told him there are ‘good, better and best’ prices, but I install only the good and, preferably, the best. Labor is the same.”

His customer agreed that the minimal cost difference did not justify opting for less than the best. What price is peace of mind? It’s a factor that plays a big part when investing in auto repairs. Once a component is installed you’re likely never to see it unless it fails.

Because most of the approximately 32,800 parts in a typical automobile carry no seal of approval, per se, selection becomes a matter of personal knowledge, experience or your technician’s preference. Each of these may be derived from brand faith based on verified performance.

Seldom does a consumer product enjoy more testing than those listed among the NASCAR Performance brand. The early testing is done, of course, not by NASCAR, but by the companies’ engineers. Once proven by manufacturers to withstand the rigors demanded by NASCAR, the affiliation begins.

“Consider this,” suggests Odis Lloyd, managing director of NASCAR’s automotive licensing division, “there is no more stringent proving ground for an automotive product than the race track, no one better qualified to evaluate its performance than the NASCAR crews, owners and drivers. They have a lot at stake.”

Top race car mechanics and repair shop technicians agree, adding that whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or someone who leaves the work to a professional, you don’t want to jeopardize the job with a substandard component. After all, why save money asking for cheaper, off-brand parts when labor for installation is the same as the first line product?

How did an automobile racing organization become affiliated with auto parts and equipment manufacturers?

“It was an affiliation that was destined to happen,” says Lloyd. “Stock car racing is the nation’s most popular spectator sport and people can identify these race cars with their own vehicles. It goes beyond brand recognition, it becomes an implied endorsement.”

NASCAR emphasizes that relationships with many of their performance partners go back to the early days of racing, when products suffered the punishment of the rough and rutted beach at Daytona, where fine sand and deep ruts challenged drivers and mechanics. In fact, these conditions resulted in the development of advancements in filtration and ride control on today’s vehicles. Now more than ever, parts factory engineers work side by side with race mechanics, learning as they go and improving the products as they learn.

How does a motorist benefit from this?

First and foremost, it simplifies the selection of components when investing in vehicle maintenance. With the complexity of our vehicles’ various interacting computerized components, a sub-standard part can be the weakest link in a critical chain. This compromises safety, fuel economy and emissions.

Further, since you get what your pay for, and the labor costs don’t change from the budget priced component to the best available, you certainly can expect to get more for your money by reaching for top quality.

Tire Tips: Do You Think You”re Under Pressure?

July 12, 2009

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