Archive for January 2022
Don't be Fuelish (Signs Fuel Pump is Failing)Posted January 30, 2022 11:05 AM
A driver of a large SUV loaded with equipment was heading on a 7-hour work trip when he stopped at a gas station to refuel. When he went to restart his SUV, it turned over but wouldn't catch. Try as he might, he was never able to get it started again.
Of course there are many things that can cause those symptoms, but the next day he had his SUV towed to a service repair facility. Using their test equipment, they were able to pinpoint the problem. His fuel pump had failed. The pump, which was located in the fuel tank, had to be replaced, and after awhile he was back on the road, delayed, but happy to be up and running again.
What had happened is that the pump was not strong enough to deliver adequate fuel to his engine, vital to being able to start it. It had delivered just enough pressure in the morning to get it started the first time, but it was on its last legs. He had been having trouble starting his SUV in the days leading up to this trip, a clue that something was wrong.
The engine relies on a certain pressure of fuel from the pump to run properly, and there are some other signs to be aware of that your fuel pump may need to be replaced. If you are putting strain on your engine, such as going uphill or hauling a big load, and the engine sputters, it may be a sign that the pump isn't delivering that consistent pressure. Another warning sign is if your engine is running hot and then stalls. That could mean your fuel pump is getting weak.
Sometimes you might notice your vehicle suddenly speeds up on its own or your fuel economy goes from good to poor in a short time. If your fuel gauge shows you have plenty of fuel in the tank and your engine stalls, that's another possible sign of a failing fuel pump.
Technicians have special equipment to see where the fuel problems are, and there are many possibilities. Have your vehicle checked before you're left stranded. Oh, and one more tip to prolong the life of your fuel pump. Since it is cooled and lubricated by the fuel in your tank, make sure you keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel at all times. Avoid your "low fuel" light going on and you may be helping yourself avoid having to replace your fuel pump.
Recommended Service Intervals at Madison AutomotivePosted January 23, 2022 7:32 AM
For Brakes' Sake (Brake Rotor Service in Memphis)Posted January 16, 2022 10:35 AM
Think of how much abuse your brakes take. Day in and day out, they stop your vehicle when it's going fast and when it's going slow. Maybe your vehicle has been vibrating when you brake, or maybe it seems like your stopping distance is a little bit longer than it used to be.
Then it's time to get your brakes checked out. After all, you have to be able to stop if you want to be safe. Nearly all newer vehicles have disc brakes on the front, and many have that type of brake on all four wheels. That makes it likely you'll be getting disc brakes fixed at some time in your vehicle's lifetime.
Knowing how disc brakes work is as easy as riding a bicycle. If your bike had hand brakes, you'll probably remember a mechanism that squeezed a couple of pads on each side of your bicycle wheel when you applied the brakes. Disc brakes are similar; but instead of the bike wheel, there's a metal disc instead. If that disc is warped or has irregularities in it, it's going to vibrate.
It used to be that rotors were thick, and when they warped, a technician could "turn" them to scrape off a layer of metal so their sides were straight again. The latest vehicles are using thinner, lighter rotors with a slightly different construction. Now, it's likely that rotors that are resurfaced this way will not have enough metal left to work safely. In fact, some manufacturers advise only replacing rotors that are worn out.
Newer designs have reduced rotor prices, and in many cases, the labor cost of turning the rotors is higher than buying new. There are times, though, where your rotors can be resurfaced and still meet manufacturer specifications.
If you have a rotor replaced on one side of your vehicle, it might be a good idea to replace rotors on the other side, too.
Maybe you're looking for the new rotors to last longer than the ones that were on there. New technologies can offer a longer lifespan in a premium rotor. Armed with knowing the type of driving you do, you and your Madison Automotive service advisor can make the best decision on which direction you want to go with your new brakes.
Taking the Heat (Heater Hose Maintenance/Repair)Posted January 9, 2022 9:45 AM
If you have an internal combustion vehicle, you know it has a lot of hoses that carry various fluids. And if you have a heater in your vehicle, you'll have heater hoses.
A heater hose connects to and from the engine so some coolant can be circulated through a little radiator called a heater core. In cold weather, that heater core acts as a heat exchanger to heat up your cabin.
Even in the hot weather, the heater hoses can prove problematic. That's because they may remain pressurized even though you're not running your heater. Heater hoses are made out of tough materials since they must handle heat and pressure. But even the durable rubber, plastic and metal they are made out of can crack or leak from years of use. That means coolant can be sprayed out into the engine compartment or leak onto a driveway or garage floor.
You may be able to see a puddle of coolant under your vehicle or perhaps smell the odor of the coolant under the hood. Some say it has a sweet smell. Another sign coolant may be leaking out of the heater hoses is your engine may be running hotter. You'll be able to tell by watching the heat gauge on your dash. Let's say your heat gauge usually points just slightly below halfway between the C and H (Cold and Hot) of the heat gauge. But now it is just slightly above. That's enough to tell you that the coolant temperature has gone up a little, a possible sign of trouble.
This is a good time to swing by your service facility and have them take a look. If they catch the leak when it's small, it's a relatively simple matter of draining the coolant, replacing the hoses and replacing the coolant. Sometimes, though, a heater hose can suddenly burst and a lot of coolant can leak out quickly. That can, in turn, cause your engine to start to overheat. In that case, you may see your vehicle's temperature gauge shoot up pretty quickly. Then it's best to pull over and have your car towed to a repair facility since driving with no coolant can cause severe engine damage.
Preventative maintenance is your best insurance against heater hose problems. A technician will periodically check for any signs of cracks or leaks. You should expect to replace a heater hose at least once during the time you own your vehicle.
Wasteful ThinkingPosted January 2, 2022 11:23 AM
With the weather getting colder, you might be tempted to start your vehicle up, let it idle for 15 or 20 minutes and then get in the nice, cozy cabin. Some vehicles offer remote starting that let you do that from the comfort of your home or apartment. But is letting your vehicle idle like that good for it?
Manufacturers say it doesn't harm the vehicle. They say it's because modern vehicles are made differently from those in the past. Just about all newer vehicles employ fuel injection which uses computers to adjust the amount of gasoline that goes into the cylinders. The engine gets only the fuel it needs, taking conditions into account.
Older vehicles, on the other hand, used to use carburetors. When you started a cold engine, the carburetor wasn't able to adjust the gasoline amount depending on conditions. Some of the gasoline would mix with oil and the pistons wouldn't get the same lubrication as they would with undiluted oil.
So yes, you can warm up your newer vehicle for your own personal comfort. But consider how much fuel you are wasting. That is not only throwing away money, it's a waste of natural resources. And it puts more carbon into the atmosphere.
Automakers have to be mindful of what fuel economy their vehicles can achieve. So the flip side of the remote starts they offer is a "stop-start" feature. When you stop your vehicle, even at a stoplight, your vehicle will turn the engine off. When you take your foot off the brake and step on the accelerator, it starts up right away. That feature can save as much as 10 percent of the fuel your vehicle uses.
Your vehicle may not have that start-stop feature, but you can still save fuel by shutting off your engine manually if you are waiting somewhere, like a parking lot or perhaps sitting outside your child's school waiting to pick him or her up. It saves you money and contributes to a healthier atmosphere for our planet.
2457 Covington Pike
Memphis, TN 38128
DOG FOOD IN YOUR ENGINE (Keeping Rodents out of your Engine)Posted January 1, 2022 8:54 AM
A technician was telling us the other day that he was servicing an engine and spotted something he'd never seen before: A collection of dry dog food siting on a horizontal metal ledge near the base of the engine. It was neatly stashed and was in a spot where the food pellets couldn't have simply fallen down in there.
Even though it's the first time he'd seen dog food in an engine, he immediately knew what was going on. Critters like mice or chipmunks had found the dog food somewhere nearby and had used the engine as a nice storage unit.
Mice, squirrels, chipmunks—you name it—like the heat of the engine. And they'll use that to store up supplies of food for use in cold weather when outside food supplies are scarce. The problem is they'll also chew on engine components while they're there. And they can do a lot of damage if they start gnawing on the wires. Depending on how much of your electrical system needs to be replaced, repairs can mount up to the thousands of dollars.
Those electrical problems can be tricky to track down, too, because the rodents can get to spots technicians don't have easy access to. Oh, the signs are there; they'll find mouse droppings, acorns… even full mouse nests in your engine. Yikes.
OK, but even if you get your vehicle fixed, how do you keep the critters from simply setting up their personal pantry again? Here are some things to try:
The next time you bring your vehicle into Madison Automotive for maintenance or service, your technician will be on the lookout, too. Hey, the dog food belongs in the dog's dish, not supplying fast food for little critters with razor-sharp teeth that can create electrical system mayhem.
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Patrick Bertsch, 03/23/2023
Top quality shop with professional and accommodating service. Was passing through town when our car broke down and needed the issue diagnosed and resolved to get back on the road. David and team got us in and diagnosed and back on the road with a new fuel pump and recoded fuel flow control quickly and at a reasonable cost. The team then went above and beyond to support in diagnosing and escalating a towing company damage issue which they certainly didn't have to do. Highly recommended.