Archive for February 2023
Prepare Your Windshield for Winter (Wiper Blades and Fluid for Freezing Temperatures)Posted February 26, 2023 9:52 AM
Winter and freezing temperatures present challenges for different parts of your vehicles. For example, winter tires give you better traction on snow. But some parts of your vehicle that may need special attention for winter are your windshield wipers. You may have found yourself in the middle of a snowstorm when your windshield wipers are doing nothing but streaking slush that ices up on contact on the glass. Now you're more blind than you were before!
Obviously being able to see during a snowy or icy winter event is important for the safe operation of any vehicle. So keeping your windshield and rear window clean can go a long way to guarantee you can see your surroundings.
Let's start with the wipers. Blades that are good for hot weather may not be robust enough for freezing weather. You can buy special winter wiper blades that stay flexible during sub-zero temperatures. The stiffer frames that hold them have a rubber covering that prevents ice and snow from building up. Another style is beam wipers that have a one-piece design, intended for use all year long. Since these have no separate frame, ice can't build up like on traditional frame wipers.
If you've ever had salty road brine kicked up on your windshield, you know it can blind you in a second. So you absolutely must have windshield washer fluid available to clear your vision. The fluid you use during the warm weather months will often freeze below 32°F/0°C, and that can actually make things worse by icing up your windshield when you spray it. Worst of all, it may freeze in your washer reservoir.
Be sure to use washer fluid that is meant for sub-freezing temperatures; special formulas will remain a liquid in weather as cold as -30°F/-34.4°C. Some contain alcohol to keep them flowing; some have a little antifreeze that will melt snow and ice. If you do use these liquids, make sure to keep them away from small children and pets because they're poisonous if they drink them.
Each climate is different, and there are windshield products to meet your needs. Your service advisor can recommend which ones will work best for you. The idea is in winter, you need to be able to see.
What is a TSB? (Technical Service Bulletins)Posted February 19, 2023 10:27 AM
If your vehicle had something in its design or production that the manufacturer had figured out had an unanticipated problem, you'd want to know about it. And you'd want it fixed. There is something that can help drivers with just such a scenario. It's called a Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB.
Here's what a TSB is. Vehicle design and manufacturing is a very complex process. Aftrer every vehicle is introduced, the more units there are on the road, the more likely weaknesses in parts or design will start to show up.
Automakers gather data on the issues and how best to fix them. Then they send out TSBs (usually in the first year of the new model) so technicians will know to look for those problems and what to do about them. There may be more than one cause of a problem with a vehicle so there may be more than one TSB for an issue.
A TSB can be issued for anything from failing water pumps to strange noises to smelly headliners. A TSB and a recall aren't the same thing. A recall is issued if there's a problem that could cause harm to people or if it creates illegal emissions. The manufacturer pays for a safety defect to be fixed, and the repair is usually performed at a dealership.
But when a Technical Service Bulletin is issued, it's because there's a pattern of some system not working the way it should. If a vehicle is under warranty and the problem can be diagnosed in a specific vehicle, the manufacturer will probably pay for the repair. But there may be limits. Take one case with certain models of a minivan. Some wheel bearings were failing prematurely, so the manufacturer extended the warranty on them to 5 years or 90,000 miles/145,000 km. After that, the owner bore the cost. In some cases, a manufacturer will reimburse owners for a repair already done at an independent service facility.
You may have a vehicle that is no longer covered by a warranty but a TSB has been issued for a certain problem. In that case, any service facility can perform the service. At Madison Automotive, your service advisor will have access to TSBs that have been issued for your vehicle's year and model. They will help the technician diagnose it if your vehicle has the issue. The TSB will also have advice for the best repair procedure to get your vehicle working the way it should.
Automotive Tips from Madison Automotive: Air Conditioning ? Common ProblemPosted February 12, 2023 9:18 AM
Your auto air conditioning system cools and conditions the air in your passenger compartment when you are driving around Memphis. It also removes moisture from the air to keep your windows from fogging up.
TCB your PCV (PCV Valve Replacement)Posted February 5, 2023 12:06 PM
Your gasoline engine goes through some exhausting work. Yes, it's truly exhausting, as in: it produces exhaust! And when your engine starts behaving like it's exhausted, such as running poorly or getting lousy fuel economy, the trouble may be something called a PCV valve.
Did you know it's a series of explosions that creates the power in your engine? The spark plugs ignite a mixture of gasoline and air and BANG! A whole bunch of those and you're engine is humming away. Leftover vapors from those explosions go into your crankcase, which is also a place where engine oil goes. Those vapors still have a lot of unburned fuel in them, and if they had nowhere to go, they'd turn your oil into a thick mess called sludge, not good for a smooth running engine.
Engineers came up with an idea. Re-direct those gasses building up in the crankcase into the engine's air intake and mix them with fresh air. That way the unburned fuel could go through the engine again and produce power. It also means the unburned fuel doesn't pollute the air. The part that makes that happen is called the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve.
Besides reducing pollution and preventing the oil from turning to sludge, the PCV valve also relieves pressure in the crankcase, reducing the potential for oil to leak. One of the reasons you should get your oil changed as frequently as your vehicle's manufacturer recommends is that it helps reduce chances for problems with the PCV valve.
After a while, the PCV valve can itself get gummed up and stick, and the driver may notice oil leaks, reduced power or engine hesitation. That's why it's important to make sure the PCV valve is operating like it should, and often it can be diagnosed during a visual inspection by our technicians. Replacing a PCV valve is usually quick and inexpensive. After it's done, your vehicle will run with the performance and fuel economy you're used to. Goodbye exhaustion!
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