Today I would like to talk about Cadillac Converters, or Catalytic Converters! A Catalytic Converter is an emissions control device that runs the pollutants from the internal combustion of your engine through a honey comb which contains Platinum that converts these emissions byproducts into less toxic substances before being released as exhaust.
It is a common belief that to fix today's cars you simply pull the code out of the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system, (OBD II) look the code up on the internet, and replace that part. With some parts, you may get lucky and this may work.However, the concern with converters is that you must find what caused the converter to go bad or you will be doing the job again. Catalytic Converters are designed to last the lifetime of your vehicle.If you have been told that you need a new one, there is a good chance that it is a symptom of another problem with your vehicle.Yes, occasionally a truly faulty converter will go bad on its own, but it is unlikely.Only by fully diagnosing your vehicle’s engine can a repair shop know what has caused the converter to fail. Converters have platinum in them which makes them very expensive so you want to get it right the first time.
The attached pictures show the inlet and outlet of a converter, please note that the one that is clogged up is the inlet. In this case this vehicle has a leaking intake manifold which was allowing antifreeze to go through the engine into the exhaust and then through the converter. When the O2 sensors began to see a drop in the converter’s efficiency, the Check Engine Light was activated. The proper fix was an intake manifold gasket, converter, and to replace all O2 sensors. If the Leaking Intake had not been properly diagnosed, the vehicle would have been back for another converter in a matter of months. The cost of a proper diagnosis can prevent much more costly repairs in the future and help assure that your repair is correct the first time.
Yes I'm sorry to say it came off my car!
I have an old 1969 Mach 1 Mustang that talks to me in my sleep, it says things like… “pssssst - the kids don’t need braces, I need a new performance radiator” or “buy me the latest Ricky Racer go fast part don’t worry about the kids needing school supplies, it's OK. “
Well, as you can imagine, the car sits for most of the time and when we do get her out it’s usually for a quick cruise through the park and back into the garage. Now, I knew it needed front tires, I knew they were in bad shape, and I knew this because I drove it knowing that it needed to be aligned. Driving it while out of alignment caused the tires to wear on the inside edges. I did not know that one of the tires was coming apart, until I heard the thumping noise and it was too late.
There are 3 alignment angles; I will explain the 2 that are usually adjustable on most cars on the road today; Toe and Camber. Toe is the pointing in (or out) of the front of the tire, just like pointing your toes in towards each other or out and Camber is the tilting of the top of the tire in or out. If you look at the picture the right edge of the tire is bald, this is (unfortunately) a great example of a camber issue. The tire was literally rolling while leaning on its edge and it caused one side of the tread to wear while the other side did not see much wear. Later, as the steel belts started to show the tire started to come apart on the inside, which can be seen in the picture by looking for the bulge that runs through the tire.
We see uneven tire wear quite frequently while servicing vehicles for our customers. Any time you see uneven tire wear, there is a reason. It could be loose, bent or broken suspension parts, or just out of alignment. Either way once the tires start to wear there is no way to stop them. Some of the best ways to prevent this are to rotate your tires regularly and have the suspension inspected to catch any problems early and to get an alignment when you get new tires and/or new suspension parts. At Jammin’ J Automotive, we include free tire rotation when you purchase new tires from us. Also, we keep track of your vehicle history and will partner with you to help you to remember to do the things that need to be done regularly to keep your tires in good working condition as long as possible. When buying new tires, ask about an alignment, it is a small investment to lengthen the life of your tires.
How do I know what my recommended tire pressure should be?
If you are unsure what your tire pressure should be – rest easy – you are not alone. It is a subject that many people are unsure about. With recommendations coming from all directions, including well-meaning family members, it is hard sometimes to know exactly what to do.
Tire Manufacturers & Distributors and Vehicle Manufacturers all agree – use the Vehicle Manufacturers recommendation. Today’s vehicles have been designed by some amazingly smart engineers and they don’t put just any tire on any car and they take the tire’s pressure very seriously when building the systems on your vehicle. All parts of the system and the computer in your vehicle that monitors the system all are built to accommodate a specific pressure. They take in to account many factors, including fuel economy, load capacity of the vehicle, safety of dry and wet conditions, among others. Running your tires at the wrong pressure can affect the performance of your vehicle in many different ways, shorten the life of your tires and in extreme situations can even cause unsafe driving conditions for your family by affecting your anti-lock braking systems and other safety features
“So, now that I know I’m supposed to go by the Vehicle Manufacturer’s recommended pressure, how do I find it?” Great question! There is a sticker in the door frame of your vehicle on the driver’s side that will list many important bits of information. I have attached several samples with arrows to indicate the tire pressure information as a sample. If you go to your door frame and your sticker is illegible, gone, or just too hard to figure out, then give me a call and I will be happy to look up the information for you!
Recently we had a customer call on the phone requesting a quote to put an EGR Valve on his car. When someone calls our shop with a specific quote request like that, my first question is always, "why do you think it needs an EGR Valve?" He said what many customers say, "My Check Engine Light is on and I got a diagnostic from the local Retail Auto Parts Store and they said that is what I need." We all see the ads on TV that all you do to fix a car is plug a code reader into the car, read the code, look up the code on the internet, and replace the part that goes with that code! Unfortunately for a lot of consumers, it just isn't that easy.
In this case the car had a P0401 insufficient flow code which means that the problem is in the EGR system not necessarily the EGR Valve, yes it could need an EGR Valve but it's no guarantee that a new valve will fix it. Please understand, it could be the vacuum lines have a leak, the EGR Valve Solenoid may not be getting the electrical current, OR the ports to the EGR Valve could be clogged? Basically, the code gives us hints where to start looking for the problem by telling us what symptoms the car has. There are a lot more steps to the proper diagnosis of your engine troubles than just plugging in the code reader and replacing parts.
We have seen over and over where a customer has gotten the parts store diagnostic and after spending hundreds of dollars on parts alone, finally bring the vehicle to us to figure out what is really needed to fix the vehicle and keep that Check Engine Light off! If you are just swapping parts, you are shooting at a moving target with a blind fold on! Sure, it sounds convenient and easy to have someone diagnose your car in the parking lot of the Parts Store for free, but it isn't necessarily going to fix the real problem that your engine is experiencing. Skilled Technicians not only know how to use a code reader, but they also have gone through specific diagnostic training to know how to pinpoint the real problem without just switching all the parts until they get the right one. Don't be afraid to call our shop and ask us to just take a look at your vehicle to diagnose the real problem. Diagnostic fees may seem like an extra charge, but if it prevents replacing the wrong part(s), it is totally worth it. Having your car diagnosed in the parking lot of the Auto Parts Store is a lot like asking the cashier at your local pharmacy to look at your rash and recommend the correct remedy when you really should be going to the Doctor.
Technical Stuff: EGR stands for Exhaust Gas Recirculation, what they are doing is recirculating exhaust gas back through the engine for emission control purposes. Because we are recirculating air with a high carbon content the passages to the valve can and do what we call carbon up, see attached picture. In this case we needed to take the passages apart and clean them out and on some vehicles this can take hours to get to all the ports.
Induction What? Induction Flush, Induction Cleaning
Back in the golden oldie days of Carburetors (the 80's) the cleanliness of the air and fuel delivery system was important! Today with precision Multi-port fuel injection it has become imperative that we keep the Induction system clean.
As we drive and burn fossil fuels (dead dinosaurs) they leave behind carbon: black, restricting, choking, carbon. The fuel injection system on your car can easily start under-performing in as little as 24,000 miles. By running BG fuel induction cleaner through engines we can clean and remove carbon deposits.
This brake rotor is toast! Please observe the 1/4 inch ledge on the outer edge of this brake rotor, it's not supposed to be there. This car came in for a flat repair only. When we alerted the customer and showed them just how dangerous these brakes were, they claimed to have heard no noise when braking or experienced any other symptoms. These brake pads were gone, meaning that the brake pad backing plate was and has been grinding into the rotor for quite some time which HAD to make a grinding sound. This is not only a costly situation but also potentially a dangerous one as well.
Vehicle Manufacturers employ teams of very smart engineers to design and build the brakes for your car and they have in mind that the vehicle must stop in the shortest distance possible. Any time we change the friction coefficient (use the wrong equipment or let our brake pads wear off completely) we increase the stopping distance which means that in a panic stop it could mean the difference of just stopping short of the vehicle (or kid in the street) in front of you or plowing into it.
I recently read a magazine article that said it should be illegal to put cheapo brakes on a car, they should be of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) equivalent or better. Brakes are the #1 safety item on a vehicle in my opinion! Here at Tire Brokers we ALWAYS do them right, we use the best brake pads we can find and we always inspect your rotors and recommend replacement wth your safety in mind. This ensures the vehicle stops the way the engineers designed it to as well as you will get quality brakes that will last. It is great when we can save someone money, but NEVER at the expense of safety. Always know what the difference is when getting pricing on brakes. All brake parts are NOT the same. You and your family's safety is never worth taking a gamble on inferior parts.
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One belt snap can cost you big!
Your engine has an internal timing belt that synchronizes your camshaft(s) with the crankshaft and on some engines it can cause devastating engine damage if it breaks. Some engines are called interference engines (7 out of 10 vehicles on the road) which means that the valves in the cylinder head will "interfere" with the piston if not synchronized correctly. In layman's terms it means this… if the belt breaks the piston keeps moving and the valve stops and they crunch into each other.
This can commonly cause upwards of $2,000 to repair, so we recommend replacing your timing belt at the manufacturer recommended intervals which is usually somewhere between 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
The photos you see here are of a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo that had a belt break which caused it to bend the valves. The total cost to repair, $2,369.00. The second picture is of a timing belt from another vehicle that quite frankly we couldn't believe the engine was still running and hadn't snapped already! Typically when we to a timing belt replacement the belt that we replace does not look this bad, you just never know when it will break.
Has this car been dredged up from a moss filled lake? No, in this case a rodent has made a nest around and on top of the vehicle's battery.
The problem with this is that they can cause a terrible odor in the car as well as chew though wires, hoses, and insulation and can wreak havoc on how the car drives and performs.
In this case this car is driven to the country and left to sit for weeks at a time, giving our furry friends a chance to set up a nice home.
Believe it or not we see this a lot even in our little corner of Suburbia. Vehicles make great places for a nest or even a place to hide food.
Moving your vehicle every few days may seem like an inconvenience, but it can possibly save you hundreds of dollars by preventing would be nest builders from moving in.