Hello, Auburn car owners. Let's talk fuel filters. Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine.
Auburn drivers don’t need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better an engine will run.
Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your SUV ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.
The harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your SUV owner’s manual or Dave's Valley Auto Clinic to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. You should change it before it becomes clogged. Your Dave's Valley Auto Clinic service advisor can help you with recommended replacement schedules.
If your fuel filter becomes clogged, your engine will sputter when you drive at Washington highway speeds or when you accelerate rapidly. A clogged filter allows enough fuel to run the car at low speeds around town in Auburn, but when you need a higher flow of fuel for faster speeds, or if you need a sudden burst of fuel, you just won’t be able to get it through the filter.
A clogged filter is actually dangerous. If you need to accelerate suddenly out of the path of danger, you just won’t have the power to do it.
Fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter becomes clogged, the valve allows some fuel to bypass the filter so the engine can keep running – just not enough to be running well.
That means, though, that dirty, unfiltered fuel is entering your engine. Instead of clogging up your filter, that dirt is now getting into your fuel injectors, where it can cause serious damage. Fuel injectors are expensive; fuel filters are cheap. It doesn’t seem like a difficult choice for Auburn motorists.
Fuel filters are the epitome of preventive maintenance. They are cheap and easy to change, but neglecting them can lead to expensive repair bills. Some fuel filters are inside the fuel tank and cannot be routinely serviced – your friendly Dave's Valley Auto Clinic technician will be able to tell you if this applies to your vehicle.
Good car care for Auburn motorists means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic and in every owner’s manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected. It may save you money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay you in improved gas mileage, safety and peace of mind.
Posted in the Fuel System category
At Dave's Valley Auto Clinic we hear from a lot of people who are excited about the new diesel engines that will soon be available in passenger cars and SUV's. But our Washington friends are often curious about the preventive maintenance requirements. People may not know that diesel engines have long been used extensively in Europe and Asia. In fact, in some markets, there're nearly as many diesel powered passenger cars as there are gasoline.
Here's who's announced or is expected to announce new diesels for North America: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Subaru. Of course, the US auto makers will be expanding their diesel offerings as well. Diesels will become a very big deal here in Washington.
You may ask, why has it taken so long getting to Washington and North America? There are a bunch of reasons like fuel tax policies and such, but the biggest hurtle was that Washington diesel fuel had a high sulfur content – too high for the latest generation of highly refined diesel engines. Recent government mandates to remove sulfur now opens up Washington to the engines the rest of the world's been enjoying for a long time.
Why are diesels so popular worldwide? Well, for starters, diesels get up to 30% better fuel economy than gas engines. And they last a lot longer. And modern diesel engines are refined, quiet and powerful – and there's none of that black smoke we used to see.
Some people may think that diesels create more pollution. But, you need to rethink diesels. Environmental pollution standards for diesel cars and light trucks are scheduled to be as strict as they are for gasoline vehicles. A modern diesel engine is as clean as a gas engine.
You may also have heard a lot in the news about bio-diesel. The exciting thing about diesels is that they're not limited to fossil fuels. They can run on fuel made from vegetable oil. There are refineries that make diesel fuel from cellulosic waste like woodchips from lumber mills. There's even this cool new process where a special strain of algae is used to convert carbon dioxide, water and sunshine into bio-diesel. That's still a ways off, but you can see that diesel can become a sustainable source of fuel.
And, there are not a lot of trade off's with diesel in terms of performance. A modern passenger car diesel is very smooth, quiet and quick. Most folks wouldn't notice any difference. For those who tow trailers and haul heavy loads, diesels will be an improvement.
Now diesel engines are heavy duty, so they cost more than gas engines. But they get better fuel economy – so the break-even point is largely dependent on the difference between Washington gas and diesel prices at the pump and how many miles you drive. And diesels have a higher resale value.
Now, let's get back to diesel maintenance. You have to keep in mind that most of the new diesels are just coming in, or will be over the next couple of years, so we don't have the maintenance schedules to make direct comparisons yet.
But going off what we already have in Washington, we can expect fluid drain intervals to be similar to gasoline engines. Diesels do require very clean fuel, air and oil, so their filters are much higher capacity than gasoline filters and cost more. The engine air filter needs to be changed more frequently as well.
Repair costs are similar. As with gasoline engines, proper maintenance is the key to long engine life and to avoiding repairs. So pretty much what we have come to expect with gas vehicles; coolant system service, transmission service, power brakes, power steering, differential, filters, fuel system, and so on. And the payoff for you, if you're the kind that likes to keep your vehicles for a long time, is that a properly maintained diesel engine can last for hundreds of thousands of miles.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Many Auburn car owners have been hearing about technological advances in power steering, specifically, electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering for a few years now. An electric motor directly provides the power assist to make steering easier. Undoubtedly we’ll see much more of this in Auburn as full electric cars and electric hybrids become more common.
The vast majority of cars and trucks serviced at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic in Auburn use a hydraulic power boost system. With hydraulics, fluid is pressurized by a pump which actuates a hydraulic cylinder to reduce steering effort. Some of these pumps are powered by an electric motor. Most pumps are powered by the serpentine belt driven by the engine.
Power steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects SUV components from rust and corrosion.
Auburn car owners should be aware that manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At Dave's Valley Auto Clinic, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.
Unfortunately, many Auburn motorists don’t realize how critical it is to service their power steering, and some may not even know that it's necessary in the first place. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks that will shorten the life of the pump.
Auburn drivers should be aware of warnings that indicate possible power steering problems: the need to constantly add power steering fluid, a loud whining from the pump, erratic power assist or high steering effort. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, have your power steering checked out at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic in Auburn.
In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are mechanical parts in the steering system. The rods, arms, joints and knuckles that actually turn the wheels can become worn or damaged. A standard alignment service at Auburn includes an inspection of steering components.
If you notice any play in the steering wheel, that the steering wheel is off center, or a noise coming from your front wheels, especially when turning, have your Dave's Valley Auto Clinic advisor do an inspection so the problem can be corrected. Waiting too long could cause uneven tire wear and may even lead to steering failure. Call Dave's Valley Auto Clinic today at 253-850-1538.
Posted in the Alignment category
So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around Auburn?
- A Hamburger;
- A Soft Drink, or
- Gummy Bears?
Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving, but if you chose 'coffee', then give yourself an extra two points; coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Auburn and around the country.
Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!
You'll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the type of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You'll thank yourself later for two reasons, one being that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and the other is that you won't have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.
Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Auburn road without worrying about where that spill is headed.
So; taking a food break… Or filling out accident reports. We don't have to ask you which you prefer: It's a no brainer.
Dave's Valley Auto Clinic, along with AutoNetTV, wants you to keep both eyes on the road. Please eat safely and keep your eyes on the road.
Dave's Valley Auto Clinic
4725 Auburn Way N. Auburn
Auburn, Washington 98002
Give us a call at: 253-850-1538
Posted in the Maintenance category
Auburn car owners know that engines need to burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your SUV engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.
There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the SUV engine.
Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional SUV engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.
For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.
Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the SUV engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions.
Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the SUV engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization. Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.
When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage as well as delivering less power to the engine.
Auburn car owners should understand that fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more pricey. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.
So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.
If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, Auburn auto owners will enjoy better fuel efficiency and their fuel injectors will last for a long time.
Posted in the Fuel System category
All pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget important steps. It is also how you can assure a predictable outcome.
That is why Kent and Federal Way automotive service centers have procedural standards for each service they perform. Technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and you are happy with how your car performs.
Each company trains its technicians to standards. The industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they service.
An example is how service technicians grade problems and communicate their recommendations. If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:
- The part no longer performs its intended purpose
- The part does not meet a design specification
- The part is missing
The technician may suggest repair or replacement if:
- The part is close to the end of its useful life - just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
- To address a customer need or request - like for better ride or increased performance
- To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
- Based on the technician's informed experience
Here are some examples:
An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is required because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak, but not leaking, the technician may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the customer.
Suppose a customer wants to improve his car's handling, but his shocks haven't failed. The technician may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer's wishes.
Under these guidelines the service center must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition. Let's say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor, but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician's recommendations.
The automotive service industry and Dave's Valley Auto Clinic want the best for you and for you to keep coming back. AutoNetTV is committed to providing automotive maintenance information to help you be confident in your service decisions.
Posted in the Service Standards category
Let's talk about deciphering the auto service menu board. Auburn, Washington service centers like Dave's Valley Auto Clinic have a board that lists the routine services they provide. But some people don't know what these services really are unless they ask. Let's go down a typical list, in alphabetical order, starting with air conditioning service.
Feel free at any time to give Dave's Valley Auto Clinic a call at 253-850-1538 to learn of the many services we offer, or stop by our Auburn, Washington auto center at 4725 Auburn Way N. Auburn 98002.
First remember that all of these services are recommended by vehicle manufacturers. They set how often or at how many miles the service should be done.
Air conditioning service involves purging the old refrigerant and capturing it for proper disposal. Then fresh refrigerant is installed. The fresh refrigerant will lubricate the system and will also help it cool better.
Alignment. Service centers like Dave's Valley Auto Clinic make sure all four wheels are lined up and track with each other. This reduces tire and suspension wear and improves safety and handling.
Battery service. Service centers like Dave's Valley Auto Clinic inspect the battery for corrosion, leaks or damage. Test the battery's ability to hold a charge. If the battery's still strong, clean it up. If not, replace it.
Brake service. This could be two things. A brake inspection to see if the brakes are working well mechanically and to see if the pads are still safe. If not, replace the pads and make any repairs that might be in order.
The other thing is to evacuate the brake fluid, clean out the system and replace it with fresh fluid. This is important, but often over looked.
Cabin air filter. The cabin air filter is the filter that cleans the air that comes into the passenger compartment. It works like the filter on your furnace at home. It gets dirty and needs to be changed often.
Cooling system. This is the cooling system for your engine. Replace the old coolant with fresh to protect your radiator and other cooling system components from corrosion.
Differential service. Every vehicle has at least one differential. They don't require service very often, so people don't think of them much. The differential transfers power from the drive train to your wheels. Drain the old fluid and add fresh lubricant.
Engine air filter. This filters the air that's burned in the engine. It also gets dirty and needs to be replaced often.
Fuel filter. This filter cleans the fuel before it gets to the engine. Like the other filters, it too gets clogged and needs to be replaced in order to maintain good flow.
Contact Dave's Valley Auto Clinic, your Auburn, Washington auto repair center, by calling us at 253-850-1538.
Posted in the Service Intervals category
Hello, welcome to Dave's Valley Auto Clinic. Today's focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Auburn runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we’re most concerned with here at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic are those in our customer's vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, car batteries wear out and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Auburn drivers should know when looking for a new battery.
Look for two measurements that come into play: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity.
Let’s start with cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold SUV engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in Washington, specifically how cold it is. (Many Washington motorists have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your SUV's engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.
The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. At Dave's Valley Auto Clinic, we consult the table shown below. Let’s say it’s eighty degrees Fahrenheit in Auburn. At that temperature, 100% of the battery’s power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at eighty degrees.
As you can see from the chart, the colder it gets, more power’s needed, but the available power drops.
Percent of Power Available Celsius Fahrenheit Power Required 100 27 80 100 65 0 32 155 40 -22 0 210 25 -32 20 350
So if you live where it’s cold in Washington, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it's moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your SUV was based on averages. At Dave's Valley Auto Clinic, we like to remind Auburn drivers that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their auto makers recommend, but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.
And the type of engine you have will impact the battery you need: A six-cylinder engine requires more cold cranking amps than a four. An eight cylinder needs even more. And diesel SUVs require more than a gasoline engine with the same number of cylinders.
Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important to Auburn car owners these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off in your SUV. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.
Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Auburn. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine. So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer or Dave's Valley Auto Clinic and upgrade if you need more.
Talk with us at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger, heavy-duty battery may be called for. At Dave's Valley Auto Clinic in Auburn, we remind our customers that it’s very important that the new battery fits your SUV: the terminals can’t be touching other parts.
Batteries are a big ticket item for most Washington motorists, so the warranty gives piece of mind. There’re two kinds of car battery warranties: pro-rated and free replacement. With the pro-rated, you get a credit for a portion of the battery if it fails during the warranty period. With a free replacement warranty, you get just that, a free replacement. Be sure to ask us at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic about the warranty so you know what you’re getting.
Posted in the Battery category
Hi Auburn auto owners. Let's talk fuel injectors. A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.
Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.
The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline SUV engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.
Vehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine. Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel efficiency and loss of engine performance for Auburn auto owners.
So it’s to Auburn auto owners' advantage to keep their fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel to Auburn auto owners than do bargain Auburn area service stations.
The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.
Auburn auto owners should check their owner’s manual to find out how often they should change their fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle between Auburn, Kent and Federal Way , your filter will need to be changed more often.
You can also purchase cleaners at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use. If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic in Auburn that will result in better fuel economy and improved vehicle performance.
Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Did you know that most of the cars driving around Auburn Washington carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?
New cars sold in the Auburn area have as many as twelve networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle's functions.
Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do you know when there is a problem?
It's simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.
It can be pretty disturbing when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to our service center at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.
Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.
Your technician at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic has special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.
Stop by if you're check engine light is on.
Dave's Valley Auto Clinic
4725 Auburn Way N. Auburn
Auburn, Washington 98002
Posted in the Dashboard category