TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletin), Campaigns and Recalls: Part 1

 

auto-tune-ups

TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletin), Campaigns and Recalls: Part 1

Ask anyone involved in the automotive industry about 2014 and they will tell you it was the year of the recall. As a working member of an automotive work force working for a dealership this is great news. Recalls as horrible and redundant as they are, means there is always work, even in the slow season.

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One of The Perks of Having Your Own Column

chris-gregg

One of the perks of having your own column, is every so often you can go completely rogue and write about anything that you want. Today is one of those days and I am going to make use of that option.

As the title suggests this story is primarily about a single month of the year, and normally this month is just the same as every November every year. But this particular year is different for reasons that will become very evident as this story goes on.

To me November is the beginning of the end. It is the eleventh month of the year and December, the twelfth month is just lost in commercialism and buying frenzy’s and then all of a sudden it’s gone. I have great concerns that as the Haunted House was going up in City Plaza so was the Christmas tree. I mean we should at least have a giant stuffed turkey in between the Haunted House and the tree to remind us of November.

November is a very special month for a variety of reasons; Thanksgiving is at the end of the month of course, notice I said Thanksgiving and not Black Friday, and then there is Veterans Day, which in my point of view is as important as Thanksgiving, because without our Veterans we would have precious little to be thankful for. And then there is the Birthday of the Corps. Now if you do not know what the Corps is then I feel very sorry for you.

Actually, calling the USMC the Corps without having the privilege and honor of being one is a step that I overtake, as I am not, but I’ve relatives that have been and sometimes I do cross that line.

Here is what November really is; it is the month that we can exercise our rights as FREE MEN and WOMEN elect into office our leaders that are supposed to keep our land free and righteous. If you don’t vote by choice or apathy then you are part of the problem.

If this describes you then you have NO right to complain about how our government is in trouble. And the part about choosing the lesser of two evils, holds no water because it is only because of the apathetic voting turn out are their two evils, because we are the ones that put them there.

Next is Veterans Day. This is our day to honor and THANK all of the men and woman of this country that have served OUR country, to keep us FREE. I have said on many occasions that I will defend your right to the death to burn my FLAG but your life will be beaten out of you if I ever catch you. My conviction, my choice! Everyone in this country has the most special right, it’s called CHOICE. The right choice wins the wrong choice bears consequences, and because of our right to make a choice then there are no victims here.

Just two days later is the Birthday of the Marine Corps, and as we did with the Navy we will also honor the Corps on its day, and we will also do this on the Birthdays of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the forgotten service, The Merchant Marines. On all of these days we will have coffee and birthday cake in the morning.

Last but not least is Thanksgiving. Not Thanksgiving, the day we gorge ourselves with food and then sit down and fall asleep in front of the football games, but the real Thanksgiving, and this is what this article is about.

Today is November 2nd 2014 and this particular day is very important to me normally and even more so this year. 34 years ago today my son Sean passed away, and while he was only a few days old, a little bit of us left with him. Old news, time heals a lot, today is by divine intervention or coincidence the day that my brother Chris has entered the battle to cure his Cancer.

Today is the first of four days of intense, mind boggling Chemo that will kill his entire immune system, even taking the skin pigmentation from him in preparation of receiving a bone marrow transplant from our sister, Cynthia. For the next 100 days Chris will be in isolation so that his immune system can regroup. He will take on my sister’s blood type and immunities and then continue on. For the medical advances that have been made I am Thankful, for all of you that have helped me raise money to fight Cancer, I am thankful, to my parents that raised us to love each other so much that becoming a donor was a no brainer, I am thankful.

Chris has not been working with me for the last eleven months, and many of our newer clients don’t know him, his picture is on many of our ads, and because he is a part of this thing we call family. To all of you that know Chris, I am thankful for all of the letters and prayers and concerns that you all have had. You are a great part of my strength and that allows me to go on.

So to all of my readers, please accept my thanks to you, because you are part of the Gregg’s Automotive Family, and without you there would not be a Gregg’s Automotive.

With all that said, I wish all of you a happy November, and a glorious and Blessed Thanksgiving.

God Bless you all.
Gregg Marrapodi



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

How To: Buy A New or Used Car

Last week I had spied an article in the local paper about a couple that had purchased a used vehicle from a person from what I can only assume had advertised it in a newspaper or some social media site.

Fortunately for them the writer of this article was able to help them in getting some sort of help with their plight. This article is meant to give the general public some sort of guide lines for the “art” of buying a new or new to you vehicle.

Here lies the “GOLDEN RULES OF ENGAGEMENT”. First a vehicle or anything you are contemplating buying or selling is “worth” is only as much as someone is willing to pay for it. This means that all of those on-line sites that give you your car’s worth can give you a guideline but they are not gospel. Also remember that their income is generated by “hits” so the more attractive they make their quotes, the more “hits” that they get and thus more income for them.

Never buy a vehicle under duress.
This means that if your present vehicle needs a large amount of work or if you are worried that the repairs are going to be more than the vehicle is “worth” ask yourself this question. Were you in the market for a new or different vehicle a week before this repair came up? If the answer is no then this is not the time to be shopping for a replacement vehicle as there is just too much pressure on you to make quick decisions without searching out all of your options. It never ceases to amaze me just how many people are willing to spend $7,000.00 to $30,000.00 for a different vehicle rather than to spend $2,000.00 on a vehicle that they were perfectly happy with before.

Buying a new car is easier, usually it is a conscience decision and it can be a fun and exciting experience. Here are my own personal hints on how to buy a new vehicle.

First: Play the field, look at all vehicles that “trip your trigger”, a Sunday afternoon is a good time to survey different dealerships without having to deal with a salesman.

Second: Be aware of the price! If you cannot pay for a vehicle in a three or four year period you are in the wrong price range.

Third: When you find that vehicle or vehicles, rent one for at least a week and use it every day. This is the best way to be sure that the car fits you and not the other way around.

Fourth: Find a dealership that lists the selling price on the vehicle, this lets you concentrate on important issues such as insurance, options, special financing rates without having to negotiate the sticker price.

Fifth: If you are going to use your old vehicle as a trade in, know exactly what it is worth on the open market. Use multiple appraisal sites and average them out, call the local lending institutions and ask what their guideline are to finance your older car and finally scour the newspaper ads and see what similar vehicles are selling for and lastly ask the salesman what the ACV (actual cash value) is for the vehicle that your are going to trade in.

If you are looking at a previously loved vehicle the list is a little longer.
First: Make sure that the seller has a clear and clean title. If a title has the words “salvage or rebuilt”, that means that the vehicle was totaled and should be thoroughly investigated. Insurance companies have been known to total vehicles for cosmetic reasons after windstorms or hurricanes, but as I said be very careful, especially if it came from out of state.

Second: Get a Car Fax! Do not use the free version as it is useless, pay for the detailed report. If you are looking at multiple vehicles they offer a bulk package where you can get multiple reports for a single fee.

Third: Do not hesitate to ask for the vehicles service records. If you are buying the vehicle from a used car lot, run the VIN number to check for TSB’s, or Recalls, and sometimes little tidbits of information pop up that is not invading anyone’s privacy. Look for oil stickers and see where the vehicle had been serviced last and call them. A good service facility will usually call the previous owners and get their permission to release their records.

Fourth: Have the vehicle inspected by your service facility. A good inspection should take at least one to two hours. Make sure that measurements of brake thickness, tire tread depth, rotor thickness, and alignment concerns are notated prominently. Of course belt and hoses conditions and fluid conditions are important, as well as all accessory operations are working. Expect to pay for this inspection.

Fifth: Remember that you are buying a USED vehicle and some wear and tear is to be expected. Due diligence is required at this point to ascertain what major maintenance schedules will become due in the near future. For example if you are buying most any four or six cylinder vehicle with between 90,000 and 105,000 miles on it a timing belt is in the near future as well as belts and hoses and a water pump. Vehicles in the 50,000 mile range are due for many fluid flushes. These costs must be incorporated in the negotiating price so that you can arrange your budgeting.

If you have any questions or cannot find some of this information please do not hesitate to contact us for help.
REMEMBER MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001.

Our guess the weight of the pumpkin and free brakes campaign will end tomorrow.



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

The True Cost of Preventative Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is probably the most maligned and misunderstood catch phrase in the English language. This probably because in today’s society preventive maintenance checks are often misconstrued with “up selling”.
Preventative Maintenance is Not Up Selling
If you go out to dinner and the server recommends desert or a bottle of wine, this is an upsell. As most servers depend on their tips to survive and that said tip is a percentage of the total bill, it is an important part of their income. If you go to the dentist and they recommend that you get your teeth cleaned every six months, this is an attempt to keep your teeth healthy, by preventively cleaning them every six months so that the incidence of tooth decay is lessened and any trouble spots that may be in the process of developing and be addressed before they become problems. Is this an economic up sell to the dentist and the oral hygienist? Of course it is; they are keeping their work load under control and at a pace that they can manage while simultaneously keeping you and your mouth healthy.

failure-flush-coolant

Failure to Flush Coolant
We Prioritize Your Vehicles Maintenance
This is the same concept that we try to maintain here at Gregg’s Automotive. We look at every vehicle that comes in and we fill out a detailed report which we keep in your file and give you a copy. The difference between us and many other shops especially the big box stores, is that we will prioritize anything that we may find by three important criteria. First by safety, second by need and last by maintenance; this means that any safety items that need attention will be brought to your attention first, repairs that are not a safety issue but can very well turn into one are addressed, and rescheduled as per your demands, and lastly pure maintenance issues are scheduled within a timely manner.

If by chance we find something that is DANGEROUS, if you choose not to address it, I will tow your vehicle home at my expense because I am morally and legally bound not to let anyone drive a vehicle that is unsafe. I know that sounds hardcore and like I am pressuring people to repair their vehicles but If something were to happen and a part failed resulting in an accident I couldn’t live with myself. Remember I drove a wrecker and was a part of the volunteer rescue squad, I have seen too many accidents caused by faulty vehicles and it was more than a few that resulted in fatalities, and those I will never forget.

The True Cost of Automotive Maintenance
So back to the title; what is the true cost of preventive maintenance? Well the cost is the cost! Certain procedures cost a prescribe amount of money. Yes you can use more inexpensive parts, or find a shop with a lower labor rate, or one that does not offer nationwide warranties as we do, but the cost is just that. What I should really ask you is; what is the cost of not following a preventive maintenance program? Let’s go back to the dentist. How many cleanings could you have had done for the price of a root canal or a crown? I would tend to think that the answer is quite a few. The same thing goes for a vehicle.

failure-rotate-tires

Failure to Rotate Tires

Don’t Let Fluids Oxidize
By not performing simple and relatively inexpensive fluid flushes the amount of power steering rack failures and intake manifold gasket failures would fall to near zero. Transmission fluid that is allowed to oxidize and lose it lubricity is a driving force in torque converter failures and sensor failures. Cleaning your fuel injectors every 30,000 miles not only increases your fuel economy, it lessens the chance of the pintle of the injector from becoming deformed. And if you are lucky enough to have owned a Ford F-150 with a 5.4, 3 valve engine, cleaning your injectors and the combustion chamber greatly reduces the chance of your spark plugs breaking in the head when you have to change them.

failure-flush-brake-fluid

Failure to Flush Brakes

Inspect Used Vehicle Purchases
Most importantly if you have bought a second hand vehicle or a third hand vehicle, remember this if the owners before you did not subscribe to the preventive maintenance procedures, it’s YOU that will pay for their sins.
If you no idea what maintenance schedule needs to be followed, feel free to stop by and we will print you up a maintenance schedule that is from your vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance program.

There is No Good Time to Break Down
Lastly think of this; when you decide it’s time to maintain your vehicle, it’s up to you to decide on what day, or what time etc. The one thing we hear the most when a vehicle breaks down is, “THIS COULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED AT A WORSE TIME”. Well this is no good time to break down just like there is no good time to get sick.
As I always say PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001.

PS: If you even think that you might need brakes, October is “PUTTING THE BRAKE ON AUTISM” month so you can be safe, save money, and help us contribute to a great cause.



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

Putting The Brakes on Autism: Free Brakes in October

Putting The Brakes on Autism

Putting The Brakes on Autism

Help us Put The Brakes on Autism in October

We’re giving away FREE BRAKES during the month of October. Call now for your appointment We are sure we will fill all of our available appointments quickly, so don’t wait, CALL NOW!

This offer is only available to our valued clients and their friends and loved ones so spread the word… Facebook us, Tweet us, talk about us!

Free front OR rear brakes (specialty pads, hardware, rotor resurfacing or new rotors, calipers, ect. extra. Some cars and light trucks extra).

WHY are we doing this? Check out my latest video below.

More questions? Call me, or stop by the shop Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, I’m happy to answer them.

Help us Put The Brakes On Autism

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Trail

Punta Gorda FL 33950

(941) 575-8868
www.greggsauto.net



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

Valves, Solenoids, Fluids and Techniques to Preserve Your ABS Brake System

ethanol damage

Ethanol Damage

ABS, Traction Control, red brake lights, orange triangles or orange ABS lamps; every late model vehicle has them; in the privacy of brakes classes where everyone is a wrench we commonly referred to these warning lamps as the “check money lamp.”

Without becoming extremely technical and boring, I will attempt very simply to explain the concepts of these systems and then more importantly explain how easily they can be maintained and kept functional, savings you thousands of dollars in repairs.

To put it very simply ABS this really stands for Antilock Brake System, which keeps the rear brakes from locking up and putting you into a rear skid condition. Unbeknownst to most, when those rear brakes lock up, the rear wheels actually rise up off of the road surface losing the benefit of friction which actually makes the vehicle speedup.

Originally the first types of ABS systems were called single channel systems where upon the wheel sensor was in the rear differential housing or in the transmission rear extension housing. By monitoring the speed of the drive shaft, the ABS controller could control of the rear brakes of the vehicle as a single unit.

With the introduction of independent suspensions it became obvious that each wheel will have to be controlled independently. By installing a speed sensor on each rear wheel, the ABS controller would be able to monitor each of the rear wheels independently. This was the beginning of two channel ABS systems. Shortly after many trucks that were straight axle units came into service with 3 channel ABS systems which had a wheel speed sensor on each front wheel and a single sensor in the rear differential. Finally we have 4 channel ABS. which has a speed sensor on each wheel.

This system has developed into a most functional system which not only can stop a lock up situation, but also a wheel that has lost traction on acceleration, monitors and becomes a redundant odometer, and cruise control and air bag confirmation point.

Antilock brakes monitor the rotational speed of every tire when the brakes are applied. If and when one or multiple wheels slow down far faster than the others the ABS controller then releases the brake pressure to each of these wheels. This is done by preventing the fluid pressure to each of these wheels for micro seconds at a time allowing the locked up wheel or wheels to momentarily turn so as to be able to control the braking event. This allows the driver to have a controlled yet quick braking event, without losing control of the vehicle. The only difference to the driver is that they would feel a rapidly pulsating brake pedal as the skid is kept under control.

When the wheel speeds normalize the pulsation goes away. Traction control is Antilock in reverse. When the controller senses that upon acceleration one or more wheels is turning faster than designed the Traction Control /ABS controller actually applies the brakes to slow those wheels down. So for all of you old gear heads “leaving rubber” will never happen again.

As so far as the redundant monitoring for the speedometer, cruise control and air bags, just think of it in this vein. As the transmission is running and sending data to the transmission control module, if this information becomes corrupted the Powertrain Control Module can refer back to the ABS controller to decide if the vehicle or transmission control system is at fault. Likewise if the airbag impact sensor registers an impact the PCM will look back to the trans control for a rapid deceleration , the ABS system for a rapidly slowing wheel speeds or even lock ups, and finally to see if the brake lights are on before it will detonate the air bag. This and more happens in less than 500micro seconds.

Now that we can understand why it works I can tell you how it works. It’s all pretty simple; built within the circuitry is an external pump, which takes control away from the driver’s foot. It sends or removes pressure to the ABS control unit’s hydraulic circuit. Inside this controller are a series of “dithering” valves and solenoids that have the ability to turn on or off in as many times as 32 times a second. This valving is what applies or removes the brake pressure to the wheels.

Given the complexity of these systems there are only 2 things that have the ability to run through these components; they are brake fluid and electrons! The average cost of the hydraulic portion of the controller is usually between $1500.00 to $2500.00. The electronic portions of the controllers are pretty stable at about $900.00 plus labor and diagnostic testing.

Preventively the cost of flushing your brakes hydraulic system once every 2 years is about $133.00 and replacing your battery before it goes dead is about $180.00. So when your service provider says that you should have your brake fluid flushed every 2 years no matter how many miles have been driven think of this “$133.00 or $1200.00.

So for the bazillionth time I end this story with PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES DOWNTIME AND THE COST OF OWNERSHIP” AND PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE BEGINS AT MILE 00001.

Don’t forget that during the month of October we are working in conjunction with WAGNER BRAKES and we are providing front or rear pads or shoes at no cost to you the consumer during our PUTTING THE BRAKES ON AUTISM campaign after which we will donate 10% of all the brake work we provide to HARBOUR HEIGHTS CHARITIES for all of the great work they do for the Autistic children in this county.

AND IF YOU JUST WANT TO HAVE SOME FUN COME DOWN AND GUESS THE WEIGHT OF THE GREAT PUMPKIN, YOU JUST MAY WIN A $100.00 GIFT CARD, DINNER IN SOME OF THE FINEST RESTAURANTS IN PUNTA GORDA, OR A REALLY COOL BEER COOLER FOR YOUR TABLE.



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

Brakes Have Been Around Since Chariots

Seeing that this month’s emphasis is on brakes, I think that equal time should be spent on routing of the fluid that enables us to stop our vehicles.

Brakes have been around since the days of the chariots, the original chariot parking brake was a stout wooden stick that was inserted through the spokes of the wheels. While this brake could not be applies while the chariot was on the move, it was good enough to stop the horses from wandering around the town dragging the chariot around the town while the gladiators were socializing.

Archaeologists say that the later chariots were equipped with a chain brake. That consisted of a piece of wood that would pivot up against the front of the rear wheels when the drive pulled up on a length of chain. This gave the drive some form of control over the amount of braking he needed at any given time. By the 1800’s lever operated wooden brake shoes were in widespread use. These shoes were usually acted directly to the iron clad rim of the wheels.

In the 17th century French philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal discovered that by trying to compress an incompressible fluid the force applied was amplified at the working end of a press. Enter the birth of hydraulics.

Have you ever wondered how the smallest person can stop an eighteen wheel tractor trailer with just the tip of their toe? That my friend is the beauty of hydraulic force!

In other articles that I have written, the need of maintenance of this fluid has been thoroughly discussed. It is known that brake fluid is hydroscopic, that is to absorb moisture, because conventional oils and waters do not mix. This makes brake fluid susceptible to both boiling and allowing the metal parts of the brake system to rust from the inside out.

It is said that the strongest chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and in the life of an automobile that lives in the “Salt Belt” that is usually 8 to 12 years after the vehicle was built. The first symptoms are a small loss of brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. This is usually ignored by most people for some unknown reason that I cannot fully understand.

Loss of brake fluid means one of two things; the friction material on the brakes is wearing and the fluid is taking up the difference or there is a leak someplace. If in fact there is the beginnings of a fluid leak the second symptom to appear is either a softer or “mushy” pedal, only to be followed by a direct loss of half of the braking system when the brake line or hose finally ruptures.

Brake lines or hoses are the conduits which house and direct the fluid from the master cylinder to their application components, either the wheel cylinders or brake calipers. Brake lines are steel tubing, whose walls are between .019” and .023” thick. Their overall physical diameter are either 3/16” or 1/4” with the newer models have a 10mm diameter. These tubes are usually mounted along chassis rails where they are secured by clips.

Because they have to go around various other components such as rear axles or fuel tanks they are rarely straight. Anywhere under the vehicle where there are pivot points or movement such as the front wheels which obviously turn or in the rear axle which moves in conjunction with the suspension system the steel tubing is changed to rubber flex hoses to facilitate these movements.

All of these tubes and hoses are in constant contact with the environment which include but is not limited to water, snow , ice, salt and all sorts of road debris. The treatment that these parts have on them from the factory can only last so long when exposed to the elements. The very first place of wear and tear usually appears in the clamps or clips that hold these tubes in place. There are rub marks that are usually simple to repair by splicing in a new piece of tubing using special tools to fabricate double flare ends and connected with unions that can withstand the pressures associated with the braking process without leaking or losing any pressure.

Tubing that has been compromised by salt damage tends to be a little more difficult. First is the problem of finding a place to splice in the repair where the integrity of the original tubing has not been compromised. Many times this forces us to replace the entire length of tubing from its inception to its ending point. Ideally pre-bent tubing can be used but many times they are not readily available or just not cost effective. If rolled tubing is available a single length without any splices can be used otherwise precut lengths of tubing must be combined to repair these vehicles.

Likewise the rubber flex hoses need to be monitored for stress or heat cracks or for cuts from hitting debris on the roadway. Flex hose failures are usually catastrophic in nature resulting in an immediate loss of pedal.

This is just a small part of what an accurate inspection should consist of, because if these items do break you will lose your brakes.

OCTOBER MARKS OUR “PUTTING THE BRAKES ON AUTISM CAMPAIGN” AND IT IS ALSO CAR CARE COUNCIL’S INSPECTION MONTH. IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR BRAKE SYSTEM SEE US AND WE WILL CHECK THEM FOR YOU FREE OF CHARGE.



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

The Life of A Fuel Molecule

fuel injector

Fuel Injector

Life is a paradox! Everything real and alive, as well as things that we deem inanimate has a goal to fulfill in its lifespan. A molecule of fuel has but one goal to be performed; that is to be allowed to unleash the energy that it holds within itself. That energy is to be harnessed by us to power, light and sometimes to destroy things in our world.

This particular molecule is deemed to be joined by millions of other fuel molecules to be compressed in a cylinder with 14.7 molecules of air so that a spark can ignite it and unleash the power to push a piston downward in the bowels of an engine. This is what we mechanics call combustion.

Unlike every action film that we have watched, gasoline does not explode, it burns. But when combined with air and the physics of atomization a highly unstable and violent vapor does exist and that is very explosive. That is exactly what happens in every cylinder of every internal combustion engine.

As with everything in life, there is the right way, the wrong way or the best way to achieve any goal. This is what this article is all about, the best way to exploit as much energy from that single molecule as efficiently as possible.

In the history of internal combustion engines fuel and air are funneled into the combustion chamber in a varying number of ways and under varying conditions. In the very beginning the fuel was almost just dropped into the carburetor bowl where it was drawn into the intake manifold by the vacuum generated from the pistons while on their downward stroke. The atomization process was haphazard at best as the fuel molecules just collided with the air molecules during their journey into the combustion chamber.

As vehicles evolved so did their need for power and the fuel delivery systems became more and more exacting. In the 50’s it was found that water molecules injected into the intake manifold just under the carburetor created a wonderful homogeneous mixture that traveled and ignited well. Water injection went by the wayside because it was just one more fluid that needed to be checked and it tended to freeze in the Snow Belt.

The next step was to introduce pressures to help get the fuel into a gaseous s state. Most carbureted systems ran very well on 4 psi. As systems improved and more miles per gallon and power were demanded those pressures have increased dramatically. Initially the early throttle body injection systems ran well on pressures of 9-12 psi. Ported and synchronized injection systems started at 35psi and the Vortec engines demand 64psi to start and 55psi to run. This brings us to the new “Gas Direct Injection” systems known as GDI, which need a mad crazy 2200psi to run. Yes that is 2200 pounds and this is not a misprint. Repairs and services for these systems will be astronomical if abused with cheap fuel and or poor maintenance schedules. Also, these systems are already out in the field and are not in only high end vehicles; many economically based 4 and 3 cylinder vehicles are already using these systems so be educated when looking for new vehicles.

Dirty Combustion Chamber

Dirty Combustion Chamber

Up until the ported injection fuel designs, the fuel and air travelled together from the top of the intake manifold to the combustion chamber. Then the fuel route became separate and was atomized with pressure and mixed with the air in the combustion chamber above the valve faces. With the development of GDI the fuel is now deposited directly on the top of the piston below the valves.

The question is what kind of maintenance is required to make these different systems work the most efficiently? Imagine this; sitting on top of a water slide or watching a bob sled navigating its course. In your mind’s eye do you see how slick the ice is and how polished the walls are and how smooth the turns are? Now imagine the same course with clumps of debris stuck in the course and those smooth rounded turns with right angles and junk deposited in the seam of the wall and the bottom of the tube. How many seconds will be lost in that race? That is exactly what the inside of your intake manifold looks like. Without periodic cleanings and clean air filters the amount of air that can get to the combustion chamber is not only restricted, the velocity of that air is diminished and the atomization of the fuel and air is diminished. And as I said in the beginning of the article; that’s what makes cars blow up!

Come ask us about our fuel services, ask us about how we can increase the efficiency of your engine, and increase your miles per gallon and how we can give you an extended warranty on your engine for as long as you own it.



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

Death by Auto: In 2010 There Were 2262 Fatal Accidents in Florida

Last week while I was working late, at about 10:00pm an ambulance screamed up Route 41, past the shop. Being in such close proximately to Bayfront Hospital, this is not an odd occurrence. What was odd was that very shortly after, the same or another ambulance made the right off of Olympia onto 41 with lights on but without a siren. Usually that rig would continue down Olympia towards the hospital, not up 41. I’m sure that we have all had that “feeling” when something was off.

Because of my past when I was not only a “first aider” but also a first responder with my wrecker for all “suspicious” accidents and all death by auto calls. I’ve learned to pay attention to those “off” feelings. Watching a rig pass by with lights and no siren can be good or bad news. The injured are either stable or not with us anymore. The next thing that I heard was the wop wop of a helicopter main rotor, except this time there was a queer echo until I realized that there were two choppers.

Being inquisitive I had to follow these sounds and found myself watching a transfer from one rig to the copter. Everything was so slow and controlled that I really thought that this was a training exercise. Imagine my shock and surprise when I passed a destroyed vehicle on the top of the bridge, and I knew why there was no rush anymore.

I’ve been in this business for over 42 years, and in those 42 years I’ve had first-hand experiences with broken vehicles, vehicles that were so UN-SAFE that they should have been taken off of the road and accidents that were caused by so many contributing factors that resulted in everything from bruised pride to horrific deaths.

Like anyone else that is in contact with carnage our bodies automatically protect us by surrounding us with a kind of force field. The outside world thinks that we are insensitive or hard, but take it from me those images never leave us. But as they say in the movies ”life goes on”.

While researching for this article the most recent facts that were available were already four years old. This is not the first time I have written on this subject, and while the numbers have changed the results are always the same.

In 2010 there were 2262 fatal accidents in Florida. 2445 people lost their lives in those accidents. Amazingly to most folks only 660 of those fatalities were alcohol related. 487 of those deaths were pedestrians. The breakdown of these accidents were as follows 868 were multi-vehicular collisions, 562 were collisions with non-motorists.

550 were collisions with fixed objects, and 46 were collisions with non- fixed objects. 202 were overturns or single vehicle non collision accidents and 34 were unexplained non collision accidents. You must take into consideration that these numbers only represent fatal accidents, not all accidents.

Information from various sites which were state sites, attorney’s sites and general informative sites rated the cause of all accidents as such:

1. Speeding
2. Cell phones and texting
3. Other distractions radio’s, talking, general inattention
4. Fatigue
5. Alcohol
6. Rubber-necking
7. DEFECTIVE AUTOMOBILES
8. Defective roadways
9. Weather
10. Improper coning

If you pay attention to the bold information it means this. That in the year 2010 at least 202 fatal accidents were caused by poorly maintained vehicles. According to AA1CAR.com 13% of all accidents are caused by defective and/or poorly maintained vehicles. Most cited as major points of failures were brakes first (which even surprised me), tires second, steering and suspension and roadway design. I would like to add another two categories, belts and hoses and heating and air conditioning.

Tire issues are pretty much self-explanatory, and any tire with less than 2/32 of tread left is unsafe and needs to be replaced. Any time an insistent wobble or vibration appears in the steering wheel with a hard pull usually means that a tire in beginning to fail internally. Brakes are sometimes a little harder to “feel”. Sticking calipers or partially blocked brake hoses can cause a drag that can actually boil your brake fluid causing a sort of embolism in the hydraulics which can result in the total loss of your brake pedal without warning.

So can ignoring that annoying squeaking or vibration when stopping be a sign of things that are not right. Not having your suspension checked at least once a year can find faults with tie rod ends and ball joints. If you have ever passed a vehicle with one wheel facing left and the other facing right rest assured that a bad tie rod was the culprit. Breaking a ball joint looks like a vehicle trying to drive on the inside of its tire.

As most vehicles have already switched over to single serpentine belts, losing a belt not only will kill your battery or overheat your engine consider driving at 75 mph on Rte. 75 and suddenly losing your power steering.

Or consider this, driving along when all of a sudden this violent down pour happens and your entire windshield just totally fogs up and distorts you vision. A vehicle that has faulty air conditioning and defrosting capabilities reduces you to drive one handed and wiping the inside of the windshield with your free hand. Not entirely having complete control of your vehicle is it?

So to be completely blunt and to the point I say this: Not maintaining your vehicle will cause you to spend more in repairs, cost you for rental vehicles and loss of time for fun or work, and it may cost you or someone else their life!



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

Diagnostics: The Key to the Repair

Imagine not feeling well, no lets go past that, imagine feeling so sick that you are beside yourself. You’re at the point when you can’t decide whether to grin and bear it and call your physician and hope that you can be fit in the day’s schedule, or go straight to the emergency room. So you call your Doctor and you get a machine that tells you what steps to take and if this is a medical emergency to call 911.

For arguments sake let’s say that you went to the ER and when you get past all of the signing and insurance questions, what is the first thing that happens? A barrage of questions come at you while at the same time someone is checking your vitals. By vitals we mean your temperature, your blood pressure, your heart beat and pulse. Then and only then does the doctor venture to DIAGNOSE what he or she thinks is the problem. We’ve all been through this and rightfully it’s meant to protect the Docs from making a mistake and to keep us from dying.

Imagine now that after the whole process of getting to the emergency room, when you finally get to see a doctor that you can’t speak, or worse you’re unconscious. Imagine what everyone in that room goes through. There is no history, no answers to questions concerning where it hurts, or how long it has been hurting. How about if you have a faint or an irregular- heartbeat while they are examining you, do you think that an electrocardiogram or a crash cart would not be in very close proximately?

Okay, so this is what happened: you’re a diabetic and you lost track of your insulin shots and double dosed yourself. Your blood sugar plunged in to the 50’s, and you passed out. After being rushed into the emergency room all of this was quickly established by the staff and all they had to do was give you a cup of orange juice to bring you back to your old self.

When you get the bill are you outraged: maybe, but truth be known if any of those procedures were not performed or at least around that little mistake could have become fatal, so you bite the bullet and pay the bill. Before anyone goes into an outrage, you must understand that I am not comparing myself to a Doctor, nor do I proclaim to have to access life and death issues at a moment’s notice.

My best friend is a physician and we discuss all of these issues as we walk the miles we have accumulated. It’s good therapy for both of us and it keeps both of us sane. Here is the comparison, machines were invented by man, and the only machine that man could emulate was the human body.

Whenever a vehicle comes into the shop, we try to ask all of the right questions so that we can correctly DIAGNOSE the problem. Many times people feel that we are interrogating them and get inpatient; sometimes they have a ride waiting or are trying to get to work on time. Sometimes people feel that if they give us too much information that it will cost more money to repair the vehicle.

When a vehicle comes in on the hook (ambulance), and is not running (unconscious), we have to perform the same type of preliminary diagnostics. Does it have spark (heartbeat) how about fuel pressure (blood pressure), can it inhale (air intake) and exhale (exhaust), does it have codes in the power train computer (PCM) does the scanner need to be installed (electrocardiogram).

The whole point is that diagnostics take time, diagnostic equipment costs thousands of dollars, and the truth of the matter is the faster we can diagnose a vehicle especially using the newest and fastest equipment the less money it will cost you.

A 1998 Chevrolet Silverado has 28 different modules or computers all interconnected and communicating with each other. A 2005 BMW 7 Series has 54 modules, and like it or not many times they all have to be monitored. Many times we find problems that are not related to the reason that the vehicle is in the shop. This is like going to the doctor for a cold and then being told that you have diabetes or worse cancer, or a heart murmur.

Its news that nobody wants to hear but doctors are taught and required to inform you about them. A well trained technician and a responsible shop are required only by their devotion to our chosen industry and their integrity. Unfortunately this is called “UPSELLING” but if you can just look at it logically it is really called “PREVENTION “.

Gregg’s Automotive is now in the process of developing detailed questioners that can be sent to all of our clients electronically that can be filled out by you in the comfort of your own home and either brought in with your vehicle or sent back to us electronically. This way there is NO interrogation, no stress trying to remember every little detail. This saves us time and time saved is money saved.

We believe that we are the first shop to be embracing this new technology, and we are proud to be on the cutting edge.

So as we close this article once again I have to reiterate:

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE INCREASES RELIABILITY, COMFORT AND DECREASES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001



PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE REDUCES THE COST OF OWNERSHIP.
MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 00001

Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
941-575-8868
www.greggsauto.net
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services

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