Yearly Archives: 2015

Check Engine

Members of the automotive industry are often asked the following question: “Does it matter if I leave my CHECK ENGINE light on? Will it hurt my vehicle?” Perhaps many of you have asked this same question. Or maybe you will be staring into the radiance of a glowing CHECK ENGINE indicator the next time you drive your vehicle. In 1990, Congress passed a bill of legislation (The Clean Air Act), which required auto manufactures to install an On-Board Diagnostic computer (OBD) in every automobile. The engines in today’s vehicles are largely electronically controlled. Sensors and actuators identify the operation of specific components (e.g. the oxygen sensor) and actuate others (e.g. the fuel injectors) to maintain optimal engine control. An on-board computer, known sometimes as a “powertrain control module”(PCM) or an “engine control unit,” controls all of these systems. The CHECK ENGINE or SERVICE ENGINE SOON light will illuminate when the PCM detects a malfunction in one of these ... read more

Pre-trip inspection?

Each year, as summer approaches, our office is flooded with customers who walk in the day before a family vacation and request a thorough inspection of their automobile. Although we do everything we can to accommodate their request, the day before a trip is not the best time to think about getting your car inspected. I can remember one instance when a customer did this, and they had a serious problem with a coolant leak that they were not aware of. Unfortunately, they had to postpone their trip by two days. It is highly recommended to have your car inspected before leaving for a vacation. The best time to do this is a minimumof one week prior to your departure. This is recommended for two reasons: First, if your vehicle is in need of a major repair, you will have time to get the problem corrected. Second, you will want to drive your vehicle for a day or two before the trip to ensure that everything is going to be ok with the repair. At Professional Autom ... read more


I recently had a customer ask “My air conditioning is not cold enough at idle sitting at a stop sign, but gets colder when I get on the freeway. Is this a sign that my compressor is weak?” Like your body, the air conditioning compressor is at the heart of the AC system, and Freon is the blood. The compressor pumps Freon throughout the AC system. This Freon is a gas and liquid combination that is compressed and circulated throughout the air conditioning system. The compressed Freon is pushed through the system under extreme pressure to the expansion valve that causes the gas to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction makes the Freon gas very cold. Now if your air conditioning is not cold at idle, but is cold going down the road then this is a early indication that you are experiencing a lose in Freon or a component failure. Depending upon the size of the leak or the failure of the part, before you have no cold air at all. At the first indication of failure ... read more

Better Gas Mileage

As the rising prices of gas have hit our wallets hard, many customers have asked what they can do to get better gas mileage. I think that question would be better asked this way: What can we do to ensure that our automobiles are getting the same gas mileage they did when they were brand new? Let’s first look at what can cause bad gas mileage. Simple things like a dirty air filter, past due on oil changes, worn spark plugs, dirty fuel injectors, and under inflated tires are just a few items that may affect your gas mileage. There are also more complex problems like weak oxygen sensors, bad mass air flow sensors, and vacuum leaks that can contribute to decreased fuel efficiency. Most of these can cause the check engine light to come on. However, if they are only starting to go bad, the check engine light may not come on. It is best to have your computer analyzed at least once a year for any problems that might be beginning…problems that may be indicated by small decrease in ... read more

Tune Up

I have recently had a few customers ask, “It has been several years since my last tune up. Is it time for another one?” In years past, most vehicles needed a “tune up” every 12,000 miles. This included spark plugs, points and condenser, air and fuel filters, and much more. With the introduction of electronic ignitions, that interval was stretched to 30,000 miles, and points and condensers were not needed. With platinum plugs, many cars may be able to experience peak performance for up to 60,000 miles before needing a tune up. I recommend that my customers replace their spark plugs every 30,000-60,000 miles, depending on the type of spark plug selected. Our Service Advisors can recommend the best plug for your individual vehicle. Failing to replace your plugs at regular intervals can cause stress on other, much more expensive ignition components. For example, if the spark plug gap is worn, it makes the ignition coil work much harder, which can cause spark to burn through sp ... read more

Does it matter if I leave my CHECK ENGINE light on?

“Does it matter if I leave my CHECK ENGINE light on? Will it hurt my vehicle? Am I getting the gas mileage that I am suppose to?” Perhaps many of you have asked this same question. Or maybe you will be staring into the radiance of a glowing CHECK ENGINE indicator the next time you drive your vehicle. YES, it will hurt your automobile to ignore your SERVICE ENGINE SOON indicator. You may not immediately notice the affects of the particular code your computer is reading, but 3 months down the road you could! I always advise customers to save their own time and money, and have your CHECK ENGINE light analyzed by a specialist as soon as possible. Don’t let a small, inexpensive repair cost you dearly in the long run. The price of gas is something that unfortunately we cannot control, however we can control the consumption of gasoline. According to AAA 8 out of 10 cars needs some form of maintenance. How do you know if your automobile is gettin ... read more

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