EVAP System

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The oil and fuel in your vehicle give off vapors that are very harmful to the environment. Evaporative emissions control systems – EVAP for short – are mandated in all cars and trucks. The job of the EVAP system is to capture these vapors and direct them into the engine to be burned – kind of an on-board recycling program.

The EVAP system is a complicated network of hoses, valves, filters and such. Issues with the EVAP system are in the top 5 reasons for a Check Engine light to be illuminated. A qualified service technician at Automobile Service Co pulls the trouble codes and begins a diagnostic procedure to isolate the fault. With the proper equipment, the technician can test the valves in order to trace a blockage. A low pressure smoke test can be performed to find any leaks. The necessary repairs are then made to get the EVAP system working again and to reset the Check Engine light.

While EVAP problems don’t generally lead to vehicle damage, the fact that they trigger the Check Engine light can mask other more serious problems if left unaddressed. After all, there are hundreds of conditions that can trigger a Check Engine light, but there is only one light. So if the light is on because of an EVAP issue you haven’t fixed and another problem arises, you won’t be alerted to the new condition because the light is already on.

Of course, if you live in a jurisdiction that requires emissions testing to register your vehicle, you won’t pass the test until you make the necessary repairs. An EVAP trouble code could be caused by something as simple as a loose or worn gas cap, a leak in a hose, problems with a purge valve or even a rusty fuel filler pipe.

When your Check Engine light comes on, bring your vehicle into Automobile Service Co and let us check it out. A trained technician will be able to diagnose the issues and work out a plan to address any problems that are uncovered. There’s peace of mind that comes from knowing what is wrong and taking care of it.

Automobile Service Co
5708 W 35 1/2 St
St Louis Park, MN 55416
952.929.0615

 

At Automobile Service Co we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

Diesel Maintenance at Automobile Service Co

A lot of St Louis Park drivers are excited about the new diesel engines that are becoming available in passenger cars and SUV's, and they're curious about the preventive maintenance requirements for diesels. St Louis Park motorists 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 cars.

You may ask, why has it taken so long getting in North America? There are a bunch of reasons like MN fuel tax policies and such, but the biggest hurdle was that North American 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 open North America up 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. They last a lot longer. And modern diesel engines are refined, quiet and powerful. Plus, there's none of that black smoke we used to see. Some St Louis Park drivers 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. And, there are not a lot of trade-offs with diesel in terms of performance. A modern passenger car diesel is very smooth, quiet and quick. Most St Louis Park drivers wouldn't notice any difference. For those Saint Paul area folks 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 in Saint Paul. But they get better fuel economy, so the break-even point is largely dependent on the difference between gas and diesel prices at your St Louis Park pump and how many miles/kilometers you drive. And diesels have a higher resale value in MN.

Now, let's get back to diesel maintenance in St Louis Park. 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 in St Louis Park are similar. As with gasoline engines, proper maintenance is the key to long engine life and avoiding repairs  — 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 one of the St Louis Park residents 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/kilometers.

Give us a call.

Automobile Service Co
5708 W 35 1/2 St
St Louis Park, MN 55416
952.929.0615
http://serviceassistant.autonettv.com


At Automobile Service Co we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

Simple Answers from Automobile Service Co in St Louis Park : Severe Service

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Question:
What is a severe service maintenance schedule?


Automobile Service Co Answer:
When I was a kid in St Louis Park, Sunday meant having a bath, getting dressed for church and then hanging up my Sunday clothes soon as we got home. Mom didn't have to wash those clothes but once a month or so.

Now, Saturdays were another story entirely: catching lizards, splash contests in mud puddles and crawling through the brush with GI Joe. Those clothes went straight into the laundry basket. My Sunday clothes – easy use. My Saturday clothes – hard use. They required a different laundry schedule. Severe service maintenance schedules are kind of like that for St Louis Park drivers. “Normal” driving has a regular schedule; “hard” driving has a severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe schedule.

Most owner's manuals will describe severe service as:
Stop and go driving
Short trips
Low speed driving
Extreme hot or cold
Dusty conditions
Carrying heavy loads
Towing


For most people in St Louis Park, some “severe” driving is part of their everyday routine. You can ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Automobile Service Co about how you drive around the Saint Paul area and see if your routine is closer to the regular or severe definitions and adjust your service intervals for things like oil changes, transmission and cooling system service.

Give us a call.

Automobile Service Co
5708 W 35 1/2 St
St Louis Park, MN 55416
952.929.0615
http://serviceassistant.autonettv.com


At Automobile Service Co we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

Better Service, Better Fuel Economy in St Louis Park

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Many St Louis Park area folks want to know how to improve gas mileage. At Automobile Service Co, we help St Louis Park keep their vehicles in prime condition which makes them more efficient fuel-wise. When your car works the way it was designed to, it means it uses less fuel, and you save money.

To help organize our discussion, let's think of things that rob us of fuel economy in two ways: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion.

Friction. Anything that increases friction increases drag or load on the engine. It has to work harder to overcome the drag – and that takes more fuel. The first thing that comes to mind is engine oil. Low oil means there's not enough to fully lubricate the engine so there's more friction.

The wrong viscosity and grade of oil can also adversely affect fuel economy. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Automobile Service Co service advisor about the right kind of oil for your car. Dirty oil won't lubricate as well as clean oil. The same principles apply to transmission fluid. Getting your oil changed and transmission serviced on schedule at Automobile Service Co will reduce friction and save money on gas.

Consider upgrading to synthetic oils in your differentials, engine and transmission to reduce friction. Another friction-related factor is under-inflated tires. When tires are low on air, it's like driving through sand – the engine has to work harder to move every mile or kilometer. St Louis Park should check their tire pressure at least once a month.

Sticking or binding brakes put a drag on your vehicle and can hurt fuel economy. A simple brake inspection at Automobile Service Co in St Louis Park can uncover potential problems.

Let's move on to fuel. A dirty fuel system has varnish and gum interfering, and the fuel injectors may be unable to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right pressure and in the spray pattern that the engineers intended. A fuel system cleaning will get all of that working right and really improve fuel economy.

Replacing worn spark plugs will burn your fuel as efficiently as possible, saving at St Louis Park pumps.

Give us a call.

Automobile Service Co
5708 W 35 1/2 St
St Louis Park, MN 55416
952.929.0615
http://serviceassistant.autonettv.com


At Automobile Service Co we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

A quick overview of the fuel system

We'd like to give our friends in St Louis Park, MN, a quick overview of the fuel system. It starts with the fuel pump. The fuel pump is located inside the tank and pumps fuel out to the engine. Somewhere along the way is a fuel filter whose job is to filter out dirt before it hits the engine. Then there's the fuel intake system and the fuel injectors that deliver the fuel to be burned in the engine.

Our focus is to discuss how to make the various components of your fuel system work well and last as long as possible.

Now the best thing you can do for your fuel pump is to use good quality fuel. Top tier gas typically has fewer contaminants and more detergents to keep things clean. Using good gas, or adding a fuel system cleaner to your tank, can prolong the life of your fuel pump. Because the fuel pump lives inside your tank, it's pretty expensive to replace, so helping it last as long as possible is a worthwhile goal.

The fuel filter catches dirt and contaminants. When it's clogged, your engine may not be able to get enough fuel and could sputter. Many fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows unfiltered fuel past when the filter's clogged.

That prevents your engine from dying while you're driving, but it can't protect your engine from dirty fuel. Check your owner's manual or talk with your St Louis Park, MN, service advisor at Automobile Service Co about when you should replace your fuel filter.

Call Automobile Service Co at 952.929.0615.

Fuel will cause gum and varnish to build up in the fuel intake system. A professional fuel system cleaning will remove the gunk to keep fuel flowing freely and help prevent contamination from reaching your fuel injectors and your engine.

Fuel injectors squirt fuel into the engine. The fuel must be delivered in a precise amount, at a precise time, under precise pressure and in a precise pattern. Pressure can range from 45 pounds per square inch to 45,000 pounds per square inch depending on the engine. As you may guess, fuel injectors cost a lot. Allowing them to get gummed up will not only hurt your performance and fuel economy, it will cause the injectors to wear out much more quickly than they should.

A professional fuel system cleaning will keep injectors clean and working correctly. It'll also clean deposits from the inside of the combustion chamber and off the intake valves, giving you optimum performance and mileage.

Check with your St Louis Park service adviser at Automobile Service Co and see when he recommends you get a fuel system cleaning.

Reprinted with Permission from Napa.

What St Louis Park Drivers Need to Know About Their Serpentine Belt

Your serpentine belt drives your alternator and air conditioning compressor. The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in many vehicles. In some vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt (in others it's driven by the timing belt). The radiator cooling fan on some vehicles is also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors.

Serpentine belts do a lot of work for St Louis Park vehicles.  They're tough and can last a long time, but just how long will they last? That'll vary for each individual vehicle. Your vehicle manufacturer will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need changing sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Automobile Service Co in St Louis Park can reveal a belt that's worn.

It's often recommended that the tensioner pulley that keeps the belt at the proper tension be replaced along with the serpentine belt. This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm.

What are the warning signs that there's a problem with the serpentine belt? St Louis Park drivers may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.

If you suspect a problem with your serpentine belt, or if it's just been a while since it was last checked, ask your friendly and knowledgeable Automobile Service Co service advisor to have it looked over.

Give us a call.

Automobile Service Co
5708 W 35 1/2 St
St Louis Park, MN 55416
952.929.0615
http://serviceassistant.autonettv.com


At Automobile Service Co we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

This article reprinted with permission from Napa.

An Ounce of Prevention = A Pound of Cure Pt.1

Avoiding performing recommended maintenance service can come with a hefty price tag. Here are four important steps you can take to protect your vehicle.

Change the Oil Regularly
First up is the simple oil change. Bottom line – if you change your oil on schedule, your engine will be properly protected. Go past the recommended mileage interval, typically every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on driving conditions, and sludge begins to build up in your engine. This sludge can clog small oil passages that keep important parts of the engine from being cooled and lubricated. That is never good for your engine. If your engine has variable valve timing, as most do nowadays, or a turbocharger, then these expensive components are at high risk for failure and expensive replacement. If you’re not sure how often you should change your vehicle’s oil, ask your Service Advisor.

Change Timing Belts and Chains Timely
Many vehicles come equipped with a timing belt. These belts wear out over time and must be replaced, along with the belt tensioner and other system components. If this belt breaks, you could end up with extensive engine damage that can cost thousands in repairs. Most manufacturers recommend changing the belt or chain every 60,000 to 100,00 miles, depending on the make, model and age of the vehicle. If you don’t know if your engine has a timing belt, as opposed to a timing chain, or when it should be replaced, ask your Service Advisor.

Clean Fuel Systems Regularly
More than half of all new vehicles sold have Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines, which can be susceptible to extensive hard carbon buildup on the intake valves. Regular fuel system cleaning can keep the deposits in check, and improve fuel economy, performance, and emissions at the same time. Neglecting this important service for too long may require an engine teardown to media blast, or “sandblast,” the carbon deposits from the valves and cylinder head. And yep, that costs a lot.

Trust Your Check Engine Light
This last item may seem harmless, but it could have serious consequences: your vehicle’s Check Engine Light. Many of the troubles that can trigger a Check Engine Light are related to emissions. The light warns you when the engine is not running efficiently, due to unburned fuel and oil vapors accumulating in the exhaust system’s catalytic converter. When these accumulations get hot enough, they can burn up and damage the catalytic converter. The initial problem may be something as simple as a failed oxygen sensor or even an extremely dirty engine air filter. Ignoring that Check Engine Light could lead to some very expensive repairs.

Set Up a Service Plan with Your NAPA Service Advisor
Performing recommended maintenance (an ounce of prevention) can prevent costly repairs (a pound of cure). Ask your Service Advisor about your recommended maintenance schedule and set up a plan to get caught up on any services you may have missed.

This article reprinted with permission from Napa.

When to Replace Shocks or Struts

If you’ve ever ridden on a boat through choppy waters, you know how unpleasant the ride can be. That’s because there is little to help absorb the impacts from heavy waves crashing against the hull. The road can have a similar effect on your vehicle without reliable shocks and struts to insulate your ride. But when do you know when it’s time to replace your shocks or struts?

It’s recommended to have your shocks and struts checked at 50,000 miles. But there are other tale-tell signs you should look out for that indicate the need to replace your shocks or struts:

  • Uneven wear on your tires
  • Poor steering
  • The vehicle sways or leans when you change lanes
  • Visible damage to the shock
  • Visible wear or cracking on mounts
  • Leaking shocks

So what exactly are shocks and struts? Shocks actually absorb shocks from the road and keep your car from bouncing. Struts are a structural part of the suspension system, they provide a place to mount the coil springs and maintain the height of the vehicle. Broken struts can affect your steering and the safety of your vehicle. Replacing a bad shock can be a fairly simple repair. Struts, however, can be more involved. If you’re wondering how much replacing shocks and struts might be, please check our Repair Estimator.

If you have any concerns about your shocks and struts, stop into your local NAPA AutoCare location. We can take a look at them for you and recommend appropriate service.  

This article reprinted with permission from Napa.