Let’s talk about air quality in Lawrence. It’s a global issue, but affects us wherever we are. Many decades ago, we began to become aware of how air pollution negatively affects health. But what about the air inside your vehicle?
Cabin air filters are now coming on most new sedans in Lawrence. These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment. They can filter particles down to three microns, so that’s good enough to clean out dust, pollen and most pollutants. If you suffer from allergies in Lawrence, this is very good news. Your car can be a haven during your Lawrence commute.
Now, it’s only been in the last few years that cabin air filters have become common. You can look in your owner’s manual to see if you have one. If you do, there’ll be a recommendation for replacing it when it gets dirty. If you live in an area of Lawrence where there’s a lot of dust, pollen or pollution, you may need to change it more often.
You can also ask your service advisor at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics in Lawrence. How hard is it to change an air filter on a car? It depends on your vehicle. Some are quite accessible; others take some doing to get to them. They’re usually in the engine compartment or under the dashboard.
Because cabin air filters are so new on the scene, some Lawrence people haven’t heard of them – even people who have cabin air filters in their sedan. Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics service advisors have discovered that many Lawrence customers who complained about an unpleasant odor in their sedan simply had a dirty cabin air filter.
Posted in the Cabin Air Filter category
Bad air quality while you're driving around Lawrence is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more and more vehicles these days come equipped with a cabin air filter. Since they're fairly new on the scene, a lot of folks don't know about them yet.
These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment, or cabin, of your car or truck. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as thee microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.
So your cabin air filer can clean out dust, pollution, pollen and spores, to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they need to be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner's manual, but they typically need to be replaced at around twelve to fifteen thousand miles.
The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have your Lawrence Kansas service center, Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics, take care of replacing them.
As we said, many people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and go to their shop complaining about a funky smell in the ventilation system. It turned out to be a cabin air filter that was long overdue for replacement – really dirty and starting to smell. A quick replacement and they were on their way and smelling fine.
People who are allergy sensitive can really benefit from a cabin air filter, as it keeps allergens to a minimum. If you're one of them, you'll want to stay on top of your filter replacement schedule.
Of course if you do a lot of driving in dusty or polluted conditions, you'll need to change your cabin air filter more often.
Posted in the Air Conditioning category
Under-inflated tires waste gas for lots of folks in the Lawrence area. Think how hard it is to walk in sand – you just have to work harder because of the resistance. When your tires don't have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get from Lawrence to Lawrence.
Always check your tire pressure when you gas up at one of our local Lawrence service stations. If they're low – even just a little bit – bring them up to proper pressure. There's a sticker on the inside of your driver's door that gives the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure.
And don't rely on your tire pressure monitoring system to alert you to when you need more air. The TPMS system is set to warn you when pressure drops twenty percent below recommendations. That's severely under inflated and you needed more air a long time ago. And if you have a slow leak – get it fixed right away at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics.
Get some air and save some gas.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a big job for Lawrence auto owners. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.
The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the sedan engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.
These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause sedan engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics. At high speeds on Lawrence freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.
Back in the old days, auto makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the sedan's engine.
This is much better for air quality and improves fuel economy also. (Budget-conscious Lawrence auto owners take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased fuel economy.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics in Lawrence and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Lawrence auto owners don’t know about it. Check your sedan owner’s manual or ask your Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.
There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics when it gets dirty.
Please ask your trustworthy Lawrence service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Lawrence, you can avoid some very pricey engine repairs.
Posted in the Parts category
If you're gonna drive around the Lawrence area, you've got to be able to see! So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important. We've all experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our windshield is just dirty.
It seems like your wiper blades are always at their worst when you need them the most. But windshield wipers are like most other vehicle parts– they require regular attention in order to work their best.
You really ought to replace your wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If it's going to be a particularly harsh winter in Lawrence, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall. Winter blades are designed to resist freezing.
Speaking of winter and freezing conditions, if your car has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don't use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That'll just tear up the blades and cause them to wear out more quickly. It may even damage the wiper motor.
Over time, wiper blades become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don't cover the windshield effectively.
Worn wiper blades aren't just a safety hazard; they can also scratch your windshield. That may require replacing the entire windshield; a big cost for such a little part.
Replace worn blades right away. Your local service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. They cost about the same as they would at the store; but installation is included at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics.
Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though your local Lawrence service center will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home, or in the car if you are on a long trip.
Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy bottled water, may freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won't do a good job of cleaning your windows.
And remember that some vehicles have two reservoirs: one for the windshield and one for the back window – which may be under the hood or somewhere in the back.
So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road, and give us a call at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics or come by our shop at 2858 Four Wheel Drive, Lawrence, Kansas 66047. Call to make an appointment at 785-842-8665
Posted in the Windshield Wipers category
When your sedan has a problem, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Lawrence, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.
If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much specialized knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. For example: Today there are four cylinder engines that generate more power than the 1980s-era V-8’s. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Lawrence gas prices. They are also amazingly reliable: Kudos to the automotive engineers at the leading car makers. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars Lawrence drivers drive around Kansas highways are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.
Some sedans have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle operations as well. Lawrence motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for Lawrence Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technicians and the Lawrence service centers as well.
Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.
In addition to the expensive training, there’s the financial commitment for Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools.
There are many independent certifications available at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your sedan requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Lawrence auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.
It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and inexpensive – but sometimes it just isn’t.
The next time you bring us your sedan, don't worry. You’re in good hands at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics.
Posted in the Service Standards category
You may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in Lawrence come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around Lawrence have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.
If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When you see the warning light, you know it’s time to put some air in your tires.
There are many benefits to driving with properly inflated tires around Lawrence. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel economy. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel economy. You’ll also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.
Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Lawrence with properly inflated tires.
Local Lawrence consumer groups, law-makers and vehicle manufacturers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, we keep in mind that TPMS systems will carry a cost.
The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around Kansas, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.
In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.
Your service center (Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics) must purchase equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.
Since there is no uniformity among manufacturers, technicians need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to your service center.
That’s why they are anxious for you to understand the financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, they’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services, and then pass the low cost on to you as an expression of their good will. But now even these simple jobs will take much longer.
Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.
So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of this new safety equipment. Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to do so at a fair price.
It’s important to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure on a regular basis. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.
Contact Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics for more information about Tire Pressure Management Systems.
Posted in the Monitoring System category
Everyone in the Lawrence area wants our tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to maximize tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.
When wheels are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. And they vibrate. To fix this, your service technician at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics puts weights on your wheels to balance them out. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat.
That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a car wear out more quickly than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Lawrence to Lawrence, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.
Proper tire inflation will also help your tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear excessively on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear to fast in the middle.
Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more important with them. Give us a call to get our recommendation on your sedan.
See your owner’s manual or ask your service technician at Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
Tires cost a lot and they are one of the most critical safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.
Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics
2858 Four Wheel Drive
Lawrence, Kansas 66047
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your car feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel economy. The fuel filter's job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won't start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your car will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can plug your fuel injectors and allow damaging particles into your engine.
A car with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around town, but sputter and strain on the highway because it's starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural Kansas, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.
And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from cut-rate Lawrence area stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that'll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.
Of course, your manufacturer recommends intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it's a little more complicated than that. Some manufacturers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or eighty thousand miles. So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Cars older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in a costly repair.
As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money down the road. At Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics in Lawrence, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned out fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.
Posted in the Fuel System category
A question for our Lawrence Kansas motorists: How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your check engine light?
Hey, it's not there to create ambiance; it's a warning that something's wrong. When your check engine light comes on get it checked at a capable Lawrence Kansas service station.
Many conditions that cause the check engine light to come on affect fuel economy. Some very dramatically.
Always make sure you tighten your gas cap until it clicks. A loose gas cap can cause a false sensor reading that'll make the check engine light come on.
If your date's eyes are smoldering in the reflected glow of the check engine light, try to think of all the gas money you'll save by getting it fixed. Give us a call when you are ready: 785-842-8665
Posted in the Fuel System category