Archive for January 31, 2013

Timing Belt

Ever heard the sad tale of a staggering repair bill from a broken timing belt? Bad news. Let’s take a lesson from their woes and remember to think about our timing belt.

First, let’s review what a timing belt does. The top part of the engine, over the cylinders is called the cylinder head. The head contains the valves. There’s at least one valve that lets the fresh air into the cylinder. This air, mixed with fuel, burns to create power. Then another valve or two open to allow the exhaust out of the engine. Each cylinder has 2 to 4 valves – that’s 12 to 24 valves for a V-6, up to 32 values on a V-8. The opening and closing of the valves is done by a camshaft. The timing belt uses the rotation of the engine to drive the camshaft which opens and close the valves. It’s called a timing belt because it has to be adjusted to rotate the camshaft to keep proper time with the engine so that everything’s in sync.

The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt . But some cars use a timing chain or timing gears instead of a belt. Timing chains and gears are much more durable, but manufacturers are using belts more because they are quieter – and cheaper. If you have a small or mid-sized passenger car, crossover or mini-van, chances are you have a timing belt.

Unfortunately, timing belts fail without any warning. That shuts you down right away. A technician can inspect your timing belt and look for cracks and looseness. But getting to the belt to take a look can be almost as much work as changing it on some cars. That’s why manufacturers recommend replacing the belt from time to time. For most vehicles it’s from 60,000 to 90,000 miles or 95,000 to a 145,000 kilometers. If your owners’ manual doesn’t specify an interval ask your service advisor.

One AutoNetTV producer has had two timing belts fail. The first was while he was waiting at a stop light – that repair cost several thousand dollars. The second was while driving on the highway – that one cost more than twice as much. Both had the cars out in the shop for three weeks. His cars had what we call “interference engines”, meaning that the valves and pistons are very close to each other. If the timing belt slips even one notch, the pistons will slam into the open valves. That’s why our friend’s highway failure was so much more expensive – his engine was traveling so fast that the valves were smashed and they chewed up the cylinder head.

A non-interference engine will just shut down if the timing belt breaks. You’re stranded, but the engine doesn’t suffer permanent damage. In both cases, our hapless friend was just a couple oil changes past the recommended interval for changing the timing belt. This is one of those things that you just cannot put off. Now replacing a timing belt is not cheap – but repairs for a broken belt can be many times as much.

Check your owners’ manual right away – especially if you have more than a 60,000 miles or 95,000 kilometers. You may need to get that belt replaced right away. And on many cars, the timing belt drives the water pump. So, it may be a good idea to replace the water pump while you’re at it because 90% of the work required for the new pump is already done with the belt change. Doing both at the same time saves you a lot of money because as they say, “timing’s everything”. Parts, Timing Belt

Better Service – Better Economy

The hottest Auburn news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Auburn. But we’ve found several basic things that any Auburn vehicle owner can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Sacramento environment. You can really impact your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one is keeping your tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Auburn service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your service advisor. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you get gas in your car. Many Auburn gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.

One item Auburn residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency! And with current gas prices in the Auburn area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save big bucks at the pump.

Now most people aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other key services spelled out in your owners’ manual.

Euro Motors knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Euro Motors – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your manufacturer.

Euro Motors Often Asked About Premium vs. Regular Gas

People in Auburn California often ask the question: “Will using premium gas make my car run better?” The answer is simple. But first, let’s talk about what exactly premium gasoline is.

Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around Auburn California also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences.

Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas.

There’s a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your manufacturer recommends.

For help identifying the type of gasoline your engine needs, come by our Auburn California service center:
Euro Motors
10068 Streeter Rd. #14
Auburn, California 95602
530-776-5343

Read your owner’s manual carefully to see if it’s acceptable to use lower grades. With some cars in Auburn California it is; the engine control computer can adapt. You’ll lose some performance, but won’t do damage. With other engines, using a lower grade of fuel could result in serious damage; so you don’t want to save a couple of bucks at the pump only to pay it out a hundred fold at the repair shop.

Your car will run best on the grade of gasoline recommended by the manufacturer.

Today’s computer controlled vehicles are optimized to run well on the recommended grade of fuel. Using a higher grade than is recommended will not give you any additional performance or better fuel economy.

Regulations require detergents for all grades of gasoline, so your engine will have the same protection, regardless of the grade of fuel you use. If you do hear some knocking or pinging from your engine, take it seriously and get your Sedan into Euro Motors. It may be a sign that you need a tune-up or some other repair.

In times of high gas prices, we’re all conscious of making our fuel dollar go further as we drive around Auburn California. Be sure to use the right gas for your car. Keep your tires properly inflated and your vehicle well maintained and you will get the best fuel economy possible.

Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down Around Auburn

There’s not much we can do about the price of gas in Auburn California, but we do quite a bit about how much we use as we’re driving on our Auburn streets.

Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

Slow Down In Auburn for Fuel Economy The first thing we can do is watch the ‘go-pedal’. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don’t need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Go a little slower on the freeway to Sacramento. Once you’re going more than sixty-five miles an hour your fuel economy starts to drop dramatically. Leave early so you don’t need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speed uses less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands.

Hey at current gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

Euro Motors
10068 Streeter Rd. #14
Auburn, California 95602
530-776-5343

Euro Motors: Good Service And Good Fuel Economy

Most of our Yuba City clients want to save on gas and seek our advice on improving fuel economy. At Euro Motors, we are frequently asked, however, just how much money Yuba City motorists can actually save.

Well the US government has a website dedicated to helping us use less fuel. It presents the cost savings in a way Yuba City car owners can relate to and is relevant for all vehicles. Let me give you an example: Having your Sedan engine properly tuned, can save up to 4%. If you’re paying three-fifty for a gallon of gas, you could save fourteen cents a gallon.

Euro Motors: Good Service And Good Fuel Economy

In today’s Euro Motors post, we’re going to talk about several things you can do to improve your Sedan fuel economy driving around Yuba City. We’ll tell you the potential savings per gallon of gas at three dollars and fifty cents, and we’ll show a graphic that also shows the savings at three and four dollars.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
TUNE UP 4% .12 .14 .16

The next item is replacing a clogged engine air filter. Your engine needs enough air to burn fuel efficiently for the best economy. A clean air filter means you get plenty of air. The fact that the air’s clean protects your engine. That can save you up to ten percent or thirty-five cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.OO $3.50 $4.00
AIR FILTER 10% .30 .35 .40

Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve economy by up to forty percent. That’s a whopping dollar forty in savings per gallon. Bring your car to Euro Motors and we’ll check your oxygen sensor.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
FAULTY O2 SENSOR 40% 1.20 1.40 1.60

Chances are that if your oxygen sensor is kaput your check engine light will come on. Now, there’s any number of things that could cause your check engine light to come on besides oxygen sensor problems. But if it’s on, get it checked out as soon as you can at Euro Motors.

Here’s an easy one. Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. That could save you three percent or eleven cents a gallon. Even a little drop in pressure will cost you at the pump so check your tires every week.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
TIRE INFLATION 3% .09 .11 .12

Your Sedan manufacturer has recommended a specific weight of motor oil. The recommendation is based on engine design and will give you the best protection. Using a heavier weight could cost one to two percent in reduced fuel economy, or up to seven cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
RIGHT GRADE MOTOR OIL 2% .06 .07 .08

Here’s one that’s free: Take it easy when you drive. Aggressive driving (we’ve all seen this on Yuba City roads), rocketing away from stop lights, standing on the brakes, punching it for lane changes – really takes a toll on your fuel economy.

Cutting out aggressive driving around Yuba City can save five percent or eighteen cents a gallon. Now on the highway it gets really costly: thirty three percent or a buck sixteen a gallon. Think about that.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
DRIVE AGRESSIVELY – MIN. 5% .15 .18 .20
DRIVE AGGRESSIVELY – MAX. 33$ .99 1.16 1.32

 A related item is exceeding the speed limit. For example, if the speed limit is sixty miles per hour an additional five miles will cost seven percent or twenty-five cents a gallon. Fifteen miles per hour will cost you upwards of eighty cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
SPEED LIMIT – MIN. 7% .21 .25 .28
SPEED LIMIT – MAX. 23% .69 .81 .92

The last thing we’ll talk about is excess weight. Our Sedans tend to accumulate a lot of things and the weight adds up. Clear out the trunk and only haul stuff when you really need it. For every one hundred pounds you can save two percent or seven cents a gallon.

Sorry honey, your brother can’t come with. It’d cost an extra thirty cents a gallon.