Archive for October 29, 2014

Maintaining Your Diesel in Sacramento

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Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven’t been as common in Sacramento because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Auburn car owners driving diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV’s.

Diesels are popular in Auburn because they get better gas mileage than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you’re not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don’t produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in California as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In Sacramento, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Auburn motorists’ dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles perform as well as other passenger vehicles, also. Most Elk Grove people don’t notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer in Yuba City, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don’t all Sacramento motorists drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven’t told me about. That’s true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in California. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more costly to drive in Sacramento. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in California, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for Auburn car owners depends now on the current price of fuel in California and how many miles you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Sacramento area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in California becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive in Auburn than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Auburn are similar. Wait, you may be thinking, but you just told me that filters are more pricey and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Euro Motors auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the Auburn driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

Cooling System Components


Today we want to talk about a key system in our cars – the cooling system. It’s one of those things that Auburn auto owners don’t give much thought to until it fails and then they’re stranded by the side of a road in Auburn.

Cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system – usually because of neglect. Don’t you hate it when something breaks, and you could have done something to prevent it?

The good news is that if Auburn auto owners take care of their cooling systems they can keep working for the life of their car.

Here at AutoNetTV and Euro Motors in Auburn, we emphasize essential preventive maintenance services like replacing your coolant according to the factory schedule. But the various parts that make up the cooling system need attention too. The major components of the cooling system are the water pump, freeze plugs, the thermostat, the radiator, cooling fans, the heater core, the pressure cap, the overflow tank and the hoses.

It sounds complicated, but we Auburn auto owners don’t have to be experts – we can leave that to our Friendly service advisor at Euro Motors. But, having an overview will help us remember how to take care of your car’s cooling system.

Most Auburn folks would be surprised to know that burning fuel in your engine produces up to 4,500 degrees of heat. And all that heat has to be dealt with. If the heat can’t be drawn off the engine, the pistons will literally weld themselves to the inside of the cylinders – then you just have to throw the engine away and get a new one. That would cost thousands of dollars.

Now the water pump is what forces the coolant through passages in the Sedan engine to absorb heat. The pump is driven by a belt that needs replacement from time to time. And the water pump will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Spending some cash on replacing the belts and water pump is much less than the cost of repairing the extremely pricey damage that can be done when an engine seizes.

There’s another little but critical part of the coolant system that protects the engine. It’s called a freeze plug. If you remember from high school chemistry, water expands when it freezes. In very cold areas, the coolant can actually freeze when the Sedan is left sitting.

It is hard to believe, but the expanding frozen coolant is effective enough to actually crack the engine block. The freeze plugs fit into the engine block. They fit tight enough to withstand the pressure of a running engine, but can expand or pop out if the coolant freezes. These little things save a lot of engine blocks.

That brings up a good point. An engine has to work in all kinds of California temperatures – extremely hot as well as very cold. How does the Sedan cooling system adapt to external temperatures as well as varying operating conditions?

Well, it’s much like the way you keep your Auburn house at a comfortable temperature all year round – with a thermostat. The thermostat in your Sedan controls how much coolant flows through your engine. When the engine is cold, it restricts coolant flow until the engine comes up to an efficient operating temperature. Then it starts opening up to move more coolant to keep the temperature within a specified range.

The thermostat needs to be replaced from time to time as well. It’s easy for your Euro Motors technician to diagnose a failed thermostat and is fairly inexpensive to replace. We can do this for you at Euro Motors in Auburn, just give us a call: 530-776-5343. Now we’ve been talking about all this heat we’ve got to get rid of, but haven’t really talked about where it goes. That’s where the radiator comes in. The hot coolant passes through the radiator. Air flows past the cooling fins and cools the coolant.

The radiator has two tanks that hold coolant: sometimes one at the top and bottom or one on either side. If you have an automatic transmission in your Sedan, one of the tanks will also contain a second tank that cools the transmission fluid. Large SUV’s and trucks often have a separate transmission cooler. So when Auburn drivers drive around Auburn, the air is forced past the radiator. But driving doesn’t produce enough air flow. So the radiator has cooling fans that force fresh air over the radiator. These fans may be powered by a belt or by electric motors.

Auburn auto owners also have something called a heater core. The heater core is like a mini radiator. A small fan blows air over the heater core and into the passenger compartment of your Sedan. That’s how Auburn motorists warm their cars when it’s cold out in California.

Next is the radiator cap. With most newer cars around Auburn, you never remove the radiator cap, except to replace it. You add coolant through the overflow tank. The radiator cap is also called a pressure cap, because its essential job is to maintain pressure in the cooling system.

High pressure raises the boiling point of the coolant, so it cools more effectively even in very demanding Sacramento conditions. That is why Auburn car owners need to replace the cap from time to time. The team at Euro Motors recommends changing it out every time you replace your coolant.

Coming back to the overflow tank, it is important because when the coolant gets hot it expands and the overflow holds the extra volume. The tank helps maintain the proper level of coolant and keeps air out of the system. Auburn auto owners should never open the radiator cap or over flow tank when the engine is hot. This could lead to serious burns.

What else do we Auburn motorists need to do to keep our cooling systems working well? Well, there are the hoses that hook all of these pieces together. They’re obviously very tough to deal with the pressure and high temperatures. But they do get worn. Sometimes they get spongy from the heat. Sometimes they lose their connection to the radiator, water pump, etc. It’s a great idea to have your Auburn service center or Friendly Euro Motors technician inspect your hoses at least once a year and replace them, if needed, before they break.

The team at Euro Motors can check your cooling system and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Give us a call at 530-776-5343.

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

Automobile Fluids For Your Sedan

If you’ve walked through the automotive fluids of an auto parts store in Sacramento, you’ll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what’s right for your vehicle?

As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the Sacramento area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.

First let’s talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.

Some vehicles around Sacramento come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the recommendation to use it for life. The safe bet is to always use what the factory recommends. The recommendation is what’s been proven to work in function and durability tests. The recommended oil is also a factor in determining oil change interval schedules.

Auburn California Auto Fluids A good quality oil has more additives that are engineered to clean and protect the engine. They cost a bit more, but are worth the extra protection. If you buy budget oil, you might want to consider shortening your oil change interval.

Sometimes fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. An example would be coolant. Because of the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We’ve seen special coolant in Sacramento for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler and others.

The same is true of transmission fluid and brake fluid in recent years.

The really good news is that your Sacramento service center has databases that tell them the recommended fluids for your vehicle. This takes all the guess work out. If you have some special needs, like a higher mileage engine or want enhanced performance, ask your service advisor for upgrades or additives that’ll meet your needs while being consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Of course, your full-service oil change will top off your fluids. But it’s a good idea to have some of everything at home in case you need to top something off yourself or to take on a trip. Ask your Sacramento service advisor at Euro Motors or check your owner’s manual for fluid specifications.

It’s important to know that there are national warranty laws that say that a manufacturer cannot require you to use their brand of fluid to maintain your warranty. That said, there are two things that may affect your warranty.

Using the wrong type of fluid may void the warranty. Going back to radiator coolant, the correct type protects against corrosion and the wrong type will not. So it’s important to be right.

Also some warranty protections are conditioned on taking care of scheduled preventive maintenance. Please review your warranty if you have questions.

Service to Improve Fuel Economy


The price of gas in California has got Auburn auto owners talking. It seems that Auburn folks who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are hit especially. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve gas mileage.

First let’s start with how we drive in the Sacramento area. Auburn drivers may not realize that they can really save cash on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts – you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don’t drive with one foot on the brake. That’s also a drag on gas mileage, and it wears out your brakes faster too.

Another thing Auburn motorists can do is drive slower – but only when it’s safe. Sometimes on the highway we drive an extra five … ten . . . twenty … over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave Auburn a little bit earlier, save some income and arrive more relaxed.

Auburn drivers can also try and combine all of their errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow – you can save some time and bucks.

Using your cruise control can save money too. Driving in Sacramento at a constant speed really improves gas mileage. Be sure to only use your cruise control in California under safe conditions – you can look in your owner’s manual for some essential good tips on using your cruise control.

Did you know that reducing the weight in your Sedan saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry around a lot of stuff around Sacramento you do not need in the car. If you live in California where there is snow and ice, clear it off your car. They add weight and mess with aerodynamics too.

Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going – just take it easy for a couple of miles.

Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.

Now, let’s start talking mechanical. Bottom line – the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in improved fuel efficiency before your next oil change – and will keep saving you cash after that.

A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends in gas mileage for Auburn auto owners. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power – so Auburn drivers can’t go wrong with that.

Some of us Auburn drivers ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.

And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your MPG. Don’t overlook the essential routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your auto maker’a recommended service intervals in the owner’s manual, or ask your Euro Motors service advisor for the schedule.

Don’t forget your tires. Under-inflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment you won’t get the gas mileage you need.

None of these things are very complicated or expensive for Auburn auto owners to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today, and prevent costly repairs tomorrow.

Easy Miles

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Have you ever noticed that your automobile manufacturer has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the vital parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Auburn are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Sacramento are less than four miles, you should examine using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Euro Motors in Auburn will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each Sedan engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of California highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Auburn all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why gas mileage ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Auburn auto owners think of severe California weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Sacramento area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Auburn weather is also detrimental for Sedans. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot California weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another essential element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Auburn areas are dangerous to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Auburn, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Auburn motorists drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Auburn car owners will ask themselves the question: “Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?” An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.