Archive for July 29, 2015

Viva la Differential At Euro Motors In Auburn

There are a lot of Auburn people who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in California these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Auburn folks don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind. So it’s not uncommon for Auburn people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any California high school. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside Sedan wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a Sedan moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.

Your Friendly Euro Motors service technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He’ll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Euro Motors service advisor can look up the Sedan manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual.

At Euro Motors, we’ve been providing quality automotive service for our valued Auburn customers for 15 years. If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at 530-776-5343.

The Euro Motors Guide To Servicing Your Differential

Differential? What’s that? And what’s it for? I’ve been told by my service professional that I need to get it serviced, but is that on the level?

Do these questions sound familiar? They’re not uncommon for Auburn motorists. A lot of us in Auburn don’t know what a differential is or what it’s for. Every vehicle has a differential, and, yes, it does need to be serviced. In fact, it’s more critical to the operation of your Sedan than the air conditioner or windshield wipers.

A differential allows your Sedan tires to move at different speeds. This happens more than you think. The best example is when a vehicle is turning. The inside wheel travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel during a turn. This means the outside wheel has to move faster than the inside wheel. Without a differential, your tires would hop and skip while turning. They would also lose traction in sand or snow.

The location of your differential depends on what kind of vehicle you drive. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located in the back. For a front-wheel drive vehicle, it is located on the front, but it is usually called a transaxle. Four-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials: one on the front, one in the back, and one in the middle. This center differential compensates for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Your differential contains strong gears that need to be protected from dirt, debris, water and other contaminants. A differential is sometimes referred to as a “gear box.” The work of these gears is to transfer power from the Sedan drive train to the wheels.

Your differential needs fluid to lubricate and cool the gears. This fluid, even though enclosed in the “gear box,” can get dirty because the gears grind down over time, releasing tiny bits of themselves into the fluid. Also, the additives in the differential fluid break down and need to be replaced. That’s why essential preventive maintenance for your Sedan needs to include servicing the differential.

Your owner’s manual can give you recommendations on how often to service your differential. But you should also consult with your Friendly Euro Motors tech. Euro Motors can give you some good auto advice on whether your vehicle needs to be serviced more frequently. For example, if you drive in hot or cold Auburn weather conditions, your differential will need to have its fluid changed more often.

Severe conditions will also affect your car care routine, and your differential. Check your owner’s manual for a definition of “severe service” conditions that affect your vehicle. Examples may include driving with frequent stops and starts, a lot of short trips around Sacramento, hot or cold California weather conditions, and towing.

Off-roading is particularly hard on a vehicle’s differential. If you are an off-roader, especially if you cross California streams or waterways, it is vital that you service your differential more frequently than the recommendations suggest.

Properly servicing your differential will extend its life and keep you out of Auburn auto repair shops. A smooth ride for Sacramento auto owners is the result of proper preparation and smart choices.

Euro Motors Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln

Welcome to the Euro Motors automotive blog. Today, let’s talk about the effect of tire tread depth on braking. When talking about stopping power, most Auburn and Elk Grove drivers tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn’t enough. Safe Elk Grove drivers need to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power.

Euro Motors Tire Safety Washington vs. LincolnLet’s focus on stopping in wet Elk Grove conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can’t move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.

That’s called hydroplaning. If it’s really bad, Elk Grove auto owners can actually spin out of control – endangering themselves and the other drivers around them. At best, you won’t stop as fast.

So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your Sedan tire and you’ll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They’re designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.

And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new Euro Motors tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your Sedan on wet Elk Grove roads.

So that’s why it’s so important for California motorists to replace their Sedan tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.

By comparison, you’ve probably seen the wear indicator that’s molded into tires. When tires are worn 3/32 of an inch, the tread wear bar is visible. So the recommended standard has twice the tread depth as a completely bald Sedan tire.

At Euro Motors, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Elk Grove highway. A safe stop from California freeway speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.

There’s an easy way to tell when a tire’s worn to 4/32 of an inch. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your Sedan tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Many Elk Grove motorists have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln’s head – the old method. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, Sedan tires are a major purchase. Most of us in Elk Grove want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there’s a real safety trade-off. It’s your choice.

Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money On Tires

Sacramento car owners want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. 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. To fix this, your service specialist at Euro Motors puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a Sedan wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Auburn to Elk Grove, 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 Sacramento folks’ tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more vital with them. Give Euro Motors a call to get our recommendation for your Sedan.

See your owner’s manual or ask your tech at Euro Motors for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tires are pricey and they are one of the most important safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

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

Good Timing: Proper Timing Belt Replacement Saves Money for Auburn Drivers

Knowing how their engine works can help Auburn drivers make informed decisions about car care and prevent expensive repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.

An engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.

All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.

Not all vehicles in the Auburn area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many car makers use them to save money.

Timing belts wear out and break, so an essential part of preventive maintenance for Auburn motorists is to replace the timing belt on schedule.

The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for Auburn drivers. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly detrimental situation depending on where you are driving around Auburn when it breaks, but it won’t cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren’t any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.

The timing belt doesn’t even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.

Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner’s manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles, but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles. If your owner’s manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles, however, don’t wait until 65,000 miles to get it done. Remember what you’re risking.

Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for Auburn auto owners. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.

For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your Friendly Euro Motors technician. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.