VIDEO BLOGDecember 10, 2015
Mount Juliet motorists know that engines need to burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your sedan engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.
There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the sedan engine.
Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional sedan engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.
For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.
Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the sedan engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions.
Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the sedan engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization. Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.
When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage as well as delivering less power to the engine.
Mount Juliet car owners should understand that fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more pricey. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.
So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.
If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, Mount Juliet car owners will enjoy better gas mileage and their fuel injectors will last for a long time.
The drive train in your vehicle includes all the critical components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.
Let’s start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.
Conder’s Automotive service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.
Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.
Conder’s Automotive service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.
All-wheel drive sedans provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.
Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.
Servicing an all-wheel drive at Conder’s Automotive involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Mount Juliet auto owners encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.
Mount Juliet car owners would be wise to check with their owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to service their sedan drive train. It’s also good auto advice to check with your friendly Conder’s Automotive service specialist as well. You may live in an area in Tennessee where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.
If you drive off-road, it is essential to service your driveline more often frequently than the typical recommendation. Conditions encountered off-road around the Nashville area are particularly hard on your driveline.
Good car care at Conder’s Automotive in Mount Juliet always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your sedan becomes a very large paperweight.
Conder’s Automotive is located at 441 East Division Street in Mount Juliet. We provide comprehensive auto repair and maintenance services for residents of Mount Juliet, Nolensville, Hermitage, Mount Juliet and Nashville.
At Conder’s Automotive we get a lot of Mount Juliet motorists asking about car trip preparation. That’s a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas outside of Mount Juliet so it’s important to know that the car is up to the task and won’t leave you stranded.
Smart Nashville auto owners plan ahead for a major road trip – there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Mount Juliet to see if you can feel any vibrations: are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? Come to Conder’s Automotive for a peace-of-mind trip inspection.
441 East Division Street
Mount Juliet, Tennessee 37209
The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your vital fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV valve and an engine air filter.
How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?
How are your wiper blades? There’s nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Mount Juliet.
Check your owners’ manual for any other vital recommended service and have Conder’s Automotive in Mount Juliet do the multi-point inspection before you head out in Tennessee.
Consider also having the coolant system serviced at Conder’s Automotive – you want to stay within the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re towing a trailer in Mount Juliet you’ll want to be keep in mind that you’ll be going a long way under severe conditions.
A lot of Mount Juliet folks overlook severe conditions like towing, or Mount Juliet summer heat, or driving on dirt roads in Tennessee. Plan ahead for your next road trip – Conder’s Automotive wants you to get there and back.
Service to a vehicle’s power steering system is a critical part of preventive maintenance for quick Mount Juliet motorists. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your sedan’s wheels would have to come from you.
The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer sedans have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.
Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.
Mount Juliet drivers should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.
Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner’s manual or ask your friendly Conder’s Automotive service advisor to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.
When your fluid is replaced, your friendly Conder’s Automotive technician will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. Your Conder’s Automotive service professional can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner’s manual.
Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, Mount Juliet drivers who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.
To protect your steering system should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.
Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough Tennessee driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Mount Juliet auto owners should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.
For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at Conder’s Automotive. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.
Knowing how their engine works can help Mount Juliet motorists make informed decisions about car care and prevent costly 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 Mount Juliet area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many auto makers use them to save money.
Timing belts wear out and break, so a key part of preventive maintenance for Mount Juliet drivers 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 Mount Juliet car owners. 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 Mount Juliet 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 Mount Juliet 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 Conder’s Automotive service specialist. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.