How Your Check Engine Light Works
Posted August 26, 2018 07:51 AM
Have you ever had an experience like this in Spring Hill, Florida? You drive through the one of those automatic car washes. When you get to the end, where the dryer is blowing, your Check Engine light starts flashing!
You fear the worst, but within a block or two, the light stops flashing, but stays on. By the next day, the light is off.
You wonder; "What was going on?" Well, it's actually a good lesson in how the Check Engine light works.
Your air intake system has a sensor that measures how much air is coming through it. When you went under the high-speed dryer, all that air was blasting past the sensor. Your engine computer was saying, there shouldn't be that much air when the engine is just idling. Something's wrong. Whatever's wrong could cause some serious engine damage.
Warning, warning! It flashes the Check Engine light to alert you to take immediate action.
It stopped flashing because once you were out from under the dryer, the airflow returned to normal. Now the engine control computer says the danger is past, but I'm still concerned, I'll keep this light on for now.
Then the Check Engine light goes off in a day or two.
The condition never did recur, so the computer says whatever it was, it's gone now. The danger is past, I'll turn that light off.
Now a flashing Check Engine light is serious. You need to get it into George's Wholesale Tire & Auto as soon as possible. But if it stops flashing you can wait a few days, so you have time to see if the problem will clear itself or if you need to get it checked. How does the computer know when to clear itself?
Think of it this way. The engine control computer is the brain that can make adjustments to manage the engine. Things like alter the air-to- fuel mix, spark advance and so on. The computer relies on a series of sensors to get the information it needs to make decisions on what to do.
The computer knows what readings are in a normal range for various conditions. Get out of range, and it logs a trouble code and lights up the Check Engine warning.
The computer will then try to make adjustments if it can. If the computer can't compensate for the problem, the Check Engine light stays on.
The computer logs a trouble code. Some people think the code will tell the technician exactly what's wrong.
Actually, the code will tell the technician what sensor reading is out of parameters. It can't really tell him why, because there could be any number of causes.
Let's say you're feeling hot. You get your heat sensor out – a thermometer – put it under our tongue and in a minute or two you learn that you have a fever of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).
You know your symptom – a fever – but you don't know what's causing it. Is it the flu, a sinus infection or appendicitis?
You need more information than just that one sensor reading. But it does give you a place to start and narrows down the possible problems.
There are reports on the internet telling you that you can just go down to an auto parts store and get them to read your trouble code or buy a cheap scan tool to do it yourself.
There are two problems with that. First, the computer stores some trouble codes in short term memory and some in permanent memory. Each manufacturer's computer stores generic trouble codes, but they also store codes that are specific to their brand.
A cheap, generic scan tool, like you can buy online or that the auto parts store uses, doesn't have the ability to retrieve long-term storage or manufacturer specific codes. Your Spring Hill, Florida, service center has spent a lot of money on high-end scan tools and software to do a deep retrieval of information from your engine control computer.
The second problem is that once you've got the information, do you know what to do with it? For example, a very common trouble code comes up when the reading on the oxygen sensor is out of whack.
So the common solution is for the auto parts store to sell you a new oxygen sensor — which is not cheap — and send you off on your way. Now your oxygen sensor may indeed have been bad and needed replacing. But the error code could have come from any of a dozen of other problems.
How do you know the right solution? Back to the fever analogy, do you need surgery or an aspirin? Leave it to the pros at George's Wholesale Tire & Auto. Give us a call and let us help you resolve your check engine light issue.
Budget for Maintenance in Spring Hill
Posted August 19, 2018 03:11 AM
Sometimes busy Spring Hill residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Florida in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today's automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Spring Hill residents spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today's vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.
Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today's Spring Hill drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience, and it's likely that yesterday's Spring Hill drivers didn't care much for it, either. So on today's vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Spring Hill area auto service centers.
Spring Hill drivers certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Vehicle care in Florida simply costs more than it used to. So if you think about it, Spring Hill drivers can avoid many vehicle repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.
Just a bit of auto advice from George's Wholesale Tire & Auto: If you like new vehicles and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new vehicle every few years because you're afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Florida auto insurance with an older vehicle and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for preventive maintenance you have done at George's Wholesale Tire & Auto, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less!
To Fix or Not To Fix: That Is the Question.
Posted August 12, 2018 01:18 AM
No matter what vehicle you drive, when certain things break, you have to make a decision. Should I get it fixed now, later or never? Air conditioning is one of those things. You can certainly live without air conditioning, but it sure is nice to have on a sweltering day.
Let's say your air conditioning breaks in the fall and you live in a climate where it gets quite cold in the winter. Should you get it fixed now, wait until spring since it won't get warm until then or maybe not get it fixed at all?
That can be a tough decision. There are several reasons air conditioning in vehicles break. One is fairly simple: It could be an electrical problem, perhaps a relay or solenoid is not turning on the system. It's also a fairly inexpensive repair and doesn't require hours of labor.
Or, the problem is that the coolant has leaked out. Your service facility can find the leak and replace the parts that are leaking. With a refrigerant recharge, you're back in business. The repair costs vary, depending on the reason for the leak.
When air conditioning malfunctions involve a compressor, evaporator or condenser, the costs can be significant since parts and labor add up. Depending on the age and value of your vehicle, you may choose to simply roll down the windows and live with it.
Keep in mind that many vehicles in cold climates use air conditioning in winter. Many vehicles automatically turn on the A/C when you use the defroster. The A/C dries the heated air it blows on the windshield and side windows to eliminate fogging more quickly. Outside conditions such as snow and ice can severely hamper visibility. Add to that fogging on the inside and it can present very challenging conditions for the driver.
In order for all systems to be functioning optimally, a vehicle owner might feel it's worth it for safety reasons to get a broken air conditioner fixed, even if it is done right before the approach of cold weather. Discuss these options with your service advisor so you can make the best decision for your situation.
Go Straight: Wheel Alignment for Spring Hill Automobiles
Posted August 07, 2018 12:40 PM
Spring Hill drivers may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel's off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn't feel like it handles right as they drive down Spring Hill, Florida, streets and roads.
When all of a vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other objects around Spring Hill are great ways to knock a car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels start pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.
The team at George's Wholesale Tire & Auto in Spring Hill wants you to know that driving for an extended time when your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.
At the very least, those who drive with wheels out of alignment will have to replace their tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be expensive. The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.
Now, let's discuss some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.
So, what is involved in an alignment check at George's Wholesale Tire & Auto in Spring Hill? First, there's an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything is bent or broken. Tire condition will also be evaluated. Next, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and we take an initial alignment reading.
If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle's centerline. If the back wheels aren't adjustable, the direction they push is determined and the front wheels are aligned to match.
Like most things, vehicle manufacturers have recommended a mileage interval for having alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that's given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive around the Spring Hill area. It's better for vehicle owners to have their alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear; by then, the damage is done.
Getting your alignment checked at George's Wholesale Tire & Auto when necessary is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety in Florida.
Come see us at for more information about your tire alignment. We look forward to serving you.