Why is My Check Engine Light On?Posted March 6, 2014 4:10 PM
The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Kearns motorists and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us Kearns drivers.
Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause critical engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at Utah expressway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Kearns service center.
If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your friendly and honest Gines Auto Service tech to get it checked out.
Some more Kearns information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative for Kearns motorists. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.
In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the vehicle's Check Engine Light.
A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.
Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light.
If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your vehicle looked at. Your friendly and honest Gines Auto Service service professional will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.
Posted in the Monitoring System category
Is Your Kearns Driving Severe?Posted February 26, 2014 7:30 AM
People near Kearns Utah often ask Gines Auto Service how often they should have a particular service done. It's a great thing to ask. You can look at your owner's manual, or have your Kearns Utah service advisor at Gines Auto Service look up your vehicle in a service database. What you find is often a surprise to people – there are actually two service schedules.
One is the regular schedule and the other is the severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe service schedule. When asked, most folks in Kearns Utah will say that their driving is normal and that the 'regular' schedule probably applies to them. 'Severe service' sounds pretty extreme – 'I don't drive like that'.
Well, here is what the manufacturers say constitutes severe driving conditions; you can draw your own conclusions.
- Most of your trips are less than four miles.
- Most of your trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing.
- The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway. You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
- You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
- Drive with a car-top carrier.
- Stop and go driving.
- Driving in very hot or very cold weather.
If that's severe driving, what constitutes regular driving? Well, it would look something like this: I live somewhere with moderate temperatures all year round – I'm thinking San Diego here. And I live close to a freeway on-ramp. Everywhere I need to go is right off the freeway, at least four miles from my home. I can drive at a steady 60 miles per hour when I'm on the freeway.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like my normal driving. It sounds more like ideal conditions. I live where it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I run short errands around Kearns. Occasionally we load up for family trips.
For me, normal driving includes elements of severe service driving. So here's what I tell people: think about how you drive, where you live, where you go and what you are expecting to with your vehicle in the near future.
Picture a line with 'regular' on one end and 'severe' on the other, and make a judgment on where you fall. If your regular oil change recommendation is 5,000 miles and the severe service recommendation is 3,000 – when should you change your oil? For me, it's closer to 3,000 miles. For my wife, it's closer to 5,000 miles. Your Kearns Utah auto service advisor at Gines Auto Service will be happy to have this discussion with you and help you sort it out.
Just a quick word on why severe service intervals are shorter. One has to do with heat. That can either be external heat from the weather or engine and transmission heat from stop and go driving or working extra hard moving heavy loads or towing. The heat causes the fluids like oil and transmission fluid to break down more quickly and then they aren't as effective.
Another factor is water. Moisture naturally collects in fluids as they cool. In your motor oil, for example, if you don't drive long enough for the oil to fully heat up, the water won't evaporate. Water in the oil can lead to the buildup of damaging sludge.
If you live where the air is dusty or polluted, fluids will become contaminated and filters will get dirtier more quickly.
So make an honest evaluation of your driving conditions. You've made the commitment to take care of your vehicles, so it only makes sense to follow the right schedule.
Posted in the Service Intervals category
Clean FuelPosted February 20, 2014 11:49 AM
Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the vehicle engine.
Kearns auto owners don’t need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better your vehicle engine will run.
Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your vehicle ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.
The harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your owner’s manual to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. Kearns motorists should change it before it becomes clogged. Your friendly and honest Gines Auto Service service specialist can help you with recommended fuel filter replacement schedules.
If your fuel filter becomes clogged, your vehicle engine will sputter when you drive at highway speeds or when you accelerate rapidly. A clogged filter allows enough fuel to run the car at low speeds around town in Kearns, but when you need a higher flow of fuel for faster speeds, or if you need a sudden burst of fuel, you just won’t be able to get it through the filter.
Kearns drivers take note: A clogged filter is actually dangerous. If you need to accelerate suddenly out of the path of danger, you just won’t have the power to do it.
Fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter becomes clogged, the valve allows some fuel to bypass the filter so the engine can keep running – just not enough to be running well.
That means, though, that dirty, unfiltered fuel is entering your engine. Instead of clogging up your filter, that dirt is now getting into your fuel injectors where it can cause serious damage. Fuel injectors are expensive; fuel filters are cheap. It doesn’t seem like a difficult choice.
Fuel filters are the epitome of preventive maintenance. They are cheap and easy to change, but neglecting them can lead to pricey repair bills for Kearns car owners. Some fuel filters are inside the fuel tank and cannot be routinely serviced – your friendly and honest Gines Auto Service service specialist will be able to tell you if this applies to your vehicle.
Good car care means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered in every owner’s manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected at Gines Auto Service. It may save Kearns drivers money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay them in improved fuel economy, safety and peace of mind.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Emergency Items For Salt Lake City car ownersPosted February 13, 2014 4:50 PM
Safe Utah travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at Gines Auto Service. But there are other things Kearns drivers can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here’s some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else’s.
First, Kearns motorists should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.
Some critical items you should carry in your vehicle include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.
But taking care of your vehicle is only part of emergency preparedness. It is vital to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in Utah and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.
Depending on where you live, you may need to add other key items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy Utah season, some salt, a hand shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your Utah area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your vehicle for emergencies.
When you travel away from your Kearns home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave, and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light, and food.
When you travel, it is essential to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.
The automotive professionals at Gines Auto Service want Kearns car owners to be safe. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.
Posted in the Safety category
The Gines Auto Service Guide To Vehicle DiagnosisPosted February 7, 2014 10:22 AM
Modern Kearns vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.
Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It’s no wonder that when something goes wrong with their vehicle it can be pretty complicated for Kearns auto owners to track down the source of the problem.
To help your Gines Auto Service service specialist figure out what’s wrong, your vehicle is equipped with on-board diagnostics. The Check Engine Light comes on to tell you there’s a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your friendly and honest Gines Auto Service technician connects a scan tool to your vehicle’s diagnostic port and retrieves the trouble codes as well as other important data.
Trouble codes are like clues for the Salt Lake City technician to follow as he diagnoses what’s wrong with your vehicle. In a way, it’s like going to your Kearns doctor with a problem. She’ll run some additional tests and gather the information she needs to make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. How much a vehicle diagnosis costs at Gines Auto Service in Kearns depends on how much time it takes to sort out the symptoms and find the underlying problem.
Give us a call
Gines Auto Service
4261 W 5415 S
Kearns, Utah 84118
Posted in the Diagnostics category
Fuel Injection: It Keeps Getting Better for Kearns DriversPosted January 31, 2014 7:33 AM
Kearns car owners know that engines need to burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your vehicle 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 vehicle engine.
Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional vehicle 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 vehicle 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 vehicle 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.
Kearns auto owners should understand that fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. 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, Kearns motorists will enjoy better fuel efficiency and their fuel injectors will last for a long time.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Protecting Your vehicle From Theft In Kearns UtahPosted January 22, 2014 10:48 AM
Every car in Kearns Utah is at risk for theft. So it's up to us to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:
- Common sense
- Visible and audible devices
- Immobilizing devices
- Tracking devices
Let's review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen from Kearns Utah where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys, and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it's against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.
And don't leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Try to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.
Remember to roll up your windows completely and avoid leaving your car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.
Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive "smash-and-grab" targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.
There are lots of visible and audible devices available. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what's going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.
Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don't approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.
And here's a great one - immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car's electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can't drive your car away.
Finally, you can also get a tracking device that allows police to track your car down and recover it quickly.
Remember, where you live, work and drive around Kearns Utah has a great impact on your decisions. If you're in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Kearns Utah auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.
Of course, the common sense suggestions from Gines Auto Service don't cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.
Come see us for practical advice on keeping your vehicle safe.
Gines Auto Service
4261 W 5415 S, Kearns, Utah 84118
Call us at 801-966-6021
Posted in the Automotive News category
I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement In KearnsPosted January 14, 2014 2:15 PM
About 90% of our driving decisions in Salt Lake City are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important.
Most Salt Lake City car owners have experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our vehicle windshield is just dirty. In fact, it’s estimated that 46,000,000 car owners across the nation are driving with wipers that can’t adequately clear their windshield in a storm.
It seems like your wiper blades are always at their worst when you need them the most. If that sounds like you, you’ve got plenty of company in the Salt Lake City area. 78% of drivers only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.
Us Kearns drivers need to change our thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as an important vehicle safety component. Then we’ll stay ahead of the storm.
You really ought to replace your wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of Utah, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.
Winter blades are made to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing Salt Lake City conditions, if your vehicle has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don’t use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.
Your wiper blades live outside in the freezing cold and blistering Kearns sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t clear the vehicle windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard; they can also scratch your windshield. That may require replacing the entire vehicle windshield – that's a significant consequence for neglecting such a small part.
AutoNetTV and Gines Auto Service recommend you replace worn blades right away. Your Kearns service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. At Gines Auto Service, they cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included.
Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though Gines Auto Service will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. Bring it with you if you’re heading out on a road trip.
Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn’t cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won’t clean your windows as well.
So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road.
Find us at:
Gines Auto Service
4261 W 5415 S
Kearns, Utah 84118
Posted in the Maintenance category
Fuel System Cleaning at Gines Auto Service in Kearns for Better PerformancePosted January 7, 2014 10:45 AM
A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.
Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.
The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.
Vehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine.
Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel economy and loss of engine performance.
So it’s critical to keep your fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name Utah fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel than do bargain stations in the Salt Lake City area.
The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.
Check your owner’s manual or Gines Auto Service in Kearns to find out how often you should change your fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle, your filter will need to be changed more often.
You can also purchase cleaners that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use.
If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at Gines Auto Service in Kearns that will result in better fuel efficiency and improved vehicle performance.
Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Tire Tread Depth for Kearns, UtahPosted January 1, 2014 8:11 AM
Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.
The Feds don't have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Gines Auto Service; (just call 801-966-6021) to find out what your requirements are in the Kearns, Utah area.
Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give you enough safety?
Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the big issue is braking on wet surfaces.
We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but you also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Kearns Utah, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.
Picture this: you’re driving in Kearns over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.
This is where the studies come in. We think you’ll be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it.
A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)
When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.
Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.
Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Kearns car owners follow that far behind the vehicle ahead? Obviously, this is a critical safety issue.
The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable, was the tires.
How do you know when your tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. 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 tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.
Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.
Tires are a big ticket item and most people in Kearns, Utah want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.
Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Gines Auto Service in Kearns.
Gines Auto Service
4261 W 5415 S
Kearns, Utah 84118
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category