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Tech Articles

Are you ready for Change
The changing sights and sounds of autumn are all around us. Colours transform from greens to gold to crimson, leaves rustling, geese honking overhead on their journey south. Sound serene? Unfortunately we're going to make your think ahead to icy snow covered roads and cold blustery wintry mornings. Will you and your vehicle be prepared for that change too?

Behind the Wheel
The job of a vehicle suspension is to maximize the friction between the tires and the road surface, to provide steering stability with good handling and to ensure comfort for you and your passengers. Usually changes in steering performance are so subtle that many motorists do not think to have their steering and suspension checked until there is an obvious control problem. There are a number of items that play a very important part in safe vehicle handling. Here are some of these components and their functions located between your front wheels.

Brake Noises 101
When it occurs, brake noise may be irritating. However, some sounds are a very normal part of brake operation, while others may indicate a problem. How can you tell when noises from your vehicle's brakes are something to ignore or a problem that needs attention.

Computer Technology and Your Car
Each year, cars seem to get more and more complicated. All vehicles manufactured today contain at least one computer. It is in charge of monitoring engine emissions and adjusting the engine to keep emissions as low as possible. The computer receives information from many different sensors, including oxygen sensors, map sensor, air temperature sensor, engine temperature sensor, throttle position sensor & knock sensor to list a few..

Cooling Systems
Your vehicle's engine transforms gasoline into mechanical power to drive the wheels, most of the energy in the gasoline (approx 70%) is converted into heat, and it is the job of the cooling system to take and dissipate that heat. In fact, driving down the highway produces enough energy to heat a three-bedroom home.

Diagnostics Today
During my 30 years in the automotive repair field I have seen a lot of changes in the way vehicles are built and how they operate. We have become as dependent on the electronic age in automobiles in the same way that we have in most other facets of our everyday lives. Thirty years ago cars were simpler and most of the controls were mechanical and easy to repair. With a basic set of hand tools, one could maintain the family automobile and doing so could save a few bucks..

Don't Knock the Octane
Gasoline comes in different grades or octane levels. Most places that sell gasoline offer three octane grades of unleaded gasoline. Regular is indexed at 87, mid-grade at 89, and premium at 93. One is best for your car and driving habits, but which one? Here is some information about octane to help you answer that question.

Driver Safety at Accident Scenes
Often an accident happens because of poor driving conditions. If people are paying more attention to the accident than they are to their driving it creates the possibility of another accident at the same place.

EGR Valve
EGR Valves or exhaust gas recirculation valves have been around since the early 70's. Their purpose is to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a major source of air pollution. Smog is created when nitrogen oxide is emitted from the tailpipe of your vehicle and combines with moisture and dust in the presence of sunlight. A lot of sunlight is needed to create smog, which is why we have more smog in the summer than in winter.

Ontario's Drive Clean Program Update
The Ontario Drive Clean program, launched in 1999, reduces harmful vehicle emissions by identifying vehicles that do not meet provincial standards and requiring them to be repaired. The program includes cars, pick-up trucks and other light-duty vehicles throughout the area of the province with the highest population density and the greatest number of vehicles. It also requires emissions tests for diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks and buses registered anywhere in Ontario, as well as non-diesel heavy-duty vehicles in the smog zone.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can operate on two different fuels from the same tank. In the past we had vehicles that could run on propane & gasoline or natural gas & gasoline but they required two separate tanks. The alternate fuel most commonly used is ethanol with conventional gasoline. We presently have E10 which has 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded gasoline and E85, 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline.

Fluid Diet for Your Vehicle
Today's high tech vehicles require maintenance, as always, in fact one of the most important things to do in the way of preventative maintenance is to change your engine oil regularly. Even in this day of extended drain intervals, it is incredibly important to remove contaminated and depleted oil and replacing it with new on a regular basis.

Four Wheel Alignment
Basically, alignment is making sure the wheels are operating parallel with one another, and that the tires meet the road at the correct angle. Wheel alignment is simply adjusting the relationship between the suspension and steering components, the wheels, and the frame of the vehicle. Car manufacturers recommend certain measurement specifications for each of these angles on every one of their vehicles. When the angles are all within specification, the vehicle is properly aligned achieving minimum rolling friction, longer tire life and maximum steering stability.

Fuel for Thought
Burning gasoline generates energy, and like the digestion of the foods we consume, we can compare the amount of energy in similar units. One litre ($0.92) of gasoline contains the rough equivalent of 7000 dietary calories. That's the equivalent of 30 Tim Horton's chocolate dip doughnuts ($22.50). What we ingest affects our health and performance, likewise, what we fuel the vehicle with, affects its health and performance.

Fuel Injection Systems
Vehicle fuel Injectors, like your teeth need a professional cleaning once a year and regular cleaning between check-ups. Fuel injector cleaning should be part of your regular engine maintenance plan. They are very crucial to the way your engine performs. It's important that they function at optimum levels; otherwise, you'll pay the price of poor drivability, reduced fuel economy, higher emissions and overall poor performance.

Combating Rising Fuel Prices
Counteract rising fuel prices by taking control of your vehicle's fuel consumption, can add extra mileage to every litre of fuel by following a few easy and inexpensive maintenance steps with your vehicle.

Fuel Savers
With the rise in fuel prices consumers are looking for ways to increase the fuel economy of their vehicles. Over the years there have been many different types of devices that have appeared on the market that have claimed to improve fuel economy and power.

Fuel System Basics
In keeping with the topic of gasoline, this month we will address the fuel delivery system of your car. This includes the fuel tank itself, all the lines, one or more fuel filters, a fuel pump, and the fuel metering components.

Get A Grip on Winter
For some of us the thoughts of equipping our vehicle with winter tires only enters our minds when we feel ourselves skidding into a curb or ditch on a set of badly worn treads or on all season tires that are not capable of handling our harsh Canadian winter conditions.

Half Ton Myth
So what's in a name? Not much when it comes to half-ton trucks.

Understanding horsepower is relatively simple to some and badly misunderstood by others. First, let’s note that horsepower is a measurement of energy that an engine can produce, the same that the watt is an electrical measurement of energy it will consume.

Hub Hubbub
Wheel bearings are located in the wheel hub assembly that hold the wheels to your axles and allow the wheels to rotate. Not only are wheel bearings designed to support the weight of the vehicle and allow it to travel over the road with a minimum of rolling friction, the bearings must also withstand the thrust loads generated by high-speed cornering and hard acceleration and braking.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Vehicles
Any vehicle that combines two or more sources of power that can, directly or indirectly, provide propulsion power is a hybrid. A mo-ped (motorized pedal bike) for example, is a type of hybrid because it combines the power of a gasoline engine with the pedal power of its rider.

Is Your Battery Ready for Winter?
Cold winter weather can mean hard starts for your vehicle so it is important to make sure your electrical system is in good operating condition. The battery is the heart of your vehicle and, if it is not healthy, your vehicle may fail to start on a cold morning. An engine and battery operate most efficiently at 25 degrees Celsius. At zero degrees Celsius a fully charged battery's cranking capacity drops to 65 percent, while the engines starting requirements increase from 100 percent to 155 percent.

Is Your Car Ready for Winter?
The song "Baby, it's Cold Outside" may date back to 1949 but Canadian winters have been cold a lot longer than that. And if you ask any technician, they'll tell you winter is the time of year when the most breakdowns and service calls occur.

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Hot Weather?
As the hot months of summer are approaching it is time to check your vehicles air conditioning, engine cooling system for proper operation and your vehicles filtration systems.

Keep your old Car or Buy a New One
It may shake and shudder, but your despised old car may be the best bargain around. Here are some facts on keeping your older vehicle running and knowing when it's really time to upgrade. Let's divide the car-buying world into two categories.

Being Kool
Most of the time we never think about our air conditioning system until the very first hot humid day of the season when we reach for the button on our dash to activate the air conditioner and it blows nothing but HOT air out the vents.

Letters on a Tire
There is a multitude of information on every tire but we will cover the basic important consumer information. You will also find information in your owner's manual and somewhere on the vehicle like the driver's doorjamb area, which will give the tire size and inflation pressures specific for your vehicle.

Malfunction Indicator Lamps
Twenty years ago we used to be concerned with only a few warning lights that monitored the condition of an important vehicle system such as oil or temperature. We called them "idiot lights". They did little more than indicate it was time to get your car off the road as soon as possible. Today's instrument panels, however, display multiple system lights that provide a wealth of information. This article is to take the mystery out of interpreting what they display and if it is safe to continue to operate your vehicle.

Motor Oil Facts
It's no exaggeration to say that without oil, the world would come to a halt. Motor oil is essential for almost any engine. You have a big investment in your vehicle, so it's important to understand the terminology and what oil to use in your engine. We will address some of the reoccurring questions that we get asked from time to time.

Oxygen Sensors
Since the mid 1980s, oxygen sensors have played a key role in the efficient operation of electronic fuel injected engines. The sensor is part of the emissions control system that supplies data to the engine's power control module (PCM). The job of the sensor is to help the engine run as efficiently as possible and also to produce as few emissions as possible.

Propelling Preferences
It seems that every manufacturer has several different configuration designs for delivering power to the wheels of your vehicle. The language used by the different carmakers can sometimes be a little confusing, so let’s clear up some terminology.

Protecting your Investment
For most people, a vehicle is a major investment, second only to buying a house. With tough economic times, one of the wisest things we can do is keep a well maintained vehicle and "not driving it till it breaks". Nobody likes the cost of vehicle repairs. The best way to prevent break downs and emergency repairs is regular vehicle inspection and maintenance.

How to Restore Your Engine's Performance
Today we are seeing a lot more engine performance problems caused by carbon and gum deposits. This can be due to an overall poorer quality of fuel we are getting from the today's pumps. These elements conspire to reduce the efficiency of an engine, by reducing fuel flow, distorting fuel spray patterns, decreasing fuel atomization and reducing combustion efficiency. While a certain amount of carbon build up is normal, over time the build up increases.

Servicing Your Transmission
Transmission fluid is a vital fluid to your vehicle and like your engine oil, with time to constant heat breaks down the fluid additives and the oil needs to be changed.

Shocks & Struts
How do you know if you need new shocks or struts? Here at Buehler Automotive & transmission we believe that informed customers are our best allies. When driving you will begin to notice deterioration in the handling of your vehicle as your shocks and struts begin to fail. Unchecked, this can lead to higher repair costs, potentially damaging your exhaust system, transmission or engine oil pans, radiator mounts or other under car components due to bottoming out of the suspension.

Snow Bitters
For some of us the thoughts of equipping our vehicle with winter tires only enters our minds when we feel ourselves skidding into a curb or ditch on a set of badly worn treads or on all seasons that are not capable of handling our harsh Canadian winter conditions.

Sounds You Hear
That sound coming from your car could be a serious problem or perhaps it's nothing to worry about. But that doesn't mean it should be ignored. When in doubt, take your car to a certified technician before that small problem becomes a big one.

Spring Cleaning
Our vehicles operate in a harsh environment that affects various automotive components. We have had a lengthy winter of slushy, salt-laden snow attacking every area imaginable on your automobile. This article addresses some of the things that need attention after a lengthy winter.

Summer Time & the Driving is Easy
Did you know that in Southern Ontario, the Vehicle Manufacturers consider our vehicles to operate in severe service conditions. The definition of "severe" conditions can include any of the following.

He said She said They said We said
Many of today's vehicle problems are caused by poor maintenance practices. The following are items that the manufacturers have recommended but we feel differently.

Timing Is Everything
For today's complex automotive engines as with many aspects of daily life, timing is critical. The most often overlooked item on an engine is the timing belt. An engine with overhead camshafts that uses a timing belt can have a limited life span if the belt is not replaced. Car manufacturers use belts instead of more durable chains because chains are noisier and cost more to produce.

Tire Pressure Monitors
Tire Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS) are being used on more and more new vehicles. Underinflated tires are potentially dangerous, especially if a vehicle is heavily loaded and traveling at highway speeds in hot weather. An underinflated tire on a hot day is a blowout waiting to happen. The pressure in the tires should be checked regularly, but many motorists do not check their tires and that is why tire pressure monitor systems have been legislated into use.

Tire's TLC
Each year Canadians spend millions of dollars on the purchase of tires. Tires add value to your vehicle when properly cared for. As one of the most important parts of a vehicle, proper tire maintenance involves very simple, routine tasks that can save you money, and help your vehicle perform to its maximum capabilities. By giving them a little attention you can enhance the performance of your car and make the tires last longer.

Trailer Towing
Towing a trailer behind your vehicle involves a lot more than "hooking up and moving on down the road". Know what you can tow, it sounds simple enough, but safely towing any type of trailer whether big or small involves a lot of know-how. Here are some basic tips.

Transmission Fluid Flush
Did you know that, a common cause of transmission failures is due to overheating and fluid contamination? Just like the oil in your vehicle's engine, automatic transmission fluid (ATF) suffers from heat, friction and electrochemical degradation. Once this process starts, your transmission's vital parts begin to build up with sludge and varnish deposits.

Treading the Pressure
One cannot overstress the importance of maintaining correct tire pressures on your vehicle. Tires are engineered to operate within a certain pressure range for maximum handling and safety. The recommended inflation pressure can be found in the vehicle owner's manual and on a decal usually located on the driver's door area. This recommended pressure is designed to give the best combination of ride comfort, load carrying capacity and rolling resistance for your vehicle.

Vehicle Accessories vs. Highway Traffic Act
This article contains questions and answers pertaining to add-on vehicle accessory products. We have gleaned the information from an OPP circulation, which is condensed from the High Way Traffic Act.

What Motor Oil for My Car
Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle's engine and what you use will depend on the type of vehicle, the age of vehicle and the type of driving you do. Today's engines run hotter for cleaner exhaust emissions and require different oils than the vehicles of even five years ago. There are two main reasons why vehicle manufacturers specify lighter viscosity grades of motor oil.

What's New is Old
Automobile manufacturers have always been constantly looking for new and innovative ways of changing their products to capture the eye of car buyers to get them to choose their vehicles. With fuel economy becoming a big concern to meet the government EPA's tighter standards and the motoring public's concern with vehicle performance, we have seen some major changes in new vehicles. While some may seem new, most have been redesigned from older engineering.

When You Step On the Gas
The gas pedal in your car is connected to the throttle valve. This is the valve that regulates how much AIR enters the engine. So the gas pedal is really the air pedal. When you step on the gas pedal, the throttle valve opens up more, letting in more air. The computer (ECU) “sees” the throttle valve open and increases the fuel rate in anticipation of more air entering the engine.

Winterize Now and Capitalize
The song "Baby, it's Cold Outside" may date back to 1949 but Canadian winters have been cold a lot longer than that. And if you ask any technician, they'll tell you winter is the time of year when the most breakdowns and service calls occur. The best way to avoid making that desperate plea to your repair facility is by doing a little preventive maintenance in advance.


Please take note that these documents can be used if helpful only if my name is recognized as the source (disclosure).

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