One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician in is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.
Cars in are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem.
If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.
Let us at Kraus Automotive introduce you to something we’ll call “Customer Detective Work” – that is, helping the technician find clues to what’s wrong.
We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Kraus Automotive and your car is making a funny sound…
- Where’s the sound? “Around the right front wheel.”
- What kind of sound? “Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.”
- When do you hear the sound? “When I turn and accelerate.”
- Right and left? Forwards and back?
You see where we’re going. You’re gathering additional information to help your technician at Kraus Automotive know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, we’ll know where to look on you vehicle and can start with the obvious suspects.
You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says, “Making a funny noise.”
When you think you need to take your vehicle in, make some notes about the problem it’s having. Rather than just saying, “It’s leaking,” tell the tech the color of the fluid and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.
Things like, “The car is stalling or sputtering” are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and may not be happening when you actually take the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.
Your technician at Kraus Automotive will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible, so he needs to know details, like, “It stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 mph/80 kph.”
If your technician at Kraus Automotive can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.
What do I need to do for my high mileage vehicle?
Kraus Automotive Answer:
drivers ask this question at Kraus Automotive a lot more these days. The median age for vehicles on roads is now over 11 years. Regardless of your reason for keeping your vehicle around, the good news for drivers is that it’s capable of going 150,000 to 200,000 miles (or 250,000 to 3500,000 kilometers) or more with proper care and professional automotive service at Kraus Automotive.
Here are some tips from Kraus Automotive on how to make your car last:
- First, drivers should follow all of their regularly scheduled maintenance routines. Things like oil changes, transmission and cooling system service are for avoiding damage. This reduces your overall cost for keeping your vehicle for a long time.
- Next, regular inspections are critical for drivers. Look, those parts are starting to get old and will become worn out the more you drive. Thorough inspections of various systems will uncover things that are nearing the end of their service life, like suspension, brake and steering components. Replacing worn parts early not only prevents breakdowns but relieves stress on related components so they will last longer as well.
- Another thing for drivers to consider is the use of special high mileage fluid formulations. For example, high mileage engine oil has special additives that condition those old seals and gaskets. It also has extra detergents to help keep that older vehicle engine clean inside. High mileage oil, transmission fluid, etc., costs a little more but can really head off some of the problems that are typical of older vehicles.
- One last thing for drivers would be to consult with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Kraus Automotive about the overall condition of your vehicle and your driving routines. It may be advisable to follow your vehicle’s severe service schedule.
- Even with the occasional unexpected repair associated with an older vehicle, you can still enjoy good, reliable transportation if you take good care of your ride.
Give us a call.
Let’s talk about cabin air filters. There seems to be some confusion about them among that we should be able to clear up. Much of the confusion starts because cabin air filters are relatively new. Not all vehicles in have them, so some folks confuse their cabin air filter with the engine air filter.
Every vehicle has an engine air filter that cleans the air going into the engine, but not all have a cabin air filter that cleans the air going into the passenger compartment. It’s easy to get mixed up.
The cabin air filter cleans out dust, pollen, spores and other pollutants. To give a point of comparison, a grain of sand is about 200 microns across. A cabin air filter can stop particles that are just 3 microns in size. It really does make the vehicle passenger cabin a much more pleasant environment.
When the cabin air filter gets dirty, drivers just need to replace it. Your owner’s manual may have a recommended interval for changing it. If not we can inspect it at Kraus Automotive in . You know, it’s ironic that many and people who don’t realize they even have a cabin air filter first find out they do when it starts to get smelly.
Some vehicle cabin air filters are very easy to access when it’s time to replace them. Others, not so much. Your friendly and knowledgeable Kraus Automotive may have to get behind the dashboard, and it takes some time.
A clean cabin air filter keeps out smog, allergens and other harmful pollutants. If it’s time, get it changed right away.
Give us a call.
There’s a common misconception that anti-lock brakes (ABS) help you stop faster. That is not always the case on loose gravel or snowy surfaces. Anti-lock brakes, in fact, are designed to help you maintain control of your vehicle in an emergency braking situation.
Imagine you are driving on a snowy road. You need to slam on your brakes and your rear wheels lock up. Chances are good that the rear end of your vehicle will try to pass the front end, and you can easily lose control. What would happen in the same circumstance if your front wheels locked up? Well you certainly would not be able to steer properly, and your front end would go wherever momentum leads it.
The ABS modulates your brakes on and off as many as 15 times a second. This keeps your wheels from locking up while providing the greatest amount of braking possible. You are better able to steer your vehicle and maintain control. People often talk about the 3 S’s of ABS: Stomp – Stay – Steer. Stomp on the brake, Stay on the brake and Steer normally.
Modern ABS utilizes a computer to receive information from sensors and control the anti-lock brakes. There are wheel speed sensors at each wheel reporting back to the computer, which can then decide when to activate the anti-lock brakes on the wheel or wheels in need.
So what affects how well the ABS works? First, the condition of your brakes: If your brakes are worn or not working properly, the ABS will not be able to do its job as effectively. A brake inspection from Kraus Automotive will let you know if your brake shoes/pads are in good condition, if there are any mechanical brake problems and if your brake fluid and power brake system are in need of service. Proper brake fluid maintenance by Kraus Automotive helps keep the brake control module in good working order. There can also be problems with the various sensors and the wiring that sends the messages to and from the computer. And, of course, your tires need to be in good condition in order to have enough traction to start, stop and steer. Worn tires are a big problem for ABS and stability control systems.
The ABS is the foundation of stability control systems, providing the information needed for stability control as well as to strategically brake a wheel when needed, So making sure your ABS is working well is very important. Also, the rolling diameter of your tires is one of the factors on which the computer uses to base anti-lock decisions. If you buy tires that are more than 3% larger or smaller than the tires that were installed at the factory, the ABS and stability control systems will not work properly. The pros at Kraus Automotive can recalibrate the computer for the new tire size so that the systems have the correct information.
When you start your vehicle, the ABS light will briefly illuminate on the dashboard. If the system detects a problem with itself, the light will stay on. That is your cue to take your vehicle to Kraus Automotive for an inspection to determine the problem. Kraus Automotive is your partner in keeping this important safety system operating as it should.