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Low Power Mystery (Ignition Coil Service)

It's no fun when your vehicle just doesn't run the way it used to.   You may notice (especially in cold weather) the engine won't start easily or when it does start, it doesn't run smoothly. It may not have much power at all. You also may have had to stop at the gas station more often, a sign your fuel economy isn't what it used to be.  There could be a few different things that cause those symptoms, but one culprit could be a bad ignition coil. The coil takes the voltage from your battery and multiplies it before that power is sent over to a spark plug. That allows the plug to fire off a good jolt of electricity that ignites the fuel in your cylinder and powers the engine.  There's usually one ignition coil for each cylinder (or sometimes for a pair of cylinders). If only one of them is not pushing out enough electricity, it can cause big trouble with your engine performance.  Other signs of a bad ignition coil include engine backfire, an oil leak and your Che ... read more

How Far We've Come (Newer Vehicle Technology)

Automotive design has come a long way since the days of the Model T, especially when it comes to safety technology.  You can thank computers for a lot of the latest innovations.  Here are a few that have been making their mark in recent years. Adaptive cruise control.  This is cruise control with a brain.  Not only will adaptive cruise control keep your vehicle going at a steady speed, it will also slow it down and even stop it if the vehicle ahead of you slows down and stops.  Automatic emergency braking.  We've all been distracted while driving, and you've probably been in a situation where the driver ahead of you has suddenly stopped.  Or maybe your attention wandered for a minute and you looked up to see your vehicle closing in fast on the car ahead of you.  (After all, there are a lot more distractions in your vehicle these days.)  New systems that use cameras, lasers and other types of sensors will warn you to start braking.  If y ... read more

Categories:

Automotive News

Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment for Your San Diego Vehicle

Imagine you've left San Diego and you're up in the arctic on a dog sled.Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground quickly. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side.That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you're covering less ground for the same effort.You're wasting kibble.The same is true of your vehicle when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that's pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the vehicle; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed. You're wasting gas.So have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. It is important to get it checked right away if you feel the vehicle pulling to one side.Sometimes we San Diego residents bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can take ... read more

Categories:

Alignment

Sounds Like a Hot Rod (Noisy Exhaust System)

Driving along, your exhaust system's rumbling so loud that people turn and stare at you pass by.  You're wondering when the police are going to pull you over for illegal noise. Your mind immediately thinks, aha! A broken muffler.  Well, your exhaust system is composed of many more parts than just a muffler.  Your engine makes power because of thousands of tiny explosions from detonating fuel.  Those explosions make a racket, so engineers came up with a system that acoustically dampens that sound in addition to getting rid of harmful exhaust. In the engine is the exhaust manifold that looks like several pipes that join up into one pipe.  It directs exhaust to the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter converts harmful gases into less harmful gases using certain chemical reactions.  Then comes the muffler that has baffles inside to quiet the sounds of your engine noise.  Finally: the tailpipe. All of those pipes and parts are joined together by cl ... read more

Categories:

Exhaust

Make Your Vehicle Last

We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, CA folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most San Diego drivers couldn't afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.It's a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us CA penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us San Diego vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and for clog ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some San Diego drivers, and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most people. 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 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 high speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your San Diego 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 knowledgeable pros at Pacific Highway Auto Repair to get it checked out.Some more information on how the Check Engine light works ... read more

A "Mounting" Problem (Motor Mounts)

You know how heavy your engine and transmission are, so you can imagine how tough the parts that hold them onto your vehicle's sub-frame must be.  Not only must they support the weight, they also have to isolate vibrations and noise from the passenger cabin.  Pretty tall order, wouldn't you say? The parts that face that task daily are called the motor mounts, or engine mounts.  They are usually made of rubber with steel brackets.  Others contain a liquid for vibration and sound isolation.  Most vehicles have three or four motor mounts, and while rubber or hydraulic liquids do a good job of damping the vibrations from the engine, they also have their limitations.  The problem with rubber is that it gets old and brittle.  Plus, if there's an oil leak anywhere in your engine and oil gets on the rubber motor mounts, rubber will deteriorate even more quickly.  As for the liquid motor mounts, they can develop leaks and stop working.  Here are sign ... read more

Chilly Warning (Diagnosing a Noise in Cold Vehicle)

When the weather gets colder, sometimes the noises your vehicle makes will change.  For example, you may notice a whining sound when you get going in the morning.  It may go away when the vehicle warms up, but it's best not to ignore that sound because it could be a warning of worse things to come. Colder temperatures cause different components to behave differently.  Let's take a look at a few of them.  First, the fluids in your vehicle.  Cold temperatures can make them behave a little differently, such as engine oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluid. Those characteristics could change if the fluids are older and full of contaminants. Belts also can create a whining noise when cold.  Since they turn pulleys that move other things, several factors can create issues.  Increased friction can change proper tensions on belts.  Plus, belts change as they age and may crack, get loose or develop a glazed surface. Belts and pulleys also must b ... read more

The Pacific Highway Auto Repair Guide to Caring for Your Transmission

Most vehicles have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of San Diego drivers only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in San Diego. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there's an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you're doing.Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That's what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on CA roads. And it automatically shifts back down to climb San Diego hills, pass or start up again.Vehicle automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: the base is four speeds, five is very common. At Pacific Highway ... read more

Categories:

Transmission

Emergency Items for Your vehicle

Local San Diego roadside emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So you may want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car at all times and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip.Your close-to-home kit for around San Diego would have some basic items to work on your car: everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You'll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools.Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots. Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card.People who live in areas with frequent severe weather or earthquakes may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies.For trips away from home, con ... read more

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Parts
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