Posts Tagged ‘air filters for autos’

Check Engine Light On_Round jpegThe first step is not to panic! Realize that this is your car’s way of telling you there’s a problem that might just be a loose gas cap, but could be more serious and costly. Even if your car is driving OK, the problem won’t go away and could get worse and cost more to repair. To minimize further damage to your vehicle, it is important to have the problem diagnosed ASAP!

Here are the top 5 most common “check engine” light repairs, according to CarMD’s repair database. Most of these repairs have more to do with durability problems than faulty parts. Let’s face it, drivers are holding onto their cars longer than ever before, which is why it’s so important to fix small problems before they result in more expensive repairs.

    1. The no. 1 most common fix is “replace Oxygen Sensor.” The O2 sensor monitors the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and tells your car’s computer when there is either too much, or not enough fuel. So what’s it mean to you? A faulty O2 sensor costs less than $200 to fix but can lead to as much as a 40% reduction in gas mileage if ignored. At the price of gas today, this can cost you more than the actual repair over time.
    2. The no. 2 most common repair is “replace loose, damaged or missing gas cap.” Simply tightening the cap for free or replacing it for a couple dollars is the fix, but if left unchecked can result in a 0.5% decrease in gas mileage and harm the environment.
    3. “Replace catalytic converter(s)” is now the no. 3 most common car repair, but it shouldn’t even be in the top 10. A catalytic converter usually won’t fail unless a related part – such as a faulty spark plug – is ignored for too long. This is a great example of why it’s so important to address small problems early. A damaged catalytic converter will cost approximately $1,000 or more to fix.
    4. The no. 4 most common repair is “replace the Mass Air Flow Sensor.” The MAF sensor is responsible for calculating the air coming into your car and determining how much fuel to shoot into the engine. When malfunctioning, it can lower MPG by 10 to 25%. It costs about $375 to fix, but is vital to saving dollars at the pump.
    5. The small but mighty spark plug is no. 5. Responsible for igniting a car’s air/fuel ratio, spark plugs are essential. When they fail, they can cause a “misfire,” reduce gas mileage, and ultimately melt/ruin your catalytic converter. Having the repair done by certified mechanic costs a couple hundred dollars, but can save you thousands.

Whatever you do, don’t lazily slap a piece of black electrical tape over it and go about your business. Cars just need a little love from time to time to stay in good shape, and neglecting a minor issue could lead to bigger problems down the road. Here are the reasons why the ‘ole black electrical tape is not the best idea: Check out this video!

I hope you found our “Check Engine” Light Is ON…So? tips helpful! We would love to hear from you with your ideas and suggestions for future posts!

From our family to yours: be “safe on the road, and happy motoring”!

OBrien Automotive Family Celebrating 80 Years in the Business_small“Our family works for you.
Since 1933.”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, Anderson, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealers!

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Winter seems to be quickly approaching; and winter driving comes with it, are you road-ready? In addition to the added perils of winter driving, the change in weather can bring havoc to your car’s systems. Freezing temps, salted roads and wintery precipitation can gang up on your car if you have not done recommended maintenance throughout the year. As with any change of season, you should make sure you are up to date on recommended Winter Specific Maintenance:

  • Check your antifreeze
  • Inspect your tires
  • Replace your wipers
  • Check your windshield washer fluid
  • Clean your battery posts
  • Inspect your spark plug wires
  • Inspect your brakes
  • Check Your Engine Oil

In addition to my list of recommended winter specific maintenance suggestions, a checkup might include additional items depending on the type of vehicle that you drive. I would strongly suggest that you schedule a time before “the snow hits” so that you are prepared for our Indiana winter.

We have several service offers that you might want to take advantage of; or instance, a FREE Multi-Point Inspection / Cooling System Service / Tune-Up and more! Perhaps you would like our service offers sent to your mobile device? Check out our offers today!

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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I left the dealership this past Friday, and hadn’t gone a mile until my “low tire” light came on. Don’t know how you would react, but my heart sank. So, I thought I would provide some insight about this feature. I had not given it any thought, but vehicle manufacturers began to phase in TPMS beginning in the 2006 model year and were required to install it in all vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2007.  I talked to one of our Service Advisors and asked for him to explain to me how the feature works: There are two kinds of monitoring systems direct and indirect. To keep it short and sweet, the direct system monitors the actual pressure in the tire while the indirect system uses existing sensors in the ABS system which watches wheel speed to detect smaller tire diameter caused by under-inflation.

So, the culprit that caused my light to come on? When the temperature outside the tire changes, it will affect the pressure inside the tire. In the fall, the colder weather will significantly lower your tire pressure. If your tire pressure has been set during the hot summer months, the first major cold wave will cause the air to contract inside your tire, lowering the pressure, thus setting off your TPMS.



Word of advice: To alleviate that annoying tire light, check your tire pressure monthly, during the morning, when tires are cold. During this time, make sure all tires are at the PSI indicated in your manual. Additionally, you might consider replacing the air in your tires with nitrogen. My Service Advisor explains: by using nitrogen the molecules are larger than oxygen molecules. Seepage is thus reduced through the tire walls and where the tire meets the rim. Any moisture in the tire is also eliminated, which can affect inflation.

Questions about using nitrogen vs air in your tires? Check with one of our Service Advisors at your next Express Lane Service visit – no appointment needed!

Or, Schedule your appointment today…. CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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Fall is quickly approaching! The crisp days of fall offer an excellent opportunity to focus on preventive maintenance for your vehicle. Our seasonal service recommendations will help to prepare your car for the months ahead, so add a few minutes to your fall car care routine and make sure it’s ready before the cold sets in. Doing so will help it run better, last longer and retain its value, while providing safe and reliable transportation for you and your family.

So, about the time that our clocks “fall back”, you need to take care of what I like to call the “four b’s”:

  • Brakes – Does your car take a little longer to stop? Do you feel a slight pull to one side or a wobble in your seat or steering wheel when you brake suddenly? Do you hear any squeal or squeak when braking? Sometimes the squeak is due to the accumulation of brake pad ‘dust.’ This is normal for many vehicles. Just hose out your wheels as thoroughly as you can. (It’s best to allow to dry before driving.) If that remedies the squeak, good. If not, or you have any questions about your braking system’s performance, just bring your vehicle in and we’ll be happy to check things out for you.
  • Battery – more batteries fail in cold weather than any other time of year. It takes more power to start a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available. Batteries don’t always die slowly. They can fail without warning, too.
  • Belts –Inspect engine belts for cracking and pliability. If they are rigid, they should be replaced. Hoses deteriorate from the inside out; test them for spongy, brittle or bulging areas. Not sure about the condition? To make it through the winter problem-free, schedule an appointment for an inspection!
  • Blades – Examine wiper blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. In addition, wipers tend to build up a thin layer of grime during the summer that keeps the rubber blade from contacting the glass, which could result in smeared windshields and poor visibility.

In addition to inspecting my “four Bs,” a fall maintenance checkup may include: changing the oil; checking the radiator fluid levels; inspecting or replacing the oil filter and the air and cabin filters; inspecting the heating and exhaust systems; balancing and aligning the wheels; topping off all fluids; examining lights to make sure they work and that headlights are properly aimed; and rotating the tires, making sure to check the tire pressure and inspect the treads for wear.

Schedule your appointment today…. CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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So, what does this light mean? The “check engine” light is part of your car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) system. Since the 1980’s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed, fuel mixture, and ignition timing. In some cars, the computer also tells the automatic transmission when to shift. When this onboard diagnostics system finds a problem that it can’t correct, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator that is labeled by either “check engine,” “service engine soon,” or “check powertrain.”

Don’t you wish the alert could be a little more specific? Nope, it can’t. Unfortunately, the check engine light comes to life if anything, and I do mean anything isn’t 100% under the hood. This means that you could be staring at a major repair; or, your gas cap could be too loose (no kidding).

The most common problems that trigger the light are emission control malfunctions. The emission control system is what your car uses to try to keep our air a little cleaner. Here are a few of the more commonly occurring issues:

  • Your gas cap isn’t on tight enough. — Obviouosly, if this is what triggered the light, this is an easy enough problem to fix. Tighten the gas cap, and usually after 4 normal “global starts and cool downs”, the light will go off. (In layman’s terms: Drive the car as normal and after it has been driven 4-times, with the car being shut off and the engine gets cold between the starts / equals a “global start”)
  • Your engine got wet where it didn’t like it — Any electrical burp under the hood can cause one of your car’s gazillion sensors to take a funny reading. When it does, you can expect to see the Check Engine light. More common than rain water getting in there is the overzealous owner who sprays his engine down at the high pressure car wash, shooting water into every crevice of the engine, thus lighting the light.
  • Your spark plug wires are bad — As your spark plug wires start to get old, they may develop tiny cracks which can let little bursts of electricity out. This electricity was supposed to be going to a spark plug, and since it didn’t, the engine will misfire slightly, meaning one of the spark plugs didn’t spark enough.

What happens when I ignore the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT or put off the recommended service? There are two kinds of CHECK ENGINE LIGHT alerts. A non-flashing, but lit CHECK ENGINE LIGHT, is usually a less severe problem that shouldn’t cause immediate problems but needs to be checked as soon as possible. There is also a flashing and illuminated CHECK ENGINE LIGHT means your vehicle senses a critical system error (such as a major cylinder misfire ) and you need immediate attention before potentially breaking down and possibly damaging other critical and expensive parts. In this case, continuing to drive can lead to further damage rather quickly or can leave you stranded.

Bottom line; when the “check engine” light comes on, It’s like someone saying “My leg hurts a little,” or “I get out of breath when I climb stairs.” A doctor — or, for your car, a mechanic — still has to figure out what’s really causing the problem.

Schedule your appointment today…. CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.
Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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It’s a hassle, but you really do have to maintain your car properly if you want it to run well. So where to go? Below I’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of the dealers versus the corner garage. Bear in mind that when I say “corner garage”, I mean smaller, independent repair shops; not the chains like Midas, Jiffy Lube, Meineke or Pep Boys. Those chains, which often specialize in one “area” of the car, fall in a middle ground between the dealerships and the mom-and-pop repair shops.

Why consider the dealership?

  • Technicians at the dealer level are specialists; they are manufacturer-trained and typically work only on your make of vehicle. Also, dealers have an ongoing training program for the service staff.
  • Dealer service departments most generally provide a shuttle back to your office or home, provided it’s no farther than five miles or so.
  • What about warranties? There, the advantage definitely goes to the dealer. First, a dealer will perform repairs for free if your car is still under warranty. Even if you have to pay for repairs outside the warranty period, dealers back up their repairs with a warranty that is good nationwide. Thus, if the repair doesn’t hold, it can be fixed free of charge at any other dealer.
  • The dealer also offers manufacturer-backed extended warranties for both new and used vehicle purchases. The manufacturer-backed extended warranties makes service easier because there is a large network of dealers; this is especially important if you plan on moving or do a lot of traveling in your vehicle.
  • Because the dealership represents the manufacturer, service departments are required to measure up to corporate standards of customer satisfaction.
  • Dealer service departments have a distinct advantage when it comes to manufacturer recalls and technical service bulletins.
  • Manufacturers and their dealers offer only OE (Original Equipment) parts, which represent a standard of quality and engineering that only the manufacturer can authorize. A 12-month/12,000-mile warranty on parts and labor for repairs and/or service is not uncommon at the dealer level.
  • Dealer facilities are often cleaner, more organized and better maintained than smaller shops. At a dealer facility, you will usually find a waiting room, clean bathrooms, a place to buy car accessories, even the availability of drinks, snacks and television.
  • Online appointment scheduling; making the service department available 24 / 7!!

Why the independent shop?

  • Many technicians at independent shops are both manufacturer- and A.S.E.-certified, don’t be afraid to ask about their certifications.  Although A.S.E. training is less “make” specific than the manufacturer’s training, the technicians at these facilities can be just as expert in their knowledge, depending on their experience.
  • If the repair or service that you need isn’t major, it may be more convenient to drive a short way to your neighborhood repair shop than it is to go to the dealer, especially if you need to leave your car for servicing.
  • Small shops can offer warranties on service or repairs, but may not offer the same length of coverage or may cover only the parts or the labor, but not both. If you travel with your vehicle, your warranty may be worthless wherever it is your car decides to give you trouble.
  • Local repair shops report to no one but you.
  • Automotive service software such as Alldata and Mitchell OnDemand5 allows independent garages to get manufacturer information on recalls and TSBs, updated on a monthly basis. But keep in mind that these are paid memberships and not every corner garage has the software at their disposal.
  • The advantage of aftermarket parts is that, like generic prescription drugs, they are supposed to perform the same function for a lot less money. There are times, though, when aftermarket parts are inferior to OE parts.
  • So how can small repair shops compete with dealers on facilities? The short answer is: They can’t. .

With all this said … what is my opinion? Obviously, from my perspective, I prefer and have always used the services at a dealership that represents the brand of auto that I drive. That is my comfort zone — and at 60+ years of age, I still have my “Dad in my ear” with his advice —  “Why would you want to put your second most expensive lifetime purchase in the hands of just anyone?”. However, the decision has to be one that you are comfortable with. Bottom line, find a facility (either a dealership service department or an independent) that you are comfortable with and one that suites your individual needs. Make sure they are highly qualified to do the work. Develop an ongoing relationship with them (don’t hop from shop to shop looking for the next “deal”).

This topic ALWAYS generates differing opinions, we would love to hear yours! Feedback always welcome:)

Schedule your appointment today….
CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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With the hot temperatures expecting to return this week; I recently talked to one of our long-term Service Advisors to find out what most of our recent service clients were having the most problems with when they came into the service department. I was really surprised by the response. Dead batteries. I thought, really?

Did you know….An average of one out of four vehicles gets a new battery every year? So says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. Summer is the season for major car-battery problems. Heat, not cold, shortens battery life.

Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, this damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate. That’s slow death for a battery.

To get the most life out of a battery:
• Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
• If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.
• Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
• Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

When you need a battery, do you know what information you need when you shop? How about swapping out the battery, if you are a “do-it-yourself” type of person? Check out this short video for answers to those questions!

If you are unsure of the status of the battery on your car * truck * van or SUV, we encourage you to take your car in to one of our service departments for a professional  inspection. Our ASE Certified Technicians are available on a non-appointment basis for basic services. (Greenwood Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram location / Indianapolis Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram ocation) / Toyota Scion location)  Questions about tires? Give us a call today! (contact information for our Service Centers)

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

Read Full Post »

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