Truckee Auto Repair

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Diagnosing Your Vehicle at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc in TRUCKEE

When we TRUCKEE residents get a car repair bill, we really shouldn't be surprised to find “diagnostic fees” as one of the line items. When we get a computer fixed, there is usually a charge for the time it takes to diagnose the problem. When we go to a medical doctor, most of his fee is for his ability to diagnose what's wrong. It's no different with our vehicles.Some diagnoses are fairly simple. Brake repairs at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc usually require only a visual inspection, for instance. But other problems are much more difficult to diagnose. An intermittent engine problem, for example, takes time and expertise to pinpoint.Modern vehicles have multiple computers that monitor a variety of sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of those sensors has a reading that is higher or lower than the standard parameters, the computer turns on the Check Engine light. Technicians at a service center such as The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc in TRUCKEE can scan the engine's computer for ... read more

Categories:

Diagnostics

When Are Your Tires Worn Out?

  Hey TRUCKEE area drivers, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our CA streets? How can you tell on your vehicle?While there may be legal requirements for the TRUCKEE area, there are safety concerns that go beyond meeting minimum replacement mandates.Two-thirty-seconds of an inch is the depth of the tire tread wear indicator bars that US law has required to be molded across all tires since August 1, 1968. When tires are worn so that this bar is visible, there's just 2/32 of an inch – 1.6 millimeters – of tread left. It's that level of wear that's been called into question recently.We're referring to the tread depth on a tire, it can't move surface water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.In a safety study, a section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to cover it.A car and a full-sized pick-up accelerated to 70 mi ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Automotive Detective Work in TRUCKEE

There's a reason we use the word “diagnose” when we talk about fixing cars in TRUCKEE. Figuring out what's wrong with your vehicle has a lot of similarities to figuring out what's wrong with someone who is ill. Vehicles are a mass of complex systems that can produce a variety of symptoms when something goes wrong. As with human diagnoses, a specific symptom may be indicative of a number of problems, and figuring out the specific cause takes training and experience.Sometimes the diagnosis of your vehicle's trouble comes down to a matter of trial-and-error. This can be frustrating for TRUCKEE drivers because time and money are on the line. You may feel you should only be paying for repair work. Of course, you only want to pay for the right repair – and a proper diagnosis is part of getting it right. Like at the doctor's office — some of what you pay for is the doctor's time and effort to figure out ... read more

Categories:

Diagnostics

How to Know When to Change Your Oil at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc

Today in the The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc auto care blog, we're going to talk to TRUCKEE drivers about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, oil change intervals become longer for The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc customers. For example, recently four of the world's largest vehicle manufacturer's shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers).In real world TRUCKEE driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance: quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging vehicle small engine passages so the oil wouldn't flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc in TRUCKEE.The vehicle manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there w ... read more

Categories:

Fluids

The The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc Guide to Tire Specs

You know you need newtires, but you're not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the TRUCKEE service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.Tire size can be confusing for many TRUCKEE drivers. There's so much on the side of the tire, and it's hard to keep straight.Even though there's a lot on a tire - if you know what it all means, it's actually more helpful than confusing for TRUCKEE tire shoppers. Let's start with the size number.For example, let's say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters - the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio - the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performa ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Give me a Brake (Light)!

If that little brake warning light pops up on your dash, do you know what it means? Well, if you said no, you wouldn't be alone. You know it has something to do with your brakes, but exactly what? You're not sure. One of the reasons is that it could mean a lot of different things. It could be something simple, like you put your parking brake on and forgot to take it off. Easy fix, you're on the road in seconds. Or, it could mean there's something wrong with your anti-lock brake system. That is a pretty complex symphony of speed sensors, computers and wiring, and sometimes things get a little out of whack. You could have a defective sensor or some wiring may have gotten damaged or come loose. A trained technician at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc with special equipment can sort it all out. It's also possible you have low brake fluid. That could be caused by a number of things. One simple reason is that your brake pads have worn down. Replacing them could solve the problem. Another possibili ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service

Give me a Brake (Light)!

If that little brake warning light pops up on your dash, do you know what it means? Well, if you said no, you wouldn't be alone. You know it has something to do with your brakes, but exactly what? You're not sure. One of the reasons is that it could mean a lot of different things. It could be something simple, like you put your parking brake on and forgot to take it off. Easy fix, you're on the road in seconds. Or, it could mean there's something wrong with your anti-lock brake system. That is a pretty complex symphony of speed sensors, computers and wiring, and sometimes things get a little out of whack. You could have a defective sensor or some wiring may have gotten damaged or come loose. A trained technician at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc with special equipment can sort it all out. It's also possible you have low brake fluid. That could be caused by a number of things. One simple reason is that your brake pads have worn down. Replacing them could solve the problem. Another possibili ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Charge It in TRUCKEE for Extended Battery Life

Here's an interesting statistic for our in TRUCKEE, CA, drivers: Only 30 percent of car batteries make it to 48 months. And the life expectancy varies by where you live. It ranges from 51 months in extremely cold areas to just 30 months in extremely hot climates.Why is that? It turns out that it's our modern cars with all their electric accessories that are to blame. Things like, GPS, DVDs and entertainment computers are keeping vehicle batteries from maintaining a full charge. The longer a battery goes with a low charge, the sooner it'll die.It's clear that you TRUCKEE drivers need to recharge your batteries. This is the job of the alternator. The problem comes when the car's demand for electricity is high and we are driving in stop and go conditions or short trips around TRUCKEE. The alternator just can't keep up.The result is shortened battery life. So what can we do to improve our battery's health?We need to keep the battery as close to a full charge as possible ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Time for Differential Service at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc?

Hello TRUCKEE - let's talk differentials. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, your differential is on the back axle. With front-wheel drive cars, the differential is up front. All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials - front, rear and in the middle. So you see, you've got a differential (or two or three) and it needs service now and then.What does your vehicle differential do? Well, it compensates for the differences in speed between your outer and inner wheels in a turn. Using the dimensions of a typical car, let's compare the distance the wheels travel from the start of a turn through to the completion of the turn.The inside wheel travels about 12.6 feet/3.8 meters. How much farther does the outside wheel travel? About 18.8 feet/5.7 meters – over 6 feet/1.9 meters more. This means the outer tire has to rotate 9 times in the same amount of time that the inner tire has to rotate only 6 times - so the ou ... read more

Categories:

Drive Train

Breathe Deep With Your Cabin Air Filter

Bad air quality while you're driving around TRUCKEE is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more and more vehicles these days come equipped with a cabin air filter. Since they're fairly new on the scene, a lot of folks don't know about them yet.These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment, or cabin, of your car or truck. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as three microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.So your cabin air filter can clean out dust, pollution, pollen and spores to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they need to be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc, but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000-24,000 kilometers).The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to ... read more

Categories:

Cabin Air Filter