Monthly Archives: October 2012

Differential Service

Here at AutoNetTV, we have viewers, like you, from all across the country who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we’re asked is: What is a differential and what does it do? You may have been told your differential needs service, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service covers a lot of things, so let’s first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track – the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don’t hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels – which is why they’re often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they’ll last.

All vehicles have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is often called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you will have a differential in the front and the back – and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.

Differentials are hard working mechanisms, and, along with the gears in a manual transmission, need to be serviced regularly with high-quality, replacement fluid. Your Toronto automotive service advisor can give you more information as to when your next differential service is recommended. You can also ask if they have a record of when the service was last completed.

As with most service intervals, if you are driving under more severe conditions, you will want to service your differential more frequently. “Severe service” conditions are defined in most owners’ manuals, and include: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold weather, hot weather and towing. All these conditions add to the stress of the vehicle and its parts. Also, off-roading in Canada can be especially hard on differentials, especially if you cross streams. Proper service will extend the life of your gears and keep them running more smoothly. If you have never had your differential checked, visit http://www.aeautoplus.com/index.php/contact-2 for more information.

On Board Diagnostics For Thornhill Motorists

Some Thornhill motorists are confused by AE Auto Plus charges for diagnostic services for a vehicle repair. Many services at AE Auto Plus and other Thornhill automotive repair shops include diagnostic fees.

When you take your laptop into a Toronto computer repair shop for a problem you’ll likely have to leave a deposit for diagnostics. When we visit our Toronto doctor for a medical problem, we’re paying him to diagnose our ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Thornhill Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at AE Auto Plus for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Toronto area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your imports brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy Canada expressway, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your imports engine, AE Auto Plus diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Toronto public’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among Toronto, Markham, and Richmond Hill drivers that the trouble code tells the AE Auto Plus technician exactly what’s wrong. Why then is there a diagnostic charge, the scanner just gave the diagnosis?

Reality is more involved than that. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The imports computer’s trouble code just tells the AE Auto Plus technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the symptom.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for AE Auto Plus Thornhill customers. The AE Auto Plus technician makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem.

Toronto service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for a given trouble code. They outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented fix. These databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved and difficult. Of course AE Auto Plus wants to figure out what’s wrong with your imports and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At AE Auto Plus

A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the news. Thornhill people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel economy and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Thornhill motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their importss for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.

There are plenty of Thornhill drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own importss on the road in Canada.

Thornhill drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change. Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At AE Auto PlusThat may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your imports’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that can damage your engine.

There’s another reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Thornhill car owners. It’s simple – a AE Auto Plus professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your AE Auto Plus technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or costly repair.

Your AE Auto Plus advisor will also visually inspect your imports for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.

And your AE Auto Plus advisor will be able to remind you of other services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Thornhill dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your imports gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost money, but they are far cheaper than new imports payments. With proper service at AE Auto Plus and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.

Your Well Trained Technician At AE Auto Plus

When your imports breaks down, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Markham, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.

If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training AE Auto Plus professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. Let me give you some perspective. Today there are four cylinder engines that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars twenty years ago. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.

Your Well Trained Technician At AE Auto Plus

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Markham gas prices. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars driving around Markham roads are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.

Some cars have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Markham motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for AE Auto Plus technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technician and the Markham service center as well.

In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools. AE Auto Plus technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at AE Auto Plus by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.

There are many independent certifications available at AE Auto Plus all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your imports requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Markham auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.

It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At AE Auto Plus, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and cheap – but sometimes it just isn’t.

So try to be more relaxed next time you bring us your imports. You’re in good hands.

Timing Belt Service to Save Big Bucks in Thornhill

Your engine is like a finely choreographed dance. All the parts have to work together. If the timing is off at the ballet, dancers crash into each other and fall down. It the timing is off in your engine, it may not run at all. One of the most intricate dances in your engine, has to do with the combustion cycle.

Your imports engine has cylinders in which a piston travels up and down. At the top of the cylinders are valves open to bring in the air and fuel. And there are valves that open to let out the exhaust after the fuel has been burned.

Call AE Auto Plus at 905-764-1339 for answers about your timing belt, or drop by our Thornhill Canada service center on 21 Harlech Court, L3T 6L5

It’s critical that the values be timed to open and close at precisely the right time in the combustion cycle, or the engine will run poorly or not at all.

The timing belt is responsible for rotating the shafts that control the valves. It’s vital and precision work. Timing belts are made of very tough flexible material. They can last a long time. But they eventually wear out and can break. The consequences can be disastrous.

In some engines, the valves actually protrude far enough into the cylinders that they could come in contact with the piston. If the timing belt breaks, the pistons will smash into the valves. Valves get bend or broken. If the engine is spinning fast enough, the broken parts will shred the cylinder head as well. Repairing this damage can cost several thousand dollars.

It’s a sad day when this happens; especially since it usually can be avoided. Manufacturers have issued recommendations for when you should replace your timing belt. For some engines, it’s at 60,000 miles. For others it’s at 90,000 miles or more. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles, or have passed it, make sure you check your owner’s manual or with your Thornhill Canada auto service advisor at AE Auto Plus for when the timing belt should be replaced. Don’t let this one slip by.

Now some timing belts are visible and can be inspected. Others are hidden under a protective cover and are hard to get to. Some timing belts also drive the water pump. If you have a leaky water pump, the coolant will contaminate the timing belt and could make it fail sooner. So if you have this kind of engine, get it in to AE Auto Plus for an inspection right away if you have a coolant leak.

Most people in the Toronto area with this engine design end up with a new timing belt when they replace the water pump. And when you’re having your timing belt replaced on schedule, check with your Thornhill Canada auto service advisor at AE Auto Plus to see if it makes sense to install a new water pump, even if it isn’t currently having problems, since most of the labor is already being done any way for the timing belt replacement.

As a heads up; larger engines will often have metal timing chains rather than belts. The chains don’t need to be replaced like belts.

We’ve already told you how very expensive it can be to get your car running again after a timing belt fails. You also need to know that replacing the timing belt is very labor intensive and is one of the most costly maintenance services you will have. So if you will be at the point where your timing belt should be replaced in the next year or so, ask for an estimate from AE Auto Plus in Thornhill Canada so you can begin to prepare for the expense.

We at AutoNetTV are committed to helping you make your driving experience as safe and economical as possible. AE Auto Plus, your Thornhill service center, can be a valuable partner. Please take advantage of their knowledge and experience, and check out http://AutoNetTV.com for more great auto tips.

Upsizing Wheels and Tires With AE Auto Plus

At AutoNetTV we love doughnuts. So let’s pretend you have three doughnuts right in front of your for our discussion of upsizing wheels and tires. Hey, don’t eat them now – your going to need them later.

Many people want to accessorize their car – you know, make it theirs. One of the easiest ways to get a custom look is to get some new wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs out there to get you the look you want. And for many, that look includes bigger wheels. It used to be that cars came from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels. Now 16, 17 and even 18 inchers are standard. And the factories are offering optional wheel packages up to 20 inches or more.

Come in to AE Auto Plus to learn more about how you might upsize your wheels or tires.
You’ll find us at 21 Harlech Court in Thornhill, Canada L3T 6L5.

So let’s talk about what to consider when you want to upsize your wheels. It’s not exactly a do it yourself project, so you need to know a thing or two before you get started. The most important term to know is rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is simply the overall height of your tire. Unless you want to modify your suspension, you’ll want to keep your rolling diameter the same when you upsize your wheels.

Let’s think about those three golden doughnuts in front of you. They’re all about the same size. So if we pretend they’re tires, they would have the same rolling diameter. The doughnut hole is the size of the wheel. Now pretend we’ve made the hole bigger on some. That’s like having a bigger wheel – but the rolling diameter is the same.

It’s important to keep the rolling diameter the same for several reasons. First of all, if the tire is bigger, it might not fit in the wheel well. Next the speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brake system are all calibrated for the factory rolling diameter. In order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, the rolling diameter must stay within 3% of the factory recommendation. If you ignore that, you run the risk that your anti-lock brakes won’t work properly.

Some cars today have electronically controlled suspension that will be negatively affected by changing the rolling diameter. Let’s think about the doughnuts again. You see, as the size of the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets shorter. The tire holds less air, so the sidewalls are made stiffer to compensate.

Low profile tires from top manufacturers use special compounds that give the sidewall the strength it needs without compromising ride quality. As you increase your wheel size, you’ll typically get a slightly wider tire. This means that you have a larger contact patch. The contact patch is part of the tire that contacts the road. Because there’s more rubber on the road, the vehicle will handle better. And braking distances will be shorter. A lot of people with trucks or SUV’s love the extra control.

You do have to watch out that the contact patch isn’t so big that the tires rub in turns or over bumps. What we’re talking about here is fitment. Your tire professional at AE Auto Plus can help you get this right. He’ll install your new wheels, add spacers if needed to make sure your brakes fit inside your new wheels, and get you rolling.

Also, if you drive off-road a lot, you may need a higher profile tire to protect your new rims. And make sure your new tires have the load rating you need if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads. Again, your tire professional at AE Auto Plus knows how to help.

And don’t forget about tire pressure. If you have larger rims, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need to run a slightly higher pressure. Forget that and you’ll wear your tires out fast. Finally, get an alignment after you get your new shoes. AutoNetTV wants you to safely have the look you want.

Fuel Saving Tip: Thornhill Tune Up

Have you ever gone to Toronto to listen to an orchestra? The musicians take the stage early and tune their instruments. Each individual instrument must be in tune, but the critical thing is for the entire orchestra to be in tune with each other. That’s why they tune up together.

Fuel Economy Now this is no surprise; I’m going to relate the orchestra to your car. Your engine has many component systems that each need to be working properly. And the components need to be working in sync, all timed up together in order for the engine to work efficiently.

We call this, (ta-da) a tune-up. When an orchestra’s out of tune you get a bad concert. When your vehicle’s out of tune you get bad performance and bad fuel economy.

So check your owner’s manual for recommended tune-up intervals. Or ask your Thornhill service advisor at AE Auto Plus what he thinks.

…Just be careful not to say you want to make beautiful music together – that kinda makes us uncomfortable.

Wheel Balancing

So you love our job, and your family life is great: You have achieved balance. But can you the same for your wheels? You can tell if your tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it’s a back tire, you’ll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the tire technician will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it’s too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 MPH, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s where you get your vibration.

Most people are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires hold their balance pretty well. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some big repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better gas mileage.

Some people have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owners’ manual for your requirements, or ask your technician. Doing thus will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance

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Car Maintenance and Saving with AE Auto Plus

AE Auto Plus Thornhill

AE Auto Plus car maintenance and saving