Useful Information

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USEFUL INFORMATION

ABOUT YOUR VEHICLE

Brake Repairs

Brake Repairs

The single most important components of all the parts that make up your vehicle.
There are two types of brake systems with disc brakes common in most vehicles and drum brakes used in the rear of many popular models. Proper performance of your braking system is critical in ensuring your safety and that of other motorists as well.

In addition, a properly functioning brake system can save you money in fuel. With today’s escalating price of fuel, a properly functioning brake system is the right choice. Servicing the multitude of components and various types of braking systems requires specialized tools and adequate training.

Signs your braking system is not in proper working order:

  • A red brake warning light that stays “on”, indicates a definite problem with your brakes
  • An amber-warning light that stays “on”, indicates a problem with your “ABS” system
  • The emergency brake light stays “on” in your dash panel
  • A fluid leak in proximity of one of your wheels and or a low or spongy brake pedal.
  • A brake pedal that feels stiff or harder than usual
  • A shudder or vibration felt through the brake pedal when applied
  • An emergency brake that does not bring the vehicle to a stop when applied
  • Either and or grinding or squeaking noises from the front or rear of the vehicle
  • Dark colored brake fluid or residues in the brake reservoir
  • Low brake fluid in the reservoir

If any of these symptoms should occur, have your braking system inspected without delay!

Transmission

Transmission

The transmission is an integral part of your vehicle it is the component that transfers the power from your engine to propel your vehicle. In cars, transmissions through the use of a system of gears, govern how the engine distributes its power through the drivetrain. Maximizing the efficiency of the engine and minimizing the consumption of fuel.
Balancing the performance or torque for the best driving experience.

Today, vehicles incorporate any of the following transmissions:

  • Automatic transmission can automatically change gears as the vehicle moves, therefore allowing the driver freedom from having to switch gears manually.
  • CVT transmission uses primarily a belt to allow an “infinite” number of gear ratios instead of a fixed number.
  • Semi-Automatic transmission retains a clutch like a manual transmission, but controls the clutch through electrohydraulic means.
  • Manual transmission, also known as a manual, stick shift, standard transmission, or simply a manual, is type of transmission used in many base motor vehicle application or sports performance models. Using a driver-operated clutch engaged and disengaged by a foot pedal and a gear stick or shifter lever operated by hand.
  • Signs your transmission is not in proper working order:

    • A flashing or solid “red” or “amber” check engine light
    • Vehicle refuses to go into gear or sluggish and abrupt electrical
    • Lack of response when going into gear
    • Burning smell or odor
    • Noise in neutral / gears slipping
    • Clutch that drags or grabs
    • Fluid leaking usually reddish brown in color
    • Grinding noise or shaking vibrations
    • Whining, humming or clunking noises

Electric System

Electric power steering (EPS or EPAS) an electric motor is used to assist the driver of a vehicle. The position and torque applied to the steering column is detected by sensors, the information is transferred to a computer module which applies the proper assistance via a motor, which connects to either the steering gear or steering column. Most EPS systems use a variable assist providing more assistance as the vehicle slows down, and less at faster speeds. The use of electronic stability control, electric power steering systems can instantly vary torque assist levels to provide instant maneuvering.

Therefore, this type of system can be engineered and tailored to optimize the handling and steering for each vehicle. Electric systems have a definite advantage in fuel efficiency as there is no belt driven hydraulic pump constantly running. Another benefit is the elimination of a belt-driven engine accessory, and the use of high-pressure hydraulic hoses between the hydraulic pump and the steering gear.

Power Steering System

Today’s automobiles, a power steering system helps drivers steer by augmenting steering effort required to turn the steering wheel, the driver needs to provide minimal effort to turn the wheel regardless of conditions and s most useful when the vehicle is stopped or moving slowly. Another benefit of power steering is that it provides some measure of feedback from the front wheels as they interact with the road surface.

Most power steering systems are driven by a hydraulic servo system that augments steering effort while maintaining a direct mechanical connection via the steering wheel and linkage that actually steers the wheels. Thus in the event of a power steering failure the vehicle can still be steered using manual effort.

In other power steering systems, assistance is achieved with the use of electric motors instead of hydraulic systems. The Power Steering System is made up of a number of key components that work together.

Power Steering Pump

Power for the hydraulic system is provided by a rotary vane pump driven by the vehicles engine via a belt and pulley. The pump is composed of a set of retractable vanes that spin inside an oval chamber.

As the vanes spin, hydraulic fluid is pulled from the “return” line at low pressure and force it into the outlet at high pressure. Engine speed regulates the amount of flow provided by the pump and is designed to provide a flow even while the engine is idling.

The amount of flow provided by the pump depends on the car’s engine speed. The pump must be designed to provide adequate flow when the engine is idling. A pressure relief valve is used to regulate the flow since the pump moves more fluid than what is required at higher speeds.

Steering Rack

By far the most common type of steering on today’s vehicles.

The rack and pinion is a gear set enclosed in a metal cylinder with rods protruding from each end of the cylinder referred to as tie rods that are connected to the wheels. The pinion gear is connected to the rack and pinion and attached to the steering column or shaft which in turn is connected to the steering wheel. As the steering wheel is turned, the pinion gear is rotated thus moving the gears within the rack, turning the wheels in the direction required.

The pinion gear is attached to the steering shaft. When you turn the steering wheel, the gear spins, moving the rack. The tie rod at each end of the rack connects to the steering arm on the spindle and follows the driver’s commands.

AIR CONDITIONING

SYSTEM

Air Conditioning System

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as “cold” – there’s only a lack of heat. Your vehicles A/C system doesn’t pump cold air into your vehicle, it extracts the heat from the inside of your vehicle and exhausts it out into the atmosphere. This is done by the use of a refrigerant chemical. In older vehicles, that chemical was R12 (Freon). R12 has since been banned as it is destructive to the ozone layer and has since been replaced by the more ozone friendly R134a. Vehicles with R12 can be retrofitted to work with the ls R134a.

The A/C system should be checked periodically for leaks as the system is tightly sealed to permit a small amount of oil to circulate through the system lubricating the seals and ensuring the systems efficiency. As a result lack of use of the system will lead to the seals drying and cracking, causing leaks. As a measure of prevention, you should run the A/C system for at least several minutes weekly, year round.

Your vehicles air conditioning system is made up of a number of key components that work together to ensure your comfort.

Compressor

The compressor is mounted on the engine and is driven by a belt from the engines crankshaft pulley. Its function is to circulate the refrigerant at the proper temperature through the air conditioning system. Increasing the refrigerants pressure and temperature causes the refrigerant to become a high pressure gas which allows it to condense rapidly in the condenser.

Condenser

The flow of cold air assisted by an auxiliary fan flowing across the fins and tubes of the condenser allows the refrigerant to give up its heat and to become a high pressure liquid that flows through the liquid line to the drier. Usually located at the front of a vehicle, although smaller, it is similar in appearance to the vehicles radiator.

Receiver Drier / Accumulator

Depending on the type of air conditioning system in your vehicle, this item is referred to as a a Receiver Drier or an Accumulator. (In vehicles with an accumulator the component is found on the low pressure gas line between the compressor and evaporator). A receiver drier is fitted on the high pressure liquid line between the compressor and expansion valve. Consisting of two parts, the receiver which holds the proper amount of refrigerant required for the operation of the system, ensuring a steady flow of liquid refrigerant to the expansion valve. The drier through the use of a desiccant is responsible for the removal of moisture in the system. However, this component should be replaced on average every two to three years or as the system is serviced as the desiccant deteriorates over time leading to corrosion and system failure.

Expansion Valve

The Expansion valve can be found as an internal or external equalized brass valve a block type valve or as an orifice tube (the latter found in an accumulator type system). The expansion valve consists of an inlet and outlet which separates the high pressure side of the system from the low pressure. A restriction in the valve allows an amount of refrigerant into the evaporator, the amount of refrigerant is governed by the evaporator’s temperature.

Evaporator

As the liquid pressure drops within the system, the refrigerant begins to boil and enters the evaporator which absorbs the heat passing over its tubes and fins. As a result the heat is removed from the warm air and thus cooled down. The compressor then removes the low pressure vapor from the evaporator and the cycle is ready to start again.

    Signs your Air Conditioning System is not operating properly:

  • Air output is lukewarm and not cold
  • The air volume is low
  • Fluid leaks (aside from water)
  • Noise in A/C compressor
  • Belt squeal or squealing noise at start up

FUEL INJECTION

SYSTEM

Fuel Injection System

The fuel injection system delivers, calibrates and regulates the fuel/air ratio entering your vehicles engine.

Consisting of sensors and electronic components, it’s efficiency and proper operation relies on the system being well calibrated and CLEAN! This is critical to maximizing the engines power and delivering peak fuel efficiency.

Today’s vehicle feature a number of different systems as described below :

Carburetor

  • Hot rod tuners can easily adjust.
  • Very inefficient; hard to tune economically

Throttle body injection

  • Computer-controlled fuel delivery
  • Inefficient; dumps fuel into intake similarly to carburetor

Multi-port injection

Delivers fuel to intake port; improves fuel distribution

Fuel must still be drawn from intake into combustion chamber

Sequential injection

Times fuel delivery with intake valve opening; improves efficiency and economy

Still some incomplete fuel burn in intake and around valves.

Direct injection

  • Fuel injection directly into combustion chamber; bypasses intake and valves; most efficient
  • More expensive to repair when component failures occur.
  • The fuel injection system is made up of a number of key components working together.

Fuel Injectors

Connected directly to your vehicles accelerator pedal, this valve regulates the amount of air entering the engine.

ECU

The Engine Control Unit is the computer that controls all the electronic components within your vehicle. Making use of sensors that monitor the amount of air entering the engine and the amount of oxygen in your exhaust, the ECU uses the information to deliver the precise fuel/air ratio to your engine.

Sensors

In order to provide the correct amount of fuel the ECU relies on numerous sensors, following are a few of the principal inputs.

Mass Airflow Sensor

Tells the ECU the mass of air volume entering the engine

Oxygen sensors

Monitor the amount of oxygen in the exhaust system, the ECU then adjusts the air / fuel ratio as a result of how rich or lean the fuel mixture is.

Throttle position sensor

Monitoring the throttle valve position which regulates how much air is drawn into the engine. The ECU monitors this data adjusting the fuel rate as necessary.

Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor (MAP)

Monitors air pressure in the intake manifold, the ECU uses this reading to gauge how much power the engine is producing.

Coolant Temperature sensor

Tells the ECU when the engine has reached it’s proper operating temperature.

FUEL DELIVERY

SYSTEM

Fuel Delivery System

Consisting of a number of components that store and supply fuel to the engine.

Fuel Tank

Usually located at the rear of most vehicles, the fuel tank usually contains the following components. A fuel pump and fuel gauge sending unit, a filler tube and pickup tube which is most likely covered by a fine screen mesh to protect the fuel system from clogging.
Since the introduction of emission controls all fuel tanks are equipped with control systems to prevent fuel vapors being released into the atmosphere.

Fuel Pump

Mechanical pumps

Usually found on carbureted or mechanical fuel injection engines.
On carbureted engines they are usually mounted on the side of the engine block or cylinder head and operated by an eccentric on the camshaft.

On certain mechanical fuel injection systems commonly found in Diesel engines or early gasoline fuel injection systems, a vane type fuel pump mounted directly to the fuel distributor assembly. Normally driven by the timing belt, chain or gears.

Electric pumps

There are two general types of electric fuel pumps, the impeller and the bellows type. Electric pumps can be found on all types of fuel systems. (The impeller type is most commonly used in today’s vehicles.

Impeller type

Making use of a vane or impeller driven by an electric motor these types are often mounted in the fuel tank, or in some vehicles below or beside the tank. The vanes or impeller draw the fuel in through a tight passage in pressurizing the fuel in the inlet port. Once pressurized the fuel exits the outlet port.

Fuel Filter

In addition to the mesh screen attached to the pickup tube in the fuel tank every system has at least one filter located between the fuel tank and carburetor or injection systems. In many vehicles the filter is part of the fuel pump itself, while on others it is located along the fuel line or at the carburetor or throttle body inlet.

Inline and Spin-On

Inline and spin-on filters are located between the fuel pump and fuel metering components. Attached to fuel lines by a variety of different fittings. The majority are “throw-away” types with a paper filter encased in a housing, while in others using a permanent or fixed filter housing the paper filter element is replaced.

Carburetor/Throttle body inlet

Fuel filters can also be located in the carburetor or throttle body inlet. For carburetors, they consist of an efficient and simple small paper or bronze filter that is installed in the inlet housing. On throttle body units, these filters are used in addition to the primary inline filters.

Fuel/Water Separator

Usually found on diesel cars and trucks as part of the fuel filter housing or a separate unit altogether. Most operate as a two-stage filter the lower portion collecting dirt particles and large water droplets. The second stage allowing fuel to pass freely and collecting water at the base of the filter housing where it can be drained via
The lower stage removes dirt particles down to about 1 micron in size and allows the water to form large droplets. In the second stage, fuel freely passes through the filter, but water will not. Water collects in the bottom of the filter housing, and a drain plug on the bottom of the housing is usually provided.

The separate units are usually mounted next to the fuel tank. They collect water as it settles out of the fuel tank. Some may light a warning lamp on the dash when it requires draining.

COOLING

SYSTEM

Cooling System

Your vehicles cooling system has two primary functions: The first is to ensure that the heat produced with today’s higher combustion engines is properly dissipated, preventing the engine from overheating. The secondary function is to properly control the temperature inside the vehicle ensuring your comfort. The cooling system is made up of a number of key components which work together to ensure proper operation.

Radiator

The principal component of the cooling system, coolant is circulated through the radiator core and transferred to cooling fins surrounding it. The radiator fan and airflow allow air to travel through the cooling fins dissipating the heat from the coolant.

Radiator Cap

Seals the radiator allowing the system to operate at a specified pressure to ensure proper operation of the cooling system.

Water Pump

The component that circulates the coolant through the engine block and various components. In most vehicles the water pump is belt driven, usually by the timing belt.

Coolant Fluid

In today’s vehicles a number of colors, usually green, pink, orange or amber in color. This is the lifeblood of your cooling system, the proper coolant as per the manufacturers recommendations is essential to your systems operation. In addition your vehicles coolant should not be mixed with other types.

Heater Core

Essentially a small radiator usually located behind the dash of your vehicle. It operates in sequence with your temperature control by use of a temperature control valve. Choosing a warmer setting opens the valve allowing hot coolant to circulate through the core warming the interior of your vehicle. A colder setting closes the valve and usually in conjunction with the air conditioner allows cool air to flow through the core, thus cooling the vehicles interior.

Thermostat

The thermostats principal function is to maintain the coolant and engine at the manufacturers recommended operating temperature. As a rule the thermostat will open to allow the engine to cool as the engine temperature rises and close as the engine cools.

Radiator Fan

Provides a constant airflow through the radiator at idle or when the vehicle is stuck in traffic.

Coolant Hoses

Allow coolant to flow through the radiator and into the engine.

Temperature Gauge

Signs your cooling system is not in proper working order:

  • Temperature gauge above normal parameters for your vehicle or in the “red”
  • Minimal or no heat in vehicle
  • Sweet odor/smell in passenger compartment
  • Gurgling noises heard behind dash
  • Fluid leaks beneath vehicle usually dark green, pink or amber
  • Temperature indicator light illuminates in dash

SUSPENSION

SYSTEM

Suspension System

If all roads were perfectly flat a vehicles suspension would not be necessary. Unfortunately roads are far from being flat and a suspension is designed to counter the irregularities and imperfections that interact with the wheels of your vehicle.

Your vehicles suspension system is designed to maximize the friction between the tires and road surface, providing steering stability and handling while maintaining a smooth comfortable ride for the vehicles passengers.

Following is a list of the components that make up your vehicles suspension system:

Tires and Wheels

The components that allow vehicle motion to be possible by way of grip and or friction with the road surface.

Coil springs

This is the most common type of spring and is, in essence, a heavy-duty coil around an axis. Coil springs compress and expand to absorb the motion of the wheels.

Leaf springs

Several layers of metal (called “leaves”) bound together to act as a single unit make up leaf springs which were common in most vehicles till the mid 80’s. Today they can be found on the majority of trucks and heavy duty vehicles.

Air springs

Air springs, which consist of a cylindrical chamber /balloon of air positioned between the wheel and the car’s body use the compressive quality of air to absorb the vibrations of the wheel.

Torsion bars

Torsion bars use the twisting properties of a steel bar when various load forces are applied to provide a performance similar to a coil or spring. One end is attached to the vehicles frame the other is attached to the moving suspension of the wheel, usually in the form of a wishbone. When the wheel goes over a bump, vertical motion is transferred to the wishbone which acts like a lever that moves perpendicular to the torsion bar. The torsion bar then twists along its axis and provides a spring type force.

This is how they work: One end of a bar is anchored to the vehicle frame. The other end is attached to a wishbone, which acts like a lever that moves perpendicular to the torsion bar. When the wheel hits a bump, vertical motion is transferred to the wishbone and then, through.

Shock Absorber

A shock absorber is best described as an oil pump placed between the frame of the car and the wheels. The upper portion or mount of the shock is connected to the frame, while the lower mount connects to the axle, near the wheel. Today most vehicles feature a twin-tube design; the upper mount is connected to a piston rod, which in turn is connected to a piston, which sits in a tube full of hydraulic fluid. The inner tube is known as the pressure tube, and the outer tube is known as the reserve tube. The reserve tube stores excess hydraulic fluid.

All modern shock absorbers are velocity-sensitive — the faster the suspension moves, the more resistance the shock absorber provides. This enables shocks to adjust to road conditions and to control all of the unwanted motions that can occur in a moving vehicle, including bounce, sway, brake dive and acceleration squat.

Strut

The most common type of suspension in the majority of today’s vehicles, usually mounted at the front wheels, some vehicle models feature struts at all wheels.

Essentially the combination of a shock absorber mounted inside a coil spring. A strut will perform two functions. A strut will provide the dampening force of a shock absorber while offering a structural support for the vehicle suspension, thus also supporting the weight of the vehicle. In this respect a strut offers the same performance of what previously was required by multiple components.

Sway Bars (anti-roll bars)

Used alongside shock absorbers or struts to provide additional stability to a vehicle in motion. A sway bar is a metal rod that spans the length between the front suspension or rear suspension along the axle and is found on almost all vehicles today.

Motion from one wheel is transferred to the other wheel via the sway bar giving a more level ride and reducing vehicle sway, in particular countering the roll of a vehicle on its suspension when cornering.

Types of Suspensions (Front)

Dependent Front Suspensions

Un essieu d’en avant rigide relié aux roues, maintenu en place par des ressorts à lames et amortisseurs, distingue une suspension avant à charge. On la trouve couramment sur des camions, mais ce système n’est plus utilisé dans les véhicules d’aujourd’hui.

Independent Front Suspensions

This setup allows the front wheels to move independently, most common is the MacPherson strut system which combines a shock absorber and a coil spring into one unit.

Lighter and more compact it is found on most of today’s vehicles, some of which feature the same suspension at the rear wheels.

Double-wishbone suspension

The double-wishbone suspension is another common type of front independent suspension. Making use of two wishbone type arms usually referred to as control arms, mounted at 2 points on the frame and one at the wheel and bearing a shock absorber and coil spring to absorb vibrations, it provides a more consistent steering feel and handling. Although there are many variations the most common configuration features an upper and lower control arm setup.

Types of Suspensions (Rear)

Dependent Rear Suspensions

When a solid axle is connecting the rear wheels of a car, the suspension is usually quite simple, making use of either a leaf spring or a coil spring. The leaf springs clamp directly to the drive axle, the ends of the leaf springs attach directly to the frame, and the shock absorber is attached at the clamp that holds the spring to the axle. This design was formerly very common with American made vehicles.
The same principal design can be used with coil springs replacing the leaves. In this case, the spring and shock absorber can be mounted as a single unit or as separate components.

Independent Rear Suspensions

If both the front and back suspensions are independent, then all of the wheels are mounted and sprung individually, usually using a MacPherson type setup in the front and back. The rear versions being simplified versions of the front suspensions as there is no steering rack to make allowances for.

Signs your suspension system is not working properly:

  • Excessive or abnormal tire wear
  • Steering wheel off-center or poor response
  • Excessive bouncing over road bumps
  • Loss of control during sudden stops
  • Swerving or swaying while changing lanes
  • Front-end lowering during quick stops
  • Vehicle sagging front or rear
  • Noises when going over bumps or uneven roads

EXHAUST

SYSTEM

Exhaust System

Your vehicles exhaust systems function is to remove the harmful gases produced when the fuel and air is burned in the combustion chamber in your engine. These gases are harmful to humans and our environment. Your vehicles exhaust systems function is to remove the gases produced by the combustion process taking place in your engine, it’s a system that can best be described as the pipe that drains the water from your bathtub. Therefore, a pipe larger in diameter will be more effective than one that is smaller.

Your car’s exhaust system carries away the gases created when the fuel and air are burned in the combustion chamber. These gases are harmful to humans and our environment.

Following is a list of the major components that make up your vehicles exhaust system:

Exhaust Manifolds

Made of aluminum, stainless steel or cast iron, exhaust manifolds are responsible for air intake and connect to the cylinder head. They vent each cylinder’s exhaust by combining it into one pipe.

Oxygen sensor

Today’s fuel injected vehicles utilize an oxygen sensor(s) to measure the ratio of oxygen is present in the exhaust. From this information the computer then will add or subtract fuel to obtain the correct mixture for maximum fuel economy. The oxygen sensor is mounted in the exhaust manifold or close to it in the exhaust pipe or in multiple sensor setups before and after the catalytic converter.

Catalytic converter

The catalytic converters function is to convert harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to water vapor and carbon dioxide. Some converters also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides. The converter is mounted between the exhaust manifold and the muffler.

Muffler

The mufflers function is to reduce the exhaust noise to acceptable levels. Most mufflers dissipate the noise through the use of baffles which deflect the exhaust noise and as such quieting the noise. Some mufflers also use fiberglass packing which absorbs the sound energy as the gases flow through.

Exhaust pipe

The above mentioned components are all linked via exhaust pipes which carries the gas out your vehicles tailpipe. Exhaust pipes are usually made of steel, in some cases stainless steel or aluminized steel tubing is used. The benefit is enhanced corrosion resistance compared to steel and cheaper than stainless steel.

Signs your vehicle’s Exhaust System is not operating properly:

  • Engine misfire, not running smooth
  • Higher fuel consumption
  • Loud exhaust noise – rusted and pierced elements of the system
  • Sluggish engine performance, low power
  • Odors similar to rotten eggs
  • Exhaust components hanging low

DOES YOUR VEHICLE NEEDS REPAIR OR MAINTENANCE?