All new passenger vehicles on our Apple Valley Minnesota roads now have tire pressure monitoring systems – TPMS for short. They are designed to alert you if your tires are under inflated. Since they are fairly new, a lot of people have questions about TPMS.
First off, the most important thing is that you still need to check your tire pressure every week – or at least every time you gas up. The TPMS system alert comes in when your tire is twenty percent below the factory recommendation. So if the recommended pressure is thirty five pounds per square inch, the TPMS warning won't come on until the pressure is at twenty eight pounds. That's significantly under-inflated. Enough to raise safety concerns.
The worst is tire failure. A severely under inflated tire can overheat and fail. Also, handling degrades to the point that you may not be able to steer out of trouble. Also under-inflated tires wear out faster and they waste fuel. So it's costly to not stay on top of proper inflation.
What's the practical value of the TPMS system? Well, it's twofold. First, it can alert you when your tire is losing pressure due to a puncture or a bent rim. That's an important warning that you might not have gotten until next time you gassed up.
The second is that we all occasionally forget to check our tire pressure. So it's a failsafe system to let you know there's a problem brewing.
Other things can cause your TPMS system to go off. The system also monitors itself. The sensors that are mounted in the wheels have little batteries that send a signal to the monitor. The batteries go dead over time and the TPMS system will let you know. And the sensors could break. Also road salt from our Apple Valley Minnesota roads can ruin them.
There's also a hassle factor that your Apple Valley Minnesota tire center has to contend with. For example, when you have your tires rotated in Apple Valley, the TPMS system has to be re-calibrated so that it knows which tire is on which corner of the car. Same is true for when you have new tires or winter tires installed. Flat repairs, as well.
That takes extra time. And it requires the right equipment and training. Special – and expensive – tire change machines need to be used with some sensors. It's all complicated by the fact that there are a number of different TPMS systems in use so the tire professionals at Valley Auto Care need equipment and training for each kind. Tire centers have had to raise the price of some of these basic services to offset their increased costs.
Also if you add custom wheels on your car, you need to put in new TPMS sensors if your originals won't work on the new rims. If you don't your TPMS light will be on constantly and you won't have the benefit of the warning system.
All in all, the mandated TPMS systems will save lives, so they're worth the added hassle and expense.
Auto Service Resources.
Videos and articles designed to help you diagnose and maintain your vehicle.
Archive for July 2012
Saving Lives In Apple Valley With Tire Pressure
Date: July 26, 2012 1:43 PM - Category: Tires and Wheels
Valley Auto Care: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?
Date: July 19, 2012 2:26 PM - Category: Maintenance
Your car engine really needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving around Burnsville, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?
The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your car needs a lot of air to keep going in Burnsville. A lot of clean air is better.
You’ve seen the pictures of the crowds in Asia wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your car also works better when its internals are clean. When your car air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the dirt just passes through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the engine itself. And burning dust and pollen in your car engine does you no good.
So, we’re talking potential damage for Burnsville drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your car engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with fuel efficiency.
In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Valley Auto Care can improve your fuel economy in Burnsville by up to ten percent. At today’s fuel prices in Burnsville, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.
The verdict: When your car engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on how dirty the air is where you drive in Burnsville. A simple visual inspection at Valley Auto Care will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.
When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Valley Auto Care technician brings out your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and change it out.
Rosemount Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?
Date: July 12, 2012 2:58 PM - Category: Parts
The push for fuel economy has two benefits: using less gas, and fewer emissions. Rosemount cars and trucks run cleaner than ever. Rosemount people may not realize that the first federally mandated pollution control device came out almost fifty years ago.
Rosemount folks that were around in the early 60's may remember that the PCV valve came out on 1964 model cars. PCV stand for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.
When fuel is burned in the car engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.
Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine leading to damage.
Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our environment in Rosemount.
Enter the PCV valve. It’s a small, one-way valve that lets out the gases from the crankcase, and routes them back into the air intake system where can be re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the bad air out. As you can imagine, the valve gets gummed up over time.
Rosemount drivers that skip oil changes now and then will notice that the PCV valve gets gummed up even faster. If the PCV valve is sticking in your car, the gases won’t circulate as well, leading to increased pressure in the crankcase. That, in turn, can lead to oil leaks. Fortunately, the PCV valve is very inexpensive to replace at Valley Auto Care. Some can even be checked for function by your experienced service technician.
Manufacturer’s usually recommend they be changed somewhere between twenty and fifty thousand miles. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some car owner’s manuals, but at Valley Auto Care, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.
All of us Rosemount car owners can do our part for the environment. Watch that lead foot, stay on top of our automotive maintenance and don’t forget to replace our PCV valve.
Better Service - Better Economy
Date: July 5, 2012 1:50 PM - Category: Maintenance
The hottest Apple Valley news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Apple Valley. But we’ve found several basic things that any Apple Valley vehicle owner can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Apple Valley environment. You can really impact your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.
The first one is keeping your tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Apple Valley service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your service advisor. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you get gas in your car. Many Apple Valley gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.
Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.
The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.
One item Apple Valley residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency! And with current gas prices in the Apple Valley area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save big bucks at the pump.
Now most people aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other key services spelled out in your owners’ manual.
Valley Auto Care knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Valley Auto Care – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your manufacturer.