Articles:

Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Diesel engines are appearing in more and more vehicles around Gardner, KS, and in nearly every category from compact cars and pickup-up trucks to high-performance luxury vehicles. In much of the world, 40% or more of passenger vehicles are equipped with diesel. North American is beginning to appreciate the power and fuel economy benefits of diesel engines. Many maintenance items for diesel engines are similar to gasoline engines. One notable difference is the requirement of Diesel Exhaust Fluid or DEF. Modern clean-diesel engines burn very cleanly to reduce soot and other pollutants. A side effect is the production of nitrogen oxides which are harmful to the environment. DEF is added to the exhaust and reacts with nitrogen oxide to produce harmless water and nitrogen. Diesel vehicles have a tank to hold the DEF. A small amount of DEF is metered into the exhaust as the engine runs. When the DEF starts to run low, the DEF tank must be refilled. Because DEF is so important to environme ... read more

Check Engine Light Question.

Check Engine Light Question.

Question:My Check Engine light is on and my boyfriend thinks he can get the code read and know what part to replace to fix my vehicle. I say it's not that. Who's right? Bret's Autoworks Answer: Good news – you are! Just look at it logically: there are hundreds of things that can go wrong with your vehicle. Some are simple and some are quite complicated. Let's take a step back. Over 80% of engine functions are computer controlled. The computer receives information from dozens of sensors. When a sensor reading is out of range, a trouble code is entered in the computer and the Check Engine light is illuminated.   It's a common misconception by Gardner and Olathe drivers that the trouble code will tell you exactly what is wrong. For any given trouble code, there is any number of faults that would trigger the code. For example, a code indicating a misfire ... read more

Categories:

2018

Do I Need a New Battery?

Do I Need a New Battery?

Today's vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before. This really strains your vehicle's electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks, windows, and sunroofs. And then vehicles have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers, and DVD players. We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos. Plus there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the vehicle is turned off. And of course, summer heat in KS can take a real toll on battery life. Fortunately, battery technology has given us resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements. But the fact is; batteries just wear out over time. Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold ... read more

Categories:

2018

Safe Driving in KS: Eliminating Food Distractions

Safe Driving in KS: Eliminating Food Distractions

So what's the most distracting food in the car? Is it: (A) A Hamburger (B) Coffee (C) A Soft Drink (D) Twizzlers Well, all but the licorice make the top ten, but coffee's the number one food distraction. These distractions cause 25% of all car crashes, over a million and a half each year. All the top ten distracting food items are messy. Motorists might spill, then try to clean up. If you've got to eat on the run, take five, then drive. And keep drinks in spill-proof containers. So taking a food break… Or filling out accident reports. It's a no-brainer.     We want Gardner, Olathe and all drivers to keep their eyes, and their minds, on the road

Categories:

2018

Simple Answers from Bret's Autoworks: Check Engine Light

Simple Answers from Bret's Autoworks: Check Engine Light

Question:My Check Engine light is on and my boyfriend thinks he can get the code read and know what part to replace to fix my vehicle. I say it's not that. Who's right?     Bret's Autoworks Answer: Good news – you are! Just look at it logically: there are hundreds of things that can go wrong with your vehicle. Some are simple and some are quite complicated. Let's take a step back. Over 80% of engine functions are computer controlled. The computer receives information from dozens of sensors. When a sensor reading is out of range, a trouble code is entered in the computer and the Check Engine light is illuminated. It's a common misconception by drivers that the trouble code, there is any number of faults that would trigger the code. For example, a code indicating a misfire on cylinder three could be due to a bad spark plug, a failed coil ... read more

Categories:

2018

Things you should know about Windshield Wipers

Things you should know about Windshield Wipers

Today at Bret's Autoworks we're going to talk about windshield wiper blades. Now that may seem like a pretty mundane topic, but think about how important your vision is: We protect our eyes. If we need contacts or glasses, we took care of them too.   And, well, wiper blades are critical to our vision when we drive around the  Olathe and Gardner area. We really ought to think about wipers as part of an important safety system. We should think about maintaining safety – not just responding when our wiper blades fail.  How many times have you been caught off-guard by the first storm of the season with a streaky windshield you can barely see out of? Or with no washer fluid? Wiper blades live outside the vehicle, exposed to heat and sun in the summer and cold and ice in the  area winter. It's no wonder that they get dry, brittle and torn. We recommend changing wiper blades twice a year – before they're so damaged that they don't ... read more

Categories:

2018

Timing Belt

Timing Belt

Let's address a very important maintenance item for everyone – timing belt replacement. It's important because letting this one slide can lead to very expensive engine damage. Your timing belt choreographs the timing of your combustion process. Your pistons travel up and down in the cylinder. Intake valves open at the right time to let in air and fuel; they close at the right time to allow the fuel to burn and then the exhaust valves open at the right time to let out the exhaust. All this happens thousands of times a minute and it's your timing belt that makes sure the valves are opening and closing at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine won't run. And that's the best case. The worst case is that a valve is opening at the wrong time and collides with the piston. The res ... read more

Categories:

2018

AC - Keep the cool air coming in your vehicle

AC - Keep the cool air coming in your vehicle

Let's talk about air conditioning service and repair issues for the Kansas City area. Most of us in Gardner and Olathe don't give our air conditioning a second thought as long as it's making cold air. But it's a complex and expensive system that we should think about before it starts blowing hot air. The refrigerant in the air conditioner contains a special oil that lubricates and cools the A/C parts. When enough refrigerant leaks out, your air conditioner still makes cold air, but the parts don't have enough oil to protect them and they wear out faster than they should. So it's important to service the air conditioner as recommended. Replacing old refrigerant has another benefit: refrigerant tends to gather moisture and become corrosive. That causes leaks in the system which can be expensive to repair. Fresh refrigerant protects the air conditioning components and keeps the system operating at peak efficiency so ... read more

Categories:

2018

Underinflated Tires and TPMS

Underinflated Tires and TPMS

What is the danger of underinflated tires? Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of driving around KS on underinflated tires. Now, it's hard to tell when a radial tire is underinflated but your friendly and knowledgeable Bret's Autoworks can help you. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds – which is significantly underinflated. Tire Pressure Monitoring System-TPMS Your newer vehicle or light truck might be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). This technology has been used by race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from underinflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. Obviously, TMPS systems don't come free for car buyers. U.S. government studies have estimated the net costs of the TPMS system itself, maintaining the system, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The costs are partially ... read more

Categories:

2018

Shocks and Struts

Shocks and Struts

  Let's talk shocks and struts. Shock absorbers and struts last a long time for drivers and wear out pretty slowly for most vehicles. They're easy to take for granted, but your shocks and struts do a very important job so you need to pay attention to them. They keep your tires on the road; and your tires are what connect your vehicle to the road and allow you to safely handle your car through turns, over bumps and even stop in time. What happens when your shocks and struts are worn? Your tires bounce excessively over bumps. Your vehicle will wallow through corners, your front-end will dive when you stop and your rear-end will squat when you accelerate. All this hurts your ability to control your vehicle. And your ride just isn't as comfortable. Tire Wear Worn shocks or struts cause excessive tire wear so drivers will have to replace their tires sooner than they should. Worn shocks and struts also stress other ... read more

Categories:

2018
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