There’s nothing worse than getting into your car on a cold winter’s morning and turning on the car heater, only to have nothing happen. Or even worse, the air blowing through the vent is coming out cold! This is especially true in Ft. Collins, Colorado, where the morning temperatures can be downright frigid! Car heater problems can arise when you least expect it, and if not addressed, can result in further damage of your vehicle engine.
When most people think of the exhaust system, they imagine the tailpipe and muffler. In fact, it’s much more than those two parts and has a very important job to do – protect you and your passengers from being exposed to harmful gases. The system also minimizes pollution in the environment. In this blog post, you will learn about the exhaust system along with some of the signs there’s a problem that requires exhaust system repair. You’ll also learn how you can maintain the exhaust system.
If your vehicle is equipped with a combustion engine, the proper amount of fuel and air is mixed together and ignited at the right time to run the engine. When the fuel/air is ignited, it creates noxious gases that are passed out of the engine and into the environment through the exhaust system. Any number of things can affect the performance of the exhaust system – bad spark plugs, a faulty oxygen sensor, etc. Equally, if any part of the exhaust system is faulty, you are at risk of being exposed to dangerous gases (e.g. carbon monoxide). If you delay any repairs to a faulty exhaust system, you may even begin to feel sick, fatigued, light-headed and more.
The main parts of the exhaust system
There are five main parts that make up the exhaust system. A problem with any one of these parts will affect engine performance and your safety. They are:
- Exhaust Manifold – The exhaust manifold is connected at the cylinder head and collects the gases generated during combustion and delivers them to the exhaust pipe.
- Oxygen Sensor – The oxygen sensor is continually measuring the amount of oxygen that is in the exhaust. The data it collects is then sent to the onboard computer which adjusts the ratio of fuel to air.
- Exhaust Pipes – They begin at the exhaust manifold and send gases through the system where they exit at the tailpipe.
- Catalytic Converter – Just like the name implies, the catalytic converter is responsible for changing the harmful into water vapor and less harmful gases.
- Muffler – This part “muffles” or quiets the explosions that are going on in the engine from the combustion of air and gas.
Signs that exhaust repair is needed
Any of these signs indicate that exhaust repair is needed:
- You notice the smell of exhaust fumes while driving – This is not something to ignore as it is quite dangerous to you and your passengers. The reason you are smelling the exhaust is because there is a leak in the system that is entering the cabin.
- You hear hissing, popping or loud rumbling noises – If your vehicle starts to sound louder and louder with hissing, popping or loud noises coming from underneath, most likely you will need to replace the muffler.
- You are getting less gas mileage – This could mean the oxygen sensor needs to be replaced.
- The exhaust system is plugged – Plugged exhaust is caused by the catalytic converter element breaking down and becoming lodged in the exhaust system. symptoms include poor acceleration, feeling like it is stuck in lower gear and a Check Engine Light. The engine has to have a clear path in and out for air so if the exhaust is plugged it’s like running with your hand over your mouth.
The “Check Engine Light” and the Exhaust System
The Check Engine or the Service Engine Soon light alerts you when there is a problem with your vehicle’s emissions system. The emissions are what is going through the exhaust system so it all plays a role together. If the light comes on and stays on, you should have your vehicle checked and fixed as soon as possible. By delaying Check Engine light repairs, you could end up having to replace more expensive parts, like the catalytic converter.
Maintaining the Exhaust System
Since it’s located underneath your vehicle, there’s not really much you can do to maintain the exhaust system. You can, however, make sure you wash the underside of your vehicle at least once a month, especially in the winter. That’s because the Mag Chloride on the roads will end up causing rust and corrosion. Also, have the exhaust system inspected and fix minor problems before they become costly repairs.
Let Campus Repair assist you with the maintenance and repairs on your exhaust system. When you bring your car, van or truck in for periodic service, we complete a courtesy inspection. If we see a problem with the exhaust system, we’ll let you know so you can take care of it. If you’re having a problem with the exhaust system, give us a call or stop by the shop.
Have you ever been driving and heard a squealing sound that stops when you apply the brakes? This is one of several signs you need new brakes. The brakes undergo wear and tear every time you apply them. How quickly the brake pads need to be replaced depends on a number of factors. Hitting the brakes all the time, driving in stop-and-go traffic and a larger/heavier vehicle can all cause brakes to wear out quicker. Read on to learn more about the braking system and some of the common signs you need brake repair.
Before we go further, if you ever have a concern about whether or not your brakes are working properly, have us check them out for you in our auto repair shop in Fort Collins, CO. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to being able to stop your vehicle. Brake problems can sometimes result in limited or no braking ability. In addition to the safety issues associated with poorly operating brakes, if you don’t take care of brake issues right away, you’ll end up having a much higher repair bill.
A Brake Job is Necessary When These Things Occur
- If the brake warning light comes on and stays on, there’s a serious problem with the braking system. How can you tell that it’s a serious problem? Warning lights that are “red” in color are alerting you to a critical problem. It’s important to note that, in some vehicles, the brake warning light is the same one used to alert you when the emergency brake is engaged. If you put the emergency brake on when you stopped the vehicle, make sure to disengage it before you start to drive. If the emergency brake isn’t on, but the brake warning light is on, you need to have the braking system checked right away. Do not drive your vehicle. Instead, have it towed to Campus Repair.
- There’s a high-pitched squealing sound when you drive that goes away when the brakes are applied. This is often a symptom of the wear indicators on the pads that are made to alert you it’s time for new brake pads.
- You hear scraping or grinding noises from metal-to-metal contact. Quite often, this sound is coming from brake pads that no longer have any pad left on them so the metal is scraping on and grinding into the rotor. You should have the brakes repaired immediately.
- You need to use extra pressure to apply the brakes. This is also known as “hard pedal.” Often times increased brake effort is due to lack of power assist by the brake booster. Brake boosters can run off of engine vacuum or power steering fluid. Again, have your brakes repaired immediately.
- If the brakes feel spongy or soft when you apply them, you are experiencing “soft pedal.” Your braking ability is definitely hindered, and it could be occurring because of air that’s entered the brake lines, brake lines that have gone bad, worn calipers or a master cylinder that needs to be replaced. Have the brakes inspected and repaired right away.
If you suspect there is a problem with your braking system, don’t wait to act. The technicians at Campus Repair in Fort Collins, Colorado, will inspect the braking system. During the brake inspection, we will look at the brake pads to see how much life is left on them. We will also check for evidence of rough spots or damage and will inspect the brake lines to make sure they are in good condition. Call or stop by the shop today.