Automotion Reno

Servicing Northern Nevada Car Owners since 1975

Watching Your Check Engine Light

Did you know that most of the cars driving around Reno, Nevada carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?

New cars sold in the Sparks area have as many as twelve networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle’s functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Reno auto owners know when there is a problem?

It’s simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for Reno car owners when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Automotion in Reno to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your friendly Automotion technician has special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you’re check engine light is on.

Automotion
225 Telegraph Street
Reno, Nevada 89502
(775) 624-5152

All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Automotion

When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Reno can cause your sedan’s wheels to be out of alignment.

Driving for an extended time in Reno when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded Nevada highway. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early.

Here are some alignment basics from Automotion:

The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your sedan was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at Automotion starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then your friendly Automotion technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the sedan is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to sedan auto makers’s specifications.

Your sedan owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at Automotion before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

Training Received by Technicians In Reno, Nevada

When your car breaks down in the Reno, Nevada area, or just needs some routine service, it can make Reno auto owners a little nervous. Because your car’s so important to your life, you need to be back on the road as soon as possible. And with the problem fixed right the first time.

We’ve been checking into some of the essential training our Reno Nevada technicians receive, and we’re very impressed. It’s amazing how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. So it’s not like when your uncle worked on his hot rod over weekend.

Today there are four cylinder engines around Reno that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars 20 years ago. A new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to 60 mph.

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the benefits come to Reno drivers at the price of simplicity. Modern cars are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin.

Then there’s the electronics. Some cars on Nevada highways area have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Reno drivers take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks.

It’s a real challenge for the service advisors at  Automotion and other Reno auto service centers to keep up. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the auto technician and the service center as well. In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools as well.

So where do Reno techs go for training? There’re many sources. It’s usually a combination of formal classroom training, training provided in the service center by auto parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses. There are many independent certifications available all the way up to Master Technician.

And AutoNetTV produces monthly training for Reno automotive service centers called The Pro Channel. If you were to watch the Pro Channel segment on re-flashing the engine control computer, you’d be amazed at how much is involved: special software, hardware interfaces and a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill.

Service centers in Reno, Nevada have a lot of other resources available as well. No one can know everything, so service centers like Automotion subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them with 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. Reno drivers want everything to be simple, straight forward and cheap – and sometimes it just isn’t.

So, be more relaxed next time you take your sedan in. Reno drivers can trust their friendly Automotion service specialists. You’re in good hands. The more you know, the more comfortable you can be with your automotive service decisions at Automotion. Visit AutoNetTV.com to see more great auto tips videos about many service topics.

At Automotion, we provide quality automotive service including factory scheduled maintenance, factory scheduled maintenance and tires.<br><br>

Automotion On Your Serpentine Belt

Today we’re going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Reno, Nevada customers. Let’s start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That’s the critical device that makes electricity to power the sedan and recharge the battery. Then there’s the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you’re driving around Nevada in the summer.

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Reno drivers’ vehicles. Those pumps provide essential pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many sedans, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Reno, Nevada, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some sedans are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of critical work for one belt.

But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most if not all of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of key work, but they’re tough and can last Reno motorists for thousands of miles.

Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Reno, Nevada area. Your auto maker will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Automotion can detect a belt that’s getting close to failing.

Your friendly Automotion service specialist can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that’s more than half the depth of the belt – replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it.

What’s involved in replacing the belt at Automotion? First the old belt is removed. Then a new one is fitted around all the pulleys for the accessories and the drive. There’s a special pulley called a tensioner.

This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm. Its key job is to apply the correct amount of tension to the belt to keep it from getting loose and maybe slipping off. Because the spring in the tensioner pulley wears out, AutoNetTV and the automotive professionals at Automotion recommend Reno motorists replace them at the same time as the belt. It just makes sense.

What are the warning signs that there’s a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating around our Reno streets. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.

What do you do if your belt breaks? If you’ve actually had that happen on a busy Sparks freeway, it can be a little scary. The first thing Reno motorists usually notice is that they have no power steering or power brakes. Don’t panic – you can still steer and brake, but you’ll have to do the work. It’ll be harder to steer and you’ll need more time and effort to stop, so plan accordingly.

Your dashboard will light up will all kinds of warnings. You’ll see a warning about your cooling system if you have a water pump that’s driven by the serpentine belt. This is important because without your cooling system working, your engine will overheat. If you don’t stop you’ll have massive engine damage, maybe to the point that you need a new engine. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling. Pull over as quickly as you safely can!

The battery light will come on because the alternator isn’t working. If your car’s water pump isn’t driven by the serpentine belt, you’re not in danger of overheating so you can drive a little further if necessary. But the battery will run down to the point where the car will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Reno, Nevada traffic.

Remember, Reno auto owners can avoid this stressful scenario if they replace their sedan serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your friendly Automotion tech to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.

Automotion
225 Telegraph Street
Reno, Nevada 89502
(775) 624-5152