Wasteful Thinking

Posted February 12, 2018 4:23 AM

With the weather getting colder, you might be tempted to start your vehicle up, let it idle for 15 or 20 minutes and then get in the nice, cozy cabin.  Some vehicles offer remote starting that let you do that from the comfort of your home or apartment.  But is letting your vehicle idle like that good for it?

Manufacturers say it doesn't harm the vehicle.  They say it's because modern vehicles are made differently from those in the past.  Just about all newer vehicles employ fuel injection which uses computers to adjust the amount of gasoline that goes into the cylinders.  The engine gets only the fuel it needs, taking conditions into account.

Older vehicles, on the other hand, used to use carburetors.  When you started a cold engine, the carburetor wasn't able to adjust the gasoline amount depending on conditions.  Some of the gasoline would mix with oil and the pistons wouldn't get the same lubrication as they would with undiluted oil.

So yes, you can warm up your newer vehicle for your own personal comfort.  But consider how much fuel you are wasting.  That is not only throwing away money, it's a waste of natural resources.  And it puts more carbon into the atmosphere. 

Automakers have to be mindful of what fuel economy their vehicles can achieve.  So the flip side of the remote starts they offer is a "stop-start" feature.  When you stop your vehicle, even at a stoplight, your vehicle will turn the engine off.  When you take your foot off the brake and step on the accelerator, it starts up right away.  That feature can save as much as 10 percent of the fuel your vehicle uses. 

Your vehicle may not have that start-stop feature, but you can still save fuel by shutting off your engine manually if you are waiting somewhere, like a parking lot or perhaps sitting outside your child's school waiting to pick him or her up.  It saves you money and contributes to a healthier atmosphere for our planet.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001


Change Your Engine Air Filter at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC

Posted February 5, 2018 7:36 AM

Many Mishawaka car owners have probably wondered: "What's the harm in putting off replacing an engine air filter? The answer is that not replacing it could cause your Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor to fail. This expensive sensor is situated between your engine air filter and your engine. Dirty air filters are a leading cause of mass air flow sensor failure – and these babies can cost several hundred dollars to replace in Mishawaka.

Change your vehicle air filter at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC when it's dirty. Your vehicle engine will thank you.

Give us a call.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com

 

 



The THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC Guide to Saving Fuel: Beware of Myths

Posted January 29, 2018 5:51 AM

There's a lot of auto advice in Indiana right now on how to save money on gas. Some of it is good advice. Some of it isn't. Some of it is myth. And it may well be a scam. Plain and simple. When someone offers you a product designed to save money on gas, ask yourself, “Does this sound too good to be true?” If the answer is yes, do more research.

The internet offers us a convenient and quick way to research someone's claims about gas savings. Mishawaka drivers can usually find out in only minutes whether that claim is questionable or not.

Chances are other Mishawaka drivers have already tried what you're being offered. If you find evidence that others feel they have been scammed, you should be wary of becoming the next victim. There aren't any pills, magic or otherwise, that you can drop into your gas tank to improve your gas mileage. Drop in enough of those pills and you can actually harm your vehicle. The last thing you need is a bunch more sediment or unknown, dissolved additives in your fuel.

There actually are proven, sensible ways that you can maintain good gas mileage, however. Good car care and consistent preventive maintenance are the keys to good fuel economy. An oil change at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka and a new fuel filter, when needed, will keep your engine running efficiently, which will translate to good fuel economy. It may be mundane, but it's solid, proven advice.

So be smart. Listen to advice from qualified THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC professionals, and stay away from unverified “magic” and conspiracy theories. Your wallet—and your vehicle—will thank you in the end.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com

 

 



Cruisin' on Down Main Street

Posted January 22, 2018 11:01 AM

When automakers first came out with cruise control, it was a real luxury item.  The older cruise controls used a mechanical vacuum system but it worked.  Well, some of the time. 

Now days, cruise control is all electronic, thanks to computers.  It's reliable and a real convenience on long trips.  Cruise control is offered on most vehicles and standard on a lot of them.  Because it's electronic, when it breaks, it's usually some electronic component.  Your vehicle's cruise can be the victim of a blown fuse. Or your vehicle's speed sensor, which—not surprisingly—measures your vehicle's speed, can also stop working.  And that will cause your cruise to stop cruising. 

Vehicles with cruise control also have a built-in feature that, when the brakes are applied, turns off the cruise.  With electronic cruise control, that happens thanks to the brake pedal switch, and if a problem develops in that switch, the cruise might not work.

The newest cruise control is called "adaptive." What that means is that it will maintain your vehicle's speed as well as the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.  That means if a car ahead of you slows down, your vehicle will slow down to the same speed and even stop if the car ahead stops.  Pretty cool, right? As you can imagine, adaptive cruise control is more sophisticated and has many more components than standard cruise.  The systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they use on-board radar units and cameras to calculate what your vehicle should do to maintain a safe distance and speed. 

Finally, there are still some of the older style cruise controls out on the roads.  They'll stop working when the vacuum actuator develops a problem, a vacuum hose starts leaking or breaks or the cable between the actuator and the throttle kinks, breaks, seizes up or becomes detached. 

If your cruise control isn't working, your service repair facility will be able to determine what kind your vehicle has and what it will take to fix it.  Good news for the cruise blues.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001

 



When "Oh, no!" Turns Into, "All right!"

Posted January 15, 2018 4:14 AM

Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news.

There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors.  Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working.  The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing.

Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires.  So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months.  One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van.  The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it.

He waited for his van, and it wasn't long before the service advisor came out with good news. The doors weren't working because a switch on the overhead console had been turned off.  (It was a safety feature to allow parents to disable them.) The owner had accidentally switched it when he was unloading the van.  It was the first thing the technician had checked. Flip the switch back and all was working as usual.

Another example? A mother was driving a minivan with her two kids inside on a hot day when she felt the front end shaking violently as she drove down the road. Fearing something major had broken in the van (and fearing for the safety of her kids), she pulled into a fast-food restaurant parking lot and started to look underneath to see if it was anything obvious she could see.

She couldn't see any broken parts, but she also didn't feel safe getting back in the van with her kids.  So, she called her local service facility and asked if they could send someone to look at it.  When the technician arrived, he took it for a test drive on the same road on which she'd described having the trouble.  Then he put her van up on the lift.  His conclusion?  Nothing was wrong with her van.  It was the street she was driving on.  Crews repairing it had left the surface full of potholes, and that was causing her rough ride.

Ultimately, what these two drivers feared would be an expensive trip to the shop resulted in each driver getting different news than they had expected.  One learned something new about his vehicle.  The other?  Well, the technician saw that her tires were badly worn and convinced her to get them replaced, perhaps preventing an accident and giving peace of mind for a mom with two kids.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001


Hitting The Brakes In Michiana

Posted January 8, 2018 12:20 PM

Hello Mishawaka, let's talk about brakes. Hitting But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There's also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let's step back. A new vehicle or truck rolls off a local Mishawaka showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles/kilometers start to add up on the vehicle. Mishawaka drivers tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That's because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it's not until they are worn so thin as to be out of 'specs'  that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over long distances around Indiana, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility. That's why a regular brake inspection at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC is important for your vehicle and your family's safety. At THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the vehicle fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the vehicle to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the more quickly you'll stop.

This is especially important on wet Michiana Area area roads and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. Indiana vehicle owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://thompson-auto-diagnostic.autovideotipsblog.com



Good Service at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC Equals Good Fuel Economy in Mishawaka

Posted January 3, 2018 9:06 AM

Whether we're trying to save money, save gas or save the environment, most of us Mishawaka drivers have an interest in decreasing fuel consumption. We've all heard about ways to save money on gas in Indiana, but does it really add up to much? How much can we boost our fuel economy through preventive maintenance and more courteous driving?

The US government has a website that actually answers that question. Let's look at some of the data and find out if any of these fuel-saving ideas are really worth the effort. We've all heard that a tune-up can improve gas mileage. It turns out that it can save us 4% at the pump. At $3.50 a gallon, that's 14¢ per gallon in savings, and at $4.00 a gallon, that's a 16¢ per gallon savings.

Other common repair items can also save you at the pump. For example, if your oxygen sensor is faulty, it's not delivering the information to your engine's computer that allows it to calculate the right fuel-to-air ratio. The result? The fuel doesn't burn efficiently. Replacing that faulty sensor can save you 40% at the pump. That's certainly a reason to improve your car care and have the automotive professionals at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC inspect things once in a while.

A faulty oxygen sensor will activate the check engine light. So will a lot of other problems that are big fuel wasters. Finding out why your light is on and fixing the problem will also improve your fuel economy. Bring your car into THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka and we will take care of it for you.

What about tires? Mishawaka drivers have all heard that keeping them inflated will improve our gas mileage. True? Yep. It's a 3% savings for that one. And even small drops in tire pressure can start to add up, so a weekly tire check is in order.

Using the correct weight in motor oil is another way you can save at Mishawaka area gas pumps. It adds up to a 2% savings.

What about that courteous driving? That doesn't cost us anything and doesn't require our Mishawaka service center to implement anything. Is it worth the bother?

Again, the answer is yes. Sudden acceleration, such as charging away from stoplights, sudden stops and quick lane changes all add up in lowered fuel economy. Taking it easy when you drive on Indiana roads amounts to a 5% savings around town and a whopping 33% savings on the freeway. Is it worth your time to slow down? How much do you get paid?

Speeding is another way we ding ourselves at the gas pump. We've all heard that it's okay to drive five miles over the speed limit, but that actually hurts our wallets. Eventually it could add up to more than a speeding ticket. An extra five miles over the speed limit ends up costing us 7% per gallon. Fifteen miles over? 23% Now there's a reason to slow down.

Another thing Mishawaka vehicle owners can do to improve that costs nothing is to toss the junk out of our trunks. In other words, clean out the car and stop hauling around non-essentials. Don't treat your vehicle like a storage locker. Dumping one hundred pounds of extra weight adds up to a 2% savings at the pump.

So when you tell someone you were going somewhere anyway and they're welcome to come along, that's okay. But if someone tells you they need to come along and it's no harm to you since you were going anyway—well, now you can tell them, “Sorry, dude, but you're an extra fifteen cents a gallon!”

All joking aside, let's all do ourselves a favor and fatten up our wallets by practicing good car care and better driving habits in Indiana.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC Fuel Saving Tip for Mishawaka: Check Engine Light

Posted December 17, 2017 6:58 AM

Here's a question for Mishawaka, Indiana : How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your Check Engine light? 

Hey, it's not there to create ambiance; it's a warning that something's wrong. (And, by the way, Homer Simpson's fix of covering it with tape is not a good idea.)

Many conditions that trigger the Check Engine light can hurt your vehicle. A lot.

If your date's eyes are smoldering in the soft glow of the Check Engine light, try to think of all the gas money you'll save by getting it fixed. Give THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC a call when you are ready.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



Improve Fuel Economy with Proper Maintenance at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka

Posted December 11, 2017 4:38 AM

With Mishawaka gas prices being what they are, many of us in Indiana are driving less and looking into purchasing smaller or more efficient vehicles. Mishawaka area residents who have to drive a lot, have large families or need four-wheel drive are particularly hard hit by the cost of fuel in Indiana. But there are things all Mishawaka drivers can do to save fuel: We can improve our driving habits and stay on top of preventive maintenance at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC. These things make small savings possible, but they can really add up.

Let's start with driving habits. One major gas-eater is jackrabbit starts. A smooth, gradual acceleration uses a lot less fuel. It's also easier on your engine and drivetrain, so you'll prolong their lives as well.

If you drive with one foot on the brake, stop. That creates drag, increasing fuel usage and reducing the useful life of your brakes.

Slowing down can really add up on gas savings over time for Mishawaka drivers. Driving five to ten miles over the speed limit can use up 10 to 15% more gas. The time savings is only a few minutes per hour, so the cost per minute can be rather steep.

A little extra planning can save fuel for vehicle owners  in Mishawaka as well. Leave a little early so you have time to slow down and still arrive on time. Also, plan errands ahead of time and group them as much as possible. Driving shorter distances is a great way to save fuel.

Using your cruise control where safe can save on fuel. Check your owner's manual for guidelines on when cruise control is recommended and when it isn't.

Clean out your trunk. Every ounce in your vehicle translates to a bit more fuel required to drive around Mishawaka.

Many Mishawaka residents let their car warm up during the winter - a major fuel drain. Your engine doesn't benefit; modern engines don't require a warm up to get up and running, although it's best to take it easy on them for the first few miles.

Now that we've gone over a few tips for improving driving habits, let's talk about the maintenance of our vehicle. Good car care at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka actually pays for itself in fuel savings.

First, if your gas cap is leaking or worn, get a new one.

Second, keep your engine clean. Clogged fuel filters, dirty fuel injectors and plugged PCV valves all cost you in loss of fuel. Replacing them or cleaning them will both improve fuel economy and increase the power you're getting from your engine.

Third, don't ignore your Check Engine light. Problems that cause that light to come on usually affect your fuel efficiency.

Fourth, check your 's owner's manual for service that should be regularly performed on your vehicle, and follow the schedule. Or talk to your friendly service advisor at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC . Oil changes, transmission checks and cooling system service all improve fuel economy if they're done when needed. Low fluids and dirty fluids also create conditions in your vehicle that require more fuel. So routine maintenance is a must to maintain fuel economy and save cash.

Last, keep your tires inflated. Underinflated tires increase your vehicle's friction with the roadway, which increases the energy it takes to move. Keeping your tires properly inflated is great for saving gas as you drive around Mishawaka.

So if the cost of gas in Mishawaka has got you searching the sofa for extra pennies, you might want to start making a few changes in your driving habits and getting your vehicle the service it needs at THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC in Mishawaka.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com



Automotive Tips from THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC: Where Should New Tires Be Placed

Posted December 3, 2017 1:21 AM

When Mishawaka drivers need to replace tires, they need to know how many they should get and on which axle they should be placed. Replacing a damaged tire may leave you with three others with significant wear, which could affect your traction control, stability control and anti-lock brake systems.

If you can’t afford to replace all four tires at once, you should at least replace two on the same axle. New tires should always be put on the rear axle for stability in slippery conditions. Your friendly and professional THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC tire professional can help you know when your worn tires should be replaced, if you can have a damaged tire repaired as well as selecting the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call.

THOMPSON AUTO DIAGNOSTIC
1445 MCKINLEY AVE
Mishawaka, Indiana 46545
574-256-1001
http://autodiagnostic.com




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