Repair

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The Federal Environmental Protection Agency regulates the type of refrigerant you can use in your air conditioner.  Your M.E. “Gene” Johnson Service technicians are current on EPA rules for properly removing & recycling of used refrigerant, protecting the environment while keeping you cool.

Car batteries do not last as long in our warm Texas climate.  Cold starts put a greater demand on batteries, but heat is a bigger factor in the life of a car’s battery.  We can test your car battery for how well it holds a charge and how much life it has left, and we will replace it if necessary.

Some vehicles have disc brakes on the front & drum brakes on the rear.  If you are hearing unusual sounds when you brake or if your brake pedal is feeling mushy or too hard, to keep you safe, your M.E. “Gene” Johnson Service technicians will do a brake inspection for you.

If your “check engine” light has come on, our computer diagnostic service can quickly alert us to what is wrong with your car.  All cars manufactured today contain at least one computer. It is in charge of monitoring engine emissions and adjusting the engine to keep emissions as low as possible. The computer receives information from a many different sensors, including:

  • Oxygen sensor
  • Air pressure sensor
  • Air temperature sensor
  • Engine temperature sensor
  • Throttle position sensor
  • Knock sensor

Using the information from these sensors, the computer can control things like the fuel injectors, spark plugs and the idle speed to get the best performance possible from the engine while keeping emissions low.  Depending on how expensive the car is, there can be all sorts of other computers. For example:

  • There is probably a computer controlling the automatic transmission
  • If the car has anti-lock brakes, there is a computer reading the wheel speed and controlling the brakes
  • Many air bag systems have their own computers
  • A car with keyless entry or a security system has a computer for these systems
  • Advanced climate control systems often have computers
  • Some cars now have motorized seats and mirrors that can remember the settings for multiple drivers, and these contain computers
  • Any radio or CD player with a digital display contains a computer of its own
  • Cruise control systems use computers

In other words, a modern luxury car is a rolling computer network. It is amazing how many embedded controllers a car can have.

Please note: If you take the battery out of your car to replace it, all of the computers lose power. Your radio, for example, may forget its preset stations.

Many malfunctions that occur in vehicles can be diagnosed as automotive electrical problems. The source of these problems is usually related to the electricity that is being generated by the battery or alternator. Sometimes the source of an electrical problem in a vehicle can be a broken electrical wire or a blown fuse. Another automotive electrical component that can cause car problems when it goes bad is the solenoid.

There are obviously many parts to your car’s engine & we want to get you back on the road as soon as possible.  We will perform light engine repairs.

  • Timing Belt(s) Intake Gaskets
  • Timing Belt(s) Fly Wheels
  • Timing Belt(s) Valve Cover Gaskets
  • Timing Belt(s) Exhaust Manifolds

Your car’s ability to run at the proper temperature without overheating, is related to many things that can be in need of repair or replacement.  Let us check for problems such as:

  • Pressure Test Cooling System for Leaks
  • Thermostat stuck shut
  • Defective Fan clutch
  • Inoperative Fan Motor
  • Internal Coolant Leaks
  • Weak or Leaky Radiator Cap
  • Water Pump Failure

Don’t put off having your steering looked at because a failure of a critical component could cause loss of steering control!  We can fix or replace the many parts that contribute to smooth steering &  the front & rear suspension.  Just a few of these are:

  • Ball Joints
  • Shock Absorbers & Struts
  • Inner & Outer Tie Rod Ends
  • Idler Arm & Center Link
  • Steering Gear or Rack
  • U-Joint Coupling

Preventative Maintenance

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Wheels are aligned with specific settings for toe-in & toe-out, positive & negative camber, & positive & negative castor.  Each vehicle model can have different settings.  Poor alignment affects your handling & causes your tires to wear very quickly.

As with most things, belts & hoses wear out over time especially in our warm Texas climate leading to damage to other parts if not replaced when needed.  Your M.E. “Gene” Johnson Service technicians routinely check all your belts & hoses & will suggest replacing worn ones when necessary to save you costly repairs down the road.

The truth is, ANY injector can clog & they do need cleaning or even replacement, because even the slightest build up will cause problems.  Injectors are usually clogged or restricted by a buildup of fuel varnish deposits. This reduces the amount of fuel that the injector sprays, which in turn may cause the engine to run lean and misfire, hesitate or stall. Fuel tank additives  claim to clean clogged injectors, but the cleaning such products do is usually minimal. So save your money and put it towards a professional cleaning with a pressurized solvent. The best way to minimize or eliminate the need for injector cleaning is to use a quality brand of gasoline that contains sufficient detergent to prevent varnish buildup. Most brand name gasolines today have enough detergent to do this. As a rule, premium grades usually contain a somewhat higher concentration of cleaners.  So before you leave here, fill up with our quality gasoline, and come back often!

Regular oil  & oil filter changes are cheap insurance against engine wear and failure, and will always save you money in the long. It’s very uncommon to see an engine that has been well maintained with regular oil changes develop major bearing, ring, cam or valve problems under 100,000 miles.  Make sure you have your oil & oil filter changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles-whichever comes first, regardless of what type of driving you do.

Reverse flushing is the best way to change the coolant because draining alone can leave as much as 30 to 50% of the old coolant in the engine block. Reverse flushing also helps dislodge deposits and scale which can interfere with good heat transfer. The life of the antifreeze depends on it’s ability to inhibit corrosion. Silicates, phosphates and/or borates are used as corrosion inhibitors to keep the solution alkaline. As the corrosion inhibiting chemicals are used up over time, electrolytic corrosion starts to eat away at the metal inside the engine and radiator. Aluminum is especially vulnerable to corrosion and can turn to Swiss cheese rather quickly when conditions are right. Solder bloom can also form in copperbrass radiators causing leaks and restrictions. So changing the coolant periodically as preventative maintenance is a good way to prevent costly repairs.

We are a Recognized State Inspection Facility, utilizing the OBDII system test to determine whether there is a malfunction and/or deterioration of the components that control the vehicle exhaust-emissions levels. If this occurs, a DTC, or Diagnostic Trouble Code, is set in the PCM. A failure occurs when there is a malfunction with the OBDII equipment including the on board computer and related wiring, or when an emissions related component has failed, causing the vehicle’s exhaust emissions to exceed what is allowed for the vehicle, as determined by the manufacturer.  Reasons Your Vehicle May Have Failed The OBDII Test include:

  • Catalytic Converter failure,
  • Faulty Gas Cap,
  • Fuel Metering Out of Specification,
  • Incorrect Ignition Timing,
  • Inoperative Injection System and/or Thermostatic Air Cleaner,
  • Mis-Routed Vacuum Lines
  • Faulty Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) System or Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System.

Tires may wear differently depending on their position on the vehicle, your driving style and the condition of your suspension. Regularly rotating your tires according to your vehicle and tire manufacturers’ recommended rotation pattern can evenly distribute their wear—helping you get the most miles out of your tires while maximizing traction on all four wheels.  We recommend that tires be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles even if they don’t show signs of wear. This is also a good time to have your tires rebalanced & inspect the tires for any damage, remove stones or debris from the tire treads, check for uneven wear by checking the tire tread depth and of course, checking your tire pressure.

For optimum protection, we recommend changing the fluid and filter every 30,000 – 50,000 miles for  most vehicles.  An automatic transmission creates a lot of internal heat through friction: the friction of the fluid churning inside the torque converter, friction created when the clutch plates engage, and the normal friction created by gears and bearings carrying their loads.  At elevated operating temperatures, ATF oxidizes, turns brown and takes on a smell like burnt toast. As heat destroys the fluid’s lubricating qualities and friction characteristics, varnish begins to form on internal parts (such as the valve body) which interferes with the operation of the transmission.

Set your appointment now!