“Power Steering: Keep Headed in the Right Direction, Acworth”
Power steering is standard on nearly every car and truck in Acworth, Georgia these days. Now there are some exotic, new types of power steering systems, but for the most part, the heart of the system is a pump that’s driven by a belt powered by the engine.
Contact us at KAMS Auto for questions about your power steering.
The pump generates boost that assists you as you steer your SUV around Acworth, Georgia. Power steering systems use hoses to move pressurized fluid back and forth. These hoses can develop leaks so it’s a good idea to inspect them at every oil change.
A check of the power steering fluid level is on the list for every full service oil change because low fluid can damage the power steering pump. And the fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so you need to use the correct type –just ask your service consultant at KAMS Auto.
In addition to providing boost, the fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. The lubricants and detergents are depleted over time so you need to replace your old fluid with clean, fresh fluid periodically.
Excess moisture can collect in the power steering fluid as well. That can lead to rust and corrosion as well as reduce the effectiveness of the fluid. Many manufacturers specify power steering service intervals in the owner’s manual. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the maintenance schedule. When in doubt, every two years is a good fallback.
Your auto service center in Acworth, Georgia will use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid and replace it with the good stuff.
Now, if you are experiencing high steering effort, erratic power assist, loud whining coming from the pump you may have a power steering problem. Another sign is that you have to frequently top off the fluid.
Holding the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time can wear your pump out real fast. AutoNetTV wants you to be sure to service your power steering system regularly to keep you headed in the right direction.
4878 North Cobb Parkway
Acworth, Georgia 30101
Acworth Safety Systems: Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of Acworth folks driving around on under-inflated tires. Now, it’s hard to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your SUV tire’s considered significantly under inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.
New laws required manufacturers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all cars and light trucks by the 2008 model year. The system has a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25% below manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.
This technology has been used by Acworth race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from under inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they’ll use to comply with the law.
Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Acworth drivers. U.S. government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases.
The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tire wear. There’s also a saving in property damage and travel delay. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100. The government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate that it will cost between three and nine million dollars for every life saved.
Your safety has always been a concern at KAMS Auto. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and pass the low cost on to you as an expression of our good will.
That’s why we’re concerned about how you’ll perceive the changes that this new law will force. Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, a snow tire mounted; the KAMS Auto service technician is now going to have to deal with the TPMS system.
Even a simple tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries will need to be changed and failed parts replaced.
Like all other Acworth service centers, here at KAMS Auto we’ve had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and to update expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems. Our KAMS Auto service technicians have been thoroughly trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to perform what was once a very inexpensive service for you.
So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up at KAMS Auto, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. We want to keep you safely on the road – and we’re committed to doing it at a fair price. This new safety equipment will help you avoid the most common types of vehicle failure in Acworth, and possibly a catastrophic accident.
Air Conditioning Service In Acworth
Hey Acworth, Georgia Do you hear loud noises under the hood when you turn on your air conditioner? Do you only get cool air sporadically? If so, it is time to get your air conditioner checked. It’s real easy to take your car’s air conditioner for granted. Just push the right buttons and out comes cool, dry, clean air. But your air conditioning system needs attention from time to time to help it keep its cool.
When most people in Acworth hear the words “air conditioning problems”, it sends a shiver up their spine. That is because the air conditioning system is fairly complex. It has a lot of parts and when it’s broken, it’s expensive to repair.
What things can we do to prevent air conditioning breakdowns?
A common cause of air conditioning failure is leaks. Water and air can leak into the system. The system doesn’t work as well with air in it. And water can cause rust that leads to damage of the A/C components. Also, refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system, making it work harder to cool the air. Periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system so it cools better and lasts longer.
You should also run the air conditioner regularly, even in a frosty Acworth winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out, which leads to leaks. Your owner’s manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Of course, if it’s not working right, now is the time to get it checked. KAMS Auto can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This goes a long way to avoiding having to bring your air conditioner in for major repairs.
New environmental laws have stopped the manufacture of Freon, a refrigerant that was common in cars made before 1993. There is a very limited supply of Freon so the price is very steep. It may not be worth its weight in gold, but it probably is worth its weight in silver. If you have an older vehicle that uses Freon, you may want to consider having it retrofitted to use the new R134-A refrigerant. It will pay for itself in the long run. So, if your AC is just a lot of hot air, bring it in to KAMS Auto for an inspection.
4878 North Cobb Parkway
Acworth, Georgia 30101
Alternative Fuel Vehicles In Acworth, Georgia
Let’s talk about alternative fuel vehicles. In their quest to reduce the use of fossil fuels and harmful exhaust emissions in our Acworth environment, automakers will have a number of alternatives for Acworth drivers very soon.
For instance, Flex Fuel vehicles are already available in the Acworth area. Flex Fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on E85 fuel. E85 is a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The ethanol is made from corn. The benefits to Acworth drivers are in using less petroleum and reduced pollution. The drawbacks are that E85 gets lower fuel economy and that when gas prices are low, E85 can be more expensive than straight gasoline.
Acworth car owners should only use E85 if they have a Flex Fuel compatible engine. Flex Fuel vehicles have special seals and gaskets that can stand up to the high alcohol content of E85. Using E85 in a regular engine can lead to gas leaks and fires.
Diesel engines have been around the Acworth area for a long, long time. Modern diesels are very refined and fuel efficient. Diesel fuel can be made from renewable sources like vegetable oil, too. Diesel fuel from algae and sunlight is reported to be pretty close to being commercially viable.
There are also a number of natural gas vehicles on our Acworth roads. Gasoline engines are adapted to run on compressed natural gas. It’s less expensive than gasoline and burns very cleanly. You can even refill it with a special pump from your gas line at home.
Natural gas engines don’t make as much power and don’t get as good gas mileage, but they cost Acworth car owners less per mile to run. The big inconvenience is that the tank that holds the compressed natural gas takes up a lot of room; even your whole trunk! And there may not be places to refuel on a road trip from Acworth to Acworth.
Plug-in electric vehicles are now available in our Acworth area. Battery technology is the limiting factor right now. Electric cars have a limited range and are really best for use close to home. As battery technology advances, electric cars will perform closer and closer to conventional power plants.
That brings us to hybrids. There are a bunch of hybrids on our Georgia roads, with more to come. Hybrid technology combines internal combustion engines with electric motors.
A mild hybrid has a regular gas or diesel engine that’s assisted by the electric motor. The electric motor can propel the vehicle by itself up to a certain speed under gentle acceleration. There are mild hybrids in full-sized pickups and SUVs. They deliver fuel economy similar to their highway ratings.
A full hybrid will rely primarily on the electric motor for power. It’ll have a small gas or diesel engine that generates electricity for the batteries.
Another breakthrough technology from auto makers is hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to generate electricity. Several global vehicle manufacturers have prototypes on the road. The appeal is that the only thing that comes out of the tail pipe is water vapor. It’ll take some time to build a national infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations before there’s widespread use in Georgia.
A quick word from KAMS Auto about safety around hybrid and electric vehicles. Unlike the battery in your current family car, these carry enough voltage to kill you. Never mess around under the hood or with the batteries or electrical wiring. Your Acworth service technician at KAMS Auto is trained to safely disable the flow of electricity before performing maintenance or repairs on the vehicle.
Hybrids are really not do-it-yourself vehicles unless you’re specifically trained on hybrid systems.
Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At KAMS Auto
A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the news. Acworth people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel economy and receive a government rebate.
A lot of Acworth motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their SUVs for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.
There are plenty of Acworth drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own SUVs on the road in Georgia.
Acworth drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change. That may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your SUV’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that can damage your engine.
There’s another reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Acworth car owners. It’s simple – a KAMS Auto professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your KAMS Auto technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or costly repair.
Your KAMS Auto advisor will also visually inspect your SUV for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.
And your KAMS Auto advisor will be able to remind you of other services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Acworth dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.
Realistically, things are going to wear out as your SUV gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.
Of course, these things cost money, but they are far cheaper than new SUV payments. With proper service at KAMS Auto and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.
Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?
In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.
Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Acworth Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.
Here are some examples for our friends in Acworth.
- Some cars in Acworth no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.
-Chalk one up for the myth.
On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.
- So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.
-A point to maintenance.
- Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.
-Myth gets a point.
- Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.
-Point for maintenance.
I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.
So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Acworth if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.
Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.
It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.
So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Acworth service advisor at KAMS Auto to check on the recommendation right away.
Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.
For our friends in Acworth, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at KAMS Auto. You’ll find us at 4878 North Cobb Parkway in Acworth, Georgia 30101. Just give us a call at 770-529-0330.
Braking News: Keep Your Stopping Power
Richard Petty once told AutoNetTV, “You’ve gotta have good brakes. If you’ve got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.”
That’s why a regular brake inspection is on every Acworth car’s maintenance schedule. An inspection at KAMS Auto will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems.
Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into KAMS Auto right away. Here are some symptoms to watch for:
- Low or spongy brake pedal
- Hard brake pedal
- A brake warning light that stays on
- Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
- Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes
If you are experiencing any of these, it’s time to get your brakes checked.
There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle.
Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes and slow the vehicle. Brake pads and shoes are made out of very tough material to withstand the heat and force generated when stopping your car. Eventually, they wear out with use, and become too thin and need to be replaced.
If the brake pads wear away completely, you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced. That’s not only expensive, but also dangerous because your vehicle won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.
Brake service will also include a check of your brake fluid. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid actives the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid means not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. You should change the brake fluid when your manufacturer recommends to avoid these problems.
There are different grades of brake pads; good, better and best. Higher grades cost more, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the manufacturer recommends.
So, be sure to properly maintain your brakes, because it’s a lot cheaper than paying the body shop after an accident.
Come in to KAMS Auto for an brake inspection before damage occurs. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling 770-529-0330.
Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Kennesaw
There’s a segment of the Kennesaw population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the Georgia area over time. Many Kennesaw motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.
Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Kennesaw drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.
Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.
Now, the ignition system in your SUV is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to KAMS Auto for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.
Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Kennesaw have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.
Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your SUV will perform better and return better fuel economy.
Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern SUV engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.
And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.
For example, your SUV engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.
Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At KAMS Auto, we have been taking care of all those little things for 13 years. Your SUV still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Kennesaw did not go away.
Buying the Right Tires and Wheels In Acworth Georgia
Everyone in Acworth Georgia eventually replaces their tires, whether it’s because they’re worn out or they’re just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Acworth Georgia, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let’s group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.
One category is often referred to as “summer tires”. Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees. Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads in Acworth Georgia and they’re also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.
Now the rubber compound gets a little hard and stiff as temperatures drop below 45 degrees as it occasionally does here in Acworth Georgia. And the tread which handles dry roads so well, can get packed with snow or mud – which provides very little traction in those conditions.
So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you’ll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.
Summer tires can be purchased with an emphasis on handling performance, smooth ride or long life. Your Acworth Georgia tire professional at KAMS Auto can help you find the right tire for the way you drive.
As you can imagine, winter tires are designed to work very well in snow and ice. Their tread is designed with many channels and grooves that throw the snow out of the tread as the wheel turns. This means the tire is always be able to bite into the snow.
The rubber compound used in winter tires is specially formulated to be flexible at temperatures below 45 degrees. This maximizes cold weather traction. When it gets warmer, the softer rubber will wear faster on warm dry pavement than summer tires, so change them out once the weather has turned.
There’s a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.
For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Acworth Georgia roads.
Within the all-season category, there are many choices that you tire advisor can help you evaluate.
4878 North Cobb Parkway
Acworth, Georgia 30101
Outside of these three main categories, some people in Acworth with trucks and SUVs like a tire that is designed for both on-highway and off-highway use. They can handle the rocks and bumps off-road, but still work well on the street. Again, many options depending on the relative emphasis on on-road verses off-road.
You may want new wheels to go with your new tires – well, there are hundreds and hundreds of styles to choose from. That’s a matter of personal taste. If you want to change the size of your wheels and tires, do get some professional help.
The computers on your vehicle are programmed to the size of wheel and tire combination that comes from the factory. Tire size affects various computer controlled functions like anti-lock brakes, traction and stability controls, speedometer and odometer. Of course, you want these systems to work properly. The computers can be re-programmed for different tire sizes.
And if you want to increase the size of your wheels and tires, you’ll want so help to make sure they’ll fit in the wheel wells of your vehicle without rubbing during turns or over bumps.
Cabin Air Filter From KAMS Auto
What is a cabin air filter?
- A filter for a house in the middle of the woods?
- A fresh, piney scent?
- A filter for the passenger compartment of your car?
Clever you, it’s 3.
A cabin air filter cleans the outside air before it comes into the passenger compartment. It filters out dust, pollen, spores, bacteria, pollutants, sparrows, exhaust gas and odors.
These high tech filters can block particles larger than 3 microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.
Now not all vehicles have cabin filters. They are fairly new on the scene. About forty percent of new vehicles come with cabin air filters, but the number is growing every year.
Cabin air filters can make for a very nice driving environment. Your car can be a haven during allergy season with very little dust and pollen getting into the cabin. However, the filter eventually gets clogged. When this happens, your heating and air conditioning flow can become restricted. The filter can even get kind of smelly.
4878 North Cobb Parkway
Acworth, Georgia 30101
Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals. Often, the owner’s manual forgets about the cabin air filter, so ask your service technician for a recommendation. It’s usually every year or 12,000 miles/ 19,000 kilometers. Change it sooner if you drive in dusty conditions or if you start to notice an odor from your ventilation system.
So keep your cabin air filter clean. It may not help with your brother-in-law in the backseat, but it will make your driving experience more enjoyable.