The Organic Mechanic: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?
Posted May 21, 2013 12:32 PM
Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your car engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on North Carolina expressways, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?
The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your car needs a lot of air to keep going in Biltmore. A lot of clean air is best.
You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your car also works better when its internals are clean. When your car air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your car engine does you no good.
So, we’re talking potential damage for Hendersonville drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your car engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with fuel efficiency.
In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at The Organic Mechanic in Asheville can improve your fuel economy by up to ten percent. At today’s Biltmore fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.
The verdict: When your car engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in North Carolina. A simple visual inspection at The Organic Mechanic will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.
When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your The Organic Mechanic service advisor shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Keep Your Asheville Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter
Posted May 16, 2013 1:35 PM
This is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your Asheville car burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.
That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to costly problems. Of course, your manufacturer recommends intervals for changing your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car affects when your filter needs to be changed.
Dusty conditions in and around Asheville or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your The Organic Mechanic technician can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.
When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your car needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel economy and performance.
Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters cost a little more, but they increase horsepower and may improve fuel economy to boot.
So have your air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much and it should easily pay for itself in better fuel economy before your next oil change.
Stop by The Organic Mechanic at 568 Haywood Rd, Asheville, North Carolina 28806, and we'll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at 828-255-2628 to make an appointment.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Fuel Injector Cleaning At The Organic Mechanic
Posted May 10, 2013 10:41 AM
In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your car engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute in every single fuel-injected car driving down Biltmore, Weaverville, and Arden/Fletcher highways.
Most fuel injectors for gas engines are known in the Hendersonville automotive community as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. The fuel pump provides pressure needed to squirt the right amount of fuel into the engine.
A few manufacturers have recently introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines. They are now available at some Hendersonville dealerships. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure – many times the pressure of port injection systems.
Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel efficiency for gas-poor Biltmore, Weaverville, and Arden/Fletcher drivers. North Carolina motorists can expect to see more of it in the future. High temperatures under your car hood and variations in Hendersonville gas quality cause fuel injectors to be fouled with wax, dirt, water, additives and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure.
When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn’t burn as efficiently resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it’s important for Asheville drivers keep their fuel injectors clean.
The Organic Mechanic service center can perform a fuel system service for you in which the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.
Proper maintenance of your car fuel system means that you will spend less on gas, enjoy strong performance and prevent costly Hendersonville repair bills down the road.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Posted April 30, 2013 9:13 AM
Your cooling system is very important. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your car from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:
the radiator cap
the thermostat and
the water pump
The water pump’s like the heart of your cooling system, circulating the fluid throughout. It’s a small pump that’s driven by the engine; usually by belt, but sometimes by a chain or gear.
The water pump only operates when the engine’s running. Water pump failure is pretty routine. Some start failing at around 40,000 miles, but most fail by 100,000 miles. Consult your owners’ manual or service technician to see what’s recommended.
Since a water pump either works or it doesn’t, you need to change it when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It’s possible to have a leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine.
So how can you tell when the water pump is failing? If you can hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump – it’s got a problem. If you can see coolant in that area, you’ve got a leak.
Some water pumps are driven off the timing belt. They might be under a plastic cover so you can’t see the water pump. Look for coolant on the driveway. If you see some, have your service center check it out.
Most timing belts need to be changed at 60,000 miles – some longer. It’s a good idea to change your water pump at the same time if it’s one of those that’s driven off the timing belt. To start with, 90% of the work’s already done with the timing belt change. And, if you don’t, and develop a leak later, you’ll have to change the belt again along with the water pump because the belt will have been contaminated by the leaking coolant.
You can replace your water pump with a brand spankin’ new one or with a rebuilt pump. Rebuilt will save you some money, but ask your technician what he thinks. Don’t feel too bad if your water pump gives out. They will all wear out eventually. Your service technician can get you back on the road and on with your life.
Posted in the Cooling System category
Tracking True In North Carolina: Wheel Alignment In Weaverville
Posted April 25, 2013 9:39 AM
Wheel alignment is often overlooked by busy Weaverville and Arden/Fletcher drivers until serious tire damage has been done. One wheel can be knocked out of alignment by hitting a curb or pothole on a Hendersonville interstate or surface street.
When a vehicle’s out of alignment, one or more of the wheels does not track true and pulls against the others. This causes several serious problems. First off, the tires will wear out faster and will need to be replaced prematurely. It could also lead to expensive car suspension problems.
But the big issue for Weaverville, Arden/Fletcher, and Asheville drivers is safety. When your car wheels are out of alignment, the vehicle will pull to one side, which could lead to an accident. When you’re out of alignment, you should have it taken care of right away at The Organic Mechanic in Asheville.
When undergoing an alignment service at The Organic Mechanic, your car is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are checked for damage. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the factory settings.
Precision adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels going in exactly the same direction.
Arden/Fletcher drivers should be aware of the signs of alignment problems. These include the car pulling to one side. Also, the steering wheel may not be centered when you’re going straight. If you see the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down, you should have your Hendersonville service center look it over. If you’ve been in an auto accident in North Carolina that involved a wheel, you should get your alignment checked.
Obviously, a big jolt can seriously knock things out of alignment, but Weaverville drivers also need to understand that a series of smaller ones can add up.
That’s why manufacturers recommend periodic alignment checks. If your car owner’s manual doesn’t specify, once a year might be appropriate. Or check with Charley Wilson or your service advisor at The Organic Mechanic in Asheville.
One thing’s for sure: the cost of the alignment at The Organic Mechanic is cheaper for Weaverville drivers than having to buy a couple of new tires because of neglect.
Posted in the Alignment category
Tire Maintenance In Arden/Fletcher
Posted April 17, 2013 12:48 PM
With the recent focus in Arden/Fletcher on improving fuel economy, we've been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.
Everyone in Arden/Fletcher knows that tires wear out, but we all want to make them last as long as possible because they're fairly expensive to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Under-inflated tires will wear out more quickly.
Some people in Arden/Fletcher wonder if there is benefit to adding a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. But actually, there isn't. In fact, there are very good reasons not to over-inflate your tires. For one, the middle of the tread will wear unevenly because the full tread is not contacting the road properly. That also adversely affects your handling.
Come in and see us about tire maintenance for your Asheville, North Carolina vehicle. The Organic Mechanic 568 Haywood Rd Asheville, North Carolina 28806 828-255-2628
Every vehicle in the Arden/Fletcher area has a sticker on the driver's side door jamb that tells you the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure. This recommendation is an integral part of the vehicle's suspension tuning. A lot of engineering actually goes into the recommended tire pressure, so it's important to follow it.
What else do we need to know about tire maintenance? Tire rotation and balancing are very important. Let's start with rotation. Because the front tires handle the brunt of turning forces, the shoulders of the front tires wear more quickly than the rear tires. We rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front and they'll all wear evenly over their life.
For most vehicles, front tires are rotated to the rear and vice versa. Others recommend a cross rotational pattern. Some vehicles use an asymmetrical tire so those tires need to stay on either the right or left side – it'll say which on the tire. Some high performance cars have asymmetrical tires and different sizes on the front and rear. These can't be rotated at all. Your owner's manual will have details for your car.
How often should you rotate your tires? Your owner's manual will have a recommendation. Your service advisor at The Organic Mechanic can do a visual inspection to let you know if it looks like it should be done. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles.
You know, some people don't think new tires need to be balanced. What they aren't taking into account is the wheel. Between the wheel and the tire – even a new tire – there's enough variation to require balancing.
When you add the valve stem and tire pressure monitoring sensors required on new cars, balancing is definitely in order. When a tire's out of balance, it's actually hopping down the road. You'll feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire's out of balance and through your seat if it's a rear tire.
Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safety. Historically, lead weights have been attached to the wheel to bring it into balance. Lead gives some environmental concern, so steel weights are starting to be substituted.
Also, always use the same size tire on an axle. Different size tires on the front or on the back can lead to some real handling problems. And tire manufacturers recommend that when you get two new tires, they be installed on the rear because that's where you need the most traction to avoid spinning-out.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
Asheville Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules
Posted April 10, 2013 10:56 AM
Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Asheville auto owners, car manufacturers publish two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should you follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Are most of your trips less than four miles? Are most of your trips less than 10 miles in below-zero North Carolina temps? Are most of your trips off-highway? Do you drive often in dusty areas? Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Asheville? Do you drive in very hot or very cold North Carolina weather?
Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Asheville interstate on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute to Hendersonville or Biltmore? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on surface streets?
Let’s suppose your owner’s manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Analyze your driving patterns and Asheville weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.
Why should Asheville auto owners care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Asheville or winter driving means that the engine doesn’t heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn’t let the oil protect it adequately. That’s why North Carolina auto owners need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.
Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in pleasant North Carolina summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs, not to mention your gas mileage. If you want some expert advice, talk with your honest The Organic Mechanic advisor. We can help you restore your car to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.
To learn more, watch our informative AutoNetTV auto video tips at the top of this post.
The Organic Mechanic 828-255-2628 568 Haywood Rd Asheville, North Carolina 28806
Posted in the Maintenance category
Tire Replacement: What Weaverville Drivers Need to Know
Posted April 2, 2013 1:59 PM
Looking at getting some new tires? The choices at Weaverville tire stores can be a little overwhelming. Suppose you have an SUV and are trying to decide between all season tires or some that are also rated for off-highway. Do you get off the payment on the outskirts of Weaverville more than most? If so, some additional off-road traction would be nice.
Maybe the real reason for wanting those off-highway tires is that they look cool. Well there’s nothing wrong with that. If you make sure that you’ve got your functional needs covered with your selection, then you can have some fun with where you go from there.
Let’s suppose you zip around Weaverville in a sporty car. You may like to run a high-performance summer tire when the weather’s good. When North Carolina weather turns cold, you can put on high-performance winter tires. For the kind of driving you like to do, you want full-on performance tires. All-season tires are naturally a compromise that works well for most Weaverville drivers, but since you have a choice, go for dedicated summer and winter tires.
When it’s time for new tires, visit with a knowledgeable The Organic Mechanic tire professional. Describe your needs and wants. He’ll come up with some selections for you to discuss. And once you settle on a type of tire, there are options for special needs: like pulling a trailer or carrying heavy loads.
Tires are one of the biggest purchases for Weaverville drivers. With so many choices, you’ll be able to get what’s best for you. Take their time. And don’t worry about what’s in stock. If you want something that isn’t here at The Organic Mechanic, manager Charley Wilson can order it. Chances are you’ll be rolling on your new tires in a couple of days.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
On Board Diagnostics For Asheville Motorists
Posted March 26, 2013 12:00 PM
Some Asheville auto owners wonder why The Organic Mechanic and other Asheville auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.
Think about it: When you hire a local Hendersonville HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your Biltmore doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.
So receiving a diagnostic charge at The Organic Mechanic for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Hendersonville area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your car brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy North Carolina expressway, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your car engine, however, The Organic Mechanic diagnosis may be much more involved.
Much of the Hendersonville auto owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.
There’s a common misconception among Biltmore, Weaverville, and Arden/Fletcher drivers that the trouble code tells the The Organic Mechanic technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge - because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.
In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.
The car computer's trouble code just tells the The Organic Mechanic technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.
There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for The Organic Mechanic customers. The The Organic Mechanic service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.
Hendersonville service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.
Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course The Organic Mechanic wants to figure out what’s wrong with your car and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
Posted in the Service Standards category
10 Services Asheville car owners Often Overlook
Posted March 20, 2013 2:23 PM
We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Asheville. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps - we have to keep track of it all.
So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.
Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Asheville drivers. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.
1. Power Steering Service Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Next time you're in for an oil change, ask your Asheville service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.
2. Wheel Alignment When your wheels are out of alignment your car pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most car makers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.
3. Differential Service Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do - one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your car engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your The Organic Mechanic service advisor.
4. Cabin Air Filter More and more Asheville cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.
5. Timing Belt Replacement Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Asheville area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Asheville service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.
6. Transmission Service Transmission service is very basic, but it’s often forgotten. Your car transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your fuel economy.
7. Air Conditioning Service Most of us don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.
8. Brake Service No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your The Organic Mechanic technician for recommendations.
9. Coolant System Another thing that’s so easy to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded - bummer.
10. Fuel System Cleaning In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is so important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at The Organic Mechanic will really help your fuel economy.
There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.
We know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain your vehicle; but it not only saves money in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.
Located in the Asheville area, we service the following communities: Swannanoa, Black Mountain, Weaverville, Mars Hill, Marshall, Biltmore Forest, Fairview, Bent Creek, Avery Creek, Canton and surrounding areas.