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No Start Basics

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 11:43 AM Comments comments (14)
Basic no start checks
 Before you throw in the towel and call AAA or your best friend that knows all about cars, take the time to do a few basic checks on your no start car. Who knows you may get it running, you will gain some insight on what's wrong at the very least.  First we can break down the no start complaint into two categories.  First is the engine that cranks normally and doesn’t start and then there is the turn the key and nothing happens no start. Lets start with the turn the key and nothing happens situation. When you turn the key and attempt to start the engine do all the dash lights come on for their normal bulb check? If not the battery may be completely dead or you have a bad connection at the battery. A good place to start looking is making sure there was nothing left on that would have drained the battery since you last used the car. Headlights left on, dome light on due to a door not closed all of the way, glove box light, anything obvious. Next give the battery cables a little twist to make sure they are tightly connected to the battery terminals. If they are loose tighten them up and give it another try. Still nothing? now it’s time to get an idea of what the battery voltage actually is. If you have a volt meter its time to break it out. A fully charged battery will have about 12.6 volts on a static no load test.  If the voltage is low you may just want to charge the battery or jump start it at this point. No voltmeter available, try turning on the headlights and see if they illuminate at their normal brightness, if they do your battery probably has close to 12.6 volts. If they are dim its time to recharge or jump start. If your car starts now make sure the charging voltage is good. Once the jumper cables are removed or the battery charger is disconnected and the car is running you should have around 13.5-14 volts at idle. 12.6 or less would indicate your charging system is not functioning and the car is not going to stay running for long without it. The battery charge or jump still yielded a no start condition, you may have a starter or wiring problem. Don’t overlook the stupid things, like is the car in park or neutral, clutch pushed down all the way? Anything that will cause the neutral safety switch to prevent the engine from cranking. Don’t laugh, I have seen cars towed in for things like this on more than one occasion. Now lets take a look at the car that cranks normally, but will not fire up. All gas spark ignition engines need three basic things to run, fuel/air, ignition and compression. Start from the easiest position first, the driver’s seat. Turn the key to the on position and look and listen. You  should hear the fuel pump prime for a few seconds and shut off. You should see the check engine light come on during the bulb check. Now crank the engine. Does the engine crank faster than normal?  Your looking for clues to the problem here. If the engine cranks faster than normal you may have a compression problem. A broken timing belt will cause this. Can’t hear the fuel pump prime? could be an electrical problem to the pump or more commonly a failed pump. If you have a helper try banging on the bottom of the fuel tank as your helper cranks the engine. This will sometime bring a stuck electric fuel pump to life temporarily. Keep in mind this only works on in tank pumps. If it fires up, you need to replace the pump. If you don’t see the check engine light come on during cranking you may have a power problem to the computer. Now its time to get a little dirty if you want to keep going. If you can access a spark plug lead you can check for spark. Pull the lead off of a spark plug and hold the end of the lead to a good safe ground like the engine block. You want to have the metal part of the lead about a half inch from the ground. A good ignition system will jump this gap easily with a nice bright spark when your helper cranks the engine. Be careful that you are not a better ground than the one you chose or you will find out what 30 thousand volts feels like as it shoots through you, it wont kill you, but it will wake you up! If you have good spark and still no start you can add some fuel to the intake to see if it will fire on that. Again be careful here, you want to try and diagnose the problem, not burn the car and you to the ground. Pull off the duct going to the throttle. Spray a little carburetor cleaner in there, you may want to open the throttle a little so it gets into the intake. Give it a crank now, if it sputters to life you can be pretty sure it’s a fuel problem. Depending on the make and model of your car there can be many different causes of lost fuel or spark. I’m not trying to give the fix for the problem here, just some direction to narrow down the cause of your no start condition. Your mechanical ability and tools available will be the determining factor in how far you will take your diagnoses and when you will give AAA a call for the tow to the shop. Also never overlook the basics. Is there fuel in the tank? is there an alarm system installed that is killing the ignition?  Sometimes a no start is a minor problem, give it a look before you send out that SOS, you may surprise yourself and get back on the road quickly and save a few bucks in the process.                    

Check Engine Light basics

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM Comments comments (35)
Check Engine Light Basics
People have different reactions to the Check Engine Light (CEL) when it suddenly illuminates for what seems to be no reason. These range from, if I ignore it, it will go away, to stopping dead in their tracks thinking the car is going to explode. These days its easy to have the codes read for free at your local auto parts store or you can purchase an inexpensive code reader to the job. Keep in mind the codes only give direction in diagnosing and don’t always indicate what part has failed. Lets explore some of the basics of why your Check Engine Light may come on and what to do about it.
 Your On Board Diagnostic (OBD) system consists of many components that monitor and control engine and transmission functions. When something goes wrong that will cause the car to emit excessive emissions the light will come on. There is probably thousands of possible causes that will do this, but we will cover some of the most common problems here. It is also important to understand that there are continuously monitored systems and other systems that are only tested after a certain drive cycle is completed.  This is why if you have the light cleared without fixing the problem it will stay out for a short time, once the drive cycle is complete for the failed system the light will return. 
1) Evaporative or EVAP codes P0440 - P0459, These codes are telling you your fuel system may be leaking raw fuel vapor into the atmosphere or the system itself is failing the ability to self test. The problem can be as simple as a loose or defective fuel cap or a more complex problem with the systems switching components or even a rusty filler neck. Your car can still be driven safely with EVAP codes stored, but should be repair to meet federal emission laws. 
2) Misfire codes. P0300 – P0312. This is a continuously monitored system. If you have a misfire you will see the light blinking as the misfire is happening. P0300 is a random misfire and P0301-12 indicate what cylinder is the offending one. This condition will cause your car to run poorly and possibly damage other components like the catalytic converter. You should have this check immediately to prevent further damage.
3) P0420- P0439. These are your catalyst efficiency codes. The cat has to be at peak efficiency to do it’s job. As the cat ages or is damaged from a misfiring engine and the efficiency drops to 92% or less the CEL will come on. This can be a very costly code to fix as it almost always results in cat replacement, but sometimes something as simple as an exhaust leak or the ECU needing a reprogram will cause the codes. It is very important do have these codes diagnosed properly before any parts are replaced due to the expense. Your car can be driven safely with these codes until repairs are made unless the cat is completely melted down causing an exhaust restriction.
4) Oxygen sensor codes P0130- P0167. There are many O2 sensor codes because there are several sensors on your car and they are responsible for reporting fuel mixture to the ECU as well as how efficient the cat is , a very important job. Depending on the engine configuration you will have two or four O2 sensors.  There are upstream sensors mounted in front of the cat and downstream sensors mounted after the cat. The sensors themselves have heaters to aid warm up. O2 sensor heater failure is very common. Once again the code must be diagnosed to get to the true cause of the problem. Your car can be driven with O2 heater codes, but if the engine is running poorly with a large fuel economy drop due to sensor failure it should be driven directly to the repair shop to prevent further damage.
Please keep in mind this is just general information and not manufacturer specific. This is meant to give a basic idea of why your CEL may have come on. We always recommend having your OBD system properly diagnosed before any parts are replaced.                          


More useless automotive trivia

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 3:28 PM Comments comments (23)
More useless automotive trivia.
1. Toyota is not the only foreign make to win in NASCAR. In 1954, Al Keller drove a Jaguar to victory during a NASCAR race at the Linden Airport in New Jersey.
2.There was no 1998 Mazda Miata in the US.
3. VW only sold two Beetles in the USA in 1949
4. 1967 was the first year for dual circuit master cylinders preventing complete loss of braking if one circuit failed.
5. Chevrolet first produced their small block V8 in 1955.
6. Ford’s Mustang “California Special” was only made one year in 1968.
7. The last car to come with an option cassette player was the 2011 Ford Crown Vic.
8. When using the GM Tech II scan tool on a Saab 9-3 SS  if you go into the Airbag/SRS system submenu, there is a easter egg that allows the tech to play Pong on the Tech II. 
9. The AMC Pacer was supposed to have a GM supplied Rotary engine, when GM pulled the plug on their Rotary engine program it left AMC scrambling for a way to shoehorn their own straight six into the Pacer’s engine bay.
10. The 1974 Mustang II was not offered with a V8 engine. The ‘75 Mustangs had the radiator support moved several inches forward to accommodate the 5.0 liter V8. This also required the hood to be a few inches longer.
11. Honda’s first sports car, the S series, S500, S600 and the S800 had chain drive rear ends. They were produced from 1964-1966. The number in their name denotes the engine size in CCs.
12. Hardwoods were used in the body framing and flooring of early production cars. The Morgan is still made this way today.
13. The Delorean  used as the time machine in Back to the Future was not the first choice for the conveyance. The original script had a refrigerator as the time machine.
14. In 1956 Chrysler offered an option called Highway HiFi. The under dash mounted record player played 7” records available from CBS’s Columbia Record Division.
15. The 1973 Chevrolet Vega was offered with a tent option called the Hatchback Hutch.       

Spring A/C Check Up

Posted on May 2, 2014 at 10:19 AM Comments comments (53)
Spring Time A/C Check

Now that the hot weather is very close it’s time to start thinking of your air conditioning system.  Most people think you just turn it on and if it works your good to go. That’s only part of the story, there is some maintenance that should be done to ensure the system is at it’s full capacity. First lets take a quick look at the system itself. Open the hood and take a look at all the hoses and compressor, is there any trace of oily deposits at hose connections or anyplace in the system? If so you may have a leak at that point. The refrigerant in the system carries oil in it to lubricate the compressor, as the refrigerant leaks out it will leave a tell tail sign in the form of an oily deposit. Check the condenser to make sure it is clear of dirt and leaves. A blocked condenser can lead to excessively high, high side pressure, reducing cooling efficiency. Make sure the compressor drive belt is in good condition and not loose. You may also want to check the evaporator drain tube for any blockage. A clogged drain tube can lead to some very wet carpets and a musty smell inside the car. This is also a great time to check and replace the cabin air filter if your car is equipped with one. If the system still does not cool properly or not at all it’s time to check system pressures. Low or no pressure would indicate a low or empty system. It is extremely important to have the correct type and amount of refrigerant charge in the system, to little or too much refrigerant will adversely effect performance. It is highly recommended taking your car to a trained pro to take care of the recovery and charging of refrigerant. It is against the law to vent CFC refrigerants into the atmosphere. Remember White Horse Auto is fully equipped to service you’re A/C system. 

Spring Check up.

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 11:48 AM Comments comments (79)
Now that Spring is finally here it’s time to give your car it’s Spring check up. Stop in for a complete vehicle inspection. Make sure all of your cars vital systems are in good condition and ready for the added driving most of us do in the nicer months ahead. This is also a great time to treat your car to a good cleaning, especially the undercarriage. For those of us living in the snow belt now is the time to remove all remaining traces of road salt to prevent rust and corrosion. If you are unable to do it yourself look for a carwash that offers undercarriage cleaning, also make sure all of you body drains in the doors and fender areas are clear of dirt. Blocked drain holes allow water and salt to remain trapped in the car’s body causing sever rust. A little maintenance now will go a long way in keeping you car or truck in top condition.    

Getting into the vintage car hobby

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 11:39 AM Comments comments (275)
Are you thinking of getting into the classic car hobby but just haven’t been able to make that big jump into an actual purchase. You have a lot of questions like, What car is right for me, where do I find the best cars, how much should I pay?  Do I look for a project car or purchase a complete ready to drive car?
Here are a few simple steps you can follow to make sure you end up with a car or project that you will enjoy for years to come. These steps will help you avoid making common mistakes and winding up with a project that sits for years untouched in your garage or back yard never to be completed.
1. What car do I get? Passion drives most classic car purchases. What car makes your head turn when you see one on the road? What car did you always want as a kid, but never been able a get? It may be a car you already owned that you let get away. Whatever car or truck does it for you is the one you should look for. Just remember the car you choose must match your budget and skill level you have or it may end up in that “never got around to it, never finished” pile in the back of the garage. Always loved Ferrari 308s, but your on a beer budget. Look for a Fiat X/19. Same Italian mid engine flavor on a much more affordable level. My point here is don’t let your passion get the best of you. You will have much more fun with a car you can actually use and take to shows than you will with a pile of parts that may never see the light of day. Buy what fits your budget!
2. That brings us to a very important subject. Budget. If you plan on restoring the car yourself and have a number in mind, times that number by three. Restoration costs can skyrocket quickly especially if you are doing a checkbook restoration, farming most of the work out. The best way to keep these costs down is to purchase the best example of the car you want, that you can afford, in the first place. Avoid rusty examples. Rust and body repairs are one of the biggest budget eaters in a restoration. If you are purchasing a finished car have it checked over before you make the final purchase. A lot of so call restored cars out there are poor examples with a shinny new paint job hiding all kinds of sins.
3. Seek out help from people that know the car your interested in. A wealth of information can be found on the web about almost any car, but nothing can take the place of having a real person to help you with questions on your chosen make and model. The best way to do this is to join the local car club that caters to your make. People in the club will have the low down on the best places to get parts and service for your car. You will also make a lot of new friends with the same interest as you.
4. Popular makes an models are a little easier for beginners in the hobby. Cars like Mustangs, Camaros, MG and Triumph are not only easy to find for sale, but the aftermarket has plenty of companies selling the parts you need to get the job done. If a used or NOS part is not available, reproduction parts can be purchased to get you going. On these popular cars you can just about build an entire car from the parts offered in these companies  catalogs.    
5. One of the most important things you will need is a place to store and work on your new hobby. Without a good well lighted workspace any task you set out to do will become more of a choir than something you are doing for fun. A garage at your house is a good choice because your car will be right there waiting for you whenever you get some free time to spend on it. Make sure you have plenty of space for for what you plan to do. A frame off or rotisserie restoration will require more space than a small single car garage will offer. Heat and AC in the shop goes a long way for personal comfort when working, again remember if you don’t like being in your workspace the greater the chances are the project will never get finished. Also If you plan on using classic car insurance on you car it is a requirement that the car be garaged.    

6. A final good point to make is when looking for your potential purchase look for those projects that people did give up on for whatever reason. A lot of the time these would be restorers have spent a tons of money on parts and labor, but just couldn’t get the car finished. You may be able to swoop in and get a bargain of a lifetime. You will come across adds the say something like this “60K spent on restoration, must sell. asking 35k. Have all receipts.” Check those out, let the other guy take the loss. You may be just the right person to give that car the happy home it deserves. 

Tire Sale

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 10:38 AM Comments comments (48)
Tour 4.0 tire sale ends soon! Call now for a quote in your size.
Just a reminder that the sale on Hercules Tour 4.0 tires ends 4/1/2014.  These tires offer great performance and tread life for a very reasonable cost. Give us a call to see if they are available in your size. 

Useless Automotive Trivia

Posted on February 8, 2014 at 10:42 AM Comments comments (23)
Useless Automotive Trivia
1. Did you know the three points of the star Mercedes-Benz uses for it’s logo are a representation for the three principle modes of transportation, which include; land, sea and air.
2. Did you know MG stands for Morris Garage
3. Did you know Audi’s four circle logo represents the four companies Wanderer, Audi, Horch and DKW that joined together to make today's Audi Union, a division of VW.
4. Did you know the Gulf Oil Company was the first to offer free road maps in 1913.
5. Did you know Chevrolets Bowtie emblem first appeared in 1914.
6. Did you know Ford introduced the first electric trunk release in 1958.
7. Due to the energy crisis the 1974 Daytona 500 was shortened to 180 laps, 450 miles. This was also the year that the 55mph speed limit was enacted.
8. Did you know the Peanuts characters were first animated in 1957 for a Ford commercial.
9. Did you know most American car horns are in the key of F.
10. Did you know the first Japanese car that was built in the US was the Honda Accord. November of 1982 the first US built Accord left the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio.
11 .Did you know that in 1965 Chevrolet sold more the one million Impalas. This is a single year sales record that still stands today.
12. Did you know that all cars sold in the US in 1974 came equipped with an interlock system that did not allow the car to start unless the driver fastened his seatbelt. Most people just left the belt fastened and sat on top of it or just disabled the system. It was gone the next year.
13. Did you know the first ABS equipped production car was the 1966 Jensen FF Interceptor.   
14. Did you know The 1973 Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car with a passenger air bag intended for sale to the public.
15. Did you know there were just 300 Corvettes built in 1953. All painted Polo White. Write your post here.

Tips on better fuel mileage

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM Comments comments (64)
Tips to help increase your fuel mileage.
1. Weight reduction. Carrying unnecessary weight in your car will increase fuel consumption, so it’s time to loose the junk in the trunk. Don’t use your trunk as a storage locker. Only Carrie the minimal items like a jack and spare tire. Leave the bowling ball collection at home.
2. Reduce aerodynamic drag. Have an unused roof rack or bike rack on your car? Time to toss it in the garage, wail your at it clean and wax your car, that will help it slip through the air better. Is you car missing it’s front air dam? Many cars have these below the front bumper to help direct air flow into the radiator and keep it out from under the car where it can cause more drag on the uneven surfaces found there. Many times they are damaged of missing from hitting road obstacles. Repair or replace as needed. Flying the flag of your favorite team may seem like a great idea to show your support, but not so much for your fuel mileage. Turn on your AC in hot weather. This my seem counter productive to good fuel mileage, but studies have shown the reduced drag with your windows up at higher speeds will decrease fuel consumption.
3. One of the easiest things you can do is keep your tires inflated to the proper manufactures recommended pressure. Low tire pressure increases the rolling resistance of your tires, causes excessive heat build up and also can lead to tire failure. More is not better, do not exceed the recommended pressures thinking this will help. This will cause poor handling and accelerated tire wear.
4. Maintenance. Proper maintenance of your engine, brakes and suspension will keep your car in top condition for a long life and top fuel economy. For instance a sticking brake caliper that does not completely release will greatly increase fuel consumption as well as causing a safety issue. A car that is not properly aligned can cause more rolling resistance. Improper oil viscosity can cause high internal mechanical engine resistance. Make sure you are using the correct type and grade for your car. Check the owner’s manual for what your engine requires. Many think a dirty air filter will cause poor fuel mileage. On todays computer controlled engines this is not the case. The fuel system simply adjusts fuel trim to compensate for the dirty filter. It will however reduce the power you will get from the engine, so keep it clean for top performance.    
5. Driving habits.  If you are the type of person that floors it as soon as the light changes and normally does 80 mph on the highway, slow it down and take it easy. This will go a long way in increasing your mileage as well as reducing wear on your car. It may even save you a few bucks on tickets too!  

6. Don’t warm it up in cold weather. Todays cars can be started a driven without any warm up. Remember to take it easy until the engine reaches proper operating temp. Also avoid idling the engine if you can. Park and go inside to get that Big Mac. Waiting in line at drive up windows for fast food and banks may be convenient for you, but is a huge waste of fuel. We all can use the exercise too!                

Fall Vehicle Inspection

Posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM Comments comments (17)
What's going on inside your car. Make sure your car is ready for the demanding conditions of the Winter.  Stop in today and have your car looked over with our Fall Vehicle Inspection. We will inspect and test your battery, coolant, belts, hoses, fluids and check your brakes, suspension and tires. Just $19.95