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  • Running Like New

    Posted on 22, September, 2014

    From Residue to Running Like New

    How a Fuel System Cleaning Can Restore Your Engine

     

    Whether you put too much food down the garbage disposal (we prefer composting), too many leaves fall into the gutters or grandma's famous tuna casserole left your oven covered in an unknown greasy substance, things stop performing at their optimal level unless they're cleaned. The same is true for your car's engine.

     

    Residue gets left behind in your engine every time you turn off your car. Any time an engine shuts down, it goes through a 'hot soak'. A hot soak is when your engine is still producing heat and there is no air flowing through it to cool it down. During the 'hot soak' period, fuel residues become thin deposits called gum and varnish. with time, these this residues accumulate and bake into rock-hard carbon deposits, which can be very difficult to remove.

     

    The hard carbon deposits cause a multitude of problems with engines. these include hard starts, stumbling, loss of fuel economy, increased emissions and reduced performance.

     

    To unclog your gutters, all you need to do is remove the leaves, use some oven cleaner to remove the mystery grease from your oven. But how to clean the deposits from your engine? Regular fuel system cleaning as a preventive maintenance can address the fuel deposit-related problems before they require expensive repairs, including engine dis-assembly and part replacements. 

     

    Our favorite product is BG 44K Fuel System Cleaner. We recommend using it annually (12,000-15,000 miles). It is a standard part of our maintenance services for our customers. This is poured into your fuel tank (good to have a full tank)and as your car runs, the product will clean throughout, helping to remove those harsh deposits and improving vehicle performance.

     

    There are no negative side effects what so ever when you use a quality fuel system cleaner. We also carry a BG fuel System cleaner for diesels as well. (By the way, BG can only be purchased through auto repair facilities.) 

     

    Click here for your appointment today. Your Serene, Green Auto Repair Team www.WaterStarMotors.com

  • Being "Cool" Again

    Posted on 13, August, 2014

    Coolant System Explained (Part two of two)

    Last week we discovered a pool of ‘green blood’ under the car…Is it an Alien’s? 

    As we learned in Coolant System Part 1, that "green stuff" is not some weird alien blood (although to some, a car may seem like an alien)! It is anti-freeze – also known as coolant.

      What does Coolant do? Coolant performs a number of important roles in keeping your vehicle on the road. Its primary function is to cool engine parts around the cylinder walls and cylinder head where your car’s fuel is burned; that is, where combustion takes place. The engine needs coolant circulating through it continually; without it, the combustion chambers reaches temperatures over 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (RED HOT, in other words).

    Its secondary responsibilities are to heat the inside of your car (via the heater) and to keep corrosion from forming in the radiator, engine, and heater core.

    How does the coolant circulate? Coolant is kept moving along by a pump (misnamed as ‘the water pump’). A well-functioning water pump is essential because, as you know, idle coolant is the devil’s playground! (HOT, HOT, HOT!) J

    As coolant (designed to not boil until it reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit) circulates through the engine, it carries heat away from the cylinder walls / combustion chambers to the radiator. The anti-freeze cools down as it flows through the radiator. It then repeats its cycle of flow - back to the cylinder walls, picking up the heat to expel once again to the radiator.

    The thermostat is what regulates the coolant temperature by controlling how fast and where the coolant goes, maintaining the cooling system's proper temperatures at a cool 190-200 degrees.

    Needless to say, the cooling system needs to be kept in good working order: coolant performs essential roles in keeping your vehicle on the road and comfortable (warm and toasty). Proper maintenance is required.

    Water Star Motors, Inc. recommends that you repair all leaks immediately, take care of your water pump, and REPLACE COOLANT every 2-3 years. (As exotic as it is, and although some coolant is advertised as lasting for up to ten years, coolant has a relatively short life span; experience tells me that 5 years is max and 2-3 years is best.) A good, professional "Coolant System Flush" – replacing the entire contents of the cooling system – is a great investment for your car’s health.

    [Please note: many kinds of coolants cannot be mixed with other kinds. Be sure to consult a professional if you are not absolutely certain what kind your car currently has. Also, please be aware that in the world of cars, things are constantly changing – including the color of coolants; they now come not only in green, but red, orange, blue, and even purple!]

    In closing: We highly recommend regular ‘green blood’ transfusions for your 'Alien' – that is, regular cooling system maintenance – to promote long life and happiness.

    And no, even though it may bleed ‘green blood’, your car really is not an Alien; you can think of it as just having a preference for green ‘cool-aide’.

    Click for your appointment today. Your Serene, Green Auto Repair Team - Water Star Motors, Inc.

  • How "Cool" Are You?

    Posted on 06, August, 2014

    Coolant System Explained (Part one of two)

    Imagine; you've finished your food shopping, go out to put your groceries in your car and you notice a small river of green liquid oozing from underneath. “Yikes! Is that green stuff coming from my car???”There’s a pool of ‘green blood’ under my car…Is it an Alien’s?...Should I be concerned?

    That "green stuff" is not some weird alien blood (although to some, a car may seem like an alien)! It is anti-freeze – AKA coolant.

    GET THAT LEAK FIXED right away if you are concerned about keeping your car running, and  or about keeping the environment and  or animals safe! The loss of coolant often leads to overheating of your vehicle’s engine.

    Coolant smells and tastes sweet. We DO NOT recommend tasting your coolant – NEVER taste it – but you need to know that animals are attracted to the sweetness of spilled coolant, and it can potentially cause their demise if they drink it. (A "pet-and-environment-friendly coolant" is available. It is also green in color – and a bit pricey.)

    While we have established that the "green stuff" is not alien blood, you also need to know that it is not merely colored water. Appearance can be deceiving! Handle it carefully. Coolant is made with ethylene and propylene glycols that are manufactured from natural gas and crude petroleum (non-renewable resources). It has additives such as corrosion inhibitors, ph buffers, and anti-foaming agents. Without all those additives, coolant cannot do all of its jobs well.

    Besides being poisonous in and of itself, coolant becomes increasingly toxic while circulating in your car, as it then is contaminated with heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium, iron, copper and zinc.

    Water Star Motors, Inc. has all used coolant picked up to be recycled! This recycling process is regulated by standards set by the automotive industry.

    Helpful tip: DO NOT open the radiator cap on a car with a hot or overheating engine…the coolant is under pressure and could scald you.

    Coolant can also leak into the interior of the car (on the floor by the passenger’s feet) if a leak develops in the heater core.

    Side Note: During the hot season when the car’s air conditioning is being used there will often be clear water found under the car. This is the condensation from the air conditioning unit removing the moisture out of the car’s interior. Do not panic, this is normal.

    Stay tuned –Coolant System Part 2 will be in the next Rock, Paper, Car.

    Click for your appointment today. Your Serene, Green Auto Repair Team - Water Star Motors, Inc.

  • Trouble Free Summer Travel

    Posted on 31, July, 2014

    Summer is here and we love to travel to ‘hot’ places with our families. For example; there is much desert to be crossed to get to the Grand Canyon.

     

    No one wants to get caught with the hood up on the side of the road. This tends to raise the temperatures of more than the vehicle. Before your trip we suggest checking your vehicle with a pre-trip inspection. Ideally do this a week or two before your scheduled departure date. Special attention should be made to the Cooling System and the Air Conditioning System.

     

    Quick Factoid: Summer heat can send parts of your engine to nearly 200 degrees F – some engine bits can even reach 500 degrees, literally oven hot! NEVER open the radiator cap on a hot engine! Over- heating or not, the system has a lot of pressure in it. (Old Faithful is best viewed from a distance.)

     

    The easiest way for you to determine if your car is cooling properly is to get in the habit of looking at your car’s temperature gauge. This simple act can save you a lot of time, aggravation and money. Take a look at the gauge when it is cold and as it warms up. As you head to your destination take a look while sitting at a stop. If you notice it rising close to the red, safely pull over and stop your car immediately. It is not uncommon for thermostats to fail overnight. When this happens the car will overheat almost instantly.

     

    Let’s say your temperature gauge is fluctuating. This could be due to a poor connection or faulty ground wire. When your temperature gauge is riding higher than usual the following should be checked: Radiator cap, the radiator itself for leaks or resistance to flow, all water hoses, water pump, the fan clutch, thermostat, auxiliary fan, etc.

     

    The best defense in possible overheating situations is a good offense. Have your car serviced regularly; follow the recommendation of getting coolant flushes every two years. Watch your gauges. Turn off your air conditioner while driving up steep grades.

    Replacing a bad hose or radiator is much cheaper than replacing a cylinder head or engine block. 

     

    Cooling System Overview: The cooling system removes excess heat from the engine, keeps the engine operating at its most efficient temperature and gets the engine up to the correct operating temperature as soon as possible after starting. As fuel is burned about one third of the energy is converted into power, another third goes out the exhaust unused and the final third becomes heat energy. Without a cooling system, parts would melt, and the engine's pistons would expand so much they would seize the motor.

     

    If the engine runs too cool it is inefficient, the oil gets dirty (adding wear and subtracting horsepower), carbon deposits form and fuel mileage is poor. Also, in some newer cars, this could cause the check engine light to come on.

  • Air Conditioning Explained

    Posted on 13, May, 2014

        ARE YOU HOT?! 

     Air Conditioning Explained

     Your car's ‘skin’ of steel and glass is not only  protective and beautiful, but it also attracts  and stores a tremendous amount of solar  (radiant) heat in the passenger compartment.

     Removing this trapped heat requires a very  efficient system. The Air Conditioning (A/C)  system is a combination of mechanical  components plus a chemical medium (Freon   – not a psychic) whose sole purpose is to move heat from the interior to the exterior of the vehicle.

    Your car’s air conditioner uses Freon Refrigerant to cool the air internally. Freon acts a lot like water. As liquid Freon warms up it evaporates into a gaseous state (vapor), and then, as it cools down, becomes liquid again. As the Freon changes from a liquid to a vapor it heats and cools the air.

    What path does Freon take? When you dial the temperature in your car to Cold the Freon moves through the Receiver-Drier (see diagram) which collects moisture and dirt.

    After the receiver drier, Freon turns into vapor inside the Evaporator where it chills and takes the heat out of the air. The evaporator is located inside the car.

    Then the vapor travels back to the A/C Compressor (in the engine area) where it gets compressed. Then the Freon flows to the condenser.  

     

     

    Next the Condenser condenses the Freon back into a liquid state – creating heat under the hood, in the engine compartment. The condenser is located in front of the radiator. As the Freon completes its circuit by traveling back to the Evaporator to become vapor, it chills the air.

    As you notice in the visual aide, there is quite an infrastructure of hoses to carry Freon to the various A/C components: there is approximately 24 feet of very fancy hose with special crimpings and fittings.

    An air conditioner has super high pressures – up to 500 psi (‘pounds per square inch’). This is about 20 times the air pressure in your tires or 10 times the pressure of water as it comes out of your faucet.

    In order to perform properly, your car’s air-conditioner requires that all of the parts be functioning correctly. Working on A/C systems requires (by the B.A.R.) special equipment, training and certification. Water Star Motors, Inc., of course, has all of this and more!

    A note on Freon: Currently, all new cars have Freon type 134A. (environmentally friendly). Transition to environmentally friendly Freon began in the late 80’s. Older cars have the Freon R-12 (the O-zone Killer).