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Pesky Critters Can Cause Damage to Your Car!!!

Posted on 01/13/2014

With cooler temperatures and wet weather right around the corner small critters are looking for warm places to sleep at night. One favorite is under the hood of your car. Yup in your engine compartment it can stay warm for several hours. I’m sure some of you may have heard of cats sleeping under the hood to keep warm or about mice making their nests next to your vehicle’s engine. Well we see quite a bit of this and it seems to be getting worse. Keeping our cars away from rodents is not always so easy considering where some of us live.  Next to open fields, wooded areas, green belts here in Orangevale can make it difficult to control rodents getting into our cars; even cars parked in a garage are suspect to those small pesky critters.

Here is just some basic damage to the vehicle speed sensors, this is a costly repair and will cause your “Check Engine” light to illuminate but won’t cause an accident.

This is the wiring harness for his trailer, these wires connect the lights and brake signals from the towing vehicle to the trailer, this loss of connection can cause the brake/turning/parking lights to fail, the brakes on the trailer to fail and/or touching frayed wires can caused mixed signals to the trailer lights. This can be dangerous especially when towing at night or a heavy load.

These are metal brake lines, not all vehicles have metal brake lines. If these would have been a thinner material, plastic or rubber this damage would have cause brake failure to the vehicle. This is a huge hazard and if the driver didn’t know the brakes weren’t working until up to a higher speed this would have caused an accident.

These little guys can create havoc on your car’s hoses, vacuum lines, electrical wiring and more causing hundreds or even thousands of dollars of damage. You may get a warning that something is going wrong if your check engine light comes on but not always. Some insurance companies cover this kind of damage however other insurance companies have exceptions for rodent damage. If you live in an area where this can happen you may want to see if you have the type of coverage that would take care of such a loss.

There are some ways to control these little characters’s access to your car, but you have to do it safely. Using poison or traps are a couple of ways to deter these guys but be careful if you have pets or small children. Calling an exterminator may be your best option.

Periodically check in an around where you park your car especially when parking in a barn, garage or on a surface other then cement. Look for remnants of rodent damage, little bits of wire, hose, and pieces of plastic and let’s not forget rodent droppings. On occasion lift the hood of your car and check for evidence of something sharing your vehicles under-hood warmth. Glance for chewed up parts, a nest or droppings and if you ever think that something is damaged or consider it may be unsafe have your vehicle towed for your safety and the safety of others.

Written By: "The Car Guy"



About the "Dealer"

Posted on 01/13/2014

Federal Law Prohibits car dealers from implying or denying warranty service because routine scheduled maintenance was performed at an independent repair facility.

Try Before You Buy!

Posted on 01/13/2014

You wouldn’t buy a computer off Craigs list or from a Pawn shop without making sure it turned on right? Well, the same thing goes with a used car. Make sure you have a trained professional test drive and do a full inspection of the vehicle you are interested in purchasing. Japan Auto Care offers Pre-purchase inspections during regular business hours and will address any specific concerns you have about your possible new purchase. You have to remember that there is no way to predict the future life of the vehicle so it is always important to get a detailed list of repairs and services performed from the previous owner. Also you can get a Carfax report to tell you of any insurance claimed accidents this vehicle was involved in.

Check Engine Light

Posted on 01/13/2014

Why do I see this symbol on my dash?

Maybe you have seen this image on your dash before, the dreaded “Check Engine Light”. Let me give you a little in-sight on this light and the importance of having your vehicle diagnosed by a trained professional. This light is triggered by a failed or malfunctioning component within your vehicle that is causing your car to run incorrectly. Sometimes your car may seem like everything is fine where other times a noticeable noise, sensation, smell or other warning indicator will occur. On a Nissan or Infinity the light will look quite different “Service Engine Soon” has the same meaning, these lights never mean your brakes are low, you’re due for an oil change or you haven’t performed your 60k service.

What's wrong with my car and who should I take it to?

First thing you need to do is have a trained mechanic pull the “Trouble codes” from your computer system to see whether a specific failing component is named in the computer of if a system failure or functionality code is named. For example an engine code can be stating that something specific is failing such as your TPS or Throttle Position Sensor, or the Heater Circuit in one of your Oxygen sensors. On the other hand the Engine code can be as generalized at stating “Evaporative System Leak”. In the first case the mechanic can locate the component, test the functionality of it by checking Ohms, Volts or even using other equipment while the car is running to graph the function of the component and condemn the item and recommend it for replacement. In the 2nd example many more steps will need to be taken to fully diagnose the vehicle. We have flow charts of multiple components within each system that we have to test and depending on the result of each test we move on to another step within the chart or we have located the problematic component. I’ll continue with my example of the “Evaporative System Leak”. First off a repair shop would recommend a full visual inspection of all lines and hoses within this system followed by a smoke test where smoke is ran through the Evaporative system to check for leaks as well. This process can take hours upon hours and come up inconclusive or with a recommendation of multiple components to be replaced. In the case of Japan Auto Care we have the expertise to know the common problems for each vehicle we specialize in and would be able to lessen this process time. Or in the case of most vehicles we would recommend replacing the Gas Cap with a factory replacement for this is not only the most common problem with vehicles receiving this code but it is also cheaper than spending hours trying to diagnose a very small leak.

Why should I fix that problem?

The most important reason for people to repair the necessary problems causing the Check Engine Light to come on is that your car WILL NOT pass smog with the light illuminated. There are many other reasons to repair this as well. Certain sensors are vital to the engine operation in your vehicle. The sensors throughout your car relay information to your computer that then tell your vehicle when to go, stop, when the spark plugs should fire, when the car should shift gears and a lot more. If your coolant temp sensor is inoperative or operating incorrectly and is telling your cars computer that the car is running cool when it is actually overheating you can end up with extensive damage to your engine resulting in a very expensive repair.

Ok, so I know whats wrong, it doesn’t seem important to me and I don’t need to pass smog right now, why can’t I wait to do the repairs?

So we know that your car needs an Oxygen sensor but its running fine, you don’t need to pass smog for a while and its a little more money then you want to spend right now. The main thing I tell customers is that there is a possibility that another component will fail or begin to malfunction on your car and because the light it already on you would have no idea unless your car starts to run poorly. This secondary problem can be a much larger issue resulting in damage that could have been avoided if we would have known that it failed.

I heard some people have free diagnostics for this, why don’t you?

This is the number one question I get asked about a Check Engine Light and the answer is simple, we actually diagnose your car. These other shops offering free diagnostics only give you a “Trouble Code” where as I explained before does not always tell you whats wrong with your car. You then would have to take your car to another shop for a full diagnosis or end up paying this shop to diagnose it anyways. Do you really want to be tricked into going to them? Starting off on the wrong foot is not how you gain trust from your customer.

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