Good brakes are obviously very important. If you've ever had your brakes go out while you're driving around the Kissimmee area, you'll know how terrifying it can be. Today we'll focus on how to tell when you have a brake problem, and how to make good repair choices.
Often, the first indication that something's wrong with the brakes is an unusual sound. It could be a squeal, chatter or grinding sound.
Some brake pads have a little piece of metal embedded in them that will make a squeal or chirping sound when the brake pads have been worn down to the point that they need to be replaced. It's an early warning indicator.
Now a chattering sound is more urgent. That usually indicates that something is loose. It could be a brake pad or even the brake calipers. If one of those parts falls off, you could have some serious trouble stopping the vehicle. It would be a good idea to park it until you can get into the shop.
A grinding noise usually means that the brake pad is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are rubbing directly on the metal brake rotor. That means the rotor is being damaged and will need some work. More on that later.
Another warning sign is that your brake pedal may feel soft and spongy – or it may even feel very hard to push in. Both could mean trouble. And of course, you may get a dashboard brake warning light.
Now when it comes time to replace your brake pads, you have a choice to make. You can get the same pads that came standard on your vehicle. You can expect the same performance and durability as with the pads that came on the car from the factory.
Now you can also get a budget brake pad. Sometimes drivers insist on lower cost pads. That's OK if the budget demands it, but you need to be aware of the trade offs. Lower grade pads are usually noisier, so you'll have to live with more noise when you apply the brakes. They also tend to generate a lot more brake dust, you know, that black dust that accumulates on your wheels. And they probably won't last as long either. In our opinion, that's a lot of compromise for just a few dollars in savings.
You can also choose to buy premium brakes pads. These perform at higher specifications than the factory pads. You can expect quieter operation, less brake dust and better stopping power.
Now, getting back to the rotors. The rotors are the discs that the brake pads clamp down on to stop the vehicle. If you've been driving with completely worn brake pads, you've scratched grooves into the rotors. If the grooves aren't too deep, the rotor can be resurfaced. A thin layer of metal is cut off the surface of the rotor to make it smooth again.
Now, if the grooves are too deep or if the rotor has already be resurfaced before, there may not be enough material to resurface and still have a rotor that's thick enough to safely stop the vehicle. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.
Something that's often overlooked is the brake fluid. Your manufacturer has a recommended schedule for evacuating the old brake fluid, cleaning the system and refilling it with fresh brake fluid. This is really important to brake performance.
So here's the bottom line: if you suspect, inspect. If you notice any of these warning signs, have your brakes inspected. Your advisor can help you make the repair decision that's right for you.
Posted in the Brakes category
Introduction to Diesels for Kissimmee Florida
Posted June 11, 2013 9:51 AM
Something you’re going to be hearing a lot about around Kissimmee, Florida is diesel engines. We’re not talking about semi-trucks and buses – We’re talking about diesel engine cars, pick-ups and SUVs.
Most people in Kissimmee, Florida are surprised to learn that around half the cars on the road in Europe have diesel engines. Nearly all import auto manufacturers offer a range of diesel engines abroad – even the ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. For the most part, these diesel engines haven’t been available in Kissimmee, Florida. But that’s about to change.
In the past, North American diesel fuel has had a much higher sulfur content than European fuel. Recent environmental laws have required changes in diesel formulation and emissions standards here in Kissimmee, Florida so we are now ready to start seeing more diesel options offered over the next few years.
Why are so many Kissimmee auto owners interested in diesel engines? Well first off, diesel fuel is more energy dense. There’s more power in a barrel of diesel fuel than there is in a barrel of gasoline. The result? Better performance and improved fuel efficiency.
Diesel powered vehicles get about 20 percent better fuel efficiency. And as for power – why do you think that the majority of new heavy duty pick-up trucks are being sold with diesel engines?
If you think back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, you may shudder when you think of the diesel powered cars of the day – noisy, smoky, under-powered beasts that rattled and shook their passengers. Modern diesels sold in Florida have evolved considerably.
They are quiet, clean – and powerful. They’re so refined that many people can’t even tell they’re riding in a diesel powered Automobile. In addition to fuel savings, diesels generally last longer than gasoline engines because of their heavy duty construction.
Another thing the green crowd takes advantage of is the use of bio-diesel in diesel vehicles. Bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil – even recycled cooking oil from Kissimmee restaurants. There is a lot of buzz about Hybrid cars in Florida. Look to diesel-electric hybrids in years to come to make a good idea even better.
Every year, auto makers introduce new diesel models. Look for diesels in domestic light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars. Import auto makers have plans to bring more of their outstanding diesel engines to Kissimmee, Florida as well.
New Kissimmee diesel owners need to know that properly maintaining a diesel engine is somewhat different than a gasoline engine. Fluid change intervals are different. Emissions control devices have to work harder to filter diesel fuel and to scrub the exhaust so you will need to pay attention to that. And the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures than gas fuel injection systems, so it’s very important to keep your fuel system clean with a diesel.
The good news is that Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee is keeping up with the new diesel technology and will be able to advise you on maintaining your diesel.
When we tell you to look for more diesels on Kissimmee streets, you won’t be looking for smoky tail pipes as a clue. You also won’t be listening for that familiar big rig rattle. And, you certainly won’t be waiting for them at the stoplight, because modern diesels are as quick as their gasoline counterparts.
From all of us at AutoNetTV, ten four, good buddy.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Kissimmee Safety Systems: Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Posted June 4, 2013 11:16 AM
Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of Kissimmee car owners driving around on under-inflated tires. Admittedly, it’s hard to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your Automobile tire’s considered significantly under inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.
New laws required auto 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 Kissimmee 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 Automobile'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 Kissimmee 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 improved fuel efficiency and longer tire life. There’s also a potential savings in property damage avoided and fewer travel delays. 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 priority at Don's Complete Auto Service. 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 requires. Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, a snow tire mounted; the Don's Complete Auto Service 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 Kissimmee service centers, here at Don's Complete Auto Service 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 Don's Complete Auto Service 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 Don's Complete Auto Service, 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 Kissimmee, and possibly a catastrophic accident.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
Your Well Trained Technician At Don's Complete Auto Service
Posted May 28, 2013 12:36 PM
When your Automobile has a problem, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Kissimmee, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.
If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training Don's Complete Auto Service professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much specialized knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. For example: Today there are four cylinder engines that generate more power than the 1980s-era V-8’s. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Kissimmee gas prices. They are also amazingly reliable: Kudos to the automotive engineers at the leading auto manufacturers. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars Kissimmee auto owners drive around Florida freeways are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.
Some Automobiles have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle operations as well. Kissimmee motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for Kissimmee Don's Complete Auto Service technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technicians and the Kissimmee service centers as well.
Don's Complete Auto Service technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Don's Complete Auto Service by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.
In addition to the expensive training, there’s the financial commitment for Don's Complete Auto Service to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools.
There are many independent certifications available at Don's Complete Auto Service all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your Automobile requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Kissimmee auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.
It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Don's Complete Auto Service, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and inexpensive – but sometimes it just isn’t.
The next time you bring us your Automobile, don't worry. You’re in good hands at Don's Complete Auto Service.
Posted in the Service Standards category
Tire Maintenance In Kissimmee
Posted May 21, 2013 9:39 AM
With the recent focus in Kissimmee on improving fuel efficiency, we've been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.
Kissimmee motorists know that tires wear out, but we want to make them last as long as possible because they're not cheap to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Under-inflated tires will wear out more quickly.
Some Kissimmee motorists wonder if they should add a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. Bad idea. 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.
Stop by Don's Complete Auto Service to see about tire maintenance for your Kissimmee, Florida vehicle.
Every vehicle in the Kissimmee 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 for Kissimmee motorists to follow it.
What else do Kissimmee car owners 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 Kissimmee drivers rotate their tires? Your owner's manual will have a recommendation. Your Honest and Fair Don's Complete Auto Service service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee 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 Kissimmee 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
The Don's Complete Auto Service Guide To Vehicle Diagnosis
Posted May 14, 2013 10:38 AM
Modern Kissimmee vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.
Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It’s no wonder that when something goes wrong with their Automobile it can be pretty complicated for Kissimmee motorists to track down the source of the problem.
To help your Don's Complete Auto Service service professional figure out what’s wrong, your Automobile is equipped with on-board diagnostics. The Check Engine Light comes on to tell you there’s a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your Honest and Fair Don's Complete Auto Service service professional connects a scan tool to your vehicle’s diagnostic port and retrieves the trouble codes as well as other important data.
Trouble codes are like clues for the Kissimmee technician to follow as he diagnoses what’s wrong with your Automobile. In a way, it’s like going to your Kissimmee doctor with a problem. She’ll run some additional tests and gather the information she needs to make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. How much a vehicle diagnosis costs at Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee depends on how much time it takes to sort out the symptoms and find the underlying problem.
Give us a call
Don's Complete Auto Service 407-847-3427 508 E. Vine Street Kissimmee, Florida 34744
Posted in the Diagnostics category
Wiper Blades In Florida
Posted May 7, 2013 12:39 PM
If you're gonna drive around the Kissimmee area, you've got to be able to see! So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important. We've all experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our windshield is just dirty.
It seems like your wiper blades are always at their worst when you need them the most. But windshield wipers are like most other vehicle parts– they require regular attention in order to work their best.
You really ought to replace your wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If it's going to be a particularly harsh winter in Kissimmee, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall. Winter blades are designed to resist freezing.
Speaking of winter and freezing conditions, if your car has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don't use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That'll just tear up the blades and cause them to wear out more quickly. It may even damage the wiper motor.
Over time, wiper blades become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don't cover the windshield effectively.
Worn wiper blades aren't just a safety hazard; they can also scratch your windshield. That may require replacing the entire windshield; a big cost for such a little part.
Replace worn blades right away. Your local service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. They cost about the same as they would at the store; but installation is included at Don's Complete Auto Service.
Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though your local Kissimmee service center will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home, or in the car if you are on a long trip.
Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy bottled water, may freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won't do a good job of cleaning your windows.
And remember that some vehicles have two reservoirs: one for the windshield and one for the back window – which may be under the hood or somewhere in the back.
So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road, and give us a call at Don's Complete Auto Service or come by our shop at 508 E. Vine Street , Kissimmee, Florida 34744. Call to make an appointment at 407-847-3427
Posted in the Windshield Wipers category
Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down Around Kissimmee
Posted May 1, 2013 10:09 AM
There's not much we can do about the price of gas in Kissimmee Florida, but we do quite a bit about how much we use as we're driving on our Kissimmee streets.
Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.
The first thing we can do is watch the 'go-pedal'. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don't need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Go a little slower on the freeway to Kissimmee. Once you're going more than sixty-five miles an hour your fuel economy starts to drop dramatically. Leave early so you don't need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speed uses less gas.
Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands.
Hey at current gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.
PCV Valve Service At Don's Complete Auto Service In Kissimmee
Posted April 23, 2013 11:23 AM
Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a big job for Kissimmee car owners. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.
The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the Automobile engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase. These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause Automobile engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Don's Complete Auto Service. At high speeds on Kissimmee freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.
Back in the old days, auto makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the Automobile's engine.
This is much better for air quality and improves gas mileage also. (Budget-conscious Kissimmee car owners take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased gas mileage.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Kissimmee car owners don’t know about it. Check your Automobile owner’s manual or ask your Don's Complete Auto Service service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.
There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at Don's Complete Auto Service when it gets dirty.
Please ask your Honest and Fair Kissimmee service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Kissimmee, you can avoid some very pricey engine repairs.
Posted in the Parts category
Battery Basics For Kissimmee
Posted April 18, 2013 1:54 PM
It's important for Kissimmee motorists to know battery basics. First, let’s talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold Florida weather. Most Kissimmee motorists think it’s cold weather because that’s when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold Automobile engine.
However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Kissimmee trips because the alternator doesn’t have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Kissimmee motorists can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the summer and every three months during the winter.
As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren’t capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your Automobile alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.
If you’re pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your Honest and Fair Don's Complete Auto Service technician for a battery test to see if it’s recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery, but you’ll save unnecessary wear and tear on your Automobile alternator.
Give us a call
Don's Complete Auto Service 407-847-3427 508 E. Vine Street Kissimmee, Florida 34744