E-85 Fuel Safety Advice From Don's Complete Auto Service
Posted January 31, 2012 10:03 AM
Today at Don's Complete Auto Service we want to talk with you about a very important safety issue. This automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: fire fighting experts. You’ve probably heard of E-85 gasoline being offered in the Saint Cloud area. Some newer vehicle models are specifically built to run on E-85 – the rest are not.
Does your vehicle use E-85 gasoline? Bring it down to Don's Complete Auto Service at 508 E. Vine Street in Kissimmee, Florida 34744 to find out, or give us a call to make an appointment by calling 407-847-3427.
E-85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption. E-85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, a grain-base alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E-85 gas. The result is lower harmful exhaust emissions to our local Saint Cloud community.
All gas engines can run with up to 10% ethanol and in fact a lot of gasoline sold in the Kissimmee Florida area does contain some ethanol. The problem comes when well meaning people without Flex Fuel certified vehicles put E-85 into the tank.
At a 15% concentration, the potential for problems arises. Because of the chemical differences between ethanol and gasoline, special seals and gaskets are needed for Flex Fuel vehicles in Kissimmee Florida. In a normal engine, the ethanol in E-85 gas will eat away important seals and gaskets. This leads to gas and oil leaks.
You can imagine the fire hazard caused by leaking gasoline. Fire fighting experts caution consumers to only use E-85 if they know they vehicle is certified to handle it. They expect vehicle fires to increase because of using the wrong fuel in non-Flex Fuel vehicles.
So are people who don’t have a Flex Fuel vehicle but use E-85 to help the environment actually putting themselves at risk? Yes. In fact, service and repair centers in Kissimmee Florida are being warned to purchase fire extinguishers that use the special foam needed to extinguish ethanol fires as a precaution in case starting-up an ethanol damaged engine leads to a fire.
Obviously, this isn’t something you want to have in your Kissimmee Florida garage at home, either. If you have a Flex-Fuel certified vehicle, feel free to protect the environment by using E-85 gasoline. If not – please do not use E-85 in an engine that’s designed to run on unleaded gasoline only. At Don's Complete Auto Service we are concerned about your safety. If you have questions or want to find out how to determine if your vehicle can safely use E-85, go to www.e85fuel.com for more resources.
Keep Your Cool In Saint Cloud : Air Conditioning Service
Posted January 24, 2012 12:40 PM
Most Saint Cloud drivers wait for their air conditioning to fail before they service it at Don's Complete Auto Service. That’s because many Kissimmee and Oak Ridge motorists don't really understand that automotive air conditioners need periodic service. Let me share some of the reasons why they fail.
First, like every machine, the Automobile air conditioner parts need lubrication. The lubricant is actually mixed in with the refrigerant (that’s the stuff that makes the air cool). So sometimes, even though the air conditioner is still making cool air, the oil that lubricates the parts has just been used up: and unlubricated parts can fail in all Florida cars.
Now here’s a tip for Saint Cloud drivers: You should run your air conditioner every so often during Florida winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.
The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your windshield during Florida winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Saint Cloud cars you can’t run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.
Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Saint Cloud drivers should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to clear out the air and water.
Kissimmee drivers should be aware of early warning signs of trouble: One might be that the air’s not as cold as it used to be. You may hear an unusual noise when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Don's Complete Auto Service in Kissimmee before the damage gets worse.
So following the recommended service intervals in your Automobile owner’s manual can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. You’re A/C system contains some expensive components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Orlando and Oak Ridge car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.
Posted in the Air Conditioning category
Synthetic Oil For Kissimmee Autos
Posted January 17, 2012 10:46 AM
If you aren’t currently using synthetic motor oil in your Kissimmee vehicle, maybe now’s the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil.
Synthetic oil doesn’t gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving around Kissimmee, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil; with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.
Why is this? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why; we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations.
The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?
Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there’s less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn’t sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.
Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.
Most of us here in Kissimmee have a busy life and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead admit it. Since we’re not perfect, doesn’t it make sense to use a motor oil that’s got your back?
Now synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better and increases fuel economy. You’ll likely save money in the long run. If you’re serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.
Most folks around Kissimmee have had a flat tire. You know it’s inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn’t just a big safety issue – it also has a financial impact. With high gas prices, we’ve all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to save on gas. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.
There’s another danger to under-inflated tires. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don’t just keep airing them up every few days. You want to avoid serious tire damage.
Tires can also be damaged by road hazards in and around Kissimmee. Punctures, cuts and impacts on curbs or potholes can also cause damage that could lead to tire failure. Sometimes, it’s something that a visual inspection would reveal. Take the opportunity to check your tires when you’re gassing up. Look for slashes, missing chunks, nails or screws in the tread or just uneven wear. Of course check the air pressure too.
Now tire damage can be on the inside where you can’t see it until it’s removed from the wheel. Such damage could come from a severe impact, driving on a flat or even just low pressure. Some punctures can cause internal damage that are too severe to be repaired. You may see our Don's Complete Auto Service professionals take the time to remove your flat from the rim and inspect the inside before repairing it, which means we're just following good procedure.
Now some tires just can’t be repaired. A puncture may be too large to plug. Also, the puncture could be in a location that’s not safe to repair like in the sidewall or outer portion of the tread. So called run-flat tires should not be repaired because their design is such that internal damage can’t be detected by a visual inspection.
It is also important that repairs should only be done by a qualified tire specialist like the ones we have at Don's Complete Auto Service. You can buy self repair kits – save those for emergencies, like when you’re off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it’s a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.
Here are some other considerations: Repairing a flat may void your tire manufacturer’s warranty – just something to keep in mind. Also, if you repair a speed rated tire, you should not use it in any motorsports or operate it above legal speed limits. Your tire professional will repair your tire whenever it’s safe to do so and he’ll advise you when it’s better to replace it. So watch those curbs and keep the air – on the inside.
Let me start by saying that your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. Did that get your attention? In this article we’ll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can keep them doing their very important job while you drive around Orlando Florida.
Come see us at: 508 E. Vine Street Kissimmee, Florida 34744
Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They’re made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two very important jobs: First they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds, each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds. That’s a lot of heavy lifting over many, many thousands of miles.
Even though wheel bearings are relatively simple, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It’s when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated; causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.
The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at Don's Complete Auto Service can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.
Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren’t sealed can be serviced on schedule. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they’re re-installed – if not, they’re replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.
If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty pricy – but they usually last about 150,000 miles as long as the seals hold up.
Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that’s exerting pressure on the seal. So if you’ve driven through hub deep water your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they’re serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure.
If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your owner’s manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles.
Now, if you have any sort of trailer, don’t forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don’t have the opportunity to sit and rust all winter.
So what happens if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don’t need to tell you how bad that could be. So check with your service advisor at Don's Complete Auto Service and see if your vehicle’s wheel bearings can be serviced and when it’s recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you’ve been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.
Come by Don's Complete Auto Service for a wheel bearing inspection, or for Auto Repair. Call for an appointment at 407-847-3427