Christensen Automotive | Gardnerville 775.782.2605 , Carson City 775.882.8888, Reno 775.322.8100, South Lake Tahoe 530.544.9940, Fallon 775-423-5455

A Breath of Fresh Air- Your Cabin Air Filter

If your vehicle is model year 2000 or newer, there’s a good chance it is equipped with a cabin air filter. You may not have known that such a part existed in your vehicle, much less if it ever needed to be changed. But still, a cabin air filter is an essential part of your car’s ventilation system that removes pollutants from the air before they get inside the passenger compartment. Cabin air filters clean the incoming air and remove allergens – especially beneficial to pregnant women, seniors, children or people who suffer from allergies. Cabin air filters also prevent leaves, dirt, bugs and other debris from entering the HVAC system and negatively impacting the operation of the heater, air conditioner and defroster. During every day use of your vehicle, contaminants, such as pollen, dust, mold spores and smog, can easily enter a vehicle’s passenger compartment through the air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, making the air in the car six times dirtier than the air outside, according to the Car Care Council. A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause containments to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car compared to walking down the street. If the cabin air filter is not replaced, it can also cause musty odors in the vehicle, and over time, the heater and air conditioner may become damaged by corrosion. Motorists can protect themselves and their passengers from these containments by replacing the vehicle’s cabin air filter at least every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or at least once a...

Celebrate Earth Day with some Car Care

With April being National Car Care Month and Earth Day on April 22nd, motorists now have the ideal occasion to make sure their vehicles are environmentally friendly and running efficiently to save money at the gas pumps, according to the Car Care Council. “Poor vehicle maintenance directly impacts the environment, with 10 percent of the nation’s automobiles causing 50 percent of the automotive pollution,” says Rich White, Executive Director of the Car Care Council. “With skyrocketing gas prices, people are wasting more money and polluting the environment if their vehicles are not running properly.” The Car Care Council and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) provide these suggestions for practicing earth friendly car habits. • Drive Green – If you have to drive your car on Earth Day, recognize that how your drive has a lot to do with fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Jerky and aggressive driving decreases your miles per gallon (MPG) and increases wear and tear on your vehicle. Minimize unnecessary miles by combining errands in one trip. • Regular Maintenance – Regular maintenance and changing filters (oil, fuel and air filters) will help your car pollute less and burn less gas. Simply changing the car’s air filter can improve efficiency by 10 percent. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. • Lighten the Load – Get the junk out of the trunk and the stuff out of your car, with the exception of emergency items such as a spare tire, flares and a first-aid kit. Extra items weigh the vehicle down and cause an...

Air Filters

The purpose of the engine air filter is to clean the air used by the engine. Since it draws this essential air in from outside the engine, small particles of dust, dirt, oil and even small obstructions like gravel have a way to get inside the engine. We often find pet food in air filters in the winter months as mice take it back to nests made in the air filter housing. Regardless, once inside, these particles can contaminate engine oil and act as an abrasive, causing premature engine wear. To prevent this, air filters are installed on all modern engines. The filter is designed to catch all of these particles and deposits. A dirty air filter can also cause other systems to run ineffectively, such as your emissions control system, which regulates the car’s air-fuel mixture. A dirty air filter can also cause your spark plugs, which ignite the fuel in the combustion chambers, to foul, as there will be too much fuel without enough air; if your spark plugs foul, you may have problems keeping your car running. You may also find that with a dirty air filter you will have decreased engine performance and possibly increased fuel consumption. However, a study done by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2009 commissioned by the US Department of Energy, found that a clogged air filter on newer fuel injected vehicles had no affect on fuel efficiency, but it did decrease performance. Tests did find that by changing a dirty air filter on an older carbureted engine could improve fuel efficiency by 2-6 percent. Because these contaminates accumulate over...

Belt And Hoses

Belts and hoses are vital in keeping your vehicle running. If a belt snaps or hose blows it can result in an overheated engine and cause additional damage to the engine or other components. Belts Whether serpentine, V-belt or fan belt (the belts on the outside of the engine), they all transmit power from the front of the engine to accessories that need to be driven, such as the air conditioning, the charging system and fans. Belts can break down with heat, mileage and age and many belts that look as new on the outside have become dangerously weak on the inside and may be on the verge of failure due to weakened inside cords. Replacement belts must have the same width and length as the original. This is especially important with serpentine belts that rely on an automatic belt tensioner to maintain belt tension. Belt tension is critical with both V-belts and serpentine belts. It must be adjusted properly and maintained for good belt performance, quiet operation and long life. If a serpentine belt on an engine with an automatic tensioner has failed prematurely or appears to be slipping, the automatic tensioner should be inspected and replaced if it is sticking, frozen or has a broken spring. On applications that do not use an automatic tensioner, belt tension must be adjusted to specifications, and then readjusted after a short break-in period. Hoses Hoses transport the various fluids such as fuel, brake fluid, coolant to and from their destinations. Typical wear and tear is due to vehicle age, mileage, belt tension, electrolytic corrosion, oil contamination, or failed hose clamps....

Care of your Diesel- Filters and Injectors

Diesel is one of the least refined products that is created from a barrel of crude oil and therefore does not have a very long shelf-life. The sludge that forms coats the walls of the fuel tank, plug your fuel filters, adversely impact combustion efficiency, produce dark smoke from the exhaust, and impact performance. Maintaining clean fuel injectors and replacing fuel filters at the recommended intervals will help keep the engine running at peak power and performance, improves fuel mileage, and cuts down on harmful exhaust emissions.     Fuel contaminants such as dirt and water are often more problematic in diesel engines than in gasoline engines. Water can cause serious damage possibly leading to the corrosion of the fuel injectors and fuel pump; and dirt, even very fine particulate matter, can damage the injection pumps due to the close tolerances that the pumps and injectors are machined to. All diesel engines will have a fuel filter; new vehicles often will have two, and a water trap. The water trap often has a float connected to a warning light, which warns when there is too much water in the trap, and must be drained before damage to the engine can result. The fuel filter must be replaced much more often on a diesel engine than on a gasoline engine, changing the fuel filter every 2-4 oil changes is not an uncommon recommendation. Problems can occur in diesel fuel injection systems even with a slight buildup of deposits. Diesel fuel injection services will break down these heavy deposits found in the fuel lines, injector pump, fuel injectors and combustion chambers. This...

Not All Gas Is Created Equal

Everybody is looking for a way to save money, and looking for the best deals when buying gas is a given, however, with cheaper gas there are trade-offs. There is a large range of choice at the pump these days, from discount brands to the more expensive name brands with additives touting gas, emissions and engine saving benefits. Regardless of the brand it must have a certain amount of detergents in the fuel that are approved by the EPA and deemed necessary to keep engines free of deposits. There is some debate as to whether these amounts are enough and because this is a performance based requirement fuel companies have found ways to meet these while using less ‘expensive’ additives leading to different levels of engine protection. Consistent use of cheap gas, choosing a gas station that is not busy allowing gas to sit for long periods, poor adherence to a maintenance schedule and some driving styles can lead to an increase in the accumulation of carbon deposits and other contaminates in the fuel system. For reliable engine performance a clean fuel supply is essential. A clogged fuel filter and/ or dirty fuel injectors caused by contaminates, debris and carbon deposits can lead to poor fuel efficiency, decreased horsepower, rough idle, hesitation, misfire, engine knock, stalling, hard starting or the engine might not start at all. The fuel filter is your vehicles primary line of defense against dirt and debris in the fuel system and replacement is generally considered a preventative maintenance measure as it could potentially save you thousands by extending the life of your fuel pump and...