What is a throttle body? What is involved in a throttle body repair?

In Auto Parts, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Jeep throttle body accelerator cable and air intake boot

Jeep throttle body accelerator cable and air intake boot

Have you been told that it’s time to replace your throttle body? Before we get into some specifics on repairs and replacements, let’s take a moment to talk about what it is, and what it does in your vehicle.

The throttle body is a part that is attached to the air intake system, which is attached to the  vehicle’s engine. A throttle body’s function is to control the amounts of air that is flowing into the engine, based on how hard a driver is pushing down the driver accelerator pedal.

Jeep throttle body hold throttle position sensor and map sensor

Jeep throttle body hold throttle position sensor and map sensor

In order for this part – and your car – to run smoothly, the engine needs to have a good mixture of air and fuel. And if your throttle body isn’t providing enough, or too much air in the engine, that can cause major vehicle problems.

If the ‘check engine’ light has recently turned on in your vehicle, then it could be the throttle body that’s causing the problem. For an automotive technician to get to the root of the problem, diagnostic tests will need to be performed, which will help to identify if it’s the throttle body that’s failing on the engine.

Nissan sentra throttle body with evap test port and intake boot

Nissan sentra throttle body with evap test port and intake boot

Once the problem is identified, then a new throttle body will need to be installed on the air intake system to fix the problem. While some automotive repair shops will allow you to bring in a throttle body you’ve purchased at another retailer, HomeTowne does not install outside parts on cars. Not only does this ensure that the right throttle body is being installed on your car, but it also allows our shop to give you a full two year, 24,000 mile nationwide warranty on the part.

So if your engine light is on, or you know your throttle body needs to be replaced, make sure you’ve got an experienced shop working on it right away.

What is a tie rod? What does it do in my vehicle?

In Auto Parts, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

tie rod adjustment during a wheel alignment

Tie rod adjustment during a wheel alignment

Hit any potholes recently? Are parts of your vehicle beginning to wear down? If you heard from your automotive repair shop recently that your tie rod needs to be replaced, then that may be why.

You’re probably wondering what a tie rod is – right?

Well, a tie rod is a part of the steering mechanism inside of your vehicle. It’s the piece that connects the steering linkage – or rack and pinion – to the steering knuckle. This combination is what pushes or pulls the wheel to the right or left when you’re steering.

In your vehicle, there are two types of tie roads – an inner tie rod and an outer tie rod.

“They have joints that are typically ball and socket. Over time the socket can become worn allowing movement that results in tire wear, unintended movement in steering, which is unsafe,” said HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire General Manager Rich Campbell.

bent tie rod end on a rack and pinion

Bent tie rod end on a rack and pinion

When your tie rod starts to go bad, it can be a big issue, causing steering control issues and keeping you from driving smoothly down the road.

If you’re worried about your tie rods, have the shop check them right away. Checking tie rods is actually something we already do at our shop as part of our preventative maintenance check during an oil change, and during a Virginia state safety inspection.

To keep your tie rods in good condition, take a look at options that allow for lubrication. Most original tie rods don’t allow for lubrication, but using some upgraded aftermarket parts with grease fittings and updated technology will give your parts better performance and a longer life.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire learn more about catalytic converters

In Auto Parts, Auto Repair Warranty, Automotive Diagnostics, Service Standards, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Walker exhaust

A Tenneco representative, which makes Walker exhaust parts, was at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire giving a class.

At HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire we recently hosted an employee training with a Tenneco rep about catalytic converters, shocks and struts, and other aftermarket vehicle parts.

Tenneco is the world’s largest manufacturer of aftermarket vehicle parts.

During the training, our technicians and service writers learned some interesting facts that will help them to better diagnose and understand vehicle issues.

“We learned that 95% of the catalytic converters that are sent back – that are claimed to be not working, or malfunctioning, are actually found to be still working as designed. And that’s typically because there’s another issue that has caused the readings to indicate that the catalytic converter has gone bad – usually a misfire, or a component in the engine that is not performing like it’s supposed to. Typically people will replace the catalytic converter because they’re not trained or skilled enough to know there’s an issue that’s further up in the engine assembly that actually causes the damage to the converter,” said HomeTowne General Manager Rich Campbell.

Muffler and catalytic converter class

Auto repair shop holding classes from Tenneco at night.

A major upside of having technicians and staff specially trained on these parts is that we can potentially save our customers money. By knowing to check for things like misfires, and related problems in the engine assembly, we can potentially avoid having to replace your vehicle’s catalytic converter, which xan be a costly repair.

One reason why we’re proud to use parts made by Tenneco and their subsidiaries, is that they often the same warranty as the OEM parts already on your vehicle.

“The original equipment catalytic converter that you buy at a Toyota dealership, or a Lexus dealership, is no different, and carries basically the same warranties as the aftermarket. However, Tenneco differentiates itself and adds 125% of the precious metals the original equipment came with, therefore giving you a better, longer lasting aftermarket replacement converter,” said Campbell.

Five costly mistakes of car ownership

In Auto Parts, Automotive Diagnostics, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Did Ybattery-corrosion-honda-civicou Know?
If a modern car is treated with care, it can last for over 100,000 miles without needing major costly repairs. However, neglecting you car’s maintenance needs can leave you with a large bill that could have been avoided. Do you really want to be spending extra money?

Here are five commonly-made mistakes to avoid. Doing so will not just save money, but keep you and your passengers safe as well.

Putting off an Oil Change
1. While oil technology has improved dramatically over the past couple of decades, it is still important to change your oil as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Motor oil gradually breaks down as it is circulated through your engine. After a certain number of miles, the oil doesn’t provide adequate lubrication. In modern engines, many manufacturers use some form of variable valve timing or hydraulic pressure from the oil pump to help make the cars more powerful and efficient. Not changing the oil greatly affects these systems. Changing your oil is one of the kindest, simplest things you can do for your vehicle to insure your engine performs like it is supposed to for a very long time. Skipping this simple task can shorten the life of your car.

Changing Tires without an Alignment
2. An alignment ensures that the wheels of your car are positioned properly on the road. When a car is out of alignment, the tires wear out prematurely or in places where they’re not supposed to. If you are replacing two or more tires it is important to have this checked to get the most life out of the tires.

Installing Oversized Aftermarket Wheels
3. While some aftermarket wheels are carefully designed to be compatible with certain vehicles, getting the wrong wheels can harm your vehicle’s suspension and ride comfort. Also, if you buy wheels that are too large for your car, you can damage your fenders and wheel wells. Even though, the wheels and tires may technically fit on the vehicle it puts more force on the wheel bearing and brakes and can make them wear out prematurely although it looks cool, (and I agree) be prepared for some extra repairs.

Buying a Cheap Battery
4. A dead battery is a huge hassle. Often times, it means waiting for a jump start, or having to wait for a ride to get a battery to put in your car. And it’s important to find the exact battery for your car. A less expensive battery generally has fewer cells and less reactive material in it then a higher end battery so therefore the cold cranking amp ability and the longevity will generally be less. Going to a garage with ASE certified technicians with the right battery test equipment can help you avoid an inconvenient break down.

Getting Cheap Body Work
5. If you have a dent on your car, sometimes you can be approached by a “professional” in a shopping mall parking lot, or a friend might offer to take care of the problem. Beware, because sloppy body repair can cost more to correct than the original damage. Once an amateur has damaged the paint, a dent that could have been repaired by a professional for $100 dollars or (3 egg laying hens, and 5 pounds of bacon) * according to google July 29th, 2014, might now cost five times as much to be fixed.