AIR CONDITIONING… TO SEAL OR NOT TO SEAL? THAT IS THE QUESTION

I wanted to share with you a situation that happened at our shop recently. One of our customers, we’ll call him Bob, had a situation with his air conditioning system. It was not cooling but that is not an unusual situation during this hot weather. Even systems that are in good condition can lose up to 4 ounces of Freon a year. He shopped around looking for an inexpensive option and ended up taking his car to another repair facility to fix it. They added the Freon but within a day or so it was still not cooling. This shop did a thorough examination and found that the condenser had a leak. They gave Bob an estimate of $650 to replace and recharge it.

Bob decided to try other options that he had heard about and researched online. He had read about sealers and decided to try it. He chose one for $200. He wasn’t sure it would work but felt it was worth it if he saved $450. Sadly, it didn’t work.

He then brought the car to us to see what we could do. When he told us the scenario we were concerned because we had seen the results of other quick fixes with sealant in the past. We checked out the vehicle and found the problem. He had used an extreme overdose of sealer. Many do-it-yourselfers feel that more is better when using a sealant but actually, it is just the opposite. The sealer is designed to become a solid when it comes in contact with air and that is why only a small amount is needed. When too much sealer is used, the results, as with this vehicle, is damage to every part of the air conditioning system.

Instead of replacing the original condenser as the first shop advised, it now needed the condenser plus a compressor, expansion valve, switches, and most of the hoses. That $650 estimate is now a cost of more than $2500!

Most of the time when your A/C isn’t cooling it is just a case of adding Freon. That is the good news. When it involves more though, A/C failures are one of the most expensive automotive repairs because it is challenging to find small leaks. Only large leaks can be found with a visual inspection.

We truly understand why Bob tried to fix the leak(s) himself. He hoped to save money but I will tell you that when it comes to this type of repair, we don’t recommend you try it on your own unless you have a lot of automotive experience. If you do decide to try it yourself though, please proceed with caution and don’t overdo the sealer. Too much can be a very costly mistake.

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

How We Keep Your Ride Going Strong in Glendora’s Summer’s Heat

Vector illustration of a red car moving along the ocean mountain road.

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too! Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement in Glendora while the relentless summer sun shines down on you. Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack. Here a just a few things we at Certified Automotive Specialists look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

  • Batteries take a beating. Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last five years. It is always a good idea to have them tested and the technicians at Certified Automotive Specialists can help determine how much life they have left in them.

  • Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat. You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months. We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated. We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays. If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road. We have had more than a few vehicles towed in to Certified Automotive Specialists due to a faulty cooling system that could have been prevented.

  • Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated. They need to be just right!

  • Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed. They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.

  • Air-conditioning systems are a must in Glendora and need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb. We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.

We are here to help your car face the challenges that come with hot days. Give us a call. You and your car will be glad you did!

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions, and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

We Keep You Going Strong All Summer Long

We Keep You Going Strong All Summer Long

Have you ever felt the heat zap you of strength and energy when you’ve been exposed to the unrelenting sun on a hot summer day? A car is no different. Sitting day after day on the hot pavement in Glendora tests the durability of components, like hoses, batteries, and tires!

At Certified Automotive Specialists, we want to make sure you have fun in the sun all summer long, which is why we take a close look at the following when we service your vehicle at this time of year:

  • Between heat and vibration, your battery takes a beating and usually only lasts five years. We test your battery, so it doesn’t fail and leave you stranded on the hot, dusty side of the road when it is inconvenient and uncomfortable.

  • How often do you see a helpless driver pulled off the freeway, steam pouring out from under the hood of the car? Summer heat puts your cooling system under enormous pressure. We first check to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated. Then we check rubber components for cracks and signs of brittleness. When they are past their prime, we recommend replacing them, so you do not end up as a roadside attraction. We hate to see customers towed in due to a preventable cooling system failure!

  • Your tires need proper inflation to function efficiently, which is why we always check tire pressure. Tires don’t operate well when they are over or under-inflated—they need to be just right!

  • Fluids and filters work hard to protect your vehicle, and we need to check and replace them as needed.

  • Your AC system is essential in Glendora! By examining the refrigerant and other components, we ensure that you and your passengers stay cool and comfortable despite the heat!

No matter how high the mercury rises, the friendly, helpful experts at Certified Auto Specialists are here to make sure you have safe, reliable transportation that gets you where you need to go. For hometown service you can count on, contact us online or call 626-541-2149  today!

When Good Thermostats Go Bad

The vehicles we drive these days are so high tech! But people are shocked when I tell them that their thermostat is operated by the heating and cooling of wax.

A thermostat sits between the engine and the radiator and blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator until the engine has warmed up. It essentially allows the car to warm while keeping the engine block cool. Once the engine reaches operating temperature, usually around 200 degrees F., the thermostat opens all the way.

It does this using wax!

It turns out that wax is remarkably reliable. The wax starts melting at 180 degrees (cylinder design can move this temp up or down). A rod connected to the valve presses into the wax, and when it melts, it expands, pushing the rod out of the cylinder and opening the valve, allowing the coolant to flow.

Since they rarely give us trouble, most people just don’t think about thermostats. But they do occasionally go bad, and when they do, look out! Your vehicle is going to overheat. Some reasons you might run into thermostat issues:

  • Prior overheating damage
  • Corrosion
  • Component wears out due to age

Burning the Thermostat at Both Ends

Sometimes the valve fails to close and gets stuck in the open position. This is a separate issue and can happen due to a piece of debris or when the return spring breaks. This allows coolant to keep flowing through the thermostat. Now, you have the opposite problem. The engine won’t reach the proper operating temperature. You might notice the temperature gauge reading lower than normal. Another symptom can be that the heater is no longer getting as hot as it used to. When the thermostat remains open, you’ll notice poor drivability during cooler weather. Fuel efficiency decreases by as much as 2 to 3 MPG. Your car will also spew out more pollutants.  

Upon Closer Inspection…

Our job is to keep your vehicle in excellent condition, such as spotting when a thermostat or other component is going out. We want to keep you as safe as possible on the highways and want to ensure the safety of those you share the road with. Most of you want to know that your car is in proper working order. Now and then, we hear stories about customers who think that an inspection, sometimes called a “laundry list,” was created for one reason—to make a bigger sale. This is not the case in most shops. Those that sell unneeded services don’t stay in business very long. You can trust businesses that are time-tested, especially one that has been around since 1978!

It’s critical to point out potential hazards. We are your experts in automotive maintenance. It’s our job to let you know when your vehicle needs work. We’ll help you prioritize can-do and can-wait items and work with you to navigate insurance and extended warranties.

You can count on Certified Automotive Specialists to treat you and your vehicle right!

Is Your Air Conditioner Ready for Warmer Days?

Gene-Car-Talk

Spring is in the air in Glendora and hot summer days are coming our way. Many of our customers’ thoughts are turning to…air conditioning.  At Certified Automotive Specialists we get countless calls asking us how much it costs to fix.  There is no one simple answer to this question but I’ll give you some industry-wide estimates so you have something to go on. Generally, if you drive an older vehicle it will cost more to fix because the parts will be harder to find.

Testing the A/C System: A technician must test the system to determine what is wrong with it.  This requires a test for leaks and an inspection of the parts such as the compressor, condenser, hoses, and valves. The most help a consumer can be is to give as much information about when the condition occurred.

Evacuating & Recharging the A/C System: This is the most common fix of the A/C system. Refrigerant will naturally seep out over 3 to 5 years and will need attention.

Leaking Hose:  We use a leak detection unit to test for leaks.

Compressor Failure:  This is the most complex of all to fix and will be the costliest. The compressor is the pump that keeps the Freon flowing.

Replacing the Complete System: The cost of this is determined by the make and model you drive. Usually this occurs when someone tries to save money and adds the off the shelf sealer as a quick fix, it always causes grief later.

Working on air conditioning systems is not easy.  The system itself is built in and around your car’s engine making it difficult. Specialized equipment is required and a technician that is certified in this area is a must. In some countries it is illegal for a non-authorized technician to work on A/C systems. A non-experienced technician can inadvertently cause problems and contaminate the environment.

These prices are not set in stone but an industry-wide average.  We will have one of our certified technician give you an estimate after they have diagnosed your vehicle.

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

How We Keep Your Ride Going Strong in Glendora’s Summer’s Heat

Gene-Car-Talk

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too!  Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement in Glendora while the relentless summer sun shines down on you.  Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack.  Here a just a few things we at Certified Automotive Specialists look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

  • Batteries take a beating. Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last five years.  It is always a good idea to have them tested and the technicians at Certified Automotive Specialists can help determine how much life they have left in them.
  • Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat. You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months.  We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated.  We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays.  If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road. We have had more than a few vehicles towed in to Certified Automotive Specialists due to a faulty cooling system that could have been prevented.
  • Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated. They need to be just right!
  • Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed. They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.
  • Air-conditioning systems are a must in Glendora and need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb. We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.

We are here to help your car face the challenges that come with hot days.  Give us a call.  You and your car will be glad you did!

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

AIR CONDITIONING FREON UPDATE

 

Gene-Car-Talk

In an effort to slow down the human factor in global warming, car manufacturers in the USA will now receive substantial CO2 credits which means more miles to the gallon if they comply with the plan to phase out R-134a refrigerant. Europe has already ramped up in this area.

The new EPA regulation states that R-134a cannot be installed in new cars and light trucks built for domestic sale after 2021. Similar regulations for medium and heavy-duty trucks are coming this year, so the 2021 deadline may affect all domestic vehicles by that time. Vehicles for export will still be able to use R-134a systems until 2025.

In the meantime, Daimler, which had charged that the alternative refrigerant R-1234yf posed potential fire safety dangers, has finally agreed to use R-1234yf systems in its Mercedes vehicles for markets where the refrigerant either is mandated or is effectively pressed for by regulatory bodies (as in the U.S.). There has not been a set rollout schedule, however. Daimler stated that it will add an under the hood argon gas canister with spray lines directed at all parts that its engineers say might become hot enough for a leaking refrigerant to ignite. It will be a fire-extinguisher of sorts.

R-1234yf cannot be retrofitted to R-134a systems so production of R-134a will continue indefinitely for service. The R-1234yf CAFE credits are 13.8 g/mi for cars, 17.2 g/mi for trucks. (GWP, a metric used by environmental regulatory agencies worldwide, is a measure of how much a given mass of a gas contributes to global warming. It is a relative scale which compares the amount of heat trapped by greenhouse gas to the amount of heat trapped in an equal mass of CO2.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles began transitioning its changeover in 2014MY. General Motors has had just one entry in that period, the Cadillac XTS, but GM will be virtually across the board by the end of this year. Ford says it will begin its changeover in April with the Escape, but no details of its rollout are available. Sending vehicles with either refrigerant down the same assembly line is not a difficult process.

The price of R-1234yf is reported to me much higher that R-134a.  We at Certified Automotive Specialists wanted Glendora drivers to know what is coming!  To find out more about air conditioning and Freon (refrigerant) visit our website.

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

Vehicle Maintenance Videos by Certified Auto Specialists: Air Conditioning Inspection

Most auto manufacturers recommend an interval for an air conditioning system inspection. The analysis uncovers leaks, worn hoses and assesses the condition of the other components.

Environmental laws in some areas require leaks to be repaired before refrigerant can be added. Also some parts manufacturers require other components to be replaced along with certain failed parts in order to maintain the new part warranty. This is because a given failure may be the result of another worn or damaged part that will, if not replaced, prematurely damage the new component.

Certified Auto Specialists in Glendora is fully equiped to restore your flow of cool air.

Give us a call

Certified Auto Specialists
626-963-0814
476 Vermont Avenue
Glendora, California 91741