The Role of a Automobile Computer

What control's your car

Evolution of automobile computer

Most of us are driving cars, trucks, and RVs with more auto electronics than we know what to do with. The automobile computer inside your car has slowly begun to grow so much that all automobiles manufactured now have electronics in them. From heated seats to electronic windows to knowing the best gas mileage and how long to keep the fuel injectors open.

There are many ways electronics affect our cars

There are thousands of microprocessors in a car all hooked up to sensors. By the mid-80s engineers developed a Controller Area Network or CAN. Before this, all of these items had to have tons of wires snaking around the car like a thick ivy. The CAN system helped to eliminate this jumble of connections and streamline all the wires and software between the vehicles computers and sensors. This centralized system allows our cars to be smarter, cheaper and will enable the vehicle to do things that would not be possible without it.

 

Improving the performance of your car

Now, although the computerization of cars has eliminated the ability to tinker with a problem there now is the ability to find the problem more quickly. From these sensors, the computer can then use the information to control things like the fuel injectors, spark plugs and the idle speed. Centralizing this ability will help to get the best performance from the engine. All while keeping emissions low.

The technological and business model for autos is slowly but surely moving toward a software-and-services-focused approach. Bob O’Donnell, Chief Analyst, Technalysis Research

The computer can also sense when something has gone wrong and can inform the driver with the “Check Engine” light. A mechanic can read a diagnostic code from the computer and fix the problem. You may be tempted to reprogram or hack the computer in your car, do not! To begin with, you will void your warranty. Secondly, if you crash the computer, you will end up with a car shaped paperweight on your garage. Let the professionals take care of your investment. You will be happy you did.

All of our technicians are certified ASE mechanics to ensure premium vehicle service and maintenance.  Call Britton’s to schedule the diagnostic checkup of your car to help avoid major problems in the future.  (928) 505-3535

 

 

 

 

Rock Crawling With Your ATV

Want to know more about rock crawling?

Rock Crawling

What is it you need to know before taking that ATV 4×4 out and crawling up some rocks?

Warm Up

If it’s your first time out, you’ll want to remember NOT to try to keep up those that have been doing rock crawling for years! Pick a trail that is wide and allows for mistakes. There are ratings for most trails in the United States, so be sure to pick a mild one your first few times out. Get a feel for your vehicle and the terrain. Test the edge of what you’re comfortable with and what you’re able to do. Only with practice will you get to know what you and your vehicle can do.

Know Your Equipment

Many folks like to build their own rockcrawling rigs. This is especially true with the locals of Lake Havasu City with the awesome trails available. When you make it yourself, you are more familiar with the equipment and perhaps better at any troubleshooting while out on the trails. Even if you didn’t build your own, you should have a general understanding of how each component of your vehicle is assembled.

“As slow as possible, as fast as necessary,” Land Rover motto.

Slow Down

It’s called crawling, and for a good reason If you throttle too quickly, and haven’t driven on rocks before, misfortune will not be far behind! Take someone with you and ask them to “spot” for you or even get out yourself and take a look at what’s in the way. Most rockcrawling obstacles can be completed at the lower end of the rpm meter, about 2000 will do it. You’ll get both appropriate traction and good placement with your vehicle. Finally, do not show off or take a course while you’re on your cell phone! This is just good common sense and will help everyone. Measure twice, climb once can help avoid any costly accidents and trail repairs.

Avoid Wheelspin

If at all possible, try to keep your tires from tearing up the ground. Not only will this help keep our public lands happy and healthy, but it will preserve your equipment for longer service life.

Air Down

What on earth does this mean you may be asking? If you’re going to be doing any rockcrawling at all, it’s a practice you’ll need to get well acquainted with. While you’re climbing up and down those rocks, your tires will need a lot less air than they do when it’s traveling on the streets. There’s no double you’ll want to lower that psi, but go too much, and your grip will loosen up. So “airing down” will give your vehicle a wide grip on what it’s going over. Wider is bigger, and with some of those crazy inclines, bigger is better! FourWheeler Magazine has some great tip on how much or how little on the tires.

So, you see there’s a lot to know before you go out.

Hiring a new mechanic can seem like a daunting problem, but once you’ve found the right person who is willing to answer all your questions and give you a written estimate you will be delighted and confident to leave your car with them.

At Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Center we would like to be your new auto mechanic. Please call us or stop by with any questions. We look forward to helping you.

What To Ask When Hiring a New Mechanic

Title graphic "what to ask when hiring a new auto mechanic graphic with little illustrated mechanic

Where to Start?

How much experience do you have with hiring a new auto mechanic? How much experience do you have working on your car? If the answer to either of these questions is “not much” then we would like to help you out with the first one. We’d love to help with the latter, but there’s just way too much for this blog. 😀

One of the first questions you should ask this new person who is going to do mechanical work on your car is whether they’ve worked on your type of car in particular. If it’s a BMW, you’ll want to know how much experience they have and where they get their parts. Asking lots of question up front with save you time and money and misunderstandings.

On your side, you’ll want to be sure you have all the documentation ready for any service you’ve had previously done. The paperwork will help you and the mechanic avoid any duplicate work. It will also help in case you’re trying to troubleshoot a more complicated repair.

Rates & Auto Parts

Be sure to discuss rates and prices for parts. Will the new auto mechanic call you if there is more work to be done other than what you talked about? Do you have the job in writing and an estimate on how long it will take and how much? You should understand what you are being billed for and why.

Parts are something you will want to be sure you get quality replacements. Be sure to ask where the shop gets their parts from and always ask if they ever use refurbished items. Sometimes this will help with the cost, but you should not hesitate to spend more on good quality new parts that come with a guarantee. You’ll be happy because there’s no way of knowing how long used parts will last. And they don’t come with a warranty.

Last But Not Least

Be sure to take out any valuables from your car before you drop it off. Cleaning out your car protects both of you just in case your vehicle needs to stay overnight. Take a look at your trunk too and make it’s cleared out too.

Hiring a new mechanic can seem like a daunting problem, but once you’ve found the right person who is willing to answer all your questions and give you a written estimate you will be delighted and confident to leave your car with them.

At Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Center we would like to be your new auto mechanic. Please call us or stop by with any questions. We look forward to helping you.

ATV Repair Before You Hit the Desert!

ATVs single file on a desert trail

ATV Season in Lake Havasu City

It’s the season to get outside and have an ATV desert adventure. The desert around Lake Havasu is home to miles of open desert trails, canyons, and the dunes of Glamis. The terrain varies, and desert enthusiasts have loads of options to choose from. We get folks from California, Phoenix, and Flagstaff coming out for a Lake Havasu outdoor adventure.

Maybe you’ll be following a trail for a couple of days with overnight camping or perhaps just a day trip to the Desert Bar near Parker, AZ. Either way, there are several things you will need to do to prepare yourself for desert conditions. Especially with the weather getting up into the 80s.

Prepare your supplies

Before you strike out into the desert you’ll want to:

  • Be sure everyone has at least 1 gallon of water
  • Hat, sunglasses or goggles and sunscreen
  • A cell phone (do some research and ask around which carrier works best out in the area where you’ll be going.
  • A first aid kit and flashlight because it’s rugged terrain and it’s just a good bet to have one.
  • Always notify someone who will not be on the trip where you’ll be and what trails you plan on taking.
  • Lastly, pack more water, just in case!

If you’ll be going overnight, there are loads more to consider mainly because the night temperatures can dip 40 or 60 degrees below the daytime highs. Trip Advisor has an excellent calculation of how much water you should have.

Prepare your vehicle

ATVs are a favorite to take out, and you want to be sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. There a few things you can do at home. But, always check with your ATV repair shop if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Check and change the oil, the belts, and your air filter.
  • Wash your ATV after each trip. You want to keep the dirt out of your engine, and all that mud will trap moisture on the metal of your ATV which creates rust.
  • Keep an eye on your tire pressure. When off-roading you’ll want a lower pressure but not too low. While you’re down there checking the tires, you can look over the bolts and nuts too. Do you see any rust or loose bolts?

Be smart, wear a helmet and protective clothing and make sure you’re not riding above your skill level. Game and Fish

At Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Service, we specialize in complete ATV repair and maintenance. We work on most automotive vehicles domestic and import, all the while providing competitive pricing and answers for your questions. (928) 505-3535

How Do Shocks & Struts Work?

Phot of an old and rusty suspension system on a car

What on earth is a strut and how does it help my car?

Shocks & Struts go together like peanut butter and jelly. You almost never hear about one without the other. But, what’s the difference between the two? And what do they have in common?

The first thing they have in common is that both are part of the suspension system. Remember when your car was new and your ride was always even, and there was never an issue with braking? Once you hit 50,000 miles, you find that your car isn’t taking the speed bumps in the grocery store parking lot so smoothly anymore. And your braking feels a bit more wobbly in the steering wheel. These could be signs that you need to get a new suspension system.

Having the shocks and suspension inspected at 40,000 or 50,000 miles, then annually after that, is a (good) idea. – Cars.com

How Struts and Shocks Come Together

The frame or chassis of your car is what the suspension is connected to, and from there to the steering. The shock absorbers and springs connect the car to your wheels and create the movement between the two. It’s this connection that stabilizes your steering and helps to keep the tires on the road evenly. The struts are the structural point of your car’s suspension pulling together the tires, brakes, wheel alignment, and steering, whereas the shocks keep the car from bouncing. Smooth braking is also affected, and the suspension system here keeps everyone in the car safe and comfortable.

Strut Components

Diagram of conventional suspension system specific to the control arm and ball joint.

Since the struts are part of the structure of your car and affect so much, there are, of course, many parts. There’s the coil spring that supports your vehicle’s weight. The strut housing provides secure support for the entire assembly. Finally, there’s a dampening unit inside of the housing that controls the spring and suspension movement. At the bottom of the strut, there’s an attachment to a knuckle that connects to an arm via a ball joint.

In conclusion, you will find that the shocks and struts help to control all the excessive movement. When the suspension starts to go out, you start of feel all the bumps and cracks in the road. This may indicate it’s time to go to your mechanic. When this happens, Britton is here to help!  Call us to make an appointment.  Here at Britton’s Auto Repair, we specialize in complete auto repair care with our ASE certified mechanics. We work on most automotive vehicles domestic and import, all the while providing competitive pricing and answers to1 your questions. (928) 505-3535

What is That Car Warning Light Telling You?

photo of auto warning lights on dashboard all lit up

Your car is telling you something.

What is that warning light that just popped up on the dashboard?  And where did you put your car manual last time you cleaned out the glove compartment?  We’re going to list a few of the top dashboard lights that should be taken care of as soon as possible at an auto repair shop.

First, let’s explore how these lights go on.  Most cars these days have a monitoring system that will tell you of a problem.  The auto communicates these issues by lighting up one of the little symbols on the dash.  This warning helps to give a heads up your car becomes unsafe for the road and before any significant damage can happen.  The light is telling you to take a look at something like the oil level or to get your car repair sooner than later.

The not-so-bad, the bad, and the oh, no!

Brake system warning light in car dashboard. illustration. Close up

 

 

 

Parking brake light.  Check to be sure you didn’t leave your parking brake on.  If you didn’t, then this might mean something a bit more serious is going on.  If the light continues to stay on, then go to your auto repair mechanic to rule out that it’s not something wrong.  You always want to have a healthy and happy brake system.

 

A 3D render of an extreme closeup of an illuminated high temperature dashboard light on a car dashboard panel background

 

 

Coolant temperature light.  Coolant is an absolute must for your engine to function.  Without it, your engine will run hot, and that is not where you want things to be.  Nasty things can happen from a hot engine, like a blown head gasket.  However, it could also be-be a malfunctioning thermometer or a small leak.  Whichever the case, you will want to get your auto repaired and checked out by a certified mechanic right away.  If you don’t know how to check your coolant fluid, talk to your mechanic, and he/she can help.

 

closeup of a Check Engine Light In Car Dashboard lit up

 

Oil pressure light.  Your engine needs oil to keep it running correctly.  Without the oil, your car will overheat, and, again, horrible things will happen.  (remember what we said about lack of coolant.  It’s the same thing with oil.  Oil needs enough pressure to moved around keep the engine lubricated. Without enough lubrication, your engine will overheat, parts will wear and break, and you’ll need a new motor.  Call your mechanic get this checked out right away.

So there we have some of the top lights you’ll want to take care of right away.

From car repair to everyday maintenance, our complete automotive specialists will help you keep your vehicle in tiptop shape. We offer reliable auto care at good rates. Call or make an appointment online today to inquire about our maintenance service plans.

What is an Auto Repair Mechanic?

Mechanic looking under a car

Your Auto Mechanic is Really a Technician in Disguise

A good auto repair mechanic (or technician) is a person that can work on a wide variety of automobile makes and models.  The mechanic can have a broad range of knowledge on a vehicle or even just within a specific area.  For instance, air conditioning or transmissions.  In auto technology there has been a lot of advancement and the knowledge has evolved from mechanical to more electronic.  The education needed for the technology of auto repair is constant now because vehicles today possess sophisticated computer systems that can change every year.

Auto repair mechanic’s central role when repairing cars is to diagnose the problem quickly and accurately. Often, mechanics must quote prices for their customers before starting work or after inspection by partially disassembling the vehicle to find the problem. Their job may involve the repair of a specific part or the replacement of one or more components as assemblies.

The complicated nature of auto technology has created a need for sophisticated diagnostic computers.  Each technician must understand and know how to operate these programs. Most dealerships and independent shops currently provide these technical workstations for their mechanics.  Without these tools, auto mechanics would be unable to repair or diagnose a vehicle.

Here at Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Service, we specialize in complete auto repair care with our ASE certified mechanics. We work on most automotive vehicles domestic and import, all the while providing competitive pricing and answers for your questions. (928) 505-3535

Feeling the Summer Heat? Your Car Battery is Too

logoWhen is the most crucial time of year for battery maintenance?  Contrary to popular belief, summer highs rather than winter lows pose the greater threat to battery life, according to the non-profit Car Care Council. If the heat of summer is wearing you down, it is likely taking its toll on your car’s battery too.

You can avoid getting stranded in the desert by keeping your car battery working at peak performance.  This will also help avoid an expensive service/tow charge.   There are many things you can do to keep your battery in tip top shape just by spending 10 minutes giving your battery a checkup.  This is crucial for your auto repair and maintenance.

What you can do at home

Driving habits such as frequent engine on/off cycles will cause more wear on the starter than a simple back and forth to work. Other factors include driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems. Check the battery if you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate, or the “check engine” and/or battery light illuminated. – Car Care Council

For more information on maintaining your car battery at home, click the button below.  If you need a little more help Britton’s Auto Repair, Truck Repair, and RV Repair is here to help!  Call to make an appointment so we can get your vehicle ready for that crazy Havasu heat! (928) 505-3535

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