Engine Performance

  • Lack of Power – Hesitation
  • Fuel System – Injector Service
  • Tune Ups
  • Emissions Service
  • Service Engine Lights

During the combustion process (spark igniting fuel vapors in compressed air) an effect called carbonization is created. The efficient combustion process requires three things; optimal fuel, air and spark delivery. During the combustion process, carbon (a fuel byproduct) is created and it slowly begins to collect over time and contaminates valves, the air intake plenum, fuel injectors, cylinders and spark plugs. In a perfectly clean engine, the fuel injectors deliver a very fine mist of fuel in time with valves opening and closing and ignition delivering spark. When valves are closed and injectors are delivering the required mist of fuel, optimal combustion and efficiency is created. Carbon contamination on valves creates an environment where they do not close and seal completely creating loss of optimal combustion. Fuel injectors contaminated with carbon deposits will not deliver a fine, uniform mist of fuel and as a result, less of the fuel will be combusted creating lack of engine efficiency. A carbon contaminated spark plug will affect a weak spark creating an environment where not all the fuel delivered is combusted. Fuel vapors ignite far more readily than liquid fuel. The reality is that if injectors are not functioning properly, fuel is being wasted and exhausted out the tailpipe. Not only is your engine less efficient but your wallet or purse will feel the pinch also. A properly functioning ignition system is also required for top performance and efficiency. An electrical impulse is initiated by either the distributor or coil assembly. The impulse travels either directly to the spark plug or along an ignition wire to the spark plug and a spark is created at the electrode. A good, strong, viable spark serves to support optimum combustion and fuel economy. Over time the ignition system on your vehicle wears out. Spark plugs, ignition wires, distributor caps and rotors need to be replaced to ensure efficient operation. An air intake or throttle body that is contaminated with carbon deposits will have an effect on efficient air delivery for the combustion process. Butterfly valves in the throttle open and close on demand from the driver via the accelerator pedal. If the throttle body is contaminated, the butterfly valves will get restricted or stuck creating lack of efficiency and poor fuel economy. The good news is that a specialized fuel system service can break down and remove harmful carbon deposits and breathe new life and efficiency into your engine. Kerry’s Car and Truck Centre has the specialized equipment to professionally rid your vehicles engine of harmful deposits.

Service Engine and Warning Lights –  take 5 to read this, it will pay off!

Most late model vehicles have a number of warning lights that might show at any time. Here are the usual suspects: service engine or check engine, air bag or SRS (supplemental restraint system), ABS (antilock braking system), stability control or traction control, low coolant, charging system etc. These warning lights are included as a feature to allow your vehicle to speak with you. Most warning lights are triggered when one or more of your vehicle’s on board computers reads or sees information that is not consistent with certain specifications. While an illuminated warning light can be perceived as a pain the butt, they do serve to ensure a safer and more reliable experience. If you respond to a warning light and correct the problem promptly it will also usually cost less for the final fix.

Most vehicle owners manuals first suggest that a service engine light  can be triggered by a loose fuel filler cap or a fault in the emissions system. While it is true that a loose or missing fuel cap will trigger a dreaded service engine light, there  are literally hundreds of other causes of engine lights. All modern day vehicles operate in a very complex computerized environment. Most vehicles have more than one on board computer or module. If your vehicle’s SERVICE ENGINE LIGHT or CHECK ENGINE LIGHT is illuminated, your vehicle is trying very hard to tell you something is not right.  The computer in your vehicle is receiving , transmitting and evaluating data thousands of times each drive cycle. If your computer  questions any of the data it reads or does not receive a signal at all, your service engine light may get illuminated.  A simple and inexpensive computer diagnostic scan can determine the fault and help put your mind at ease. The simple matter of fact is that the warning lights on your dash are not supposed to be illuminated. If your service engine  light is on and a shop or mechanic  tells you it is nothing to worry about, please question it. Are they not in business to evaluate your vehicle and remedy any faults so that your vehicle continues to operate safely and reliably? A loose gas cap in and of itself will not cause a driveability or reliability problem in the short term but if your service engine light is left illuminated for an inconsequential fault, it hampers your vehicle’s ability to let you know if a more significant problem is present. Unfortunately there is not a second light that warns you of a new, pending problem. The light is already on; it can’t go on twice.

Here is a perfect example:

Your service engine light illuminates and you take your vehicle to your mechanic. A diagnostic scan is performed and it is revealed that the diagnostic trouble code found is a P0455 and is set because your gas cap is loose or there is a leak in the emissions system. Your mechanic tells you it is nothing to worry about. You drive your vehicle problem free for the next six months and the service engine warning light remains illuminated and is of no concern to you. Suddenly you begin to experience a significant lack of power and your vehicles engine is running very rough. It feels like you are driving through quick sand each time you try to accelerate. You know something is wrong with your car so you take it to Kerry’s Car and Truck Centre. One of the first questions you will be asked is; “Is your vehicle’s service engine light illuminated”? Your response; “Yes, but I was told it was nothing to worry about”. A computer diagnostic scan is performed on your vehicle. Here are the technican’s findings: five diagnostic trouble codes are present; P0455, P0300, P0301, P0302 and P0420. The P0455 trouble code was set 6 months ago due to a faulty seal on your gas cap. The problem was never corrected (remember being told it was nothing to worry about?). The subsequent trouble codes P0300, P0301, P0302 and P0420 are all codes that are problematic. Problematic because the service engine light that remained illuminated for  the past six months did not allow your vehicle’s computer to alert you to a bigger and ultimately more costly problem. Shortly after the service engine light was set for the leaking gas cap, your vehicles engine began to misfire on number 1 (P0301) and number 2 (P0302) cylinders. The misfires would have set the service engine light but could not because it was already lit. The ongoing misfires in the engine over the past 5 months have created a real problem. On both cylinders the spark plugs were delivering a very weak spark. Only about 50% of the fuel delivered by the injectors was being combusted. The other 50% was not only being wasted, it was being delivered through the exhaust into the CATALYTIC CONVERTER!. The catalytic converter is designed to get very hot and super clean the exhaust and create as clean an environment as possible for the environment. Unfortunately because there has been excess raw fuel being sent into the catalytic  converter, it has been overheating and has become badly damaged as a result. The damage has caused the catalytic converter to become plugged and not allow exhaust through. This fault set the dreaded P0420 trouble code (Catalyst efficiency low). An engine that can’t properly expel exhaust will run very poorly and require immediate  repair to be driveable again. So, let’s summarize. A service engine light that was set 6 months ago for a condition that was “NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT” has created a real problem and a significant, surprise shock to your pocket book.  In this case let’s pretend you drive a 2006 Honda Accord with a 3.0 litre motor. The cost to repair the current condition will be in excess of $2000.00 and your Accord will not run properly without the repair. Now let’s pretend that when the service engine light illuminated 6 months ago, you came to Kerry’s Car and Truck Centre. You would have been advised that the service engine light was set as a result of a leak in the emission system (P0455). It would have been recommended that some basic  testing be performed to find and fix the fault. It would have been discovered that your fuel cap was not sealing properly causing the service engine light and the P0455 trouble code. . The cost to diagnose and repair the problem……less than $100.00. You would have driven away with no service engine light on. In 30 days, your service engine light would have set again. The diagnostic scan would have revealed  P0300, P0301 and P0302 trouble codes. These codes are very common and point to a misfire on cylinders number 1 and number 2. Some very basic testing and evaluation would have uncovered that your vehicle required new spark plugs. The plugs on the number 1 and 2 cylinders were worn out and delivering a weak spark. The cost to diagnose the fault and perform this very basic maintenance……about $225 bucks!! At Kerry’s Car and Truck Centre, you will never be told “it’s nothing to worry about”. We explain the problem, share the cost to repair it and ensure you are aware of the potential downside of not acting on the service engine light. The math in this example is pretty simple. Invest a little bit of money to save a lot of money! And this is only one example of many I can share. Drop by Kerry’s Car and Truck Centre anytime for a free coffee and chat. We will happy wash your car for free while you wait and ask if there is anything else we can assist with. It really is a pretty simple exercise to look after your vehicle and listen when it wants to talk with you.


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