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Parkhill Exxon Auto Repair Center
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Summer doesn't officially begin for another week but already we've seen 3 A/C compressor failures in the shop. A/C compressor failure is almost always attributed to lack of lubrication due to low refrigerant charge.

In an automotive A/C system, the refrigerant (the stuff that makes it get cold) actually pushes the lubricant through the system. A system that's under-charged by only 10% will have 40% less lubrication than a properly charged system but will still get plenty cold which means while you're enjoying a comfortable ride your A/C compressor is silently self destructing. With most compressor replacements costing upwards of $1,000 getting your A/C system checked every other year is definitely cheap insurance.

Not sure when you last had your system serviced? Stop by today and let us check it out for you. We'll evacuate the system, check it for leaks then recharge it with the right amount of refrigerant as defined by your vehicles manufacturer.

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We see this kind of thing all to often.  It's important to have your vehicle serviced by a professional certified technician that will fix it right the first time.

Did you know that if your A/C system is only 10% low, you will lose 40% of the oiling capability to your A/C Compressor? Unlike your engine, the A/C Compressor in your car does not have an oil sump; it relies on the proper amount of refrigerant to push the oil through the system. This means that as the system loses its charge it also loses its ability to lubricate. Over time this results in damage to the compressor and other system components leading to costly repairs.

It's not unusual for most automotive A/C systems to lose 1-2 ounces of refrigerant per year with no detectable leak, even on a newer car. In most vehicles produced since the late 90's that equates to 5-10% of the systems total charge. Generally speaking, you won’t notice a decrease in cooling until close to half of the refrigerant charge is lost. At a rate of 5-10% per year can take many years to happen. This all means that after a year or two the A/C may be blowing plenty cold, but the system isn't lubricating properly and your compressor is slowly self-destructing.

This is why most certified technicians recommend getting your A/C system checked every year. During an annual checkup, the technicians at Parkhill Exxon will check for common failures like cracked hoses and leaky fittings. We'll also check your vehicle’s cabin filter (if equipped) and completely evacuate and recharge the system to the manufacturers recommended level. These annual checkups help our customers avoid expensive repairs and ensure that their A/C will keep them cool for years to come.

Do I really need to replace my timing belt?

One of the most important, and most forgotten, components of an automotive engine is the timing belt. The timing belt is what turns the camshafts in sync with the crankshaft to make sure that the valves in your engine open and close at exactly the right time. When the timing belt breaks or the system fails to maintain the proper tension and synchronization, valves can collide with pistons inside the engine resulting in catastrophic damage and an immobile vehicle. Unfortunately, in most cases, there are no obvious warning signs that this belt is near death, it will just break. This is why most professional technicians recommend replacing the timing belt every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to find out when replacement is recommended by your vehicles manufacturer.

In addition to the actual timing belt, most manufacturers recommend that you also replace a few critical related components. The list varies by engine but usually includes an idler pulley, belt tensioner, camshaft seals and sometimes even the water pump. Each of these items is fairly inexpensive and can reduce the life of the timing belt by up to 50% if they’re not replaced.

At Parkhill Exxon we’re dedicated to doing the job right the first time so we use component kits when replacing a timing belt. These kits contain all the recommended replacement items and are generally less expensive than buying each component individually allowing us to pass that savings along to our customers. Call or stop by today and let one of our professional service writers answer all your timing belt related questions.

Normal vs Severe service: Which maintenance schedule is right for you?

According to a AAA Car Care Month study published a few years ago a majority of drivers operate their vehicles under one of the "severe service" categories while only 6% realize it. Knowing which service schedule you should follow and actually following it can mean the difference between getting 100,000 miles out of your vehicle or well over 250,000 miles. Not only does it prolong the life of your vehicle, proper maintenance can help prevent the costly break downs that always seem to happen at the worst time.

So what exactly are "severe" driving conditions? The answer varies a little by manufacturer but here are a few of the basic qualifiers:

Driving on short trips of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures.
Driving in hot weather in stop and go traffic
Driving at low speeds of less than 50 mph for long distances
Driving on roads that have dust, mud, salt, sand or gravel spread on them.
Towing a trailer

Severe service schedules usually recommend having the vehicle’s fluids and filters changed more often, and more frequent inspections of some components like struts, ball joints and brakes.
The professional service advisers and technicians at Parkhill Exxon can help you determine which maintenance schedule you should follow. Come in today and let us help you avoid costly repairs and inconvenient break-downs. Your car and your wallet will thank you.

What does a "Check Engine" light mean?

The Check Engine light is an amber colored indicator on the instrument panel of your vehicle that notifies the driver of malfunctions with one of the vehicles systems. It should light up any time you turn the ignition key to the on position and go out a few seconds after starting the engine. If it stays on after starting that means there is a problem. If it starts flashing it means there's a severe problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

Many auto parts stores now offer to read the trouble codes stored in your vehicles engine computer when a malfunction occurs. Some can even provide a list of possible failed parts that can cause those codes. Keep in mind that most parts store employees don't have the training or equipment to perform a complete diagnostic but they may be able to give you some idea of the kind of problem your vehicle has. The only way to identify the exact failure is to have a complete diagnostic ran by a professional technician.

At Parkhill Exxon we employ ASE certified master technicians and the latest diagnostic equipment to give you dealership quality service at a fraction of the cost. If you have a check engine light on stop by and let us take a look at it for you. We'll pinpoint the source of your vehicles failure, explain the problem to you in terms you can understand and let you know how much it will cost to have it repaired. We'll get it right the first time because we don't guess, we test.

Did you know that catalytic converters do not normally wear out?

Catalytic converters are an exhaust system component that works to turn harmful pollutants into relatively harmless gasses via chemical reaction. On modern vehicles the catalytic converter should last the life of the vehicle but all to often something goes wrong which leads to them needing replacement. Common signs of catalytic converter failure include a "rotten egg" or sulfur smell coming from your car, a sudden decrease in fuel economy and/or engine performance or a rattling sound coming from underneath the passenger compartment.

Problems with your vehicles fuel and ignition systems can cause a catalytic converter to overheat and melt the catalyst components. Catalytic converters can also become contaminated by internal engine coolant or oil leaks. The bottom line is whenever a damaged catalytic converter gets replaced the cause of the damage needs to be investigated to prevent repeat failures. Remember, a catalytic converter never commits suicide, it's always murdered!

The ASE certified master technicians at Parkhill Exxon have the knowledge and equipment necessary to correctly diagnose not only a faulty catalytic converter but the root cause of the failure. If your vehicle is exhibiting any of the symptoms of catalytic converter failure come by the shop and let one of our professionals check it out for you. At Parkhill Exxon we don't guess, we test.
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