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Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Posted January 31, 2014 12:00 PM

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Anchorage drivers, and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most people.


Let's get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your Check Engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn't drive at high speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Anchorage service center.

Why

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn't go off, schedule an appointment with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at L and M Motors Inc to get it checked out.

Some more information on how the Check Engine light works may be helpful for Anchorage drivers. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range, the computer runs some tests and may turn on the vehicle's Check Engine light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn't know if it's a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap, the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn't come up again, it turns off the Check Engine light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it'll then turn off the Check Engine light.

If the problem can't be resolved then the light will remain on, and you should get your vehicle looked at. Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at L and M Motors Inc will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

 

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at L and M Motors Inc

Posted January 22, 2014 12:00 PM

Service to a vehicle's power steering system is part of preventive maintenance for  Anchorage auto owners. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your vehicle's wheels would have to come from you.

The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer vehicles have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.

Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.

Anchorage drivers should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.

Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.

When your fluid is replaced, your technicians at L and M Motors Inc will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. L and M Motors Inc can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner's manual.

Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, drivers in Anchorage who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.

To protect your steering system you should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.

Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough AK driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Anchorage drivers should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.

For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at L and M Motors Inc. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



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