Inside look at an idling engine
Oil is one of the most important fluids involved with the inner workings of an internal combustion engine. But who actually knows what engine oil is, and what do the automotive engineers expect from it? To put it simply, engine oil is a derivative of crude oil. Crude oil is found in deep underground pockets, from where it’s extracted and undergoes several refining processes. Among the many carbon chained molecules found in crude oil, engine oil is differentiated as the long chain alkane, cyclo-alkane, and aromatic molecules. Once sorted in refinement, these molecules are blended with detergents and additives to give the base oils alkalinity, corrosion resistance, and viscosity.
Alkalinity refers to the oil’s ability to absorb and neutralize acids- the unit of measure for this in petroleum products is known as the Total Base Number (TBN). (more…)
Many of us in the DC area got our first taste of cold this past weekend, with two nights that fell below freezing. Winter is inevitably around the corner, so make sure you and your car are adequately prepared! Your team at Auto Stop has put together a winter safety checklist for your vehicle that you can perform at home:
How old is your car battery? Has it died more than once in the past six months? Cold temperatures put a strain on the chemical reactions inside a battery. That means if its performance was poor in the fall, it may not make it through the winter. Consulting your service records to determine the age of the battery is a good starting point. If it has been in your car for more than three years, we would recommend having it tested (we offer this service free of charge). Don’t get caught in the cold this winter with a weak battery!
All-season tires do not behave the same in the winter as they do in the summer. The colder the conditions, the less malleable the rubber becomes. This means that they won’t grip the road as well. This is increasingly noticeable in wet conditions, so it is very important to give your tires a visual inspection before winter arrives. The tread on your tires is their primary defense against hydroplaning and channeling out road water. Notice below how the good tread is able to route all the hose water away from the surface of the tire. When you look them over, take notice of low or uneven tread-wear and be sure to inspect all four tires!
With cold weather setting into the region people are beginning to break out the winter coats, gloves, and scarfs. This is also true for the small critters who will soon be looking for ways to escape the harsh elements. During a courtesy inspection last week, we noticed one customer’s Cabin Air Filter had been converted into one rodent’s hideout, courtesy of a few belongings picked out from the glove box. Roadmaps, registration cards, and even tissues are fair game when it comes to building materials. The little critter likely made his way into the car through its inlet vent and navigated up the channels before getting cozy on top of the Cabin Air Filter. Fortunately, our technician caught this early on before the unwanted guest could create more problems for the customer and their vehicle.
But let’s back up a second. Is this the only reason we check our vehicle’s filters – to make sure no furry friends have turned them into bachelor pads? Not quite, but it’s a habit of checking our filters that keep smaller problems from turning into larger ones. The filters in your car have an important role of keeping you and your car protected from air borne particles. So, below we will differentiate between the two types of air filters found in modern vehicles. (more…)