Monthly Archives: November 2017

Alternator

Your alternator makes electricity to start and run your engine and all of the electrical systems in your vehicle. That’s everything from the on-board computers to the turn signals. And of course there is the entertainment system, seat heaters, power window, and everything you plug into the power outlets. After your alternator makes enough electricity to do all that, it recharges your battery with what’s left over. When you constantly have a low or dead battery, the alternator is usually a prime suspect. However, the alternator is just one component of the starting/charging system, and a problem with any of the other components could be the actual cause. In addition to the alternator, the charging/starting system includes the battery, starter, serpentine belt system and all of the electrical cables that connect them. Your Hometown Garage technician has a systematic process of testing components and connections to get to the source of your problem. The initial symptoms dete ... read more

Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) help you stop faster. That is not always the case on loose gravel or snowy surfaces. Anti-lock brakes, in fact, are designed to help you maintain control of your vehicle in an emergency braking situation. Imagine you are driving on a snowy CT road. You need to slam on your brakes and your rear wheels lock up. Chances are good that the rear end of your vehicle will try to pass the front end and you can easily lose control. What would happen in the same circumstance if your front wheels locked up? Well you certainly would not be able to steer properly and your front end would go to wherever momentum leads it. The ABS modulates your brakes on and off as many as 15 times a second. This keeps your wheels from locking up while providing the greatest amount of braking possible. You are better able to steer your vehicle and maintain control. Portland service advisors often talk about the 3 S's of anti-lock brakes: Stomp – Stay – Steer. Stomp on ... read more

Exhaust

Question:My car failed its emissions test – what do I need to do? Hometown Garage Answer: Let's get this out of the way: a leak in your exhaust system could be deadly. If Portland drivers smell exhaust in the passenger cabin or hear an unusual exhaust sound, they should get their exhaust system checked and repaired. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Hometown Garage. Carbon monoxide in your exhaust is odorless, colorless and tasteless can be fatal to you and your passengers, so don't delay if you suspect an exhaust leak. There could be a number of reasons for a failed CT emissions test so some diagnostic work is in order. A common reason is that the catalytic converter has failed. The catalytic converter removes some of the harmful elements in exhaust. When a catalytic converter fails it must be replaced, which isn't cheap for Portland drivers. Many Portland folks stop the ... read more

Spark Plugs

In Portland, CT, the days when Portland drivers changed their spark plugs every couple of years has ended. Back in the day, spark plugs really did wear out that often. A couple of things are different now… First, spark plugs are made of better materials that last longer for Portland drivers and they're designed better. The second reason spark plugs used to have to be changed in vehicles and other autos was that they were fouled up with carbon deposits. The deposits built up when fuel wasn't burned completely. With modern engine management controls that just doesn't happen as often. Engine control computers precisely time when fuel is injected into the engine and when spark plugs fire. Unless something's wrong, spark plugs just don't foul like they used to. Electricity from the battery goes into a coil that allows power to build up to anywhere from 12,000 to 45,000 volts, depending on the vehicle. The engine management computer tells the coil when to releas ... read more

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