Budget For Maintenance in Concord

Sometimes busy Concord residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Charlotte in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Concord motorists spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Concord motorists would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Concord auto owners didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Concord area auto service centers.

Concord drivers should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Concord is simply more pricey than it used to be. So if you think about it, NC car owners can avoid many expensive SUV repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Charlotte motorists can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Harrisburg auto owners know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your SUV will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
225      
794     
1767  
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more pricey than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Pitts Repair Service: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and NC auto insurance with an older Concord vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for vital preventive maintenance in NC, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less costly!

Pitts Repair Service Service For Your Exhaust System

Your SUV’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your SUV. Maintaining it is good Pitts Repair Service auto advice for Concord auto owners, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.

The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Charlotte area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most car makers recommend that you have your SUV exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified service professional at regular intervals.

The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. Pitts Repair Service Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the SUV engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is vital that Charlotte car owners keep their exhaust system in good repair.

The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air. So it is important that exhaust pipes get an automotive analysis regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next important component of your SUV exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in NC. Call Pitts Repair Service at 704-786-6894 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the SUV engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your SUV exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your SUV from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is vital for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Concord automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Concord neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your SUV by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The essential components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and expensive damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last vital piece in the exhaust system — and of your SUV, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your SUV through the tailpipe.

If your SUV has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your SUV to Pitts Repair Service in Concord right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.

Caring for your SUV exhaust system yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.

Suspension Service At Pitts Repair Service In Concord

Suspension systems function effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually, however, SUV suspension components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive around Concord and Kannapolis.

As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth NC highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Concord roads or haul heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, SUV suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, SUV manufacturers recommend periodic inspections.

Suspension Service At Pitts Repair ServiceDuring an inspection at Pitts Repair Service in Concord, your appreciative, honest, efficient automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:

First there are the springs which hold the weight of your SUV. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously essential heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your SUV dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Pitts Repair Service.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Pitts Repair Service for a a key suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your SUV suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service service specialist because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your SUV was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Kannapolis people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Concord, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.

Lease Or Buy?

Lease? Or buy? These are the options for Concord car financing. It’s always a tough question for Concord drivers. But here is some info that’ll help you make an informed decision.

If you buy, you’ll pay the full cost of the car, with maybe an initial down payment, then monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.

Concord car owners who lease, finance the portion of the cost of the car that’s used up during the term of the lease. You’ll pay some money up front; fees, security deposit, first month’s payment and maybe a capital reduction. The monthly payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge. When the lease is up, you return the car to your local Charlotte area dealership. 

So how do Concord motorists decide?

First, how much do you have for a down payment? A lease usually requires a smaller down.

How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.

A lease needs requires better credit, so that’s a factor.

How long will you keep the car? Concord auto owners who keep their cars around for a while will pay less if they buy. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.

Pitts Repair Service
325 NW Pitts School Rd.
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-6894

If your car might suffer a ding or two, like, say a work truck would, then buying’s better. The Concord auto leasing company will want their vehicle back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you’ll pay.

How many miles do you drive in and around the Harrisburg area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit, and if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile when the lease is up. So high mileage NC car owners should definitely buy.

Will the car be used in your Concord business? Check with your Concord accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.

Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper for Concord drivers. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing always costs more in NC.

Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment, rather than price. So sometimes Concord leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.

Here is a tip: If the Concord salesman asks if you’ll be leasing or buying, say you’re not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at your Concord financing options.

Here’s another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the car, you’ll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments, and usually, it’s less than the car’s fair Charlotte market value  – and that’s all your NC auto insurance company will pay. But ask your Concord agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.

Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition, and may need to do all the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service and maintenance, or face penalties. So see your local service professional at your Concord auto repair shop  or Pitts Repair Service on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It’s well worth it.

It’s About Time: Following Service Intervals at Pitts Repair Service

There are a lot of things in life that Concord residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Concord dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don’t stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.

Scheduled maintenance is also part of good car care. Concord drivers should take their SUVs in regularly for a good check-up. But many Charlotte folks struggle to remember, or actually even ignore, this auto advice. When it comes to our cars, we’re more likely to listen to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.

Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze, for example, vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?

One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting; we can smell how dirty our clothes are; but we don’t notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our SUVs is like trouble in our bodies—ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can’t know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Pitts Repair Service in Concord.

Another reason us Concord motorists put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Concord motorists don’t know.

Of course, our SUVs come with owner’s manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Concord car owners actually read them?

The good news is that all Concord drivers have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Pitts Repair Service in Concord. Like a good doctor, your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service tech will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your car needs and when. The service center can track your car’s maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.

Here are some guidelines to help Concord car owners understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it’s a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner’s manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.

Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.

Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There’s no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.

Fuel. Obviously your SUV needs gas on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.

These are the basics of car maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don’t need to be replaced as often.

If you are taking your SUV in for the basics, then your Concord service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you’ll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.

If you’re not convinced yet that your SUV needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased fuel efficiency, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to costly repair bills and costly accidents.

Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at Pitts Repair Service in Concord can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.

Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Concord?

Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Concord?

Is it:

  1. Stereo
  2. Wheels
  3. Air Bag
  4. DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Concord – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Concord.

Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

Contact Pitts Repair Service for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 325 NW Pitts School Rd., Concord, NC 28027
You can reach us by phone at: 704-786-6894

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely one car part you don’t want to take a chance with, so Pitts Repair Service recommends following these guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Pitts Repair Service).
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
  • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

For more information, contact Chris at Pitts Repair Service by calling 704-786-6894.

Tire Maintenance In Charlotte



With the recent focus in Charlotte on improving gas mileage, we’ve been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.

Concord auto owners know that tires wear out, but we want to make them last as long as possible because they’re not cheap to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Under-inflated tires will wear out more quickly.

Some Charlotte motorists wonder if they should add a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. Bad idea. In fact, there are very good reasons not to over-inflate your tires. For one, the middle of the tread will wear unevenly because the full tread is not contacting the road properly. That also adversely affects your handling.

Stop by Pitts Repair Service to see about tire maintenance for your Concord, NC vehicle.

Pitts Repair Service
325 NW Pitts School Rd.
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-6894

Every vehicle in the Charlotte area has a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb that tells you the automobile manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure. This recommendation is an integral part of the vehicle’s suspension tuning. A lot of engineering actually goes into the recommended tire pressure, so it’s important for Charlotte car owners to follow it.

What else do Concord auto owners need to know about tire maintenance? Tire rotation and balancing are very important. Let’s start with rotation. Because the front tires handle the brunt of turning forces, the shoulders of the front tires wear more quickly than the rear tires. At Pitts Repair Service in Concord, we rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front and they’ll all wear evenly over their life.

For most vehicles, front tires are rotated to the rear and vice versa. Others recommend a cross rotational pattern. Some vehicles use an asymmetrical tire so those tires need to stay on either the right or left side – it’ll say which on the tire. Some high performance cars have asymmetrical tires and different sizes on the front and rear. These can’t be rotated at all. Your owner’s manual will have details for your car or meet with your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service tech.

How often should Charlottemotorists rotate their tires? Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation. Your appreciative, honest, efficient Pitts Repair Service technician at Pitts Repair Service in Concord can do a visual inspection to let you know if it looks like it should be done. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles.

You know, some Concord people don’t think new tires need to be balanced. What they aren’t taking into account is the wheel. Between the wheel and the tire – even a new tire – there’s enough variation to require balancing.

When you add the valve stem and tire pressure monitoring sensors required on new cars, balancing is definitely essential. When a tire’s out of balance, it’s actually hopping down the road. Concord car owners with tires out of balance will feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire’s out of balance and through the seat if it’s a rear tire.

Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safety for Charlotte drivers and their passengers. Historically, lead weights have been attached to the wheel to bring it into balance. Lead gives some environmental concern, so steel weights are starting to be substituted. 

The team at Pitts Repair Service also wants to remind you that it is essential to always use the same size tire on an axle. Different size tires on the front or on the back can lead to some real handling problems. And NC tire manufacturers recommend that when you get two new tires, they be installed on the rear because that’s where you need the most traction to avoid spinning-out.

Battery Replacement At Pitts Repair Service In Concord

Hello, welcome to Pitts Repair Service. Today’s focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Concord runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we’re most concerned with here at Pitts Repair Service are those in our customer’s vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, car batteries wear out and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Concord drivers should know when looking for a new battery.

Look for two measurements that come into play: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity.

Let’s start with cold cranking amps. Battery Replacement At Pitts Repair Service This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold SUV engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in NC, specifically how cold it is. (Many NC auto owners have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your SUV’s engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.

The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. At Pitts Repair Service, we consult the table shown below. Let’s say it’s eighty degrees Fahrenheit in Concord. At that temperature, 100% of the battery’s power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at eighty degrees.

As you can see from the chart, the colder it gets, more power’s needed, but the available power drops.

Percent of Power Available Celsius Fahrenheit Power Required  
100 27 80 100  
65 0 32 155  
40 -22 0 210  
25 -32 20 350  

So if you live where it’s cold in NC, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your SUV was based on averages. At Pitts Repair Service, we like to remind Concord motorists that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their auto makers recommend, but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.

And the type of engine you have will impact the battery you need: A six-cylinder engine requires more cold cranking amps than a four. An eight cylinder needs even more. And diesel SUVs require more than a gasoline engine with the same number of cylinders.

Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important to Concord auto owners these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off in your SUV. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.

Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Concord. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine. So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer or Pitts Repair Service and upgrade if you need more.

Talk with us at Pitts Repair Service about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger, heavy-duty battery may be called for. At Pitts Repair Service in Concord, we remind our customers that it’s very important that the new battery fits your SUV: the terminals can’t be touching other parts.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most NC car owners, so the warranty gives piece of mind. There’re two kinds of car battery warranties: pro-rated and free replacement. With the pro-rated, you get a credit for a portion of the battery if it fails during the warranty period. With a free replacement warranty, you get just that, a free replacement. Be sure to ask us at Pitts Repair Service about the warranty so you know what you’re getting.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles In Concord, NC

Let’s talk about alternative fuel vehicles. In their quest to reduce the use of fossil fuels and harmful exhaust emissions in our Concord environment, automakers will have a number of alternatives for Concord drivers very soon.

For instance, Flex Fuel vehicles are already available in the Charlotte area. Flex Fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on E85 fuel. E85 is a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The ethanol is made from corn.  The benefits to Concord auto owners are in using less petroleum and reduced pollution. The drawbacks are that E85 gets lower MPG and that when gas prices are low, E85 can be more expensive than straight gasoline.

Concord car owners should only use E85 if they have a Flex Fuel compatible engine. Flex Fuel vehicles have special seals and gaskets that can stand up to the high alcohol content of E85. Using E85 in a regular engine can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel engines have been around the Charlotte area for a long, long time. Modern diesels are very refined and fuel efficient. Diesel fuel can be made from renewable sources like vegetable oil, too. Diesel fuel from algae and sunlight is reported to be pretty close to being commercially viable.

There are also a number of natural gas vehicles on our Concord roads. Gasoline engines are adapted to run on compressed natural gas. It’s less expensive than gasoline and burns very cleanly. You can even refill it with a special pump from your gas line at home.

Natural gas engines don’t make as much power and don’t get as good MPG, but they cost Concord auto owners less per mile to run. The big inconvenience is that the tank that holds the compressed natural gas takes up a lot of room; even your whole trunk! And there may not be places to refuel on a road trip from Concord to Charlotte.

Plug-in electric vehicles are now available in our Concord area. Battery technology is the limiting factor right now. Electric cars have a limited range and are really best for use close to home. As battery technology advances, electric cars will perform closer and closer to conventional power plants.

That brings us to hybrids. There are a bunch of hybrids on our NC roads, with more to come. Hybrid technology combines internal combustion engines with electric motors.

A mild hybrid has a regular gas or diesel engine that’s assisted by the electric motor. The electric motor can propel the vehicle by itself up to a certain speed under gentle acceleration. There are mild hybrids in full-sized pickups and SUVs. They deliver fuel economy similar to their highway ratings.

A full hybrid will rely primarily on the electric motor for power. It’ll have a small gas or diesel engine that generates electricity for the batteries.

Another breakthrough technology from car makers is hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to generate electricity. Several global auto makers have prototypes on the road. The appeal is that the only thing that comes out of the tail pipe is water vapor. It’ll take some time to build a national infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations before there’s widespread use in NC.

A quick word from Pitts Repair Service about safety around hybrid and electric vehicles. Unlike the battery in your current family car, these carry enough voltage to kill you. Never mess around under the hood or with the batteries or electrical wiring. Your Charlotte service technician at  Pitts Repair Service is trained to safely disable the flow of electricity before performing maintenance or repairs on the vehicle.

Hybrids are really not do-it-yourself vehicles unless you’re specifically trained on hybrid systems.

On Board Diagnostics For Your SUV

Make an appointment with Pitts Repair Service to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
325 NW Pitts School Rd.
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-6894

Today we’re going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Concord NC who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what’s involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Concord NC.

These are valid concerns. If you don’t understand something it’s really hard to know its value. Let’s start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Concord NC have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle’s Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can’t adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.

It is also called the ‘service engine soon’ light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your Concord NC service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you’ve searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what’s wrong.

That’s a common myth. The code itself doesn’t tell you what’s broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won’t tell you what’s wrong or how to fix it.

Let’s say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You’ve confirmed a fever, but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician’s examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads ‘Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response’. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that’s all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that’s stored in the engine control computer. That history’s very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Pitts Repair Service invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don’t need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Pitts Repair Service. If the light burns steady – don’t panic. Get in to Pitts Repair Service soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.