Alaska Spring and Performance: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?
Posted June 29, 2012 2:45 PM
Your van engine really needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving around Elmendorf Afb, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?
The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your van needs a lot of air to keep going in Elmendorf Afb. A lot of clean air is better.
You’ve seen the pictures of the crowds in Asia wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your van also works better when its internals are clean. When your van air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the dirt just passes through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the engine itself. And burning dust and pollen in your van engine does you no good.
So, we’re talking potential damage for Elmendorf Afb drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your van engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with fuel efficiency.
In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Alaska Spring and Performance can improve your fuel economy in Elmendorf Afb by up to ten percent. At today’s fuel prices in Elmendorf Afb, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.
The verdict: When your van engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on how dirty the air is where you drive in Elmendorf Afb. A simple visual inspection at Alaska Spring and Performance will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.
When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Alaska Spring and Performance technician brings out your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and change it out.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Anchorage Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?
Posted June 14, 2012 9:48 AM
The push for fuel economy has two benefits: using less gas, and fewer emissions. Anchorage cars and trucks run cleaner than ever. Anchorage people may not realize that the first federally mandated pollution control device came out almost fifty years ago.
Anchorage folks that were around in the early 60's may remember that the PCV valve came out on 1964 model cars. PCV stand for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.
When fuel is burned in the van engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.
Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine leading to damage.
Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our environment in Anchorage. Enter the PCV valve. It’s a small, one-way valve that lets out the gases from the crankcase, and routes them back into the air intake system where can be re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the bad air out. As you can imagine, the valve gets gummed up over time.
Anchorage drivers that skip oil changes now and then will notice that the PCV valve gets gummed up even faster. If the PCV valve is sticking in your van, the gases won’t circulate as well, leading to increased pressure in the crankcase. That, in turn, can lead to oil leaks. Fortunately, the PCV valve is very inexpensive to replace at Alaska Spring and Performance. Some can even be checked for function by your friendly service technician.
Manufacturer’s usually recommend they be changed somewhere between twenty and fifty thousand miles. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some van owner’s manuals, but at Alaska Spring and Performance, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.
All of us Anchorage car owners can do our part for the environment. Watch that lead foot, stay on top of our automotive maintenance and don’t forget to replace our PCV valve.
Posted in the Parts category
Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Elmendorf Afb
Posted June 8, 2012 10:47 AM
There’s a segment of the Elmendorf Afb population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the AK area over time. Many Elmendorf Afb motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.
Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Elmendorf Afb drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.
Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.
Now, the ignition system in your van is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Alaska Spring and Performance for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.
Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Elmendorf Afb have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.
Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your van will perform better and return better fuel economy.
Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern van engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.
And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.
For example, your van engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.
Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Alaska Spring and Performance, we have been taking care of all those little things for 44 years. Your van still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Elmendorf Afb did not go away.