Our Current Blog Articles
June 14, 2017
Auto Air Conditioning Troubleshooting
Bowers Automotive of Colorado Springs is offering our customers some tips on auto air conditioning troubleshooting, just in time for the summer months. As the temperatures rise, you will be relying on your car's AC to keep cool and comfortable. If you notice your AC system is not cooling as efficiently as it once was, it may be time to troubleshoot some common problems.
One of the most common reasons for an AC system failure is a leak in the system. If you have a loose hose, broken seal or a crack where refrigerant can escape from, you are going to see a reduction in your AC efficiency very quickly. To troubleshoot this issue, your mechanic will introduce a specialized dye into the cooling system to identify the location of the leak and then replace the faulty part. They will then refill your AC system with the right quantity of new refrigerant.
Another source of AC failure can be found in the electrical or mechanical components of the system. Your auto AC system works by moving a refrigerant like Freon through evaporator coils and condensers. As the refrigerant changes state from liquid to gas, it absorbs and transfers heat. If your evaporator coil or condenser is damaged, it is usually necessary to get them replaced.
When troubleshooting your car's AC system, it is important always to get the opinion of a professional. Some car owners like to think they can DIY all their auto issues. Unfortunately, the AC system of a vehicle is not the easiest to diagnose and repair by yourself. The main danger of trying to fix your own vehicle's AC is that you can accidentally introduce dirt into the pressurized system, or refill it with the incorrect amount of refrigerant.
Too much or too little Freon running through the system will result in unsuccessful cooling and possibly even severe damage to your AC unit. If the closed system is contaminated with dirty oil or debris, you will quickly experience the effects. Introduced debris very easily blocks the expansion valve. Once this happens, the system is unable to circulate the refrigerant and cool your car's interior. We all know that driving in an overheated car is no fun for you or your passengers.
You can take some simple steps to extend the lifetime of your air conditioning system and prevent issues. The first thing to remember is the more you use your AC, the faster it `will wear out. Try to only use your AC when you need to. When you do turn it on, close all the windows in the car. This will lessen the strain on your system. If you only use your AC in the summer, remember to turn it on every few weeks during the winter. This will keep the system lubricated and less likely to fail when you need it again in the summer.
If you suspect your car's AC unit has a problem, don't ignore it. At Bower's Automotive, we can offer a complete evaluation using the latest diagnostic tools. Our auto air conditioning troubleshooting service is affordable and worthwhile if you value comfort while driving. To schedule an appointment, simply call us or drop into our auto shop on Ford St. in Colorado Springs.
May 25, 2017
Common Problems with a Catalytic Converter
Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs has plenty of experience solving the most common problems with a catalytic converter. If you suspect that your vehicle's catalytic converter is malfunctioning, don't delay in getting a professional opinion. The catalytic converter is a fundamental component of your exhaust system. Its job is to convert the toxic by-products of combustion into safer emissions that won't be as harmful to the environment.
The catalytic converter is located on the underside of your car between the engine and the exhaust muffler. It is susceptible to damage both internally and externally. Due to its location close to the engine, it can easily overheat if your engine overheats. It's also possible to physically damage your catalytic converter by driving over rough terrain, as it can be impacted from below. If you have any of these common problems with a catalytic converter, you should take it to a qualified technician without delay.
- Reduced Performance
If your vehicle is not reacting as fast as it usually does, or if it feels like there is no fuel reaching the engine when you press the accelerator, your catalytic converter could be the source of the problem. If exhaust fumes accumulate in the front of the catalytic converter, it can cause a build-up of back pressure in your engine.
- Increased Emissions
The role of your catalytic converter is to reduce harmful emissions. If you notice an increase in dark, odorous fumes coming from your exhaust, this is a clear sign that your catalytic converter is not working efficiently. To keep in line with legal requirements, and to prevent polluting your local environment, get your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as you notice increased carbon emissions.
- Low Fuel Economy
A failing catalytic converter can contribute to low fuel economy. If your vehicle is using fuel faster than its normal rate, it means that your car engine is combusting the fuel inefficiently. This can cause you to spend a lot of extra money in a short span of time.
- Misfiring Engine
If your engine is frequently misfiring, there could be a serious problem with the fuel delivery. Sometimes a misfiring engine causes the catalytic converter to overheat or allows uncombusted fuel to enter it. If this happens, the raw fuel can ignite, causing the metal components inside of the catalytic converter to melt and cease functioning.
- Failing Exhaust System
If you think that the performance of your exhaust system has changed significantly, it is a sign that your catalytic converter may be damaged and not capable of converting the engine fumes into less harmful emissions. If you see an increase or decrease in emissions, or a change in the smell and appearance of your emissions, you should have a mechanic check your catalytic converter.
These common problems with a catalytic converter are easier to repair if addressed quickly. In some cases, if the inner components have melted, you will need to get a complete replacement. If you have any doubts about your exhaust system, we can offer professional assistance here at Bower's Automotive. Don't hesitate to call or drop into our auto shop at 1120 Ford St., Colorado Springs.
May 17, 2017
How a Coolant Reservoir Works
Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs knows that many clients have good general knowledge of their cars, but do you know how a coolant reservoir works? This component of your vehicle plays a major role in keeping the entire engine running smoothly. A problem with the coolant reservoir tank can quickly spell disaster for your car and an expensive trip to the auto shop. A responsible car owner knows what the coolant reservoir does and how to check if there is an obvious malfunction.
As your engine runs, it burns fuel to power your vehicle. In doing so, it produces a significant amount of heat. If the temperature of your engine rises above a certain point, it can cause severe damage to the cylinders, warping them out of shape or even cracking the head gasket. This damage can be messy and cause your car to break down. Although repairable, it will cost you a hefty amount of labor charges to get the parts replaced.
Your car's cooling system works to extract heat from the engine and prevent this kind of damage. The cooling system pumps a coolant fluid through pipes surrounding your engine's cylinders. The latent heat taken from the engine converts the coolant into a gas, and as it passes through the car’s radiator, it converts back into a liquid and expels the heat to the outside of the vehicle.
The coolant reservoir is a vital component of the cooling system. Its function is to store excess coolant fluid until required. You can locate the reservoir by following the hose from the radiator. There you will find the container, usually made of transparent plastic, that functions as the coolant reservoir. The reservoir is also the place where you add new coolant to the system, and not as some people think, directly into the radiator.
As your car's engine heats up, the pressure within the radiator builds up. To release pressure, the radiator cap allows some coolant to escape out, stored in the reservoir. This excess coolant stays here until the system cools down enough to create negative pressure and draw the excess coolant from the reservoir back into circulation. While the engine is off, your coolant reservoir should be about 30% full.
The most common reason for a vehicle to overheat is a leak in the coolant reservoir or one of the attached hoses. A leak means that the stored liquid will slowly drip out and eventually, there will be insufficient coolant running through the system. To prevent your vehicle from overheating, remember to check the level of coolant in the reservoir regularly. If you see smoke coming from your engine or notice your temperature gauge rising too high, the best course of action to take is to pull over safely and turn off the engine. An overheating engine can cause serious damage if left unchecked.
Now that you know how a coolant reservoir works and how important it is, you’re welcome to call or stop by Bowers Automotive for help with this component and much more. We’ve been serving Colorado Springs for over 26 years. Our team is always ready to help you keep your vehicle in top condition. From tire pressure to the coolant reservoir, we can help you understand how your car works and the best way to keep it maintained.
April 14, 2017
Car AC Repair
When it comes to car AC repair, Bowers Automotive has you covered. Since 1990, our team has been providing quality auto repair services to the drivers of Colorado Springs. We know how important it is to be comfortable while driving in the summer. As the weather heats up, it is a good idea to turn on your AC and check that it is still working well. If you have any doubts, don't hesitate to bring your vehicle in for a quick diagnosis and tune-up.
The air conditioning unit of a car is a fairly complex component, consisting of an evaporating coil, a condensing coil, and a compressor, which circulate the refrigerant liquid. A blower fan moves air across the evaporating coil where the decompressed refrigerant lowers the temperature of the air before it exits through the vents. Malfunctions in your AC unit can present different symptoms. We are going to take you through the most common AC complaints and what causes them.
You turn on the AC and crank it up to full power expecting a blast of cold wind, but all you get is a weak flow of air. Problems with airflow power usually stem from a malfunction in the blower fan. You may notice that the little air coming out of the vents is indeed cold, there's just no power behind it.
The most likely cause for this lack of airflow is a broken ventilation fan or a loose blower hose. Another possibility is mold growth in the evaporating core. The cooling process can leave residual moisture on the outer surfaces of the evaporating coil. If mold takes hold in this area, it can block the airflow, diminishing the force of air that reaches the vents.
Warm air coming from your AC unit can indicate a serious problem. If you notice a steady flow of air, but without the lowered temperature, it means something is amiss in your unit's refrigeration cycle. It is best to take your car to a qualified technician as soon as you notice this issue before it can develop into a more serious and costly problem.
Warm air coming from your AC vents means that the blower fan is still working, but the air is not being cooled enough. One of the most common reasons for this is a Freon leak. Freon is the refrigerant typically used in car AC units. If there is a damaged O-ring, a loose hose, or a broken seal somewhere in the refrigeration cycle, this refrigerant can leak out, weakening the cooling process and allowing air and moisture into the system.
Cold to Hot
Another common complaint that requires car AC repair is that the unit starts out working fine, but after a few minutes the airflow turns warm. This is a frustrating problem and can be caused by a whole range of different malfunctions. Although not as urgent as a suddenly warm airflow, this issue should be checked by your auto technician sooner rather than later.
One possible reason for this problem is a faulty compressor clutch. If your compressor does not maintain the correct pressure, it will result in warm airflow. Clogged expansion valves can also result in the air turning from cold to hot. A blocked expansion valve will prevent sufficient refrigerant from moving into the evaporator, resulting in a decrease in the cooling power of your AC unit. Lastly, leaks in the vacuum seals can compromise the whole system and lead to a decrease in cooling performance over time.
If your AC unit starts pumping out musty air with a faint smell of unwashed socks, you know you have a problem. Apart from creating discomfort to you and your passengers, this odor can indicate a serious issue in the inner workings of your car's AC system.
Bad smells from your AC vents can be caused by a build-up of dirt and grime in the air cabin filter. It is quick and easy to get this replaced. It's also possible that the bad smell stems from a moldy evaporator case. If water makes its way into the evaporator and is not drained, it can quickly lead to an accumulation of mildew and mold. This mold build-up is what you are smelling as your cold air is pushed out over it.
In auto language, the 'Black Death' refers to an irreversible and untreatable breakdown of the AC compressor due to the formation of a thick black sludge. You may not realize you have this until your AC unit completely fails. The only solution to this particular problem is a complete replacement of the compressor, and depending on the level of damage, some other components.
The Black Death occurs when you have old refrigerant fluid that has broken down or moisture contamination in the compressor. Corrosive acids form and start to erode the steel surfaces of the compressor. Continuous breakdown of these metal parts eventually mixes with the remaining refrigerant and creates a thick black sludge. This sludge makes its way throughout the AC unit, blocking valves and slowing down movement until everything comes to a complete standstill.
Your AC Units Biggest Enemy, Leaks
You may have noticed a pattern emerging in all of these potential AC failure scenarios. Leaks are the biggest cause of AC problems. Once you have a damaged seal or a loose hose somewhere in the system, the refrigerant can leak out, and moisture can get in. An AC unit with a leak is known as an 'open system,' meaning it has been compromised and it's only a matter of time before it begins to fail.
The only way to know if you have a leak in your system is to bring your vehicle to a qualified technician. At Bowers Automotive, an AC performance check is part of our routine maintenance service. Using UV lights, we can detect refrigerant leaks on the exterior of your AC system. Our team can perform a refrigerant flush to clean out the interior and replace the refrigerant with a fresh batch.
If a leak or malfunctioning part is detected early, your car AC repair should be simple, fast and affordable. Avoid having to replace your whole system by taking your vehicle for regularly scheduled maintenance checks. For more information on AC repairs or to schedule an appointment, you can contact us here at Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs.
March 15, 2017
You Can't Buy a Car on Amazon – But You Can Research One
At Bowers Automotive, we know that many people find it easier to make purchases online. However, you can't buy a car on Amazon – but you can research one. Yes, the world’s largest online retailer can now give you insight into the vehicle you want to purchase. Feel free to shop for clothes, home electronics and groceries, then swing by Amazon Vehicles to research the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V you’ve been going back and forth about buying. You can even do it all in your pajamas, nobody’s looking!
What Is Amazon Vehicles?
In August of last year, Amazon launched a new extension of their website entirely dedicated to vehicles. Their idea was to create an online automotive community, an interactive hub, with the capacity to do everything except to purchase a car.
This new site, Amazon Vehicles, allows users to purchase car parts, accessories, and exchange reviews of cars. The site also provides many resources to help customers research both old and new models. Just find the vehicle you’re interested in learning more about, and check out its listing, including detailed specifications, multiple images, and video content. And don’t forget those user-generated reviews.
What some don’t know is that this new venture is simply an extension of Amazon’s auto parts section of the website. For many years, consumers have been able to shop for and buy replacement parts for many different vehicle models. Some speculate that savvy customers may have already been using this site to predict potential issues with cars. You can see which replacement parts are most popular and reviews often specify details on why they were needed. For the eagle-eyed consumer, this was a way of spotting weaknesses in vehicles on the market. This is the sort of information that is hard to access through usual consumer channels.
Buying Cars is More Complicated
Unfortunately, Amazon hasn't yet made the leap to online shopping for actual vehicles. The fact is that many states are limited by franchise laws that protect car dealerships, making it difficult for auto manufacturers or online businesses to sell directly to the consumer. Amazon's new foray into the automotive world can be seen as a step in the right direction. It is putting more power in the hands of the consumer and even offers recommended pricing from manufacturers.
Up until now, local car dealerships were the primary source of information on new vehicles. Some car enthusiasts may have used auto magazines or websites to help make their decisions, but most would trust the opinion of car salespeople when making a purchase. With Amazon's new tools at their fingertips, consumers can get their information, brake pad specs to potential engine issues, from an unbiased source and learn from the experience of other car owners.
For now, you can't buy a car on Amazon – but you can research one thoroughly! Getting your car serviced and repaired is another task that has to be done in person. For all your vehicle maintenance needs in Colorado Springs, Bowers Automotive is here to help! We offer the highest quality auto repair and maintenance work for a fair price. For more information, feel free to contact us or stop by our auto shop to talk to us in person.