The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a big job for Memphis drivers. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.
The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the truck engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase. These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause truck engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at D & B Automotiove. At high speeds on Memphis freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.
Back in the old days, engine makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, laws mandated that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the truck's engine.
This is much better for the environment and it saves gas too. (Budget-conscious Memphis drivers take note!) The little valve that controls all this action is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and wasted gas.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at D & B Automotiove and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Memphis drivers don’t know about it. Check your truck owner’s manual or ask your D & B Automotiove service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.
There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at D & B Automotiove when it gets dirty.
Please ask your caring Memphis service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Memphis, you can avoid some very expensive deep engine repairs.
Posted in the Parts category
D & B Automotiove Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln
Posted December 23, 2011 1:41 PM
Welcome to the D & B Automotiove blog. Today, let’s talk about the effect of tire tread depth on braking. When talking about stopping power, most of us Memphis drivers tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn’t enough. Safe Memphis drivers need to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power.
Let’s focus on stopping in wet Memphis conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can’t move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.
That’s called hydroplaning. If it’s really bad, Memphis drivers can actually spin out of control. At best, you won’t stop as fast.
So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your truck tire and you’ll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They’re designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.
And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new D & B Automotiove tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your truck on wet Memphis roads.
So that’s why it’s so important to replace our truck tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.
By comparison, you’ve probably seen the wear indicator that’s molded into tires. When tires are worn 3/32 of an inch, the tread wear bar is visible. So the recommended standard has twice the tread depth as a completely worn out truck tire.
At D & B Automotiove, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Memphis roads. A safe stop from TN freeway speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.
There’s an easy way to tell when a tire’s worn to 4/32 of an inch. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your truck tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.
Many Memphis car owners have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln’s head. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, truck tires are a big ticket item. Most of us in Memphis want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there’s a real safety trade-off. It’s your choice.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
D & B Automotiove Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On
Posted December 15, 2011 10:21 AM
Today's D & B Automotiove auto maintenance article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your truck air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Ellendale.
Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your truck’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. All Ellendale drivers know that without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.
The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. And, on many trucks, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures as you drive around Ellendale.
Now on some trucks, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt. So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers and your service advisor at D & B Automotiove have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail. Your Ellendale service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.
There’s a special, spring loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At D & B Automotiove, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt. All in all, the serpentine belt’s an important part for the function of your truck. And it’s not that expensive to replace in Ellendale – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Suspension Service At D & B Automotiove
Posted December 9, 2011 11:59 AM
Suspension systems will continue to operate effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually truck components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive in Germantown.
As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth TN highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy roads or hauling heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, truck 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, your truck manufacturer recommends periodic inspections.
During an inspection at D & B Automotiove, your caring Germantown service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts. Let me give a rundown of the major suspension components.
First there are the springs. The springs hold the weight of the vehicle. There are several kinds of springs. Springs are obviously 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. The shocks are key to 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. There are some signs that shocks or struts are wearing out. The tires may have a cupped wear pattern. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your truck dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit D & B Automotiove for a suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your truck suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so take care of these things.
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 D & B Automotiove service advisor 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 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 truck was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Germantown people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.
For example if you want increased handling performance for your truck, your caring D & B Automotiove advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut to give you what you want. If you haul heavy loads or trailers, you can get a more heavy duty shock absorber.