Today's A/C systems are fairly complex, and new improvements are always being initiated. That's why you need to turn to us, the qualified source for everything related to your air conditioning system. The following is a brief schematic of some of the basic components that comprise this system:
||The compressor is a belt-driven device that derives its name from compressing refrigerant gas and transferring it into the condenser. While basically acting as a simple pump, the compressor is the core of your vehicle's air conditioning system.
||The condenser's primary function is to cool the refrigerant. It is a heat-dissipating apparatus that radiates heat released by compressed gases and condenses them into high-pressure liquids. The location of your condenser depends on how new your car is, but typically it's found at the front of the vehicle, directly in front of the engine-cooling Radiator.
|The receiver is a metal container that serves as a storage receptacle for the refrigerant. It's also referred to as a drier, because it absorbs moisture from the refrigerant and filters out particles of debris and harmful acids that would otherwise harm the A/C system. Commonly located on the liquid line of the A/C system, the drier should be changed every 3-4 years to ensure quality filtration and prevent any damage caused by these detrimental chemicals.
| Orifice Tube /
|The orifice tube (also known as the expansion valve) is a controlling mechanism that regulates the flow of refrigerant throughout the system. In addition to this, it also converts high-pressure liquid refrigerant (from the condenser) into a low-pressure liquid, so that it can enter the evaporator. Generally located at the evaporator inlet, the orifice tube could also be found between the condenser and the evaporator, or in the outlet of the condenser.
||The evaporator is designed to remove heat from the inside of your vehicle; therefore it's a heat exchanger that's vital to your vehicle's A/C system (not to mention your comfort). The evaporator allows the refrigerant to absorb heat, causing it to boil and change into a vapor. When this occurs, the vapor is removed from the evaporator by the compressor, cooling your car and reducing humidity. Because the evaporator houses the most refrigerant in this heat transfer process, it is the most susceptible to corrosion by harmful acids. Usually this damages the evaporator beyond repair, which is why it's imperative you see us to prevent this from happening.
Let's face it: You can have the most meticulously maintained vehicle on the road, but it won't start without the right battery, properly installed and appropriately fitted for your driving needs. From ignition to door locks, your car battery is the catalyzing force that allows you to get from point A to point B. The following is a brief overview of the electrical system that makes transportation possible:
||Composed of a series of lead plates submerged in a 35% sulfuric acid/65% water solution, your 12-volt battery houses a chemical reaction that releases electrons through conductors, producing electricity which is then channeled into your vehicle's electrical system. When your car's engine is off, the battery supplies electricity to all of the electrical system components, including the essential power required to start your vehicle. In periods of high demand, the battery also supplements power from the charging system.
|The Charging System
||The charging system is the life force of your vehicle's electrical system, consisting of three main mechanisms: the alternator, various circuits, and the voltage regulator. The alternator has two roles. It a) provides power to the electrical system, and b) recharges the battery after the car has started. The various circuits act as conduits for electrical power, and the voltage regulator controls the voltage passed through these circuits. Remember, all of these components require consistent attention and maintenance. It's not just your battery that needs to be replaced every so often; if one of these components should fail, that pulsating power source is now reduced to a lifeless, twenty-pound paperweight.
|The Starting System
||It may seem obvious that the starting system turns your vehicle's engine on, but did you know that this process consumes much more electrical power than anything else your car does? That's because the starting system consists of three components working one after another. Here's how it works: there's the ignition switch, the starter relay (or solenoid), and the starter motor. Turning the key causes a small amount of current to pass through the starter relay, allowing a stronger current to flow through the battery cables and into the starter motor. The starter motor cranks the engine, forcing the piston to create enough suction to draw a fuel and air mixture into the cylinder. The ignition system creates a spark that ignites the mixture, and combustion is born.
Among all the equipment in your vehicle, belts and hoses have the shortest lifespan. Due to constant exposure to heat, vibration, and harmful chemicals, these components invariably crack, leak, fray, and peel. If not promptly replaced and maintained, this could spell disaster for the performance of your vehicle. And evaluating the condition of your belts and hoses only on their appearance is not enough! Diligent inspection is required, and we are here to do it. Here is a
sample of how we ensure belt and hose quality:
|Visual Inspection of Belts
- Search for clear indications of damage (cracking, glazing, softening, or peeling)
- Test for correct tension
- Test for correct alignment
- Record belt condition for future reference
|Visual Inspection of Hoses
- Search for clear indications of damage (leaks, cracks, hardening, or softening)
- Test cooling system for leaks using state-of-the-art pressure technology
- Record hose condition for future reference
It is vital to inspect your vehicle's belts and hoses on a regular basis, because oftentimes a damaged piece has serious effects on the condition of your vehicle. Research shows that while most people are attentive when it comes to regular oil changes, they hardly devote any concern at all to the condition of their belts and hoses. A leaking hose or a cracked belt will cause you more trouble than an overdue oil change ever will! The following is a brief description of some of the different
belts and hoses we inspect:
The engine itself is used as a power source to drive some of your vehicle's accessories. Instead of being supplied by electric power, these accessories rely on a series of pulleys and belts to operate. Some of these accessories include:
- Power steering pump
- Air conditioning compressor
- Radiator cooling fan
- Water pump
If you think of hoses as your vehicle's circulatory system, then you'll have an appropriate representation of how important they are. Channeling car fluids to their correct destination, hoses are composed of two rubber layers with fabric in between. Types of hoses vary with make and model, but typically they include:
- Fuel hose (sends gasoline from the gas tank to the engine)
- Radiator hose (delivers coolant to engine)
- Power steering hose (connects power steering pump to steering equipment)
- Heater hose (provides coolant to heater core)
Our ASE-certified technicians take professionalism to the next level by offering courteous and knowledgeable service to all of our customers. Continually striving to master every aspect of automotive care, ASE technicians follow Motorist Assurance Program Uniform Inspection Guidelines for your vehicle's braking system to assure safe, smooth driving.
When your mechanic is wearing the ASE patch, don't expect to get to know him—you won't be back for a long time! That's because our ASE technicians do the job right the first time. They inspect the following braking components:
- Disc brake rotors and pads
- Calipers and hardware
- Brake drums and shoes
- Wheel cylinders
- Return springs
- Master cylinder
- Brake fluid and hoses
- Power booster
The brake system in your vehicle is a culmination of over 100 years of technological innovation, transforming crude stopping mechanisms into dependable and efficient pieces of speed variation equipment. While brake systems vary by make and model, the basic system consists of disc brakes in front and either disc or drum brakes in the rear. Connected by a series of tubes and hoses, your brakes are linked to each wheel and the master cylinder by this network, which supplies them with
vital brake fluid (hydraulic fluid).
We'll take a closer look at how this works, but first we'll provide a brief overview of the critical components that make braking possible. We can summarize all of your braking equipment into two categories:
When it comes to your vehicle, think of the master cylinder as a pressure converter. When you press down on the brake pedal (physical pressure), the master cylinder converts this to hydraulic pressure. This pressure is used to propel brake fluid to the wheel brakes.
|Brake Lines and Hoses:
Steel-braided brake lines and high-pressure, shock, and road-resistant brake hoses are the channels which deliver pressurized brake fluid to the braking unit(s) at each wheel.
|Wheel Cylinders and Calipers:
Wheel cylinders consist of cylinders surrounded by two rubber-sealed pistons that connect the piston with the brake shoe. When brake pressure is applied, pistons are forced out, pushing the shoes into the drum. Calipers squeeze brake pads onto the rotor to stop your car. Both components apply pressure to friction materials.
|Disc Brake Pads and Drum Brake Shoes:
A disc brake uses fluid (released by the master cylinder) to force pressure into a caliper, where it presses against a piston. The piston then squeezes two brake pads against the rotor, forcing it to stop. Brake shoes consist of a steel shoe with a steel shoe with friction material bonded to it.
|How It Comes Together:
When you first step on the brake pedal, you are triggering the release of brake fluid into the system of tubes and hoses, which travel to the braking unit at each wheel. This is because you actually push against a plunger in the master cylinder, causing the fluid to be released. Now because brake fluid can't be compressed, it journeys through the network of tubes and hoses in the exact same motion and pressure it initially began with. And when it comes to stopping a 2,000-pound steel assembly at high speed, this consistency is a good thing. But the performance of your brakes can be affected when air is introduced into the fluid; since air can compress, it creates sponginess in the pedal, which disrupts this consistency, and results in bad braking efficiency. The good news is that "bleeder screws" (located at each wheel cylinder) can be removed so that the brake system is "bled" to remove any unwanted air found in your system.
What would happen if you gave an Olympic long-distance runner two different types of athletic shoes to run his next race? Chances are his performance would suffer. The same can be said about your car's driving potential if its alignment isn't correctly positioned. When vehicle alignment is not proportioned correctly, two issues may occur:
- Driving becomes more expensive
- Driving becomes more dangerous
Driving in a vehicle without proper alignment is an expensive enterprise. Not only does flawed alignment decrease gas mileage and tire life, it also adds stress to other vehicle components, including steering equipment and overall structural damage. Ideally, your vehicle's wheels should be perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they meet these criteria is how our service professionals ensure your vehicle is properly aligned.
Driving in a vehicle without proper alignment is a dangerous idea. A car that is out of alignment can pull or drift away from a straight road, resulting in a possibly fatal situation. Excessive tire wear—another result of bad car alignment—can lead to tire blow-outs and poor traction, which also has potentially disastrous consequences. That is why it is imperative you let our alignment experts make sure you're driving smoothly and safely.
So, how does it happen?
Your vehicle's alignment can be impacted by a variety of factors. An obvious indication that you require our computerized alignment service is a major or minor collision that results in physical damage to your vehicle's frame. Steering problems or the presence of uneven wear patterns on your tires are clear signs that demand immediate attention. But alignment problems don't only occur by collisions and accidents; problems can arise by something as small as driving over a pothole, or grazing over a curb. The following descriptions are symptomatic alignment variations you should look for in order to determine if you require our computerized alignment services.
Caster is used to describe the angle of a steering pivot, as seen from the side of the vehicle and measured in degrees. Caster alignment plays a large role in evaluating the "feel" of steering and the stability of high-speed transportation. Three to five degrees of positive caster is typical for most vehicles, and lower angles for heavier vehicles are used to keep steering comfortable. A faulty caster angle will cause loose or difficult steering.
Camber is the angle of the wheel in relation to a vertical direction (seen from the front or rear of the car). A negative camber measurement occurs when a wheel leans toward the chassis; a positive measurement points the wheel away from the car. An ideal camber angle assures optimal tire efficiency, proper steering control, and a precautionary "anti-roll" directive that engineers have adapted into vehicle designs to negate the effects of a body roll. A faulty camber angle will create pulling and tire wear.
Like camber and caster, toe is measured by degrees and is another basic aspect of suspension tuning. When a pair of wheels are placed with their front edges pointed toward each other, the pair is defined as "toe-ins." If the front edges point away from each other, the pair is defined as "toe-outs." Essentially, a toe changes the distance between the front and back of the rear tires, and a faulty toe angle will wear down your tires.
I visited your shop and my alignment is now correct. What can I expect now?
When your wheels are properly aligned, you'll get:
- Tires that last longer
- Easier steering
- Improved gas mileage
- Smoother ride
- Safer, more secure driving
Computerized Engine Analysis
Your modern vehicle's engine is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment. The days of your father's gas-guzzler are long gone—instead, Federal Exhaust Emission and Fuel Economy regulations demand that today's vehicles be equipped with electronic engine control systems to curb carbon emissions and increase fuel efficiency. With technically advanced control systems taking the place of simple engine components, common maintenance services such as tune-ups are also a thing of the past. Regular services (such as spark plug and filter replacements) are still required, as well as a computerized analysis of your vehicle's control computer. Our factory-trained technicians are here to provide these basic services.
Here's How Your Modern Vehicle's Control Computer Operates:
A network of sensors and switches convert and monitor engine operating conditions into electrical signals. The computer receives this information and, based on information and instructions coded within this savvy computer program, commands are sent to three different systems: ignition, fuel, and emission control. Whenever a problem arises (as seen by that nagging "check engine" light), our service pros check whatever command is prompted, in addition to the status of your engine control computer and sensors. That way you'll know if your vehicle's performance is caused by a real problem, or just a sensor/computer issue.
Here's a Brief Overview of Your Vehicle's Sensory Components:
- Mass airflow sensor
- Throttle position sensor
- Manifold absolute pressure sensor
- Coolant temperature sensor
- Exhaust oxygen sensor
- Crankshaft position sensor
- Camshaft position sensor
CV & Drive Axle
The axle on your vehicle is the structural component that connects two wheels together on opposite sites. It's a load-bearing assembly that acts like a central shaft, maintaining the position of the wheels relative to each other and to the vehicle body. The construction of your axle is designed according to what your vehicle is built for; trucks and off-road vehicles are equipped with axles that keep the wheel positions steady under heavy stress (ideal for supporting heavy loads), while conventional axles are constructed for the needs of the general consumer. But no matter what you drive, remember that your vehicle's axle must bear the weight of your vehicle (plus any cargo) and the acceleration forces between you and the ground. So when it comes to axle inspection, we are your source for professional, knowledgeable service—essential for the equipment that carries you and your family to wherever you need to go.
Here is a brief description of the most common axle design:
Simply put, a drive axle is one that is driven by the engine. Typically found in modern front wheel drive vehicles, a drive axle is split between two half axles, with differential and universal joints between them. Each half axle is connected to the wheel by a third joint—the constant velocity (CV) joint—that allows the wheels to move freely. This joint allows the shaft to rotate, transmitting power at a constant speed without a significant increase in friction and heat. CV joints are usually dependable, but, as is the case for all of your vehicle's moving equipment, they do require regular inspection. An easy way for you to tell if you need to see us for axle repair is to go out to a large space (such as a parking lot), and slowly drive in tight circles. If you hear a clicking or cracking noise, you have a worn joint, and it must be repaired immediately.
We will have you back on the road "click-free" in no time!
Your exhaust system is more than a muffler. It is a series of pipes that run under your car, connected to your muffler and catalytic converter. The main functions of your exhaust system are to control noise and to funnel exhaust fumes away from passengers.
In some ways, a car's exhaust system works like a chimney on your house, directing the byproducts from burning fuel away from the people inside. A car's exhaust system routes waste gases from the engine to the rear of the car, where they are discharged into the atmosphere. Exhaust gases contain dangerous substances such as carbon monoxide, which can be hazardous if allowed to flow into the passenger housing of the car.
The exhaust system also converts pollutants into less harmful byproducts, reduces the noise of the engine, and directs exhaust gases so they can be used to heat air and fuel before they go into the engine's cylinders to be burned. Finally, the exhaust system provides just the right amount of backpressure into the engine to improve its fuel-burning efficiency and increase performance. Key components of your exhaust system include:
Designed specifically for each car model to properly route exhaust to the back of the car.
Acts like a funnel, collecting exhaust gases from all cylinders and releasing them through a single opening. Some engines have two.
Designed to reduce the amount of harmful emissions products by transforming pollutants into water vapor and less harmful gases.
Metal container with holes, baffles, and chambers that muffles exhaust noise.
Works with the muffler to reduce noise.
Found at the back of the car, the tail pipe is designed to carry exhaust gases away from the vehicle.
All components of the exhaust system are connected with a series of clamps, hangers, flanges, and gaskets.
Have you ever had a cold or the flu and you've spiked a fever, causing your temperature to rise? It's not fun to feel that way, is it? Being sick and overheated causes a person to be tired, and their performance drops significantly. Now imagine this same situation happening to your vehicle. When your radiator is not working properly, it is like giving your engine a fever. This not only harms performance, but can cause major damage. We know that a leak in your radiator can turn a messy situation into a major repair for your vehicle. Your radiator is one of your vehicle's most vital components. The radiator displaces heat caused by your engine in order to keep the engine cool and running correctly. This is how a radiator works:
|The Coolant Process:
Ethylene glycol, better known as anti-freeze, is the neon green liquid that flows from your engine and then through your radiator to cool it. The liquid is able to cool by passing through tubes inside of the radiator. As the liquid passes through these tubes, the heat from the liquid is displaced by the tubes and small "fins" connecting the tubes of the radiator. The liquid flows through these fins and tubes, and the surrounding air is warmed by the displacement of heat. The liquid's heat is lost by allowing the radiator's assembly to "radiate" the heat caused by the liquid into the air. A fan pushes that hot air away from the radiator. Air heats up fast, so replacing the warm air around the radiator with cool air is extremely important. When the coolant finally exits the tube and fin assembly of the radiator, it has been sufficiently cooled and passes through the engine again.
Why should I fix a leak in my radiator?
The first thing that our team of professionals will tell you is that it is best to keep your engine running cool to allow the engine to run more cleanly and efficiently. This in turn will allow your engine to last as long as possible and keep it safe from abnormal wear and tear. If that leak is not fixed properly as soon as possible, your engine may overheat, causing very costly damage including:
- A blown-out top header
- Destruction of your radiator entirely
- Cracking or blowing out the engine's head gasket
- Total engine seizure
Our friendly and courteous auto care professionals will repair your radiator, when possible, and get you back on the road with confidence. We want to make sure your radiator will keep your engine at the optimal temperature so you can avoid a much more costly visit to our shop. Contact us today to set up an appointment or request a quote for radiator service!
The best way to ensure that you will get the maximum amount of miles out of your car without major breakdowns is to schedule maintenance at 30,000; 60,000; and 90,000 miles. Scheduled maintenance allows us to do a point-by-point vehicle inspection, tune-up (spark plugs, filters, etc.), oil change, and transmission maintenance. Depending on your vehicle and its mileage, we may change belts, re-time the vehicle, and test the battery, among other services. Cost per vehicle can vary depending on inspection. Please call us for more detailed information about our service and pricing.
Shocks and Struts
The primary function of your car's suspension and steering system is to allow the wheels to move independently of the car, while keeping it "suspended" and stable. Any play or uncontrolled motion in these systems results in a deterioration of handling and accelerated tire wear. Vehicle alignment is closely tied to the condition of the suspension and steering systems.
Worn or loose components affect the suspension system's ability to control motion and alignment angles, resulting in a deterioration of vehicle handling and stability, and accelerated tire wear. The main components of the suspension system are:
- Control arms
- Ball joints
- Springs (coil or leaf)
- Shock absorbers
Traveling on an improperly repaired tire is dangerous and can create further damage. An incorrectly repaired tire may fail when driven at a high speed, causing loss of vehicle control.
When considering repairing a punctured tire, you need to evaluate the damage the tire has sustained. Reestablishing an airtight seal of the tire's interliner and completely filling the path of the puncture is necessary to ensure a proper repair.
Any repair attempt without removing the tire from the wheel is not proper procedure. It's important to inspect the inside of the tire for hidden damage that may cause the tire to weaken even more. Punctures in the tread area that look repairable often prove to consist of more damage to a greater area of the tire, including the sidewall from the inside. Without removing the tire, the entire scope of the damage is hard to see.
Proper tire repair is critical, and any leak, puncture, or injury to a tire will affect its performance. If you have any questions regarding the condition of your tires, ask us and we'll be glad to inspect them for you. If you have a damaged, punctured, or leaky tire which can be safely fixed, we can help.
Rotating your tires is an important part of preserving your tire tread and increasing the longevity of your tire. By not rotating your tires, you decrease the life of the tire significantly, as well as decreasing fuel efficiency, increasing drag, and putting yourself at risk of wearing the tire down to wire. If a tire tread gets too bad, it can strongly pull your vehicle in an unintended direction, which might even cause an accident.
Bring your car in so our professionals can take a look. We can do a criss-cross rotation or a side-to-side rotation, depending on your wear and tear. Rotations should be done in similar lengths of time so that tread wears evenly on all tires. We suggest getting your tires rotated every time or every other time you get your oil changed. It's easy because your car is already at the shop and rotations are inexpensive.
Our drivers are friendly and fully certified and have the skills and experience to tow your car, quickly and safely. All of our tow trucks will have the proper tools and equipment to get the job done, quickly and safely. View towing & service hours to see when our drivers are available to you.
4315 Demers Ave
Grand Forks, ND 58201
- Jump Starting
- Towing Service
- Tire Changes
- Lock-Out Service
- Fuel Delivery
- Vehicle Extrication
- Flat-Bed Services
Getting your car tuned up may be the best way to make sure you are increasing the overall life of the vehicle while maximizing its gas mileage and power. Tune-ups should happen at least every 30,000 miles or every two years, depending on the age and mileage of the car. The goal of a tune-up is to make sure that all the "little things" that are often overlooked are working correctly and being replaced if needed. Here is a typical tune-up:
- Replace the fuel filter. Filters get clogged with particles, which can decrease the efficiency and power of the car. If you have a fuel-injected vehicle, filter replacement is not always necessary, unless the injectors are clogged.
- Change the spark plugs and check the plug wires. Loss of mileage, loss of power, and rough starts are often caused by bad plugs or wires. We want to make sure you get new plugs that are spaced correctly, and that we replace any old wires that are in bad shape.
- Replace the distributor cap and rotor. New cars are coming out without these two items, but if you have them, they will get replaced to prevent future breakdowns.
- Check the ignition system and timing. This is for older vehicles that rely on ignition timing.
- Make sure that valves are adjusted if needed, and check/replace gaskets if oil is leaking.
- Belts are an important part of the tune-up. There's nothing worse than having a belt break on you while you are driving down the road. All belts will be checked and replaced if signs of wear are present.
- Check all fluids and top off any levels as needed.
- Change the oil and filter if needed.
- Check and replace the air filter.
- Check and adjust the clutch in cars with manual transmission.
- Service the battery by cleaning cables, adding distilled water, and cleaning the terminals.