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Function

Catalytic converters remove harmful elements from automotive exhaust by forcing the fumes to pass over metallic catalysts, including platinum, rhodium and palladium, which neutralize the toxins and transform them into relatively safe components. The entire casing of the converter is constructed of stainless steel. All of these expensive metals make a catalytic converter a costly piece of equipment.

Cars with Dual Exhaust

While most production cars have only one catalytic converter, some do come with two. Cars with dual exhaust often have two catalytic converters — one for each set of pipes running from the headers to the rear of the vehicle.

Cars with Two In-Line Catalytic Converters

Newer high-end vehicles are now coming equipped with two catalytic converters as part of an even more stringent emissions program. The first converter breaks down the exhaust as normal, while the second acts both as a filter for tiny particles and a pump which releases a chemical mixture that further reduces any harmful gases which may have escaped the first converter.

What Are Potential Issues With a Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic converters often last for 10 years or more, but they can become contaminated, clogged, overheated or physically damaged — leading to sluggish engine performance and, eventually, engine shutdown.

One potential contaminant is leaded gas, which can destroy the catalysts, although it is rarely found in the U.S. Others contaminants include engine coolant, which can leak into the combustion system because of a faulty cylinder head gasket, and engine oil. Those fluids can clog a catalytic converter so that exhaust gases are restricted from passing through. Car engines are like athletes in that they require lots of oxygen. If the exhaust flow is restricted, it means less air can get into the engine and performance suffers. If the engine responds sluggishly or quits after running for a while, a clogged converter could be to blame.

Catalytic converters can overheat because of excessive amounts of unburned gas caused by a misfiring spark plug or a leaky exhaust valve. In addition, a failed oxygen sensor can cause overheating.

On many vehicles, the “cat” is located under the vehicle, and like other parts of the exhaust system, it can also be damaged by road debris or by running over a curb.

Catalytic Converter Maintenance

Among the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter are:

  • Sluggish engine performance
  • Reduced acceleration
  • Dark exhaust smoke
  • The smell of sulfur or rotten eggs from the exhaust
  • Excessive heat under the vehicle

Some of those symptoms can also be caused by other parts of the emissions system, so it’s important for a mechanic to diagnose when it’s time to replace your catalytic converter.

Following your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule can help delay this moment as long as possible — often 10 years or more. Keeping your exhaust, emissions and combustion systems in good shape will minimize the risk of your catalytic converter failing before its time.

Stop by Sierra Car Care today for your catalytic converter and exhaust system repair needs.

When compared to other components in your car, belts and hoses have one of the shortest life spans. These items are constantly exposed to engine heat, vehicle vibrations, and harmful chemicals, which all have the potential to cause cracks and leaks.

Some symptoms to be aware of for belts and hoses nearing failure include squeaking, screeching, or grinding noises that begin when starting your engine or appear during vehicle operation. It’s worth noting that grinding sounds near belts are usually associated with a bad pulley bearing rather than the belt itself, as the pulley bearing may freeze up and ultimately lead to a belt replacement.

Other symptoms of a bad belt or hose include loss of power, leaking coolant or other fluids, illuminated dashboard lights, rising steam from the engine, and air conditioning failure. While routine maintenance of belts and hoses is always important, summertime is an especially important season to keep an eye under the hood due to increased temperatures, which will accelerate deterioration of the rubber components.

Belts Subject to Regular Maintenance

  • Heater Hose Replacement
  • Radiator Hose Replacement
  • Serpentine Belt Replacement
  • Timing Belt Replacement

Since belts and hoses can be difficult to inspect visually, be sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for scheduled maintenance.

Give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact Sierra Car Care and Tire Center if you have questions regarding belts and hoses or any other auto repair Reno, NV services.

A bad battery cable can make you think that your vehicle has serious problems. A faulty cable can make it difficult for you to start your vehicle, cause your car to run poorly or stall in the middle of a long trip. A battery cable can break or become corroded,or the terminal end can go bad. You should not attempt to repair a broken or corroded battery cable, although you can repair the terminal end of the cable. It’s relatively easy to replace the cable or repair the terminal end.

Due to the operational nature of automotive batteries, battery cables are often prone to corrosion build up both internally and on the terminals. When corrosion builds up on the terminals or inside the wire, the resistance of the cable is increased, and conduction efficiency is reduced.

As cables are usually relatively inexpensive, it is always recommended to replace them once they have become too corroded or worn out. Usually, a battery cable will last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. The battery cables that are on your car are used quite frequently. Due to this amount of use, it is easy for them to wear.

Schedule an Appointment

It is important to schedule preventive maintenance for these and other components to ensure they continue to work as intended. Remember that environmental conditions may affect your ideal preventive maintenance schedule. Depending upon your environment, you may need to seek more frequent inspections and replacements.

Contact us today to learn more about recommended car maintenance service intervals for your vehicle.

The serpentine belt is one long, snaking, winding belt that keeps your alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning and, in some cases, your water pump running smoothly and effectively. Without this belt, the battery will not get charged and none of the electrical accessory components in the car will work.

Typically comprised of rubber and guided by hydraulic (or spring-loaded) belt tensioners or idler pulleys, serpentine belts connect your alternator, water pump, power steering system AND air conditioning unit to your crankshaft and transfer power from your engine to these vital components.

Since these belts perform such an important task, having them inspected and changed out regularly is extremely important to your vehicle’s health. If they wear out and snap from constantly being exposed to the intense heat produced by your engine, your engine can shut down completely and cost you a lot of money in repairs to the various systems supported by serpentine belts.

Signs your serpentine belt needs to be replaced include loss of power, noticeable vibrations, audible squealing and steering difficulties. Loud Drive Belt– If there is a noisy squealing coming from the serpentine belt then it is important that you have your vehicle inspected immediately. If the issue is being caused by leaking or spilled motor oil though, it can mean a complete replacement is needed for the belts and it will need to be replaced immediately before any more damages can be caused.

If you notice any of these warning signs or think it’s time for your serpentine belt to be replaced, be sure to schedule an appointment at Sierra Car Care and Tire Center by clicking HERE or by giving us a call at (775) 525-2420!

Our friendly, ASE-certified technicians can help you set up a proactive preventative maintenance plan for your vehicle that will include serpentine belts as well as several other components you may not be aware of but perform important tasks for your engine.

Our brand may have changed, but we are still operated by the same great management. Thank you for your trust.

 

We are a full service auto repair company. Our ASE Certified mechanics specialize in repair of all makes and models of vehicles. Enjoy competitive tire prices and gas pumps that are open 24/7 at three convenient locations in Reno.

 

When winter is near, many motorists begin winterizing their vehicles to prepare them for the cold, ice, and snow.

Winterization involves checking and changing many different components. Coolant should be changed to help ensure that liquids do not freeze and prevent the engine from starting. Likewise, the starting and charging system should be checked.

It is important to keep in mind that an old battery is especially prone to failure in winter, because cold weather can slow the chemical reaction required to generate electricity.

Other items that may be checked include the windshield wiper blades. During winter, increased precipitation can hinder visibility. As such, it is good to have working blades.

Under winter driving conditions, balding or worn out tires can be especially dangerous. Many motorists switch their regular tires to all weather or snow tires, which tend to handle winter conditions better than regular tires. Ultimately, during the winterization checkup maintenance, our service staff will make sure that your vehicle is equipped to handle the tough winter conditions.

Schedule a Winterization Service at any one of our Sierra Car Care and Tire Center locations in the Reno area.

ASE, is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Since 1972 our independent non-profit organization has worked to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.

 

 

ASE promotes excellence in vehicle repair, service and parts distribution. Almost 300,000 Automotive Technicians and Service Professionals hold ASE Certifications. ASE Certified Professionals work in every part of the automotive service industry. ASE certifies automotive technicians and service professionals, not the auto shops.

Why Does ASE Exist?

To protect the automotive service consumer, shop owner, and the automotive technician. We test and certify automotive professionals so that shop owners and service customers can better gauge a technicians level of expertise before contracting the technician’s services. We certify the automotive technician professional so they can offer tangible proof of their technical knowledge. ASE Certification testing means peace of mind for auto service managers, customers.

How Does ASE Certification Work?

In addition to passing an ASE Certification test, automotive technicians must have two years of on the job training or one year of on the job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair to qualify for certification.

The tests are challenging. Only two out of every three test-takers pass on their first attempt. To remain ASE certified, professionals must retest every five years to keep up with ever-advancing automotive technology.

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers Promote ASE Certified Technicians

Please bring your vehicle into any one of our three locations of Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers in the Reno area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians will get you back on the road, fast.

 

Bushings are cushions made of rubber, polyurethane (often shortened to “poly” or “urethane”) or other materials. They’re mounted on car suspension and steering joints to absorb road bumps, control the amount of movement in the joints and reduce noise and vibration. Bushings often take the form of fat, rubbery washers through which suspension components — or the bolts that attach them — pass.

When bushings wear, they allow more movement. The driver may feel a shimmy from the front of the vehicle, or hear clunking or rattling noises on rough roads, when turning the wheel or in hard braking. Drivers may also experience poor handling or loose steering. Failure of rear suspension bushings may be harder to detect as they don’t involve the steering system and may be less affected by cornering.

Bushings are used for control arms, stabilizer bars (also called sway bars), ball joints, tie rods, shock absorber and strut mounts, and other suspension and steering parts, as well as in engine and transmission mounts. They wear and crack from friction, age, heat, exposure to road salt and lubricants, and the stress of frequent movement and weight loads.

Like the cartilage that protects knees and elbows, when bushings wear, it puts more stress on the joints and connected parts. Like bone-on-bone contact, worn bushings can allow metal-on-metal contact. Worn control-arm bushings can allow the vehicle’s front end to slip out of alignment and cause premature tire wear.

What feels or sounds like worn shocks or ball joints, or another suspension problem, may not be the fault of the part itself but the bushing that cushions joints and mounting points. A thorough suspension bushing inspection should reveal which is the culprit. For example, a loose stabilizer bar will allow more body lean (and perhaps noise) in turns, but if the bar isn’t bent or broken, maybe only the bushings need replacement.

On the other hand, repair shops may recommend replacing the part and not just the bushings, because if the are worn, it may indicate the part itself is old and may not last much longer. In addition, many bushings are pressed into a metal sleeve and difficult to remove, which increases labor time and costs. On some cars, control-arm bushings cannot be replaced separately, so the mechanic may have to replace the control arm itself.

A bushing is one classification of the overall category of bearings. A bushing is a thin tube or sleeve that allows relative motion by sliding (our type), as compared to rolling. A bushing might also be called a sleeve bearing. However, the term sleeve bushing would be redundant. Thus, a bushing is a bearing, but a bearing is not necessarily a bushing type.

A bearing is the general term for something that allows relative motion between two components, surfaces, etc.

Because of the amount of labor associated with installing new bushings on some vehicles, the overall cost can be high relative to the bushings themselves. New bushings, though, can markedly improve the ride and handling of a vehicle that’s been in use for several years.

If you feel like your suspension system needs repair, please bring your vehicle into any one of our three locations of Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers in the Reno area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians will take care of you.

When should I change lanes?

Crashes

Fender bender? Move to the shoulder. If there is damage only to a vehicle or other property (no injuries), your vehicle is obstructing traffic and the vehicle can be moved safely, move the vehicle to a location that does not obstruct traffic and then return to the scene.

Emergency Vehicles & Traffic Incidents

Move Over Graphic

Drivers in Nevada have certain duties when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle making use of flashing lights or any type of incident that disrupts traffic, including stalled vehicles.

In the absence of direction by a peace officer, the driver of a vehicle approaching a stopped emergency vehicle or traffic incident must:

  • Decrease the vehicle speed to a speed that is reasonable and proper and less than the posted speed limit.
  • Proceed with caution.
  • Be prepared to stop; and
  • If possible, drive in a lane that is not adjacent to the lane in which the emergency vehicle is stopped unless the roadway, traffic, weather or other conditions make doing so unsafe or impossible.

These apply to all types of emergency vehicles including tow trucks, vehicles from the Nevada Department of Transportation displaying flashing amber lights, stalled vehicles and vehicles under repair.

Slow-Moving Vehicles on Highways

Drivers on controlled-access highways must not drive in the far left lane if being overtaken by a faster vehicle. This law does not apply within the geographical limits or a city or town.

Mopeds  New!

Moped operators have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. However, moped operators have additional responsibilities based on the limitations of their vehicle. Moped operators must remain in the extreme right-hand lane of any road unless:

  • There is a single lane of traffic
  • Preparing to make a left turn (turn must be made within one-quarter mile from entering lane)
  • When driving in the extreme right-hand lane would not be safe; or
  • As directed by a police officer

Bicycles

3 Feet for BikesMotorists passing a bicycle must move into an adjacent lane to the left, if possible. If not, the motorist must pass with at least three feet of space between the vehicle and the bicycle.

For more information please visit : NV Traffic Laws

Regular preventive maintenance is probably the single best thing you can do as a car owner to keep your ride happy and save money on repairs in the future.

Anyone who’s ever worked on cars or spent a ton of money getting their car repaired will tell you: Don’t ignore preventive maintenance! When you refer to your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual, you have everything you need to troubleshoot simple repairs, now and in the future.

The basics, like; changing your oil, checking your tire pressure, and getting scheduled inspections are crucial to extend the life of your vehicle. At Sierra Car Care and Tire Center, our technicians encourage all drivers to take preventive maintenance seriously to extend the life of your vehicle.

Preventive Maintenance Pointers

  • Learn to check your fluids. Even if you don’t ever learn how to change your antifreeze, power steering, coolant, or even your wiper fluid, you should learn how to check those fluid levels for your own safety. In some cases, you can see the tank level directly, but most have gauges or dipsticks you can pull out to check current levels against a notch that indicates optimal levels. Even if your owner’s manual doesn’t have much to say about checking your transmission fluid or antifreeze, don’t be afraid to open the hood and see if you can find it. If you’re running low, add more or get it changed. Most importantly, never ignore a leak.
  • Check and change your oil regularly
  • Get your tires rotated and balanced
  • Replace your cabin and engine air filter
  • Replace your windshield wipers when your view becomes impaired
  • Check your battery and clean the contacts if they start having build-up
  • Inspect and replace your spark plugs and wires regularly, according to your Owner’s Manual

These are just a few things that every vehicle needs, and almost all of them are things you can do yourself. We can’t stress enough the importance of checking your owner’s manual for anything we may have overlooked here, or anything specific to your vehicle. If you don’t have your manual, you can find it pretty easily online. Check with your manufacturer first—they may even have a PDF copy on their website. Here is a resource to find your Owner’s Manaual, Edmunds has a list of online manuals here organized by manufacturer (US only).

If you have questions or think you would rather have an expert ASE Certified Technician take a look under your hood, feel free to stop by any of our Sierra Car Care Reno locations.

FREE BRAKE FLUID FLUSH With Any Complete Brake Service

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