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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.

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.

 

Like all belts on your car, the timing belt is subject to wear and tear. It is best to defer to your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals (generally somewhere between 50,000 – 80,000 miles, may vary depending on make and model).

How the timing belt system works:

The timing belt is a toothed belt that keeps your engine synchronized (in time). It ensures that the camshaft and crankshaft are in synch during operation, and that the valves open and close at the right times in relation to piston movement. As such, it is perhaps the single most important maintenance item on your car and should be replaced at the manufacturer’s recommended service interval.

To sum this up in a nutshell, the piston and valves in your engine essentially take up the same space. Obviously, they can’t do this at the same time, or they’d crash into each other and cause serious damage. The timing belt ensures that their movement is timed correctly. When the belt breaks, timing is thrown off. The most common outcome here is bent valves (due to impact with the piston), but it can also cause damage to the cylinder head, or even to the camshaft itself.

Common reasons for this to happen:

  • Failing Water Pump Pulley: The most common cause of squealing or squeaking from the timing belt cover is the water pump pulley. If the bearings in the pulley are beginning to fail, they will make noise. Eventually, they’ll seize and the water pump will no longer operate, causing your engine to overheat.
  • Serpentine or V-Belt Slipping: Another common cause here is noise transference from a slipping serpentine or V-belt. In these instances, the sound is actually coming from the belt slipping on a pulley and it just SOUNDS like it’s coming from behind the timing belt cover.
  • Belt Too Tight: Again, the sound cannot be coming from your timing belt, but if you’ve recently had your serpentine belt or V-belt replaced, it could be adjusted too tight, which will cause squeaking or squealing.

How important is this service?

If you’re hearing a squealing or squeaking sound from behind the timing belt cover, chances are good that it’s the water pump pulley. If this pulley fails, your engine will overheat, causing potentially devastating damage (up to and including a cracked block). The best defense here is to ensure that the water pump is changed when the timing belt is changed, and to always follow the automaker’s service recommendations. One of Sierra Car Care’s professional ASE Certified auto mechanics can listen to and inspect your engine, diagnose the problem and then repair it.

Valentine’s Day can mean more than just chocolates and flowers.

How about a gift that lasts and shows that special someone you really care? This year, instead of your usual Valentine’s Day gift, why not try new brakes or tires – to really say, “I love you”? This year buy something that will help your loved one get where they need to go.

Invest in a gift that lasts

BUY-ONE-GET-ONE-FREE OIL CHANGE (PREMIUM, SYNTHETIC & HIGH MILEAGE)

ALSO INCLUDES: Preventive Maintenance Vehicle Inspection.

Most cars and light trucks. Not valid with any other offer. Limited to all filters in stock. 4×4 / AWD $5 extra. Up to 5 qts. add $3.95 waste disposal fee. Limited time offer. Purchase at any of Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers four locations in Reno. Limited time offer.

Sierra Car Care and Tire Center

We pride ourselves on providing preventive maintenance and auto repair services including oil changes, brake replacement and many other services at affordable prices.

For auto repair and tires give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact us online to get a free quote. Feel free to stop by any one of our four tire and auto repair shops located in Reno, Nevada.

Set up an appointment today: Contact us here.

Zero Fatalities is all about eliminating fatalities on our roadways. Some people may think zero is an impossible goal, but when it comes to your family and friends, what other number would be acceptable? We’re aiming for zero fatalities because everyone matters.

Always Buckle Up

Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective means of saving lives and reducing injuries in crashes (NHTSA, 2014). Not only are you endangering your life, but not wearing your seat belt could lead to traffic fines.

Don’t Drive Impaired

Between 2013 and 2017, 359 people lost their lives and 682 were seriously injured in impaired driving crashes on Nevada roadways. Even what seems like a small buzz can have deadly consequences if you drive. Illegal drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and lack of sleep can also impair your ability to drive safely.

Focus on the Road

Stay alert when you’re operating a vehicle—especially in less-than-ideal conditions—and don’t drive when you’re not able to give your full attention.

Stop on Red

Intersections are shared by a variety of users including pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, and vehicles. To stay safe at this potential point of conflict, know the laws and know when they apply to you.

Be Pedestrian Safe

Drivers need to watch for pedestrians and yield to them when pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk. Pedestrians also need to pay attention to vehicles on the roadway and obey rules for walking on and crossing streets.

Ride Safe

Motorcycles are a part of the great American tradition. However, there are certain risks that come with riding a motorcycle. That’s why it’s so important to ride safe and take the necessary precautions when you’re riding on Nevada’s roads.

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers stand behind the Zero Fatalities goal on Nevada roads. We are happy to do our part in keeping your vehicle running great in order to minimize problems on the road.

Fall Car Care Month in October is a great time to give your car some extra attention before harsh winter weather sets in. Taking some time for auto care preventive maintenance now can help you avoid the headaches of costly repairs later.

Recommended Preventive Maintenance Check:

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  3. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  4. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  6. Check the engine to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and producing the lowest level of emissions.
  7. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety reasons, such as defrosting.
  8. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually, including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  9. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  10. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

For more information please visit any one of our Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers locations around the Reno area.

Not long ago, to keep a car running beyond the 200,000-mile mark would have seemed about as likely as driving it to the moon. But big improvements in powertrain technology, rust prevention, lubricants, and more have led to game changing improvements in reliability and durability. Now, almost any car can make it well into six-figure territory with proper care.

That is good news for drivers, who are keeping their cars longer than ever before; the average age of all cars on the road is more than 11 years, up from about eight years in 1995, according to Polk research. Still, motorists might not realize the long-term financial benefits of keeping a car for 200,000 miles.

Buy a Safe, Reliable Model

You can coax any vehicle to 200,000 miles with enough patience and cash, but that doesn’t make doing so a good idea. The best way to minimize visits to the shop is to start with a model that has a reliable track record. And you don’t have to look far for a source; Consumer Reports compiles comprehensive reliability information.

In addition to choosing a reliable model, make sure to pick a car you’ll want to keep for a long time. Don’t compromise on the features you want or buy less or more vehicle than you think you’ll need. If this is going to be a long relationship, it may as well be a happy one. So choose a vehicle that will fit your lifestyle and that you’ll enjoy driving.

If you’re buying a used car, be on the lookout for signs of neglect or abuse. Check the car for dents, rust, and mismatched body panels. Look for paint overspray, which is often a sign of repair work. Make sure all interior components are in good condition. A mildew smell, discolored carpeting, and silt in the trunk are indicators of water damage. All components under the hood should be free of corrosion and grease. Check the fluids and watch out for damp areas in the engine compartment and under the vehicle, which might point to leaks.

When you’ve found a vehicle you’re interested in, take it to an independent mechanic for a diagnostic inspection, which costs about $100 to $150. A mechanic can help you spot signs of wear or abuse that you might not see.

Stick to the Schedule

Follow the maintenance schedule in your car’s owner’s manual. It spells out when to take care of every service for the life of your car, including routine oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and more major service such as timing-belt replacement. Even missing one oil change can contribute to premature engine wear or cause damage, and reduce the chances of your car remaining reliable for long.

If you’ve neglected following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, it’s not too late to get with the program. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle and take care of any apparent problems, no matter how minor. Then introduce yourself to your owner’s manual and start fresh. Even if your vehicle doesn’t make it to 200,000 miles, it will definitely last longer with proper ongoing care.

Following the maintenance schedule has gotten easier over the years because longer-lasting components and fluids have increased service intervals. Today, it’s common to go 10,000 miles between oil changes, and some spark plugs don’t need replacement for 100,000 miles.

Many new models from a wide variety of carmakers make it even easier to stay on top of maintenance, with sensors that take into account your mileage and driving habits to determine the optimum time for maintenance. They monitor the miles driven since the last service and record data such as how much stop-and-go driving is done, the engine temperature during each trip, and the time the engine spends operating at higher speeds. The system then calculates how quickly your oil is breaking down and alerts you when service is due, and can even adjust a car’s complete service interval to compensate for the severity of use.

The End of the Road

No matter how well you choose and care for a car, someday it will be time to move on because it’s costing too much or is no longer safe. Still, saying goodbye can be a tough decision, especially if you’re attached to your car. Here are signs that it’s probably time to find another vehicle:

  • It needs a big repair that will cost more to fix than the car is worth.
  • Rust is compromising the structural integrity.
  • It remains unreliable even with frequent repairs.
  • It has been in a flood or a serious accident.

Be careful not to over-maintain your car, that waste’s money. If you think your vehicle needs a maintenance inspection, see any of our Sierra Car Care Locations around the Reno area for fast, friendly service.

Pumping Air

Your vehicle’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) continuously monitors the air pressure in your tires.

When there is an instance of low tire pressure, or if the tire pressure drops below the manufacturer’s recommended level of tire pressure, the TPMS will detect and report the discrepancy by illuminating an indicator light on the dashboard of your vehicle.

When the TPMS light flashes on the dashboard, you should check your tire pressure, inflate the affected tire to the level indicated by the manufacturer, or bring your vehicle into one of our three locations so that the issue can be remedied by our expert staff.

During a TPMS maintenance service, our service staff will run a series of tests to ensure that the system is operating both correctly and at maximum efficiency.

If our technicians uncover damage to the system or its accompanying components, they may need to replace valve cores, valve nuts, seals, seal washers, or valve caps.

If you are in need of TPMS repairs, maintenance, or replacement services, or if you are in need of a TPMS installation service, then contact us today.

What is the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)?

Tires operating below inflation standards put the overall performance of your vehicle and the safety of your passengers at risk. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System helps increase your safety on the road by improving your vehicle’s maneuverability, decreasing the tread wear of your tires, reducing your vehicle’s braking distance, and improving your vehicle’s fuel economy.

There are two types of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems in existence today—Direct and Indirect. A Direct Tire Pressure Monitoring System uses sensors on the inside tire assembly to transmit tire pressure information to your vehicle’s computer.

An Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System gauges tire pressure through your vehicle’s Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) by using speed sensors to measure the rotational speed of each wheel (as tire pressure decreases, the rolling distance decreases, and the rotational speed increases).

All TPMS systems require regular maintenance in order to meet maximum performance standards, which requires all vehicles to be equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact us online if you have questions regarding your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) or any other auto repair services.

The electrical and electronic systems in your vehicle are responsible for routing power and information in order to dictate the behavior of certain systems. The electrical systems are linked by wiring, fuses, circuit breakers, and relays.

Loose or broken wiring, poor pin fits, and broken connectors or switches may lead to intermittent power or a completely inoperative system.

When you begin experiencing trouble with your electrical and electronic systems, ask yourself these questions: How often does this problem occur, and how long does this problem persist?

The more information you are able to provide to our staff during an electrical and electronic systems service, the quicker we will be able to recreate the same conditions, and ultimately hone in on the exact problem.

The Importance of the Electrical and Electronic Systems

If your vehicle experiences an electrical or electronic systems failure, it is beneficial to have the problem repaired quickly. A vehicle with electrical problems may not start, or it may become inoperative.

At Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers our experts are able to diagnose and repair problems during an electrical and electronic systems service. We can locate shorts, grounds, open, and resistance problems in electrical and electronic circuits, and we can repair wiring harnesses and connectors along with electrical wiring and solder repair. Our staff is also able to diagnose the cause of uneven headlight brightness, intermittent lights, dim lights, and inoperative lights.

In addition, we can service headlights and bulbs as well as correct intermittent turning signal and hazard light operation. Motor-driven accessory circuits, heated glass operation, and electric lock operation are all concerns for our staff as we begin to diagnose the electrical and electronic issue. In the end, our staff will work hard to get you driving a safe and functional vehicle again.

Schedule your Electrical and Electronic Systems Repair

Sierra Car Care and Tire Centers proudly serves the Electrical or Electronic Systems needs of customers in Reno, NV, Verdi, NV, Carson City, NV, and surrounding areas. Please click any of the following links to setup an online appointment for your vehicle or you can contact us at a store near you to make an appointment with one of our ASE Certified Technicians.

Dashboard Warning Diagnostic

Headlight Bulb Replacement

Interior & Exterior Lighting Repair

Power Locks Repair

Power Window Repair

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