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Oxygen (O2) sensors play a vital role in maintaining peak engine performance. If you think your oxygen sensor is malfunctioning, there are a few factors to consider. Continuing to drive while your O2 sensor is not performing correctly can cause a 15% decrease in mileage. That can really add to your cost at the gas pump!

Earth Day 2015

What is the function of the O2 Sensor?
The O2 sensor is mounted in the exhaust manifold to monitor how much unburned oxygen is in the exhaust, as the exhaust exits the engine. Monitoring oxygen levels in the exhaust is a way of gauging the fuel mixture. It tells the computer if the fuel mixture is burning rich (less oxygen) or lean (more oxygen).

How long does an O2 Sensor typically last?
An oxygen sensor can last anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles depending on type and vehicle. When the O2 Sensor malfunctions your “Service Engine Soon” light will come on and a diagnostic trouble code(s) will be stored.

There may be multiple codes stored for a sensor. A fuel delivery malfunction can be the reason for an oxygen sensor to fail. A fuel injector malfunction could be the root cause for the sensor failure. Just replacing the sensor may not be a long-term solution.

Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center can help!
Bring your vehicle by any of our 4 Full Service vehicle repair and tire stations around the Reno area. One of our technicians can check your engine codes to see if there are any issues and provide solutions to get you back on the road quick.

Don’t try smog your vehicle with a malfunctioning O2 Sensor
A malfunctioning O2 sensor will not pass a smog test.

Also, if your vehicle runs from a main computer and you have just replaced your O2 sensor, your computer codes have been reset. This means that now you need to drive 50 – 75 miles without turning your vehicle off, before your computer will log any new data. After the new data has been logged, then you should proceed with a smog check.

If you go to a smog check station, typically you will be charged a fee (sometimes smaller fee than a regular smog check fee) even if your vehicle does not pass the smog test.

So, save yourself the hassle and get your vehicle looked at if you suspect your O2 sensor is not functioning properly. Visit SierraCarCare.com for locations and more information.

Government Fleet- Police Car
The City and County of San Francisco is considering increasing its use of telematics devices in its fleet as a way to improve management and safety of the nearly 8,000 vehicles and heavy equipment.Under the proposal, the city would expand telematics use to 3,108 vehicles from the current 2,332 in the near term. Expanding telematics to the remaining 4,733 vehicles and equipment assets would costs about $1.3 million in in one-time equipment costs and $1.8 million for annual service, training, and support costs.“Vehicle telematics has the potential to improve safety, reduce operating costs, reduce vehicle emissions, and identify potential fraud and waste,” according to a report by the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office. The Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee discussed the report on April 9.“One of the simplest benefits of vehicle telematics is that driver behavior can be improved by simply knowing the system is in place and that their vehicle use is being monitored, which can encourage more driver attention to safer and more efficient driving practices,” according to the report.

The report advocates installing telematics devices on police, fire, and other emergency management vehicles for the first time.

Adopting telematics could save the city a significant amount of money that’s now being paid in settlements and judgments as a result of claims and litigation relating to its vehicles. In the past five years, the city has paid $76.9 million to resolve these claims.

A fleet-wide telematics system would also improve vehicle efficiency by reducing idling time using driver scorecards and using wireless vehicle maintenance alerts to optimize utilization.

The city now maintains a contract with USA Fleet Solutions that includes roadside assistance such as 25 miles of towing, fuel delivery, tire changes, and lost or stolen vehicle recovery. Not all telematics vendors offer these services, according to the report.

Telematics systems are spread across 13 departments. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is the largest participating department with 930 vehicles of the 3,108.

Segments of the city’s fleet also use other fleet safety and location-based technology. The city’s buses use GPS and cellular radio signals to estimate arrival times, and the bus and trolley system use the DriveCam system that records video of fast acceleration or hard braking.

Read the full report here.

Article Source: Government Fleet Top News

Pumping Air

The changing seasons and elevation will affect your tire pressure. But, if you suspect a slow air leak in your tire you should come into any of Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers 4 Full Service Vehicle Repair and Tire Stations to have your tire inspected. You may have debris, like, a nail in your tire, that should be repaired before causing further damage.

Air filled tires
If your tires are filled with air, then your tire pressure deflating is a seasonal event. Seasonal changes and altitude changes create a rise or drop in air pressure (for every 10 degrees change in temperature, tire air pressure changes 1 psi).

The concept is known as the ideal gas law.  PV equals nRT.  The “P” is pressure.  The “T” is temperature.  If the “V” (volume) the “n” (amount of gas, in “moles”) and the “R” (the “ideal gas constant,” which is sort of like pi) remain the same, a drop in temperature necessarily results in a drop in pressure.

The Benefits of Correct Air Pressure
Experts agree that keeping the correct air pressure in your tires is as important for your vehicle as an engine tune-up. In fact, the economic benefits may be greater as well. With the right amount of air pressure, your tires will:

  • Wear Longer
  • Save Fuel
  • Enhance Handling
  • Prevent Accidents

Failure to maintain the correct air pressure can result in poor gas mileage, reduce tire life, affect vehicle handling, and cause vehicle overloading. If you consider these factors, a routine tire pressure check would benefit the life of your tires and wheel components.

What are the benefits of Nitrogen filled tires?
Nitrogen is a beneficial alternative to air in tires. Rubber expands when heated, allowing tiny air molecules to escape, which may eventually lead to low tire pressure. Oxygen oxidizes when it reacts with other gases, like hydrogen. This means if hydrogen sneaks into your air-filled tire, water will form, and even the smallest droplets of water can lead to wheel corrosion and rust.

Nitrogen is a gas that does not support moisture, which means your wheels may experience less corrosion if you choose to fill your tires with nitrogen.

Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers 4 Full Service locations in the Reno area can offer nitrogen for you tires > Nitrogen Tire Inflation.

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At Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center we take preventive car care maintenance seriously. Preventive maintenance repair is based upon your vehicle manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule to ensure your vehicle runs efficiently and lasts longer. Your technician will run down the check list from the owners manual and make suggestions according to what is recommended for your vehicle at the current interval of mileage.

Why are Routine Maintenance Services Important?
Vehicle components and parts naturally wear out over time, and road hazards can negatively impact critical components. By adhering to the preventive maintenance schedule in your vehicle owner’s manual, you will help ensure that your vehicle always runs at optimal conditions.

Highly Recommended Mileage Service Intervals for Most Effective Preventive Maintenance. Click for more information.

There are additional mileage services recommended for most vehicles, the above mentioned are just a few of the major mileage service recommendations from our technicians. If you are currently experiencing a problem, you may want to check your mileage to determine whether you should schedule a service or not.

Depending on whether you purchased your vehicle new or used, may determine whether you have a warranty. If you do have a warranty, it may be contingent upon performing regular services for your vehicle. Depending on your vehicle’s manufacturer, avoiding preventive maintenance on certain parts and components has the potential to void warranty coverage.

During a scheduled maintenance service at the above mentioned mileage intervals, our staff may inspect the function of the following items and more to help ensure that your vehicle functions efficiently.

  • Steering System
  • Suspension Components
  • Transmission
  • Exhaust System
  • Check Battery
  • Fluids
  • Filters
  • Belts
  • Hoses
  • Brakes
  • Ball Joints
  • Axles

We are also able to review exterior and interior lights, examine windshield wiper blades, inspect hinges and locks, and conduct both tire wear inspection and inflation checks. 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 on your environment and driving behavior (frequent stop & go or rough roads may impact wear and tear on your vehicle), you may need to seek more frequent inspections and replacements. Contact us today or call 1-775-525-2420 to learn more about recommended maintenance service intervals for your vehicle.

Our technicians promote preventive repair because they believe that by keeping up with your vehicle manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule it will help your vehicle run smoother for longer.

Mechanic with a wrenchSierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers are some of the leading auto repair shops in town. All automotive repair and mechanic services are performed by highly qualified mechanics. Our mechanic shops work on numerous vehicles daily with the best vehicle repair equipment, and are capable of servicing a variety of makes and models. Whether you drive a passenger car, medium-size truck, mini-van, or SUV, our ASE Certified mechanics strive to ensure that your vehicle will be performing its best. Our superior standards show that our mechanics always have your best interests in mind. Plus, we offer the industry’s best warranty coverage.

Looking for a one-stop automotive repair shop? Than look no further, and allow our highly qualified mechanics to estimate the extent of auto repair you may be looking at. To set up an appointment now, call 1-775-525-2420 or contact us online.

Our number one goal has always been complete customer satisfaction. Our vehicle repair shop has a long-standing reputation for quality repairs. Whether you need routine auto maintenance services or emergency vehicle repairs, contact us online or visit us during business hours.

Areas Served : Carson City NV | Reno NV | Sparks NV | and surrounding areas

Auto Repair Services

The steering and suspension system on your vehicle is responsible for maintaining comfortable riding conditions and driving performance. It also helps drivers remain in control of their vehicles at all times.

When the power steering fails, the wheels of the car become extremely difficult to turn. The wheels will turn, but the force required to make this happen can be unpredictable, creating an unsafe scenario. If power steering failure occurs while a car is in motion, an accident may result.

How Does the Power Steering System Work?
In a power steering system, movements made on the steering wheel cause fluid pressure inside the hydraulic pump to move to one side or the other of the pump. This pressure causes a piston to move, and that piston directs the gears to steer the car. The device that senses the force on the steering wheel is called the rotary valve.

The key to the rotary valve is a torsion bar. The torsion bar is a thin rod of metal that twists when torque is applied to it (torque is a force that tends to rotate or turn things). The top of the bar is connected to the steering wheel, and the bottom of the bar is connected to the pinion or worm gear (which turns the wheels), so the amount of torque in the torsion bar is equal to the amount of torque the driver is using to turn the wheels. The more torque the driver uses to turn the wheels, the more the bar twists.

The torsion bar also turns the output of the steering gear, connecting to either the pinion gear or the worm gear depending on which type of steering the car has. As the bar twists, it rotates the inside of the spool valve relative to the outside. Since the inner part of the spool valve is also connected to the steering shaft (and therefore to the steering wheel), the amount of rotation between the inner and outer parts of the spool valve depends on how much torque the driver applies to the steering wheel.

Components of your Power Steering System Include:

  • Power Steering Pump
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Rack and Pinion
  • Steering Gear
  • Belt
  • Rotary Valve
  • Torsion Bar

How Does the Suspension System Work?
The suspension system converts forward energy created by bumps in the road into vertical energy that travels up into the vehicle frame. Suspension system components, like coil springs and shock absorbers, help to dampen the impact of this road force. While the individual components comprising each suspension system may vary, all suspension system components will weaken over time through stress applied during normal driving conditions. Similarly, off-road driving and erratic driving can wear down suspension components more quickly.

Signs of Power Steering Failure
Knowing the signs of power steering failure can help drivers fix problems preemptively, thereby preventing accidents and potential problems on the road.

  • Steering wheel feels stiff, jerky, or unpredictable in movements
  • Whining or squeeling noise while turning
  • Steering wheel vibrates excessively while idling

Regardless of your driving preferences, Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center have the necessary equipment to identify and correct any issue plaguing your steering and suspension system. Our staff is trained to inspect the steering and suspension components in order to determine whether your service will entail a minor adjustment or a replacement.

Shaky, unsteady, off-center, and stiff steering are all cause for getting a steering system inspected and repaired. Excessive bouncing or swaying during bumps and intermittent control while driving and braking are cause for a suspension system inspection. Uneven tire wear is also a potential sign of a suspension problem, though this may also point to alignment issues

Have you Hit a Pothole Recently?
Potholes can also damage steering and suspension components if you’re not careful. Worn suspension components will reduce the stability of the vehicle and the control of the driver. Because suspension system components combine into one working unit, suspension issues that go untreated have the potential to increase the wear on other suspension components, which may result in more extensive repairs down the road.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please contact us online or by phone today. Give Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers a call at 1-775-525-2420 to schedule your Steering and Suspension Inspection.

 

Just in the past 50 years the automotive industry has revolutionized the way vehicles are designed and manufactured, including more technology than ever before. These technological additions put extra strain on the standard vehicle battery, because the battery itself was not designed to withstand this amount of continual load on top of generating the power needed to run smoothly. The amount of integrated technology may even reduce the life of the “standard” battery altogether. In conclusion, battery innovation is a necessary milestone as we add even more gadgets to the vehicles themselves.

A significantly improved battery would also change the face of the electric vehicle (EV) market. The battery is the one current drawback for most consumers when considering an EV. In addition to a better battery life, it also has a weight advantage that would be more than suitable for the EV market currently holding a battery that is very heavy. So together, an EV would not only weigh less and perform better, but it would cost less, too.

And the solution is coming to Nevada.

tesla-gigafactory-nevada

Construction on Tesla’s lithium-ion battery factory has started East of Reno.

“This is great news for Nevada. Tesla will build the world’s largest and most advanced battery factory in Nevada which means nearly one hundred billion dollars in economic impact to the Silver State over the next twenty years. I am grateful that Elon Musk and Tesla saw the promise in Nevada. These 21st century pioneers, fueled with innovation and desire, are emboldened by the promise of Nevada to change the world. Nevada is ready to lead,” stated Governor Brian Sandoval.

The company is expanding its manufacturing footprint into other areas, including in Tilburg, the Netherlands, where it has an assembly facility, and Lathrop, California, where it has a specialized production plant. To reduce the costs of lithium ion battery packs, Tesla and key strategic partners including Panasonic have begun construction of a gigafactory in Nevada that will facilitate the production of a mass-market affordable vehicle, Model 3.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said his company will start producing the car, priced at about $35,000, in 2017. He says the gigafactory—intended to double worldwide lithium-cell production—will cut battery costs by more than 30%, helping make the new car affordable. Tesla’s current Model S starts at about $70,000.

Battery production at the gigafactory is supposed to begin in 2017 and peak battery production should be reached when the gigafactory is fully complete in 2020. When finished, he says, the building will likely total between five and six million square feet—nearly as big as the Pentagon. By 2020, the gigafactory will produce more lithium ion cells than all of the world’s combined output in 2013. The gigafactory is expected to cost $5 billion and employ about 6,500 workers.

Tesla owners enjoy the benefit of charging at home so they never have to visit a gas station or spend a cent on gasoline. For long distance journeys, Tesla’s Supercharger network provides convenient and free access to high speed charging, replenishing half a charge in as little as 20 minutes. Superchargers now connect popular routes in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Tesla’s vehicles are produced at its factory in Fremont, California, previously home to New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors. The Tesla Factory has returned thousands of jobs to the area and is capable of producing 1,000 cars a week.

The gigafactory will also produce battery packs intended for use in stationary storage, helping to improve robustness of the electrical grid, reduce energy costs for businesses and residences, and provide a backup supply of power.

Musk has said Tesla plans to generate all the power for the project from renewable sources, including geothermal energy, and he hopes to make the battery plant a “net zero-energy factory.” Tesla is not just an automaker, but also a technology and design company with a focus on energy innovation.

For more information about Tesla Motors click here.

What is a Lithium-Ion Battery?
A lithium-ion battery (sometimes Li-ion battery or LIB) is a member of a family of rechargeable battery types in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery. The electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the consistent components of a lithium-ion cell.

Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics. They are one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries for portable electronics, with a high energy density, no memory effect, and only a slow loss of charge when not in use. Beyond consumer electronics, LIBs are also growing in popularity for military, electric vehicle and aerospace applications.[6] For example, lithium-ion batteries are becoming a common replacement for the lead acid batteries that have been used historically for golf carts and utility vehicles. Instead of heavy lead plates and acid electrolyte, the trend is to use lightweight lithium-ion battery packs that can provide the same voltage as lead-acid batteries, so no modification to the vehicle’s drive system is required.

Other Battery Alternatives
There is a lot of research being done to create the ultimate battery, but that end-all be-all in battery technology still eludes us. There have already been announcements that there are more efficient options than even the Lithium-Ion Battery: Lithium-Sulfur Battery Design.

What Does This Mean for Gas Powered Vehicles?
Battery innovation is great news for the world and comes when energy is emerging as a global crisis and renewable energy sources are becoming a real alternative. Does this spell the end for gas powered vehicles? Not in the near future. This marks the beginning of the transition from gas to electric power in the next 10-20 years though.

One thing is for certain, you can count on Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center to keep your vehicle on the road, now and in the future. Big changes may be coming, and we’ll be ready and here to help!

battery_trouble_winterCold temperatures can make your vehicle act like a lot of things could be wrong.  Sometimes the battery is the last thing checked, but the first on the problem list.

During winter, due to freezing and below freezing temperatures, it slows the chemical reaction inside of the battery, wreaking havoc. Though batteries can function under a plethora of conditions, the cold weather tends to degrade the quality of your battery and may even render some batteries useless.

Your vehicle’s battery loses 33 percent of its power when the temperature dips below freezing, and over 50 percent of its power when the temperature falls below zero.

Avoid Battery Problems
At Sierra Care Care and MST Tire Center we offer a STARTING & CHARGING SYSTEM CHECK that can provide valuable insight for your entire starting system.

The starting and charging system is responsible for getting an engine to run and for keeping different components charged. Using energy from the battery, the starter uses a gear to interact with the engine. Without a starter, an engine would be inoperable. The starting system involves a number of parts, including:

  • Ignition Switch
  • Starter
  • Flywheel

The charging system play’s an equally important role, which includes:

  • Battery
  • Alternator
  • Voltage Regulator

The battery is needed to send electricity to the starter. The alternator powers all the electrical components by generating electrical currents, and the voltage regulator ensures that the output of the alternator does not over- or under-charge the components dependent on the electrical current. Together, the starting and charging systems interact with one another to keep a vehicle operating for its driver.

Starting & Charging System Check offered at Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center
The various components that make up your starting and charging system are not impervious to failure from constant use and wear. Warning signs for a starting and charging system problem include:

  • Dashboard Warning Lights
  • Dim Headlights
  • Clicking or Growling Noises
  • Trouble Starting Engine
  • Inconsistent Idle

During a starting and charging system service, our staff will review the voltage level of your battery, test your alternator, and look over your starter. An inefficient starting and charging system can lead to engine failure, which makes routine maintenance extremely important. Some components, like the battery, may give little warning before they fail. Our service staff combines the proper tools with extensive automotive knowledge to test and repair the components of your vehicle’s starting and charging system.

So, give Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers a call at 1-775-525-2420 to schedule your Starting & Charging System Check.

COMMON FACTORS OF BATTERY FAILURE

Battery Age
If the battery is more than five years old and there’s any sign of struggle to start the car, get it replaced. A battery has an average lifespan of four years under “normal” conditions. “Normal” in this case means the battery goes through full charge cycles, isn’t subjected to extreme temperatures, is attached to a reliable and consistent charging system and isn’t providing power for a ton of accessories. See, normal just isn’t normal. In the real world, temperature extremes, vibration, short trips down the street and an ever-increasing array of MP3 players, GPS receivers and other devices take a toll on the battery. Getting your battery replaced when you know it is the problem is better than as a roadside emergency.

Corrosion on Battery Terminals
Corrosion can prevent a car from starting just as much as a worn-out battery. Corrosion is caused by a faulty connection that allows battery acid to escape and corrode surrounding areas. Regularly inspect the battery to keep the connections clean. Carefully clean away any corrosive residue that has formed using a toothbrush and baking soda and also make sure the battery is correctly seated. Excessive vibration/moving can cause a weaker connection as well.

Battery Load
Switch off everything electrical and dip the clutch to reduce the load on the battery when you start a cold car. Do not start the car with the heater and the radio on. They can use up the power coming from the car’s alternator and prevent the battery from charging. Do not leave the heat and the radio on while the car is idling. Otherwise the car will not be putting out enough power for the alternator to charge the battery and power the electrical systems. When you park for the evening check to make sure all electrical items have been switched off – even an interior light, boot light, or radio left on overnight can kill a battery when it’s cold.

If you do not own a load tester, our staff would be happy to test the load of your battery and provide recommendations depending on the result of the test.

Install Battery Blanket or Trickle Charger to Prolong Battery Life
If you mostly do short journeys or leave the car standing for days at a time, invest in a modern battery conditioner/intelligent charger. These can be left connected to the battery indefinitely and can prolong its life without overcharging it.

A battery blanket is used to wrap around the battery and fit inside of the battery cover. A cord with a plug runs from the blanket to a wall outlet. The blanket can produce enough heat to keep the battery fluid from freezing. A trickle charger can also be mounted on the battery. It will deliver enough power to the battery while the vehicle is off to keep it from freezing.

If your vehicle will be stored in a garage for the winter, disconnect the battery. Certain devices, such as clocks and alarm systems, continue to drain battery power when the vehicle is off. If your car will not be driven enough to recharge the battery, keep it disconnected when the automobile is being stored.

Winterization Checklist
To maximize protection against cold-weather conditions, now’s the time to make sure you not only winterize your battery, but your vehicle too. Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers recommend that you have one of our ASE Certified technician’s inspect the following items on your vehicle for a safe winter:

  • Replace worn windshield wipers every 12 months.
  • Check all fluids.
  • Make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition.
  • Inspect all bulbs and lights for proper operation.
  • Check condition of tires, including the spare.
  • Change oil every 3,000 miles.
  • Examine exhaust system for leaks.
  • Flush and refill cooling system with a 50/50 mixture.
  • Check drive belts, clamps and hoses.
  • Starting & charging system check.

If you live in an extremely cold region of the country, we recommend you carry emergency gear in your vehicle at all times, such as:

  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Tire Chains
  • Battery Booster Pack
  • Cell Phone
  • Blankets
  • Flares
  • Flashlight
  • High-Energy, Non-Perishable Snacks

Bi-Monthly TY Coupons Dec-Jan NOTICE FOR SPARKSf

Exciting changes are coming to Sparks Service Station.

We are expanding our convenience store at the Prater & Pyramid Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center location. We will remain open during renovations, please pardon our dust. As of October, the Sparks vehicle repair shop will be closed. We would like to say Thank You to all of our patrons in the Sparks area for years of commitment, and would like to refer you to any of our four other locations for vehicle repair in the future. And, please enjoy the expanded food & beverage selection at our Sparks Service Station.

Visit us online at SierraCarCare.com or at one of our locations:

 Lakeside Service
(775) 825-1185
190 W. Plumb Lane & Lakeside
(1 block West of So. Virginia)

Northwest Service
(775) 747-1345
1300 W. 7th & Elgin
(1 block W. of Keystone)

Village Service
(775) 348-7508
1101 California Ave. & Booth
(S. on Keystone to Booth St.)

Sierra Car Care Sparks
(775) 358-6186
800 Prater Wy. & Pyramid Wy.
(1/2 mile N. off I-80 exit)

MST Tire Center
(formerly Mill Street Tire)
(775) 329-6434
3180 Mill Street & Telegraph
(2 blocks East of Terminal)

ASE Certified Technicians, AAA

 

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