Albert Lea Auto Repair

Albert Lea Auto Repair

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ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)

  ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)   In today's rapidly evolving automotive landscape, technology isn't just about enhancing entertainment and connectivity—it's about saving lives, improving convenience, and revolutionizing the way we drive. One of the most remarkable advancements in this realm is the implementation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS. These systems are poised to shape the future of transportation, making our roads safer and our journeys more efficient. Understanding ADAS: What Are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?  ADAS refers to a suite of safety features and technologies integrated into modern vehicles to assist drivers in various ways. These systems use sensors, cameras, radar, and advanced software algorithms to provide real-time feedback, warnings, and, in some cases, autonomous control to enhance driving safety and comfort. Key Components of ADAS: ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

What is the deal with AFM?

What is the deal with AFM?

Active Fuel Management (AFM) is General Motors version of a cylinder deactivation system. Cylinder deactivation is used to increase fuel economy of higher displacement engines while cruising down the highway in light load conditions when the extra power is not needed. During light load conditions the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) can shut down predetermined cylinders by disabling the camshaft lifters and shutting off the fuel injectors. Which prevents those cylinders from consuming incoming air and fuel. Thereby reducing fuel consumption. Think of it this way. First, you give your teenager a soft drink with a large straw. The pop consumption will increase. Now if you give the same kid the soft drink with a tinny tiny coffee straw the pop consumption will decrease. Why not just keep it simple and install small engines in all vehicles? Well, a four-cylinder engine in your pick-up or large SUV would leave you craving additional power when accelerating. Add a trailer to that same vehicl ... read more

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Fuel System

Flex Fuel Vehicles

Flex Fuel Vehicles

Flex Fuel Vehicles Many modern vehicle manufacturers offer models that can run on multiple fuel options, a.k.a Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV). Flex fuel vehicles are vehicles that have engines designed to run on fuel ranging from regular gasoline to higher, ethanol content fuels like E85 and E15. How do you know if your vehicle is rated for flex fuel? Look for a yellow fuel fill cap, a yellow tag around a capless system, badges on the side of the car, or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Only run the higher ethanol content fuels in vehicles designed for flex fuel. Although most 2001 and newer vehicles can be operated safely on the low-level ethanol 87-octane fuel that contains up to 10% ethanol. Using ethanol blended fuel in older vehicles and small engines, like lawn mowers, can cause damage to some fuel system components. It is best to use non-ethanol fuels in these vehicles and equipment. What is ethanol? Ethanol is an ethyl alcohol fuel source distilled down from mostly corn. The sam ... read more

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Fuel System

CVT Transmission

CVT Transmission

What is a CVT Transmission? CVT is short for Continuously Variable Transmission. They are a different twist on the automatic transmissions most of us are familiar with. Many auto manufacturers are now incorporating CVT transmissions into their smaller cars and light SUVs. The original concept for a CVT transmission was from none other than Leonardo DaVinci back in 1490. It wasn’t officially patented in the US until 1886 by Daimler and Benz. CVT transmissions are used in more than just automobiles. They are very common in snowmobiles, ATVs (Four wheelers), and UTVs (Side by sides). Mainly due to the simplistic design and compact size. What makes a CVT different from a regular automatic transmission? The short answer is gears. A regular automatic transmission starts out in a low gear and gradually shifts to higher gears as the vehicle accelerates. Think of it as an automatic version of a manual transmission. Each gear has a distinct, non-changing, gear ratio associated with it. If ... read more

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Maintenance

VVT and VVL Systems

VVT and VVL Systems

  VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and VVL (Variable Valve Lift) Systems   Many modern vehicle manufacturers incorporate VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and/or VVL (Variable Valve Lift) systems in their engines to gain maximum fuel efficiency while maintaining power output and smooth engine operation.  To understand how this technology benefits the driver, we need to understand the basics of engine operation.  A vehicle engine is essentially an air pump that controls the explosion from a fuel/air mixture and transfers the explosion energy into rotating movement.  Thus, propelling the vehicle forward.  Nearly all vehicle engines use the four stroke, Otto engine design.  See illustration.  The valves control the flow of air/fuel into the cylinder and the exhaust out of the cylinder once the combustion process takes place.  They must be timed to open and close at precisely the correct points of crankshaft rotation to maintain engine op ... read more

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Fuel System

LED Lights and the Law

LED Lights and the Law

It’s time to climb up here on this soap box and hold up a big red and white target.  Time to dip my toes in the muddy water of LED lights.  Just to clarify, this article is a matter of opinion, with some facts thrown in for good measure.  Let’s get started. Are LED lights legal? Yes, no, and sometimes both.  Usually if there is some doubt, we can refer to federal and/or state laws for clarification.  FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) section 571 explains motor vehicle requirements and is currently about 1200 pages.  SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), and DOT (Department of Transportation) all have some input and regulatory oversight to those standards.  What’s clear is that any modification to a vehicle that changes the way it was released from the manufacturer would be considered a violation of federal law.  Unless those modifications meet the safety stan ... read more

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General

What I need to know about timing belts and interference engines.

What I need to know about timing belts and interference engines.

All four stroke Otto cycle engines use some kind of timing belt (Black toothed belt in the picture), chain, or gears to keep all of the moving parts inside the engine in alignment and moving in the correct order.  Each cylinder in an engine has four distinct events that complete one power cycle; intake, compression, power, and exhaust strokes.  The piston goes up and down two times per one power cycle.  Valve openings and closings must be timed to the piston position and are controlled by camshaft rotation (Large gears on the top are attached to the camshafts).  While the piston osolations are controlled by crankshaft rotation (Small gear on the bottom is on the front of the crankshaft).  The crankshaft makes two complete revolutions for each single revolution of the camshaft.  These components must work in concert with each other for the engine to run smoothly and efficiently.  If this alignment gets out of sync it can cause numerous problems.  ... read more

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Parts

The four-wheel drives and when to use them.

The four-wheel drives and when to use them.

The four-wheel drives and when to use them.  Maybe you have always owned four-wheel drive trucks?  Maybe this is your first four-wheel drive vehicle?  Four-wheel drive gives the driver options.  Knowing how to best use those options is the key to success. Does four-wheel drive allow you to get through anything?  Not even remotely close!  Sometimes it just allows you to get more stuck and broken.  To understand how to best use your four-wheel drive options we need to go over a few basic principles.   First, the drive axle differential.  All vehicles use a differential on the drive axle to allow for smooth turns.  When a vehicle goes around a corner the outside tire needs to cover more ground than the inside tire.  Power from the engine/transmission comes into the center differential and is distributed to the drive tires via the drive axles. The differential allows for the difference in wheel speeds while provid ... read more

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General

Which tire is best for me?

Which tire is best for me?

We get this question a lot here at Sanderson Auto Repair.  It is commonly thought that a good “all season” tire is all that is needed in most passenger vehicle applications all the time.  That is not quite the case.  Tire manufacturers design tires for specific vehicle platforms along with weather conditions.  “All season” tires are primarily designed for mostly dry weather.  With some minor exposure to changing weather conditions.  “ All season” tires are best swapped out for “winter tires” when the weather gets cold and the snow comes in. For example, the Firestone WinterForce, is a great “winter tire”.  They are specifically designed for extreme cold and winter conditions.  They improve vehicle stability, control, and braking in adverse, winter conditions.  They are designed with a very soft tread compound and are limited to use at temperatures below 60°.    A ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

Time To Take Another Look at Diesel Vehicles

Let's debunk some of the myths about diesel powered vehicles. 1. Diesel Burns Dirty This was true years ago. Since 2006, however, U.S. diesel vehicles have been required by law to use ultra-low-sulfur diesel or USLD. Modern diesels are soot-free and have a smaller carbon footprint. 2. Diesels Are Sluggish Not any more. They are as fast off the line as similar gasoline-powered cars. If your idea of fun is to spend an afternoon test-driving new cars, go take a spin in a diesel BMW or Porsche. 3. Diesels Are Loud Back in the day, you could hear a diesel motor from a mile away. Today's diesels run quiet. 4. Diesels Have a Bad Resale Value Actually, diesel vehicles have a lower depreciation rate. Another often-overlooked benefit is lower risk of fire. Diesel fuel is less flammable and won't explode like gasoline. Diesel engines require parts that are heavier and stronger. At Sanderson Auto, we occasionally service diesel cars and trucks with over 300,000 miles/500,000 kilo ... read more

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Maintenance