Monthly Archives: November 2013

Getting your morning charge?

Image 

Car batteries wear out just like any other battery and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Fort Wayne drivers should know when looking for a new car battery: one is cold cranking amps and the other is reserve capacity.

 

Let’s start with cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a vehicle when the engine is cold. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and specifically how cold it is where you live. The two factors are that the colder an engine is, the more power it takes to turn it’s engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with. The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient in the cold.

 

If you live where it’s cold, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. You should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as the manufacturer recommends, but may want to upgrade if the temperatures are going to get very low.

 

An important note: Batteries may also list the Cranking Amps – CA – number. It is the Cold Cranking Amps – or CCA – that is the important number here. CCA is the number to use in your comparisons.

 

Now with all this talk of cold temperatures in Fort Wayne, it’s important to note that heat is the real enemy of long battery life. In other words, the damage that’s done over the hot summer months in Fort Wayne shows up with the increased demands on the vehicle’s battery when the weather turns cold.

 

That means areas (like Fort Wayne) with extreme hot temperatures in the summer and extreme cold temperatures in the winter; the battery is under additional stress. That means it is even more important that the battery health is assessed regularly.

 

Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off. So the power drawn by the vehicle’s security system, the remote start system, even the power the minivan computers require to maintain their memory.

 

Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Fort Wayne. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start your engine.

 

So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer and upgrade if you need more. Talk with your considerate Fox and Fox Frame Service Inc. service adviser about options. If you need more from your battery, a larger capacity battery may be what you need.

 

An added bonus is that our batteries their warranties. Be sure to ask your adviser about your battery’s warranty, so know exactly what you are getting.

 

At Fox and Fox Frame Service Inc., we have been providing quality auto service in Fort Wayne for 50 years and install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 260.424.1630.

 

 

Advertisements

Understanding Suspension Systems

Suspension integrity is something that as drivers we give little thought about, and many more of us know little about. Understanding your vehicle’s suspension isn’t as difficult as you would expect it to be. Think of how your skeleton provides the structure to hold up your weight. Your joints cushion you as you walk and allow you to change direction. Your vehicle’s suspension system is similar: It bears the weight of your vehicle, absorbs bumps in the road and controls the body as you steer.

Like the bones in your body, your car or truck’s suspension parts are connected by joints that allow all the components to move as they should. Over time and miles, the joints start to wear and your suspension gets loose and doesn’t operate as precisely as before, reducing proper tire contact with the road. An accident, pothole or hitting a curb or rock can also damage or break minivan suspension components.

If you’ve ever hurt your foot, you know you’ve had to walk differently to keep it from hurting as bad. Do that long enough and your ankle, knee, hip and even your back will start to hurt from the strain of not moving normally. The same thing happens in your minivan when one joint or part is worn or damaged: it stresses everything else and causes premature wear to the whole system.

Signs of suspension problems include uneven tire wear, vibration, a pull to one side, or when your vehicle rattles or clunks when you hit a bump or turn on a windy road.

If you suspect a suspension problem, call Bob or Rhonda at Fox and Fox. We will schedule a thorough examination of your suspension system. Our techs can also check your alignment while they’re at it.

Taking care of worn or damaged suspension components early, will head off future damage and wear and keep you from having to make expensive repairs down the road.

Tagged , , ,