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It's the first hot day of the summer. Uncomfortably
shifting in your seat, you turn on that long-neglected AC knob,
only to discover an unwelcome blast of warm air streaming out from
the vents. A bad situation made worse: that's when you turn to us—your
air conditioning service and repair headquarters. Did you know that
without regular maintenance an air conditioner loses about 5% of
its original efficiency per year? This means that without proper
maintenance, your air conditioning unit may be performing as poorly
as other models that are years older! But there is good news: you
can still recover most of that lost efficiency. Schedule an appointment
with one of our factory-trained professionals—we understand
all aspects of AC repair, from modern computerized components to
environmental disposal concerns. Today's AC systems are fairly complex
and new improvements are always being initiated. That's why you
need to turn to us, the qualified source for everything related
to your air conditioning system. The following is a brief schematic
of some of the basic components that comprise this system:
Compressor: The compressor is a belt-driven
device that derives its name from compressing refrigerant gas and
transferring it into the condenser. While basically acting as a
simple pump, the compressor is the core of your vehicle's air conditioning
Condenser: The condenser's
primary function is to cool the refrigerant. It is a heat dissipating
apparatus that radiates heat released by compressed gases and condenses
them into high pressure liquids. The location of your condenser
depends on how new your car is, but typically it's found at the
front of the vehicle, directly in front of the engine cooling radiator.
Receiver (Drier): The
receiver is a metal container that serves as a storage receptacle
for the refrigerant. It's also referred to as a drier because it
absorbs moisture from the refrigerant and filters out particles
of debris and harmful acids that would otherwise harm your AC system.
Commonly located on the liquid line of the AC system, you should
change your drier every 3-4 years to ensure quality filtration and
prevent any damage caused by these detrimental chemicals.
Orifice Tube/Expansion Valve:
The orifice tube (also known as the expansion valve) is a controlling
mechanism that regulates the flow of refrigerant throughout the
system. In addition to this, it also converts high pressure liquid
refrigerant (from the condenser) into a low pressure liquid, so
that it can enter the evaporator. Generally located at the evaporator
inlet, the orifice tube could also be found between the condenser
and the evaporator, or in the outlet of the condenser.
Evaporator: The evaporator
is designed to remove heat from the inside of your vehicle; therefore
it's a heat exchanger that's vital to your vehicle's AC system (not
to mention your comfort). The evaporator allows the refrigerant
to absorb heat, causing it to boil and change into a vapor. When
this occurs, the vapor is removed from the evaporator by the compressor,
cooling your car and reducing humidity. Because the evaporator houses
the most refrigerant in this heat transfer process, it is the most
susceptible to corrosion by harmful acids. Usually this damages
the evaporator beyond repair, which is why it's imperative you see
us to prevent this from happening.
Let's face it, you can have the most meticulously
maintained vehicle on the road, but it won't start without the right
battery, properly installed and appropriately fitted for your driving
needs. From ignition to door locks, your car battery is the catalyzing
force that allows you to get from point A to point B. The following
is a brief overview of the electrical system that makes transportation
Composed of a series of lead plates submerged in a 35% sulfuric
acid/65% water solution, your 12-volt battery houses a chemical
reaction that releases electrons through conductors, producing electricity
which is then channeled into your vehicle's electrical system. When
your car's engine is off, the battery supplies electricity to all
of the electrical system components, including the essential power
required to start your vehicle. In periods of high demand, the battery
also supplements power from the charging system.
2. Charging System
The charging system is life force of your vehicle's electrical system,
consisting of three main mechanisms: the alternator, various circuits,
and the voltage regulator. The alternator has two roles. It: a)
provides power to the electrical system, and b) recharges the battery
after the car has started. The various circuits act as conduits
for electrical power, and the voltage regulator controls the voltage
passed through these circuits. Remember, all of these components
require consistent attention and maintenance. It's not just your
battery that needs to be replaced every so often; if one of these
components should fail, that pulsating power source is now reduced
to a lifeless, twenty pound paper weight.
3. Starting System
It may seem obvious that the starting system turns your vehicle's
engine on, but did you know that this process consumes much more
electrical power than anything else your car does? That's because
the starting system consists of three components working one after
another. Here's how it works: there's the ignition switch, the starter
relay (or solenoid), and the starter motor. Turning the key causes
a small amount of current to pass through the starter relay, allowing
a stronger current to flow through the battery cables and into the
starter motor. The starter motor cranks the engine, forcing the
piston to create enough suction that draws a fuel and air mixture
into the cylinder. The ignition system creates a spark that ignites
the mixture, and combustion is born.
Among all the equipment in your vehicle, belts and
hoses have the shortest life span. Due to constant exposure to heat,
vibration, and harmful chemicals, these components invariably crack,
leak, fray, and peel. If not promptly replaced and maintained, this
could spell disaster for the performance of your vehicle. And evaluating
the condition of your belts and hoses only on their appearance is
not enough! Diligent inspection is required, and we are here to
do it. Here is a sample of how we ensure belt and hose quality.
Visual Inspection of Belts
• Search for clear indications
of damage (cracking, glazing, softening, or peeling)
• Test for correct tension
• Test for correct alignment
• Record belt condition for future
Visual Inspection of Hoses
• Search for clear indications
of damage (leaks, cracks, hardening, or softening)
• Test cooling system for leaks
using state-of-the-art pressure technology
• Record hose condition for future
It is vital to inspect your vehicle's belts and hoses
on a regular basis because often times a damaged piece has serious
effects on the condition of your vehicle. Research shows that while
most people are attentive when it comes to regular oil changes,
they hardly devote any concern at all to the condition of their
belts and hoses. A leaking hose or a cracked belt will cause you
more trouble than an overdue oil change ever will! The following
is a brief description of some of the different belts and hoses
Drive Belts:The engine itself is used as a power source to
drive some of your vehicle's accessories. Instead of being supplied
by electric power, these accessories rely on a series of pulleys
and belts to operate. Some of these accessories include:
• Power steering pump
• Air conditioning compressor
•Radiator cooling fan
• Water pump
Most older vehicles require a single serpentine belt
to power these accessories (as opposed to several individual belts).
If you think of hoses as your vehicle's circulatory system, then
you'll have an appropriate representation of how important they
are. Channeling car fluids to their correct destination, hoses are
composed of two rubber layers with fabric in between. Types of hoses
vary on make and model, but typically they include:
• Fuel hose (sends gasoline from
the gas tank to the engine)
• Radiator hose (delivers coolant
•Power steering hose (connects
power steering pump to steering equipment)
• Heater hose (provides coolant
to heater core)
Our ASE-certified technicians take professionalism
to the next level by offering courteous and knowledgeable service
to all of our customers. Continually striving to master every aspect
of automotive care, ASE technicians follow Motorist Assurance Program
Uniform Inspection Guidelines for your vehicle's braking system
to assure safe, smooth driving.
When your mechanic is wearing the ASE patch, don't
expect to get to know him—you won't be back in a long time!
That's because our ASE technicians do the job right the first time.
They inspect the following braking components:
• Disc brake rotors and pads
• Calipers and hardware
•Brake drums and shoes
• Wheel cylinders
• Brake fluid and hoses
• Power booster
The brake system equipped in your vehicle is a culmination
of over 100 years of technological innovation, transforming crude
stopping mechanisms into dependable and efficient pieces of speed
variation equipment. While brake systems vary by make and model,
the basic system consists of disc brakes in front and either disk
or drum brakes in the rear. Connected by a series of tubes and hoses,
your brakes are linked to each wheel and the master cylinder by
said network, which supply them with vital brake fluid (hydraulic
We'll take a closer look on how this works, but first
we'll provide a brief overview of the critical components that make
braking possible. We can summarize all of your braking equipment
into two categories:
Hydraulics and Master Cylinder.
Master Cylinder: When it comes to your
vehicle, think of the master cylinder as a pressure converter. When
you press down on the brake pedal (physical pressure), the master
cylinder converts this to hydraulic pressure. This pressure is used
to propel brake fluid to the wheel brakes.
Brake Lines and Hoses: Steel braided
brake lines and high pressure, shock, and road resistant brake hoses
are the channels which deliver pressurized brake fluid to the braking
unit(s) at each wheel.
Wheel Cylinders and Calipers: Wheel
cylinders consist of cylinders surrounded by two rubber-sealed pistons
that connect the piston with the brake shoe. When brake pressure
is applied, pistons are forced out, pushing the shoes into the drum.
Calipers squeeze brake pads onto the rotor to stop your car. Both
components apply pressure to friction materials.
Disc Brake Pads and Drum Brake Shoes: A
disc brake uses fluid (released by the master cylinder) to force
pressure into a caliper, where it presses against a piston. The
piston then squeezes two brake pads against the rotor, forcing it
to stop. Brake shoes consist of a steel shoe with a steel shoe with
friction material bonded to it.
How It Comes Together:When you first
step on the brake pedal, you are triggering the release of brake
fluid into the system of tubes and hoses, which travel to the braking
unit at each wheel. This is because you actually push against a
plunger in the master cylinder, causing the fluid to be released.
Now because brake fluid can't be compressed, it journeys through
the network of tubes and hoses in the exact same motion and pressure
it initially began with. And when it comes to stopping a 2,000 pound
steel assembly at high speed, this consistency is a good thing.
But the performance of your brakes can be affected when air is introduced
into the fluid; since air can compress, it creates sponginess in
the pedal, which disrupts this consistency, and results in bad braking
efficiency. The good news is that "bleeder screws" (located
at each wheel cylinder) can be removed so that the brake system
is "bled" to remove any unwanted air found in your system.
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What would happen if you gave an Olympic long-distance
runner two different types of athletic shoes to run his next race?
Chances are his performance would suffer. The same can be said about
your car's driving potential if its alignment isn't correctly positioned.
When vehicle alignment is not proportioned correctly, two issues
1. Driving becomes more expensive
2. Driving becomes more dangerous
Driving in a vehicle without proper alignment is an
expensive enterprise. Not only does flawed alignment decrease gas
mileage and tire life, it also adds stress to other vehicle components,
including steering equipment and overall structural damage. Ideally,
your vehicle's wheels should be perpendicular to the ground and
parallel to each other. Adjusting the angles of the wheels so that
they meet these criteria is how our service professionals ensure
your vehicle is properly aligned.
Driving in a vehicle without proper alignment is a dangerous idea.
A car that is out of alignment can pull or drift away from a straight
road, resulting in a possibly fatal situation. Excessive tire wear—another
result of bad car alignment—can lead to tire blow-outs and
poor traction, which also has potentially disastrous consequences.
That is why it is imperative you let our alignment experts make
sure you're driving smoothly and safely.
So, how does it happen? Your vehicle's alignment can be impacted
by a variety of factors. An obvious indication that you require
our computerized alignment service is a major or minor collision
that results in physical damage to your vehicle's frame. Steering
problems or the presence of uneven wear patterns on your tires are
clear signs that demand immediate attention. But alignment problems
don't only occur by collisions and accidents; problems can arise
by something as small as driving over a pothole, or grazing over
a curb. The following descriptions are symptomatic alignment variations
you should look for in order to determine if you require our computerized
Caster: Caster is used
to describe the angle of a steering pivot, as seen from the side
of the vehicle and measured in degrees. Caster alignment plays a
large role in evaluating the "feel" of steering and the
stability of high-speed transportation. Three to five degrees of
positive caster is typical for most vehicles, and lower angles for
heavier vehicles are used to keep steering comfortable. A faulty
caster angle will cause loose or difficult steering.
Camber: Camber is the
angle of the wheel in relation to a vertical direction (seen from
the front or rear of the car). A negative camber measurement occurs
when a wheel leans toward the chassis; a positive measurement points
the wheel away from the car. An ideal camber angle assures optimal
tire efficiency, proper steering control, and a precautionary "anti-roll"
directive that engineers have adapted into vehicle designs to negate
the effects of a body roll. A faulty camber angle will create pulling
and tire wear.
Toe: Like camber and
caster, toe is measured by degrees and is another basic aspect of
suspension tuning. When a pair of wheels are placed with their front
edges pointed toward each other, the pair is defined as "toe-ins."
If the front edges point away from each other, the pair is defined
as "toe-outs." Essentially, a toe changes the distance
between the front and back of the rear tires, and a faulty toe angle
will wear down your tires.
I visited your shop and my alignment is now correct.
What can I expect now?
When your wheels are properly aligned, you'll get:
• Tires that last
• Easier steering
• Improved gas mileage
• Smoother ride
• Safer, more secure driving
Computerized Engine Analysis
Your modern vehicle's engine is a highly sophisticated
piece of equipment. The days of your father's gas-guzzler are long
gone-instead, Federal Exhaust Emission and Fuel Economy regulations
demand that today's vehicles be equipped with electronic engine
control systems to curb carbon emissions and increase fuel efficiency.
With technically advanced control systems taking the place of simple
engine components, common maintenance services such as tune-ups
are also a thing of the past. Regular services (such as spark plug
and filter replacements) are still required, as well as a computerized
analysis of your vehicle's control computer. Our factory-trained
technicians are here to provide these basic services.
Here's How Your Modern Vehicle's Control Computer Operates:
A network of sensors and switches convert and monitor engine operating
conditions into electrical signals. The computer receives this information,
and, based on information and instructions coded within this savvy
computer program, commands are sent to three different systems:
ignition, fuel, and emission control. Whenever a problem arises
(as seen by that nagging "check engine" light), our service
pros check whatever command is prompted, in addition to the status
of your engine control computer and sensors. That way you'll know
if your vehicle's performance is caused by a real problem, or just
a sensor/computer issue.
Here's a Brief Overview of Your Vehicle's Sensory Components:
• Mass airflow sensor
• Throttle position sensor
• Manifold absolute pressure
• Coolant temperature sensor
• Exhaust oxygen sensor
• Crankshaft position sensor
• Camshaft position sensor
The most common cause of inadequate cooling is the refrigerant leaking
through worn seals and o-rings, loose fittings and connections. To
make sure all the parts and components of your A/C system are working
properly, we recommend having your A/C system checked at the beginning
when warm weather begins. We offer a free air conditioning check with
any service or repair. Having the cooling system in your auto is an
important part of vehicle maintenance that can prevent costly repairs
if checked on schedule.
Cooling System Maintenance
CV & Drive Axle
The axle on your vehicle is the structural component
that connects two wheels together on opposite sites. It's a load-bearing
assembly that acts like a central shaft, maintaining the position
of the wheels relative to each other and to the vehicle body. The
construction of your axle is designed according to what your vehicle
is built for; trucks and off-road vehicles are equipped with axles
that keep the wheel positions steady under heavy stress (ideal for
supporting heavy loads), while conventional axles are constructed
for the needs of the general consumer. But no matter what you drive,
remember that your vehicle's axle must bear the weight of your vehicle
(plus any cargo) and the acceleration forces between you and the
ground. So when it comes to axle inspection, we are your source
for professional, knowledgeable service—essential for the
equipment that carries you and your family to wherever you need
Here is a brief description of the most common axle
Simply put, a drive axle is one that is driven by
the engine. Typically found in modern front wheel drive vehicles,
a drive axle is split between two half axles, with differential
and universal joints between them. Each half axle is connected to
the wheel by a third joint—the constant velocity (CV) joint—that
allows the wheels to move freely. This joint allows the shaft to
rotate, transmitting power at a constant speed without a significant
increase in friction and heat. CV joints are usually dependable,
but, as is the case for all of your vehicle's moving equipment,
they do require regular inspection. An easy way for you to tell
if you need to see us for axle repair is to go out to a large space
(such as a parking lot), and slowly drive in tight circles. If you
hear a clicking or cracking noise, you have a worn joint, and it
must be repaired immediately.
We will have you back on the road, "click-free"
in no time!
Technicians at Tharp's Complete Auto Care are trained to work on today's
high tech engines. We help maintain and service your vehicle's engine
to extend its life. Engine components wear out over time which results
in a loss of performance and fuel economy. Engine "tune-ups"
have changed along with the advanced automobile technology. If you
notice one or any of the following conditions while driving your vehicle
it could mean it is time for your car's engine to be serviced.
• A decrease in gas mileage
• A noticeable loss in power
• Your engine running "rough"
or stalling when at a stop
• Engine "knocking" when
accelerating or running-on after the ignition is turned off
• Your "Check Engine"
or "Service Engine" light remaining on after initial start
Your exhaust system is more than a muffler, it is
a series of pipes that run under your car, connected with your muffler
and your catalytic converter. The main function of your exhaust
system is to control noise and to funnel exhaust fumes away from
In some ways, a car's exhaust system works like a
chimney on your house, directing the byproducts from burning fuel
away from the people inside. A car's exhaust system routes waste
gases from the engine to the rear of the car, where they are discharged
into the atmosphere. Exhaust gases contain dangerous substances
such as carbon monoxide, which can be hazardous if allowed to flow
into the passenger housing of the car.
The exhaust system also converts pollutants into less
harmful byproducts, reduces the noise of the engine, and directs
exhaust gases so they can be used to heat air and fuel before they
go into the engine's cylinders to be burned. Finally, the exhaust
system provides just the right amount of back pressure into the
engine to improve its fuel-burning efficiency and increase performance.
Key components of your exhaust system include:
Exhaust Pipes:Designed specifically for each car model to properly
route exhaust to the back of the car
Exhaust Manifold:(Some engines have two). Acts like a funnel, collecting
exhaust gases from all cylinders and releasing it through a single
Catalytic Converter:Designed to reduce the amount of harmful emissions
products by transforming pollutants into water vapor and less harmful
Muffler:Metal container with holes, baffles and chambers that muffles
Resonator:Works with the muffler to reduce noise
Tail Pipe:(Found at the back of the car) Designed to carry exhaust
gases away from the vehicle
All components of the exhaust system are connected
with a series of clamps, hangers, flanges, and gaskets.
Have you recently been in a colossal crash, or just
a fender-bender? Believe us, we've seen it all, and that's why we
are your front-end collision experts. Using the latest in collision
repair technology, our service pros will correct any amount of damage
your car has endured. From major structural problems to cosmetic
flaws, we will erase any dent, ding, scratch, or chip. With years
of front-end service under our belts, we will get you back on the
road and restore your vehicle to its regular condition.
The single most important maintenance that you can perform to keep your vehicle running is changing the oil according to your vehicle manufacturer's recommendation. Changing your oil and oil filter regularly will keep your engine working at peak performance and avoid costly repairs in the future. We offer several oil change services to match your vehicle type, age and usage. Our experienced technicians can help you set up a recommended schedule for oil and filter changes for your vehicle.
Nitrogen Tire Inflation by NitroFill!
Nitrogen in tires is becoming a very popular replacement
for air, and for good reason. With proper inflation procedures and
adequate purity nitrogen can provide amazing benefits. Converting
to nitrogen in tires can improve your fuel economy by up to 10%
and increase your tire life by 30% or more while dramatically increasing
the safety of your vehicle.
High purity nitrogen has been used for decades in
Nascar, Formula One, the Tour de France, the US Military and many
other applications where safety and economy are paramount concerns.
Only the high cost and complexities of generating and properly administering
nitrogen have kept it out of reach of the general public. Recent
advances in nitrogen production technology have now made nitrogen
inflation economically viable for the automotive service industry
- and NitroFill™ has lead the way by providing a refined nitrogen
product of incomparable purity. Our nitrogen generators have set
the standard worldwide and are used by Fortune 500 companies, governmental
organizations and military installations around the globe. In fact,
NitroFill™ was selected, and remains, the sole nitrogen tire
inflation product used in our nation's fleet of B2 bombers.
The number one cause of vehicle breakdowns is cooling system failure. Radiator and cooling system maintenance service is often overlooked by vehicle owners Because often there are no warning signs of deterioration. A Radiator Flush will remove the old coolant and contaminants in your radiator and replaces it with new or recycled coolant. This will keep your cooling system working and protect your vehicle for many miles.
The primary function of your car's suspension and
steering systems is to allow the wheels to move independently of
the car, while keeping it "suspended" and stable. Any
play or uncontrolled motion in these systems results in a deterioration
of handling and accelerated tire wear. Vehicle alignment is closely
tied to the condition of the suspension and steering systems.
Worn or loose components affect the suspension system's
ability to control motion and alignment angles, resulting in a deterioration
of vehicle handling and stability, and accelerated tire wear. The
main components of the suspension system are:
• Control Arms
• Ball Joints
• Springs (Coil or Leaf)
• Shock Absorbers
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It is dangerous driving on an improperly repaired tire . Repaired
improperly can make the tire unreliable or damage the tire beyond
repair. Tires that fail may cause serious personal injury or death.
Inspection and repair of your tire in accordance with Rubber Manufacturers
Association (RMA) procedures should be conducted by a qualified tire
service professional.Some tires that have been punctured or damaged
must be replaced if they can not be repaired to the standards needed.
Rotating your tires helps to prevent unsafe driving conditons caused by uneven tire wear and to maximize the life of your tires. In front-wheel drive vehicles, the front tires carry over 60 percent of the carís weight, transfer engine power to the road and account for about 80 percent of the braking force. Front and rear tires wear unevenly, and rotating will help your tires wear more evenly and last longer. It is recommended that tires be rotated every 6,000 miles for uniform wear and maximum traction. This maintenance helps to avoid tire failure and poor traction.
For those of you who aren't mechanically savvy, you
probably still understand that transmission problems are among the
most expensive repairs required for your vehicle. That's because
your transmission is a complex system of gears that transmit mechanical
power to your engine, ultimately determining the rate of speed you
travel. Transmissions convert this power from the engine so that
it can supply high torque at low speeds, in addition to selecting
which gears are appropriate based on the driving conditions. This
is especially true with automatic transmissions-by far the most
popular transmissions found in the US. Rather than using a clutch
to engage the transmission, automatic transmissions use a torque
converter (between the engine and transmission) to control the number
of gears when driving. Supplying the power to regulate gear action
is a demanding task, which is why it's important for you to contact
us, your transmission service specialists. Here are some of the
essential maintenance tasks we complete:
• Drain transmission
and torque converter
• Refill Automatic Transmission
Fluids (ATF) with new fluid
Transmission problems typically arise when regular
service is neglected. When fluids aren't properly changed, heat
caused from mileage friction results in rough shifting, accelerated
wear, and even complete failure. That's why it's essential that
you turn to us to make sure that your transmission is lubricated
and cooled by the finest quality transmission fluids, installed
by our service professionals.
Often confused with wheel alignment, a properly balanced
wheel is a beautiful, perfectly tuned wheel-tire combination. This
is accomplished by placing measured lead weights on the opposite
side of the "heavy spot"—the noticeable tread wear
on your unbalanced tire.
How do I know if I need my wheels balanced?
Is your vehicle vibrating at certain speeds, say,
between 50 and 70 mph? If so, chances are your wheel is out of balance.
One section of your tire is heavier than the other because it's
endured more exposure to the friction and heat of the road. Come
in for prompt, professional service—most people are very satisfied
with the difference such a simple and inexpensive procedure makes.
Look for these signs, and if you find either one, come see us:
• Scalloped, erratic
wear pattern on tires.
• Vibration in steering wheel,
seat, or floorboard at certain speeds.