This Months Ask The Expert question comes from a new customer with a smelly vehicle. He writes…
Dear Ask The Expert,
Recently me and some friends loaded up for an evening on the town. Also in our company was a girl that I am fairly fond of and was excited to be hanging out with her that night. I went through a lot of trouble earlier that day cleaning my car and making sure it was in top notch condition. Because it was kinda of in bad shape I brought it in to you guys to have it detailed and Michael did a fantastic job by the way. Well anyways here I am, my car is looking good, I’m feeling good, everything is perfect until… my friend calls out from the back seat to turn on the A/C because he is getting warm. Since we had the car packed with people I agreed that it was getting warm, soooo, I flipped the switch on the A/C and we all patiently waited for the glorious cold air to relieve our sweaty. It never came. What came out was a really horrible kind of mildew smell and lots of warm air. I frantically shut it off when I heard a sound that sounded like a hammer colliding with a metal fan from the front of the car. Not a good first impression at all, the car stank all night and now I smell the mildew all the time. Please help, I’m so busy I don’t have alot of time to bring the car in and was hoping you can give me some advice for the interim!
Sir Stinks A-Lot
Have no Fear Sir Stinks! There are several things you and everyone else in this world needs to know. Air conditioning systems are complex systems. There are several main compenents and a chemical reaction that takes place inside the system to create the cold air effect, I won’t go into the chemistry part but if you want some more info on A/C systems then go here!
A/C systems have a compressor (just like a refrigerator) and lines that control refrigerant flow. The compressor needs a special oil mixed into the refrigerant to keep the compressor lubricated. A/C systems need to be “exercised” on a regular basis, other wise the system becomes stagnant and the rubber seals that keep the refrigerant and oil inside the system, leaks out. It is so important this system stays completely sealed. Also exercising the system helps with mildew in the air ducts. The A/C air actually conditions and filters when it runs. Along with regular maintenance (which is highly overlooked during vehicle maintenance schedules) to the refrigerant and compressor oil, the Cabin Air Filter needs to be replaced every 15k miles and the drain for the air duct system needs to be cleaned out regularly. If these things do not happen regularly then mold and bacteria collect in the system and make for one funky smell. To get rid of the smell the basteria needs to be killed. Since it is hard to get to we use a special machine that forces an airborne chemical agent through the ducts to kill the bacteria. We also need to replace the cabin air filter during this process. All in all its a cheap fix and your car will smell good again. As for the A/C system itself, well we need to look it over. It sounds like the A/C compressor may have given up but a quick inspection will tell us whats wrong further. If time is tough for you let our service manager know and well put you in a rental car. For now use the cologne to make your car smell good and good luck with the ladies
One of the major investments that we have is our vehicle. We strived hard to earn and pay for our investments. That is the reason why we should also take care of the things we buy. Without a doubt, our vehicle may cost much money. We do not want to be unjustly enriched, so we must also know how to maintain it. We should make sure that the services we obtain for the preservation of our investments are also worth it.
We may experience a number of services from different establishments. We can share it to other people so that they could also be aware of the services that they could expect. We cannot just help them, but we could also enhance our writing skills. We could express our opinions in our blog, who knows? We will become great writers. But, before that, we should understand how to start a blog. In that way, we will be able to give our readers the articles that they need. We may just blog to share our experiences, but we should also make sure that we know how to write better, not just to let others understand what we intend to say, but also to protect our reputation.
Ask The Expert
Well hopefully Sir Stinks has learned an important lesson, if you would like to schedule a A/C service to save you from those expensive heartaches and repair costs give us a call at for Monterey and for Pacific Grove.
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Recently a customer phoned the shop looking for help and advice…..
Our caller was distraught, to say the very least. A week ago his check engine light had come on. He phoned a local service center and they informed him that it was a serious issue and he should come in right away. He authorized a diagnostic service and $700.00 later, and several hours later he had a “supposed” fixed vehicle. After driving away the check engine light popped on again. He called the service center back and they told him he would need to return for further diagnostics and most likely something else was wrong. This conversation was not taken well by the customer and he decided to call around to get a second opinion. That is when he called us. I explained that although it could be likely the check engine light could come back on for another issue, the chances are slim. To further understand why the chances are slim, lets look at how the basics of the system works.
The check engine light (also know as a Service Engine Soon light or Malfunction Indicator Lamp) is strictly a way for the computer to notify the driver of a registered malfunction. Most vehicles today, the light looks like a little engine, some just say Service Engine, and some of the luxury and european vehicles have a display that contains a little more information. The actual name of the light is mis-leading. It should say something like “check vehicle” or “system malfunction”. The check engine light can come on for a multitude of reasons, not just issues with the engine. In the majority of times it has found an issue with the emissions control systems or electronics for the powertrain (engine, transmission etc.)
So lets look at how the system determines a fault has been found. The vehicles multiple computer systems monitor the vehicle thousands of times per second while the vehicle is in operation. When it detects an issue after two drive cycles it will turn on the light. A drive cycle is different from vehicle to vehicle, but essentially is about a certain amount of specific driving conditions and warm up and cool down periods. Unless there is a “hard” fault, meaning a serious issue that is a guaranteed recognized problem in the system (which will turn on the light right away and sometimes flash if it is really bad). The computer system waits for two drive cycles to make absolute certain there is an issue before it notifies you. The first step for the technician is to retrieve the fault code or error code. The code the computer gives is very generic and usually not helpful at all, but sometimes can help lead the diagnostic in the right direction. From there testing can be done and a determination can be made.
In a lot of cases, the check engine light will not keep the car from running and is usually not an emergency but should also not be ignored.
So let’s go back to our customers issue. The light came on right after he left the shop. It obviously had just started a drive cycle and was no where near completing two!! This would most likely indicate a “hard” fault. The computer knows with absolute certainty that there is an issue.
I explained this to our customer and he decided to bring it in to us due to the amount of hostility he received when he called the other service center back. Lo and behold, the part that the other service center installed was left disconnected! If they had driven the vehicle they would have realized this, also if they would have asked the customer to come in right away they could have resolved the issue quite easily. Everyone makes mistakes but in this situation poor customer service was the “hard” fault!
Check engine lights can be annoying when they are there staring you in the face but, the system is smart and is trying to save you from a breakdown or other serious issues.
Until next time, thanks for reading and keep those questions coming. We love hearing from you!!
This one comes from a really good customer who lives in the Los Angeles area. She writes….
“Dear Ask The Experts,
Sick Mazda Miata here! Pacific Motor Service replaced my clutch about a year ago, it feels like my 1st and 2nd gears are “slipping” and I have to gas the car harder when shifting so it won’t slip with a chugging sound.
Is my clutch still under any kind of warranty? Additionally I have to downshift alot quicker sometimes up hills to not feel like I’m about to stall. Please Advise!
Sick Mazda Miata”
We get calls like this occasionally, so we hurry to remedy the issue as soon as possible! Unfortunately she lives in Los Angeles now so I had her take it to the nearest Napa Auto Care Center so they can see what was going on for us.
Pacific Motor Service is a Napa Auto Care Center, AcDelco Center and Bosch Car Care Center so there are shops nationwide that can honor our warranty.
A slipping clutch is definitely not fun and can cause the car to be difficult to drive. At first thought, the symptoms do match a possible clutch issue but can also be several other things (Go here to learn more about clutches). A fuel pump not supplying enough fuel can cause this condition, as well as a faulty ignition system. Many sensors on this car can cause this as well.
With so many scenarios, I had her take it in. Come to find out a faulty set of spark plugs was the culprit! The spark plugs were worn and were not supplying enough voltage to fire the air fuel mixture inside the engine. A cheap and easy fix for a Miata. Our customer has reported smooth sailing ever since! Wouldn’t it be nice if our own health was that easy to fix
Until next time……
For all of you looking for answers to your complex automotive questions or your simple automotive repair questions. Look No Further! We are here to answer your questions so you can get auto repair help in an environment open to questions ranging from the silly to the complex!
Here’s how it works…Send us a message to email. We will do our absolute very best to answer all questions in a timely manner. The more detailed you are the better!
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Top Gear is one of the most popular TV shows that talks about cars. It first began as a conventional motoring magazine program in 1977. A relaunch was made in 2002 in a British television. It became a series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and then became the most widely watched factual television program in the world.
The show includes different segments, such as:
- Long-distance races
- Novelty challenges and short stunt films
- A special series that features the hosts traveling long-distance places across a foreign country or region in vehicles purchased on a limited budget.
- Power Laps, where the Stig completes a lap around the test track to gauge the performance of various cars.
Some viewers who do their own reviews about cars and want other people to know more about Top Gear submit the websites to high pr directory list
The Pacific Motor Service Expert