Morin Brothers Automotive

San Luis Obispo Auto Repair

(805) 541-2407
Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Articles:

Giant Air Bag Recall - What's the Deal??

Giant Air Bag Recall What’s the Deal?? A Japanese company, Takata, is one of the world’s  leading manufacturers of automotive safety products, including the air bags supplied to a huge number of cars. Cars and trucks manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM (non-GM made cars only), Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota are included. Most models affected were manufactured between 2000 and 2008. For a complete list and to see if there is a current recall on the air bag in your car, see nhtsa.gov and use their “vin search” function to check your car. Right now the list may be incomplete, so please check again in a month or two. So what’s the deal?  Right now (November 21, 2014) the best information suggests that the explosive material that deploys the bag is affected by high humidity, and over time it can absorb enough moisture to change the chemical properties of the propellant. Instead of deploying in a controlled , timed release ... read more

Driving Green in 2019

Driving Green - strategies for buying, driving, and maintaining a motor vehicle with minimal environmental impact. Most people don’t really consider the lifetime costs of owning a car, let alone its effect on the environment. The purchase price comes out of your pocket, but many of the other costs are shared by everyone, especially the effect they have on our environment. In this article I am trying to provide you a roadmap with different routes selected with a common goal in mind: getting from place to place with the least impact on our environment. The environmental penalty for driving a conventional car reads like some sort of existential horror story. Burning one gallon of gas consumes all the oxygen in 11,000 gallons of air and produces 20 pounds of CO2. (That’ll tell you how hard your air filter works!) The average passenger car in the US generates 5.26 tons of CO2 driving 11,500 miles in one year. The numbers become stupefying when one considers th ... read more

Takata Air Bag and Seat Belt Recalls

SAAB Takata Air Bag and Seat Belt Recalls – Morin Brothers Has Them in Stock! The list of automobiles and trucks fitted with Takata Air Bags that are being recalled continues to grow, with many Saab and a few Saturn autos added to the list. Saab 9-3 models from 2003 – 2011 and Saab 9-5 from 2008 – 2011 are now a part of the giant recall that includes literally millions of cars and light trucks fitted with the Japanese air bags. To see if your car is included in this or any other recall, go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls . Have your vehicle identification number handy, as it makes the query a lot more precise and faser. Because Saab’s dealership network is pretty much gone, Saab of North America has contracted with Morin Brothers Automotive to take care of recalled Saabs still on the road. Saab provides us with the parts and then reimburses us for the labor to install them. We typically have a dozen ... read more

Categories:

Recall

Engine Oil Takes on New Roles in Engine Management

Engine oil now operates camshaft timing and other vital functions effecting power, fuel economy, and emissions. Car manufacturers have been trying to vary the camshaft timing of the intake and exhaust valve openings for years. While it became common place on racing car engines in the 70’s and 80’s no major manufacturer had been able to reliably incorporate it into production engines until Alfa Romeo introduced it on its fabled two liter twin cam four in 1982. Even then, its performance was unreliable at best. The breakthrough came with the convergence of several improvements and changes in engine design. Firstly, the thinner lubricants, such as 0/10 weight engine oil, used to lower emissions and improve fuel economy came out, along with the improved machining technology needed to maintain the close tolerances required to use such thin oil. Secondly, increasingly sophisticated engine management computers became capable of improved multitasking, and thirdly, intelligent CAD ... read more

Ford recalls 230,000 2013 to 2015 vehicles with the 1.6 L GTDI (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) engines

Affected vehicles equipped with 1.6-liter GTDI engines include: 2014 Escape – Louisville Assembly Plant, Feb. 12, 2013 to Sept. 2, 2014 2014-15 Fiesta ST – Cuautitlan Assembly Plant, Jan. 22, 2013 to May 27, 2014 2013-14 Fusion – Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Feb. 15, 2012 to June 6, 2014 2013-15 Transit Connect – Valencia Assembly Plant, June 13, 2013 to Dec. 14, 2014 Apparently these cars and trucks are prone to coolant leaks, and in spite of the fact they have a temperature gauge to alert drivers that the engine is overheating, if the coolant gets low it will stop circulating and the engine will get hot enough to crack the cylinder head. The crack exposes a pressurized oil galley that sprays hot engine oil onto the hot exhaust with predictably disastrous consequences. Ford’s fix is to install a “Low Coolant Level” sensor in the reservoir and a light on the dash. This same engine, made by a German manufacturer, is also fitted to a number of ... read more

Intensive Electronic Engine Managements Yields Lower Emissions, Greater Reliability, and Superior Fuel Economy

I replaced a Mass Air Flow sensor on a Volvo 850 yesterday. The diagnostic protocol I completed before condemning a $350 part reminded me once again how computers have taken over every aspect of engine management, up to and including “drive-by-wire” systems that actually control the throttle in response to inputs from the gas pedal, engine speed, gear range, etc. In other words, when you press on the gas, there is only an electrical connection to the engine from the pedal. Instead of a cable, there are two range sensors and a single redundant sensor to tell the computer how far down you have pushed the gas. The computer refers to its ‘look up’ tables and decides how much to open the throttle plate. Luckily for us there are redundant sensors and a ‘limp home’ mode that allows the car to be driven in event of a failure caused by an errant 44oz Coke. The Mass Air Flow sensor I replaced in the Volvo uses a precisely heated wire to tell the computer how ... read more

Categories:

Driving green

Bicycling as Transportation

The greenest form of transportation is attached to the bottom of your legs- your feet! The ‘carbon footprint’ of walking is about as small as it gets and it has the additional benefit of being healthy as well. However it takes time, and unless you only have a mile or less to go, getting around by foot can consume a large part of your day. Riding a bicycle, on the other hand, is a lot more efficient. Its’ carbon footprint is equally modest, and in small, relatively level cities like we have here in San Luis Obispo county, you can easily run errands and ride to work in less time than it takes to find a parking space. I began riding a bicycle regularly in my early forties, and have been a member of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club (www.slobc.org) as well as several national cycling related organizations ever since. At first I learned a lot about cycling through trial and error, but when I began riding with more experienced riders I gained confidence, greater skill, and a ... read more

Categories:

Driving green

Really, Really, Green Cars

In my last article I promised to reveal my choice of “really, really, green cars, and when we will get them”. The good news is that they are here now. The bad news is that they are called ‘bicycles’ and use a form of “biofuel” that includes sweat in the equation. There are several runners up, however, that require more money but less sweat. Some, like the hybrid and diesel cars, are here now, others, like the hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen fueled cars are still in the making. Each of these options comes with environmental trade offs. All the major car manufacturers are making gasoline/electric hybrid cars. Some are small and among the most fuel-efficient cars made. Others are larger and even more powerful than their non-hybrid brethren. Their biggest drawback is complexity and the unknown (so far) life expectancy of the batteries. They all still use gasoline and contribute to global warming and pollution, just less so than non-hybrid cars. Diesel powered cars and trucks also emi ... read more

Driver Safety

Safety Before Turning the Key A new study shows that Americans need to be re-educated about proper car safety standards. A public opinion survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the National Safety Council (NSC) and Castrol GTX Start Up, reveals that 93 percent of Americans are hitting the roads ill prepared - therefore increasing their chances of a road accident. Through this first ever conducted survey on motorists' pre-start inspections and behaviors, it was found that 9 out of 10 respondents admitted to not following the recommended safety guidelines. The following is the NSC pre-start checklist: Buckle seat belts and make sure they're properly fastened. In the last 20 years, an estimated 157,500 lives have been saved by safety belts. Adjust the mirrors. Three out of 10 survey respondents do not adjust their mirrors before short trips (two hours or less), when it is more likely you will get in a crash. Position the seat and head restraints. Correctly position ... read more

Engine Oil – A Necessary Evil

The oil that lives inside the engine of your car or truck is indeed a petroleum product and comes out of one of those sixty-six dollar barrels just like gasoline. It’s origin, use, and disposal has contributed to world wide environmental degradation just like it cousin, gasoline, and, like its’ cousin, it is a necessary part of daily driving. Inside your engine it lubricates in all temperatures, from Alaska to Death Valley, it prevents corrosion and oxidation, and carries away harmful by products of combustion including water, soot, particulates, and raw gas, all the while allowing itself to be ignored by everyone but the most conscientious driver. Recommended replacement intervals for this hard-working substance are all over the map. Car manufacturers are typically recommending intervals of 7500 to 10,000 miles. Click and Clack of “Car Talk” fame recommend 5000 miles. We at Morin Brothers and most “quick lube” franchises recommend 3000 miles. So who is right? The best ... read more

Categories:

Driving green
12