Tag Archives: emission time

The Truth about Fuel Treatment Products

A clock with the words fast service on it.

Fuel treatment and additive products are everywhere. You have probably seen the commercials and magazine ads, and, if you’ve recently visited the auto parts store, the huge fuel additive displays. Each one makes bold claims, promising to reduce emissions, improve gas mileage and get your whites cleaner. Many of these claims are suspect, however. Recently, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission compelled one additive company to provide refunds to consumers who purchased their worthless fuel treatment product.* Read on to learn more about fuel additives.

Fuel Injector Cleaners

Most cars today have fuel injectors rather than carburetors, so you may wonder about the products designed to clean injectors. Most newer cars feature what are called gasoline direct fuel injectors (GDIs), which are located within the combustion chamber. This location can mean trouble for injectors, however, and buildup is essentially a given. Removing this buildup requires a specialized service procedure for GDIs. If your car has the previous-generation port fuel injectors, some high-grade additives containing PEA are shown to be somewhat effective at removing deposits.

Fuel System Cleaning Products

Fuel system cleaners are designed to clean the entire system, not just the injectors. Those components include (if applicable for your car) carburetors, intake valves, ports and combustion chambers. These all-purpose additives can range from $10 to well over $100, and most have no scientific basis for their claims. Most car-care professionals advise against using these products if you already have a problem, but believe that some of the better ones are useful as a preventive treatment if you put a lot of miles on your vehicle.

When You Should Use Fuel Additives

If you don’t drive your car often, or if you have a vehicle that you only use on occasion, fuel stabilizer products will help prevent your gas from becoming stale. If your goal is to improve gas mileage, however, skip the additives and instead focus on keeping your tires properly inflated, your air filter clean and your wheels properly aligned. If you have an older car, additives can help reduce carbon buildup if you use them consistently. If you have a problem with water in your gasoline, look for a treatment containing the ingredient PIB, which is known to help remove water. The ingredient known as PEA contains nitrogen and is regarded as the one additive that can provide some degree of fuel system cleaning.

Providing car care services, safety inspections and on-the-spot registration renewal stickers in the Sandy and Salt Lake City areas, Emission Time provides the high-quality service that will keep your car running strong year after year. Visit Emission Time today for speedy, professional service. While you’re there, ask whether fuel treatment may be helpful for you.

Get to Know Your Friend the Air Filter

A clock with the words fast service on it.

Your car’s air filter may seem innocuous, but it’s actually important for many reasons. The air filter plays a key role in the efficient operation of your vehicle, so it’s important to keep it clean. A dirty air filter can cause a variety of problems and even result in a mechanical breakdown. Once you understand how the filter works and where it’s located, you’ll always be able to tell if it’s dirty and even handle the replacement yourself if you prefer.

What Your Air Filter Does

Situated somewhere at the top of your engine compartment is a square-shaped air cleaner assembly. If you remove the top of the cleaner assembly, you will see that the filter sits right inside. Below the filter is a long plastic hose. Air is pulled in through the filter, down the tube and into the engine where it mixes with fuel. In very simple terms, if your car is idling, at a stop light for example, little air is necessary. The more you accelerate, however, the more air is needed to run the engine. The important thing to remember is that every bit of air that’s pulled in must pass through the air filter before reaching the engine.

Why a Clean Air Filter is Important

Your engine runs on a tightly controlled mixture of fuel and air. In fact, for every gallon of gas, your car needs as much as 10,000 gallons of air. A dirty filter restricts the flow of air, depriving your engine and causing it to run poorly. The result can be poor gas mileage, reduced acceleration, poor engine performance and excess emissions. It can even reduce the life of your engine components. For all the critical services they provide, air filters are actually quite cost-effective. You will save by money by changing them every three to six months. In fact, many drivers replace them with every oil change.

How to Know if Your Air Filter is Dirty

The dirt and debris that contribute to clogging up a filter accumulate over time. Living or driving in an area where there’s lots of dust, such as near a construction zone, can cause it to become dirty more quickly, as can doing a lot of driving. Under normal conditions, most cars require a filter change every 15,000 miles, but experts advise checking its condition after 10,000, especially under heavy use. You may notice that your car’s acceleration capabilities have decreased or that your gas mileage is dropping. The easiest way to tell if your filter needs changing is to open the air cleaner and visually inspect it. New, the paper folds are a light color, free from dirt or debris. With use, the light color will darken and you may notice an accumulation of dirt within the folds.

In the Sandy and Salt Lake City areas, Emission Time is committed to keeping your vehicle running smoothly at all times. The experienced technicians can help you with regular maintenance as well as safety inspections and DMV registration renewals. Drop by and talk to them about changing your car’s air filter.

Is a Cracked Windshield Dangerous?

A clock with the words fast service on it.

Lots of people drive around with a cracked windshield, which you may have heard is dangerous. So is it? In Utah, you’ll have to replace it before you can pass your next scheduled safety inspection anyway, but you should not wait that long for several reasons. In fact, safety experts recommend having it repaired or replaced immediately, and not to drive the vehicle at all if the crack disrupts your view.

The Risks of a Broken Windshield

It is certainly a hassle to have a broken windshield, but the problems stretch further than your inconvenience. Motor vehicles have windshields to ensure the safety of both driver and passengers, not just to protect them from wind and airborne objects, but also to provide a significant level of structural support for the passenger cabin in the case of a rollover. A tiny rock chip that you repair promptly probably doesn’t pose too much of a threat, but more damage than that, and the original factory seal on the windshield becomes compromised and, along with it, the structural integrity of the glass.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Windshield?

The answers on this vary, depending on whom you ask. The repair people naturally advise you to have the chip repaired. Most experts advise having minor rock chips repaired immediately, before they have a chance to spread. But if the chip blocks your line of sight or if it’s located near any edge, replacement is probably the safer option. Although some shops claim to successfully repair extensive cracks, the reliability of the glass is compromised and your safety is at risk.

Until You Can Replace Your Windshield, Do This.

If the crack disrupts your vision while driving, experts warn that you shouldn’t drive your car. The same thing applies if the crack is longer than 12 inches or if the star is larger in diameter than about an inch. Besides the safety risk, you can also get a traffic ticket for driving with a cracked windshield. It’s also important to keep dirt out of the crack or chip. Place some clear packing tape over it, but only if it isn’t disruptive to your vision.

Keep the windshield out of the sun as well, as ultraviolet light can discolor the cracked area, but more important, heating up the already-weakened glass can cause it to shatter, especially if you crank up the AC or defroster while the windshield is hot. Finally, don’t get your car washed until the replacement is complete.

Emission Time in Sandy and Salt Lake City offers windshield repair along with DMV inspections and renewal stickers on the spot. Call or stop by for a price quote today, before your cracked windshield gets you into hot water.

Spring Road Trip Tips

A clock with the words fast service on it.

Warmer weather means a road trip for many families in northern Utah. Spring break provides a perfect opportunity to pack up and head out, alone or with family and friends. Whether you’re visiting relatives or hitting the trails for some hiking, preparation is the key to enjoying your trek. Read on for some helpful hints for packing, planning and preparing your vehicle for the perfect trip.

Packing for Spring Travel

After a long, cold winter, your family is likely ready to enjoy the warmer weather. Because spring has barely begun, however, expect some cool evenings or even a little rain. Pack the shorts and sunscreen, but take along sweatshirts or light jackets too. Layering is the perfect strategy for transitioning between warm afternoons and the cold breeze that can pick up when the sun goes down. Make sure everyone has a light backpack in which they can stow extra layers until they’re needed. And of course, be sure to take a first-aid kit, a paper map of the area (in case cell service isn’t available), water and energy bars. Being prepared can mean the difference between an adventure and a potential emergency if you become lost or stranded.

How Much Planning is Too Much?

Sometimes the best trips are those that let you explore an unknown road. Even if your goal is to follow your whims on your spring road trip, establish some basic parameters that you can share with a family member or trusted friend at home. There’s no need to plan every detail of your days, but develop a broad itinerary that tracks your trip and location from day to day. If, along the way, you discover a delightful location that you want to explore further, give your contact at home a call to update your plans. A little forethought and a quick text will give everyone peace of mind. Take along a small notepad (keep it in your car’s glove box for easy access) and jot down information about those places you would like to visit in the future. There’s always next spring!

Prepare Your Vehicle for the Trek

Winter weather is notoriously harsh on your car, especially if it’s a few years older. The transition from cold to warm can affect tire pressure, coolant and even windshield wipers. Spend a little time checking your tires for proper inflation and unexpected wear. Don’t forget to inspect the spare and the jack; you don’t want to be stuck with a flat tire and no spare or working jack. Have your oil changed, and don’t forget the air filter while you’re at it. Check windshield wipers and replace them if necessary. Check your battery’s charge as well as hoses and belts. Finally, make sure your headlights, taillights, turn signals and emergency lights are all working correctly.

Before you head out for your adventure, swing by Emission Time in either Sandy or Salt Lake City for a quick oil change and inspection. Their professional technicians will make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and ready to safely take you on your spring road trip.

Registering Off-Road Vehicles in Utah

A clock with the words fast service on it.

Off-road vehicles are popular in northern Utah, thanks to the many recreational opportunities this beautiful area offers. Each state establishes its own governing laws and requirements for the use and licensing of recreational motor vehicles, including the definition of what constitutes an off-road or off-highway vehicle. Utah’s requirements are fairly straightforward, but understanding the related rules and requirements will keep you safe and legal while you enjoy the great outdoors.

What is Considered an Off-Road Vehicle?

Utah’s classification of off-road vehicles is OHV (off-highway vehicle) and the registration process is only slightly different than that for standard passenger cars and motorcycles. OHVs include snowmobiles, type I and type II all-terrain vehicles, sand rails, utility terrain vehicles, motorbikes and farming or agricultural equipment. OHV permitting applies to any motorized or motor-assisted vehicle that does not meet the Utah traffic code for operation on a street or highway. Off-road vehicles that meet the standards for street use may be registered using the normal procedure, which requires that the operator have a driver’s license even if the vehicle will not be used on the streets or highways.

Licensing and Registration Requirements of Off-Road Vehicles

Off-road or off-highway vehicle registrations are valid for one year. The specific procedure varies based on the vehicle’s type, but follows the same basic procedure required for standard motor vehicles. You must have a driver’s license to register an OHV, as well as proof of ownership (title) and proof of insurance. You are not required in most cases to have a safety inspection or emissions certificate if the vehicle will only be operated off-road. Anyone between the ages of 8 and 15 may operate an OHV under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian. For those over the age of 15, a driver’s license or an approved OHV education certificate is required. You must display your registration sticker on the specified area of your OHV at all times.

Related Utah Off-Road Vehicle Rules

Several other Utah DMV rules related to OHVs are not technically related to registration, but they do govern the safe and legal operation of OHVs. Riders under the age of 18 are required to wear protective headgear or helmets. You are only allowed to operate OHVs on private property with the property owner’s express permission. And of course you must always obey all federal, state and municipal laws and regulations. If you are an out-of-state resident visiting Utah with your OHV, you must apply for a non-resident temporary permit. You’ll need proof of residency from your state and proof that your vehicle is owned by an out-of-state resident. The non-resident permit application is available online on the DMV’s website.

For your on-road vehicle registration renewal needs, Emission Time in Sandy and Salt Lake City provides emissions and safety inspections as well as on-the-spot registration renewal. They also offer a variety of automotive maintenance and repair services. Their quick, professional service will have you in and out in no time, leaving you more time to enjoy your off-road vehicle.

Resolve to Reduce Utah Air Pollution in 2015

A clock with the words fast service on it.

This year, resolving to help reduce Utah air pollution might be the best commitment you make for yourself and the environment. In northern Utah, especially along the Wasatch Front, both summer and winter weather bring their own unique set of pollution problems. Bad air can contribute to a variety of health issues, restricting movement and reducing quality of life. Read on for some helpful tips for reducing your contribution to air pollution this year.

Utah Air Pollution Challenges

During the summer, sunlight and heat mix with high, harmful ozone levels that result from vehicular traffic. During the winter, wood fires and vehicle emissions create large quantities of particulates in the air. These particulates often become trapped under a dense layer of air known as an inversion. Inversions can remain in place for days or weeks, until a weather change blows it out. Particulates grow denser in the air during an inversion and the longer the condition lasts, the worse the problem becomes. The effects of these conditions on the human body can be dire.

How Air Pollution Affects the Body

Airborne particulates can cause problems even for normally healthy individuals. For people with existing health issues or other risk factors, however, the problem becomes more serious. Pollution can greatly worsen asthma and other lung diseases. For those with cardiovascular disease (congestive heart failure, for example), chest pain and shortness of breath are common results of inversion and high particulates. In extreme cases, high levels of pollution can even trigger a heart attack in at-risk individuals. Children and the elderly face the greatest risk, but even healthy people may need to limit their outdoor activities during these times.

What You Can Do to Help

During the summer months, simply driving your car less (or not at all) during the day is helpful, as is fueling up your car either during the early morning or late evening. In the wintertime, when more than half the pollution comes from vehicle emissions, consider carpooling or taking public transportation, and work from home whenever you can. Avoid idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds at a time. Accelerate more slowly and obey the speed limit. But most important, keeping your car in good working order can greatly reduce the amount of dangerous emissions it produces.

In the Sandy and Salt Lake areas, Emission Time is committed to helping residents reduce their personal contribution to Utah’s pollution problems. Visit them for your vehicle emissions testing and on-the-spot vehicle registration renewal, as well as many types of automotive repair services. In 2015, resolve to let Emission Time help you reduce Utah air pollution.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

A clock with the words fast service on it.

When you must drive in bad weather, winter driving safety tips may mean the difference between reaching your destination unscathed and an unpleasant alternative. In northern Utah, driving conditions can go from normal to harsh in a short time, leaving you unprepared. Before you unexpectedly encounter harsh winter driving conditions, read these simple tips for staying safe on the roads.

Preparing Your Vehicle

Remove snow and ice from the entire vehicle before setting off on your journey. Start the car and allow it to warm up (not in an enclosed garage, however), at least long enough to start producing heat and for the defroster to be effective. Bring along tire chains, traction pads, or at least some sand or cat litter, in the event you become stuck. Also be sure you have a flashlight, jumper cables, ice scraper, flares and plenty of water. Finally, ensure that you have a full tank of gas.

Techniques for Winter Weather Driving

Whenever possible try to avoid driving in bad conditions, especially if visibility is compromised. If it can’t be helped, go as slowly as you safely can. Use your headlights but avoid using your high-beams. Double or even triple the distance with which you follow the vehicle in front of you. When traveling on icy roads, use your brakes as little as possible. If you must use your brakes, apply them slowly and sparingly using a gentle squeeze to avoid skidding. Hard braking, sudden acceleration, high speeds and jerking movements of the steering wheel can all cause skidding. Driving in difficult conditions is especially stressful and tiring. Take a break at least every two to three hours.

How to Handle a Skid

The significance of knowing how to handle a skidding car can’t be overemphasized. Most people have never encountered a skid and consequently panic when they don’t know what to do. No matter what, try to remain calm. If you lose traction of the rear wheels (meaning that the back of the car begins to swing around toward the front), keep your eyes locked on the direction you want to go and steer your car in that direction as well. Do not slam on the brakes. Once your rear wheels regain traction, continue to actively steer, to prevent the car from swinging the other direction. Front wheel skids happen when cars lose traction in the front, taking away your ability to steer. Handle this skid exactly like a rear wheel skid but do apply your breaks lightly and steadily using a squeezing technique.

No matter how careful or capable you are as a driver, you won’t be able to steer clear of mechanical failure if your car hasn’t been properly maintained. Keeping your vehicle in good shape and running properly will help ensure your safety on the road. Serving the Sandy and Salt Lake areas, Emission Time provides on-the-spot vehicle registration renewal as well as vehicle maintenance services. Stop by before your next road trip and ask them to recommend some strategies for winter driving safety.

How to Replace Windshield Wipers

A clock with the words fast service on it.

When drivers ask how to replace windshield wipers, they are often referring to the wiper blades only. Wiper blades are made of rubber, which has limited life under the harsh weather conditions of northern Utah. Consequently, blades should be replaced once or twice each year (spring and fall) for safety. This can be a daunting proposition for some, but with these simple tips, you can handle this important task easily and quickly.

Which Windshield Wipers to Choose

Choosing the right wiper blades for your vehicle is half the battle. Select the highest-quality brand available to ensure your safety in bad weather conditions. Your car’s owner’s manual may provide the size and arm type. Alternatively, most blade manufacturers offer an online search tool. Auto parts stores may also have reference catalogs, organized by auto year, make and model. The safest way to be sure you get the right blade length and arm type is to check with a trusted auto repair shop in your area. Many cars require a different blade for each wiper, so be sure to look for both driver and passenger side specifications. Experts suggest buying two sets of blades, and always keeping one in the trunk for emergencies.

Wiper Blade Removal

Windshield wiper arms typically have three segments: the lower arm attached to the car below the windshield, the upper arm and the blade assembly that attaches to the upper arm. Examine your new blades for an easy way to know what you’re looking for. Gently lift the wiper arm away from the windshield (be careful with older models however, as they may not lift out the way newer cars do). Hold the arm with one hand at all times to make sure it doesn’t snap back down unexpectedly. Look for the hook or pin that holds the blade and gently press the rubber stopper that holds it down. The old blade should release.

Installing New Wiper Blades

Place the new blade onto the upper arm assembly. Wiggle the blade gently into place (you’ll feel a little snap when you have it right), replace the rubber stopper and place the arm back onto the windshield. Repeat with the other side, and test for correct operation.

Newer blade designs have started to pop up, including a frameless style. If you have any trouble selecting or installing your new wipers, play it safe and call on a professional. In the Sandy and Salt Lake areas, Emission Time’s experienced technicians can help you with maintenance and repair as well as on-the-spot registration renewal. They can even help you learn how to replace windshield wipers on your vehicle!

Is it Time for New Brakes?

Experts estimate that the average set of car brake padsA clock with the words fast service on it. will last between 30,000 and 60,000 miles, depending on the car itself and the braking habits of the driver. Brake rotors should last much longer than this, possibly longer than you will own your vehicle. So, when we talk about putting new brakes on your car, we generally mean replacing the brake pads and possibly resurfacing (“turningâ€) the rotors to ensure even wear. Most modern cars have disc brakes on the front wheels and probably the rear, although drum brakes are used on the rear in some vehicles. Brake pads are composed of all kinds of materials, including ceramic compounds, steel, mineral fibers, and copper fibers.

When to Replace Brake Pads

Whenever you brake, the pads squeeze together against the rotor, creating friction that slows, then stops your vehicle. Each time you apply the brakes, a microscopic layer of the pad’s material wears off. Replacing brake pads becomes necessary when they wear down to a certain thickness. Most brake pads come with a built-in warning system to alert you when it’s time to change them. Yours may trip a dash warning light or they may begin to make a high-pitched chirp as you drive, or… they may give you no warning at all.

How to Check Brake Pads

Brakes are obviously critical for your safety behind the wheel, so never leave anything to chance. You should have your mechanic inspect your brake pads when having an oil change or other service, but you can also check them yourself. Check every three months if you are an active driver. Listen for the squeaking noise described above. Check your wheels for brake dust, as the level of dust will decrease as the pads begin to wear out. Depending on your wheels, you should be able to see your brake pads from outside the car. Visually check the thickness of the pads, which should be more than ¼†thick. Many brake pads have a groove running vertically down the center of the pad. As the pad wears, that grove begins to disappear. If it is mostly gone, it’s time for new pads.

Where to Get Brake Pads Replaced

Unless you really know how to replace disc brake pads, you are much better served by having a professional do the work. Look for a local auto repair shop like Emission Time that offers free inspections and that will show you your old parts as a part of the service process. Be wary of any brake repair shop that offers a lifetime warranty, as that usually signals a gimmick that can actually damage your rotors or brake system. Be wary also of shops that advertise prices for brake service, because the cost of brake pad replacement should vary literally from vehicle to vehicle.