man in filling gas in gasoline station

Many people notice that their gas gauge drops more quickly than it used to, and they blame the car. But is this just a coincidence? Probably not. Your vehicle may be guzzling gas faster because of one or two simple things you can do on your own! This blog post explains why your car seems…

Color swatches - Auto Repair Shops in San Marcos, Tx that do oil change and engine diagnostic services
What does your car’s exhaust smoke color mean? This quick guide will help you know what the different exhaust smoke colors mean and when it’s time to seek automotive repair services at a shop in Texas! Read on to learn more about common car exhaust smoke colors and what they mean.

Blue Smoke

If you’re wondering if your vehicle has a problem, there are a few things to look for. One is blue smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, which indicates that your engine is burning oil. This happens when you burn more oil than usual; it could be because of faulty rings or valve seals or other parts that need replacing. If you see blue smoke regularly (such as every morning), it’s likely that something needs replacing; otherwise, it shouldn’t happen frequently. Another cause of blue smoke is rust from an old catalytic converter. Blue smoke on occasion won’t harm your car immediately, but regular occurrences will degrade performance over time by using up necessary resources like oxygen and fuel needed to go faster or further before refilling gas tanks.

Black Smoke

This is a sure sign that something is seriously wrong. Black smoke usually results from oil burning, which happens when there’s not enough air for fuel to burn completely, or when excessive amounts of fuel are present. It can also be caused by mechanical issues with your engine. Either way, you should stop driving and check under your hood right away. The best thing to do in case of black smoke is to find a safe place to pull over and call for help.

Gray Smoke

This is normal exhaust smoke. It’s actually water vapor. If you see gray, blue or white smoke when you look at your tailpipe, don’t worry; it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your car. The color of gray smoke comes from unburned hydrocarbons (HC) in oil; HCs are present in minute amounts in combustion gases of all internal combustion engines. When catalytic converters were introduced on passenger cars to reduce emissions, unburned HC concentrations in exhaust fell quickly because modern catalysts convert nearly 100% of these compounds into carbon dioxide and water. The presence of hydrogen sulfide gas in car exhaust may give rise to a visible plume that has a ‘rotten egg’ smell.

White Smoke

Your engine has an air-fuel mixture that is too rich. This can be caused by a leaking fuel injector or faulty fuel pressure regulator, or it could be because of an incorrect oxygen sensor reading. The white smoke means there is too much fuel for your car to burn; therefore, some of it ends up in your exhaust pipe. If you don’t get it fixed soon, you will have damage to your catalytic converter(s). A clogged converter can lead to expensive replacement work. So if you see white smoke coming from your tailpipe, bring your vehicle into a shop right away.

In Conclusion

Catalytic converters use platinum and palladium to convert gases into less harmful chemicals, but eventually they run out of those metals. In some areas, car owners can request a renewal inspection at their local DMV—but not all states have one—where experts will confirm whether it’s time for a new one. Some vehicles may emit both white and blue smoke occasionally due to overheating under extreme conditions such as mountain driving or heavy loads that require large amounts of torque to move. If you have any concerns about your car’s exhaust, it’s always best to discuss with your local mechanic to get an professional opinion.

Engine Diagnostic Services in San Marcos, Tx

If you are noticing any signs of your vehicle needing engine diagnostic services, its best to take it in to one of the trustworthy auto repair shops in San Marcos, Tx such as Reliable Automotive. We can help you with anything from diagnostic services to an oil change all at your convenience in San Marcos, Tx. Give us a call or visit our website today!
Car exhaust pipe

Catalytic converters are a piece of car equipment that clean the exhaust from your vehicle. They are an essential part of your vehicle’s exhaust system. They act as a cleaner, converting harmful chemicals in the car’s exhaust into less harmful substances before entering the environment. Catalytic converters help improve air quality and lower emissions, which…

Dashboard battery light

You’re using your new car for the first time, and it’s perfect! The dash is clean, and you have everything you need in place. But then, something becomes amiss—the little dashboard light shaped like a battery suddenly comes on. What does this mean? Is your battery about to die? Does it need to be replaced?…

A close up of a mechanic pouring oil into a car during routine car/ vehicle maintenance in San Marcos, Buda, or Kyle, Tx

While car maintenance costs money, it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. Regularly scheduled maintenance of your vehicle will help keep it running smoothly and efficiently, which in turn helps to reduce the amount that you spend on expensive repairs. It also means that you’ll be able to drive…

Close-up of a serpentine belt installed on an engine

A Serpentine Belt is a simple device which, if neglected, can leave a driver stranded. In most cases, there is plenty of opportunity to avoid such a disaster. Simple inspections and paying attention to the performance of the vehicle gives a driver clues that the Serpentine Belt is in need of replacement. What Is It,…

A woman frustrated that her car jerks while accelerating.
While diving can be stressful, experiencing a sudden jerk while you accelerate can be downright scary. If a sudden jerk catches you off-guard you may even lose control of your vehicle. It’s important to know the possible reasons your car may jerk while accelerating, and how to fix these issues. Below, we’ve outlined some common possible causes and fixes.

1. Clogged Fuel Injectors

Having clogged fuel injectors is a very common issue that can cause many car problems. A clogged fuel injector can prevent the fuel your car needs to accelerate, thus causing you car to jerk in the process. If you hear your car engine stuttering, then the injectors may not be providing an adequate amount of fuel. To fix this, you should clean the injectors on a regular basis. Using a fuel injector cleaning solution might eliminate the issue of the car jerking. If the clog is too severe, the injectors may need to be taken out and cleaned or replaced by a mechanic.

2. Obstructed Catalytic Converter

Your car’s catalytic converter manages the reduction of exhaust particles that your car puts out. However, if the converter is obstructed with too much exhaust/air, then it can become obstructed. This can also cause the airflow to be impeded throughout the car’s exhaust system. This can result in jerking and stuttering, which can cause your car to become unresponsive during acceleration. Other than the possible jerking, you may also experience bad smells, an illuminated check engine light, or decreased fuel economy. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may be able to clean out the converter using a cleaner. However, if the issue needs more than a cleaner, then you will need to have a mechanic investigate, and it may end up needing to be replaced.

3. Defective Mass Airflow Sensor

Having a defective mass airflow sensor could certainly cause your car to jerk or even lung forward while accelerating. The mass airflow sensor helps measures the amount of air that your car engine takes in. Based on the amount of air intake, the MAF data is used to adjust the injectors to supply an adequate fuel amount when necessary so that an ideal air and fuel mixture is maintained. If the mass airflow sensor becomes defective, jerking can occur as you accelerate or drive at higher speeds. It may be noticed a lot as you drive at a constant high speed such as highway diving. You may notice black smoke coming from your tailpipe or your engine may backfire, and you will likely be notified of a problem when the check engine comes on. To fix this issue you’ll need to have the sensor replaced.

4. Dirty Fuel Filter

Car jerking is often due to the amount of fuel being supplied to the engine, so checking the fuel filter and fuel pump is a good place to start diagnosing. When a car has a faulty fuel pump your car will have a hard time maintaining the required amount of fuel needed for accelerating. You will likely need to have it replaced.

5. Clogged Air Filter

Proper air intake is essential for your car to run properly, so it is necessary to have a clean air filter. When your air filter is dirty, it decreases the amount of available air that the engine needs to combust properly. The air filter’s job is to prevent dirt and debris from entering the engine. When the filter becomes too dirty, it may allow some of the built-up dirt to enter. When this happens, your car may begin to jerk. By keeping an eye on the filter’s cleanliness, you will be able to prevent clogging, and when it becomes too dirty to clean you’ll need to replace it.

6. Spark Plugs Don’t Spark

Checking the spark plugs and identifying if they no longer spark is easy to do and fix. When the spark plugs are working properly, they ensure power is properly provided to the vehicle. Having the spark plugs misfire due to being worn out can cause jerking or shuttering while you accelerate and drive. To prevent any misfiring, you can just replace the plugs. To prevent any other spark plug issues, it’s a good idea to have all the plugs replaced.

7. Worn Out Accelerator Cable

Although most cars today use a throttle that is electronic, many older cars still utilize a cable that helps the vehicle accelerate. This cable is the link between the throttle’s plate and gas pedal. As times passes, you may wind up with a worn-out accelerator cable on your hands. If this is the case, then the car will not respond normally as you attempt to accelerate, which can lead to jerking. If the cable shows signs of damage or wear and tear, you’ll need to have it immediately fixed or replaced to ensure that it does not snap, which will prevent the car from being drivable.

8. Malfunctioning Transmission Control Module

A malfunctioning transmission control module can be another cause of jerking as your car’s gears shift. If you feel the jerk as your car shifts gears, you need to check the control module. The transmission control module controls the shifting as you accelerate, so you may experience delays with shifting, which can cause your car to jerk. While this is not as common of an issue as others in this list, it can certainly be the culprit behind your car jerking.
A truck parked by an ocean with a driver and passenger inside

Idling your car’s engine is sometimes unavoidable. Perhaps you need to find a place to stop and check your GPS quickly, or perhaps you’re waiting for a passenger who will be arriving in a few minutes. Suppose you’re stuck on the road in heavy traffic, or you’re stopped at an especially long red light. Drivers…

Woman in the passenger seat of a convertible enjoying a summer road trip

Summer is the season for road trips, traveling, and spending time out on the town enjoying fun in the sun. While the summer heat is perfect for enjoying a on the river or at the beach, it can be demanding on your car. The last thing you want to happen while you’re on the road…

A dashboard odometer showing 240,970 miles

The life span of a vehicle doesn’t end when it reaches 100,000 miles plus. Taking proper care of a high mileage vehicle will keep it running like the day it came off the lot. Not only can proper maintenance enable a vehicle to last longer than 100,000 miles, but it also saves money in the…

Woman driving

A vehicle is no small investment, and every motorist wants to know that they’ll get the most out of their purchase and not need to shop for a new one for a while. To achieve this goal, you probably already know that regular maintenance and checkups are important to maintain your engine’s longevity. You might not realize, however, that some of your driving habits may be inadvertently shortening your engine’s lifespan. Even if no problems show up in the moment, certain habits can put unnecessary wear on the engine that adds up over time. Avoid this undo strain by adopting some of these more engine-friendly driving habits below.

Don’t Start and Stop Abruptly

While stopping abruptly is sometimes unavoidable on the road, habitually braking and accelerating harder than necessary will  that put undo stress on the engine and wheels. Cars, trucks and SUVs alike desire smooth transitions so that their engines don’t have to work overtime to compensate. It may not seem like a big deal in the moment, but those abrupt transitions definitely start to add up over time much like smoking cigarettes start to affect the lungs. Your car needs to be treated with respect, so braking and accelerating slowly is paramount to optimal engine health. It will preserve the engine for the long term and benefit your wallet when you don’t need a premature repair.

Never Put the Pedal to the Metal

There are some people who like to show off the performance of their engine and rev it up beyond measure by accelerating and even doing illegal tricks. Not only does this type of driving compromise the safety of others, but it also compromises the integrity of your engine. Avoid showing your engine’s horsepower off to your friends and treat it with respect like a horse rider would their stallion. Your steed will thank you when you aren’t constantly whipping it to accelerate excessively or doing donuts in a parking lot. Every action has its set of consequences, and this type of reckless driving will run the engine into the ground around 50 percent quicker. Avoid sharp turns and opt for smoother ones that encourage engine health and keep things flowing better overall. Treat your car the way you want to be treated, and it will pay dividends in the long run.

Avoid Overloading to Decrease Wear and Tear

When you add excessive loads to any vehicle over long periods of time, it will drastically affect engine performance and accelerate its degradation. If you have excessive items that could be stored elsewhere, then consider lightening the load to reduce the stress. The more weight you load into your vehicle, the harder it has to work. There’s nothing wrong with transporting people and items from time to time, but carrying heavy loads over long distances on a routine basis should be avoided at all costs if you wish to get the most out of your engine. It’s no cheap matter to need engine repairs or a replacement, and if there is excess weight pushing down the car, then it will retire much quicker. Topping up the fuel can help with this if you have to transport heavy loads from time to time, because the car can focus more on accommodating the weight instead of struggling to guzzle fuel effectively.

Drive Regularly for Increased Circulation

Some may believe that driving a vehicle less will minimize wear and tear on its parts, naturally increasing the life of its engine. Although this may seem like a logical conclusion, you might be surprised to learn that engine inactivity may result in loss of functionality. It’s similar to how exercise in humans is a good thing and keeps the blood flowing. Most engines tend to function better and are less stressed when they are running on a consistent basis. This is because the oil is circulated better and the car develops a routine that keeps things lubricated and the engine running well. Take consideration to at least run the engine every now and then if you’re in a position to stay at home for longer periods of time and have a low-mileage vehicle. Even drive it on the highway now and again to ensure you wake the engine up and keep things healthy.

Don’t Park Outside

We often underestimate how damaging extreme weather can be to any vehicle. They seem like they could weather any conditions, and it’s true that many types of vehicles are very resilient. However, excessive heat or cold conditions will inevitably have consequences even if they are subtle. The engine can freeze and have a hard time starting, and the heat can also potentially melt certain sensitive components. It’s much more advantageous for your engine to keep it in a temperature-controlled garage because it can still tread at unacceptable temperatures. If you have no other options or lack a garage, then there are special temperature control tarps that can help protect the engine integrity in aggressive weather. Temperature is important to regulate, but there are also external forces like hail and other vehicles that could potentially hit your car and damage it internally.

Stay Away from Potholes and Rough Roads

As most are aware, some streets are far more dangerous than others. Large potholes can easily damage not only the engine but also other internal and external parts of your car. Rough roads can also force the engine to work overtime to continue moving forward, causing it to use fuel less efficiently. If you know of certain routes that have a rough road or potholes, then it would be wise to avoid them. There might be times when you’re forced to traverse these streets, so you should pay attention to the potholes to avoid them as much as possible. The worst thing you can do is speed fast on these roads, because that can potentially destroy the engine very quickly. Take careful precautions to drive slowly, and this will reduce unnecessary stress on the engine.

Keep Up with Routine Maintenance

If you notice stuttering in your engine, then it’s definitely time to take it in for servicing and inspection. However, it would be better to take it in for routine inspection on a continual basis, as this can save you money. It’s not a good idea to wait until your engine fails because that is a stressful situation that no one wants to be in. Most modern cars have signals that will show you when the engine needs servicing, and you would be wise to heed these warnings when they appear instead of continuing to drive it. These are the rudimentary essentials of taking care of your engine, and regular upkeep is critical to keeping things running smoothly for the long term. Make sure you take it to a qualified professional to gain insight on the necessary procedures. For example, they may recommend an engine flush, which can yield noticeable differences.

Closing Thoughts

Habits can be difficult to change, but it’ll be worth it when your vehicle still runs like new even after years of regular use. Adopting these habits could mean the difference between having your engine give out at 100,000 miles vs 200,000 miles. Treat your engine right, and it will stay reliable for years to come.
If you’re looking for a body or automotive repair shop in Kyle TX, consider contacting Reliable Automotive today!
Woman holding her nose after starting her car

The smell of something burning in your car can be caused by many issues relating to the engine or other systems in some cases. The smell could stem from things as simple as a belt or something more technical like burning oil. When these smells occur, the driver needs to take action right away in…

Hand turning a key in a vehicle's ignition

One of the most important and often neglected areas of car maintenance is the ignition and starting system. Most drivers don’t consider the many working parts that go into the simple act of inserting the key and putting the car into gear. There are a couple of different places to check when your car won’t…

SUV on a dirt trail overlooking a hill country view

If you have ever taken your vehicle off-road, then you know that a lot more is involved than getting some mud stuck in your grill. It also includes digging through deep sand and mud, kicking up rocks, and taking a dip through streams. Off-roading is more than a hobby. In fact, many enjoy it as…

View from a car's cabin looking out through a cracked windshield

No car owner loves or wants a cracked or chipped windshield. Even if the damage seems minimal, broken windshields are distracting and unattractive. While small cracks in the windshield seem to be harmless because the windshield itself is still intact, driving with windshield damage of any kind is a worse idea than many think it…

Pickup truck visiting a local repair shop

Your vehicle is one of the most important assets you own. It gets you from place to place and provides you a method of private transportation. That’s why it’s important to keep your vehicle running at optimum performance and to understand when to take it to a repair shop. You never want to be going…

Jeeps covered in snow in the winter

A car, truck or SUV is one of the most valuable possessions you have, so it’s best to understand the optimal way to take care of it. When the weather gets nasty and cold, it can cause havoc on your vehicle, and damage can easily happen. Sometimes this damage is so severe it will cost you a good deal of money to fix or might even be unfixable. It’s best to never let your vehicle get to this point when exposing it to the elements. If you’re unable to park your car inside a garage, then you should be aware of how cold weather affects your vehicle so you are on the lookout for what issues might arise and how you can handle them.

Battery Problems

Your car battery is no different from any other battery. It will lose its power to the cold when it is exposed to it for long periods of time. Cold weather drains car batteries quickly, so if you don’t have a strong battery then you won’t be able to rely on its surviving in the cold. It’s best to always have a battery with a good amount of charge when going into the winter months so you can be better prepared to brace the elements with a battery that works. You can either buy a new battery if you think yours won’t make it or go to an auto shop to get your battery checked first. No matter what you do, making sure your battery is good to go in cold months is key in your vehicle surviving.

Salt Damage

If you live in an area that experiences frequent freezes, you might notice a white coating your vehicle in the winter months. Typically, this isn’t from snow but from salt. Salt is used to stop roads from becoming icy and to make them safe to drive on. It can also stick to your car, and if it’s there for too long it will eat away at your vehicle. It can eat away at your paint job or even the under carriage of your vehicle. It can create holes and cause damage that is expensive to repair. It’s best to avoid this by getting your car washed as frequently as possible. If you can, getting a wax job done on your vehicle will also help you to preserve the paint job better against salt in the colder months.

Tire Pressure

The last thing that cold weather will definitely affect on your vehicle is tire pressure. Tire pressure can be easily altered by cold weather because air expands and shrinks depending on the temperature around it. It’s common to see your car’s sensors go off and say that you have low tire pressure during the winter months. This is due to the cold air affecting your tires. There are a few different options you can take if this happens to you. You can take your car to a gas station and put air in the tires. Likely, it’s lost some air to the cold weather so you’ll need to add more. Some people just ignore the sensors on their cars, because they know the sensor warning will go away when the weather gets warm again. This might work if you don’t drive your vehicle very much, but it’s always best to keep your tires at optimal pressure throughout all months of the year.

Prevention is Key

Even if we only experience winter weather briefly here in Texas, it’s important to know how it’s going to affect your vehicle and how you can prevent serious issues. If you have any concerns, take your vehicle in to an auto shop like Reliable Automotive as soon as the road conditions allow. It’s better to catch winter-related issues sooner rather than later.

From car inspections, to tire repair, Reliable Automotive in Buda TX has you covered! Consider contacting us today to see how we can help!

Hand putting money into a piggy bank shaped like a car

In the fast-paced modern world of 2021, cars have become commonplace luxury items, with many families owning more than one per household in order to meet all of their scheduling needs. At the same time, knowledge of maintenance requirements isn’t as popular as the cars themselves. In fact, many individuals end up going into debt…

Fireworks reflecting off a vehicle's window

With a new year comes new resolutions. Common resolutions often include being healthier and living a more positive lifestyle. No matter what your resolutions are, having a reliable car is important for getting you to and from your goals. That’s why frequent car maintenance should be at the top of your list of New Year’s…

Hands covering a toy SUV to illustrate warranty coverage

When you buy a new car, it almost always comes with a warranty. Most people know that. Understanding that you have a warranty is great, but knowing about what voids it and what doesn’t is arguably more important. What most people don’t know is that you can go anywhere to get repairs on your vehicle…

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