Exhaust Color Diagnosis

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Blue/Gray Smoke: Blue/gray exhaust smoke is an indication of oil burning in the combustion chamber. These are possible symptoms and causes:

Valve Seals: Leaking valve seals will cause blue/gray exhaust smoke.

Valve Guides: Excessive clearance between the valve stem and the valve guide allows oil to leak past the gap into the cylinder.

Piston Rings: Worn or damaged piston rings will cause blow-by, resulting in blue/gray smoke.

Worn Cylinder Walls: Worn cylinder walls cause blow-by, resulting in blue/gray smoke.

PCV System: A stuck closed PCV valve causes excessive crankcase pressure, resulting in blue/gray smoke.

Black Smoke: Black exhaust smoke is an indication of a rich fuel condition. These are possible causes:

Fuel Injectors: A leaking or dripping fuel injector will cause a rich fuel condition.

Fuel Pressure Regulator: A stuck closed fuel pressure regulator will cause a rich fuel condition.

Fuel Return: A restricted fuel return line will cause a rich fuel condition.

White/Gray Smoke: White exhaust smoke is an indication that coolant is burning in the combustion chamber. These are possible causes:

Cylinder Head: A crack in the cylinder head (around the coolant jacket) will cause coolant to enter the combustion chamber.

Engine Block: A crack in the deck of an engine block near the coolant jacket will cause coolant to enter the combustion chamber.

Head Gasket: A damaged or blown head gasket will cause coolant to enter the combustion chamber resulting in white/gray smoke coming from the tailpipe.

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What Is the Difference Between Regular and Premium Gas?

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It’s a decision drivers face every time they fill their cars up at the gas station.

But if you’re like many drivers, you may have decided years ago to bypass premium and buy the cheaper regular unleaded gasoline.

But have you ever asked the question — what exactly is the difference between the two octanes?

“Premium is, yes, a few octane points higher, which provides a more efficient burn in the combustion chamber,” says Bill Griffin, owner of Griffin’s Neighborhood Auto Clinic in Farmington, Michigan. “But it is a choice. Slightly better fuel economy is there, but it’s not worth the huge price gap from regular to premium.”

Most gas stations offer three octane levels: regular (about 87), mid-grade (about 89) and premium (91 to 93).

Some gas stations may offer up to five different octane ratings, including a super premium, which typically has a rating of 93. Other gas stations may call their mid-grade “plus” or “special” and their premium “super.” If you’re unsure based on the description, check the octane level.

An octane rating, according to Exxon Mobile, measures the fuel’s ability to resist engine knocking, or pinging. The higher the octane, the greater resistance the fuel has to pinging during combustion.

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SUMMER TIRES VS. ALL-SEASON TIRES

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When debating between all season tires vs summer tires, the differences between the two types can be easily misunderstood. Depending on your vehicle, driving conditions, and personal preferences, one may be a better option than the other. When choosing between summer and all season tires, it helps to understand the benefits and limitations of each.

ALL-SEASON TIRES

An all-season tire offers a balance of capabilities, providing acceptable performance in wet and dry conditions, as well as traction in snow.

Built for the average driver, all-season tires have moderate tread depths and rubber compounds that are engineered to provide longer tread life than summer tires, which have shallower tread depths. All-season tires are offered in many types/models, sizes, load capacities, and speed ratings for use on a wide variety of vehicles from economy cars to sedans to mini-vans to pickup trucks. They tend to provide ride comfort, handling, and other performance attributes suitable for most drivers.

All-season tires perform well in warm weather, but they may offer less grip than summer tires, sacrificing some steering, braking, and cornering capabilities. This trade off is necessary for all-season tires to be able to provide acceptable performance in light winter conditions and provide longer tread life.

All-season tires are capable of providing traction in winter, but are not the best tire to use in extreme winter driving conditions. Drivers who encounter extreme winter weather may want to consider switching to snow tires in the winter.

Because all-season tires offer a blend of summer and winter performance, they are often a good option for drivers in moderate climates and driving conditions.

SUMMER TIRES

Summer tires are ideal for high performance vehicles, and are built for speed and agility. They offer increased responsiveness, cornering, and braking capabilities. This is typically attributed to specialized tread patterns and rubber compounds that allow for improved precision on the road. The tread patterns of summer tires have less grooving and put more rubber in contact with the road. They are design­ed to provide maximum road-holding grip. The tread compounds of summer tires are designed to remain more flexible, allowing for better traction and grip. Summer tires may have shallower tread depths that allow for more stability when pushed closer to their limits.

Dimensional characteristics (such as the tire’s width, aspect ratio, and rim diameter), speed capability, and other design features make summer tires more suitable and capable for increased performance in wet and dry conditions on high-performance, sports-oriented vehicles. Surprising to some, summer tires provide better performance in wet driving conditions, thanks to unique tread patterns that help evacuate water and resist hydroplaning.

When it comes to winter driving, all-season tires may be more suitable than summer tires, given their blend of summer and winter performance capabilities, but we recommend considering making the switch to winter tires to get optimal traction and performance in extreme winter conditions.

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2010 Cadillac CTS

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2009 Hummer H3

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2010 Ford Escape

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Warning Signs You Need New Brakes

brakesThey may not be something you think about very often, but your vehicle’s brakes are one feature that should always be in top working condition. Let’s look at how to know when you need new brakes.

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