Teson Automotive

1200 Armstrong Street

Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Mon -Fri  7:30am to 5:30pm

Phone: (847) 658-7700

See map: Google Maps

REQUEST APPOINTMENT

My Car Has a Computer?

Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, including our vehicles!

All modern cars have at least one computer built-in. But unlike the internet-browsing laptops and desktop computers that come to mind, the computers in your vehicle serve a more limited but vital function – keeping your vehicle safe on the road.

The primary computer in your vehicle controls many aspects of its operation, including:

  • Fuel injection
  • Spark plugs
  • Idle speed
  • Engine emissions

Various sensors in your car (oxygen, engine temperature, throttle position…) send information straight to the car’s computer, and it automatically adjusts the engine operations to accommodate for the best performance and keep emissions as low as possible.

Computers in your vehicle precisely control aspects of your drive for better performance - for proper auto maintenance come to Teson AutomotiveJust as important, the on-board computer can alert you to potential problems with your vehicle. When one of the sensors indicate a problem, the computer can trigger a warning light or the “Check Engine” light to let you know something has gone wrong.

When you bring your vehicle into our independent auto repair shop, our certified technicians use sophisticated technology and up-to-date software to pull the codes stored within your vehicle’s computer. The computer automatically saves the information it receives from the sensors, and our expert technicians are able to take that data to accurately identify problems and quickly find the best solution.

But it doesn’t stop there… many modern vehicles have multiple computers, each with a specific function and role to play in delivering the best experience in your vehicle. Some vehicles have separate computers to control individual systems, including:

  • Transmission
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Air bags
  • Climate control
  • Radio
  • Cruise Control
  • Navigation
  • and more…

And each of these computers have similar functions: reading sensors, saving important information, and alerting you to potential issues with error codes.

The computers in your vehicle work together to give you the best experience in your vehicle. And as technology continues to develop, computers may play a bigger and bigger role in our driving experience. (Think about a self-driving car – computers control EVERY aspect of the drive!) Which is why it is important for auto repair shops to stay up-to-date with the latest training, technology, and equipment.

Our ASE-Certified technicians undergo continued training and education to expand our expertise and keep up with the ever evolving industry. With the latest diagnostic tools and expertise, our independent shop can perform the reliable services your vehicle needs – from gathering critical data from on-board computers to performing repairs and maintenance to keep your vehicle running smooth.

To learn more about your vehicle or schedule your next appointment, stop by our shop in Algonquin or call our team at 847-658-7700.

New Technology in Cars – Car Swapping vs. Keeping Current Cars Longer

Do you keep up with the latest gadgets and technology in your vehicle? A new study shows that Americans would trade in their cars for a new one every 2 years – as often as we get new cell phones! A large motivation for this trend is the vast technological changes between new and old (or even less new) vehicles.

With increasing changes in technology, like Bluetooth, GPS, audio inputs, USB connections, and more, it takes time for car manufacturers to develop platforms for the latest technology in vehicles. There are also new technologies specific to driving, like self-parking, heated seats, rear cameras, and more. New cars often feature vastly superior technology to their older counterparts.

At the same time that technology is increasing, people are keeping their cars longer than ever before. Vehicles now have an impressive average age of nearly 12 years. With advances in preventative maintenance and repair, cars are able to keep running smoothly through the years.

This blog from Jim Motavalli at Car Talk explore this topic further:

“If wishes were horses, we’d all be equestrians. A new study shows that Americans would be happy trading in their cars as frequently as their mobile phones, and that’s pretty often.

According to Swapalease.com, the typical life of an American cellphone is just 21.7 months. By then, it’s hopelessly outdated, right? And there’s a big parallel with cars, which struggle to incorporate the latest technology into platforms that take years to develop.

The Swapalease.com survey finds 59.5 percent of men and 60.7 percent of women wanting to trade in cars as often as phones. More than 10 percent of either sex would actually want to do it more frequently. What I find telling is that 31.4 percent of men and a whopping 39.5 percent of women say their primary reason is to have “a vehicle with the latest features.” What they’re talking about, largely, is infotainment, which is moving at lightning speed.

Chances are, you’re swapping out a car that doesn’t even have an audio output, let alone a USB connection. Still rockin’ cassettes? The cars coming onto the lots now may not even have CD players. There’s lots of other cool tech, too, including self-driving and parking features, lane departure warnings, heated steering wheels and traction control. You can’t get any of that stuff in a 2003 Honda Civic.

Scott Hall, an executive vice president of Swapalease, concurs with my analysis:

Our cars are becoming feature-rich vehicle devices, with technology that evolves much faster than in years past. As such, people want to always stay current with this latest technology, similar to what’s happening in the mobile phones industry.

Ah, but there’s a big gap between our wish lists and our actual purchases. That 11-year-old Civic may not be “feature-rich,” but it’s durable, and trading in cars every two years is really expensive in this economy—the darned thing depreciates as soon as it’s out of the showroom door.

In actual fact, we’re keeping cars longer than ever, with the average age in 2013 an impressive 11.4 years (just like that Civic). Since 2007, the average age has gone up two years, says Polk research. The number of cars going to a scrapyard in any given year is down 50 percent. Hall thinks this trend is going to reverse itself as we come out of the recession, and people have money again to make their fantasies come true.

Since I always consider the green angle, I’d have to say that keeping cars longer is basically good for the planet, since according to the Environmental Defense Fund, 11 percent of a car’s lifecycle emissions is in its manufacture. That percentage is going down as automakers clean up their plants, with a special emphasis on the paint process.

The downside, as Janet Wright of SellMart points out, is that older cars can become gross polluters. You’ve seen the Bondo specials trailing a cloud of blue smoke—they’re doing a lot of damage. Owners of beaters, Wright said, “really need to consider whether it is worth shelling out on repairs time and time again or whether they should just bite the bullet, sell their old car, and invest in something newer.”

It’s funny that Swapalease asked people if they’d want a new car “assuming cost was not an issue.” When is cost not an issue when we’re talking about cars?

Incidentally, most cited as objects of desire in the poll were (in this order) BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Cadillac, Lexus and Acura.”

What do you think? Would you rather keep up with the latest technology, trading in for the latest and greatest cars? Or would you rather keep your current car running as long as possible with regular care? With so much to consider, come in to talk with our mechanics to discuss all of your options!

To keep your vehicle running smoothly, bring it to our shop for regular preventative maintenance. If you are considering buying a used car, bring it in for a pre-purchase inspection and evaluation. To talk to our professionals or schedule an appointment, call us at (847) 658-7700!

How Hybrids Work and What Makes Them Different From Regular Cars

Have you ever wondered how a hybrid vehicle actually works? Whether the increasing price of gasoline has you considering the economic benefits or global warming has you rethinking the environmental costs of driving, a hybrid car is an appealing alternative. But what makes a hybrid different from a regular car?

Hybrid vehicles work by combining two (or more) power sources. A moped is actually a hybrid, combining the gasoline engine with the rider’s pedal power. Most hybrid cars use gasoline and electric – combining a traditional combustion engine with an electric motor. This gives you the best of both worlds – you can still have the power and convenience of a gasoline-powered engine with the economic benefits of an electric engine.

Though all it takes to be a “hybrid” is two power sources, hybrid vehicles also have a few unique features that allow them to work more efficiently. The first feature is Idle off, which turns the gasoline engine off when the car is stopped – which means fuel savings! The electric engine continues to power the vehicle while stopped, and the gasoline engine turns back on when you are ready to drive again.

Regenerative braking is another feature of hybrid vehicles. A typical car relies on the mechanical brakes to slow and stop, creating friction that reduces the vehicle’s kinetic energy. A hybrid can use its electric motor for “regenerative braking.” The electric motor captures the kinetic energy from the moving car and converts it into electricity. Instead of losing the heat energy from the brakes, your car can save and store some of the energy in the battery to be used later!

Hybrids also utilize power assist and engine downsizing to operate the vehicle. To qualify as a hybrid, the electric motor must be large enough to actually supplement the engine to power the car and accelerate while driving. Some hybrids rely on engine downsizing, using physically smaller engines or those with more effective combustion cycles. Power assist then reduces the amount of engine work and gasoline needed to accelerate and run the vehicle. Through these methods, hybrid cars achieve the same power as traditional vehicles but use less gas!

The features above are true of all hybrid vehicles, but hybrid cars can vary from the basic, minimum features to fully hybrid – offering electric only drive capability and extended battery electric range. Other variations include how the components are arranged in the drivetrain, working either in series or parallel (or sometimes both).  The batteries, electric motor, gasoline engine, and other components work together in the drivetrain to operate the vehicle, allowing you to slow, accelerate, cruise, and brake.

Hybrid vehicles combine a traditional combustion engine with an electric motor and battery to operate your vehicle, take advantage of the benefits of both systems, and save you money on fuel! If you have more questions about hybrid vehicles, stop by the shop or call (847) 658-7700 for more information.