Advice from a Local Business Man on Hail Repair

Here are a few tips to help with your hail experience from John Neznik, owner of Crystal

Collision Center. Hail happens to a lot of people at the same time, but not everyone can

get it fixed at the same time. Hail is not an emergency. Schedule your estimate and

repairs at your convenience. Do not go to the ‘tent’ or any temporary estimating location.

These estimators are brought in from around the country and are well trained highly

skilled professionals that write damage according to a grid. They write several estimates

an hour and they can not take the time to write an accurate estimate. They will pay less.

I’ve seen it thousands of times. Choose a local person to help present your hail claim.

Someone you can trust that will look out for your best interest.

 

Having a hail damage claim and not fixing it and keeping the money is done by some

people. This is risky and does have some consequences. One of them is the equity in

your vehicle is diminished and a lien holder or lessor does not like that. That is

understandable. Continuing to pay the premium on the equity of your vehicle when it has

been devalued by the hail claim can be a problem. If you have another claim of any kind,

the insurance company will deduct any prior damage and your past deductible from your

new claim, even though you are paying 100% of the premium.

 

We here at Crystal Collision Center can’t handle all of the hail that has happened in our

neighborhood. The ones we do handle we must schedule and allow enough time to do an

accurate job on them. Writing an estimate on a vehicle that has hail is not rocket science.

We count every dent and measure them. Then we use the PDR matrix grid that has been

established by the insurance industry to come up with a price. Good repairs start with a

good estimate. Give us a call we are here to help you. 763-533-0412.

 

PDR is an industry acronym for paintless dent repair. Not all hail dents are candidates

for this procedure. When it can be used it is the best repair. When it can’t be used then

conventional repair or panel replacement is done.

 

If you already have an estimate from your insurance company you don’t need to get

another estimate. That will only confuse the process. The insurance estimate is the

starting point. Most body shops will work off that and anything additional will need to

get approved by the insurance company. If you have any questions call one of our

consultants they will be happy to assist you in your claims process.

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When Do My Shocks Need to be Replaced?

A good suspension system gives a vehicle a smooth, even ride while providing Crystal car owners with good handling and control. But like any system on your minivan, essential parts of the suspension system can wear out, leading to a lower ride quality and safety concerns. So it’s a good idea for Crystal drivers to remember a diagnostic examination of their suspension system in their schedule of a key preventive maintenance. Springs do most of the work of the suspension system. The most common types of springs are coil and leaf, but air springs and torsion bars are becoming more common. The body of the vehicle is “suspended” by the springs.

If springs were the only working component in your suspension system, however, you’d spend your travel time bouncing up and down like a bobblehead. That’s where your shocks come in. They keep the rebound, or bounciness, of the springs under control. Shocks also keep your tires on the road, which keeps the driver in control of the minivan. Some vehicles have struts in their suspension system. Struts are a compact combination of springs and shocks. They do the same important job but in a single package.

Shocks wear out gradually, so it can be difficult for Crystal auto owners to notice when they need to be replaced. There’s no definitive point when a vehicle’s ride goes from smooth and controlled to a bit imprecise. To check if your shocks or struts are worn, you should first do a visual inspection on them. If they are leaking fluid, they need to be replaced.

There are other less obvious signs that your suspension system needs important attention. For example, an uneven, cupping wear on your tires may indicate that your shocks are worn. If your vehicle feels “floaty” when you turn, or, in other words, you don’t feel that you have full control of the vehicle, you should check your shocks. Also, if the front end of your vehicle dips noticeably when you stop, it’s time for new shocks.

Your owner’s manual gives recommendations on how often the shocks should be checked, usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles (24,000-50,000 km). If one of your shocks does need to be replaced, you should replace all four. This will keep your suspension even and ensure good handling of your vehicle. If you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive on uneven Saint Paul area terrain, you might also consider upgrading to a heavy-duty shock.

Regular shocks contain hydraulic fluid. The critical fluid helps them absorb the bumps or “shocks” of the road so the impact doesn’t transfer to the minivan’s body. Premium shocks are filled with compressed nitrogen gas, which costs more but does a better job of controlling body motions. Regular shocks can develop air bubbles that reduce their effectiveness; the premium shocks don’t have this problem. So if you want higher handling performance, if you drive off-road around MN or if you just want added comfort, you should think about upgrading to premium shocks or struts.

Replacing struts can put your minivan out of alignment, so an alignment check should always follow this type of repair. Talk to your helpful service advisor at Crystal Collision Center in Crystal.

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The Fallacy of Cheap Tires

Do you ever shop for shoes in one of our Saint Paul area shoe stores?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pair of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?

When you choose new tires in Crystal, what’s the most important factor for you?

Give us a call at Crystal Collision Center at 763.533.0412 for tire recommendations.

You know, buying tires in Crystal is a big deal. It’s a big ticket item so you know you’ll be spending a lot. You’re not only concerned about the price, but you want to know that it’ll be a long time before you need to buy new tires again.

And of course there’s the safety aspect as well. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. They need to be up to the task. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer, the tires need a high load rating to be up for the job.

As a tire professional, I think it’s important that people understand the effect of price on a tire’s performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad had a saying. He said, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many”.

Dad applied that to a lot of things. He thought that one high quality suit would last longer and look better than two cheap suits. The saying really seems to hold true when it comes to shoes and boots, too.

I buy high-quality work shoes because I spend a lot of time on my feet. They’re more comfortable, have important safety features like steel toes and non-slip soles – and they last at least twice as long as cheap shoes. I feel I get very good value for my money.

I apply the same thinking to tires. The major tire brands that you’re familiar with are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are well-engineered and very high quality. Comparable tires are usually in the same price range from brand to brand.

Stepping down in price you come to private label tires. Some large tire store chains carry tires with the chain’s own brand. It’s important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 brands that you are familiar with – so they are a quality product. You can ask your tire professional who makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market are Tier 3 tires. These tend to be imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can’t expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.

So let’s say you need new tires. You’ve determined the features you need. So you have several options, including price options. Now, you’ve probably heard the term ‘it’s a 40 thousand mile tire’ or ‘it’s a 60 thousand mile tire’. Simply put, the manufacturer warrantees the tire for ‘X’ number of miles. If that’s important to you, look for the warranty.

What’s the difference in the tires with higher mileage warranties? It’s the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you’ll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Now the cheapest tires you can find won’t have a manufacturer’s mileage warranty or if it does, it’ll be relatively low. That brings us back to dad’s saying; if you buy the cheapest Tier 3 tire you can, you will likely go through two sets in the time it would take to wear out one set of good quality tires. And the good tires won’t cost twice as much, so you’ll end up paying more per mile driven with the cheap tires.

Hey, I realize that sometimes the budget will only allow for a Tier 3 tire. I make them available for my customers who need them because I would rather see them driving with safe, new tires than pushing their old tires beyond their safety limits. But I always counsel my customers to buy as much tire as they can afford, because it will be much less expensive in the long run.

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touch the road. You’re only as safe as your tires are well built.

Buy value – not price.

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Crystal Collision Center Service For Your Exhaust System

Your minivan’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your minivan. Maintaining it is good Crystal Collision Center auto advice for Crystal car owners, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.

The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Saint Paul area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most auto manufacturers recommend that you have your minivan exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified tech at regular intervals.

The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. Crystal Collision Center Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the minivan engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is vital that Saint Paul drivers keep their exhaust system in good repair.

The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air. So it is critical that exhaust pipes get an automotive analysis regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next critical component of your minivan exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in MN. Call Crystal Collision Center at 763.533.0412 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the minivan engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your minivan exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your minivan from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is vital for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Crystal automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Crystal neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your minivan by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The vital components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and costly damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last essential piece in the exhaust system — and of your minivan, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your minivan through the tailpipe.

If your minivan has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your minivan to Crystal Collision Center in Crystal right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.

Caring for your minivan exhaust system yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.

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Save Fuel By Watching Your Weight

Most Crystal car owners are all talking fuel efficiency right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. MN folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Crystal auto owners all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum gas mileage. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Crystal auto owners can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of MPG. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Crystal to Hopkins to Osseo. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around Crystal? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Crystal neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your minivan: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your vehicle. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around Crystal all the time.

After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some cash
.

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Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Crystal Collision Center

A lot of us Crystal motorists like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We’re picky about color and body style. We’ll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for MN car owners to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.

Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.

Fifteen or sixteen-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, But today, because a lot of Crystal motorists like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with seventeen or eighteen-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of twenty inches or more are also available in Crystal.

If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it’s not a do-it-yourself project. There are essential factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn’t jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.

First of all, it’s important for MN auto owners to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don’t rub in turns or over bumps. If that’s more work than you’re willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.

It’s not as hard for Crystal motorists as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can’t make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.

Rolling diameter is critical because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You’ll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Crystal car owners who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.

Further, many vehicles in Crystal are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as detrimental safety concerns.

Your helpful Crystal Collision Center tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle’s computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.

So to maintain rolling diameter, you’ll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.

To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you’ll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many MN auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Crystal, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.

Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Crystal roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few vital adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.

Crystal Collision Center tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help Crystal car owners select wheels and tires that will suit their driving needs and habits.

For example, if you drive off-road around Saint Paul, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from costly damage while you’re bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around MN, you’ll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your helpful Crystal Collision Center tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.

Once you’ve got your new wheels, have your helpful Crystal Collision Center service advisor check to see if you need an alignment. You don’t want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Crystal Collision Center in Crystal.

Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need slightly higher pressure. You’ll need to stay on top of important preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to check their pressure at least once a week. If you don’t keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also impair your braking and handling performance.

So smile and show off your vehicle around Saint Paul. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!

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Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Crystal Car Owners

A generation ago, Crystal drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your minivan in to your Crystal shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Crystal used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the minivan was in for a tune-up at Crystal Collision Center, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our minivans don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Crystal car owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Crystal service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Crystal Collision Center in Crystal, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and gas mileage. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern minivan engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of important parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the minivan isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your minivan engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the minivan engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this expensive damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Crystal auto owners than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to vital engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Saint Paul who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Crystal folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Crystal motorists can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better MPG, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

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Training Received by Technicians In Crystal, MN

When your car breaks down in the Crystal, MN area, or just needs some routine service, it can make Crystal drivers a little nervous. Because your car’s so important to your life, you need to be back on the road as soon as possible. And with the problem fixed right the first time.

We’ve been checking into some of the critical training our Crystal MN technicians receive, and we’re very impressed. It’s amazing how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. So it’s not like when your uncle worked on his hot rod over weekend.

Today there are four cylinder engines around Crystal that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars 20 years ago. A new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to 60 mph.

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the benefits come to Crystal motorists at the price of simplicity. Modern cars are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin.

Then there’s the electronics. Some cars on MN highways area have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Crystal motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks.

It’s a real challenge for the technicians at  Crystal Collision Center and other Crystal auto service centers to keep up. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the auto technician and the service center as well. In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools as well.

So where do Crystal service professionals go for training? There’re many sources. It’s usually a combination of formal classroom training, training provided in the service center by auto parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses. There are many independent certifications available all the way up to Master Technician.

And AutoNetTV produces monthly training for Crystal automotive service centers called The Pro Channel. If you were to watch the Pro Channel segment on re-flashing the engine control computer, you’d be amazed at how much is involved: special software, hardware interfaces and a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill.

Service centers in Crystal, MN have a lot of other resources available as well. No one can know everything, so service centers like Crystal Collision Center subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them with they run into a difficult problem.

It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. Crystal motorists want everything to be simple, straight forward and cheap – and sometimes it just isn’t.

So, be more relaxed next time you take your minivan in. Crystal auto owners can trust their helpful Crystal Collision Center service advisors. You’re in good hands. The more you know, the more comfortable you can be with your automotive service decisions at Crystal Collision Center. Visit AutoNetTV.com to see more great auto tips videos about many service topics.

At Crystal Collision Center, we provide quality automotive service including brake service, windshield wipers and engine air filter.<br><br>

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Exhaust Service at Crystal Collision Center: Passing the Smell Test

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Crystal motorists realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All MN folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so important. We can help you with that at Crystal Collision Center in Crystal.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your minivan passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at Crystal Collision Center for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other Saint Paul roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your minivan exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Crystal motorists don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Crystal with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your minivan engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your minivan healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the minivan, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your minivan owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as Crystal Collision Center in Crystal.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all Crystal drivers and their families.

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Hitting The Brakes In Champlin

Hello Crystal, let’s talk about brakes. Braking, as all MN drivers know, is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between Crystal, Saint Paul and Champlin.

Hitting The Brakes In ChamplinBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new minivan or truck rolls off a local Crystal showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the minivan. Crystal car owners tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of manufacturers’ specs that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around MN, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail – a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Crystal Collision Center is important for your minivan and your family’s safety. At Crystal Collision Center we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Crystal Collision Center. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the minivan fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Crystal Collision Center cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the minivan to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Saint Paul area expressways and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. MN motorists need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

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