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On Board Diagnostics For Your SUV

Posted July 30, 2014 05:38 PM



Make an appointment with Venburg Tire Company to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
3001 Hwy 61 N
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55109
(651) 483-2601

Today we're going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Saint Paul Minnesota who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what's involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Saint Paul Minnesota.

These are valid concerns. If you don't understand something it's really hard to know its value. Let's start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Saint Paul Minnesota have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what's wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle's Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can't adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.

It is also called the 'service engine soon' light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your Saint Paul Minnesota service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you've searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what's wrong.

That's a common myth. The code itself doesn't tell you what's broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won't tell you what's wrong or how to fix it.

Let's say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You've confirmed a fever, but you don't know what's causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician's examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads 'Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response'. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that's all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that's stored in the engine control computer. That history's very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Venburg Tire Company invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don't need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Venburg Tire Company . If the light burns steady – don't panic. Get in to Venburg Tire Company soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.



Ethics of Automotive Repair in Saint Paul

Posted November 29, 2012 12:19 PM



We're going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Saint Paul automotive service and repair industry hasn't been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Saint Paul has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Saint Paul automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

If we understand what's recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we'll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It's like going to the doctor; If she's using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Saint Paul service advisor too. He's so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don't know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don't understand what your doctor's talking about: ask some questions. If you don't understand what your Saint Paul automotive advisor's talking about: ask some questions.

Let's go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, "Is this really necessary?" Well, here's the industry standard:

If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose
  2. The part does not meet a design specification
  3. The part is missing

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at Venburg Tire Company says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn't want to replace the rotor; Venburg Tire Company would ethically have to refuse the repair.

To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could've failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician may suggest repair or replacement if:

  1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
  2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
  3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
  4. Based on the technician's informed experience

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.



What Saint Paul Automotive Service Consumers Should Know

Posted February 23, 2012 10:56 AM



There are some things St Paul consumers should know about Saint Paul automotive service and repair. First and foremost, Venburg Tire Company cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. Venburg Tire Company in Saint Paul wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come.

Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The technicians that work for Venburg Tire Company need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other technicians to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed.

The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. The average White Bear Lake or Hugo driver may not realize the business and environmental regulations Venburg Tire Company must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any business, overhead is a big factor.

When you go into a St Paul restaurant you don’t value the meal by what the food would cost at the grocery store. The restaurant has rent, wages, insurance, taxes, utilities, professional fees, equipment, supplies – you get the picture. The restaurant has to charge enough to not only pay for the ingredients, but for all these other things as well while making enough profit to remain in business. If you value the meal and are satisfied with your dining experience, you’ll come back and tell your friends.

It’s the same for Venburg Tire Company . The value of its service is not the cost of the parts they replace, but in your satisfaction with the results. If they deliver a good product at a fair price, Saint Paul customers are happy to see them succeed as a Minnesota automotive business.

Contact Venburg Tire Company to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
3001 Hwy 61 N
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55109
Or call us at (651) 483-2601

Your Saint Paul service center loves to see its customers whenever they come in, but they would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. They want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your St Paul area friends and family to go in for their scheduled maintenance too. That lowers the service center’s marketing costs and helps keep its labor rates down. That’s good for everyone.

Venburg Tire Company appreciates this great review of automotive service from AutoNetTV.



Handling Distractions While Driving Around St Paul

Posted February 08, 2012 01:32 PM



We've all seen people do crazy things while driving to or from St Paul. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. All of these are an accident waiting to happen.

The truth is everyone in St Paul Minnesota is distracted when we drive. Traffic, road construction and other things outside the car are beyond our control. But the distractions inside our car are things we can often control.

Here's some things that'll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around St Paul Minnesota.

  • Drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Drivers who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • And those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. People are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can we do to manage these distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

When you get in your car, make sure you're belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.

Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.

If you have a drink, make sure it's spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Pets should also be contained.

If you're riding with kids, make sure they're wearing seat belts or secured in safety seats. You may want to give em some distractions to keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don't get involved in their arguments while you're driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.

If you eat while driving, keep it to simple finger foods that aren't messy.

Learning your car's controls before you drive is another way to improve your safety. Know how to work the radio by touch. The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.

If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn't the phone itself – it's the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone or text in the St Paul Minnesota area.

And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving – you're wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive into St Paul Minnesota.

Venburg Tire Company
3001 Hwy 61 N
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55109
(651) 483-2601

Remember, driving is probably the most dangerous thing you'll do all day – so don't make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel.



Questions To Ask Your Saint Paul Service Advisor

Posted January 06, 2012 12:36 PM



We find that a lot of Saint Paul service and repair at Venburg Tire Company are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions, but don't want to be embarrassed or to seem pushy. Cars are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it's because cars have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn't need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.

You know, your local hospital has a Patient's Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Saint Paul automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.

It's all about the communication. It's a little harder when you're trying to find the right service center in Saint Paul. But once you've developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.

What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let's go back to the medical example. When your doctor's explaining something to you, it's something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don't understand or that you don't have the education and training that's foundational to understanding what she's trying to explain.

So you fall behind and get frustrated.

It can be the same with your Saint Paul automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.

Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you're not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there's a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what's done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.

Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Saint Paul service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is real tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt part or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.

Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.

Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that's done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.

Call Venburg Tire Company to make an appointment.
3001 Hwy 61 N
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55109
(651) 483-2601


Our dedicated service team will take care of your needs with a level of professionalism seldom found in the tire industry! And our safety record is second to none in the business. Performance tuning, minor or major repairs, and routine maintenance are only a few of the services we offer. And, yes, we work on competitive brands. Not sure what the problem is? Call us; we can help.

Click HERE to request services!

Batteries
Batteries
Brakes
Brakes
Computerized Alignment
Computerized Alignment
CV & Drive Axle
CV & Drive Axle
Exhaust
Exhaust
Front End Suspension
Front End Suspension
National Accounts
National Accounts
Oil Change
Oil Change
Shocks and Struts
Shocks and Struts
Tire Repair
Tire Repair
Tire Rotation
Tire Rotation
Wheel Balance
Wheel Balance

We also provide the following:

  • Cabin air filters
  • Steering and suspension
  • Major and minor repairs
  • We also work with extended warranties and insurance companies

ASE Certified