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What about Ethanol in Gasoline?
Modern high performance engines are designed to use Ethanol which slows the burn rate in the combustion chamber allowing higher compression ratios and HP. Aggressive driving without Ethanol causes combustion chamber temperature to rise; the ECU adjusts, and HP drops.


What is a Claybar?
This is dirt from a just washed, "Clean" car. Use the clay bar with "Speed Shine" lubricant before buffing or waxing.


Why are my rotors rusty?
Rotors are made of High Carbon steel for strength and heat resistance. In the presence of moisture, a superficial coating of oxidation forms. It happens. The coating will disappear during braking, but will reduce efficiency for the first few stops.


"What about Minis?"
This is a new ($1,800.00) head from Mini. The photo is of the cam bearing surface. Click Photo.


"Do you use Nitrogen to inflate tires?"
Nitrogen is, of course, less reactive than Oxygen, also lighter and less diffusious. We recommend and use a mixture of 78% Nitrogen, 1% Argon, 18 ppm Neon, and 5 ppm Helium. We don't allow more than 21 kPa of Oxygen.


Why does it cost so much to replace the A/C Evaporator?
The dash must be removed to get to the HVAC box which must then be dis assembled. Then the heater core comes out and all the vent doors must be dis connected. Only then replace the Evaporator. Then do it all again in reverse. In this case, a $500.00 part requires $1,500.00 in labor. Who thought of this?


Why can't I just replace the brake pads on my BMW?
Pads and Rotors are designed to wear together for maximum braking performance. As the pads and rotors thin out, they loose thermal efficiency and must be replaced as a set. These pads had already set off the dash light. See also the FAQ on 'Turning Rotors.'


Are Volvos really so safe?
Yes. This driver (a customer) survived a horrendous plunge off a declivity. Volvo was a pioneer in safety before safety was cool. Many cars are safer today thanks to them.


"Is this stuff any good?"
As an emergency measure, it works great. You can watch a leak slow down and stop. If you can't buy a new condenser, can't get to the evaporator, are on the road, or you are a chepskate- this will save you. Just remember it is not a permanent repair.


I'm getting a new Timing Belt; Sarah wants to replace the idler/tensioner.
The idler will seize up sooner or later, and it will eat the belt. It could happen the day after you replace the belt. So if you are at 60,000 miles or more, it is idler roulette. We're just saying...


Why do my wheels vibrate? I had them balanced thrice.
Many European cars use 'Hub-centric' wheels, meaning the wheel is centered by the hub, not by the lug nuts. Custom wheels have a large center hole to accommodate different brands, so they require 'centering rings' (green thing) to fit snugly on the hub. If a ring is lost, the minutely off center wheel, however well balanced, will shake. (We use the anti seize compound to prevent the wheel from corroding to the hub.)


How does the auto dimming mirror work?
Ah... computerized sensors detect the er...photons, and um... electrochromic photovoltaic array...ah.... We don't know.


Can I just go to Jiffy Quick?
Not to stereotype, but we have seen many egregious errors perpetrated at the 'In and Out' shops. This is one example: did not have the correct air filter, so just stuffed the wrong one in. Others have included: stripped oil pan threads, incorrect oil filter inserted sideways, wrong oil.


Why do I sometimes hear tapping when I start the engine?
The hydraulic lifter, between the camshaft and the valve stem, is intended to quiet valvetrain clatter with a layer of oil in the lifter. It takes a moment or two for oil to fill the lifter through that little hole. In cold weather when the oil is thick, it takes longer. The tiny hole is telling you to keep clean oil in the engine or it will plug up.


Where is the Head Airbag?
The airbag is rolled up in the door frame. In the photo it is the white tube above the window frame. When activated, it pops out of the door moulding and inflates into a sausage which keeps your head from hitting the window in a side collision.


Oil changes are so expensive, why change so often?
To cool the engine, oil must pass through many small orifices such as this nozzle which sprays the underside of the piston. Dirty oil will plug small passages and degrade cooling efficiency. Overheating destroys engines. So frequent oil changes are a small price to pay compared with a new engine.


Do you turn rotors?
No. Never ever. Worn or warped rotors must be replaced. BMW rotors and pads wear together and should be replaced as a set. Volvo Rotors may go through two sets of pads before wearing out.


How often should I change my oil filter?
With every oil change. Filters are cheap. The engine this filter did not protect is probably doomed.


How are BMW and Volvo different?
BMW is a fiercely independent company which races and builds high performance vehicles. People who value 'driving feel' love BMW. Volvo is generally comfort and utility oriented (except for 'R' models). Not a bad thing, just different from BMW. Though Volvo was first to promote safety, both provide unparalleled safety features. The photo shows three particularly sporty BMWs: Z8, 850, M3.


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