What are the benefits of logbook servicing?

When your new car is still in its warranty period, you need to keep up with its logbook servicing schedule or else you can void your warranty. This is important if something goes wrong with your car and you take it back to the dealer for repairs during the warranty period. They will check your car service log book and if you have missed any services, they might refuse to pay for the repairs.

Luckily, you can take your car to any auto shop for the logbook car services, as long as they are qualified mechanics and adhere to the manufacturer’s specifications. So what are the benefits of taking your car to your local mechanic, rather than to the dealership for your car’s logbook servicing?

More affordable logbook servicing

Without a doubt, anyone who has taken their new car back to the dealer for their logbook car service has found that the costs are astronomical. No-one knows why the costs of a logbook service should be so much higher at a dealership, but its one of those immutable facts of life.

When every dollar counts, its important to have your logbook servicing performed for a reasonable price, which is why your local auto shop makes sense. Their prices will be very competitive, as they need to keep their repeat customers happy, so you will always save money on your logbook car services if you shop locally.

Friendly customer service

Your local auto shop is usually a small operation (often a family run business) where everyone is friendly and takes the time to explain everything to you in words you can understand. Customer service is high on their list of priorities, so they go out of their way to ensure that your experience is positive and that you are happy with your logbook servicing and any subsequent repairs.

As an independent auto shop, the owner usually has many years’ experience servicing and repairing a huge range of vehicles, and their diagnostic skills can be second to none. Often, you find the most experienced mechanics are the ones that set themselves up in business and these are the mechanics you want working on your car.

So why not grab your car service log book and make sure that you haven’t missed any of your scheduled services for your new car? Even better – book into Steve Sorensen Mechanical in Browns Plains and you will be guaranteed a first-class logbook car service.

Local Auto Repair

Steve Sorensen Mechanical has been providing Local Auto Repair to the Browns Plains region for over 20 years, with Steve working as a local mechanic for his entire career.

Through these decades we have grown and seen the local area grow.

We have built some great relationships with local businesses and people, with thousands of customer vehicles on our database for whom we happily carry out Logbook Servicing and Local Auto Repair.

We are proud to be part of this community and be the modern workshop that most choose for Local Auto Repair.

New Generation

Due to our time in the area, we are now lucky enough to see new generations of customers coming through.  It is a pleasure to carry out Logbook Servicing for a customer and then have their grandchildren come in for a Logbook Car Service the same week.

On our end, we also have a new generation of technicians, with Steve’s sons Scott and Brendan having worked in the business for over a decade.  This allows us the unique ability to be able to cater to the specific needs of each generation when carrying out a Logbook Car Service or Local Auto Repair – we are as comfortable repairing a 20 year old vehicle as we are syncing your Bluetooth to a brand new vehicle.

For any Local Auto Repair or Logbook Servicing, you can contact us by email or phone 3809 2711, and we will be happy to provide an estimate or arrange a booking time.

Browns Plains Car Service

If you are searching for the right place to carry out a Browns Plains Vehicle service, you have come to the right workshop.

At Steve Sorensen Mechanical we strive to provide you an above dealer level of Browns Plains Car Service, at a below dealer level price.

Our most common day to day job carried out on a wide range of makes and models is a Browns Plains Minor Car Service.  See our previous blog articles explaining how several service items on modern vehicles have been designed to last longer, meaning a Major service is scheduled less often than a minor service –

Major Car services – when is it scheduled?

 

When carrying out a Browns Plains Minor Car Service our qualified technicians inspect the entire vehicle, reporting any future signs of problems to you before they become larger more expensive repairs or cause you to break down.

With every Browns Plains Minor Car Service we do the basic items:

  • Change Engine Oil
  • New Oil Filter
  • Check and top up all fluids
  • Cooling system inspection
  • Inspect belts & hoses
  • Brake inspection & adjustment
  • Inspect lights, wipers & tyre pressures
  • Inspect air, fuel & cabin filters
  • Test battery, starting and charging system
  • Full safety inspection
  • Road test & report

As well as a full Safety Inspection, during your Browns Plains Minor Car Service at our auto service centre, we will inspect and advise you of our recommendations on any items which require periodic maintenance, such as:

  • Air Filter
  • Fuel Filter
  • Pollen Filter
  • Brake Fluid
  • Clutch Fluid
  • Manual Gear Box Oil
  • Automatic Transmission Service
  • Transfer Case Oil
  • Diff Oil
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Coolant
  • Spark Plugs
  • Induction System Clean
  • Wiper Blades
  • Bulbs

By completing a Browns Plains Vehicle service regularly, you are protecting the investment of your vehicle and will have the best chance possible of preventing any future costly repairs.

With our decades of combined knowledge, we know the common problems on various makes and models, meaning each Browns Plains Car Service is tailored to your specific vehicle.

To book a Browns Plains Car Service, you can contact us by email or phone 3809 2711, and we will be happy to run through any queries specific to your vehicle.

 

Battery registration and programing

VIEW THE MAGAZINE ARTICLE HERE

 

Text only version (magazine version above)-

Recently, I had the pleasure of inviting some fellow TAT subscribers into my workshop for a ‘playday’ and the topic of battery registration came up.

For over 15 years now, European marques have strictly instructed the process to be carried out via a suitable scan tool at every battery replacement.  With the procedure becoming common place in even the cheapest of modern econo-boxes, I thought it was high time to get to the bottom of what the process does, and the hotly debated question – is it necessary?

 

Lead-Acid Battery

Improving on the regular old flooded cell batteries, which required regular water top up, advancements were initially made by replacing the average 6% antimony used to strengthen lead plates, with familiar sounding materials such as calcium or silver.  These were first referred to as “maintenance free” batteries.

 

With benefits like reduced outgassing, corrosion and self-discharge, these batteries prefer a higher charge rate than traditional, around 14.4 – 14.8V, to reach full capacity.

The Achilles heel of calcium batteries is their intense dislike of deep cycle discharge, more so even than traditional flooded cells.

(Pic 1 – Ford Intelligent Battery Sensor – Mounted on the negative battery terminal, the Ford Intelligent Battery Sensor precisely measures voltage, current and temperature)

Still in the lead acid battery family, a unit enjoying rapid growth due to the harsh environment of ‘Start-Stop’ equipped vehicles is the Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery – also referred to as Valve-Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA), or a lead battery with a pressure relief valve.

 

The earlier flooded type batteries are simply not robust enough for ‘Start-Stop’ and repeated cycling causes a sharp capacity fade after only two years of use.

 

With AGM technology, the sulfuric acid is absorbed by a very fine fiberglass mat, making the battery spill-proof.  Compared to flooded cell batteries, AGM has very low internal resistance, can charge 5 times faster, is capable to deliver high current on demand and offers a relatively long service life, even when deep cycled.

 

Unfortunately, AGM batteries are sensitive to overcharging. A burst charge of 14.4V (and higher) is OK; however, the float charge should be reduced to around 13.5V (northern state temperatures may require lower). Regular charging systems for flooded lead-acid often have a fixed float voltage setting of 14.40V; a direct replacement with an AGM unit could overcharge the battery on long drives.

AGM and other ‘sealed’ batteries (such as Gel) do not like heat and should be installed away from the engine compartment. Manufacturers recommend halting charge if the battery core reaches 49°C.  High charge rates and high heat results in outgassing (overpowering the pressure relief valve) which will dry out and kill the battery.

 

Registration vs Programming

Although battery registration is utilised by many brands now, I will speak mainly of BMW, who have been doing it for well over a decade.  There are generally two service options, Battery Registration and Battery Programming/Coding.

(Pic 2 – G Scan Battery Register – Both factory and many aftermarket scan tools have battery registration capabilities)

Every time a battery is replaced, using a suitable scan tool, the service function ‘Register battery replacement’ should be run. This completes the following operations:

  • Stored battery statistics (battery charge level, current, voltage, temperature) are deleted
  • Battery capacity is set to 80%
  • Current Odometer reading is stored along with readings of previous battery replacements.

 

This registration function is advised when carrying out a professional battery installation, and certainly many vehicles will not clear cluster warning messages and low voltage/battery fault codes until it has been completed.

 

BMW Technical Training – “If the battery change is not registered, the power management will not function properly, with the result that Check Control messages may be displayed and functions limited by individual electrical consumers being switched off or having their power consumption reduced.”

 

I always recommend to carry out, and charge the customer for this process – however, in real world terms, my research suggests there is no evidence behind rumored alternator and electrical damage from not registering batteries.  With the dynamic nature of the ‘smart charging’ systems, when fitting an identical new battery, the system is quite capable of adapting its strategy to the ‘mysterious’ new battery. Any charging adjustments based on age would be in millivolts, effecting long-term battery life negligibly.

 

Indeed, once a weak battery has been detected, many systems will not retract error messages/not operate some systems until battery registration is completed.

 

Battery Programming

The second, and I believe most important, aspect of this topic is Battery Programming or Coding.

 

If a different battery has been fitted, it is imperative that the car knows the specs of this new battery to modify its entire charging algorithm.

 

An example –

A 2006 BMW 330i E90 model provides the following choices when programming a battery in:

90Ah AGM, 90Ah, 80Ah AGM, 80Ah, 70Ah AGM, 70Ah, 55Ah, 46Ah.

 

Suppose our high spec model came with, and is programmed for a 90Ah AGM battery, but the customer wants to save money by fitting a 55Ah lead/calcium battery.  Aside from the real capacity issues, we know that the car is going to use an AGM based charging strategy which is terrible for a lead/calcium.  On the flip side, perhaps a customer is doing less driving now and an upgrade to an AGM better suited to the down time is preferable.  The charge strategy needs to know this to avoid overcharging.  Both situations will result in drastically reduced battery life if not programmed in properly.

 

Where makes like VW call for a specific code to be entered – if your physically correct aftermarket battery does not have a manufacturer recognised code printed on it, your best bet is to match up and enter a code with the same chemistry and specs as the battery you are installing – this is of course not ideal though.

 

(Pic 3 – Ross Tech Battery Coding – Although physically capable, many Australian sold batteries are not available for selection when coding in a new battery.)

(Pic 4– VW Battery Code – For VW, the 10 digit serial number is often preceded by the battery vendor code VA0, making the 10 digit serial number on this battery 360315F0B7.)

 

If a battery is staying with the same chemistry, but the Ah rating is changing, although I always recommend to reprogram the correct rating in, physically going up in Ah – ‘capacity’ – should be a non-issue. If the system wants to maintain the battery at about 80% State Of Charge (SOC), and then put energy in, the result will be that when it puts energy in, there is more capacity to put even more in. If a smaller battery was installed, the logic should still cut out based upon SOC, but the conditions may be such that it causes overcharge conditions or puts too much energy in too quick.

Australian Specific

Many Australian batteries will not provide an Ah rating but instead a Reserve Capacity (RC).  Although they are separate measurements, they are very similar in nature and there are many handy formula for calculating the Ah to be coded for your replacement battery.  I find the easiest to be:

 

RC/2.4=Ah

 

Of course having the right tool and battery for the job is always going to be best, but in a pinch (which can often happen in this wide and wonderful country of ours) the main things to remember are –

  • The battery being installed must be the same chemistry that is programmed into the vehicle.
  • Install a battery as close to the programmed Ah rating as possible – physically going up in capacity if forced.

 

 

Reference table –

  • CCA (Cold Cranking Amps)

Represents the amperage capacity a fully charged battery can deliver @ -18°C for 30

seconds before the voltage of the battery falls below 7.2 volts.

  • Ah (Ampere hour)

Derived from discharging a fully charged battery at a constant amp draw without the voltage of the battery falling below 10.5 volts.

The constant amp draw is multiplied by the length of the test to come up with the Amp

Hour Rating.

  • RC (Reserve Capacity)

Reserve capacity is expressed in minutes and relates to the amount of time a fully

charged battery can maintain a constant draw of 25 amps @ 27°C before the voltage

falls below 10.5 volts.

  • State of Charge (SOC)

A percentage estimate of how full the battery is.

  • Sulfate

Deposits formed on the plates of the battery as the electrolyte gives up its sulfuric

acid. Excessive deep cycling of a battery can cause a hardening of this deposit and make it impossible to return sulfate to the electrolyte. A sulfated battery is one which has these hardened deposits on the plates and cannot be recharged to full capacity.

 

Auto Mechanical Services

As one of the longest-running Auto Mechanic Shops in Browns Plains, we offer a wide range of Auto Mechanical Services.

Some of the Auto Mechanic Service we offer includes –

  • Logbook Servicing
  • Maintenance Servicing
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Electronic vehicle diagnostics
  • Brake and clutch repairs
  • Steering and suspension repairs
  • Automatic transmission servicing
  • Timing belt replacement
  • Cooling systems
  • Pre-purchase inspections
  • Safety certificates
  • Batteries

All of these Auto Mechanical Services are carried out to the highest standards, as can be expected when dealing with an Auto Mechanic Shop that has been in the industry for decades.

Being a family business, we take pride in our Auto Mechanic Shop and want you to drive away feeling and knowing that you came to the right place for your Auto Mechanic Service.

Trust our Auto Mechanic Shop to carry out all Auto Mechanic Service needed to keep your car in top condition.

 

Vehicle repairs, servicing, inspection, and maintenance, we are the one stop shop

We are back for the new year and ready to take care of all your Vehicle Repairs And Servicing needs.

Perhaps you need a Vehicle Inspection to get to the bottom of an odd noise or vehicle behavior you heard on your trip away?

Rest assured that we are equipped to handle all of your required Vehicle Repairs and Maintenance.

With new years being such a busy time of year, it is easy to let Vehicle Repairs and Servicing slip behind, while other tasks take centre stage.  Start the year off right by getting that check engine light diagnosed or that alarming clunk taken care of with a Vehicle Inspection.

Got a financial new years resolution? Keeping up to date with your Vehicle Repairs and Maintenance is the easiest way to avoid expensive repairs later on.  By detecting a small leak from a coolant hose in a Vehicle Inspection, you can have it repaired for minimal cost, rather than having it unexpectedly fail completely, overheating the engine which can cost thousands.

We understand that prevention is better than cure, so with absolutely all Vehicle Repairs And Servicing we carry out a thorough test drive, as we drive hundreds of different cars a week, with our finely tuned senses we may be able to detect and stop a problem in its tracks before it becomes major.

Contact us today and we would be happy to discuss any of your Vehicle Repairs And Servicing, Vehicle Inspection, Vehicle Repairs And Maintenance requirements.

Modern Cooling System Advancements

CLICK TO VIEW THE ARTICLE HERE!

 

 

The engine cooling system
has had its fair share
of nips and tucks over
the last few decades but the
principal behind it is a simple one
and stays the same – keeping
the engine within a certain
temperature range and providing
heating for cabin occupants.
Progress in cooling systems, as with
most vehicle systems these days, is
being pushed by emissions and
efficiency. Several tweaks
to age-old components
have played a part in the
modern vehicle being more
powerful, using less fuel
and having cleaner
emissions than its
predecessors.
We are a long way
from the days of air
cooling and now
seeing computercontrolled
versions
of well-established
cooling components,
including electronically
assisted thermostats,
pulse-width-modulated
fans and electric
water pumps to name
a few. With these
components come new
fault codes and new ways to diagnose cooling systems.
Why are there wires going to the thermostat?
Electronically-assisted thermostats have been around for decades
now and their operating principle is still very much the same
as their earlier, mechanical ancestors. The main drawcards of
electrical control over
the thermostat are
increased power and
improved emissions.
In a perfect world the
optimum combustion
process in a passenger
car occurs at about
110°C. With mechanical
thermostats a middle
ground must be struck
and their rated opening
temperature can open
much lower than 110°C
to allow a ‘buffer’ for
high-load situations.
Electronically assisted
thermostats have the
advantage of being able
to offer a much higher
opening temperature. These thermostats can remain closed as
high as 110°C – at this point they will open unassisted as the wax
pellet melts, just the same as a regular thermostat. This creates
the ideal temperature environment for emissions and efficiency.
The computer uses preset maps and watches several parameters
– including engine load, vehicle and engine speed, coolant and
intake air temperature – to operate the heating element and
quickly open the thermostat further.
This offers a rapid increase in cooling and drops the engine below
110°C.
The lower temperature is ideal for
making power, allowing ignition
timing to be advanced closer to
optimal without increasing knock.
For this reason, the heating element
is most often operated under highload
conditions to increase cooling.
The heating element will also be
operated, even at low load, if the
coolant temperature rises above
113°C to combat overheating.
The graph on this page – a
simulated map that controls the
thermostat heating element – shows
what the computer is thinking (pic 1).
The coolant temperature is lowered
as vehicle load and
speed increases.
Check its pulse!
From belt-driven
fans to low/high
staged relays, we
now commonly see
vehicles with pulsewidth-modulated

cooling fans. Pulse
width modulation ticks
all the efficiency and
NVH (noise, vibrations,
harshness) boxes for
manufacturers.
The benefits of precise fan-speed control are obvious but often
the speed range is not infinite. It is quite common to have preset
stages of fan operation, loosely evidenced by only a handful
of speeds being available when bi-directionally controlling fans
through a scan tool. Understand that engineers have worked
long and hard to perfect these speed stages to provide a balance
between effective cooling, energy efficiency and driver comfort.
Under certain conditions
a 64 per cent duty cycle
may be ideal for cooling
but 61 per cent may be
a better option due to
the noise and vibration
of a particular fan
assembly.
With a 10.61 per
cent duty cycle (blue)
commanded by the
computer, this small
cooling fan draws only
300 milliamps (red)
(pic 2).
For testing purposes,
if no scan tool bidirectional
tests are
available, the old theory of increasing load to get the fans on high
still holds true, so set the a/c to max and turn on as many loads
as possible.
With a rise in commanded duty cycle to 38.55 per cent (blue), fan
current increases to 814 milliamps (red) (pic 3).
Go with the flow
The theory for going electric with water pumps seems logical –
old mechanical-driven pumps, after all, rob precious power and
economy.
1
2
by Brendan Sorensen
The forecast is
hot for cooling
systems
The Automotive Technician 9
Critical thinkers might
argue that you cannot
create or destroy
energy, so isn’t this
just putting more load
on the belt-driven
alternator to provide
power for an electric
pump?
Well, there’s a little
more to it than that.
Mechanical water
pumps are directly
linked to engine speed,
so often pump more
coolant than is needed.
Conversely, sometimes
more coolant flow
would be ideal, such as during engine shut-off after hard driving.
The main benefit of an electric water pump comes from its
variable nature. Pulse width modulation allows the computer to
tailor fit the coolant flow to your engine’s current situation, and as
sparingly as possible. Electrification also provides several side
benefits, such as the reduced complexity of belt/chain designs
and the ability to remotely mount the pump in unused space.
Expect to see more of these modern water pumps because they
are ideal for hybrid and electric vehicles, which don’t have the
luxury of a constantly spinning mechanical engine.
Where to from here?
If you think we’ve made progress in cooling systems, grab an iced
tea because the future is hot.
The latest semi-conductors
used in hybrid and electric
vehicles produce a heat
flux measurement of
400W/cm², comparable to
the surface of the sun!
Huge cooling requirements
will be demanded from
stationary vehicles and
SAE J1772 electric-vehicle
connector standards
allow for up to 240kW of
charging power.
The sensitivity of
electronics creates the
need for very precise
and component-specific
cooling and this is where
glycol-coolant-based cooling systems show their age. Complex
systems with handfuls of small passages become hard to bleed
and regulate. The various metal components that require cooling
create bi-metal corrosion issues.
We are starting to see new solutions. The BMW i3 is an electric
vehicle that uses the existing a/c system to cool the battery pack
through refrigerant tubes mounted in a cooling plate, which acts a
heat sink.
But while the technology is changing the customer complaints will
remain the same. When Mrs Jones complains that her feet are
cold on morning drives, the keen technician will complement their
old-school physical tests and inspection with the interrogation of
data from all modules.
The poorly trained will quote a pair of slippers.

Transmission Service in Browns Plains

At Steve Sorensen Mechanical, our up to date training and direct contact with data and lubricant companies means we are able to complete not only a regular Automatic Transmission Service in Browns Plains, but also the latest automatic gearbox servicing such as Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).

Further to this, when carrying out a regular automatic Transmission Service in Browns Plains, we use a dedicated automatic transmission fluid transfer machine, ensuring the best quality service is completed.

This works like a blood transfusion for your automatic Transmission Service in Browns Plains. The machine ensures that we replace 100% of the fluid – the most critical part in gearbox longevity – unlike the drain and refill procedure others use, which often only replaces 30-40% of the fluid. Be sure to ask which method is being used by your chosen repairer when pricing your automatic Transmission Service in Browns Plains.

Transmission servicing is the absolute best way to ensure your transmission gives you trouble free motoring for the life of the vehicle.

What makes us better?

We have invested in tooling to make sure we can cater for even the highest levels of Transmission Service in Browns Plains:

  • We have factory level scan tool functions to complete resets and adaptations in your vehicle’s transmission control module (computer)
  • In an effort to keep owners from ‘tinkering’, many transmissions have complex, sometimes secretive, fill and level check procedures, our investment in data ensures only the correct fluids are used and the levels are checked by factory procedures, at the correct oil temperature (extremely important!).

Contact us on 3809 2711 to let us answer any questions you may have about your next Transmission Service in Browns Plains.

Toyota service Browns Plains specialist

The best way to get good at something is repetition – so with decades of experience on Toyota’s we are confident we can prove to you why we are a Toyota service Browns Plains specialist.

Knowing that Toyota is such a common manufacturer on our local roads, we have invested heavily to offer you the very best when it comes to servicing and repairs for your Toyota.  We have built our workshop to be a Toyota service Browns Plains specialist.

How can we guarantee this?

  • Multiple technicians at our workshop have come directly from Toyota dealerships – factory trained to know the ins and outs of your Toyota repairs and service.
  • We have invested in factory Toyota tools, software and scan tools to communicate with the various computerised modules on even the latest Toyota vehicles.
  • Our decades of on-the-job Toyota knowledge ensures that whether it be a diagnosis or repair, we know the tricks and tips to get the job done faster and correctly, meaning less money you spend for a quality job done.

We are extremely experienced with Toyota petrol fuel injection, and Toyota common rail diesel – often carrying out training sessions ourselves for fellow technicians – this is why we are a Toyota service Browns Plains specialist.

So the next time you are deciding where to take your beloved Toyota, whether it is for a Toyota service or Toyota check engine light, make sure you call us on 3809 2711, to talk to a Toyota service Browns Plains specialist.

Major car services – when is it scheduled?

As cars have evolved so has the way we service them, particularly Major Car Services.

The term Major Car Service is a throwback to when cars had more wear items, replaced quite regularly, at Major Car Services –

  • Moving ignition items like distributor caps, rotors and points required replacement – inductive sensors and computer controlled ignition systems now have no moving parts to replace.
  • Spark plugs were made of lesser materials and required regular replacement – modern spark plugs are coated in exotic metals like platinum and iridium, meaning some models can last as long as 150,000km before replacement.
  • External fuel filters have been replaced by complete fuel pump modules with built-in filter inside the fuel tank, which on some models are not scheduled/possible for individual replacement.
  • Electric vehicles do not require oil and oil filter changes.

Modern Car Servicing

The modern car is serviced differently, with much of the servicing requiring data interrogation of sensors to ensure they are reading correctly, adjustment to certain items and cleaning of others – less items are replaced, but the items are much more expensive, requiring good upkeep.

Modern servicing follows a logbook, with various components being replaced/adjusted at different times.  So the 10,000km service, 20,000km service and 30,000km service may just call for a regular minor car service – with the main component of this being an oil and filter change, along with a good inspection of your fairly new vehicle.

At 40,00km, an engine air filter replacement may be scheduled on top of the regular car service.  This continues with various items at different intervals.

At 90,000km on top of the regular service, the Timing Belt Kit may be scheduled for replacement, an expensive item often over $500 to complete. Does this mean this is the Major car service?

But then at 100,000km on top of the regular service, the platinum-tipped spark plugs may be scheduled for replacement – the exotic metal means the spark plugs can be fairly expensive to buy compared to their plugs of yesteryear that were replaced much more frequently.

So the question is – which of these are the Major car service? Is it based on which service costs more?  If this is the case usually the timing belt service would be most expensive.  However, if we are following the old-school term of Major car service, it used to mean when the spark plugs were replaced – so does this mean the 100,000km is the Major Car Service?

So when is the Major Car Service?

It is for the above reason that manufacturers no longer specify terms like Minor car service or Major Car Services – servicing is defined at different intervals, with each service being its own individual job with different items addressed based on their age and km’s traveled.

Not sure what your car is due for?  Luckily, the benefit of coming to a caring independent workshop is we follow manufacturer logbook service recommendations, but with the added benefit of tailoring servicing to how you use the vehicle and giving you a heads up on items that could cause trouble in the future – rather than the cookie-cutter model of dealerships were what the book says is what you get, regardless of what the vehicle actually needs.

 

Brake and Clutch Repairs

At Steve Sorensen Mechanical we have been performing Browns Plains Brake and Clutch Repairs for decades.

What sets our Brake Repairs apart?

We know that brakes are the most important system on your vehicle, so every Brake Repair is undertaken to the highest professional standards.

The key to a perfect Brake Repair is the little details.  A few of the extra steps we take:

  • All moving areas of the brake caliper are cleaned and lubricated with high melting point synthetic lubricant.
  • Hubs are cleaned of all debris and measured for runout
  • Where there is enough material to reuse your brake discs or drums, we have a brake lathe onsite to carry out brake machining personally, to our high standards

By taking a little extra care, we ensure that your Browns Plains Brake Repair results in reliable, silent braking – for the life of the brake job.

Clutch Repairs

With heavy-duty lifting equipment and bracing, we have what it takes to carry out any Browns Plains Clutch Repair.

We can repair anything in the clutch system from full clutch kits, hydraulic master cylinders and slave cylinders, right through to later model Dual Mass Flywheel repairs.

Carrying a heavy load or have some extra power?  Ask us about our heavy duty clutch repair options.

Having a professional carry out your Clutch Repairs means your new clutch will provide smooth, stable engagement for its entire life.

If you need a Browns Plains Brake Repair or Browns Plains Clutch Repair, contact us today for a no-obligation quote.

Vehicle safety certificates

As an approved QLD Vehicle Inspection Station, we are able to carry out a Vehicle Safety Check and provide Vehicle Safety Certificates.

Whether you are looking to sell your car, handing it down to your children or moving to QLD from interstate, any transfer of ownership or registration change will require a Vehicle Inspection to issue a current QLD Safety Certificate, formerly called a Roadworthy Certificate.

A current Vehicle Safety Certificate is valid for 2 months or 2,000km, whichever comes first.

Electronic Vehicle Safety Certificate

As a leading approved Vehicle Inspection Station, we have fully embraced QLD Transport’s recent initiative to provide your Vehicle Safety Certificate documents electronically, rather than the older styled multiple pages handed out.

Once we have completed a Vehicle Safety Check, we can email all required documentation directly to you.  Electronic Vehicle Safety Certificates have several benefits, making your life easier and saving you time.  A few examples include –

  • An Electronic Safety Certificate allows you to transfer registration of the vehicle online. This saves you the inconvenience and queuing from a trip to the transport department, something which must be done if dealing with the older style paper safety certificate.
  • The moment you list a vehicle for sale, whether it be online or simply putting a ‘For Sale’ sign up (this includes vague suggestions like ‘Buy Me’ or ‘Interested?’), you must display a current QLD Vehicle Safety Certificate on the vehicle. Failure to do this will result in a large fine if caught.  With an Electronic Vehicle Safety Certificate this is not required.  You simply need to be able to produce your documents if asked (most commonly through email on your smartphone).

If you need a Vehicle Safety Certificate, why not call us at our car repair shop to book an appointment today.

The 7 most common problems we see in our car repair workshop

We fix plenty of problems at our car repair workshop in Browns Plains, and some we see more often than others. So if you are interested in how we spend our time at the Steve Sorensen Car Repair Shop – here are 7 of our most frequently seen problems.

  1. Engine air leaks: With so many sensors on the engine monitoring air flow, pressure and temperature, any air leaks in the intake system can send things haywire – often resulting in computer fault codes indicating problems with particular sensors – with all the experience in our car repair workshop we know to go for the smoke machine to test for leaks before testing sensors for faults.
  2. Spark plugs: Another common problem we see often during a car repair service, spark plugs in the modern vehicle use exotic metals like platinum and iridium, meaning they can last over 100,000km in some models. Unfortunately this means they can go forgotten if not replaced at specified intervals, causing poor fuel economy, rough running and misfiring.
  3. Ignition coils: Along with your spark plugs, these help to keep your engine firing on all cylinders. Ignition coils take the 12 volts supplied by your cars battery, and boost it to up to 40,000 volts to create an electrical spark at the spark plug. With such a hard life these are a common cause of misfiring. We test and replace many ignition coils a week in our car repair workshop.
  4. Exhaust recirculation valves: These are involved in reducing your emissions and redirecting some of your exhaust fumes back into the engine to lower the combustion temperature, reducing the output of nitrogen oxide – a gas that is terrible for the environment. These valves are a ‘necessary evil’ to be able to burn petrol and diesel , whilst still passing emissions testing. Unfortunately, running sooty exhaust gas through the intake means in our car repair shop we are regularly replacing these valves, or repairing the blockages they cause in the intake
  5. Add-ons: The main problem here is with non-professionals installing additions to their cars, such as alarm systems, radios and wireless devices. These can divert power from other areas and cause a wide range of problems.

If you have any of the problems above, why not call us at our car repair shop and ask for a quote?

How to extend the life of your tyres

At Steve Sorensen Mechanical we do lots of major car services at our workshop in Logan Qld and we always check people’s tyres during their services. So you might be surprised to learn that tyres can actually last up to 10 years, although most of our tyres need to be replaced after 6 years.

How long your tyres will actually last before they need to be replaced is another matter, because there are a number of factors involved, not least being your driving style. Whilst most people won’t change the way they drive, it helps if you check your tyres every month, not just for the usual tread depth, but also to look for cracks in the sidewalls caused by underinflating your tyres and also from the harsh Aussie sun.

Hopefully, during the early years of logbook car services, you won’t need to replace your tyres, but we have seen it happen every now and again. Here are some of our best tips for extending the life of your tyres.

  • Check tyre inflation monthly: On average, tyres lose 1 psi every month and the psi can increase or decrease depending on the ambient temperature. So the air in your tyres can vary quite a lot, which is why you need to check them monthly and why we also check them during your major car services.
  • Rotate your tyres: It’s best to rotate your tyres every 10,000km to help extend their life, but if you notice any uneven wearing on your tyres, make sure to rotate them as soon as possible. During your major car service at our workshop in Logan Qld, we can check your tyres and tell you whether you need your tyres rotated or not.
  • Book in for a wheel alignment: If your car isn’t driving true and tends to veer off on one side then your first port of call is a wheel alignment and you may as well have your tyres rotated at the same time.
  • Don’t speed: One of the causes of blow outs in trucks is that they drive at a consistently high speed for hours on end. This is particularly relevant in our hot Aussie summers when the ambient temperature is high, because if your car is overloaded and your tyres have not been well maintained – they can simply blow out.

Why not book in for a major car service or a logbook car service and we will make sure that your tyres are in good shape.

What can you expect from our Logan auto repair shop?

We are very proud of our Logan auto repair centre, which offers plenty of elbow room for our mechanics, and our customers really appreciate our friendly customer service as well. With many positive testimonials from our happy customers, it is clear that we are doing something right!

Why are we the most popular Logan auto repair shop?

There are many reasons why Steve Sorensen Mechanical is the most popular Logan auto repair centre. From our clean and modern auto mechanic shop to our award winning customer service, our upfront and transparent pricing policy and our well-appointed and air-conditioned waiting area, customers keep coming back for all of their services and repairs.

Clean and modern auto mechanic shop

Far too often we hear from our customers about a car repair shop that is so dirty that they were afraid to put a foot anywhere, because the floors were covered in oil and other debris. At Steve Sorensen Mechanical, when moved to new premises in 2007, we made sure that we had a design for our Logan auto repair centre that was easy to keep clean at all times. This provides both our mechanics and our customers with a safe and healthy environment, which is something that we believe is essential to the success of our business.

Award winning customer service

We have won the Quest Business Achievers Awards for outstanding service in the Motor Vehicle Sales and Service category consecutively for 5 years straight. As a family business, we go out of our way to greet all of our customers to make them feel comfortable in our Logan auto repair centre. More often than not when you call us on the phone, you will speak to Robyn, Steve’s wife, who manages the office and takes great pleasure in chatting to our customers.

Transparent pricing policy

All of our costs are upfront and wherever possible, we’ll give you a firm quote for all work. If anything changes and your repairs are going to be more extensive, we always contact you or even invite you down to our car repair shop to show you the problem and get your approval for the work.

Our well-appointed waiting area

With air-conditioning and comfortable seating, you won’t see stacks of old, oil stained magazines and dirty cups in our auto mechanic shop. We make sure that our waiting room is well appointed for all of our customers, so that you can wait in comfort while we service or repair your vehicle.

Contact us today or we look forward to seeing you at our award-winning car repair shop in Logan.

Automotive Cooling Systems – a technical article by Brendan Sorensen – Issue 58 The Automotive Technician

We encourage you to click here to view the PDF article with pictures – Issue 58

The engine cooling system has had its fair share of nips and tucks over the last few decades but the principal behind it is a simple one and stays the same – keeping the engine within a certain temperature range and providing heating for cabin occupants.

Progress in cooling systems, as with most vehicle systems these days, is being pushed by emissions and efficiency. Several tweaks to age-old components have played a part in the modern vehicle being more powerful, using less fuel and having cleaner emissions than their predecessors.

We are a long way from the days of air cooling and now seeing computer-controlled versions of well-established cooling components, including electronically assisted thermostats, pulse-width-modulated fans and electric water pumps to name a few. With these components come new fault codes and new ways to diagnose cooling systems.

Why are there wires going to the thermostat?

Electronically-assisted thermostats have been around for decades now and their operating principle is still very much the same as their earlier, mechanical ancestors. The main drawcards of electrical control over the thermostat are increased power and improved emissions.

In a perfect world the optimum combustion process in a passenger car occurs at about 110°C. With mechanical thermostats a middle ground must be struck and their rated opening temperature can open much lower than 110°C to allow a ‘buffer’ for high-load situations.

Electronically assisted thermostats have the advantage of being able to offer a much higher opening temperature. These thermostats can remain closed as high as 110°C – at this point they will open unassisted as the wax pellet melts, just the same as a regular thermostat. This creates the ideal temperature environment for emissions and efficiency.

The computer uses preset maps and watches several parameters – including engine load, vehicle and engine speed, coolant and intake air temperature – to operate the heating element and quickly open the thermostat further. This offers a rapid increase in cooling and drops the engine below 110°C. The lower temperature is ideal for making power, allowing ignition timing to be advanced closer to optimal without increasing knock. For this reason, the heating element is most often operated under high-load conditions to increase cooling.

The heating element will also be operated, even at low load, if the coolant temperature rises above 113°C to combat overheating.

The graph on this page – a simulated map that controls the thermostat heating element – shows what the computer is thinking (pic 1). The coolant temperature is lowered as vehicle load and speed increases.

Check its pulse!

From belt-driven fans to low/high staged relays, we now commonly see vehicles with pulse-width-modulated cooling fans. Pulse width modulation ticks all the efficiency and NVH (noise, vibrations, harshness) boxes for manufacturers.

The benefits of precise fan-speed control are obvious but often the speed range is not infinite. It is quite common to have preset stages of fan operation, loosely evidenced by only a handful of speeds being available when bi-directionally controlling fans through a scan tool.

Understand that engineers have worked long and hard to perfect these speed stages to provide a balance between effective cooling, energy efficiency and driver comfort. Under certain conditions a 64 per cent duty cycle may be ideal for cooling but 61 per cent may be a better option due to the noise and vibration of a particular fan assembly.

With a 10.61 per cent duty cycle (blue) commanded by the computer, this small cooling fan draws only 300 milliamps (red) (pic 2).

For testing purposes, if no scan tool bi-directional tests are available, the old theory of increasing load to get the fans on high still holds true, so set the a/c to max and turn on as many loads as possible.

With a rise in commanded duty cycle to 38.55 per cent (blue), fan current increases to 814 milliamps (red) (pic 3).

Go with the flow

The theory for going electric with water pumps seems logical – old mechanical-driven pumps, after all, rob precious power and economy.

Critical thinkers might argue that you cannot create or destroy energy, so isn’t this just putting more load on the belt-driven alternator to provide power for an electric pump? Well, there’s a little more to it than that.

Mechanical water pumps are directly linked to engine speed, so often pump more coolant than is needed. Conversely, sometimes more coolant flow would be ideal, such as during engine shut-off after hard driving.

The main benefit of an electric water pump comes from its variable nature. Pulse width modulation allows the computer to tailor fit the coolant flow to your engine’s current situation, and as sparingly as possible. Electrification also provides several side benefits, such as the reduced complexity of belt/chain designs and the ability to remotely mount the pump in unused space.

Expect to see more of these modern water pumps because they are ideal for hybrid and electric vehicles, which don’t have the luxury of a constantly spinning mechanical engine.

Where to from here?

If you think we’ve made progress in cooling systems, grab an iced tea because the future is hot. The latest semi-conductors used in hybrid and electric vehicles produce a heat flux measurement of 400W/cm², comparable to the surface of the sun!

Huge cooling requirements will be demanded from stationary vehicles and SAE J1772 electric-vehicle connector standards allow for up to 240kW of charging power.

The sensitivity of electronics creates the need for very precise and component-specific cooling and this is where glycol-coolant-based cooling systems show their age. Complex systems with handfuls of small passages become hard to bleed and regulate. The various metal components that require cooling create bi-metal corrosion issues.

We are starting to see new solutions. The BMW i3 is an electric vehicle that uses the existing a/c system to cool the battery pack through refrigerant tubes mounted in a cooling plate, which acts a heat sink.

But while the technology is changing the customer complaints will remain the same. When Mrs Jones complains that her feet are cold on morning drives, the keen technician will complement their old-school physical tests and inspection with the interrogation of data from all modules. The poorly trained will quote a pair of slippers.

What’s new in vehicle diagnostics in 2017?

At our car repair workshop in Browns Plains, we’ve found that the technology used for vehicle diagnostics has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. One of the big improvements is with Bluetooth technology, because now we can perform a major car service in Logan QLD, or any inspection that needs diagnostics, quickly and easily.

With the newer model vehicles having so much computerised technology, both the vehicle owner and the mechanic now have a much better tool to use for vehicle diagnostics. For example, vehicle owners can use their Bluetooth diagnostic scanner to check their vehicle’s emissions and their fuel consumption.

We often use them in our car repair workshop in Logan QLD to clear error codes during a major car service, after first identifying and fixing the problems and we can even prepare a repair report for our own records or for our customers.

Five benefits of using Bluetooth vehicle diagnostics

  1. One size fits all: All new vehicles are required to meet specific standards for their on board diagnostics, commonly referred to as OBD II, making it much easier to identify problems across most makes of vehicles with one diagnostic tool. There was a time, not long ago, when a car repair workshop had to buy a diagnostic tool for each make of vehicle, but no longer!
  2. Increased vehicle efficiency: These diagnostic tools allow for precise control over your vehicle’s fuel and ignition, making it fairly easy to increase your vehicle’s efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint.
  3. Reduces repairs: This tool helps your mechanic to pick up problems that you might not have previously noticed, saving you serious money down the track on expensive repairs. Vehicle owners can also use the diagnostic tool at home, reducing the number of trips to the mechanic or booking in their vehicle for a timely major car service in Logan Qld, before the problem exacerbates.
  4. Faster vehicle diagnostics: All the mechanic needs to do is identify the codes shown on the diagnostic tool and it will quickly reveal the source of the problem. This saves you hours of time, because for many issues, the mechanic no longer has to peer into the depths of the engine, trying to locate the cause of the problem.
  5. Cheaper bills: When your mechanic can perform your major car service or repairs much quicker than before, your costs may go down, and everyone’s happy.

Don’t forget to book your vehicle in for a major car service in Logan Qld at our Browns Plains car repair workshop. We can even demonstrate some of our technology to you, so you know you’re in good hands.

Diesel intake manifold carbon cleaning

Like most things, prevention is better than a cure.  That’s why we recommend using our BG Diesel induction cleaning process as maintenance every couple of years to avoid the more drastic intrusive method of removing the intake system when problems start to develop.

Unfortunately, if the intake is left unserviced, there comes a point where even the most powerful of on car cleaners cannot break down extreme buildup and the only option is manual cleaning.

What to do about it?

We recently invested in an ultrasonic cleaning bath to ensure that when items do need to be removed from the engine, particularly intake manifolds, we get a perfectly clean result to ensure the labour spent on removal is worth it.

Take a look at the results we got cleaning a choked up Mitsubishi Pajero 4M41 diesel engine intake system this week, including the upper and lower intake manifold and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve – the results speak for themselves.

For all your diesel diagnostic issues, ranging from check engine light, poor fuel economy, blowing black and white smoke, hard starting and rough running.

Contact us at Steve Sorensen Mechanical on 3809 2711.

As many manufacturers share the same brand diesel injection systems from companies such as Denso, Bosch, Pierburg and Siemens, we specialise in many diesel vehicles including:

  • Mitsubishi Triton
  • Mitsubishi Pajero
  • Mitsubishi ASX
  • Nissan Navara
  • Nissan Xtrail
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Toyota Hilux
  • Toyota Hiace
  • Toyota Fortuner
  • Toyota Landcruiser
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mazda 3
  • Mazda 6
  • Hyundai i30
  • Holden Colorado
  • Holden Captiva
  • Holden Astra
  • Ford Ranger
  • Ford Territory
  • Ford Everest
  • Ford Focus
  • Isuzu D-Max
  • Isuzu MU-X
  • Volkswagen Golf (VW Golf)
  • Volkswagen Polo (VW Polo)
  • Volkswagen Passat (VW Passat)
  • Subaru Diesel
  • Kia Diesel
  • Audi Diesel
  • BMW Diesel
  • Mini Diesel
  • Mercedes Diesel

Extended service intervals

What are your thoughts on the manufacturers extending service intervals?

I believe, like so many other things in the business of making cars, extended service intervals have primarily been introduced as a marketing tool to sell more cars.  We know the tolerances are smaller, the components more expensive, the emissions ever tightening – the service schedules simply do not reflect this, even taking into account the impressive advancements in lubricants.

Online tools can easily calculate servicing costs of a modern vehicle, and savvy buyers include this into their decision when choosing a vehicle. If I compare two similar cars but one makes me suffer the inconvenience of the dreaded service twice a year rather than once, one has a distinct advantage.

Digging deeper than a car buyer’s weekend research, the dealer’s story starts to unravel:

  • Filled for ‘life’, is this the expected life of the component, the life of the vehicle or the life of the warranty?
  • Some schedules appear to be written by the marketing department rather than engineers, how can a Jeep and a Mazda sharing the same engine recommend such blatantly different service schedules on a whole range of things from engine oil to filters? Often the big ticket items will conveniently require servicing just as the car finishes its capped price servicing period.
  • How can a car built in January have a distinctly different service schedule from an identical model built in February?
  • Ridiculous oddities like a manual transmission car having an external fuel filter but the automatic variant using a no replacement specified in-tank filter.

What issues have you seen due to extended service intervals?

Of course oil sludging is the main culprit, without good advice most customers don’t understand that 15,000km of primarily long distance driving is worlds away from 15,000km of stop start short distance city driving.

Customers start to treat the car as an appliance rather than the sophisticated machine it is. If the oil can go 15,000km, surely you still don’t need to check the tyre pressures right?

Rather than regular low cost maintenance, service items are becoming ludicrously expensive and without good records it’s difficult to know if that new customer who just drived in has had their $350 in-tank fuel filter replaced at the scheduled time.  Has their transmission ever had its $300 synthetic oil change with no fluid level check procedure available? We will just have to wait until it has problems, requiring expensive diagnosis and repair.

What used to be a reasonable expense for regular filter replacements can quickly turn into components further down the line needing replacing – by the time the water in diesel light is on, every further kilometer can be $100.