Believe it or not your gas cap may be loose. As strange as that sounds,
if your vehicle is a 1995 or newer model, a loose gas cap can cause the
check engine light on the dash to illuminate. The check engine lamp has
been on all vehicles since 1981. The lamp is illuminated by a computer
when a fault is detected by the vehicles electronic on board computer system.
There can be upwards of 300 different codes that can be logged when the
check engine lamp is on. Often times a customer will call us reporting
the light is on and ask us what the cause is. Until we hook up our lap
top computer we do not know which code is stored. On 1995 and newer model
vehicles the federal government has mandated that the vehicles on board
electronics monitor the integrity of the fuel supply system. If the fuel
tank or several other fuel related components do not hold vacuum,
code PO440 for "evaporative emissions leak" will be stored. At that
moment the computer in the car will command the check engine lamp to illuminate.
The EPA does not want fuel evaporating from the fuel tank and venting into
the atmosphere. This is known as evaporative emissions. (Remember a few
years back when all the small gas station hoses were changed over to larger
nozzles with a boot? That boot pulls the gas vapor from your fuel tank
into an underground storage tank when you are refueling the car. Likewise
the EPA does not want fuel vapors leaking past a loose fuel cap).
While your driving your vehicle, many tests are being performed by the
on board computer in your car. The computer performs specific tests to
check the integrity of the vehicles sensors and electronics. When the evaporative
emission test is run the computer tries to apply vacuum to the fuel tank.
If the test passes the light is not turned on. Some times we will connect
our lap top computer to a car and find an evaporative emission code and
a subsequent inspection will reveal a loose gas cap. Often a customer will
say that they gassed up several days ago and they don't understand why
the light was not on right after refueling. This is due to the computers
strategy, ( the program that determines when the evaporative emission test
will run). The evaporative leak detection strategy is based on applying
vacuum to the fuel system and monitoring vacuum decay. The evaporative
emission test does not run during every trip you take. Lets use a 1996
Buick Lesabre V6 as an example. The 96 Lesabre repair manual states that
the evaporative emission test will only run if the following "enable criteria"
1). Engine temperature at start up is between 40F and 86F.
2). Engine temperature at startup is not more than 14F greater than
start up intake air temperature.
3). Intake air temperature at startup is between 40F and 86F.
4). Intake air temperature at startup is not more than 4F greater than
startup engine coolant temperature.
5). The fuel level reported at the fuel gauge is between 15% and 85%.
6). Barometric pressure is greater than 75kpa.
7). The vehicle has been driven at least 11 miles.
8). No codes are stored in the computers memory for: throttle position
sensor, output driver module, intake air temperature sensor or manifold
absolute pressure sensor.
When all these criteria are met, the computer will apply vacuum to the
fuel system. If the system fails to hold vacuum, code PO440 is stored for
evaporative emissions and the check engine lamp is illuminated.
Wow! That's a lot of criteria to meet before that test is run on the
fuel system. Due to criteria #5 alone we can see that the test will never
run with a full tank (100%) of fuel. This means that even if the cap is
loose or missing after a fill up, the test won't run (so the light won't
come on) until the fuel tank is down to 85% full. This is the reason why
the light will not come on right away if the fuel cap is loose or missing.
Keep in mind that although a loose fuel cap is the most likely cause
of this code, the following items will cause the test to also fail:
Disconnected or faulty fuel tank pressure sensor, disconnected or damaged
evaporative purge line, disconnected or damaged evaporative vent hose,
disconnected or damaged fuel tank vapor line, disconnected or damaged purge
solenoid or vent solenoid, open ignition feed circuit to the vent or purge
solenoid, damaged evaporative emission canister, leaking fuel sender assembly
o-ring, leaking fuel tank or filler neck.
Repair facilities charge a small fee to connect a lap top computer to
read and clear the code and turn off the check engine light. The computer
itself can turn the light off if the evaporative test is run and the test
passes. The light will then be off but the code will store in memory as
a "history code" until 40 consecutive engine warm-up cycles have occurred
Think cars are getting too technical? We think so too, but this is the
industry we have chosen to be in so we roll with the punches and stay up
to date by constantly attending the latest training so we can continue
to properly service your vehicle.
GM Purchases 20% of Subaru.
General Motors recently spent 1.4 billion dollars to acquire 20% ownership
of Fuji Heavy Industries, the producer of Subaru cars and trucks. This
ownership venture is expected to lead to joint development and production
of vehicles and related technology. Fuji will remain a sole entity with
GM as its largest shareholder. GM also owns 49% of Isuzu and 10% of Suzuki.
In 1998, GM generated 161 billion dollars from all its business globally,
which included sales of 8,165,000 vehicles. GM employees approximately
391,000 people worldwide.
Our service technicians will be attending night school during the months
of April, May and June. The technicians will be taking the nationally recognized
Aspire Curriculum. The Aspire course is being presented by Massachusetts
Bay Community College. The course is difficult and requires a large
time commitment since the classes run 4 hours per night, two nights a week,
for ten weeks. We are glad that our technicians have taken the initiative
to further their automotive education. The classes will end mid June.
83 % Of Vehicles In Need
The National Car Care Council recently announced that 83% of all vehicles
in the U.S. are in need of some kind of service work. The Car Care Council
sponsors free Car Check Lanes every year in October. The lanes are often
held in large mall parking lots. Motorist are encouraged to drive through
the check lane where local automotive technicians volunteer to check your
vehicle's fluids, tires, lights, drive belts, hoses, etc. After the lanes
were held across the country in 1999, the council found that the vehicles
most common failures were:
Antifreeze-coolant (low or dirty) 45%
Lights (one or more out) 27%
Engine Oil (low or dirty) 27%
Tire pressure incorrect 27%
Drive Belts (cracked) 20%
Air Filter (dirty) 20%
Transmission Fluid (low or dirty) 17%
Washer Fluid (low or empty) 15%
Hoses (cracked or leaking) 13%
Battery Terminals (corroded) 12%
Windshield Wipers (ripped-worn) 10%
Power Steering Fluid (low or dirty) 10%
Brake Fluid (low dirty) 10%
Tire Tread (worn out) 9%
Does your car take care of you by taking you safely to work every day?
Be sure to take Care of your car too.
In Motor Age Magazine.
For the 5th Consecutive year now Mark and Glenn Giammalvo have been
commissioned to write technical articles for the national automotive publication,
Motor Age Magazine. Some of the articles planned for this year are: "Electrical
Intermittents" and "Drive Axle Diagnosis and Service". Although the articles
are technical in subject matter, it is interesting to read about some of
the difficult service problems they have encountered. We will add each
article to our web site as they are written. Be sure to check out the articles
on our web site at: www:samscars.com or ask to see a copy the next time
you are in. Hats off to Glenn and Mark.
(Obituaries Courtesy The Standard Times)
We were saddened by the loss of former employee: Frank A. Queripal.
Frank was employed by us as an automotive technician for 20 years. Prior
to that time he worked for Elm Motors. He was a resident of Dartmouth for
the past 35 years. Mr. Queripal attended New Bedford schools and served
in the U.S. Army during World War II. He enjoyed working on cars in his
spare time and was also a ham radio operator.
We were also saddened by the loss of the following customers:
Clement P. "Bob" Brodeur, born in New Bedford, he had lived 35
years in Rochester. Mr. Brodeur was the owner and operator of C.P.Brodeur
Inc., a dealer of Caterpillar engines. He enjoyed boating and socializing
David A. Loveridge lived in New Bedford most of his life. He
was a communicant of St. Mary's Church. Mr. Loveridge owned and operated
Dave Loveridge Plumbing and Heating for 25 years until he retired five
years ago. He served with the Army during the Vietnam War. He was a member
of American Legion Post 1,
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Andrews-Dahill Post 1531 and Plumbers
& Gas Fitters Union Local 77. He was an avid golfer and member of the
New Bedford Country Club. He played Santa Claus at St. Mary's School and
worked bingo at St. Mary's Church in the kitchen.
Marion Hogan, lived in Fairhaven since 1946. She was a
parishioner of St. Joseph Church. Mrs. Hogan was a member of the Third
Order of St. Francis at Our Lady's Chapel, New Bedford.
Irving L. Meade, born in Richmond, Va., Mr. Meade had lived
in New Bedford for 51 years. He was employed by the U.S. Postal Service
for 30 years until he retired in 1983. Mr. Meade was well-known along his
downtown route, which he had for several years. A member of the Union Baptist
Church, he was also a member of the sanctuary choir and chairman of the
church trustee board, having also served as church moderator. Mr.
Meade was a member of the Union Lodge No. 4 F&AM, where he served
as assistant secretary, senior steward, senior deacon, junior and senior
wardens, and past master. He served on the Building Fund Committee for
the new lodge building, and had also served as district deputy grand master
of the 4th Masonic District. Mr. Meade was a member and past worthy patron
of J.W. Hood Chapter No. 12 Order of the Eastern Star, a member of African
Lodge No. 459 and a member of St. Phillips Chapter No. 3 Holy Royal Arch
Masons. He was a former member of the Louis Hayden Commandery No. 1 Knight
Templars, and a member of the Lebanon Club. He was also a council captain
for the Interchurch Council of Greater New Bedford Fund Drive (Melville
Towers) and a member of the New Bedford Boys Club Building Fund Committee.
A member of the New Bedford branch of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People, Mr. Meade was also a social/associate member
of the Andrews-Dahill Post 1531 Veterans of Foreign Wars, and past president
and charter member of the 20th Century Club. He served in the Army during
World War II.
Hemiterio G. "Emy" Souza, born in New Bedford, he lived in the
area all his life. He was a communicant of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
Mr. Souza was an office manager at John Alden Cash & Carry, a division
of Laurans-Standard Grocery. He was a member of the Holy Name Society of
Mount Carmel Church and the YMCA. Fond of playing golf and traveling, he
volunteer for the New Bedford Council on Aging.
Theodore F. Ring, born in Bridgeport, Conn., he lived in Fairhaven
50 years. Mr. Ring served in the Army Corps of Engineers amphibian command
in New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II. He received the
Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Ribbon with two battle stars,
American Theater of
Operations Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one battle star,
and the Victory Ribbon. He was an automobile salesman at Hiller Co. in
Marion until he retired in l991. He also was the New England district
manager for the Keystone division of the Pennwalt Co. of Philadelphia.
Mr. Ring was a propeller adjuster at M.D. Thompson & Sons in Fairhaven,
and he later worked in the industrial power transmission line for several
local companies. He was a member of Acushnet-Wesley United Methodist Church
and its Pastor Parish Committee; he was a former member of Center Methodist
Church. He was a mason and a member of the George H. Taber Lodge A.F. &
A.M. He was a former member of Fairhaven Town Meeting and the Finance Committee,
and a former president of the Fairhaven Protection Society.
George Wilfred Holden, born in New Bedford, he lived in
Acushnet since 1950 and wintered in Tampa, Fla. He was an Army veteran
of World War II. A 32nd-Degree Mason and Shriner, he was a
member of the Alpaca Club, a license plate collectors club, and the Scottish
Charles Daignault, a lifelong New Bedford resident, He
was a communicant and usher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. He
received the Marian Medal. Mr. Daignault was a machinist at J.C.
Rhodes until he retired. He was an Army veteran of World War II;
he served in Northern France, the Rhineland, Ardennes and Central
Europe. He received the Purple Heart and European African Middle Eastern
Theater Campaign Ribbon. He was a member of the Holy Name Society,
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Seniors and Polish American Veterans.
Pasquale Angelini, born in Italy, he came to New Bedford
as a baker in 1947 and opened Jerry's Bakery, which he operated for 17
years. Mr. Angelini was a Realtor for 15 years and the owner of Jerry's
Salvage Store for 20 years. He was an avid cook who also enjoyed gardening.
Dr. Robert E. Kelleher, born and raised in Lynn, he moved to
Greater New Bedford area in 1962 and was a communicant of St. Joseph's
Church, Fairhaven. Dr. Kelleher established a practice in plastic and reconstructive
surgery in New Bedford in 1962 until retiring 1988. He had been affiliated
with hospitals in New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro and Wareham
during his medical career. He was a 1949 graduate of Boston College and
a 1953 graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his
residency at Mary Hitchcock Hospital, Hanover, N.H., and served his internship
with the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict. He was a member of the American
Medical Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the American College
of Surgeons and the Wamsutta Club. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.