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9209 East Adamo Drive Tampa, FL 33619 8555937476
9209 East Adamo Drive, Tampa, FL 33619
Phone: 813-400-1685

Learn How Your Honda Works | Brandon Honda – Tampa, FL

Brake Fluid Service

Did You Know?: Brake Fluid

Your vehicle’s brake fluid is a vital component in your braking system, creating a mechanical connection between your foot and the wheels. The physics of fluid dynamics, along with anti-lock brake technology, provide you with almost effortless control while braking. However, did you know this fluid needs service periodically? In this article, we’ll explore the reason why you should have Brandon Honda’s Brake Fluid Exchange Service performed every three years as recommended by American Honda.

What makes brake fluid a mechanical connection is its property as a fluid when dry, meaning no moisture contamination. When dry, brake fluid is incompressible, allowing it to act as a mechanical connection between the master cylinder and the wheel components, the calipers and wheel cylinders. This is the ideal state for brake fluid. As stated in an article on StopTech.com, “By definition, DOT 3 fluids must have a minimum dry boiling point (measured with 0 percent water by volume) of 401°F and a minimum wet boiling point (measured with 3.7 percent water by volume) of 284°F.”

Another property of brake fluid is that it is hygroscopic. This means it has the ability to absorb moisture. As you can see in the above statistic, brake fluid with only 3.7% moisture by volume drops in boiling temperature almost 120 degrees. This is significant because in my 30 years of experience I have had on occasion to measure brake temperatures. On a typical road test with normal braking, I have measured temperatures of 200 degrees right after stopping. On brakes with a malfunction such as a caliper piston that is not retracting, I have seen temperatures of 500 degrees and higher. This is a potentially dangerous condition that can be detrimental to the stopping power of your vehicle.

In spite of the fact that the brake master cylinder on your vehicle contains rubber seals to keep out contaminants, moisture can still leech through over time. Brake fluid with moisture content decreases the natural incompressibility of the fluid, softening the pedal feel for the driver, who now has to exert more effort in stopping their vehicle. In addition to keeping your braking system working optimally, flushing your system of old, moisture-laden fluid also reduces the possibility of corrosion developing internally, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in repairs.

American Honda, as noted in the training course each of our certified technicians is required to pass to work on your Honda, recommends servicing the brake fluid through an exchange process EVERY 3 YEARS, regardless of mileage. Visit our scheduler to obtain an appointment today, or if you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

Brake Service

Did You Know?: Squealing Brakes

Squeaking brakes can be really annoying and embarrassing. Typically, we tend to think something is wrong with the brakes when they squeak. It's not necessarily true, though. I'll first walk you through the scenarios that DO need attention, then I will share some experience with those scenarios that only require some understanding.

Brake pads on most vehicles with an average driver typically last from 50-85,000 miles. Some pads could go longer, like if the driver spent most of the time on the highway. The shortest brake pad life I have seen was on a 1998 Nissan Pathfinder. The vehicle’s owner drove it about 7,800 miles before a certain noise occurred that alerted the driver to bring it in to us. We found the brakes were hitting the squealers (a piece of thin metal attached to the pad) and the pads had worn evenly on both sides. The almost continuous noise he heard told the driver something was wrong. It is designed to make contact with the rotor around 2 millimeters from the pad backing to let the driver know it’s time to check the brakes before more severe damage can result. It was a surprise - until the customer told us he delivered newspapers for a living.

If the driver ignores this noise, or it can’t be heard for various reasons, another noise develops that is even more costly. Grinding is a very good indicator that the brakes have now reached metal to metal, which means that an ordinary resurfacing might not do and the brake rotors may have to be replaced. Even worse, now the braking performance is severely diminished. A brake pad in proper working order has more surface area thus more stopping power and heat dissipation. Brakes at metal to metal have less surface contact area, generate more heat, and have a lot less stopping power.

Some squeaks don’t need the attention like the previous examples do. The first one I will call the "getting out of bed" squeak. You back your car out of your driveway or pull it out of its spot first thing in the morning. The first brake application you hear a light chirp at the end, and maybe even the second or the third. Then you don’t hear a peep for the rest of the day. There’s nothing to worry about in this case. It may have been a cool morning out or the humidity was high. Moisture built up on the surface of the pads and the rotors. During the first couple of applications, until the moisture evaporates away, the brakes will experience a microscopic slip/stick condition, which creates the squeak. Since the atmospheric condition changed later in the day, so did the appearance of the noise.

Under heavy stop-and-go driving, brakes can reach high temperatures. The expansion of the metals can change the shape of the metals ever so slightly, so a customer could possibly experience a slight squeak when almost stopped. The brakes cool, the noise goes away.

Brandon Honda offers a free brake check with every service. Let our service managers know if you have any concerns and we'll take a look at it. Have a question for a technician? Just fill out this form on our website and we'll answer it! 

Tansmission Service

Did You Know?: Transmission Fluid

Transmission service is vital to the long life of your Honda. Proper transmission fluid has properties that both lubricate some parts while providing a liquid coupling between others. Bearings and gears inside your transmission require lubrication, while friction and steel plates inside clutch drums need cushion-ing through hydraulic pressure to create a soft yet mechanical connection. The cleanliness of this fluid key to continued trouble free service. Some shops offer quick flush systems that may use solvents to remove debris and old material from the transmission. This seems like a good deal until something goes wrong and the transmission starts acting strange, with less than quality gear changes and even slipping occurring. Genuine Honda fluid may not even be used, and with different friction characteristics the same symptoms may develop. What does Honda say about the issue of flushing or not?

From Honda Service News dated August 2000, “Transmission flush systems are not approved or recommended for Honda A/Ts because many flush systems require or encourage the use of solvents, additives, or non-Honda ATF.”

So, to get the Automatic Transmission clean again, what do we do? Well, we perform a service called a Transmission Exchange. It requires a drain and fill of the transmission fluid up to 4 times, running 12 quarts of fluid through the transmission to get over 98% of the old fluid out of it. With each drain, we fill it with new fluid and run the transmission through the gears, then drain it again. This ensures we are circulating new fluid through all of the gears and the torque converter. The continuation of the proce-dure allows us to get most of the old fluid out and ensuring your transmission doesn’t suffer any damage along the way. This procedure in most cases cures shuddering and rough shifting resulting from the fluid viscosity breaking down.

If you have any questions about this or anything else on your Honda, you can reach one of our technicians on our website.

Maintenance Minder

Did You Know?: Maintenance Minder

The Maintenance Minder on your Honda vehicle is a high tech solution for you to know exactly when your vehicle is in need for regularly scheduled maintenance.

Its system takes into account your driving habits, including time, traffic conditions, engine temperature, and environmental conditions, to accurately calculate the longevity of your engine fluids. It also calculates time and mileage for your filters.

The Maintenance Minder has a simple letter/number coding system telling you and us what items need attended to on your vehicle.

The Maintenance Minder has a schedule “A” and a schedule “B”. Schedule “A” is simply and oil and filter change. Schedule “B” includes this and adds a complete vehicle inspection for your added piece of mind.

Following the letters are the numbers 1-6 (on vehicles without four-wheel drive it is 1-5).

  1. Tire rotation
  2. Replace the engine and cabin filters and inspect the drive belt
  3. Replace transmission fluid
  4. Replace spark plugs, replace the timing belt (on some models) and inspect the water pump.
  5. Replace engine coolant
  6. Replace the rear differential fluid

The benefits allow you to drive without having to keep track of one more thing in your busy life. If you have any other questions regarding the maintenance of your vehicle, ask one of our knowledgeable assistant service managers.

Visit our scheduler to obtain an appointment today, or if you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

Octane Level

Did You Know?: Octane Level

A question that customers have asked me occasionally is “What octane is good for my car? I just bought it and I do not want to wreck it by putting in the wrong gas.” That is a good, responsible question.

All Honda models, with the exception of the S2000, have a minimum requirement of 87 octane or higher. Compression ratio design in Honda engines does not dictate a need for an octane higher than 87 in most driving conditions.

Under what conditions would a higher octane be necessary you might ask? Carbon buildup inside an engine can cause a circumstance for fuel to puddle in a remote area in the cylinder and detonate prematurely, creating a knocking or pinging noise on acceleration.

A good top engine cleaning using quality solvents and equipment can solve this problem. Switching to a higher-octane gasoline, which has a greater resistance to detonation, can also eliminate this symptom.

Another instance where the need for a higher octane becomes apparent is under high load conditions like towing in hilly driving conditions. This situation creates higher cylinder temperatures, under which any leftover fuel in the cylinder can easily ignite at the wrong time causing pinging.

Just remember though. Engine noises are always indicative of a problem. Do not hesitate to have a qualified technician check out your vehicle if you have any concerns.

Visit our scheduler to obtain an appointment today, or if you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

HandsFreeLink

Did You Know?: HandsFreeLink®

Tech savvy and busy customers like yourself have probably purchased your new Honda for its tech features, specifically the HandsFreeLink® feature.

While this feature is great for convenience and safety, any tech item is prone to its glitches. These setbacks can be irritating. We understand your frustration.

American Honda has a website for customers called handsfreelink.com, which can check your phone for its compatibility to the HandsFreeLink® system. Let me take you on a tour.

On the HandsFreeLink® homepage, click on the link on the lower right in the Getting Started section:

Website Screen Shot #1

You will find yourself here. Click the dropdowns to select your year, make, model and accessories, along with your phone carrier, and phone brand and model.

Website Screen Shot #2

Now here is where it can get somewhat confusing. For instance, I have a Kyocera DuraForce Pro model E6833. The drop down list only shows an E6830. I will click on this to see what features are used through the HandsFreeLink® system (which I will show you next), but I will be working on the assumption that maybe I could be losing some compatibility because I do not have the exact model listed. Now I will click on the link for my particular phone as shown below.

Website Screen Shot #3

Listed below on this page are all of the active features with the HandsFreeLink® system available for this phone. Please note there are several items that are not compatible with the HandsFreeLink®. These are normal conditions and in no way are indicative of a problem.

Website Screen Shot #4

Now, I am not an Apple guy. I did peruse the menu of all the compatible i-Phone devices and was shocked at what I saw. There is a lot of them! What I noticed also, beside the version # of the phone, was a subset of numbers, which I have found to mean the build number of that software version. This number is crucial when checking compatibility.

Customers have come in to our shop stating that their phone no longer works with Bluetooth®, or calls drop while using Bluetooth®. Many times the issue occurs when the phone’s software receives and update, rendering many features useless. Other times there may be actually a software update on our end, which we can provide for the customer.

We always ask first for our customers to check their phone compatibility first using handsfreelink.com, and even deleting their phones from the system, then re-pairing them. If the phone compatibility checks out, and deleting and re-pairing does not work, then we can check if any updates are available. Give one of our Assistant Service Managers a call and we can check our database for you over the phone.

If we are able to provide an HFL update, or if you have any other needs, visit our scheduler to obtain an appointment today. If you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

Painting

Did You Know?: Automotive Detailing

Master artisans in the beginnings of the automobile industry applied oil based paint and varnishes by brush. It was common for car owners to buy brushes from local stores or mail order catalogs and repaint their vehicles once a year. These archaic finishes took weeks to dry. Early car lines like Ford, used, in addition to brushing, used techniques like pouring and dipping to apply paint finishes.

The 1920’s saw the advent of spray tech-nologies along with nitrocellulose paints and primers. Drying time reduced to a week. These paints offered a brighter range of colors and were much more durable.

Alkyd enamels came around shortly after, and were cured by moving the vehicle and its parts through an oven to bake them to the metals.

Popular acrylic enamels and primers emerged in the early 60’s. These finishes were superior to the prior finishes, yet more changes were coming about due to environmental concerns.

Today’s automotive finishes are water based and are applied in three stages. First, after a zinc coating is applied to the bare metal for corrosion protection, primer is applied to give a base for the color coat to stick to. The color coat is then applied, followed by a clear coat, which manufacturers started to apply to finishes in the 1980’s (jdpower.com). This allows for a greater durability with pollution and UV protection. In spite of these improvements, the paint still requires care. Therefore, what does a car owner do to care for probably the second most expensive investment that they would ever make in their life?

There are myriads of spray waxes, paste waxes, and liquid waxes out on the market. The key though is a clean dry surface to apply these waxes onto. Using soft lint free cloths and a good quality chamois will take care of the prep. Applying a good quality wax should be done in sections. For instance, apply wax to a fender, then move back to a door and possibly the back quarter panel, and then move back to the fender with a clean cloth to buff out, then continue the process around the rest of the car. Preferably, do this process in the shade so the dried wax is easier to remove. You will benefit from a shiny new ride, and the pride you feel from doing the job yourself.

If you are someone who just doesn’t have the time for such an endeavor, and it will take at least take a couple of hours, then we would be happy to accommodate you by having our superb detail department detail your car inside and out.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, visit our scheduler to obtain one today. If you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

headlight-restore

Did You Know?: Headlight Restoration

Modern headlights are lighter and shaped differently than the old glass lens of early years. Made of acrylic and polycarbonate, they allow a better light pattern to illuminate the road, promoting safer night driving. Even so, these lenses are susceptible to the environment’s contaminants, as well as the sun’s powerful ultraviolet waves, slowly eating away the ultraviolet protection coating the headlight lenses. Adding to the outer influences, the high heat generated by the powerful halogen headlamp bulbs cook the exposed shell. This of course creates a diminished view of the roadway at night. Short of replacing expensive headlight assemblies, what can we do about that?

Here at Brandon Honda, we offer an inexpensive solution to this very common problem. Headlight restoration removes the oxidation buildup, taking several layers of the headlight surface off to expose a clean lens. Then, our experienced technicians apply a clear coat protectant to seal the lens from external contamination. This process restores the headlight to a like new condition, and night vision is greatly increased.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, visit our scheduler to obtain one today. If you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

Timing Belt

Did You Know?: Timing Belt

The timing belt is a vital, very vital, engine component that is still available in many engines today. Its purpose is to create a timed link between the pistons and valve train so that optimum power can be generated from your engine.

Timing Belt

Almost all Honda engines in the past were driven by a timing belt. Civics, Honda’s only engine that uses a timing belt now is the J35Y found on the 2015 and up Acura TLX, 2016 and up Honda Pilot, 2017 and up Honda Ridgeline, and the 2018 and up Honda Odyssey for North America (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_J_engine). The timing belt provides quieter engine operation and lower engine design costs. Compared to a timing chain, if the belt wears, only the belt and idler pulleys (if worn at all) would need replaced. A timing chain that needed replacement would also need its drive gears replaced which is a more expensive proposition.

Timing belt replacement, on most vehicles, is due at 60,000-100,000 miles. Honda recommends if the vehicle is driven in very high temperatures (over 110°F), then it should be replaced every 60,000 miles. Florida qualifies of course, because with the heat index we regularly see temps upwards around 115° in the summer time.

Most automotive engines today have higher compression ratios than older passenger car engines. What this means is that internally the distance between the pistons and valves are extremely close. This allows for the greatest efficiency of the air/fuel mixture. These engines usually require higher octane fuel.

valves Failure

However, what this also means is that when this clearance is challenged, in other words, when the timing belt breaks, severe engine damage can result as seen in the picture below. The two smaller exhaust valves in this cylinder head received an impact after the timing belt broke, as they were still open when the camshafts stopped turning. Timing belt breakage created a repair that was approximately 3 times that of a normal maintenance visit. Had the owner gotten this done at the correct time, this incident would not have occurred.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for this or any other repair, visit our scheduler to obtain an appointment today. You can also find discount coupons on our website. If you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

Spark plug

Did You Know?: Spark Plug

The timing belt is a vital, very vital, engine component that is still available in many engines today. Its purpose is to create a timed link between the pistons and valve train so that optimum power can be generated from your engine.

Spark plug

The first spark plug was invented sometime around 1860. There are many claims about who invented it, so it isn’t necessary hash out that debate. They do play a vital role in the smooth operation of any internal combustion engine. In fact, spark plugs manufactured by AC were used to ignite the 2nd and 3rd stage rocket engines of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon (e3sparkplugs.com/blog/e3s-history-making-spark-plugs/).

In conjunction with an igniter, in the case of modern vehicles it is called a coil (triggered by an on/off signal from the vehicle’s compu-ter), the spark plug fires at a particular time into the air/fuel mixture in the vehicle’s combustion chamber. This sends energy pressing down on the piston top, creating reciprocal motion to keep the engine running continuously.

Early spark plugs back in the day (for me the late 1980’s) were of the copper core variety. These are the same plugs pictured above. The maintenance life on these plugs was 30,000 miles.

Later on, manufacturers were beginning to catch on to new ideas to sell cars. Spark plugs were getting cheaper to manufacture, vehicle emissions standards and environmental protections were increasing, and new designs were coming out to promote longevity and less waste. Platinum spark plugs came on the market. They were promoted as touting more power, efficiency, and longevity. I am not sure about the first claim, but the second two are valid. The maintenance ranges increased to 60,000 miles. Typically they were seen on higher powered ignition systems, but eventually many vehicle manufac-turers started including them in their designs.

In the mid 1990’s, NGK developed with the first spark plug made of Iridium. This spark plug has many advantages over platinum. Iridium is harder by over 6 times, more corrosion resistant, and melts at a higher temperature (www.counterman.com/what-s-new-in-spark-plugs/). This spark plug, which is included in all Hondas now, has a recommended scheduled service life of 105,000 miles. Even with this new technology, spark plugs can still fail in different ways.

Typical wear like in the image above is the most common type of failure. What a customer can experi-ence from their vehicle is hard starting. The voltage during cranking isn’t as high in comparison to the engine running. A substantial amount of voltage is needed to jump the larger gap, so the right amount of spark isn’t available during richer cold start conditions.

Another failure comes in the form of a cracked insulator. Usually this is caused by mishandling, but old age and an environment where there is extreme hot and cold conditions can also be culprits. Cracks cause the electricity flowing through it to leak out, which can eat through the coil or plug wire boot and seek its own path to ground. This results in a misfire condition, primarily under load.

Another occurrence is called fouling. This can have different causes. A stuck open injector can cause the plug to foul with fuel. Low compression can also aid in fuel fouling. Coolant leaking into the combustion chamber can foul the spark plug also. An overheating complaint can accompany the rough running complaint. The causes of the coolant leak must of course be determined before the repair is made.

Ignition system component failure is another cause of rough running and plug fouling. Coils or wire may have an open circuit. This will certainly rough running, hesitation, and overall poor performance.

The last thing is excessive oil consumption. Typically isolated to one cylinder, an accumulation of hard-ended black deposits indicates the cylinder is burning oil. This can temporarily be fixed by replacing the spark plug, but eventually the new plug will foul out soon because a major engine repair is needed.

I hope you found this article interesting and informative. If you would like to schedule an appointment for this or any other repair, visit our scheduler to obtain an appointment today. You can also find discount coupons on our website. If you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

fuel Injection

Did You Know?: fuel Injection

Honda’s fairly new Earth DreamsTM engines provide better fuel economy, performance, and lower emissions than previous generation Honda engines. Their method of injecting the fuel into the cylinders has changed , and there are consequences to the improvements listed above. Below is an illustration of the two different methods of fuel delivery.

fuel Injection

In the top right picture, you can see the air and fuel enter through the intake runner on the engine, mixing together before it enters the combustion chamber. The mixture washes over the intake valve, helping to keep it clean and free of deposits, dependent of course on the amount of detergents in the gasoline and whether or not the vehicle is serviced using additives in the tank.

The bottom right picture illustrates a direct injection engine. Here the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber and bypassing the intake system altogether. This allows for a more efficient combustion process, as the finely atomized fuel is sprayed into the hotter combustion chamber giving the engine a more efficient burn.

However, the draw back occurs because the fuel is no longer sprayed ahead of the intake valve. There no longer is the washing effect and this allows carbon to buildup on the intake valve surface. Several problems can occur when this happens.

fuel Injection

The example bove is what occurs when periodic cleaning is not performed. The buildup decreases and disrupts airflow into the combustion chamber, thus disturbing the air-fuel ratio and decreasing engine performance and mileage.

Also, Carbon can eventually build up to the point that the valves will not seal properly, resulting in a loss of engine performance.

If the carbon build-up is serve, it can actually break off and cause damage to the cylinder area, scoring cylinder walls and even damaging pistons. Because of this design, maintenance on your fuel system is imperative.

We suggest periodic induction service cleaning. It is a process where we install a high-pressure spray device with a special top engine cleaner in line with the air intake system. We then run the cleaning process for approximately 20 minutes while the cleaner does its work to remove carbon buildup from the engine’s intake system. This restores the engine to its original performance specification, keeping your Honda in top notch driving condition. We recommend this service every 15,000-30,000 miles based upon your driving habits. If you make a lot of short trips, of course you would want to service the vehicle at lower mileages.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for this or any other repair, visit our scheduler to obtain an appointment today. You can also find discount coupons on our website. If you have any other questions for one of our technicians, visit us at Ask A Tech on our website.

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