No need for reg­u­lar ‘re-flash’ ser­vice

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Austin American-Statesman - - D STATESMAN CARS - Con­tin­ued from D

source of your vac­uum, and it’s from there that vac­uum gets dis­trib­uted to the heater con­trols, the power-brake booster and any­thing else that re­quires it.

Ray: If the vac­uum is suf­fi­cient there, then you’ll need to trace the route of the vac­uum from the en­gine to the blend doors. There could be a crack or a small hole in the man­i­fold it­self, or in one of the vac­uum hoses.

Tom: Or you could have a bad vac­uum reser­voir (which stores vac­uum for use dur­ing those mo­ments of wideopen throt­tle so you don’t get blasted with heat).

Ray: Some sys­tems even use a check valve to main­tain vac­uum dur­ing wide-open throt­tle, and yours could be bro­ken.

Tom: If there is a leak, the best way to find it is with a smoke test. There’s a ma­chine that pumps smoke into your vac­uum sys­tem so you can see where it’s es­cap­ing. That’s where your leak is.

Ray: Of course, don’t do the smoke test while driv­ing, Luke, or you guys’ll end up with heat­stroke, odor-in­duced delir­ium and smoke in­hala­tion. Dear Tom and Ray: My lo­cal au­to­mo­tivere­pair shop of­fers a ser­vice in which they will “re-flash” your car’s com­puter. Is that help­ful, or just an un­nec­es­sary ser­vice to gen­er­ate prof­its for the shop? Is it some­thing I could do my­self with one of those $150 scan tools from the au­toparts store? The shop claims the “flash­ing” will re­move false en­gine codes, in­crease en­gine per­for­mance, im­prove gas mileage, etc. So what do you think?

Tom: Gee, I thought that was il­le­gal. Last time my brother flashed some­one at the garage, he spent 30 days in jail.

Ray: This is not some­thing you can do your­self with an in­ex­pen­sive scan tool, Dan. The equip­ment re­quired to re-flash the car’s com­puter costs sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars. And there are dif­fer­ent machines for dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Tom: The good news is, there’s no rea­son to “re-flash” your com­puter’s me­mory as a main­te­nance ser­vice.

Ray: The pri­mary

— Dan

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