West Hornor of Hornor Motor Co. in Helena recently presented Rotary's Program in a Pocket featuring an automotive technology discussion pertaining to Hornor's expertise and professional opinion.
Hornor introduced the conversation by stating by “Let's talk about things that are more of an interest or concern to you.”
Hornor explained that one of the main customer concerns that he has come across in his years experience with vehicles is the yellow light that displays the image of an engine and cause many drivers' hearts to sink.
“A lot of times you hear, 'Oh man what now?' said Hornor.
According to Hornor, the little “Service Engine Soon” light is a misunderstood light that doesn't mean that you need an oil change, or your tire is low. It means that the car is not operating within the program in the computers and it could be one of 17 different areas and about 1,400 different conditions that would trigger that light.
“It doesn't mean you have to cancel the rest of your vacation but it is recommended that when you do get to the point to have it looked at. Bring your car in and get it looked at,” commented Hornor. The light even comes on if the gas gap is not on tight enough.
Hornor stressed that it is important to make sure that your gas cap is closed tightly because that pool of gasoline will deplete itself through that gap of the improper seal and release vapors into the atmosphere.
Hornor touched base regarding a few “no-no's” such as leaving your car running while filling up, which he described as a habit that “tempts the outer edges of risk,” along with smoking or igniting anything at the pump.
“Although the gasoline hose and nozzle are federally mandated to keep the vapors down in a controlled system, you never want to risk it,” reported Hornor.
Hornor also explained that there is an oxygen sensor that measures how much oxygen is going out the tail pipe and tells how hot the engine is, and also senses the effectiveness of your coolant.
Automotive technology has changed, according to Hornor, as advancements are continually being made in the micromanagement of an engine.
“Pollution is the real driving force in automotive technology right now where now we have several ultra low admissions vehicles, which means they almost pollute nothing,” said Hornor “We want to get to super low admissions vehicles. These changes are coming at us really quickly in the car industry.
According to Hornor, hydrogen fuel cells are coming in the future.
“The draw back to hydrogen fuel celled vehicles is that it takes a massive infrastructure to build the fueling station because the hydrogen is very volatile, more so than gasoline,” said Hornor. “This is going to be a very expensive change that will effect dealerships that are around or located near a hydrogen fuel station. Hydrogen fuel celled vehicles can get 60 percent efficiency out of their total energy that they use – way above gasoline. According to Hornor the byproduct of hydrogen fueled celled vehicles are water and electricity. Hornor believes that in the future, we will be introduced to multitude of supplemented electrically powered vehicles, including the diesel hybrid, compressed natural gas hybrid, a hydrogen fuel cell, and the gas hybrid that will continue to gain efficiency.